WHEN Edith Eldridge was born in 1910, it would be another two years before the Titanic went down, four years until the start of the First World War and eight until women got the vote.

Yesterday, Edith celebrated her 108th birthday with family, including her 77-year-old son Alan and daughter-in-law Angela, and staff at Forest Lodge Nursing Home at Horney Common, Uckfield.

A card from the Queen arrived and a cake decorated with flowers was presented to the centenarian-plus-eight.

Her earliest memories dated back to her schooldays when she, her sister and two brothers were collected by their uncle, a chauffeur with the owner of a local gypsum works, in his car to take them to school. “AP269 was the car registration number,” recalled Edith, who was still knitting at the relatively young age of 102. “We had to get in the car at the back. I remember taking the milk churn to the farm for milk and the primroses and bluebells.”

Her son Alan said: “She is special because she’s my mother. It doesn’t surprise me that she is 108: her family have all lived long lives. Her father lived to 96 and all of her siblings made 80-something.”

Born in 1910 at Mount Field, near Battle, Edith went into service as a housemaid for the Edgerton family at Mount Field Hall when she was 14 years old.

“In those days, the vicar found a job for you – you didn’t have a choice,” said Angela, 70, the mother of Edith’s two grandsons Steven, 45, and 43-year-old David. “Her mother had worked at Mount Field Hall in the service of Lord and Lady Edgerton. She told me she particularly didn’t like cleaning the chandeliers. And she had her hair cut short, which was a sackable offence. The housekeeper told her to hide her short hair under her cap but Lady Edgerton saw it anyway. Luckily, she just laughed and Edith didn’t get sacked.”

After two years, Edith left to work as a housemaid at Brightling Park.

She met her husband Alfred at a friend’s house in 1937 and they bought a new three-bedroom detached house in Bexhill.

Her niece Ann Douglas and great-niece Lynn Giles, from Kent, who were at the birthday party, have happy memories of visiting Aunt Edie at the house. “It was always a welcoming house,” said Ann. “We were a very close family.” “We used to go for tea,” said Lynn. “There were always cream horns for tea and I remember Aunt Edie used to grow cucumbers.”

After Edith’s husband Alfred died in 1968, she decided the kitchen needed tiling.

“She tiled the kitchen all by herself, even though she had never done anything like that before,” said Angela. “Before that, Alfred had always done all the decorating but it needed doing so she did it herself.”

A keen knitter, sewer and baker, Edith lived at the house until she was 102, only leaving due to ill health. Three months ago, she had a hip replacement and moved into Forest Lodge.

Slightly bemused by all the fuss, Edith cut her birthday cake as her relatives set out her collection of cards from the Queen marking her 100th, 105th, 106th, 107th and now her 108th birthdays.

“She’s a lovely lady, unassuming and quiet but very determined,” said Angela.