Tape 116. Mrs Marjorie Coleman (nee Brown), sides 6 and 7

Tape 116

Mrs Marjorie Coleman (nee Brown), was born in 1907. She was interviewed on 18 March 1987, when she lived at 19 Whitehall Court, Witham.

She also appears on tapes 82, 83 and 115.

For more information about her, see Coleman, Marjorie, nee Brown, 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 ero.enquiry@essex.gov.uk 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.]

Side 6

[Long chat about her recent talk at the Mothers’ Union, and about various photos, not noted]

Q:    [Reading Mrs C’s notes: re photo M170] ‘Alice Luard by lamp post’.

Mrs C:    No that isn’t right, you haven’t got the number right. Oh wait a minute, yes. Here you are. (Q: Is it really?) Now I think that’s Alice Luard. There was Alice and Edith and Gertrude, who lived at Ivy Chimneys which is almost opposite the Maltings Lane, you know, near the Jack and Jenny. (Q: I know, yes.) And she was called a ‘Grey Lady’. (Q: What was a Grey Lady?) Now, a Grey Lady was, it wasn’t a religious sect or anything, they wore a long grey dress and cloak and a black veil, and they worked in the East End or the slums of London, and like the Salvation Army they were accepted and they could go in, people would accept them. And they were voluntary workers. And she used to live in London for a time, then she used to come home to sort of rest and recover. And she was … that’s my sister and I think that’s who it is, because there it is isn’t it. (Q: Sort of black.) And her long … she was the eldest of those three, who none of them married, their father built Ivy Chimneys for them I think. [actually it’s older but maybe he ‘improved’ it]

Q:    Did you know them?

Mrs C:    I knew the Luards very well. Edith used to do a lot of acting, she could have become a very clever actress if she’d been allowed to, but her father was Sir Admiral William Luard at the Lodge, and she wanted to marry a curate, and he wouldn’t let her, it was very sad, and she never married. She’d have made a marvelous clergyman’s wife, cause she was just the type, you know, and she was so go-ahead, she’d have organised everybody and everything. But she was a very clever actress. And she used to produce children’s plays in which we took part. And then when they had the Women’s Institute she coached the people who were keen to act you know, and they entered for the drama competitions and everything. She was very very good. So was Alice actually, she was good too, but she wasn’t at home so much. And Gertrude ran Sunday Schools and was very good with children. And they all rode bicycles, they had large baskets fore and aft, which were always loaded, we had carriers on the back of a bicycle, which were loaded with stuff, and they were always taking it to people who needed it, you see, or taking something. But you’d see them struggling up the High Street, particularly Edith, and long skirts, you know, and then, as I say, all this stuff piled up, clothing and food I suppose. It wasn’t all from them. Probably they would (Q: They’d have collected it.) … yes, they were sort of voluntary social workers really, as they made it their business you know. But they were a type, course they’re probably not needed now, they were, they were great people.

Q:    So would they be a similar age to your mother or … (Mrs C: No, no relation.) Would they be a similar age to your …

Mrs C:    Mother, yes. (Q: So they’d work with her as well?). Yes. But they mostly, Gertrude worked with Mother, I think she helped with the Baby Clinic, she was so fond of children.

Q:    I wonder why he wouldn’t let her marry a curate, that’s …

Mrs C:    Oh I think that was beneath Sir William. (Q: Was it?) It was an awful shame. Because I said in my talk that I knew, only had my parents had told me, that an Ingles, one of Canon Ingles’ daughters, married a Luard man, one of their brothers, but I don’t think they had many brothers, there were all these … There was another one whom I never met, who painted this, look. Lilian, or Lilian Luard. (Q: Isn’t that lovely.) You see those days the girls were all taught, weren’t they, painting, some had a natural talent, some hadn’t, and the piano and singing, and that was what they were supposed to do. But the Luards could all have had careers really.

Q:    So did they come to your house?

Mrs C:    Not very much, no, no. No, apart from Gertrude they didn’t. We knew them all, we knew them all very well.

Q:     I was just wondering, if they had time to sort of socialise with friends of their own, or whether they were so busy beavering around.

