Gollancz, Livia (4 of 7) National Life Story Collection: Fawcett Collection
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Journalism and Publishing
Gollancz, Livia 1920-2018 (speaker, female)
Abrams, Rebecca (speaker, female)
Part 4: [Additional interview by Rebecca Abrams, 4 February 1991] [F1182 Side A] [31:29] More background information on grandparents. Father's father a second son of Polish rabbi, called Adamsky. Grandfather, Alexander, born in Danzig (now Gdansk) in 1854. Came to England aged 2, later married Helena Michaelson (Nelly), of Swedish extraction. Grandfather one of 3 sons: Hermann, the eldest, became a distinguished theologian; Israel, the youngest, a professor of English. Livia born at 73 Ladbroke Road, moved to 42 Ladbroke Grove when she was 6 years old; moved to 44 Ladbroke Road in 1953. Mother's parents lived in Notting Hill; came from central Europe via Holland. Two great-grandfathers [one was Albert Lowy (1816-1908)] were rabbis. Maternal grandparents lived above a tannery near London Bridge. [11:45] Maternal great-grandmother, Elinor Lichtenstadt, came from Prague or Vienna, had 14 children, taught all the girls to paint, sing and play the piano, to ensure they could be governesses not house servants. One of her sons is the distinguished painter, Solomon J Solomon. Mother's parents very important in Livia's life. Remembers grandfather as a small dapper man, mad about trains, who built a single gauge railway line and train in the back garden. Worked in the City. Taught his daughters to drive, and put his car at the suffragettes' disposal. Grandmother was a suffragette. She had 8 children in 9 years: 6 girls and 2 boys. Went in a plane for the first time in her 80s to visit Israel. [20:30] Livia's mother drove the car; did the gardening; changed the fuses. Had servants and a live-in help; had been educated at St. Paul's and the Slade; became engaged to Benny Pollack (founder of Pollacks House at Clifton College, Bristol) who was killed in WWI. She then trained to be an architect at the Architectural Association (one of the first intake of women), then met and married Victor Gollancz. Livia remembers a number of nannies, in particular a Miss Woods (Woodsy) a Quaker turned Christian Scientist. Also recalls all the children including herself having their tonsils extracted at home one day.
Life story interview with the musician and publisher Livia Gollancz (1920-2018)