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Ena Sharples

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Ena 3
Ena Sharples
Occupation Caretaker (retired)
Born 24th November 1899
Birthplace Weatherfield
Father Thomas Schofield
Mother Mary Schofield
Sibling(s) Alice Raynould(1883-1963)
Tom Schofield
Spouse(s) Alfred Sharples (1920)
Children Vera Lomax (1921)
Madge Sharples (1924)
Ian Sharples
First appearance 9th December 1960
Last appearance 2nd April 1980
Duration 1960-1980
Number of appearances 1151
Played by Violet Carson

Ena Sharples (née Schofield) was a resident of Coronation Street for many years, and a prominent member of the community in her role as caretaker at the Glad Tidings Mission Hall, and later the street's Community Centre.

A gossip at heart, Ena prided herself on knowing more about her neighbours than they thought she did. She was a fixture in the snug of the Rovers Return Inn, where she and her lifelong friends and fellow widows Minnie Caldwell and Martha Longhurst often spent their time discussing the lives of the other Street residents.

An outspoken, forceful personality, Ena wasn't afraid to speak her mind and didn't shy away from telling people what she thought of them in person. Her interfering nature had driven both her daughters, Madge Sharples and Vera Lomax, away from her. Despite this, Ena was fiercely devoted to her friends and family and saw any interference on her part as for their own good.

Having married Alfred Sharples in 1920, Ena had been a widow since 1937 but never re-married. In 1980, with the Community Centre being re-developed, and most of Ena's friends long since having died or moved away, Ena left the Street to live in Lytham St. Anne's and never returned.

BiographyEdit

1899-1937: Early lifeEdit

Ena Sharples Wedding

Ena Schofield on her wedding day in 1920

Ena Schofield was born in Weatherfield on 24th November 1899, the youngest of three siblings (the others being her sister Alice Schofield, and her brother Tom Schofield).

In her schooling days, Ena met Martha Hartley and Minnie Carlton, establishing lifelong friendships. An attentive student with a strong Christian upbringing, Ena became devoted to her religion and developed a firm belief in the importance of rules and morals. She also quickly learned to be self-sufficient, taking on factory work when she was only 11.

In 1915, Ena became engaged to Phil Moss, nephew of her mentor at the Glad Tidings Mission Hall, Gladys Arkwright. However, he enlisted and was soon after killed in battle, devastating Ena. At the start of the war in 1914, Ena had developed a gradual friendship with Albert Tatlock after Dinky Low, a local boy Ena had a crush on, asked her to write to Albert. Ena and Albert became close enough that he would stay with her family while on leave, but when he asked her if she wanted to be more than friends, she declined, stating that she was still mourning Phil.

Young Ena

Young Ena Sharples


Around 1917, Ena met Alfred Sharples, who had been sent home to heal a leg injury. There was an instant chemistry, but Ena was upset to learn he was already married and broke contact with him. When the war ended, Alfred and Ena ran into each other again and he told her that his marriage had been in name only - he'd had to marry the daughter of someone his father had owed money to. Alfred also informed Ena that his wife had recently passed away. Ena decided to give him another chance.

In 1920, Ena married Alfred. They had three children: Vera, Madge and Ian. Ian died after only two days, and Alfred died in 1937 during the Depression, leaving Ena a widow with two children. As Vera and Madge grew up, they were alienated against Ena due to her judgemental and frequently interfering nature, a point of much contention for Ena who only had herself to blame.

1937-1964: Caretaker of the MissionEdit

Ena sharples 1960

Ena in 1960

The Sharples' had lived in Inkerman Street, but after Alfred's death Ena needed a change and eagerly accepted the position of caretaker at the Glad Tidings Mission Hall in Victoria Street when it was offered to her. The previous caretaker, Gladys Arkwright, had been Ena's mentor. The community the Mission served - a working class backstreet with a factory close by - gave Ena plenty of ammunition for gossip, and a reason to voice her disapproval, under pretension of upholding the Lord's work. The caretaker's accommodation was the vestry, a single room with an entrance onto Coronation Street. Ena lived there with her daughter Vera until Vera moved out in 1946.

Ena's best friends from her youth, now Minnie Caldwell and Martha Longhurst, were both also widows by 1960, and frequently sat with Ena in the snug of the local Rovers Return Inn, criticising the lives of the other street residents (as well as each other), while drinking milk stout.

