Tape 033. Mrs Dorothy Ireland (nee Goss), sides 9 and 10

Tape 33

Mrs Dorothy Ireland (nee Goss) was born in 1894. She was interviewed on 27 March 1981, when she lived at 12 Chalks Road, Witham.

She also appears on tapes 1, 2, 3, 7, 86, 90 and 97.

For more information about her, see the the notes in the people category headed Ireland, Mrs Dorothy (Dolly), nee Goss

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 9

Mrs I:    In looking through some things, I found it [showing printed invitation to 50th wedding anniversary celebration of Samuel Goss, her great-grandfather, in 1904; i.e. ‘Samuel Goss and Frances Palmer Smith’, married St. Pancras church, 10 December 1854. Hillside, White Notley, December 10 1904].

Q:    So this Samuel Goss had the church built? [in White Notley]

Mrs I:    Yes. Yes, he did. That little, little building, you know, little chapel place, with Courtauld at Braintree.

Q:    Was it a Congregational chapel?

Mrs I:    No, just …. I think there was a little bother at the Church over the Band of Hope. The people didn’t go to Church, so they built this little place by the hospital, little chapel.

Q:    I see. So it was really for the Church people?

Mrs I:    People, yes. ‘Cos it was a good distance to go to White Notley church.

Q:    Yes. That’s where they lived in 1904.

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    Isn’t that nice. If I write down this note, and then if he’s got anybody left that remembers, they’ll be able to say they know John, won’t they [because she’d said earlier she’d read in the paper about John Gyford’s relatives being local and she thought of Notley].

Mrs I:    Yes, I wondered.

Q:    ‘Cos you used to go to Notley a lot yourself, did you?

Mrs I:    Oh, always, all the holidays, you see.

Q:    Yes. Do you want to take your coat off, it can be quite warm in here?

Mrs I:    No, I’ll keep that, thanks. Oh that’s what it is.

Q:    I’ll ask him. I think it would be, probably Roper, would be their name, but I’ll have to make sure.

Mrs I:    Well I wondered, it’s strange, I thought it was Ropey.

Q:    Ah, well it must have been similar, I think it was Roper, that was his mother’s family, but I can’t remember about the Notley side of it so I’ll ask him about that.

Mrs I:    Oh yes, well it was in the ‘Braintree’, it was in the ‘Times’ about a great-uncle of his, he’d recognised a photograph.

Q:    That’s right, yes.

Mrs I:    And he said they’d married a person at Notley, and I’ve thought so many times, well Notley comes up now and again, you know, when you see it in the paper, a death, and I thought ‘Oh, I’ve never asked Mrs Gyford what that ….’.

Q:    No. I must check, which one. His uncle was, he had an uncle Frank, but he didn’t marry, so, I’ve forgotten, I don’t remember the Notley thing, he’ll know, or his father, I’ll ask him about it.

Mrs I:    Oh, I should like to know.

Q:    ‘Cos they lived at Notley all their lives, did they, then?

Mrs I:    Oh no, from, no, they moved, when, you know, when you retire, they went into Notley.

Q:    Oh, I see. So where did he, where was he before, then?

Mrs I:    In Witham.

Q:    Oh, from Witham.

Mrs I:    Yes, in Witham. He used to have pony and trap, I remember, he used to come to fetch me.

Q:    ‘Cos did he work in Witham when he was there?

Mrs I:    Yes, oh yes.

Q:    So that was a long way.

Mrs I:    Yes. Well I knew, I thought to myself, fancy me remembering, I was only eight. And I remember doing a little square piece of embroidery, and I was only eight.

Q:    Goodness? So what did he used to do when he, for a job?

Mrs I:    Oh, in the Post, postmaster.

Q:    He was the postmaster.

Mrs I:    Chelmsford.

Q:    At Chelmsford.

Mrs I:    Chelmsford, yes.

Q:    So were all your, your grandfather ….

Mrs I:    All, all Post Office, all, yes. All Post Office people.

Q:    Were they all Samuel as well?

Mrs I:    No. No. Ernest, the writer, the author was Ernest. And then the Goss china, they laughed, they used to call me ‘China’. Yes. Oh well, that’s nice.

Q:    So Ernest was your grandfather?

Mrs I:    Yes [actually Samuel, I think, she didn’t hear]. Oh I remember. When you think, there’s not many people had the people.

Q:    No. ‘Cos they go back to, 1854 was it, when he was born?

Mrs I:    Yes, yes.

Q:    That they married, no that was when they married?

Mrs I:    Yes, they were married in ’54, weren’t they. Yes. 1854. 1904.

Q:    That is a long way back, yes. Was your father a Samuel, was he a Samuel?

Mrs I:    Yes, I always [no, her grandfather; her father wasn’t a Goss, only her mother], yes. The names always go. And Horace. I’ve got an uncle in White Notley churchyard, Horace. Yes.

Q:    I did think that’s where probably I’d go, but they’ve closed the church.

Mrs I:    Oh, have they? That’s a pity.

Q:    Well, they do, you see, they’re full, filled.

Mrs I:    So I thought ‘Well, I’d come over’, you know, I’ve got nothing special on.

Q:    Yes. Well, that’s nice of you. Well, I got these pictures out, of the shop again, I think I showed you them before [pictures discussed on tape 7, see ‘tape 7 – pictures for.doc’].

Mrs I:    Oh yes, I’ve seen those. Now these are the Witham ones. I’ve got a little wee sore there, so that’s why I’ve got a silk hanky, I don’t know why it came. I can’t bear anything like that, horrible, I don’t know why it came. Clive thinks that’s the tissues, they’re rough sometimes.

Q:    They are, aren’t they, yes, yes. ‘Cos, oh your father, he was the postmaster as well, was he?

Mrs I:    Yes, yes, all in the Post Office [father perhaps not].

Q:    But then he, they left?

Mrs I:    Oh yes.

Q:    So you lived, did you live down at the Post Office when you were a little girl?

Mrs I:    Yes, yes [actually probably in Chipping Hill mostly]. That’s know all the Poulters. They were nice, they were nice, their father. Course they lost their money. They were nice. So did old Joey Mens. That’s why the Bank, ‘cos they lost their money. You’ve heard of Joey Mens, I suppose?

Q:    I think so, yes, what did he do?

Mrs I:    Where the house. He was in the Bank, and the Bank broke, they said it was through him.

Q:    Really?

Mrs I:    You know, where that lovely tree was, the Public, next to the Public Hall [10 Collingwood Road].

Q:    Oh, near the Public Hall?

Mrs I:    That’s right. Margaret Mens. Marie still corresponds. The old Witham ones.

Q:    There is a Miss Mens in Witham, now, is she a relative?

Mrs I:    Yes, she’s just left, she’s just left. She’s gone to Stisted with some cousins.

Q:    Yes.

Mrs I:    She was upset over that tree. You know, over the house being pulled down. Well, you don’t like to see your old home go, do you?

Q:    No.

Mrs I:    Still, she’s at Stisted. Look at your nursery, isn’t it beautiful. [???] your shops, we often think of that. There were more shops, strangely enough, in Witham, in our young time, than there is today. Isn’t it strange? ‘Cos there’s no drapery shops, is there?

Q:    No, not really?

Mrs I:    See, Spurges.

Q:    Where did you used to do your shopping?

Mrs I:    Spurge’s. Miss Ottley. She was in Spurge’s for years. You’ve heard of the Miss Ottleys? One died recently, and one’s still living, ninety-one. Yes, she was in Spurge’s. And then Spurge had two shops, one farther down, nearly to the Post Office. We called that London House [76 Newland Street]. See, they were the two good shops. And then there was Pilcher’s, a little fancy shop, you know, for pillow-slips and that sort of thing. But there’s nothing, is there, now?

Q:    No.

Mrs I:    No, we often think. And of course we didn’t have, we had Crickmore’s for groceries. We didn’t have, we did have International, and the Home and Colonial, which now would be Lipton’s, wouldn’t it.

Q:    Did you go to the Co-op at all?

Mrs I:    Yes, mm. Then the Co-op opened, didn’t it? Well, they were good, when you think, you had your bread to the door, and your, no, not the milk, we used to have to fetch the milk. No, we had the bread, we often think, and oh, the milk, when they used to put their hands in the can with the little [laugh], they didn’t bother, did they, their hands would be dirty, the little, the little measure would drop in the milk. I often see that man, he laughs and says, he stopped me one morning and he said ‘I don’t think you remember me, do you?’. I said ‘No, but your face seems a bit familiar’. He said‘ You must remember me’, he said, ‘Don’t you remember I used to come round with the milk, and I always used to drop the measure’, and he said ‘You used to say “Are your hands clean?”’. When you think of it.

Q:    Who was he?

Mrs I:    He lives in the first of Homefield Road, I thought he was, I said ‘You’re Whitey, aren’t you?’, ‘you’re Whitey’, so he said ‘Snowy’. ‘Oh’, I said, ‘I used to hear them say “Whitey Thurgood”’. Not Thorogood but Thurgood. And I asked him, he said he lived in the first bungalow, Homefield Road. But oh, it is nice when they ….

Q:    To see them again, isn’t it, yes.

Mrs I:    Yesterday I met a man, and he lives just at the top here, I suppose it would be the Council houses, it’s when you go through the little snip, there are some Council houses [probably St. Nicholas Close]. This man always used to say ‘Good morning’ each time he speaks to me, ‘Morning’. I thought ‘Well, I think I’ll ask who you are, you seem so familiar’. And that’s a Mr Rallings, a Tom Rallings. But I didn’t know him, but I’d heard people say ‘Tom Ralling’. See? It’s marvellous, isn’t it?