Mrs C:    They must have socialised a bit mustn’t they. Yes I don’t remember my parents sort of meeting them. (Q: People perhaps didn’t drop in so much?) Well they did, or the Vicars did, as I said, Campbell always did. I think he must have gone somewhere every day, you know. But I don’t. I mean I’d always known her, and it was Alice Luard who started me off acting. When she was at home on one of her, few months, you know, she’d spend whatever it was, you know three months in London three months at home, I forget now, I don’t know. We did a little play, my sister and myself and friends, and she coached us, when I was about eight, seven or eight. And she started … but Edith was the one really, who loved it. But Edith, if we did a musical play, she would beat time to the music. And she couldn’t. She couldn’t sing and she’d no music in her whatsoever. So she beat out of time. It was a bit difficult [laugh], we learnt to ignore her, you know. We had an accompanist, Miss Drake, who gave her services, cause all these plays were done in aid of charity, Miss Drake used to pound on, ignoring Miss Luard.[laugh] She came from the wine stores, I remember, her brother ran the wine stores [probably 66 Newland Street], that became a travel place at the corner of Guithavon Street.

Q:    I suppose being an actress would have been even more despicable than marrying a curate, wouldn’t it.

Mrs C:    Well I suppose so yes, but it was sad really, because, she, she didn’t waste it really because she used it and helped lots of people. Certainly they were all so busy.

Q:    Yes. But I suppose if they didn’t have a career they were dependent on him so they had to do what he said really

Mrs C:    Yes. I don’t remember him at all.

Q:    I think Mrs Ireland remembers him, but then she, as I say she’s 92.

Mrs C:    Yes, she can give me a few years, yes.

Q:    Didn’t he run his horse into a lamp post or something.

Mrs C:    Probably, I don’t know.

Q:    He was some age as well.

Mrs C:    I think it was, I think a very, he always wanted his own way with every, a real Victorian father.

Q:    I suppose so. Oh yes, somebody said they thought that was Canon Galpin [in photo M172]

Mrs C:    Yes. (Q: You spoke about him, didn’t you). Yes. I didn’t know as much about him till I found, it was Tom Henderson who researched on him, and found this book which gave all these beautiful photographs in, that he’d taken, to do with botany, and I hadn’t known about that.

Q:    I’d heard about the musical instruments I think, but not that.

Mrs C:    That was what I knew about, but I didn’t know about the, and the society to which he belonged, the Botanical Society it was, was a very exclusive one.

Q:    I’m surprised he had time to … Oh that’s the patriotic pageant [photos M173-M184, in 1915].

Mrs C:    This is the one, yes, in which we took part, in the Grove. I called it patriotic because it was in the First World War, and as far as I remember that’s what it was, I don’t know what else it could have been unless it was a pageant on the Empire. I don’t think so. We did one much later than that at Braxted Park, which was a pageant.

Q:    Is that the one with the Union Jacks on?

Mrs C:    Yes that’s right, but you can’t tell who the various people are at all. But the other one, we found one or two. Q: And that’s the Grove?) Yes I’m sure that’s the Grove, well I think so.

Q:     I think somebody else suggested that because I put that. Was that actually in the sort of grounds of the house?

Mrs C:    Yes, yes. (Q: You could actually use that for things like that?) They’ve got the gardens somewhere, but it was all, here’s the lawns and the shrubs and the trees, you know, and the kitchen garden was right down the bottom here near Freebournes [3 Newland Street].

Q:    There’s more over there, it goes a long way doesn’t it.

Mrs C:    There was a lot of ground. There was a lot of ground, I don’t know how many acres.

Q:    Still it’s nice to find … these ones nobody seems to know much about, so it’s nice to find somebody who recognises them.

Mrs C:    I can remember the pageant. ‘We sang a song, red white and blue, we are the flag we love so dear’, I can’t remember the rest. [???] blue, and we had blue, we had crepe paper dresses. [photo M179]

[chat about which photo was which etc., not noted]

Q:    They must have had a lot of people to keep that grass mown, it’s nice and short there isn’t it.

Mrs C:    No motor mowers. (Q: No.) These dresses used to tear, we used to hide, we were hidden in the shrubs, you see, sort of burst out and came dancing on you see, and we [???] I don’t know how many performances we gave, probably two and dress rehearsal, but by the end we were all safety-pinned.

Q:    It was just paper was it?

Mrs C:    It was all you could get. You could get, the great thing we had in those days was died butter muslin. We used to use a lot of that for costumes. It draped for drapery. But these dresses I know were just crepe paper. (Q: As you say that was actually in the War …) I was blue, I was one of the blue stripes.

[chat about photos, not noted]

Mrs C:    It was a flag you see, which was pegged out on the ground, and I think you see, we carried this, and there were five or six of us in each stripe.