For the duration of World War II, Ena was an Air Raid warden, lording it over the other residents when they had to seek refuge in the Mission cellar.

In 1960, Ena battled new Mission lay preacher Leonard Swindley, who objected to her frequenting the Rovers. Ena collapsed due to the stress, but walked out of the hospital to return to her post so that Martha, who had taken on her responsibilities while she recovered, couldn't steal her job. In 1961 Ena was sacked for spreading a rumour that Coronation Street
Ena confronts swindley

Ena holds her own during a run-in with Leonard Swindley

was to be demolished when it turned out to be untrue, but Swindley was forced to re-hire her when a suitable replacement could not be found (Ena had bribed the other candidates to turn the job down). Still unhappy with the working conditions, however, Ena walked out of the job later in the year and moved in with Minnie, with Albert Tatlock briefly taking on the caretaker position. She was eventually offered her job back.

Ena had a health scare in 1962 when she suffered a minor stroke, brought on by hypostatic pneumonia. She quickly regained her speech and mobility but the following year was diagnosed with arterioschlerosis. Despite her willingness to gossip about the sordid details of her residents, Ena was very guarded about her own private life and resented Martha for discussing her health problems with Vera.

In 1963, Ena reported youth Michael Butterworth to the police for stealing and cashing her pension. In March of 1963 her sister Alice Raynould died aged 80. Later in the year, while Ena and most of the street residents were attending the wedding of Jerry Booth and Myra Dickinson, Michael broke into the vestry and robbed it, taking or trashing most of Ena's most treasured possessions. Ena broke down, to the shock of the other residents.

1964-1968: Decline of the MissionEdit

As congregations at the Mission Hall's services dwindled, the Hall became more often the domain of clubs and meetings. Ena didn't approve, seeing it as the misuse of a holy building and an invasion of her home. The Weatherfield Mission committee decided to close one of their halls in 1965 due to the lack of interest, with the choice falling between the Coronation Street Mission and the Bold Street Mission.

Ena feared for her home until she discovered she had been left No. 11 Coronation Street in the will of the recently deceased owner. As Ena barely got along with its current resident, Elsie Tanner, she had no compunctions about evicting Elsie and her son Dennis so that she could live there herself when the Mission was closed. After serving Elsie her notice, Ena argued with Elsie in the Rovers - Elsie was not going to give up without a fight. The fight spilled out into the Street and Ena ended up accidently smashing one of No.11's windows with her handbag. The clash was broken up by Swindley, who informed Ena that the Mission would stay open - the Bold Street Mission had been selected for closure. With her home safe for the time being, Ena sold No. 11 to Edward Wormold.

Later that year, Ena's great nephew Tom Schofield visited her and invited her to her brother's home in the USA for an extended stay. Ena jumped at the chance to go abroad for the first time and meet the family she never knew she had.

Upon her return, Ena was horrified to see the Mission converted into a Community Centre, with social worker Ruth Winter employed there full-time. She quit upon hearing the news and moved in with Minnie at No. 5. Despite being out of work, Ena was soon caught up with other problems as Vera came to stay having separated from her husband Bob Lomax. Vera had debts to pay but hadn't the money to pay them, so Ena gave her the money, despite it being all her savings. A disoriented Ena was later caught accidentally stealing from a supermarket. In court, Ena pleaded not guilty, but refused to give her age when questioned, saying only that she was over 21.
Ena vera

Ena struggles to cope when Vera has weeks to live

She was fined 40/-. To offset her money problems, Ena took on the job of live-in housekeeper at No. 9 for Len Fairclough, although when the Community Centre at the Mission closed down, Ena moved back into the vestry.

Vera came to stay again later in 1966, saying she was ill. Ena didn't believe her until she spoke to Vera's doctor, who said that Vera had a brain tumour and had a month to live. Vera hadn't yet been told her condition was terminal. Ena watched her daughter wind down over several weeks until she died in Ena's bed in January 1967.

The Mission was closed for good a year later, when it was demolished along with the factory to make way for a block of two-storey maisonettes. Ena was offered a place at an old folk's home but she unsurprisingly declined, choosing to lodge with old friend Henry Foster in St. Anne's after briefly living with Minnie, although when the maisonettes were built Ena moved into No. 6, a purpose-built OAP ground floor flat. Ena was pleased as it occupied the exact spot where the vestry had been.

