Tape 047. Mr Harold Cook and Mrs Doris Cook (nee Smith), sides 1 and 2

Tape 47

Mr Harold Cook was born in about 1907, and his wife Mrs Doris Cook (nee Smith) was born in 1912. They were interviewed on 22 May 1981, when they lived at Mulberry, Maldon Road, Witham.

Mrs Cook also appears on tape 48.

For more about them, see Cook, Harold and Doris (nee Smith) 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 1

Q:    Because your father was at the shop, is that right ? (Mr C: Yes.) so that goes back a long way.

Mr C:    Originally, he started up in 1924, that’s where the Travel Agency is now (Q: The Evelyn’s one?) Evelyn’s, yes. [13 Newland Street]. And then we were there for I don’t remember how many years, but quite a few years and then father bought the High House Estate which is now the Indian Restaurant. [5 Newland Street] (Q: Oh yes, of course.) And at the side of High House there was originally Dr Payne’s surgery and behind that was big kitchens and my father had the surgery and the kitchens converted into a shop and, oh it was quite a sizeable alteration and there was quite a large garden and I think it’s about eight acres of pasture and orchard at the back (Q: Really?) at High House. (Q: Goodness.) And then to the right, what was originally the Inland Revenue and then later on I think it was sort of an offshoot from the Bridge Home. [Probably means the Retreat, Maldon Road] It was a Home for poor[?] people and Father bought that garden so that it actually comprised, in its heyday it was a pasture and orchard plus a couple of cottages, and a little farmery and the entrance to that was from the Maldon Road.

Q:    I see, round the back.

Mr C:    Yes, and then as time went on father built a couple of shops and houses which are now occupied by Mr Clarke the optician and Mr Noakes the electrician [5A and 5B Newland Street] and then, as time went on, Father decided to build a new shop entirely. So we originally had decided, or he had decided to build on the plot of ground which is now occupied by the Post Office. Well, we were just on, or Father was just on the point of rebuilding and the Postal Authorities approached him and they particularly wanted that site where we had already decided to build our new shop. So, after quite a lot of consultation, I think Father decided that we would have the plot which adjoined Freebornes [3 Newland Street] and sell the plot that we originally were going to built on to the GPO. (Q: Right.) And that was in 1936 we built the shop and house and I think I’m right in saying that the Post Office built in 19’, either late ‘37 or beginning of ‘38. (Q: Yes.) So that actually the Post Office was only opened a very short time before the War. (Q: It’s quite new isn’t it.) And then behind the shop that Father built we had a slaughterhouse and piggeries, garages and a smoke house, which we used for smoking the bacon (Q: Really.) and, of course, all that now, I understand, I haven’t been round there since we vacated the premises, but I’ve heard my wife say that if I went round now I really wouldn’t know where I was. (Q: No, no, it’s all altered isn’t it.) And then when I sold the premises to Mr Stoffer, they completely altered the structure of the place. They knocked the front of the shop out and incorporated in his shop and pharmacy which originally were our own shop and our cutting rooms and our kitchens.

Q:    So that was next to High House was it ?

Mr C:    It was next door to the Post Office. [Old Post Office] (Q: Ah, I’m with you, yes) So there was where Mr Noakes is and then Mr Clarke the optician, [5A and 5B Newland Street] then High House, which is now the Indian Restaurant, then there was the right of way to the GPO, the GPO office and then our shop. And then our goods entry was between our house and the wall which divided us from Freeborns.

Q:    So you did you do all your own killing and …?

Mr C:    We did all our own killing up until the War when, of course, all the private slaughterhouses were closed and taken over by the Ministry of Food. (Q: Oh.), and, during the War, our piggeries and slaughterhouse were commandeered and it was a mortuary. (Q: Really, Goodness!) So we had bomb casualties and RAF casualties what-have-you there.

Q:    Oh, and when you were on the other side of the road. Were there any slaughterhouses ?

Mr C:    Oh no, we used to have, we used to do our slaughtering there at the small shop and slaughterhouse we had at Kelvedon. That’s going back a few years.

