Grace Jones: Britain's oldest person, who worked as a seamstress and a civil servant until her retirement in the 1960s

 

Grace Jones was the oldest person in Britain and the last person in this country to have been born in the 1800s, during the reign of Queen Victoria. Her 113 years of life encompassed the invention of the aeroplane, the development of electronic communications and two world wars. She was the sixth oldest person in the world.

When the Eligibility of Women Act was passed in 1918, she was still not able to vote, as the minimum age for women was set at 30. Her first opportunity to cast a vote would have been in the General Election of 1929, after women and men had been given equal entitlement the previous year.

Jones was born in Bermondsey, south London, in December 1899, one of eight children. She had been engaged to Albert Rees, who was killed during the First World War. She never married, claiming to have never found anyone as nice as him. She worked as a seamstress and as a civil servant until her retirement in the 1960s.

Last December her local MP, Simon Hughes, took her to a traditional Christmas dinner organised by Bermondsey Care for the Elderly. "Grace will be dearly missed by her many friends and neighbours and by the wider Bermondsey community," he said. "We are all very sad today but we pay tribute to Grace for her wonderful, vibrant and long life, for her commitment to her faith, her family and her community, and we know that a woman of such strong Christian faith faced death with no fear. Although she found her failing strength frustrating, right up until her last week Grace's memory and intellect were undimmed." She attributed her longevity to her diet, recommending "good English food, never anything frozen".

Jones was the victim of three burglaries during the last two years of her life. In December 2011 a thief broke into her flat and stole £300, her pension money. Another burglar tried the next day and then again the following month. He was later caught and jailed.

She had lived with her mother, sister and latterly her brother George, until his death in 2001. She celebrated her 113th birthday together with her neighbours Carol Pooke, Sue Wilmer, and other friends, of whom she said: "They are my family now, and they know it. They are very good to me." She had recently had a fall, and died at a local nursing home. Britain's oldest person is now Ethel Lang, who was born in May 1900.

Grace Jones, supercentenarian: born Bermondsey, London 7 December 1899; died Bermondsey 14 November 2013.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Smart phones, dumb reading: Rebecca and Harry from ‘Teens’
tv
News
people
News
Amazon's drones were unveiled last year.
business
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Life and Style
Worth shelling out for: Atlantic lobsters are especially meaty
food + drink
Sport
Gareth Bale
footballPaul Scholes on how Real Madrid's Welsh winger would be a perfect fit at Old Trafford if he leaves Spain
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£14000 - £37500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Exciting and technically challe...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Estimator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Motor Mechanic / Technician / MOT Tester - Oundle

£11 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Small friendly Ford dealership based i...

Recruitment Genius: Development Worker

£18300 - £20300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss