Weidman, Mrs. Rose

Born Lilian Rose Perkins 16/3/1900 in Lambeth to a Smithfields meat porter, she married the much older Jack Weidman of Dover at Lambeth in 1923. She was 23 and he was 61. Weidman was a shoe repairer and a well-known Channel swimmer and trainer

The couple lived at the shoe shop on Snargate St., where two children were born, Nora in 1923 and Leslie in 1925

Too old to swim the Channel, Jack hoped his wife could be not only the first woman to succeed but also winner of the highly valuable Dover Gold Cup, put up by the Borough Council in 1927, and £1000 prize money He began training her for a swim to take place in the summer of 1927 but he died unexpectedly on 5th April 1927

Rose carried on running the shoe shop on Snargate Street but was determined to fulfil her husband’s last wish and made a Channel attempt in Sepember 1927. This was followed by two more attempts in 1928 and 1929. By now she had ran out of money and for most of 1932 and 1933 ran weekly adverts in the Dover Express classified section asking for financial investors to pay for further attempts in return for £400 of the prize money if she was successful

Nobody seems to have come forward and in 1934 Ted Temme finally won the Dover Gold Cup, ending Rose’s dreams. Whether this was a factor in what happened next is not known but within a few years she was committed to the insane asylum at Chartham, where she was still a patient when war broke out in September 1939

Died 1963 Droxford, Hampshire, in the Knowle lunatic asylum

Swims by Weidman, Mrs. Rose

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