Q:    So your Father was always in the …?

Mr C:    He was always in the business until he had to get out, well he retired actually through ill health, and it was, er, just before the War broke out that his health failed.

Q:    And then you sort of took over ?

Mr C:    Well, I took over. Well, I was a partner before then (Q: Yes.) and then, of course, after his illness, he thought well I’m not going to get back into it, so you’ll have to carry the can. [laughter] So I had to take over then.

Q:    So, when he started up in the 20’s was it (Mr C: in ’24.) what had he been doing before?

Mr C:    Well now, he was in farming. (Q: Was he?) Yes, he had a farm at White Notley.

Q:    So, did he keep that on ?

Mr C:    No, unfortunately, it was at that particular time that farming was at a very low ebb and the slump came and I think a tremendous lot of farmers had to give up and then he had ideas, because when we were at the farm we used to have a herd of cows, dairy cows and he worked up quite a good connection with clotted cream, and butter and eggs at Witham and Braintree.  And of course he always said that ‘I think there’s a good opening for a delicatessen shop at Witham’ and that’s how he decided to come to Witham. I think he bought those premises from Mr George Lake, who was one of the directors of Wagers the builders and their premises are now occupied by Brown & Son [7-19 Maldon Road].

Q:    Oh, in the Maldon Road. So, was it more of a delicatessen then ?

Mr C:    Well, it was a pork, termed as a pork butchers and delicatessen. (Q: So he did pork, bacon, everything?) Oh yes, the whole lot, right through. (Q: And they did dairy products as well, then ?) Er, well, we used to keep about two thousand head of poultry on the back pasture (Q: Really.) and of course we used to sell their produce, both eggs and the dressed chickens in the shop.

Q:    That’s quite a big concern, then. Did he have other people working in the different parts ?

Mr C:    Oh yes, I think there were one, two, there were three, four fellows and my father and myself (Q: And they were all in the shop ?) Well, in the various departments you see.

Q:    You didn’t have separate people for different jobs, they’d turn their hand to everything I suppose ?

Mr C:    Well, in those days, staff would do various jobs. It isn’t like today, just one set job that they do.

Q:    So, all the poultry and everything they’d all chip in.

Mrs C:    We had different [???] for the poultry and the greenhouses. We had greenhouses as well. At the back of High House, before he had the new shop.

Mr C:    There was a stockman.  There were a couple of greenhouses and we used to raise a lot of tomatoes and they were sold too. (Q: Oh, I see.)

Mrs C:    ‘Cos your Dad was in pork butchering wasn’t he ? (Q: Oh yes.) At Braintree, that’s where he started. It was just a hundred years wasn’t it ?

Mr C:    The family went back to a hundred years.

Q:    And that was before he had the farm even was it?

Mr C:    Oh yes, when he was a young man, before he was even married.

Q:    And you were born on the farm ?

Mr C:    No, I was born in Chelmsford, at one of the Chelmsford shops. (Mrs C: They had a shop at Chelmsford). Yes, Father had a shop at Chelmsford, er, one at Braintree, one at Witham and one at Kelvedon. Not all at the same time.

Q:    And was his father in the …?

Mr C:    His father was in the same line of business, yes.

Q:    Because butchers do seem to have lasted a long time in the town, you know when, grocers or vegetable shops, people take up for a few years and drop, but if you’re a butcher it’s a sort of profession almost isn’t it.

Mr C:    You see, in years gone by it tended to be carried on from one generation to another. That’s not quite so much the trend of it today.

Q:    So you just learned … Did you go straight into the shop from school or did you …?

Mr C:    No, from school I went on the farm until father sold the farm and then we came to Witham.

Q:    So you lived in Chelmsford ?

Mr C:    White Notley. (Q: When you were born?) When I was born I reckon we was living at Chelmsford.

Q:    And that was over the shop, sort of thing was it ? (Mr C: Yes.) and then you went to Notley ?

Mr C:    No, I think there were about fourteen moves altogether.

Q:    Really ! But did you usually live near one of the shops ?

