Mr Fred Gaymer and his wife Mrs Evelyn Gaymer (nee Cook), were born in 1907 and c 1908 respectively. They were interviewed on 8 September 1988, when they lived at Grasmere, Stevens Road, Witham.
For more about them, see Gaymer family, including Doris Goldsmith, nee Gaymer in the People category.
The original recording of this interview is held at the Essex Sound and Video Archive. To listen to the recording, please contact them at email@example.com or 033301 32500.
[???] shows words that are not clear enough to interpret and so have had to be omitted.
[?] after a word shows that its interpretation is not certain.
Later explanatory additions by JG or the transcriber are in square brackets [e.g. explaining locations etc.]
Continued from tape 120
[talking about having photos taken, probably re JG’s photo M34]
Q: Where would he take it, would you have to go to him?
Mr G: Oh yes, because we used to, went there on a Sunday or something like that and he’d got this place at the back.
Q: And you went in there and posed. So you were the oldest one were you?
Mr G: No, I had another brother.
Q: I see. But he’s not on that one. Bet he did well to get you all together like that didn’t he. They look as if they’re about to crawl away don’t they?
Mr G: They do, yes. (Q: That’s probably just faded.) I think my brother went on his own. He was older than I am.
Q: That’s the school. [photo M37]
Mr G: That’s right, yes. That was me when I was a good little boy then. (Q: Next to the teacher?) Miss Eldred, she lived down Maldon Road.
Q: Is this the Maldon Road School then – no it’s the National School isn’t it (Mr G: That’s right, in Guithavon Street) And that one’s you next to her? (Mr G: This one.) Not that, the next one along. Who are all the others, do you remember?
Mr G: [re school photo] I know some of them. Harrington, Oxbrow , Fred Pease (Q: Oxbrow’s sort of with the big collar on?) Fred Pease (Q: With the little collar), Bob Newman (Q: Oh is that him, right on the corner there), that’s Bob Newman, and that’s Mrs Redman who lives Mill View whatever that is now, I don’t know what they call it now, in Guithavon Street, sheltered housing.
Q: Oh does she live there now? Because she’s a Newman isn’t she?
Mr G: She was a Newman, that’s her brother.
Q: Did Albert [Poulter] go to school with you then?
Mr G: Yes, I think Albert’s on here. (Q: Might be, I’ll have to ask him.) Albert was in the same class. Then Geoff Brown is on there somewhere. (Q: Don’t know him.) Used to work at Slythe’s. Geoff Brown, I can’t think which one it is.
Q: You think you’ll always know them don’t you. Probably a good few people would recognise themselves.
[Long discussion about photos and which photos to take etc, looking through various papers etc., not noted]
Q: Why did they chop the Avenue trees down? Was it to build?
Mr G: Yes, that’s right, yes, they were all lime trees. (Mrs G: They were beautiful, really lovely.) My father didn’t fall the trees but we bought all the top wood for firewood and that sort of thing you see and as I said, some of that we stored for years and years and then I sawed some and sold it for puppets, people making puppets in Tiptree. Lime you see, [???] carve a five-inch ivy leaf, almost as thin as a leaf, out of lime.
Q: When you say top wood that’s …?
Mr G: After the trunks were taken. They used to take the big pieces and perhaps the largest of the boughs and leave all the others.
Q: There’d still be some quite big pieces then?
Mr G: Oh yes, some of them were big pieces.
Q: So it was really just so that they could build the houses. There was nothing wrong with the trees?
Mr G: Oh No no, there was nothing wrong with the trees, that was felled when they wanted to develop it you see.
Mrs G: That was a real feature of Witham. (Q: I can imagine.) I mean we used to go to Sunday School right down the town where the [???] are.
Mr G: One thing they used to do in the Avenue was for runners to run from the top to the bottom while the church clock was striking twelve. [laugh] [???] [???]
[more discussion about papers, not noted.]
Mr G: 1917 or something like that is it? (Q: 1916.) That’s when we come up here to live you see, about that time.
Q: And you had to get a licence?
Mr G: Oh yes, you had to have a licence to brew beer.
Q: Even if it was just for yourselves?
Mr G: Oh yes, the smallholders used to do it. Oh you weren’t allowed to sell it.
Mrs G: You could give it away but you couldn’t sell it.
Q: Because you don’t now, do you, all sorts of people brew things on their own. In the bath and that don’t they now. Isn’t that amazing, fancy keeping that, well done!
Mr G: Mr. Turner, who you saw on that (Q: Yes.) he used to work on the Freebournes Estate when my father was there. He used to brew all the beer. Used to brew it at Benton Hall and cart it up to Freebournes and of course the horse men and those sort of people used to have beer harvest time you see. Home brewed beer.
Q: I daresay it would be part of the wages would it?
Mr G: That sort of thing, I suppose, yes. But when my grandfather was ill my father used to act as foreman and they used to pay the horse men and the cow men and those sort of people, but he used to say about paying one of the horse men, lived down that Shooting Lane or Chess Lane or whatever you call it, about nine shillings a week and he had to pay him and then draw two shillings back for rent. But he had to pay him, they weren’t allowed to deduct it. That left him with seven shillings. His wife used to have six shillings and he used to have a shilling and have one night out, buy his tobacco for the week and perhaps three pints of beer at tuppence a pint, or penny a pint or whatever it was that time of day. But it’s a pity we haven’t got a recording of what my father used to say about those sort of things. I mean I don’t remember sort of accurately enough.
Q: It’s something that you remember what he told you.
Mrs G: Grandad could have written a book couldn’t he? (Mr G: That’s right) A lot of people used to go up there and sit and listen to his tales [laugh] he knew Witham so well.
[Long discussion on papers, etc. not noted.]