Q:    Is he related to the one that had the boot shop? [Charlie Rallings, 55 Chipping Hill]

Mrs I:    Yes, that’s right, yes, that’s what he said to me. He said ‘I’m brother to the bootmaker’. Oh, I said, ‘You’re Tom then, are you?’. I remembered. And I thought ‘Well, how strange’.

Q:    There are plenty of people of people about, then, aren’t there?

Mrs I:    Yes, when that’s when they get retired, you see they chat, they’re walking around, aren’t they?

Q:    That’s right, yes.

Mrs I:    But so many we’ve lost just recently. All Church Street people. There was Mrs Hammond, and there was a man on the railway, Alf Griggs. And Mrs Belsham, Lil Smith. And I said ‘Well ….’ And that person’s mother that’s in the house next to Grapes [i.e. mother of Rodney Cullum at 21a Chalks Road, next to Dean House], Lily Cullum, she was a Nightingale. But they all lived in those houses. Strange, four people, to live in Chipping Hill terrace [probably 100-134 Church Street]. Oh, I said, I was surprised.

Q:    ‘Cos you came up to live up here yourself, did you?

Mrs I:    Oh yes.

Q:    When was that?

Mrs I:    Oh ….

Q:    How old were you?

Mrs I:    Not long, not long before the War [First War]. I should think first year, I should think fifteen, sixteen.

Q:    When you were about fifteen?

Mrs I:    Yes, I’d be sixteen, I should think.

Q:    And you came up with your, was it your grandma?

Mrs I:    Grandma, yes. Sixteen. That would be, because I should be, see, I went into hospital with the tonsils and I was more than fifteen then, because I remember I had to go, into the big ward, you know, I suppose I was older. I remember I was nearly sixteen.

Q:    So did you, where did you live exactly then? Is the place still there that you lived in?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, it was nice, nice place.

Q:    When you actually lived in Chipping Hill, Church Street, was it?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    Which house did you live in?

Mrs I:    In the shop [48 Church Street].

Q:    In the shop, I see.

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    But did your grandma come there too? Or that was when your grandma died?

Mrs I:    Yes. Seventeen. I was seventeen. Always remember. I think grandmas really fuss more, don’t you think, make a fuss. No, and I remember Mr Godfrey’s mother and father. I only told Mr Godfrey a few weeks ago, I said ‘Oh you are like your mother’. And he said he’d just discovered it [Bert Godfrey, 2 St.Nicholas Road].

Q:    Oh, that’s interesting?

Mrs I:    He said strangely enough he was shaving and he noticed it. They were nice people. Well, his father worked for Spurge’s. ‘Cos that was a grocery, first, the beginning of the shop, and then it extended, to drapery.

Q:    Yes.

Mrs I:    You remember them all?

Q:    I can just about remember where Spurge’s was, only just. ‘Cos it was quite a little, was it quite a biggish shop, even though it was in Church Street [i.e. her shop, 48 Church Street]

Mrs I:    Oh yes, because, yes, because that’s strange, Mrs Richardson, I really upset her. She lives in the second house past the shop [44 Church Street], and that’s just been sold, hasn’t it, the one next [46 Church Street]. So I, she said ‘Oh, you can see my house is next door, for sale’. So I said ‘Yes, I remember, remember that with the sugar and the syrup and all the wasps and that all hanging round’. So she said ‘Well I lived there first, didn’t I’. I said ‘Did you?’. She said ‘Yes, I married and came there’. ‘Well’, I said, ‘it was Miss Griggs’s mother that turned it into a house’. It was Miss Griggs’s mother that did that, they took the shop on, soon after the War, about 1916.

Q:    So, when you worked there, it would have been ….?

Mrs I:    Oh, I often think ….

Q:    How long were you there, can you remember roughly? When did you leave there?

Mrs I:    Ten, I should think. Eight, eight? The War came, everything upset then. Yes, ‘cos the Boer War upset my life. People would think, wouldn’t they, when you talk about the Boer War [laugh]. I remember an uncle coming and giving me a golden half-sovereign and I thought it was a farthing, a farthing, he’d come home from the Boer War. They’re the little, strange how you remember those little things, isn’t it? And when we talk about the sovereigns, that all comes back. But do you like Witham, really, do you like it?

Q:    Oh yes, yes, I think so, yes. Of course it probably isn’t like what it used to be is it? But it’s nice that that little shop’s still there, isn’t it?

Mrs I:    Oh, yes.

Q:    I remember you saying you knew some of those people on that photo of Church Street, but perhaps ….?

Mrs I:    Oh no, it was farther down, ‘cos this is the school.

Q:    That’s right, it was up that end, wasn’t it?

Mrs I:    See, we remember the school being built [Chipping Hill Infants’ school, Church Street, built 1902].

Q:    Yes.

Mrs I:    Oh yes. Oh, that’s Church Street.

Q:    So did you live up on top of the shop?

Mrs I:    Yes, yes.

Q:    Or at the back?

Mrs I:    No here, this is the living, quarters [left side of shop].

Q:    I see, you lived in that, did you?

Mrs I:    Oh, you haven’t got it with the grape-vine. It was a pity I gave that …. Who would that be in that car then, Hasler?

Q:    That’s what it says on the shop there, yes.

Mrs I:    Yes, that’s Hasler [Dorcas Hasler, see tape 3].

Q:    Who owned the shop when you were there?

Mrs I:    Wadleys.

Q:    I see, yes. So he was there all the time?

Mrs I:    Yes, years, yes. This is a nice one. That’s that little place that Mrs Griggs ….?

Q:    That was part of the shop, was it [46 Church Street]?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    Oh, I see.

Mrs I:    Yes, that was the store place. I think Mrs Griggs was a wonderful woman. She had a person in the shop. She came from Hatfield, he was an insurance agent and she took it over, and this person that was with her, she turned that into a little cottage [46 Church Street]. I think she was a wonderful woman. Then Mrs Richardson surprised me when she said that she lived there, so I suppose she made it better. And now these people, and you know, it’s quite a lot of money. Oh no, that’s the old one.

Q:    So when they used to use it for keeping, what sort of things did they keep in the store?

Mrs I:    Well, your sugar and your barrels of honey.

Q:    I see.

Mrs I:    Vinegar, barrels of vinegar. You see, you had your vinegar like that. Used to go and get a penny, penn’orth of vinegar, don’t today?

Q:    What did you, what did they take it away in?

Mrs I:    In a little bottle or a little jug, and then put it in a bottle when they got home. And the syrup.

Q:    So they brought their own things to put them in, did they?

Mrs I:    Yes, always. And the syrup, we’d take a little basin. And Mr Hasler on the corner, he used to have dripping, pork dripping, and crisps. And I always remember him with a huge sack of dates. He used to pick them out with a big fork [54a Church Street].

Q:    So, I thought he was just a butcher, but he did lots of things as well, did he?

Mrs I:    Yes, yes.

Q:    So it was mostly a grocer’s, Wadleys.

Mrs I:    Oh yes, yes. Bakers. All bakers. Oh yes, baker was beautiful. I was surprised they pulled that beautiful bakehouse down. Was a shame.

Q:    How many, did you have a lot of people working there?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, all the butchers [meant bakers].

Q:    In Wadley’s, I mean?

Mrs I:    Yes, all the butcher [baker] boys, the boys, would board in, because of getting, to get your van, you get up two in the morning for the dough, and then you see, you imagine, you are in a bakehouse, baking all that bread in the heat, and then you go in a horse and cart to deliver it. You see, the hardships those days.

Q:    How many of them would there be to have to do that?

Mrs I:    There was Walter, and Bob and Horace, three.

Q:    And did Mr Wadley have any family?

Mrs I:    No, no, no family at all.

Q:    I see. He was married though, was he?

Mrs I:    Yes, oh yes.

Q:    Did she help in the shop?

Mrs I:    Yes, she was a schoolteacher.

Q:    Oh, she was a schoolteacher?

Mrs I:    Schoolteacher. She was the one, Bramston [John Bramston, vicar], opened the Chipping Hill school. Not the new school, the little school where Shelley’s [22 Church Street]. Have you noticed what a beautiful house they’ve made of that?

Q:    Yes, yes.

Mrs I:    Ever so nice. And I can see the back way from my kitchen, and it’s wonderful how the back way ….

Q:    So did Mr, did Mr and Mrs Wadley live at the shop, when you were working there, they did too?

Mrs I:    Yes, that’s right.

Q:    Did Mr Wadley actually work in the shop?

Mrs I:    No.

Q:    What did he do?

Mrs I:    No, he went to Tiptree, he did more farming.

Q:    I see. So you didn’t see much of him?

Mrs I:    No.

Q:    Or of her?

Mrs I:    No.

Q:    So who sort of told you what to do?

Mrs I:    Oh, yes, well they, you know, I sort of, was with them, you know, one of them.

Q:    Was there somebody else working in the shop with you, when you ….?

Mrs I:    No.

Q:    Just you on your own?

Mrs I:    Yes, just me. And then Netta[?] went, I always remember, yes.

Q:    But if you had all these things to dish out, you must have been kept pretty busy?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    Did you have any help?

Mrs I:    No. When you think of the sugar. And the debts. Oh, these people don’t, they look at me, they know what the, the debts were terrible. Well, people were so poor, weren’t they?

Q:    So what happened if somebody came in, did they, did they ask if they could, how did it work?

Mrs I:    Yes, you had a book, and put it down, you had a book and you put it down, and you’d say ‘Well, could you take, could pay a little off the back?’. And they’d pay a little. But they would be the people that you least expected.

Q:    Really?