Q:    That explains it all, cause there’s an awful lot of those and I couldn’t work out what they were all doing.

[chat about photos, not noted]

Mrs C:    We graduated in height, you see, the tall ones were in the middle of the flag, so once we got into the tableau … That was Edith Luard, she did that one. (Q: Not realising that …) That isn’t properly formed you see, there, it’s just a higgledy piggledy one. (Q: Pity they couldn’t have an air photo). Yes, it must have been quite effective really, mustn’t it.

Q:    How did they recruit the people to go in. I mean there’s an awful lot of folks in it.

Mrs C:    Just invited, well we were. And I suppose the schools came in, I mean I wasn’t at the school.

Q:     I remember somebody else said her aunt was in one of these holding a Union Jack. That’s a different crowd isn’t it. (Mrs C: Yes) I mean did you have Union Jacks as well?

Mrs C:    No, I don’t think so, not there. I remember afterwards we carried these I think, which kept us in a line as we danced out of the … we came out in relays I think, to form the flag. As far as I remember. It’s such a long time ago. (Q: Are those the crepe paper dresses?)  They don’t look like it there, do they. (Q: Perhaps that was when they were new.)

[chat about photos etc, not noted]

Mrs C:    … Marion Page, her sister Betty should be there somewhere but I can’t see her.

Q:    They were from …?

Mrs C:    They lived at the Grange [4 Chipping Hill]. Well not then, I’m not sure if they were there then. They eventually lived for most of their lives until they married. They had a brother who died of TB. But before that they lived for a short time near Collingwood House [Collingwood Road], there was a house that stood, back, would be the back of the market, and Lockram Lane went in front of it. And then you went across Lockram Lane, and there was a garden in front of that which went down to the road. At one time there were cottages in that, and then the cottages were demolished, and it was, the Pages lived there for a year or two I think, but I can’t remember them living there. Then they finally landed up at the Grange.

Q:    They were a similar age to you were they?

Mrs C:    Yes, Marion was a few years younger, and Betty was about two years younger. The son was our age, my sister’s and my age. So then there was Betty, and Betty died February last, last year.

Q:    I suppose TB was very …?

Mrs C:    Oh yes, prevalent. They tried all sorts of things and he was training to be an auctioneer like his father you know, and estate agent, and finally he went, was sent out to South Africa for the climate, to some friends or relations, to see if that would help him, and he became desperately ill on the ship, and I don’t know whether he died in hospital almost as soon as he got there. That was awfully sad for them wasn’t it. They sort of regretted having sent him, that was a last resort you know.

Q:    I suppose most people must have known somebody with it or who’d had it I suppose. (Mrs C: Yes.) I suppose there wasn’t, was it penicillin or something that solved it? (Mrs C: Yes.)

[chat about photos not noted. Following is about Nyria Hawkins and photo M183:-]

Mrs C:    Yes, now, she wasn’t Peter Pan, because Peter Pan is always an adult. But she took part in Peter Pan. And I said she was Curly, one of the lost boys, but before she was Curly she was Michael, you know there are three characters, Wendy, John and Michael. Well first of all she was Michael, and then she got too big for Michael, and so she became Curly. And they lived in Witham at Bygrove House [Collingwood Road] well they came there, and I don’t know if she was still, yes I think she was still taking part in Peter Pan, so she must have taken part in it for two or three years, and they kept her looking rather young, and she had her hair very short, and I suppose they used to curl it you see, and she wore little white socks until she was quite big, you see, to keep her looking like a, I can remember that. She was pretty in a way, and her sister …

Q:    I suppose short hair wasn’t so common in those days. (Mrs C: No.)  So it must have seemed a little odd. Did she do …

Mrs C:    She was first of all, Michael.

Q:    I remember somebody said it was the dancing she was specially good at.

Mrs C:    Yes I think she was when she was little, yes. She hoped to make a career of the stage but she had some trouble with her throat, I don’t know what it was, what happened, and so eventually when she left school, I don’t even know where she went to school, away somewhere I think, she went to Guildhall school of music and she concentrated on music, the piano. But what happened to her voice or throat I don’t know, I mean she didn’t have, she married and had a family, she married somebody in Colchester and had a family. But what it was, or whether her parents didn’t want her to go on the stage – he was a retired major. Army man. Well that time, when they came to Witham. Then they went to the old mill at Little Braxted. That was after the daughters had married.

Q:    She was obviously honoured to be dancing then. That’s still the Union Jack isn’t it, much photographed that event, wasn’t it.