Mr C:    Usually, yes. When he had the Chelmsford shop, (Mrs C: That was his father’s original shop, before Braintree.) When he had the Chelmsford shop, part of the time he was living at Hicks[?] Farm at Felsted and he was in partnership there with his brother who was also, later on, a pork butcher in Colchester (Q: Goodness.). Colchester [???].

Mrs C:    There were four brothers, weren’t there Harold ? And they all started at Braintree with their father and then one had his shop at Colchester, wasn’t there, one at Sudbury, Harold’s father at Witham, (Mr C: And Uncle Harry, the original shop.) he had the Braintree shop which was your Dad’s (Q: Goodness.) Most unusual. Though they were all in the same line. They were all separate shops, run by their own people.

Q:    Did you have any …?

Mr C:    Yes, I had one brother and one sister. (Q: And did he go into the …?) For a time no, my brother was apprenticed to the motor engineering (Mrs C: he wasn’t keen on pork butchering!) And my sister was in the office as a cashier at the shops and then she married and, of course, she vacated that job then and she went to live at Clacton.

Q:    So, did you have a separate cashier in the Witham shop ?

Mr C:    We did then, yes, (Q: And that’d be a woman.) Yes, from what I remember she was a policeman’s daughter – A Miss Peede[?] I think her name was.

Q:    But you didn’t really think of anything else except either farming or butchering ?

Mr C:    Well yes I wanted to be a vet (Q: Oh, did you?) [Laughter] It was during the, just after the First World War when, of course, Father had a very rough time among other farmers, and of course, had I gone to college, Vet college, it would have necessitated quite a big sum of money and he just couldn’t afford it then. (Q: No, no.)

Mrs C:    I don’t think Harold ever liked the trade and yet he done his best but I think …(Mr C: I gradually got to like it.) It was a great credit, though I say it, I’ve never seen a shop kept like it. [???].He’d scrub and polish and clean and so on. Never asked anybody else. Even all these little grains[?] were all done round, red tiles, used to polish them. (Q: You did all that yourself, did you?) You wouldn’t get the staff to do it. The latter part of the time they’d just be getting so as they didn’t want to do things, you know all the separate things.

Q:    Did you help ?

Mrs C:    [???] Oh what, over twenty years. More than that, thirty. I came with Harold 1940 wasn’t it. I’d known him a good many years. His last man had been called up and I wasn’t too keen on the trade. I always remember his dad said [???] stay for the duration. I did.

Q:    Were you a Witham person ?

Mrs C:    Yes, I was Witham. Well, I came to Witham when I was about five years old. Used to live up Hatfield Road. Where the school is now, I should say, Bramston, where the Sports Centre is ? (Q: Yes.) It used to be Lenny’s Farm and I lived there. My parents came to look after my Grandfather when Gran died and then eventually about 1929 when old Strutt went[?] and it was sold up, Dad had the chance of buying the old house [???] so we had the one built up on the Hatfield Road. When we built our house up there in ‘29 there was only two others up there (Q: Really.). And now look at it. I shouldn’t want to go back. Strangely enough I sold it, about two years ago wasn’t it Harold,? (Mr C: Mmm.)

Q:    There was actually a farm?

Mrs C:    There used to be a farm, Lenny’s farm when we lived in Bridge Street, where Bramston is, where the school hall stands it was all Lenny’s farm. (Q: Your people used to …?) My Grandfather worked for Honourable Strutt. (Q: I see, a sort of tenant…) And then I worked several years for King’s, that was another old established shop in Witham [13 Newland Street], it was where the Sovereign jewellers is now. The whole block there, where Sovereign jewellers is and where the em bakers are and what else is there there now, Building Society isn’t it. That used to be, Mr King had the sweet shop and next to it was a wool shop, fancy goods, next to it there was a greengrocers which was let to Mr Taber. (Q: Oh yes.).  And it was all very old property, In fact when I first went in about ‘27/28 I think it was there was the one shop front and a little tiny old fashioned bay window, you remember that don’t you Harold. (Mr C: Yes.) And that was altered when I was there in the shop. And I left to go home and nurse my mother, my mother had cancer and I went home and nursed her. I didn’t go back any more till I went to help Harold out. And Kings sold out, I suppose that was in the fifties Harold wasn’t it when they sold out, they sold out and went to Hatfield. They’ve both died but the son is still alive. He lives in Nounsley[?] But that was real old property. All that belongs to King. Actually it belonged to Mrs King first. It used to be E E Green. There was two sisters kept it for years and years. One of them married Hawkes the sweet[?] keeper at Chelmsford and the other one married a Mr King. That was real old property, all along there.