Mrs I:    And I always, I told Mr Pendle to be careful, do you remember Mr Pendle [at shop at 48 Church Street later]?

Q:    No, I remember you speaking of him.

Mrs I:    Oh, you haven’t, he wasn’t ….? Well, you know Keith Brown’s mother, well they were, they were out of work from Crittall’s for a long long time [Edith Brown]. Mr Pendle couldn’t get his money. [Laughing] So he said to me ‘Is that one of your debt people?’. So I said, well ‘I’ve got huge books’. So I said ‘Yes, sad to say’, but you won’t tell her, will you? So he said ‘No’. So when she came out, Mrs Brown came out, she said ‘Old Pendle’s been asking you about me, has he?’. I said ‘Yes’. So she said ‘Huh’, she said, ‘my husband’s out of work’, she said, ‘but my kids are not going short, old Pendle will’. They don’t, didn’t intend to pay. Oh, I often think when I see Keith, oh she was a, woman, she really was [laugh]. She never …. Those people are good and kind, otherwise, but oh, the debts.

Q:    So you said you couldn’t, you wouldn’t have expected her, you reckon, otherwise?

Mrs I:    No [laugh]. But she was so open about it.

Q:    Yes, well what did other, people that were in debt when, when you worked there, there wasn’t Crittall’s, was there?

Mrs I:    Oh no. Oh no.

Q:    So what sort of people, what jobs did they do that couldn’t afford the stuff?

Mrs I:    All on the land. They were either on the land, or, we used to say ‘navvies’, navvies on the railway, because Mrs Hammond used to tell me, ‘cos I didn’t know until she came next to me [Elsie Hammond, 13 Chalks Road], living up that part, and she used to say ‘Well, look at the money, pound a week’, she said ‘however we lived on it’. That was either, they were either on the land. ‘Cos I always think of Mr Butler. Do you remember, his peculiar walk [Cyril Butler, Gaza, Chalks Road]?

Q:    Just about, yes.

Mrs I:    Well, that was through, before the War [First War], you see, ploughing on the land, on the land. Well, it’s all it consisted of. Oh, the maltings, people in the maltings. And to get the rent, you always had to go on a Thursday, their pay-day, ‘cos if you went Friday they hadn’t any.

Q:    Oh yes, I remember you telling me Mr Wadley had the houses, had some houses as well, is that right?

Mrs I:    Twenty five.

Q:    And you used to ….?

Mrs I:    I’d get the rents. That’s why they all speak, that’s they all speak to me, you see.

Q:    Was that when you were working in the shop, or after you’d finished?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, after. And then I helped after.

Q:    So what hours did you work at the shop?

Mrs I:    Always.

Q:    What time did the shop open?

Mrs I:    Oh, before eight, about seven. Well, they’d be knocking at the back door if you didn’t. And then they used to bring their, meat, things to bake in the bake-house on a Sunday.

Q:    So you were open Sunday too?

Mrs I:    Yes. But not for the shop.

Q:    Not the shop, no?

Mrs I:    No, only to take the meat, bake, you know, people hadn’t got an oven.

Q:    Yes. So you had to help with that as well?

Mrs I:    Oh, we’d do everything, you loved it. Sausages. Sausages, we used to do, and the chips.

Q:    What, make them?

Mrs I:    Yes, and the brawn. Don’t now, do they? And when you think of the, moist sugar, the brown moist sugar, that’s the wasps used to get round. And the sweets part. Oh. You know, really, it’s nice when you think of it all, isn’t it. So that’s our Chipping Hill shops.

Q:    The people that came in, did they come in every day for things?

Mrs I:    Oh yes. Packet of this and a penn’orth of that. We used to say ‘ a ha’porth of salt and a penn’orth of pepper’ [laugh].

Q:    But they still, they still had to put that in the book, even if it was just a halfpenny?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, oh yes.

Q:    And what, I suppose, did they, how far away did people come to the shop, where did they live?

Mrs I:    Oh, a good way. A good way, because you see, the bake, getting the bread, you see. You see, that was the attraction, the bread. That’s where these people have done wrong now, not selling bread.

Q:    So were there other bakeries in Witham, though?

Mrs I:    Not in Chipping Hill. But there was Blyth’s in the town. That would be right opposite Collingwood Road [31 Newland Street]. See, ‘cos he had the mill, the Blyth’s mill [Old Mill House, Guithavon Valley], and then course he sold his flour and his bread.

Q:    Oh did he, oh, I didn’t know that.

Mrs I:    Yes, Mr Bridge, Bridge[?] was in there.

Q:    But he was the only one in Chipping Hill?

Mrs I:    That was the only one. Then Mr Hasler was on the corner [54a Church Street]. And then we had Mr Fuller, for the butcher’s [8 Church Street], and next door was Alderton’s, the paper shop [10 Church Street or 10a Church Street], and then there was the fruit shop [10b Church Street or 12 Church Street]. But now you’ve got to go down into the town for everything, haven’t you?

Q:    Yes. You didn’t do fruit at your shop?

Mrs I:    No, oh no, no, no. That’s later, years, that happened.

Q:    What about bacon?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, beautiful, yes. And the sides of bacon. We used to put it in, in the, big tubs in the brine, and, that would be ham, do a ham.

Q:    So did you have some people that shopped there who were better-off and didn’t, had a bit more?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, oh yes.

Q:    What sort of people would they be? Where did they come from?

Mrs I:    Well, more, more business people, because you’d come for the bread. It’s the bread that’s the attraction, when you get your bread made, and that the bread is good, you see, you, took it out, didn’t you. You didn’t, the better people, the tradespeople, you can’t say better people, the tradespeople, well of course you went to the door, didn’t you, they, used to, the boys, used to take it with the bread, on the van.

Q:    So they didn’t come to the shop very much themselves?

Mrs I:    No, no, no, oh no.

Q:    So you didn’t sort of see them?

Mrs I:    No no.

Q:    It would be the poorer people that would come to the shop?

Mrs I:    That’s right, oh yes. Ha’porths and penn’orths [laugh].

Q:    And did they, who came, did the children come, or the mother, or, both?

Mrs I:    No. No, it wasn’t the sweets, because you see there was Hasler with the little sweets, and a private house opposite used to sell, make home-made sweets.

Q:    But did they send the children to fetch the, the other shopping sometimes?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, when they hadn’t got any money.

Q:    Oh, I see, you think that ….?

Mrs I:    Poor little children had it [laugh], used to have a note, used to have to write a note to give to the children [laugh].

Q:    Did you ever refuse anybody?

Mrs I:    Never, never.

Q:    No.

Mrs I:    And the debts, well, debts were terrible.

Q:    Was it worse at some times of the year?

Mrs I:    Yes, in the winter time. Oh, the rudeness. I don’t know what Ashcroft’d think, up the road [14 St Nicholas Road], but his mother was a most rude woman. I went to get the rent, and the rates were going up, so we used to put a little piece of paper, I used to write out, ‘cos you dare not tell them, ‘cos they’d have, and used to put ‘The rates have gone up, to threepence’. ‘Huh’, she said, ‘I can wipe ….‘, I have to tell you their vulgar expressions, ‘oh well, I’ll wipe me backside on that. But it’s no good you coming, for the rent. My husband’s out of work’. ‘Cos he was a bricklayer. ‘My husband’s out of work, and that’s no good you coming for the rent till he gets into work’ [laugh]. ‘Well’, I said, ‘I shall have to come, each day’. And yet she’d be making all pastries, little delicacies. I always remember she did, little, she used to put them in an egg-cup, they were coconut, oh, they were beautiful.

Q:    Did she sell them?

Mrs I:    No.

Q:    Or they were just for them?

Mrs I:    No, but she couldn’t afford the rent and she could have all these nice things baking when you went in [laugh].

Q:    Oh, goodness. So when you got the, when you got the money, did you have to take it to the Bank and so on?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, do all the Bank, yes.

Q:    Did you that side of it, yourself?

Mrs I:    Did it all, yes, yes, and I knew when all the cheques were to come, Westminster Bank and, oh, everything, I used to do all the Bank and then go down.

Q:    Did you? So you had to go down to Witham for that?

Mrs I:    Yes, I did everything.

Q:    What about buying the stuff for the shop, like getting the sugar and that, how did you get that?

Mrs I:    Oh, it used to, oh, it used to come from Colchester. What ever, two names [Pause]. Burton, Son and Sanders [or Saunders], they were the wholesale people at Colchester.

Q:    It mostly came from Colchester?

Mrs I:    Yes, yes.

Q:    And how did that come?

Mrs I:    Oh in big vans.

Q:    With a horse, presumably?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, everything horse. Well then the horses used to turn out into the meadow at the back of us, ‘cos you see if you have horses you’ve got to, feed them.

Q:    Of course, yes. You didn’t get, they didn’t send stuff on the railway at all?

Mrs I:    No, no.

Q:    No, just on the road? And then, what, you fed their horses while they were here?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    And I suppose, Mr Wadley had horses as well?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, yes. And the guns. We had rabbits all in the meadow. You’d put one rabbit in the hedge and then they’d multiply. Oh, it was beautiful.

Q:    You didn’t get things in from all different places, like the sugar from one and the sausage stuff from another one?

Mrs I:    Oh no, oh no. All came.

Q:    So that was quite straightforward then?

Mrs I:    Course you’d go the market, you see, to get your pigs, on a Tuesday, to the market, you see. And get your pigs and drive them home.

Q:    Who would do that?

Mrs I:    The boys. The baker boys, when they weren’t doing, in the day time. And you had the pig-sties, to feed the pigs.

Q:    At the shop, did you?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    Oh, goodness.

