|Anna Eliza Williams|
|Birth:||2 June 1873|
Burford, Shropshire, England, UK
|Death:||27 December 1987|
Swansea, Wales, UK
|Age:||114 years, 208 days|
Anna Eliza Williams (née Davies; 2 June 1873 – 27 December 1987) was a British supercentenarian who was recognised by The Guinness Book of Records as the oldest living person in the world for the last 11 months of her life. Her age is also validated by the Gerontology Research Group.
Williams was the oldest person ever documented from the United Kingdom at the time of her death. Although her record has since been surpassed, she remains the oldest person ever to die in Wales.
Williams was born on 2 June 1873 in Burford, Shropshire, England. After leaving school, she worked as a domestic cook. In 1906, she married William Henry Williams, and shortly after they moved to Swansea, Wales. The couple had one daughter, Constance (known as Connie).
In the 1911 census, Williams was recorded as a patient at the Glamorgan County Lunatic Asylum. Her husband died in 1954.
On 5 June 1975, at the age of 102, Williams voted for the UK to stay in the common market during the EEC membership referendum. She personally delivered her "Yes" vote to Swansea’s referendum returning officer.
In her later life, Williams lived in an old people's home in Swansea, Wales. She attributed her longevity to "a life of idleness", along with "being a non-smoker and eating lots of vegetables". On her 113th and 114th birthdays, Guinness World Records co-founder Norris McWhirter visited Williams at her residence.
Williams died on 27 December 1987 at the age of 114 years, 208 days. At the time of her death, she had two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Williams's mother lived to the age of 98. All seven of Williams's siblings lived beyond the age of 80, one surviving to 101.
Williams's daughter, Connie Harvey (8 October 1906 – 18 June 2014) lived to the age 107 years, 253 days. This gave the mother and daughter pair a combined age of 222 years, 96 days, which is one of the longest combined parent and child lifespans ever recorded.
Williams became the oldest living person in Wales following the death of Jeanetta Thomas on 5 January 1982, who at the time was the longest-lived person ever documented from Wales at 112 years, 34 days. Williams surpassed Thomas's age on 7 July 1985, and she has been the record-holder ever since.
Williams became the oldest living person in the whole of the United Kingdom following the death of 111 year-old Alice Brewster on 9 October 1982. Following Williams's death on 27 December 1987, Kate Begbie became the UK's oldest living person. Williams was the last surviving person in Britain born before 1877.
On 12 July 1985, Williams became the oldest person ever documented from the United Kingdom when she surpassed the previous record of 112 years, 39 days set by Alice Stevenson. Williams held this record until her age was surpassed by Charlotte Hughes on 26 February 1992. As of 2020, Williams is the fifth-oldest person ever documented from the UK; her age has since been surpassed by Hughes, Annie Jennings, Eva Morris, and Ethel Lang.
Williams became the oldest living person in Europe following the death of 111 year-old Elizabeth Munson of Ireland on 2 February 1984. Following Williams's own death, Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment became Europe's oldest living person.
On 17 January 1986, Williams became the oldest person ever documented from Europe (excluding emigrants) when she surpassed the previous record of 112 years, 228 days set by Spanish woman Josefa Salas Mateo. Williams held this record until her age was surpassed by Jeanne Calment on 18 September 1989. By 2011, Williams was no longer in the top-ten oldest Europeans of all-time.
Williams was originally recognised as the oldest living person in the world by The Guinness Book of Records after the death of Japanese man Shigechiyo Izumi on 21 February 1986. However, subsequent research has shown that Izumi's claimed age of 120 was false. Williams is now retroactively recognised as having become the world's oldest living person after the death of 113 year-old American Mary McKinney on 2 February 1987. Following Williams's own death, American Florence Knapp became the world's oldest living person.
At the time of her death, Williams was the third-oldest person ever documented whose age is now validated by the Gerontology Research Group, after Augusta Holtz and Mathew Beard (although Beard's age is now disputed). As of 2020, Williams has dropped outside the top-75 oldest validated people of all-time.
- Chronological Listing Of All Supercentenarians Gerontology Research Group
- 1873 Gallery Gerontology Research Group
- All Validated British Supercentenarians Oldest in Britain
- AT AGE 112, THIS BRITON IS 1 FOR THE BOOK Chicago Tribune, 25 February 1986
- Britain's Anna Eliza Williams, World's Oldest Person, Dies The News-Journal, 30 December 1987
- 107th bithday for Mumbles' Connie Harvey, but mum was 114 This is South Wales, 9 October 2013 (via The Wayback Machine)
- 14 incredible photos of Britain’s 1975 vote to stay in the EU Ink Tank, 15 January 2017