Mrs C:    I think that is it, she was that build, you know. (Q: Yes, yes.)

[more chat about photos etc., not noted]

Mrs C:    Ruth [Peecock] couldn’t be in that because she wasn’t old enough, you see she was my age. I always remember her birthday was I think I’m right in saying, January, and Joan Evitt, whom I saw recently at her brother’s funeral, was February, and I was May, we were all the same year. Ruth is dead now.

Q:    I remember she left some of her mother’s, sent some of her mother’s papers to the Record Office which were very interesting. Mrs C: Ruth? Yes, her mother used to, I think she wrote sort of essays and [???] things about Witham.

Mrs C:    She was a very clever women. She may have done, she was a very clever woman. Eccentric. (Q: Was she?) And so was Ruth. Extraordinary girl. (Q: What way?) Well she was just odd. To start with she was very very tall, angular, and she couldn’t manage her body, you know what I mean, I can remember at one rehearsal, for one of these children’s operettas, which we did a series of them, and her saying ‘Miss Luard’, she always called her that, ‘What shall I do with my hands?’ And Miss Luard saying ‘Forget them Ruth, dear, just forget them.’ [laugh] That stuck in my mind.

Q:    What did she do then? I remember these things were sent from Devon I think it was.

Mrs C:    Yes, she went, Ruth went to live at Paignton. Don’t know what made her go down there, no idea. But she came up every year to stay with this Joan Evitt, whose brother Bill Evitt has just died, you know, and she married, well, her husband must have worked in Colchester, and Joan went on with her nursing, she never really dropped it except when she actually had the children, you know she kept on with night nursing, she just loved it. And Ruth used to come up and stay with her once a year. And she’d send a postcard, and she’d arrive the next day. [laugh] That sort of thing. So Joan couldn’t stop her you see, she had no chance [laugh]. And she used to, I met her once, oh she came to see us, no I met her, at the Point to Point races, and the Evitts, Joan, what was her name, Wood or something when she married, they’d taken Ruth to the races at Marks Tey, you know the Point to Point, I met her, and she looked like a rag bag, and I’m sure she was wearing her mother’s old clothes. And she said oh she’d so like to come and see us, and see my mother again, you see, so I invited her, and she arrived one morning, and she went and sat there and sat there and sat there, and I thought ‘Oh dear we haven’t got enough lunch’, you see. I said to Ruth ‘Would you like to …?’ ‘Oh yes please’. So I got my bicycle and pedalled down to Cook’s which was the pork butchers, I can remember this, got a large pork pie, and produced some sort of meal for Ruth, who was ravenous, I shouldn’t think she’d had any breakfast. I don’t know where she’d come from then, but she was doing a round of visits. But she just plonked herself onto people, you see. She was most extraordinary. She wasn’t really bad looking, but she just had no dress sense whatsoever. And she became a member of the Historical society or something down in Paignton, as their secretary I think.

Q:    Well I remember being very grateful that she’d hung on to all these papers of her mother’s and sent them, because there were all sort of jottings and things.

Mrs C:    Yes. I didn’t know she’d done that but she was a clever woman, I know.

Q:    And collections of newspaper cuttings and things.

Mrs C:    And she taught Ruth herself. (Q: Oh did she.) With Joan, she took Joan in as a sort of companion for Ruth, you see, and she taught her at home until she went I think to Chelmsford High School.

Q:    Where does Joan live now then?

Mrs C:    In Colchester [???] I lost touch with her, her daughter married and came to live in Avenue Road for a time, and then she, she used to call her Joanna, Joanna used to keep me up, and then occasionally I’d see Joan when she came to see her daughter, you know. But I haven’t seen her for a long time. [???]

[chat about photos etc, not noted]

Mrs C:    One of Miss Luard’s things we did. Eureka[?] the Gypsy Maid or something like that.

Q:    Did she make them up herself as well?

Mrs C:    Oh no, no, they were written by somebody called Clementine somebody. I haven’t got any of the copies now. They were little musical, well they were little operettas, written for children. But you had some adults in them, and took a tremendous number of children, you see. [???] And we did one called the Madcap months, in which I was March, I can remember that. That wasn’t my month really, they tried to give us, that was when Ruth said ‘What shall I do with my hands’. And, a Dutch one, which is somewhere with Ruth.