Mrs I:    You’d get, did your own pigs.

Q:    And then, they did the killing of them, did they, as well?

Mrs I:    Yes. Oh, take them down to the slaughterhouse, that would be in Church Street.

Q:    Church Street?

Mrs I:    Church Street, that’s the, there, that was the butcher’s, Greatrex, you see, you took them round the back [probably 8 Church Street]. Mr Nightingale, the father of this person that just died, he was the slaughterman. I often think of that. Used to push these poor old pigs in, the boys did, in a wheelbarrow [laugh]. Oh, it was fun, oh it really was. It was cruel, but ….

Q:    So, I suppose if, the shopkeepers probably, I mean, if Mr Wadley wanted meat, would he go to, Greatrex?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, oh yes he was very friendly. Oh yes, the Greatrex’s very friendly.

Q:    So that most of his friends, Mr Wadley’s friends would be other shopkeepers?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, very. Oh very.

Q:    And farmers?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, farmers, yes. And then he put up for the Council.

Q:    Mr Wadley did?

Mrs I:    Oh yes.

Q:    Did he get on?

Mrs I:    Yes. And that’s why I went to get the signatures for the lamps all here [Chalks Road].

Q:    That was after you’d finished work, was it, yes?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    Did you stop work when you married, then?

Mrs I:    Oh yes.

Q:    What, straight away?

Mrs I:    Yes, yes, yes, then died about two years after.

Q:    Who did, Mr Wadley did?

Mrs I:    Yes, yes.

Q:    So how old were you, when did you marry, it must have been a good long time ago now?

Mrs I:    Yes. Funnily enough, I often think, well I get muddled, and I get muddled with the ages, when I think, with Clive, and when I think Marie’s fifty-five, when these young ones, and I, you know, you don’t realise.

Q:    So you married after the War [First War].

Mrs I:    Oh yes, because it was War that prevented people, wasn’t it. Five years, the War. Five years. Terrible time.

Q:    Were you working in the shop then?

Mrs I:    Yes, at the beginning. Oh, it was terrible, oh yes.

Q:    How did that affect the shop, at all?

Mrs I:    Well, it affected it, ‘cos you see, in those times there were Territorials. And of course, oh, the moment the War broke out, you could see them coming down Church Street with the Territorial uniform, they had to go, you see, they had to go quickly, because they were Territorials. When that Mr Brown, I often think of him with five little children, and he was killed, they were killed almost in the week, weren’t they? ‘Cos it was trench warfare, we weren’t prepared. And the Vicar’s son, Canon Ingles’ son was killed. That’s when all the people were taken off from Witham. You see, because they were in, horses, you see, weren’t they. All Territorials and they have to call up. That’s why I think boys are wrong to be Scouts.[???] I ought not to say so, but I mean. That’s why so many were killed in the 1914 War. I think Witham was terrible. I think Witham was the worst place.

Q:    How did their families manage, then, while they were away. I suppose, did they get something?

Mrs I:    Yes, they got, seven, was it seven and sixpence. Well, the farm labourers, Mr Butler will tell you, was twelve and sixpence a week, that’s all the farm labourers had. When you think. And the rents. Poor old Charlie Surridge. You know Johnny?

Q:    No.

Mrs I:    Old Johnny Surridge, I expect he goes to the Labour Club. Well, I remember his mother, well, I mean, those houses were only three shillings a week, four and six, terrible.

Q:    So in the War-time they had less money?

Mrs I:    Oh yes. Well, I think they were better off with a family, because they would have their money, wouldn’t they, for the wife, and for the children.

Q:    So did you notice any difference in the shop, for instance, with the people coming in?

Mrs I:    Oh, yes, oh yes.

Q:    Were they worse off?

Mrs I:    No. Better off.

Q:    Better off. Really?

Mrs I:    Yes. They had plenty of help. There were good people in Witham, they were generous people.

Q:    So that was in the War-time they were better off ?

Mrs I:    Yes, they were, they were helped.

Q:    If they were widowed, you mean?

Mrs I:    Yes, they were.

Q:    And what if just, if the husband was still alive but not here, would they be better off?

Mrs I:    Fighting, you see. Yes, oh yes, yes. Oh, well, far better off. They’d get it for the children, wouldn’t they. When you think of the dear little children. And when you think of the children today, what they get. Well I mean, times are beautiful, I think people are wicked that grumble. And so I do the elderly people. Because I mean if you haven’t the money, course sometimes I think I was foolish. I only said so to Mrs Newman this morning, we were speaking, I walked into the town with her. I said ‘We were foolish, ‘cos I mean, we saved in those days’. But they don’t today, do they. I mean they go and they just get the money. And it makes you feel sometimes, bitter, when people, you know, if they’ve their hairs permed and the necklaces and the watch, wrist-watches and, you know, it really annoys you. But you can pick them, you know at once. You see them with their hairs and the pearls and the wrist-watches, you know, they’ve never taken care. But mind you, it’s surprising now, the good interest we’re getting for the money, isn’t it, so it’s nice to think we saved it.

Q:    Yes, so you think it was worth it?

Mrs I:    Oh, you do.

Q:    Did you get good pay in the shop, you reckon, compared to other work you could have done?

Mrs I:    Oh yes. And I mean it wasn’t like having a wage, I mean, I had everything, and, you know, sums, of money.

Q:    So it was more like being the family, you mean?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, it was.

Q:    They gave you what you needed?

Mrs I:    Yes, she gave me, oh yes. But that was, but, I had to save it, it wasn’t to spend, it was to put in the book. I’ve always, yes, right from a child, I’ve always saved, always had a bank book, and I made my children do the same.

Q:    Where did you used to bank?

Mrs I:    In the Post Office.

Q:    In the Post Office. And did Mr Wadley, you did that off your own bat, or did Mr Wadley?

Mrs I:    Oh no, he used to see that I had it, that was all an agreement, you see. And then I had the other money and I never touched it, and I never have. I always had that money, family money.

Q:    So you were really quite, did you have, I don’t suppose you had much spare time, yourself, but I was going to say, who were you friendly with when you were at work?

Mrs I:    I didn’t need friends [laugh].

Q:    No?

Mrs I:    No, I’m afraid I was popular, but, no, I was happy, a good time.

Q:    So Mr Wadley, so they ….

Mrs I:    Oh yes, that, they did it because they understood the circumstances, you see, that was why.

Q:    Did you try any other jobs at all?

Mrs I:    Oh no, no, didn’t go into the, Post Office.

Q:    So, was there somebody working before you in the shop?

Mrs I:    No.

Q:    How did that happen, how did you get the job?

Mrs I:    Well, through going, you see, through my grandma.

Q:    So previously they’d do it all themselves, would they?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, oh yes, it was all worked through some mysterious happenings.

Q:    But before you went into the shop somebody else would be doing the things that you ….?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, then after, it closed you see. Well, Mrs, the War came, and that finished, Mrs Griggs took it on, I don’t think she took it on really for groceries or anything. I think she took it on more or less for a home, you see, it was sold.

Q:    You said it closed down, did you?

Mrs I:    Well, we couldn’t, well we couldn’t get the rent, so the best thing to do, we put it in Hugh Page’s hands. He had a little hut on the Station bridge [Collingwood Road]. Was that there since your time?

Q:    It’s gone now, but I’ve seen it, yes.

Mrs I:    Yes, well that was Hugh Page’s, he was the auctioneer, and he took it over. When you can’t get your debts, you see, you have to. And, so, of course, Mrs Griggs was living there for ten shillings a week. I suppose she was paying more than that at Hatfield Peverel. But she was a marvellous woman.

Q:    That was in the shop, she was?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    So when Mr Wadley gave it up?

Mrs I:    Yes, she did.

Q:    Why did he give it up, then?

Mrs I:    Oh he died.

Q:    They gave it up when he died, did he?

Mrs I:    Diabetes, mm.

Q:    So he didn’t have any retirement?

Mrs I:    No.

Q:    That’s a shame, isn’t it, yes.

Mrs I:    Oh, business. But that’s strange, you prosper. He always used to say ‘Never turn them away, never turn them away without a loaf of bread’, he said, ‘cos you prosper’. And I agree. I think if you do kindness, you get it back, you get it returned.

Q:    Yes. ‘Cos he had money from his farming as well, perhaps?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, definitely, oh yes, Tiptree. Several, oh several.

Q:    So you reckon the shop didn’t matter so much for him?

Mrs I:    Oh no, no. It’s marvellous, really, when you think of it. ‘Cos money went such a long way, didn’t it? Oh yes, I did all, used to know just when, you know, the cheques should come, and go down.

Q:    What, this is the cheque from …. ?

Mrs I:    Yes, all from the Westminster and all the banks.

Q:    So the people who had bread delivered, did they have other things delivered as well?

Mrs I:    Oh yes.

Q:    What, everything, more or less?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    How did they, how did you find out what they wanted, or did you just go round?

Mrs I:    No, used to send, used to send the children with a note, ‘cos they couldn’t face you [laugh].

Q:    But I was thinking more of the tradespeople, like you said the tradespeople wouldn’t come to the shop, they’d get their bread delivered.

Mrs I:    Yes, oh yes, with the bread.

Q:    Would they get other groceries delivered?

Mrs I:    Oh yes. Yes, they would, that was surprising.

Q:    And how did they order the stuff? Did they order it?

Mrs I:    They didn’t, they never came.

Q:    They never came?

Mrs I:    Came, oh no. Give it to the baker boy, give it to the bakers, you see.

Q:    Oh I see, yes. And then when they paid they ….?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, things were right then, there was no cheques in those days [laugh]..