1968-1973: Back to workEdit

Ena in Hospital

Martha visits Ena in hospital

As she no longer had the luxury of rent-free accommodation, Ena took on a job at the Corner Shop. She was furious to be replaced by Valerie Barlow while on holiday.

Ena found it disconcerting to have neighbours after so many years of having one side of the street to herself. However, her place next door to the Barlows was crucial in saving Valerie when she was held hostage by Frank Riley, as Val was able to tap on the pipes in her kitchen, overheard by Ena in her flat. Ena alerted the other residents about it and Val was rescued.

In 1969, Ena got bored with the maisonette and moved into a flat above Ernest Bishop's camera shop. With Glad Tidings gone, the closest place of worship was the Victoria Street Mission, and Ena kept close tabs on the comings and goings there. She was delighted in 1970 to meet young Tony Parsons, who shared her passion for the harmonium. Recognising his talent, Ena made him her protégé and gave him lessons, setting about arranging a scholarship for him.

Episode1647

Handel tells Ena that Minnie is never returning.

The maisonettes were demolished in 1971, and one of the buildings that replaced them was a Community Centre. Despite her age, Ena was determined to secure the position of caretaker, and scared off her competitor Hetty Thorpe by warning her about the violence in the area. With no one else to take the job, Ena was selected as caretaker, and she moved into the adjacent Centre flat. However, Ena's age and ability to do the work was a constant concern to the Council. Albert Tatlock was foisted on her as "co-caretaker", though she insisted on being called "senior caretaker". In 1973, Ena suffered two heart attacks, but refused to move away as she wanted to die in the street. She disappeared with the Centre keys at Christmas, preventing local children from getting their presents. Ena assumed she'd be sacked and left to stay with Henry Foster at St. Anne's.

1973-1980: Later yearsEdit

Ena spent much of 1974 living in St. Anne's, making occasional visits to Minnie at No. 5. In 1975, Ena began to make much more frequent visits to the street but often found that Minnie was away in Whaley Bridge, visiting their old friend Handel Gartside. Eventually, councillor Alf Roberts decided to reinstall Ena at the Centre later in the year. Ena was grateful for the offer and moved back into the Street.

However, her health remained a point of contention. In 1977, Councillor Tattersall was aghast at the management of the Centre, run as it was by two elderly pensioners. Matters were made worse after Ena fell over and was knocked unconscious while looking after Tracy Langton. Upon her return to the Centre flat, Tattersall made Ena feel vulnerable by telling her she was too old for the job, and that he was going to have her put in a home. After he verbally attacked her in the Rovers, the Street's residents united to oust him. Both Alf Roberts and Len Fairclough saw Tattersall off by threatening him with violence if he dared to move Ena out of the flat. In the latter part of the 1970s, Ena flitted regularly between Weatherfield and St. Anne's. Her friends had gradually left her life - Martha had died in 1964, and Minnie left in 1976 to live with Handel in Whaley Bridge. Ena spent much of early 1978 with the Lomaxes in Hartlepool, who offered to house her permanently but she refused.

In February 1980, Ena was moved out of her flat while necessary refurbishments
Ena sharples 1980

Ena in 1980

were made to both the flat and Centre. Elsie offered to take in Ena, who was very grateful. Although the living arrangements at No. 11 were more than satisfactory, Ena learnt from hindsight and decided to move to St. Anne's - it would only be a matter of time before the two got into an argument. She returned at the end of March to find the flat still unfinished, dumping herself on Albert. Ena decided to once again move back to St. Anne's, telling committee man Ken Barlow that she'd be the one to decide when she'd come back. However, she never returned.

PersonalityEdit

"That woman's tongue. If it was a bit longer she could shave with it." - Elsie Tanner

Ena had a domininating personality. Large in stature and almost always dressed in a large doublebreasted coat and hairnet, Ena was strong-minded and argumentative, with opinions on everyone and everything and she wasn't afraid to voice any of them. She cared for her family and friends but her tough exterior, hardened by a tragic life, many years of widowhood, and living through two world wars and a Depression, was difficult for anyone to crack, and Ena preferred it that way. Consequently, she found it difficult to express affection and felt more at ease arguing with her friends (or telling them what to do) than taking an interest in them.

Ena was formidable in an argument, usually putting her view across quickly and bluntly, barely giving anyone else a chance to speak. Although motivated by self-interest more often than she would care to admit, Ena's usual justification was that she was acting in the name of Christianity. Unfortunately, she often jumped to conclusions, assuming the worst of people, or exaggerated the truth. Occasionally Ena was innocent, but when false rumours spread through the street, fingers always pointed at Ena first.

