The Friends of Königslutter have just celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Civic association with our twin town of Königslutter, in the Elm Region of Northern Germany. The first time that anyone from Königslutter had come to Taunton from Germany was in 1976 when a group of mandolin players came and performed at the newly opened Brewhouse Theatre…..but that is another story.
This year the former Chair of the Friends of Taunton, Arnulf Baumann told us that he had been contacted by one Ursula Ernst who told him that her association with Taunton went back much further than 1976.
Ursula had lived in Königslutter as a child, she now lives in Frankfurt.
She and Arnulf carried out a good deal of Internet research and were able to piece together her story.
Ursula was sent to England and, more specifically, Taunton in 1949 by the Worker’s Welfare Association. She was 12 years old. She went to live at 11 Colin Road, Taunton, staying with the Dinwiddy family. Ursula calls them her adopted family.
In July 2017, Ursula returned to Taunton with The Friends of Taunton. This time she stayed with Twinning Hosts, Angela and Ken Winter, in Wellington. Angela and Ken were intrigued by Ursula’s story and, when not engaged in the Twinning Programme, they took Ursula to as many of the places that she could remember, and they could find.
Ursula herself went to the Tourist Information Centre and was given a map with the road in which she had lived in 1949 marked out for her.
Angela and her friend Cheryl Lowman took Ursula to Colin Road, and after a little hunting around, found the very house where Ursula had lived for two years. Timidly they knocked on the door which was answered by an elderly man. His name was Mr Foxwell. When he heard their story he was delighted to be able to tell them that he had bought the house from a Mr. Dinwiddy sixty years previously, and he invited them into the house. He was amazed when Ursula began saying things like “there was a wall just here” and “the sink in the kitchen was over here”. Ursula also remembered that her best friend Jennifer Mumford had lived in one of the houses which backed onto Colin Road. She thought Jennifer was a little older than she was but no trace could be found. They were told that Jennifer’s brother had lived in Eastwick Road but they could find no information about him.
Ursula was so excited to have found so much that she remembered of her few years in Taunton. She may have stayed a short while but she has never forgotten the kindness she received or the friends she made.