Q:    No? So they gave the money to the baker boys as well, did they?

Mrs I:    Yes, that’s right.

Q:    So when you talk about knowing when the cheques were coming, what cheques would those be?

Mrs I:    Oh, only from the Bank, interest.

Q:    Oh, I see. And I suppose the wholesalers, you’d have to pay them from with a cheque as well?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, both, yes, that’s right.

Q:    Did you pay that with a cheque?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, oh, cheque. Oh yes, you did that. All came. You knew when they’d come. And they’d have a biscuit or something, they don’t want no plate, they’d have it on the lid of the biscuit tin, just take the lid off the biscuit tin [laugh].

Q:    That’s the driver?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    And they’d take the cheque back with them?

Mrs I:    Have a chat up, have a drink.

Q:    How often did they have to come?

Mrs I:    Quarterly, quarterly.

Q:    The money or the deliveries?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, the money. Oh, the delivery, monthly, monthly.

Q:    Monthly. Oh, so you’d need a lot of space?

Mrs I:    Oh, definitely. But I often wonder and I look at all the wholesale vans that go by to see if I shall see Saunders [or Sanders], Sons, yes, Burton, Son and Saunders, ‘cos you never know, do you, if the families continue. But oh, the times have altered.

Q:    Would you like a cup of tea or anything?

Mrs I:    Oh no, thank-you, no.


Side 10

[First 2½ minutes are silent]

Q:    I’ve got some things down here, I was going to just look and make sure I’ve asked you all the things I was going to ask you. Did you have any savings, sort of clubs or anything at the shop?

Mrs I:    No, no Christmas clubs. Gracious, no [laugh].

Q:    It would be a bit optimistic, wouldn’t it, really.

Mrs I:    No.

Q:    So did anybody have an account, the richer people, did anybody have an account at the shop, where they just paid ….?

Mrs I:    Oh no, you’d have an account, and that would, no, more weekly, weekly.

Q:    So the better off people didn’t ….?

Mrs I:    Oh you didn’t go monthly, oh no, no. Well they weren’t that well off.

Q:    Yes. What sort of jobs would the better off customers be doing?

Mrs I:    Well, you know, out of public houses chiefly, see, because you see you’d trade with them, wouldn’t you, you see?

Q:    How did that work, then?

Mrs I:    Well, you’d have, you’d go in there and have the drinks, you know, or order the drinks, well you see then they’d bring their custom back, so that’s how you got …. And the housekeepers of all the big places, the cooks, you always kept in with the cooks, and the housekeepers, to get your trade. You’d get something.

Q:    So if you went into the pub, like that, you would still pay, would you?

Mrs I:    Yes, there was the George.

Q:    Was there any system, you know, where you’d say ‘Well charge ….‘, was there sort of any system of exchange, you know, whereby you could, the shop would get one thing from somebody and, give it back, instead of paying?

Mrs I:    Oh no.

Q:    So if Mr Wadley wanted meat for instance ….?

Mrs I:    Oh no.

Q:    He would pay for it in the normal way?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, oh yes, that’s right, but you, all the tradespeople, you would deal with one another.

Q:    I see.

Mrs I:    Oh yes, all keep in, that’s how you’d, only keep in with tradespeople, that’s why you say, with me, I always say, well I knew the better people through that reason. And solicitors, you see, you always had to have solicitors, well that’s why you were in with those people, you were in with solicitors, you were in with the bank people, you see, and the tradespeople, and the doctors of course.

Q:    So some of them would come up to Wadley’s, would they?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, definitely, you’d be surprised.

Q:    From down in Witham?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    Oh, that’s interesting.

Mrs I:    Yes. Yes.

Q:    Even though there were the same sort of shops down in Witham?

Mrs I:    Shops, yes, they would come. You see, because you’d do it in the tradesmen, friendly.

Q:    Mr Wadley would ….

Mrs I:    Yes, you see, friendly. You see, you wouldn’t have a company, same as Home and Colonial, and International, you wouldn’t trade like that, you would trade with tradespeople.

Q:    I see, people with their own places?

Mrs I:    Them, yes. Not with companies, Co-op or anything like that, you wouldn’t.

Q:    So, did Mr Wadley come from Witham, himself.

Mrs I:    Tiptree.

Q:    I see.

Mrs I:    All Tiptree people. They were nice people and they were usually schoolteachers. Gertie was a schoolteacher, Jack was a schoolteacher. And then there was the business at Tiptree, that was nice, at Newton. Oh, Tiptree was good, and the country. You had just the same bother, with the country people.

Q:    Did you get people coming into the shop at all from the villages?

Mrs I:    Yes. Because you see the boys went round to Terling and Notley, and Hatfield round. It’s the bakers that did it, the baking, and that’s why I can’t understand with those people in Church Street not having the bread [i.e. At 48 Church Street now].

Q:    I think they get it from Gilbert’s, up from Gilbert’s [83 Newland Street].

Mrs I:    Yes. And then you’ve got to order it, you see, you can’t go in to get it. Oh, Gilbert’s bread’s far the best.

Q:    So when they went round to Terling and, they were doing all different people, all different sorts of people?

Mrs I:    Oh, yes.

Q:    Quite big orders?

Mrs I:    Yes, oh yes, you’d get, you see, Terling Place, you’d keep in with the cook, keep in with the housekeeper.

Q:    Oh, you even got some from there did you?

Mrs I:    Yes. Lord Rayleigh, oh yes, yes. You’d keep in with all those people, to get your orders [laugh].

Q:    ‘Cos I always assumed that as the shop was just up here, it really mainly did, dealt with this area, but it was more?

Mrs I:    Well, there was the Vicarage, wasn’t there? And just, tradespeople. But from the Station bridge, the railway bridge, we’d call it, we used to say Station bridge, all that way down there [probably Collingwood Road and Avenue Road], they were all people, moneyed, well they would come, and then on the Hill [Chipping Hill], all that part. But you see the nice, they’ve all gone, these people. ‘Cos there was Miss Bramston, she lived where Cullen’s is, the seed people [16 Chipping Hill, Bramstons]. I was pleased when they named that, ‘cos I knew Miss Anna Bramston.

Q:    Did you really?

Mrs I:    That was the maiden lady at Cullen’s house, I knew her. But I didn’t know Dean Bramston, because he’d left.

Q:    Yes. Miss Bramston was his daughter, was she?

Mrs I:    Yes. Oh, yes, I knew Miss Anna Bramston, ‘cos we used to say that was Miss Bramston. Mrs Holloway, and the Miss Greens, there used to be all, Captain Laurie, used to be all the nice houses up there then [Probably east end of Chipping Hill]. And Hugh Page, the auctioneer, lived in the house next to the Albert [probably 4 Chipping Hill]. Yes, you see, and McLarens opposite, and Ernest Smith, and all those people. You see you had the better people that not, but they’re not there today, are they?

Q:    Did you used to meet them yourself, did you?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    How did that ….?

Mrs I:    That’s why I’m known, so well known.

Q:    Where did you meet them, at the shop or at their own houses?

Mrs I:    Oh, at the shop, and then, walking around.

Q:    They would come to the shop?

Mrs I:    Yes, or they’d send a message, you see, ask me to take a message. Oh, that’s how I got to know all the people.

Q:    I see, you would send a message from the shop?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    So you didn’t have to stay in the shop all the time?

Mrs I:    No.

Q:    So what happened when you were out, did somebody else ….?

Mrs I:    Yes, they used to think, oh, you know, say, you was the daughter, or, tell your aunt. Oh yes, that’s how I got, you know, that’s why I like the, you know, better people.

Q:    So when you went out with a message, what happened to the shop?

Mrs I:    Oh, they were all there, the boys, the boys.

Q:    They lived there?

Mrs I:    Yes, we used to have fun with the boys. Because when they used to get the bread, course sometime you couldn’t always catch it, it’d go in the tub of water [laugh]. Oh. Oh, it was lovely having those baker boys, beautiful fun.

Q:    How many, three of them, you said?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, Horace, Walter and Bob.

Q:    So how many carts?

Mrs I:    Two. Two horses and two, yes. No cars.

Q:    Did they help, what else did they, what did they do when they weren’t doing the baking, did they do anything in the shop?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    Packing, or anything?

Mrs I:    Yes, and the flour, you see, that’d all got to be lifted and popped in, all the sacks of flour all ready for your dough, to set your dough in the morning, then they’d get up two o’clock in the morning, and then they were off. Course, they used to be covered with flour with their old slippers and trousers, and they used to all dress up and go, and you wouldn’t know they were the same, yes, dress up and go. Horse and cart. Then they’d go, and then they’d bring the messages back, and, oh dear.

Q:    Did you dress up to work?

Mrs I:    No, no.

Q:    What sort of things did you ….?

Mrs I:    Oh, anything, whatever you’d got. You didn’t get, with the syrup or anything, you’d got to be careful you didn’t drop that on your shoe or anything, that’s right. No overalls or no nothing, just, it was not dirty, was it, see. But all this weighing up was terrible, and the butter. You know, it’s different today, and used to have the whole cheeses and cut them down in nice pieces. But now that’s all chunked off.

Q:    So did you have anything parcelled up before people came in, or did you have to do it all when they came, if somebody came in ‘I want some flour’, or something?

Mrs I:    Oh, you’ve got to wait.

Q:    You had to get it all sorted out.

Mrs I:    Yes, oh yes.

Q:    Didn’t have any prepared?

Mrs I:    Oh no, no.

Q:    So it was quite a long, long old job then?

Mrs I:    Oh, it was ever so different.

Q:    How did you, it must have been quite difficult to learn, did you have anything to learn when you went to the shop?