Q:    So your property belonged to your father (Mr C: Yes.) It must have been quite a big .. complicated managing all the [???]?

Mr C:    Well, it was quite an achievement for him.

Q:    Where did he used to get the animals from ? Did he use to breed them himself or bring them in from farms ?

Mr C:    No, we used to breed quite a lot ourselves and rear them , and kill them and also buy from local farms.

Q:    So you’d go out and drive them in or …?

Mr C:    Well, they’d come in by cattle float.

Q:    Because Witham wasn’t as big then. Did your customers come from further away?

Mr C:    Well, Witham actually itself and also the surrounding neighbourhoods. Then, of course, we used to do country rounds, Rivenhall and then just as Silver End was beginning to be developed, and Terling, Wickham Bishops, Totham, and Tiptree.

Q:    So would people come in and order ?

Mr C:    No, well, quite a number would. Then we used to have quite a lot of motoring customers that used to come down to the coast, to Clacton and Frinton.

Q:    Would the big houses, like Lord Rayleigh and Faulkbourne and the Du Canes would they still be …, would you have any big customers like that ?

Mr C:    Yes, we had several of the notabilities.

Q:    Because Witham being so small I suppose you had to look further…?

Mr C:    Yes, well that was the accepted thing to do country rounds but of course the War altered all that.

Mrs C:    It used to be a usual thing on Saturday, they used to come in from the villages, didn’t they, cycled or walked. Even today I still get some old customers come even from as far away as Tiptree didn’t they Harold. (Mr C: Yes.) And then you used to do quite a bit of hamper trade didn’t you. Used to get a lot of people going through to the coast in those days. Had coast [???]. Used to call in.

Mr C:    What is this in aid of ?

Q:    Mainly interest really. But I’m doing a history course at college, again just for interest, and I’ve got to write a sort of essay about some local subjects and I thought the shops would be … ?

Mr C:    This isn’t for publication or anything

Mrs C:    He can’t bear publicity. (Mr C: I can’t.). When he retired everybody thought there was going to such a write up in the paper and [???] but I had to say I’m sorry my husband just doesn’t want any fuss. He just put an announcement in to thank his customers. ‘Cos he wouldn’t have retired when he did but it was through ill-health.

Q:    Really. When was that ?

[All talking}

Mrs C:    1966.

Q:    Oh that’s when we came, I must have missed you. I don’t like publicity either  I don’t go around telling people what everybody said but it’s just to get a picture of what life was like and its nice of people to …

Mrs C:    And I had some wonderful old photos of Lenny’s Farm but unfortunately somebody else did a project like that [???] and they came. I let them have all those photographs and never had them back did I Harold (Mr C: Mmm.) That was rather a pity. But this is High House, how it used to be when Harold’s parents first went there. At the back there, that’s Harold’s mother.

Q:    Oh, isn’t that wonderful. You would never imagine it  would you. It looks a bit higher. Was it higher ?

Mr C:    Yes, originally one storey was taken off. The top storey was taken off for the simple reason that there was a parapet all round the house which was lead and of course it had perished and it had rotted all the coving and soffits around and Father was advised by a surveyor to take the top storey off which he did (Q: Goodness, that must have been quite a big job.) and retiled it. In those days it was, but …

Q:    Well, these days I suppose they’d pull it down really wouldn’t they and start again.

Mrs C:    They wouldn’t actually do it today because there’s a preservation order on it now, there wasn’t when you did it, was there love. [???] [???] I think if Harold’s father hadn’t done that, eventually it would have deteriorated, even more.