Towards the 1970s, Ena mellowed as she spent more time away from Weatherfield, her friends and family leaving her life one-by-one. The residents of the street began to protect and defend her more, seeing her as a vulnerable old woman.

RelationshipsEdit

FamilyEdit

Ena grew up in a warm and loving home, and hoped to have the same for herself. Her sister Alice, a few years older, often resented Ena's attempts at perfection. Ena's older brother Tom emigrated to America in 1912, seeing no job opportunities in Weatherfield. Ena did not have much contact with the surviving Schofields until her great nephew Tom Schofield contacted her in 1965 and invited her to stay in America. Ena's brother Tom died in 1973.

Ena clashed with many members of her family, especially her children. Ena's tendency to boss her children around had led to daughter Madge not speaking to her, and upon receiving feedback from nephew Colin Lomax about what Madge had been saying about Ena behind her back, Ena cut Madge out of her will without a second's thought.

Vera stood by Ena and lived with her in the Mission vestry from 1937 to 1946, during which time they slept in the same bed in the cramped accommodation. Far from showing gratitude that Vera was the only daughter to stand by her, Ena was particularly hard on her as Vera had been dropped as a child and Ena was never convinced that she was right in the head. Ena preferred to control Vera's life and was disturbed when in 1942, while she had gone to a concert, Vera had gone to the American military base with Elsie Tanner and Elsie's friends, where she'd gotten drunk and lost her virginity. Elsie helped Ena understand to stop trying to stifle Vera, because then she would end up having no control over Vera at all. Ena then allowed Vera to go out on her own, and encouraged her to date Bob Lomax, who worked with them at the welding factory. Vera and Bob got engaged, and by 1945 Vera and Ena became estranged, as Bob's parents wanted them to marry in a more upscale church, not what they saw as Ena's backstreet chapel. Ena refused to attend Vera's wedding, although she sent her daughter a Christmas card.

Ena later became close to the Lomax family and was often called upon to watch Colin. Ena occasionally went to stay with Colin and his family after Vera's death. Vera died in 1967, in Ena's home, of a brain tumor. Vera's doctor had kept the news from her and convinced Ena to do the same.

Ena also had a son, Ian, but due to her poor nutrition during the years she and Alfred struggled for work, Ian died soon after birth.

Martha LonghurstEdit

Along with Minnie Caldwell, Martha Longhurst was Ena's closest friend and unlike Minnie, Martha shared Ena's penchant for gossiping. Despite their lifelong friendship (Ena knew Martha when they were ten years old), Ena sometimes felt threatened by Martha, especially when she proved just as capable as doing Ena's job at the Mission as Ena herself. The trio's discussions
Minnie snug

Ena with Minnie and Martha in the snug

in the snug often consisted of Ena and Martha trying to score points off each other, with Ena baiting Martha into arguing with her.

They briefly lived together in 1961 when Ena was fired from the Mission. Ena made herself at home, making the best of a bad situation, but unbeknown to her Martha couldn't wait to get rid of her and in the meantime had considered writing to an agony aunt to ask how to deal with her overbearing houseguest.

Martha died in the snug in the Rovers in 1964, while Ena conducted a singalong on the piano in the public bar. Ena berated Martha's daughter Lily for never caring about her mother unless she needed a babysitter.

Minnie CaldwellEdit

After Martha's death, Minnie was perhaps Ena's only close friend left. Minnie's part in the trio's conversations in the snug were usually limited to the occasional (frequently inappropriate or out-of-place) comment. Minnie was usually content to let Ena do the talking while she only partially listened. Minnie, who could be quite timid and indecisive, was often dominated by Ena, who did not appear to trust Minnie's own initiative or decisions.

In 1969, Ena's capacity to interfere almost ended in tragedy when she told off bookie Dave Smith for hassling Minnie, who had been gambling and owed Dave money. Unbeknown to Ena, Dave had decided to forgive the debt but a telling off by Ena convinced him to change his mind. Minnie was embarrassed at Ena trying to fight her battles and disappeared. Sick with guilt and worry, Ena scoured Weatherfield for anywhere Minnie might be. Minnie soon turned up, and Ena was able to turn the tables on Dave Smith by blackmailing him over his tax fraud. Minnie continued to be fond of gambling, but Ena strongly disapproved and in 1972
Episode853

Ena is distressed when Minnie goes missing

tried to have her barred from the Betting Shop for her own good. Minnie was furious and told Ena their friendship was over, though she later relented.