Mrs I:    No, no, it comes in, doesn’t it. It comes. ‘Cos, I was older, it comes in, and that’s your interest, and that’s your home, and you don’t take any notice.

Q:    So actually in the shop part ….? They kept these big bags in the next door [46 Church Street]?

Mrs I:    Yes, oh yes.

Q:    So what was there in the actual shop? Any of the goods kept in the shop part?

Mrs I:    Oh yes. All round, counters different, not like it is there. They were a big counter that way, and then the door to go into the store room, and then your counter that way. Oh it was different.

Q:    Did you have things in jars?

Mrs I:    Yes, beautiful.

Q:    What sort of things?

Mrs I:    Yes. And then, drawers, you had chiefly, they were more, getting like they are today with the kitchens, that reminds me, you know, now they’re having them all on the walls. You see you had that and you pulled them, and then doors under your counter, you pulled your drawers.

Q:    And what were in, what would you have in the drawers?

Mrs I:    Well, your fruit, your currants, all your fruit, all that, you see, was never packed, all got to be weighed, scooted[?] and weighed.

Q:    So you didn’t weigh it all till people came in for it?

Mrs I:    No.

Q:    Goodness.

Mrs I:    Then used to have the people come to test the scales, see if you’d got them balanced right.

Q:    Oh the officials?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    Who did that, then?

Mrs I:    Oh, the people from the weights and measures.

Q:    I never thought of that.

Mrs I:    Oh, yes.

Q:    Did they come often, did they?

Mrs I:    Well, we think sometimes perhaps they weren’t satisfied, we wondered sometimes with the lumps of sugar if the children might have eaten them on the way [laugh].

Q:    Oh, I see.

Mrs I:    You’d always guess, if they came, but you never knew when they were coming.

Q:    No. Did people ever complain that they hadn’t had the right amount?

Mrs I:    Yes. Sugar chiefly.

Q:    Ah, strange [laugh].

Mrs I:    Course, you used to have the lump sugar, you don’t get that now, do you. Well the children used, naturally, you going to send a child from the bottom of Church Street up, or over onto the Hill [Chipping Hill], course they’re going to have a sugar lump, aren’t they [laugh]. And then the people, oh the poor old people in Charity Row [28-40 Church Street], that place, they used to be at the door with their bottles, and they used to go to the White Horse [2 Church Street], to poor old Doug Bowyer, and get half a pint of beer for their lunch, and then they’d give the children a piece of bread and cheese, and I used to think, yes, and that bread and cheese is not paid for [laugh]. And they used to have a sticker, sticker thing, over your cork, so the children didn’t drink the beer, we used to laugh at that, yes. Poor old Mrs Fisher, ‘Can you go and get my lunch beer’, half a pint, a penny. And a piece of bread and cheese, I don’t suppose they had any cooked meals, only once a week.

Q:    No. I mean to say, we were talking about people being poor, but I suppose the old people who weren’t working ….?

Mrs I:    They weren’t poor, because the Vicarage, Christmas time there used to be beautiful, beef, and the soup kitchens. And then there was the, used to call it the ‘pence lady’, she used to come from the Church to collect the money for the coal. Well if they were ill they used to say, ‘cos we used to have the tickets, they used to say ‘Oh my Charlie’s ill’, or ‘My husband is ill’, and they’d have a ticket, ticket for meat. You see, ‘cos you had the tickets, that’s how you knew. Ticket for milk. People were helpful.

Q:    I see, so they’d get a ticket to spend at the shop?

Mrs I:    Yes. Oh yes. They don’t have that today. That was all. And the beautiful beef, rounds of beef at Christmas time.

Q:    And could they spend them at any shop, or was that ….?

Mrs I:    No.

Q:    How did it work?

Mrs I:    Yes, near. Oh yes, they were good. Oh no, you could go to which milkman, but you said, you know, where you wanted it made out.

Q:    And then how did that, did they give money to the shop?

Mrs I:    Yes, yes, then you went, each month, they came to pay you from the parish.

Q:    Oh I see.

Mrs I:    Called it, called it parish relief.

Q:    But that was, so who gave that out, the Church?

Mrs I:    Church, oh yes, and the parish, you called it parish relief. But it would be to do with the Vicar, would be to do with the Church, the Vicarage, when the milk tickets and that were paid out, so I suppose that came from the Church, wouldn’t it, poor people, money that’s been left, for the people.

Q:    I see, so that it was people from the Church that paid?

Mrs I:    Church that did that.

Q:    And what about, did they get any money from the Union.

Mrs I:    Oh yes, you called that parish relief, that came from Braintree.

Q:    Did they get tickets?

Mrs I:    Yes. Oh no, no, the tickets, oh no, that was money. I think that used to be five shillings a week. Well, you know, that was a lot of money, considering the men were working for twelve and sixpence.

Q:    Yes, yes.

Mrs I:    Those people that were next to me when I came, she was ninety-eight. Well, they were getting the five shillings, the parish relief, and the man used to come each Monday morning, with the money. But in those days, it was who you knew, you know, that would, or if you’d been gardener, or if you’d worked for the different people. ‘Cos you used to say ‘Oh yes, well they’re, they’re well in with the gentry, they get everything. It’d be jealousy.

Q:    So they’d be people who’d done jobs?

Mrs I:    Yes, yes, jobs for them.

Q:    So is that how you think they decided who should have it?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, definitely. Oh yes there was help.

Q:    So were there some old people who got more than others, do you think?

Mrs I:    Oh yes. Oh, definitely. Used to say ‘They can tell the tale’ [laugh].

Q:    So what about the poor old dears who didn’t get anything?

Mrs I:    Oh there was not many. They went in the almshouses, wasn’t there. Oh yes, they got help, it’s surprising. And the clothes, there used to be the rummage sale, down in Mill Lane. You see they used, ‘cos there was several doctors in Witham then, with families. Course the doctors are different today, they’re not moneyed people, are they, they’re people that have, you know, been to school and got on. But in our time the doctors were gentry, weren’t they? You understand what I mean, don’t you? You see the, today, they can all be educated, can’t they, and they turn out and they’re doctors, but in our time that had to be people with money, didn’t it, to be a doctor?

Q:    Yes, I see.

Mrs I:    ‘Cos I often think when they, and these bank managers. I heard of another bank manager the other day, and I thought ‘My gracious, whoever thought he’d be bank manager’ [laugh]. You smile. Strange. ‘Cos we thought bank manager was it. Postmaster. The bank manager. Gas, man. They were the ‘its’. And the tradespeople. But now, when they tell me I smile [laugh]. I dare not say anything, ‘cos it’s not fair to the boys. It’s nice to feel they’ve got on. But you know it really is [???], you are, you’re really …. This one is doctor something, and I said ‘Well how’s he a doctor?’. ‘Oh, he’s got his PhD’. ‘Oh’, I said, ‘Doctor of Science, oh yes’. ‘Oh, my son has this and the letters come doctor’. I think ‘Oh, my godfathers, what should we think years ago, if we went back to their people [laugh]’.

Q:    So there weren’t many, you don’t know of anybody who worked their way up?

Mrs I:    No. Oh no. You just got it from money, you didn’t get it from education, did you? ‘Cos there’s not many people, I mean, in my time, I didn’t go to, never thought of Braintree [High School], we’d got the good school, the Croxalls and all those were the gas people. I sat next to Lucy Croxall in school right from my early time right until I left, and now she’s come back into Witham. You see. But, oh no, they were the people that we called, you know, different people. These other snobs that think they are, well you laugh.

Q:    So who do you reckon would be at the top of the tree in those days? Were there two or three people who were even above all the others?

Mrs I:    Well, you did respect more, ‘cos they were all military people, you did, Admiral Sir William Luard, you did. And then you’d get Captain Laurie. And then you’d get, oh they were the, twins were killed. And several doctors. The Rounds, Murray Round, two there, the Rounds, they were nice people. And of course the bank managers. Poor old Joey Mens [laugh]. You see they were all, those people who you knew. And then you see, you’d, they’d remember you because they’d say ‘Oh yes, I remember your grandfather, I remember, I worked under him’, and, you know, bring it all back.

Q:    Did Admiral Luard ….?

Mrs I:    Oh, Sir William, yes, he was killed in Bridge Street, I always remember that morning. Well, they were nice people, they came up. Because they used to come to the Church. They wouldn’t go to All Saints, they’d come to their parish church. And then there was Browns, the farmers, at the top of the road, they were all nice people [Cocks farm, Chalks Road]. Captain Brooks at the bottom [11 Church Street].

Q:    And they all, a number of them came to the shop, did they, used the shop?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, oh yes, they did. I think that was because, you know, being a schoolteacher, and with the Bramstons and all that, and her father was gardener, and the mother did all the needlework. ‘Cos they did different things.

Q:    Mrs Wadley, you mean?

Mrs I:    Schoolteacher.

Q:    Was she a Witham person?

Mrs I:    Person, oh yes.

Q:    What was her, who was she before she was married?

Mrs I:    A Raven. But of course it was Dean Bramston, that why she opened the Chipping Hill school, she started with seven [at 22 Church Street]. Seven children. That was Dean Bramston that opened the school. That’s why I was so pleased when that was Bramston.

Q:    She opened it?

Mrs I:    Yes, that’s the school, with seven.

Q:    How did she, well you probably don’t know, I was just wondering how she became a schoolteacher, did she have to train, or go to college or anything?

Mrs I:    No, no, not college, no education, she just started.

Q:    So what did her people, her family, do?

Mrs I:    Her father was gardener, at the Vicarage, there you are again [laugh]. Dean Bramston. See, an only child. That’s Dean Bramston.

