Olive Badland, one of Beaulieu’s oldest residents, passed away on 24th August 2017 at the age of 95. Known by everyone as ‘Mrs B’, she was first employed in Beaulieu by Lord Montagu’s managing agents Strutt and Parker who ran the estate from the Manor Office in High Street (now Beaulieu Fine Arts). When the management of the estate moved to the John Montagu Building in 1973, she transferred with it and became established as the main face at the reception desk.
Her very correct, even formidable, manner as the de facto gatekeeper between residents and the Beaulieu Estate land agent ensured that everything was done in a business-like fashion. Her manner influenced the perceived "character" of "the Estate" with everyone she dealt with, and her encyclopaedic knowledge of estate and other local affairs was a great asset until well after she retired in the late 1980s. In later years she often assisted the Estate office when her knowledge was essential – recalling the reasons why, where and when things had happened when the answers were not readily evident from the files, and even ensuring that the seating plan for the annual Estate Dinner would be appreciated by all the guests.
In her retirement, Mrs Badland lived at Warners House, in Beaulieu High Street, so she was always at the heart of village matters. She stood for and was elected a member of the New Forest District Council, representing the Forest South ward. She took a particularly close interest in housing, dealing with the cases of local people and seeking solutions by drawing on her local knowledge and contacts. She also served as a Beaulieu School Governor and Beaulieu Parish Councillor.
Her detailed knowledge of the local community and Beaulieu village in particular were invaluable when she was interviewed in preparation for the Beaulieu History Society paper that traced the history and changes of village trades, shops and offices over since the early 1800s. She found the recalling of her memories quite emotional, and displayed an uncharacteristic tenderness as her eyes glazed over. She deeply loved and was committed to Beaulieu.
Olive married Maurice in 1942, who in later years provided a taxi service for local people. She is survived by her daughters Terry and Gail and their families.
Ken Robinson CBE
For Beaulieu History Society