Mr C:    Yes. A lot of the fancywork, the woodwork round the top was absolutely perished.

Q:    It was a big place to keep up even then I should think ? (Mr C: It was.)

Mrs C:    That was before you sort of split it up and before you built, and then there was the pair of shops.

Q:    So you lived in … that was actually the house, was it?

Mr C:    Yes, although it looked an enormous place there weren’t all that great number of rooms and they were very very tall lofty rooms. (Q: It’s the height that makes it look big.) One room was about thirty feet and fifteen.

Mrs C:    The garden was really beautiful in those days. (Mr C: Yes.)

Q:    And vegetable gardens, well everything really. So it was Mr Payne you said was it ?
Both:    Doctor Payne.

Q:    It’s all changed now isn’t it ? You can’t really picture it.

Mrs C:    You can’t believe it when you look at it. [???] all the greenhouses.

Q:    You say you used to sell vegetables and so on from the shop ?

Mr C:    Well, we didn’t use to worry a lot about vegetables, it was only just to keep the house on the go.

Mrs C:    Was that filled in when …? (Mr C: Yes.)

Q:    So you didn’t do vegetables for the shop then ? (Mr C: No.)

Mrs C:    Harold’s sister [???] Dibben, there used to be the hairdresser in Witham. Used to be down that is where Byford’s is now, used to be a hairdresser, Dibben’s right next to the Congregational Church [90 Newland Street] and then there used to be a watchmakers, wasn’t there, Harold,(Mr C. Er yes.) Barham’s. [looking at photos] – the garden at the back of High House. When you see it now it’s dreadful. That’s four generations. That’s Harold’s mother, Mr Cook’s mother, her daughter and her daughter. There’s only one left now and that’s Sheila. She lives in Cheshire unfortunately. She visits us an awful lot, she’s a lovely girl.

Q:    So you lived up there till you retired, by the shop, did you ?

Mr C:    Yes.

Mrs C:    That’s the new premises, that’s where we were. Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened, we’ve never been one to take photos, have we Harold. Its just that’s his niece had got this and she had them done and sent them. See that’s the Post Office.

Q:    I can picture it now. I can just about remember it being like that. Only just. This was all built much the same time. It’s nice isn’t it, the same style.

Mrs C:    The Post Office, was that built first or was you built first ? . I can’t remember which.

Mr C:    We were built first

Mrs C:    You were built first, because somebody was asking about the Post office the other day. Harold when he built it, it was to blend in with the town. Now it’s nothing but a monstrosity I think it’s dreadful. Of course when Harold sold it it was supposed to be going to be left all like that. They were only going to alter the entrance in. But … I think that’s actually the same, it’s a better print.  There was lovely living accommodation there. [probably the house built in the 1930s and since demolished]

Q:    Did you live up, is that part of the house ?

Mrs C:    All of it was. That was the bedroom . This was the little balcony you could come out on, and here was the lounge and a bedroom at the top and then at the back there was a breakfast room, a kitchen. There was four bedrooms. It was a lovely old place. It was built  so nice, I think that’s more or less the same.

Q:    It’s like a house but it’s right in the centre of the town as well..It just fits in nicely.

Mrs C:    It blended in, why they’ve let the, I think there’s nothing but a monstrosity. Oh this is the back. This was all the workshops. (Q: Yes.) We used to make our own pies you see, at the back of the building, because that was all, oh, let me think, some of that goes in there is what the dispensary is. That’s where Stoffers dispensary is.

Q:    Because really sort of pork butchers were all separate from other butchery

Mrs C:    Before the War. Never went back the same after the War. Well, Harold used to do all his own curing which was special.

Q:    So bacon and ham were sold as well ?

Mr C:    Bacon and ham, yes.

Q:    Were there any other pork butchers in the town ?

Mr C:    No, I think we were about the only ones. Of course all the butchers used to sell pork.

Mrs C:     There used to be one years before, Gibbs. That’s part of the garden. We left that summer house there but the children burnt it down or something happened to it.