In 1973, Minnie first sought Ena's opinion before getting engaged to Albert Tatlock. At first Ena approved, but she later advised Minnie to call it off as she would be in a better position financially as a single person. Minnie obliged.

Ena and Minnie lived with each other at No.5 several times, usually when no one else was willing to house Ena, who was reputedly difficult to live with. Ena's biggest gripe with Minnie was her cat, Bobby, who was something of an obsession of Minnie's; much to her chagrin, Ena would talk to Minnie at length only to discover that Minnie hadn't been listening to her, being preoccupied with Bobby. Minnie even once accused Ena of being jealous of the cat.

Despite their difficult moments, they were always there for each other. When Minnie eventually decided to move to Whaley Bridge to live with Handel Gartside, she left without telling Ena as she feared Ena would talk her out of it.

Elsie TannerEdit

A neighbour of Ena's, Elsie Tanner lived at No.11. Ena and Elsie initially clashed through Ena's hostility towards Elsie's husband Arnold Tanner; when the newly married couple arrived in the Street, Ena recognized Arnold as having thrown a widow out of her home because she had not been able to pay the rent for two weeks.

After Arnold left for war service, the hostilities continued between Elsie and Ena. Elsie represented the antithesis of Ena's lifestyle: during World War II, Elsie had separated from Arnold and raised two children by herself. Ena had been aware of the many men Elsie had entertained at No.11 over the years, and strongly disapproved considering she was still married and opined that she was putting her own needs above those of her children. Elsie saw Ena as an interfering battleaxe, and didn't see why her life should be any of Ena's business.

The war years involved many highs and lows between Ena and Elsie - Ena helped deliver Elsie's first child, Linda, in Annie Walker's living room, but later wrote a letter to Arnold about Elsie's affairs with soldiers, which led Arnold to return home and rape Elsie. A few years later, Ena helped Elsie and her friend Sally Todd see off the American soldiers they loved, Steve Tanner and Oliver Hart, hiding them in the Mission after they had gone AWOL to say goodbye to the ladies. At this time Ena thought to herself that in some way Elsie reminded her of her younger self. The relationship turned downward yet again towards the end of the war when Elsie began letting soldiers stay in her home for room and board - Ena saw this as a brothel and wrote Arnold another letter, leading Ena and Elsie to have a vicious brawl in the Mission before Leonard Swindley pulled them apart.

Living in the same street for many years had led them to at least understand each other. They almost always thought the worst of each other; Elsie accused Ena of writing a poison pen letter in 1961, even though Ena was innocent. When Ena believed the Mission Hall was going to be closed, she decided to throw Elsie and son Dennis out of their flat so she could move in (she owned the property). The two women rowed in the street, having to be pulled apart; Ena even broke a window with her purse. The argument only stopped when Ena learned it was to be a mission on another street which was to be closed.

Although generally dismissive of each other in public, they did occasionally put their differences aside in a crunch - in 1962, when no one else would, Ena let Elsie know that her boyfriend Bill Gregory was married. In 1965, Ena discovered Hilda Ogden was the culprit behind some threatening phone calls Elsie had received, and exposed her. She also stopped Elsie from taking an overdose in 1973. In 1980, Ena had to move out of the community centre while repairs were being made, and with nowhere else to go, accepted Elsie's offer of a bed. After a week, she moved to St. Anne's, as she realised she could not stay at Elsie's for much longer without getting into an argument.

Role in the communityEdit

"They don't need sewers round 'ere, they've got Ena Sharples!" - Elsie Tanner
Ena queenvictoria

Ena is not amused during the street Silver Jubilee celebrations

Ena's role among the residents of Coronation Street was one she assigned to herself. As caretaker of the Mission of Glad Tidings, it was her responsibility to act in the best interests of the Mission's constituency, as her behaviour in public reflected on them. Ena took that one step further - the self-proclaimed moral voice of the street, Ena was a law unto herself, making sure to know what went on in the lives of every resident, to the extent where they weren't sure themselves how much she knew. Yet she still frequently indulged in a glass of milk stout in the Rovers Return, unwilling to allow lay preacher Leonard Swindley to dictate how she lived her life outside the Mission.