[more chat about photos, not noted]

Mrs C:    That is Bene, she was always known as, Bene, Pearce, and she married a Dixon. She’s dead, sadly, she died of cancer. (Q: Where did they live?) They lived at Marks Tey. She actually died and he went to the north of England for a few years, but they lived at Marks Tey.

Q:    Was she living in Marks Tey when they came to do this?

Mrs C:    Oh no no, Witham, next door to the Church, they call it Mortimers now, but her father called it the Hut [c 22 Chipping Hill, number keeps changing, backing onto Church Street] (Q: Oh that’s where the Hut was, I’ve seen that somewhere.) Yes, now there’s a Little Hut now, he then bought a cottage the other side of the road, [41 Chipping Hill] tucked away next door to Cobblers, going down beside Cobblers, and had a large garden which sloped down to the river. And he re-christened that ‘the Little Hut’, and his wife had died and he had a sister who hadn’t married and she kept house for him.

[more chat about photos, not noted]

Side 7

Q:    Do you remember a lot about the First World War?

Mrs C:    Oh I remember bits about it. But not a lot. We had people billeted on us, at Collingwood House, had officers billeted on us. They didn’t come and ask you if you’d have them, they just came and looked and said ‘Well you could take two or three’ and that was that, you see. And one time we had three I think, as the regiments came in, and sometimes they fed in the mess and sometimes I think you had to feed them, but you were paid for that. And a batman used to come in and clean all their harness, you know, that they wore, in the kitchen, or the scullery or whatever it may be. So the house seemed to be full of khaki, I can remember that. And I remember one young officer, what was his name, Corbett, and he used to sit on the floor of our nursery sort of play room, with my sister and myself, teach us to play whist, we were ever so small. And years afterwards – oh his parents came and saw him, I don’t think they stayed, they probably, I suppose the White Hart in those days could put people up. They came and visited him. (Q: While he was here?) That was before he went abroad, I suppose it would have been overseas. Anyway he came through the war, and he found us somehow or other when we lived in Avenue Road, where the nuns have the little mini-convent, you know the three sisters live now, see that was our house in Avenue Road, first. [8 Avenue Road] And he found us there, came to visit us. I was back then, was living with my mother, you see. I remember him coming back, but I don’t know when it was, how long we’d been there, but I can remember him. But as I say, the house at times was full of … and I remember my mother saying, the great thing was they loved to get their own suppers on Sunday night.

[discussion with husband about when Corbett came etc, not noted]

Q:    Did they train soldiers round here in the Second War as well, then?

Mrs C:    I don’t remember. No I don’t think they trained, it was all, I just remember masses of Americans. But I can’t remember any soldiers being stationed in Witham in the Second War. They weren’t were they Bill? We didn’t have any regiments stationed in Witham during the Second War, did we.
Mr C:    Not that I know of.

Q:     So in the First War they were …

Mrs C:    I don’t know where they were. Most of them were waiting to go overseas you see.

Q:    I remember someone saying something about them having a sort of camp by the Avenue somewhere. I don’t quite know what they were doing there. And perhaps, wasn’t there a shooting range.

Mrs C:    Shooting range somewhere probably yes. I can’t remember. But it was sort of where they came before they were, they must have done some training mustn’t they. See I was so young then.

Q:    It would be quite an entertainment for you I suppose if you were just a child.

Mrs C:    Yes, I suppose it was really. And one went back, now how did that happen, one went to America, and it must have been when the war was over, he sent us a book of Uncle Remus. From there. From America. Various little bits I can remember like that.

Q:    It must have been a bit of a nuisance for your mother I suppose.

Mrs C:    Yes, well we had some staff you see. And so … [???] their bit, you know. I know she said these young men used to like to, and they used to say could they ask people in, I think they brought some rations in from the mess, you know, and they used to love to go and mess about in the kitchen and get their own suppers, they felt sort of at home you know.

Q:    So this, do you remember anything about this picture [photo M198], you know the picture where you’re all collecting, do you remember anything about that?

Mrs C:    No, no, cause we did it frequently.

Q:    You often did it, yes.

Mrs C:    Well I say frequently, two or three times a year.

Q:    So that you remember that you did do that. Was it a Red Cross …

Mrs C:    For the Red Cross yes.

Q:    Did you do other things for them in between.

Mrs C:    No. (Q: You dressed up specially for the collection?) Yes.

Q:    Cause Miss Vaux seems to have been in a lot of things then didn’t she?