Q:    What, she was an only child?

Mrs I:    Yes, and she started the school, with seven. See. It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.

Q:    And so she met, I wonder how she met Mr Wadley, if he was from Tiptree?

Mrs I:    Oh she, she told me several tales about that. First they, were getting married, and then they didn’t, and then he came and they opened the shop, she said she’d open the shop, and, you know, still continue the school business, but she left, I think she left him after six months.

Q:    She left, him, did she?

Mrs I:    Yes, aha.

Q:    Oh, I didn’t realise that.

Mrs I:    Went back to Tiptree. Oh, she told me so I knew all of it.

Q:    ‘Cos it was his family were Tiptree?

Mrs I:    Tiptree people, they were the ones that were farmers.

Q:    And she was a Raven, the Ravens from Witham?

Mrs I:    Yes, he was gardener at the Vicarage.

Q:    But she went to Tiptree when she left him?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    Oh, so you didn’t see much of her, then?

Mrs I:    No.

Q:    So how did ….?

Mrs I:    I liked Tiptree, oh we used to go to Tiptree in the summer, you know when I was older, after I hadn’t my people at Notley I used to go to Tiptree, spent a lot of time at Tiptree.

Q:    So she opened up the shop?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    But then sort of, then left the shop?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    That was ….?

Mrs I:    That was the War time [First War].

Q:    Was that before you were, there?

Mrs I:    No, it was the War that, why the shop went. Oh, we’d left the shop before that.

Q:    She did?

Mrs I:    Yes. So there you are again, that’s Dean Bramston. Canon Ingles. You see we had all canons. All titled people. And they were people. You know, their families are descendants, you know, were in that same, group. It wasn’t, you know, jumped up. Well, there wasn’t the education in those days. No education, was there? You had to educate yourself, didn’t you? And if you get in with nice people, I think you remain the same.

Q:    Still, Mr Wadley sounds as if he did, did he have much education, do you think?

Mrs I:    No, but it was business, business man.

Q:    Were his family farmers as well?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, yes. Oh, when he got on the Council they clapped, they were ever so pleased. He soon got on the Council. Course, because of all Church Street [laugh].

Q:    When did he get on, when did he get on the Council?

Mrs I:    Before the War [First War].

Q:    Was it?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    Did they, did he, did they stand for the Council for parties, then?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    Did he say he was a Conservative?

Mrs I:    Oh, they were all blue, blue as a bat.

Q:    Church Street too?

Mrs I:    Yes, ‘cos you follow suit, you mustn’t go and vote against your employer [laugh]. [???] all your people and [???]. And they used to say ‘Oh, don’t forget, don’t forget to vote for me, don’t forget, don’t forget’.

Q:    So did that keep him quite busy, being on the Council?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, yes, didn’t live long though. But it was just an honour. And he thought that he was a good ratepayer with the houses and everything, and he thought it was the right thing to do. They said ‘Oh, you’re a gentleman now, Mr Wadley’. He said ‘I’ve been a gentleman all my life, I’ve always paid my way’ [laugh].

Q:    So he’d get to know other people on, well, he knew the people on the Council?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, oh yes.

Q:    Who else was on with him, do you know?

Mrs I:    Yes. Old Bertie Wakelin, and Pinkham, he was a big man. Pinkham was a wonderful man. That’s why I think with this new party, I feel sorry when they speak about the Liberals not keeping in, ‘cos old Pinkham was a good one. He was the Liberal agent, he was great.

Q:    Oh, they still voted for him?

Mrs I:    Oh yes.

Q:    Even though he wasn’t Conservative?

Mrs I:    Oh, gracious, think they did, he was a good man, they’d have liked Pinkham. He died running to catch the train.

Q:    Really?

Mrs I:    Yes, going to a meeting. Oh, he was a big man. Have you heard about Pinkham in any way?

Q:    I think just for the glove factory.

Mrs I:    Glove factory, of course, yes. Yes, he started that glove factory in a room, where these people have just gone to live, here, at number two [Coltarts, actually from 5 St. Nicholas Road, moved to 14 Albert Road].

Q:    Oh, that was there, was it?

Mrs I:    That was the glove factory. That started with just a few girls, he brought from Devon.

Q:    So which was, was that, where the, do you mean the people?

Mrs I:    The second house, they’ve gone, ‘cos there was a big fire there, wasn’t there?

Q:    Was that the glove factory there, was it?

Mrs I:    Yes, that was the glove factory.

Q:    I never realised that, ‘cos there’s two houses together [13 Albert Road and 14 Albert Road]?

Mrs I:    Yes, high, very high.

Q:    With a little balcony at the top?

Mrs I:    That’s right, that was the glove factory.

Q:    In there, ‘cos there are two houses together there, was the glove factory in both of them?

Mrs I:    Yes, oh yes, they lived in one, the glove factory the other.

Q:    Which was which, do you know, she’d be interested?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    Do you know, she’s in the right-hand one, herself, was that the house or the ….?

Mrs I:    No, they were in the second from the road, as you go down Station Road, that’s right.

Q:    So, if you look at it like that?

Mrs I:    Yes, that’s right. That’s where the glove factory was.

Q:    That side’s the factory and that’s where the Pinkhams lived? [probably 13 Albert Road was the factory and 14 Albert Road where the Pinkhams lived]?

Mrs I:    Yes, Mrs Saunders was the first woman to work in there. Yes, that was before the factory was built [factory at 1 Chipping Hill].

Q:    Oh, she’s interested in Witham, she’ll be interested to hear that.

Mrs I:    Yes, fancy, you didn’t know that was the glove factory.

Q:    I think somebody told me it was there but I never knew which house it was.

Mrs I:    Yes. Oh yes.

Q:    ‘Cos it’s a lovely house, good size.

Mrs I:    Oh, it’s nice. Well, in, funny enough, my husband’s aunt, left the business in London, and she came to stay with us, and she said ‘Oh I think’, she said, ‘we’d like to stay in Witham’, and funny enough she went into that house.

Q:    Oh, I see.

Mrs I:    Yes, into the second one, the far end. Nice old [???], just steps.

Q:    That’s the one that was the factory, she was in?

Mrs I:    Yes ,that’s the one, yes.

Q:    I see, when it moved.

Mrs I:    Yes, I remember saying that to her. That’s, that’s fifty years ago.

Q:    So that gave people a bit of extra work. Did it make a lot of difference, do you think, when the glove factory came?

Mrs I:    Well they all went, then you see the better people with the houses couldn’t get the maids, could they? See? They all went, they all went, because that’s what I said with Mrs Hammond [Elsie Hammond, 13 Chalks Road], I, I was ever so upset, ‘cos I think I hurt her when she first came, because, these people kept visiting, ‘cos she did a little needlework, and I said, ‘Well of course, you see, they’re all the factory girls, aren’t they?’. I didn’t mean it. But I think she took it. I didn’t mean it, you know? Well, they all kept coming. And you see, having the dear old lady there, ninety-eight, nobody came. And these people all kept coming, Gladdy Keeble and, all the people up there, and, and I just said it, you see, ‘Well’, I said, ‘course they’re all the factory girls’. I could have bit my tongue off.

Q:    You can’t tell how people are going to take things, can you?

Mrs I:    Yes, you see, well you don’t think. But I knew she wasn’t happy over it at the time, but, and then of course I said about old Church Street, ‘Little Hell’, I’m sorry I didn’t remember her. I didn’t, she came as a perfect stranger. Nobody would have thought it.

Q:    I see, you didn’t realise it was her, no.

Mrs I:    Nobody would have thought it.

Q:    She got on quite well, I’m sure, she was a, she went to Chelmsford didn’t she?

Mrs I:    Yes, she went with the glove factory, she stayed a long time after she married, ‘cos she said about the railway wages. Well then she went as, I forget what you call them, she’s one over the others.

Q:    A supervisor?

Mrs I:    That’s right, she went to supervise at the Chelmsford one. Mind you, she’s a very interesting woman. Clive used to enjoy a chat. But there was just that, you’d got to be so careful, ‘cos they’d say, you get into it, Joan does, they never say ‘Yes’, they say ‘Yeh’. You see, well you see, you get it. And then I go to the girls and they’ve got their people, they get cross with me. But you soon catch it, you pick it up. Oh, Joan is terrible, so is Mrs Hayes [Dolly Hayes, 8 Chalks Road]. ‘Homm, the Bridge Homm’ [i.e. instead of ‘Home’]. Well, they’ve been in the country.

Q:    Yes, quite, yes.

Mrs I:    But you see, I didn’t mix with those, that I didn’t get it. I’ve never got the accent. Well I’ve got the accent but I haven’t got the whatever, the ‘Yeh’ and the ‘Homm’ and the ….

Q:    So the tradespeople didn’t have an accent, you reckon?

Mrs I:    Oh no. Oh you’ve got to speak nicely, ‘cos you’ve got to be polite, haven’t you? To get the custom [laugh].

Q:    So you could sort of tell, you could place people as soon as they opened their mouths, I suppose?

Mrs I:    Oh, definitely. And then of course they looked up to you, you see.

Q:    ‘Cos you spoke ….?

Mrs I:    Well, they knew, ah but they knew the whole family affair, you see. Oh that’s why. But I smile and I think, ‘Well, I’m here. I’m still here’. But I must have been a terror. I must have been really [laugh]. I was such a chatterbox. But I must have been, ‘cos I mean it’s strange, how they all remember you.

Q:    ‘Cos, you never saw your parents after?

