Family of former variety star say her Islington council home is a disgrace
08:00 30 May 2014
The family of an 88-year-old woman who found fame as a variety show performer say she is being forced to live in sub-standard conditions because vital maintenance work has not been carried out at her council home.
Nephews of Pauline Cox claim conditions are so bad at her two-bedroom house in Prebend Street, Islington, there is often no hot water and the electricity frequently cuts out.
Pauline and her twin sister Estelle married variety artistes Fred and Frank Cox, also twins, in the 1960s and became part of their act known as The Cox Twins.
The foursome, who all lived together at the property, played instruments, sang, tap-danced and performed acrobatics.
Pauline is the only remaining member of the act following her husband’s death two years ago and, due to various illnesses, is now bed-bound.
She relies on carers, district nurses and nephews Wayne and Tom for care.
Despite repeated requests to Partners, the property maintenance company employed by Islington Council, Mrs Cox and her family say nothing has been done.
Her nephew, Wayne Robertson, said: “I’m so angry with Partners. They are helpful on the phone but that’s it, they don’t do anything.
“Plastering from the walls hasn’t been replaced after it was torn down when cracks were found, so you can see the brickwork, the shed outside has asbestos in it and only last week the water was freezing cold and the carers had to boil the kettle so they could run Pauline a bath.
“It’s been going on for a few years now. She’s particularly vulnerable, they should be taking extra care of her.”
Partners say there was an agreement not to carry out internal works because it would be too disruptive but said they would address the issues immediately.
After the War and until their retirement in 2000, The Cox Twins would often perform at the London Palladium.
They also appeared in films and on television shows such as Barrymore.
After Estelle died in 1984, the act appeared on stage as the Cox Twins and Pauline.
Mrs Cox said of the problems with her home: “We’ve been getting on at them about it but they never get down to do it and the boiler keeps breaking. The electrical wiring needs checking. One time the lights and the TV blacked out in the evening when I was alone and I was petrified.”
A spokesman for Partners said: “We have visited and had very positive conversations with Mrs Cox and members of her family this week and we are all committed to working together in her best interests.
“We are arranging to get together with the family and support network to agree everything we can do to continue to ensure she is comfortable and happy. We will be very pleased to complete any work which we collectively agree is in her best interests.”