Day 19 of our 50 day countdown of Coronation Street - written by blogger Sunny Jim.
We first met Ivy Tilsley in 1971 when she worked at the warehouse and later Baldwin’s Casuals and became a regular in the Rovers. Her son Brian had been introduced as a love interest for Gail Potter and we had seen her husband in 1975, when he had been called Jack, but in 1979 it was decided that the family should take up residence in the Street with Ivy’s husband now called Bert to avoid any confusion with Vera Duckworth’s other half.
A good Catholic, Ivy doted on her family, though there was never any doubt about the fact that she was in charge, dominating both Bert and Brian. In his turn, Bert was down to earth, would do anything for a quiet life and would only stand up to his wife when she, inevitably, went too far. Brian was the apple of his mother’s eye and nothing and no-one was too good for him so when he took up with Gail, who was not a Catholic, from a single parent family and had been named in a divorce case, Ivy was horrified. When Brian’s marriage to Gail frequently came between him and his mother, it was always Bert who came along to smooth things out.
The only good thing Gail ever did in Ivy’s eyes was give birth to Nicholas Paul Tilsley, who immediately became Ivy’s blue-eyed little boy. Ivy was continually interfering in Nicky’s upbringing, calling in on Gail unannounced and criticising her child rearing methods. And when Gail went back to work leaving Nicky with a childminder, Ivy accused her of being a bad mother. Her grip on Nicky continued with her into the grave as when she died, she left her house to Nicky on condition that he change his name back to Tilsley after becoming a Platt when his mother remarried after Brian’s death.
It wasn’t only at home where she ruled the roost. She was a staunch Trades Unionist and was shop steward at the factory where she wasn’t slow in jumping to the aid of anyone who was badly treated. When Mike Baldwin sacked Hilda Ogden, who wasn’t even in the union, for asking for a new broom, she brought the workers out on strike and battled on the picket line when Baldwin brought in scab labour to try to finish an important order.
Bert’s death in 1984 left Ivy without the stabilising influence in her life and she clung even harder to Brian and Gail, desperate not to be left alone in life. She eventually found love in the shape of George Wardle who was down to earth like Bert but when she found out he was divorced and so still married in God’s eyes, she ended the relationship. But she still had her Brian so all was ok with the world. When he left Gail due to her infidelity, he was welcomed with open arms by his mother. Whilst she knew that Brian had strayed, she found that acceptable as he was a hot-blooded male but Gail had no excuse, after all she was married to the perfect husband.
Ivy remarried after she met taxi-driver Don Brennan. All was fine at first but after Brian was murdered, Don had trouble competing with the ghosts of Ivy’s past. After an affair with Julie Dewhurst and a failed suicide attempt, he eventually left her and she took to the bottle. She went to a Catholic retreat to dry out but died of a stroke shortly after Don wrote to her seeking a divorce.
Also in 1979: A Lorry crashes into the Rovers; Hilda starts keeping hens; Audrey Potter arrives; Brian Tilsley and Gail Potter get married; Fred Gee gets a toupee; a strike at ITV causes Coronation Street to be off air for 2.5 months; Jack Duckworth makes his first appearance; Ken takes Deirdre and Tracy to the Lake District on holiday; Suzie comes back from London.