Q:    Gibbs was the …

Mrs C:    Gibbs was the old property. You see that where em. That was where Doctor  [???] [???] Do you know Dr Denholm? (Q: Yes, he’s been lending, this old diary he’s got that’s very interesting). I should have taken one back to him but it’s taken me a long time. He’s very patient.
[Looking at things, general chat, Mr Cook leaves, not noted]

Mrs C:    That’s the end of the piggery, that’s the two smoke rooms.

Q:    I haven’t finished typing your diary yet. I haven’t forgotten.

[chat about visitor (Dr Denholm), tea, health, relatives , their marrying late etc. not noted]

Mrs C:    Then Dad used to say ‘I don’t want to stop you if ever you want to marry’. He said ‘I know you and Harold are fond of each other ?’. I said he’d got his Mother and this is it. So I think it worked out for the best. We had many happy years working together. He was ever such a dear to work for. Because in those days you used to get terrific queues. They used to queue right up along that wall where Helen’s house used to be [Freebornes, 3 Newland Street] there used to be a wall along there.  Well Harold and I sometimes shifted nearly five hundred customers. We used to serve, take the money and all, you see how they stand today. It used to be one after the other. They used to be terrific the queues. We’ve just been having some, we’ve just had our bedroom done, and this room done out. And the fellow who does it came from Totham which we know very well, Mr [???] and he’s got a fellow partner with him, a younger man, and he said ‘Cor Mrs Cook, it’s years since I’ve seen you. I used to cuss your old shop. When I was a little old boy’ he said, ‘I used to come down every Saturday and lived at Great Totham, come down every Saturday and queue up for stuff’. He said ‘I had to get for different ones in the village’ but apparently this fellow, what was his name now [???]

[chat about the decorator’s family, cooking, not noted]

Q:    Did you help with the pies and things?

Mrs C:    No, no. Harold used to make all the pastry. (Q: Really?) He was always up before six and used to get all the ovens going and we had one room just with the ovens, a great big room. It was not quite as long as this but square and had these great big gas ovens.

Q:    You wouldn’t have much spare time would you ?

[Background talk – Dr D and Mr C come back, talk about lunch, not noted]

Mrs C:    She was asking if I used to make the pies, I said that was your job wasn’t it love ? (Mr C: Mmm.) You used to do all the pastry.

Mr C:    You’re not giving away any trade secrets I hope.

Q:    No, no, she’s not told me how to do it I’m afraid.

Mrs C:    No, I was just more or less talking about my own life. It’s just that it was the cake, she said did I make the pies. I said No. You used to make them (Mr C: You used to fill them sometimes.) I used to fill them (Mr C: Fill them with jelly.). With the jelly it has to go in after once the pie is cool you see. And the pies have to be completely cold, if not it all would make the pastry all go soft wouldn’t it Harold ? (Mr C: Mmm.) And you can just imagine all these pies, we used to do trays of them and they all used to be out on the table and when they were cool and then we used to have these jugs of jelly, and you used to have make a hole in and put a drop in each pie. They all used to have to be done. Took ages didn’t it Harold ? (Mr C: Yes.)

Q:    People used to like them obviously.

Mrs C:    Well, Harold used to do all the things to make the jelly with and then we used to have trays about about that size, how many pies used to go on them ?

Mr C:    I think it was three dozen.

Mrs C:    And there were trays and trays and we used to bring them all in and stand them, and on Saturdays we always used to have another bake and they used to be hot on Saturday afternoons. And if they sold hot they didn’t have jelly in. You can’t put the jelly in while its hot. If you do they go sour or the pastry goes soggy, doesn’t it Harold ?

Q:    But you’d eat them cold still. (Mr C: Oh yes) I was saying you wouldn’t have a lot of spare time?

