Relatives of a former Meltham woman have solved the mystery of the London letters.

They have come forward with more details about Mary Hughes Preston, whose life was covered in a huge collection of letters found in the attic of a London house.

It transpires Mary, who died in 1983 in London at the age of 58, was a high-ranking civil servant working for the government.

The house in Acton where the letters were found

“She had a really good job and wrote speeches for government ministers,” said her distant relative, Mrs Jayne Preston, of Meltham.

“We went down to London in 1983 to sort out her affairs after her death but I have no idea how all those letters came to be in another house several miles away.”

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The letters were in a suitcase uncovered in a house renovation. There were hundreds of letters, leaflets, receipts and tickets from Miss Preston to and from her family.

Geoff Smith, of Norbury, in south London, discovered the case containing hundreds of letters in an attic of a house he was working on in Beech Road, London.

Now he hopes to hand the letters back to relatives of Miss Preston.

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“It’s a fascinating glimpse into someone’s life.

“Each letter has been replaced in the envelope of the sender and these letters date back to 1960,” he said.

Mrs Jayne Preston’s late husband Malcolm was a cousin of Miss Preston.

She said her parents Joseph and Catherine lived in Meltham for much of their lives.

Mr Preston worked at T W Broadbents and was a staunch worker at Meltham church. He died in 1978 and his wife died in Wales in 1989.

“I remember they were always very excited when Mary came home from London to visit them.”