Love letter from 1946 found under floor of Gants Hill home

A LOVE letter penned 64 years ago and found under the floorboards of a house was sent from a young woman living in Australia to her lover in India – and the search for its owner has begun.

The double-sided letter, sent by air mail, was discovered in the home of Julie Rowlatt, 44, in Woodford Avenue, Gants Hill.

The discovery has baffled the mum-of-three, who says the house has only been owned by two other people since it was built in 1927.

Fascinating details of the couple are included in the hand-written letter, dated August 8, 1946, including the fact that the pair had been together for “three days, ten hours and 17 minutes”, before, it is believed, he went to serve in World War Two.

The letter, penned by Elizabeth Spidding and sent from Sydney, explains to her lover, Theo Banus, working in the then Indian city of Chittagong – which is now in Bangladesh – why she turned down his offer of marriage in a previous letter, writing that she had “been hurt before”.


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She also reveals in the letter how her family were “squabbling” over money left in her late grandfather’s will.

Mrs Rowlatt, who discovered the note, said: “It’s quite interesting because it’s the sort of thing that happens today.

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“In the letter, she says she doesn’t feel that families should leave money for their children, saying that the biggest gift you can give them is an education.”

The letter, which has faded over time, but can still be read, was found last year when electricians rewired the house weeks after the family moved in.

Mrs Rowlatt, who is a parent support adviser at Manford Primary School, Manford Way, Hainault, wants to return the letter to relatives of the couple.

She said: “We thought it was lovely to find something like that under the floor – it’s a bit of history.

“As much as I like having it, they’re not my family, and it would be nice to give it back to them.”

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