Ena's forcefulness and argumentativeness was her key strength as well as her biggest weakness. In 1965, she acted as spokesperson for the street over the issue of a survey which almost led to the demolition of the street so that a ring road could be built through it. In 1976, she made known her disapproval of new Corner Shop owner Renee Bradshaw's decision to open the shop on a Sunday, the day of the Sabbath.

Although she rarely participated in organised street events, she was known to get involved occasionally. In the 1972 Pub olympics, when the Rovers competed against the Flying Horse pub, Ena won points for the Rovers by beating a Flying Horse regular at Dominos (winning the game by staring at him, making him so distracted as to play a wrong domino). She also portrayed Queen Victoria on the Coronation Street float for the Silver Jubilee in 1977.

Despite her occasionally antagonistic nature, Ena was a respected figure in the community and, although seeming at times to be a loner, had many friends in the street. It was Ena who prevented the street from being renamed in 1962 when she wrote to Prince Philip to appeal for his help. Ena was also instrumental in Jack and Annie Walker reconciling when they fell out in 1964. In 1967, Ena started a petition to have the betting shop closed down, although she was unsuccessful.

Hobbies and interestsEdit

Episode733

Ena plays the piano for the Rovers regulars at Christmas 1967.

Ena was a capable and experienced pianist and player of the harmonium. Her skills were regularly called upon at events in the Rovers Return and other community venues. She also enjoyed singing and led the residents into sing-songs on various special occasions. Ena sang 'Cockles and Mussels' with Emily Nugent at a 1969 Christmas concert, though she rarely participated in the street pantomime productions, being content usually to watch or assist backstage. She did however sign up for the Over 60s club, and agreed to play the piano. Although she criticised Minnie for having her palm read in Blackpool, Ena went to have her own palm read once she was sure her friends had left.

Other informationEdit

  • Ena's first drink at the Rovers Return was in 1918 with Lizzie Hinchcliffe. When Albert Tatlock challenged Ena's assertion in 1978 that she had been drinking at the Rovers longer than he had been, Ena brought Lizzie in to verify her story.
  • When a family of Italians opened a café in 1961, Ena boycotted the café because they were Italian, however she changed her mind when she won a free meal in a raffle.
  • In 1967, Ena was injured when a train crashed into the street from the viaduct overhead. She was the last person pulled from the rubble but only suffered cuts, bruises and a broken arm.
  • Ena and other OAPs arranged a sit-down outside the council offices to protest the closure of a clubhouse in 1969. Ena was taken away by policemen and given a caution, although the OAPs were triumphant in their cause.
  • In 1970, Stan Ogden decided to sell some of Ena's songs, without her knowledge, and take the credit as songwriter himself. When Ena discovered his scheme she 'sold' him Onward Christian Soldiers, exposing him as a fraud.
  • Ena was prone to hay fever. She tried to stop a flower show from taking place in the Community Centre in 1971 but was unsuccessful.
  • Conman Frank Holmes tried to con Ena in 1976 but she cottoned on in time and summoned friends Len Fairclough and Eddie Yeats who performed a citizen's arrest.

Background informationEdit

  • Although Violet Carson became synonymous with the role, she was not the only actress to play Ena - in the 1960 dry runs of Coronation Street, Nita Valerie and Nan Marriott-Watson played her.
  • Ena was first seen to wear a hairnet in Episode 5. It quickly became a permanent part of the character's apparel, added by Violet Carson, who refused to let the make-up department touch her elegantly-styled silver hair. One of the hairnet props was sold at auction for £65 in 2005 to a Dutch gentleman, who had bought it for his mother, a lifelong fan.
  • Although a fixture of the programme from 1960 to 1980, Ena was only seen regularly until 1974 when Violet Carson suffered a stroke, which kept her off-screen for most of the year. Although she returned, her appearances were far less frequent due to Carson's ongoing health problems. The character was absent for several spells in the late 1970s but Carson always returned when she was able - similarly, she was expected to return after her appearance in Episode 1983 (2nd April 1980) but the actress suffered a serious bout of anaemia and could not return. Violet Carson died on 26th December 1983.
  • Ena was absent from the programme for over three months during 1965 as Violet Carson took a sabbatical and for almost two months in 1968 when she went on a promotional tour to Australia. Within the storylines of the programme these absences were explained as Ena taking a trip to the USA to visit her brother and a stay in St. Anne's with Henry Foster.
  • Carson's love/hate relationship with the character was well known. In 1978 she commented to the TV Times that "Violet Carson was destroyed the day Ena Sharples first appeared in Coronation Street."
  • Ena's doublebreasted coat was the main exhibit in the costume museum section of the Granada Studios tour.
  • Following her departure, Ena's fate was never revealed in the programme. The first reference to her was made in the 1985 spin off video 'The Jubilee Years' when Ken Barlow revealed that Ena had "died a couple of years ago". In 1989, Deirdre Barlow mentioned that "Ena was probably turning in her grave" thus confirming Ena has died by this time. In 2010, a short online video titled Ken: A Life On The Street confirmed that she was no longer alive when Ken Barlow told his grandson Simon that she was "long dead now".
  • Additional information on Ena's life from 1915-1945 was found in the books Keeping the Home Fires Burning and Coronation Street at War by Daran Little, and The Way to Victory by Christine Green.

