RUTH Ellis is well known as the last woman to be executed in the UK, for the murder of her lover David Blakely, but it’s not well known that Ruth had connections with Basingstoke.

Ruth was born on October 9, 1926 in Rhyl, Wales. Her father, a cellist, made a good living playing for the silent movies in Wales.

In the early 1920s he worked on ocean liners and became quite wealthy but due to the innovations in sound movies he found himself out of work.

The Grand Theatre (Haymarket Theatre) in Basingstoke still ran silent movies so, at the age of three, Ruth, along with her father, Arthur Neilson (previously Hornby), mother, sister and brothers moved to Basingstoke where her father continued his career in music.

When the sound movies arrived in Basingstoke, Arthur found himself permanently out of work and the family’s fortunes declined until they became destitute.

Arranged by Ruth’s mother, Bertha, the family moved to rented accommodation in Bramley then in Baughurst, Brimpton and Tadley.

Local knowledge in Tadley believes that they lived in a cottage in the Newtown area.

Bertha worked in Baughurst as a cook for the Stokes family at Inhurst where three ladies lived: Ellen Joe, Ellen Muriel and Ellen Sybil.

Ruth’s brother and sister went to school in Brimpton.

Following this the family moved to a cottage in Monk Sherborne, the children sleeping in a shepherd’s cote, then to a wooden chalet next to Park Prewett hospital.

When Ruth was nine her father secured a job at Park Prewett hospital as a book keeper and they lived in Dunsford Crescent, one of the houses allocated to employees of Park Prewett.

In 1937 Arthur lost his job and, subsequently, his house too.

Bertha secured a job at The Red Lion Inn in Basingstoke for six months, believed to be living-in.

1938 found them living in ‘a timbered cottage’ in Sherfield-on-Loddon where Ruth attended the village school and then aged 12, she moved on to Fairfields School in Basingstoke.

Arthur found a job as caretaker at Bradleys printing shop (location unknown) and after a short time, in 1941 when Ruth was 14, he left the Basingstoke area for London and his family followed.

It’s at this point we leave Ruth until the shooting on April 10 1955.

Ruth, who was a night club hostess, shot David Blakely, a racing driver, outside the Magdala public house in Hampstead.

She was found guilty, sentenced to death and was hanged on July 13 1955 at Holloway prison, in London.

Her body lays in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, with the inscription ‘Ruth Hornby 1926-1955’.