Mrs I:    Never. No. ‘Cos the Boer War. Could have gone to Africa, and I could have gone to Australia, but that wasn’t allowed, I don’t know why. Course they all used to do this [hand over mouth]. I always used to have to be present, but there was all this, so you didn’t hear, why. But it was the Boer War, of course, I know. And, I should have liked to have gone to Australia, I was disappointed, I was nineteen, I did want to go. No. It wasn’t to be.

Q:    Still, it sounds as if you had a good time?

Mrs I:    Oh, I’ve had a good time, and everyone says so, to the …. Well, it was luck. It was misfortune, but, I was lucky. It comes like that at times, doesn’t it.

Q:    So if, for instance, if your grandma hadn’t died, would you have not gone to the shop or anything like that, do you think?

Mrs I:    Oh no, I should have gone.

Q:    What would you have done?

Mrs I:    Well, I should have gone to Africa.

Q:    Would you?

Mrs I:    But, wouldn’t allow it, you see.

Q:    But, when, were your parents dead by the time she ….

Mrs I:    Mother. Childbirth. I was only four days old.

Q:    Yes, I see, yes, and then your father ….

Mrs I:    No they wouldn’t.

Q:    Went away straight ….

Mrs I:    Yes. Boer War. Wouldn’t. There was never no connection in any way. But I had the money from that side, but there was ….

Q:    From your father’s side.

Mrs I:    Mm.

Q:    Yes. But you never saw him?

Mrs I:    And that’s, no.

Q:    But you saw your great-grand ….?

Mrs I:    Oh, saw all the, on my mother’s side.

Q:    So it was your mother, was it ….?

Mrs I:    Oh no, no.

Q:    Your mother was a Goss?

Mrs I:    Oh yes. Yes.

Q:    And your father?

Mrs I:    Cousins[?].

Q:    Your mother was a Goss from the ….?

Mrs I:    Yes, from the, that’s why they know.

Q:    And your father was ….?

Mrs I:    Cousins. Australia. Mm. No, Africa. And it was the sister, the father’s sister, for Australia. That meant, they’d got to write, for me to go, before I was twenty-one. I signed the papers and I wanted to go. And then the Goss family said no.

Q:    That was your mother’s family.

Mrs I:    Yes. They’d paid, and they’d kept me, and they said, no, they wouldn’t allow it.

Q:    So this Goss from Notley, that was your mother’s ….?

Mrs I:    That’s the grand, great, that’s my great-grandfather.

Q:    Your mother’s?

Mrs I:    Grandfather. So I used to go there a lot, I thought a lot of it, ‘cos of course that was fourth generation, I was the fourth generation, and I used to go on a Sunday afternoon to this little chapel, and I always remember he used to repeat the hymn first, and then they used to sing it, it’s a little chapel.

Q:    So what did your father’s family, did you ever meet them at all?

Mrs I:    No.

Q:    What was their name or did you never ….?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, Cousins. Oh yes, we knew, knew everything, but I suppose the birth and the dying was sad.

Q:    But your grandma sounds as if she was very nice.

Mrs I:    Oh they’re nicer. Oh, I often think, and when you think with your grandparents, and you hear people say, you know ‘I think more of them than I did my own’. And I believe it, ‘cos, they haven’t got the responsibility, have they?

Q:    That was your mother’s mother [but actually she probably means Mrs Rushen]?

Mrs I:    Yes, but I know ….

Q:    Did you ever know your grandfather?

Mrs I:    Yes. Knew them all. But I know that I was precious, and I don’t know why. They used to say ‘The wind wasn’t allowed to blow on her, she’d got to be kept’. They was scared I’d die. They wanted to keep it going, flow, I don’t know why.

Q:    So you had uncles and aunts?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, all the Goss, all on the Goss side, oh, yes.

Q:    That’s nice really, you had a family ready made?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, great. When I went to Braintree with the children, they remembered Goss the author, and remembered Goss with the china, they knew it all. And so they all do in Witham, you see, but not now, ‘cos all those people that knew, it’s gone, hasn’t it. See, there’s nobody here much, knows, see, because they’ve all gone, haven’t they, all the people that knew me, I shouldn’t ….

Q:    So which was, was your grandfather?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, oh they said, my Marie, they said, ‘Oh she’s starchy. she’s just like Mr Goss’. He was that. And they said ‘Oh, they’re very quick people’. Oh yes. One or two have remarked. Old Joey Mens did, to Marie, particularly. And when she went into Chelmsford, the postmaster there, he said to her ‘Oh, your grandfather, I served under him’, he said, ‘oh, I can see the likeness’. You see, ‘cos you get to know people, don’t you. We got to know lots of Post Office people.

Q:    Yes. It’s a good, like a shop, really, you meet all sorts, wouldn’t you?

Mrs I:    Oh yes, you do. Oh, definitely. Oh, your life is different.

Q:    So when you first lived with them your grandfather was still alive?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    But he died before your grandmother?

Mrs I:    Oh yes.

Q:    I see. So you were quite young when he ….?

Mrs I:    Yes, I remember going to that funeral. But I remember most of all their Golden Wedding, and I thought about, these, I thought ‘Well everybody’, I thought ‘everybody knew him, they’d all be there, I wonder if there’s anybody that, a name that I remembered, Notley people’, ‘cos in the small place. I remember it at the time.

Q:    It’s lovely to have that, fancy, as I said before, a long time ago, isn’t it?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    That was only when they were married too?

Mrs I:    Yes. 1854, and it was 1904, I was eight. And I remember, doing ….

Q:    Are you getting hungry?

Mrs I:    No. I was doing my embroidery, I always remember, we called it cobwebs, it was the long squares, with silk, I always remember doing that and taking one of those. Eight. So I can remember all that way back. It’s nice. They were good old times. Now have you got your ….?

Q:    It’s very kind of you. I think I’ve probably asked you everything, and we’ve had a good chat as well, haven’t we.

Mrs I:    Oh, nice.

Q:    Let me just, I’m not very good at looking at what I’m supposed to ask, I’d rather just talk.

Mrs I:    Well, I think you get along better that way, chatting, better than you do with questions.

Q:    Yes, ‘cos you remind things, don’t you, I think, you remember things. But I seem to have covered most of it. Oh, I know, it sounds a silly thing, how did you, you know you had, how did you decide the prices you were going to charge for things? Did you have any part in that, or was it just, customary?

Mrs I:    Oh, no, the budget, that’s a funny part about it. These budgets always tickle me, because that’s the first thing you used to look, for a budget, was the price, it was always tea and sugar and bread.

Q:    Oh really, it was laid down, was it?

Mrs I:    Always. Always eatables. You never bothered about, hadn’t got income tax, they didn’t know what income tax was, did they? No, it was always on the price of things.

Q:    Aha. Oh, so you had to charge what they said, did you?

Mrs I:    Yes.

Q:    Oh, I didn’t realise that. Goodness.

Mrs I:    And I always remember the Liberal people in the High Street. Pinkhams. Had a big auction[?], [???] room there, and they had the bread, as children, you’d remember, and they’d have a big loaf on one scale and a little one, a ladder, and the men climbing up as the votes went. Oh, it was always things ….

Q:    So they would sort of say a loaf has got to cost so much?

Mrs I:    Yes, I only said that to Clive, I said ‘We never ….‘. He says, ‘Oh, the budget’, he says, ‘there won’t be anything different in it’. I said ‘There was in my time’, I said, ‘you had to see if the tea or the sugar’.

Q:    Oh, I’m glad I asked that then, I never knew that?

Mrs I:    Was tea and sugar. Yes. Tea, sugar and the bread, they were the chief things.

Q:    And I suppose the other things, well, like you talked about currants, for instance, what about those, you’d decide that?

Mrs I:    The fruit, oh, and that didn’t come in.

Q:    No, who decided what you were going to charge for that?

Mrs I:    Oh, you’d have your list in, the groceries, you know, the wholesale people.

Q:    The wholesalers?

Mrs I:    Would send you, yes, the wholesale people would send you a list. And you’d tick off.

Q:    Aha. So that was what they suggested that you, wanted you to charge?

Mrs I:    Yes, that’s right, yes.

Q:    You had to charge what they said?

Mrs I:    Oh yes.

Q:    You couldn’t sort of say ‘Oh we’ll have it a bit cheaper this week’, or anything?

Mrs I:    No. Oh, there was no special offer. And there was never this ‘Oh, it’s cheaper here and it’s cheaper there’, you never had that.

Q:    Really?

Mrs I:    You just paid your price. There was never that. ‘Cos you could say ‘Well, you go, perhaps you’ll have to pay for it there’ [laugh].

Q:    Oh, I’m glad asked you, I never realised, that was, you didn’t really have to think about it then?

Mrs I:    No.

Q:    Did you have the prices, price of the goods on them and everything, labels?

Mrs I:    Yes, on the back, you’d have a paper there. But then that was ha’porths and penn’orths in those days, it wasn’t all pounds.

Q:    I see, yes, so it was really more, how much you were going to get, yes.

Mrs I:    Oh no.

Q:    Oh yes, did you have any, people have talked to me about working as errand-boys at shops. Did you have any children working?

Mrs I:    Oh yes. Oh yes, on the bicycles, but we didn’t.

Q:    You didn’t?

Mrs I:    Had to have carts. The boys’d walk, have a wheelbarrow.

Q:    So you didn’t have any extra people working?

Mrs I:    No, oh no, no, nothing of that. But they did do it. Doole’s, I always remember, did, at the Post Office, they always had the boys [45 Chipping Hill]. ‘Cos the Alderton boys. But then it’s always someone that you knew. It wasn’t a, just as if they couldn’t have give it to a poor boy, that would be glad of the money, but it was always someone you knew, and he’d like pocket-money.

Q:    I see, yes.

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