Elizabeth (Betty) Hoare (née Scott), 1915 – 2001
Betty, the granddaughter of George Gilbert Scott, started her career as an actress. Her mother, Alice O’Hara was Australian, brought to Britain by her wealthy father looking to marry his two daughters (her elder sister met her husband in the taxi queue outside Claridges). She was married at St Mark’s North Audley Street to Graham Hoare in September 1939, one of the first white weddings of the war.
Together, they took over the management of the family company Watts & Company., then still at 30 Baker Street. Business for textiles and wallpapers was not easy in post-war austerity; the secular market was non-existent and the church provided but a modest living. In 1950, the company moved to 11, Dacre Street but in 1965 the building was sold, Betty purchased the other family shares, and thanks to Ivor Bulmer-Thomas, Watts moved to Tufton Street. She abhorred 1970s Modernism, personified by Beryl Dean, and during this period built up a collection of historic church embroidery that would otherwise have been destroyed and which is now displayed at the Elizabeth Hoare Gallery in Liverpool Cathedral.