Laura Marie Morton Mottram
1927 - 2021
Laura Marie Morton MOTTRAM (nee HAMILTON)
27 September 1927 – 10 November 2021
Laura (94) passed peacefully in her sleep at her daughter’s home in Winston-Salem on Wednesday, November 10. Beloved wife of Philip Sidney Henry Mottram (1931-2014) for 60 years, mother of Catherine (Ken) Snow, Helen (Derek) Parsonage, Simon (Deborah) Mottram & Esther (Guy) Dugdale: grandmother of Benjamin (Renee), Madeleine, Zachary (Kristina), Jacob (Kristen) & Jesse; great-grandmother of Lily; treasured friend of Joan, Moshe and Sigal, Eckhard and Mike, Glynis, and Dora.
Born in Manchester to Muriel May (Morton) and Harold Joseph Hamilton, she also lived for some of the war years in Croydon, South London. After leaving school at 16 she joined the Midland Bank in Manchester (now HSBC) until she left when she got married. The fact that she was discouraged from further education and forced to resign from the bank simply because of her gender instilled in her a strong commitment to education and equality for her three daughters. While at the bank, she also met her friend-for-life, Joan Clapham. They remained close for more than 70 years until Joan died in 2019.
Laura’s teenage years were marked by World War 2, which broke out when she was 12 and ended just shy of her 18th birthday. Memories of the Blitz and air raid shelters in London stayed vividly with her for the rest of her life and were shared with many. Years of rationing left her with a “make-do-and-mend” outlook on life that also stayed with her.
She met Phil in the early 1950s at the Young Conservatives Club (the irony of which will not be lost on those who knew them well), where they enjoyed dancing at social events. The music of Glenn Miller was always one her favorites. To hear them tell it, it was love at first sight and they knew they would make a life together within weeks of meeting. They most certainly did, with a marriage that remained strong and loving for 60 years through all the ups and downs of life. In 1954, after Phil had joined the Royal Air Force, they began their married life at various RAF stations around England. After Phil left the RAF, they moved to London, where Laura remained until 2017.
Once her children were mostly grown, Laura started working again at Southwark Libraries in London and her home swiftly became Laura Mottram’s Home for Abandoned Books. It was also about this time that she developed her passion for the history of London and started taking people around to explore – family, friends and work colleagues. She became a regular at courses and lectures at the Museum of London and the British Museum following her love of Roman and Egyptian history and at lunchtime concerts at the many City of London churches. She made many friends through her activities and loved organising outings or social get-togethers where friends from all her activities would mix and mingle, including her neighbourhood breakfast events. Travel was also a passion and she set off (sometimes with Phil, sometimes alone) to explore Crete, Poland, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Mexico, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and many more.
As her family spread around the world, Laura visited New Zealand and the USA many times before “retiring” for the last few years of her life with her daughter Helen in Winston-Salem. She loved having the family together, though that was increasingly difficult, but thanks to Zoom she could talk with them and see them every week.
A celebration of Laura’s life will be held at her home in Winston-Salem on Saturday, November 20 at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Far-flung family and friends are invited to participate by Zoom. For address or log in details, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Donkey Sanctuary in England. Donkeys were very dear to Laura, and she was a regular contributor of funds to this charity, as well as carrots to any donkey she could. Donations may be made at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/LauraMottram
I only met Laura a couple times because of her Granson Zach but I found her to be a lovely person and very interesting to be around. I consider my life to be better because I knew her. She was an amazing little lady.
Dear Laura, a constant and dear friend of Eckhard & Mike, who we met at their house many years ago.
What I remember first when thinking about Laura is her bright and welcoming smile, with those warm, sparkling eyes.
I also think of her passionate interest in, and knowledge of London. We shared a value in always ‘looking up’ when wandering around London, in fact she gave me her book about this when she was clearing her extensive home library before moving to the States.
Her impressive memory of the details of what I had told her the last time I saw her always surprised me, she would ask about it all.
Laura had a special fondness for my children Jamie & Lola and would make time to talk with them both, always having a great interest in what was going on in their lives, and kindly giving Jamie a £10 note each year when he started at Durham University, to help him out.
I will always remember Laura as a warm and loving woman with strong yet gently expressed views.
A true friend of many.
She will not be forgotten.
With love from Jane, Jamie & Lola xx
I don’t remember the first time I met Laura and Philip. They were just part of Mike and Eckhard’s extended family; it was as if they had always been there.
I can’t imagine any neighbours who could have been happier to live next to each other than Laura and Philip and Mike and Eckhard. They were great friends.
We were all regulars at the brunches and breakfasts and birthdays at 97. It was a real community, the same faces and new faces all gathering at different times over the decades, sometimes picking up on the same conversation a year later. Philip would talk passionately about the statue and films, Laura about books and history and everything that was happening around her.
She was incredibly social, and a wonderful listener. It amazed me how she remembered everyone’s name and what was happening in their lives and to their families. She was interested, she genuinely cared, and she was loved for it.
In her late eighties I went on a couple of walks with Laura through the city. She had a fantastic knowledge of the City of London, the history, the buildings the statues. She engaged with it on every level. We ended up in the Royal Exchange with a very strong drink. I can’t remember exactly what we drank but there was a lot of foliage so they must have been cocktails.
And then we got the bus back, Laura pointing out more buildings and statues through the window, chatting about her planned trips to see the family in New Zealand and America. It was like she was in twenties.
After Philip passed Laura would organise outings to historic pubs in London, inviting people she thought would enjoy each other’s company. They were always great pubs, pubs she and Philip had gone to when they first came to London. Now I think of it, the last pub we went to Laura must have been nearly 90 and we still got the bus!
When Eckhard mailed me that Laura had passed, a picture of her lovely face flashed into my mind, smiling – as she always seemed to be – open and kind.
The world needs more people like Laura in it right now. I am sad she has left us but very happy to have been her friend while she was here.