Born on 16 September 1906, Grace Jones of Broadway in Worcestershire has not only experienced the reign of five monarchs and 21 prime ministers, but is older than the invention of the perm, was three when Heinz cream of tomato soup was introduced to Britain and was the grand old age of 21 when the first “talkie”, The Jazz Singer, was released.
She has seen the outbreak and resolution of two world wars, and lived through the Russian Revolution, the sinking of the Titanic, and all three London Olympics.
Mrs Jones is not the first Grace, nor even the first Grace Jones to hold the title of oldest person in the UK – she shares her name with a former holder of the record, who died aged 113 in 2013.
In 1906, Grace was one of the most popular names for girls – Margaret was the most popular – and remained in the top 50 until 1925. It then faded from use until the mid-1990s before peaking again in 2005.
Gladys, Doris, Hilda and Ethel were all in the top 20 in 1906 but they have all, at some point, all but disappeared since 1996.
The name with an equivalent pattern for boys is Jack. In 1906 the top name for boys was William, and although none of 1906’s top 20 names have disappeared, Harold, Reginald and Walter are among the least popular at the moment.