See alsoEdit

QuotesEdit

"I'm Mrs Sharples." (First line, introducing herself to Florrie Lindley).

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"All I can say is thank God the Germans never got 'ere. I should 'ate to see one of my neighbours collaborate. And she would've done, make you no mistake about that--what're you 'avin', same again?" (Ena about Elsie Tanner's behaviour during World War II)

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"There must be more latch-keys for that 'ouse than there are for Bucking'am Palace!" (Ena criticising Elsie's loose morals in 1961)

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"Go on. Strike a poor old defenceless woman. That's just about your level, Elsie Tanner. But before you raise your 'and and damn yourself forever - if you 'aven't already done it - you'll listen to me for a minute or two. I know all about that letter, and personally I haven't the slightest doubt that everything in it is nowt but God's own truth! You think on this, Elsie Tanner. I know plenty about you. I know plenty about you that you don't think I know. I could've written a full-length book about you, let alone a letter, but if I had written it - if I had written it, it wouldn't 'ave come anonymous, oh no. I've never been afraid to stand behind me own beliefs. If I had written the flamin' thing, it would've 'ad 'Ena Sharples' in big black letters at the bottom of it and WELL YOU KNOW IT!" (Ena to Elsie Tanner in 1961.)

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"I've handled Tanners before, Mrs. Tanner, and I'll handle you again!" (Ena threatening Elsie in a heated 1965 clash)

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"You're looking after yourself properly aren't you? [...] Good, because there aren't that many of us left, you know!" (Ena to Minnie Caldwell in 1974)

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"If I had my way, I'd just like to go like me mother did... She just sat up, broke wind and died." (Talking about death)

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"The time to get worried about Emily Nugent is when something isn't troubling her."

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"It's a travesty of the marriage service. Leonard Swindley has never loved, honored or obeyed anybody in his life apart from himself."

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"She weren't the biggest comedian we've ever had round here, but she was good company for me." (About her late friend Martha Longhurst)

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"30 years ago there used to be a Black Maria outside Rovers Return every Sat'd'y night. An' coppers used to walk two at a time down Coronation Street. Annie Walker wouldn't o' lasted five minutes."

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"Three milk stouts and make sure there's no lipstick on the glasses." (Ordering her usual in The Rovers)

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"Once upon a time I used to enjoy scratchin' Elsie Tanner's eyes out - I'd get more pleasure than listening to the Queen's Christmas Day message."

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"Elsie Tanner's a loud-mouthed, pig-headed, painted tramp with a bust-ful o' brassiere and Nowt on top. And with the right man on her arm she'd turn into the best wife a lad could wish for."

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"I'm fast coming to the conclusion, Albert Tatlock, that the air up there is much more to my liking than it is round 'ere these days. And you can take that any way you like! I don't suppose either of you thought of puttin' the kettle on, did yer?" (Final lines spoken in the programme to Albert Tatlock and Ken Barlow).

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Original characters
Ken Barlow | Frank Barlow | Ida Barlow | David Barlow | Jack Walker | Annie Walker | Elsie Tanner | Dennis Tanner | Linda Cheveski | Ivan Cheveski | Harry Hewitt | Lucille Hewitt | Concepta Riley | Ena Sharples | Minnie Caldwell | Martha Longhurst | Albert Tatlock | Christine Hardman | Florrie Lindley | Esther Hayes | Leonard Swindley

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