Mrs C:    No, all his time would be with the business. Well, you see in those days there wasn’t the money about like there is today. You had to work so hard for what you had sort of thing. I mean today, I think life seems so different for everybody isn’t it ? I mean there wasn’t the time for pleasures really.  But then the other part of the time we used to close at about half past five but I mean, I remember back when I used to be at Kings when it was nothing to still be open till nine or ten on a Saturday, was it Harold ? (Mr C: Regular thing.). I mean Saturday was always the day, wasn’t it. The latter part of the time it got that Saturday afternoon trade wasn’t worth a lot, the latter part of the years, but it used to be the busiest day Saturdays.

Mr C:    When the factories closed down on the Saturday, they used to work perhaps half a day on Saturday. But it was a recognised thing that, it was when the sport began to get a recognised thing on Saturday afternoon.

Mrs C:    At one time on Saturday you always had all the old folk came in from the different villages, didn’t they. They’d come in from Terling. A lot of them used to walk in in those days.

Q:    Did anybody have the stuff delivered ? Well, you did the country rounds, you said, but did people in Witham have stuff delivered as well ?

Mr C:    Yes, we used to have Saturday boys, two or three Saturday boys. They used to deliver the stuff on bikes.

Q:    Did you have a van or a horse and cart ?

Mr C:    Yes, we had a van, a motor bike and box and a horse and cart.

Mrs C:    But you never did it after the War did you?. I think the War altered everything [???]. There was no more sort of delivery, things were very very different. But in the War I mean we had to ration two pies and a half of sausages or sausage meat. Oh, it used to be a real problem. We used to have [???] Mr Goodchild standing on the door.[???] I was just telling what terrific queues we used to have. I often go in shops now and see how long they take to serve you and I think how many we used to get through, you know. But I was always very happy. We were always busy and I like being busy.

Q:    I wonder why you had so many more ? Do you think people shopped more frequently or was it just because you were a popular shop ?

Mrs C:    It was just popular, and I think too in those days there wasn’t so many people had fridges as there is today and they bought stuff more fresh didn’t they. (Mr C: Yes.)

Q:    So when did refrigeration in the shop come in ?

Mr C:    Well, originally when Father started first, up until the time when we moved into the new premises [1936] we had ice boxes (Q: Really?) Mmm

Side 2

[Repeat of last 4 paras  of side 1]

Mr C:    They used to deliver blocks of a hundredweight each of ice and they used to be put into these ice-chests. They were built similarly to a refrigerator but of course they were, it was cooled by this ice which was delivered by the Colchester Ice Company, in the summer-time, every day. Then, of course, when refrigeration came in that altered things completely.

Q:    [???]

Mr C:    Oh, no,  I mean they used to have an enormous plant at Colchester. They used to supply not only butchers but fishmongers and hotels.

Mrs C:    Ice-cream makers. We was only talking about that the other day. I remember when I was at Kings [1927-8] they used to make their own ice-cream in the tubs and you’d put the ice up all round the container with the custard in and freeze and turn and turn and turn till it got thick. At least it was pure and you knew what you were eating. I don’t think you do today.

[Blank piece of tape)]

Mrs C:    [Discussing 13 Newland Street] E E Green, it was a very high class, fancy goods, linen, and [???] oh yes, it was quite a big shop. There was four big windows along there (Q: But it was all one shop, you say?) but it was all shop. Mr and Mrs  King used to live over the top.[???]  Next to it was Taber’s the fruit shop and it all belonged to the [???] in those days.  But I believe Rylands bought it when they retired didn’t they Harold ? (Mr C: Yes.) I think so. His father had a butchers shop where the fried fish shop is now. There was a little bakers next to that, Brands, that was another old [???] wasn’t it Harold ? (Mr C: Mmm.) Brands the bakers.

Q:    Did they bake their own ?

Mrs C:     Used to bake the bread at the back. Used to go up the yard into between Sovereign the jewellers and the fried fish shop, there’s an opening there and you used to go up there and the bakehouse was at the back. Is that still there now Harold ? (Mr C: I don’t know.)  I don’t know.

Q:    There is still that big, I don’t know if its still a warehouse or what is still there, you know if you go along from Maldon Road.

Mr C:    Used to be a maltings didn’t it.

Q:    Is that it ?

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