Mrs C:    Yes, a tremendous lot. (Q: You said she was a matron.) Well my mother used to say she was something to do with eyes at, had been in an eye hospital, but I can’t think why she’d retired, cause I mean she seemed to be going on for ever.

Q:    I suppose she’s easily recognisable or something but she seems to be in a lot of the pictures. (Mrs C: Mm.) And she was presumably in charge of you there. Where did she live then?

Mrs C:    Well she lived, I can’t remember in which order, she lived in one of the Dorothy Sayers Houses (22-26 Newland Street) and then she also lived in one of the big detached houses in Collingwood Road up at the left hand side, where here niece now lives, a Miss Vaux. And she left the house to this niece. I haven’t seen her for a long time. But I always understood from my mother that she was something to do with, but whether she’d been a matron or a sister on an opthalmic ward or something. (Q: I suppose it’s difficult when you’re that age, working out how old people are, they seem …) She seemed to me to have retired from that young, really.

Q:    Yes, quite. So she was another of these ladies who …

Mrs C: Gave a lot of time, mm. She helped with the Baby Clinic. Because I know mother used to say that most of them were unmarried, the ones that helped with the baby, because they’d got the time you see, hadn’t they.

Q:    And the Baby Clinic was between the wars?

Mrs C:    Yes, must have been, I shouldn’t think it started during the War, it would have been too difficult wouldn’t it. And they met at the Church House. (Q: What did they have, the scales and …) Yes. (Q: Oh I remember you talking about dried …) Yes they had Glaxo, that was the only sort of patent food as they called it, you know the dried milk in those days, and we used to keep that at Collingwood House, and they could come twice a week [???] morning or afternoon and buy it from there at a special price. And then when we went away and were going on holiday and the house was going to be closed, I suppose everybody was going away, we took the Glaxo, now Miss Vaux was then living in one of the Dorothy Sayers houses, because we took all these tins round in a hand-cart, my sister and myself, fancy being trusted with it, and a cousin, a boy cousin a little bit older who was staying with us. And I can remember distinctly he insisted on riding in it. My sister and I were pushing these tins, plus Joe, and when we got round the corner, I think it’s still there, there was a drain, and one of the wheels got caught, and it was a cart that had two wheels and a long handle, and it used to take the laundry once a week to a hand laundry down in Mill Lane. You see it didn’t balance, it would either tip one way or the other you see. And Joe had to get off then.

Q:    You didn’t have the washing done at home?

Mrs C:    I suppose we did some at home but there was no washing machines you see. There used to be two women, the Coes, Mrs Coe and her two daughters the Miss Coes, C o e. I could show you the house now down there, it’s all been done up now. And they, whether they’d built a room on at the back I don’t know, and they could do everything and they did my father’s stiff collars which he wore, you know those white collars, with special irons, and used to do it beautifully. I mean some was obviously done at home.

Q:    They did it in their house more or less did they?

Mrs C:    Yes. Their own house, yes. I don’t know how many people’s laundry they took. Several.

Q:    Did they come and fetch it or …?

Mrs C:    No, no, the man who helped in the garden used to take it. Dulcie Brand’s grandfather.

Q:    That must have been, well I suppose it was a good service …

Mrs C:    Yes, living in that steam you know that they had, and then they’d got to get it dry. But they used to iron, I remember, well Mother used to say, the things came back beautifully done.

Q:    Was the house actually on Mill Lane or in a yard?

Mrs C:    On Mill Lane, the end nearest the main road, the street. Going up from the main street, past where Shelleys used to be, on the right hand side, semi-detached on the, a cottage really it was. Then one Miss Coe married, she married after a long time when she was getting on, but I think she stayed in Witham. They all looked alike, mother and the two daughters, I can remember that.

Q:    I shall have to look for the house, is it far up?

Mrs C:    Yes. I think it’s one of the white houses. There are two, semi-detached. It was the one furthest from the road. Miss Coe. Very quietly spoken. I should think it was all the steam [laugh].

Q:    They wouldn’t ever get a bad chest, would they?

Mrs C:    No. I expect other people did it in Witham, I don’t know.

Q:    Possibly. On a small scale at any rate.

Mrs C:    There were no, I don’t think there were any steam laundries then.

Q:    But that was actually known as the laundry particularly.

Mrs C:    Yes. I think I went there sometimes. Perhaps something was needed in a hurry or something you know, that’s how I, fetch it or something.

[chat about washing clothes today, and living in Whitehall Court etc., and Roy Belsham the architect, and practice job interviews at school, and photos, not noted.]

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