Tape 049. Mr Maurice Greatrex, sides 1 and 2

Tape 49

Mr Maurice Greatrex was born in 1903, He was interviewed on 14 June 1981, when he lived at 120 Patching Hall Lane, Chelmsford. Also present were his wife, and his son Brian. The interview took place at Brian’s house in Powershall End, Witham.

He also appears on tape 50.

For more information about him, see Greatrex family 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

Mr G:    My Grandfather used to work in the town you see. [his grandfather had a butcher’s shop, at 8 Church Street] That was one of the stipulations of the sale of the business. The business was sold to some people named Fuller and then they transferred it down, then he had another shop, or opened another shop in the High Street and eventually transferred it, but we didn’t have a lot of contact with the people at Witham, not after that, although I had two aunts, well maiden aunts who lived with my Grandfather, worked in the business. They had a little shop in Rickstones Road. I don’t know if you know the little shop right opposite Cressing Road, is it Cressing Road ? [2 Rickstones Road]

Q:    Where there is a Post Office now ?

Mr G:    Could well be, (Q: yes, just on the corner.) Just in front of the cemetery place there, there’s a little road goes down the side

Q:    I had seen the name. That’s what made me pick the name out. This is a photocopy out of the directory, Kelly’s directory.

Mr G:    Oh, I see you’ve got an old one have you ?

Q:    They have them in Chelmsford at the archives

Mr G:    Oh yes, that’s where my daughter very often goes, to the Records …

Q:    So that will be your grandfather.

Mr G:    Yes, that’s right, but my father was the same name, but that was him actually, this one. He owned the business. Then he died and then it was sold. (Q: They were both Quintin?) Yes, both Quintin Dick, and the name is still carried on in various ones of the family. My father had four sons and my grandfather had three sons and each one has had a Quintin in the family, except me. I didn’t.

Q:    Because I wondered whether, there was a Quintin Dick, who was an MP I believe at one time ? Is that any …

Mr G:    That’s where the name came from. (Q: I see.) That’s where, so I understood, from my aunts and uncles and father, you know the older family. That’s where the name came from. Quintin Dick, an MP. Where he was an MP I don’t know (Q: I think it was Maldon.) It could well be (Q: Somewhere in this area anyway) Yes, well he could have been MP for Maldon because my grandfather originated from Maldon (Q: Oh did he?) Yes his family was in Maldon. I’m not quite sure …

Q:    Were they all butchers ? Were they butchers before ?

Mr G:    Well my grandfather, I don’t know quite how the business came to be taken up at Witham but from what I can gather, he was apprenticed at Maldon to a butcher and learnt the trade there but when or how it was that he came and bought the business in Witham I don’t know. But it must have been in the early eighties, 1880 or something like that I gather, because my Father who was born in 1873, ‘2 or ‘3 but I think it’s ‘3, he was working at thirteen and he told me that he went to school at the Guithavon Road school which has now been demolished, which I eventually went to for a little while before going on to Braintree (Q: yes.) but …

Q:    So he was in Witham then, quite early then wasn’t he ?

Mr G:    Oh yes, because I’ve heard my father say that he went to school because he mentioned the schoolmaster who was still the headmaster when I went to school there. (Q: Who was that then ?) Cranfield his name was, Charles Cranfield and he died actually while I was still there.

Q:    So you went on to Braintree to the High School did you ?

Mr G:    Yes, I got a scholarship from the school at the Guithavon Road [Street] and went on to Braintree.

Q:    Oh that was good. Not many people did that in those days.

Mr G:    No, oh scholarships were very hard to get. There were only, sometimes there was only one, or not any but the year that I won it there were two of us. And that was the first time two boys names got put on the Honours Board. What happened to that Honours Board I don’t know [laugh]. (Q: Who was the other one ? Do you know ?) Chap name Lawrence, who I think still lives in Hatfield Peverel.(Q: Really?) He used to run a radio shop there. But what’s become of him I don’t, I think he sort of took to the bottle a bit. (Q: Yes.) And I don’t think he’s in the best of health at the moment, if he’s still alive.

Q:    But your father helped in the business ?

Mr G:    My father worked in the business. He was brought up, most of the mainstay of the business yes.

Q:    Did he have brothers and sisters ?

Mr G:    Yes, he had two brothers but they both moved they were both, one was, they were both apprenticed to the carpentry trade and they moved down to the Southend area, Shoeburyness and one of them eventually became Clerk of Works to Essex County Council, the younger one did, and his son was in the Surveyor’s Department, till he retired and then he died a few years after retirement. He lived at Danbury. One of my younger cousins.

Q:    But your grandfather had the business right up till …?

Mr G:    Up to the time he died, in 1928, ‘24 I’m sorry, ’24.

Q:    But your Father sort of, how old was he, was your father more or less running the business ?

Mr G:    He was more or less. Mr grandfather never went out on the rounds or anything like that, ‘cause all the rounds were done by horse and cart, you see. (Q: Really?) We used to serve nearly all the Terling and Fairstead villages, a lot of White Notley and Faulkbourne and quite a bit of Wickham Bishops and some of the town as well. We had a little sort of small delivery by bicycle in Witham town itself, because there were two or three other butchers in the High Street at that time. There was Goodchilds and Gibbs and Sorrell and a little chap who used to make sausages, Hasler. I think those were the chief butchers in the town then. And then Loveday took over Goodchild’s business and eventually Fuller, the man who bought our business, moved into the High Street only whether he closed the shop or what happened there I don’t know. Eventually most of the premises got pulled down and it’s where that square is now but I think the one shop there [6 or 8 Church Street] that sells radio stuff does it, that little shop on, the first or the last piece of building that you come to as you go up Church Street, before the square opens out. (Q: Yes) I think that’s part of where our shop front was. But it isn’t actually the shop front, because we, at one time lived opposite, in those houses with the bow fronts, bay windows, [20-22 Chipping Hill] that face onto the Green, Chipping Hill on the other side, but our back gate opened right opposite the shop front door. So all we had to do was walk across the road out of our property, out of our premises. But my father only rented that house and eventually the landlord, who lived next to the White Horse, [at 4 Church Street] he wanted to live in there so he asked my father to leave and then we moved into Easton Road for a time (Q: Oh did you?) well, till we moved out and went to Chelmsford.

Q:    So you didn’t ever live actually over the shop did you ? (Q: No, we didn’t). Was there anyone else ?

Mr G:     Oh yes, my two Aunts and my grandfather. (Q: Oh I see) And an occasional apprentice ‘cause my grandfather used to have an apprentice. There were various people around the locality who knew my grandfather, and my grandfather, although I say it myself, was, and my father, they were both very good butchers and people used to send their sons to be apprenticed with my grandfather. So, occasionally, he had an apprentice staying on the property.

Q:    Did you help in the shop ?

Mr G:    I worked in the shop on Saturdays and odd days in the holidays perhaps but mostly on Saturdays. I used to earn my railway fare to Braintree.

Q:    So what did you do when you left school ? You didn’t ever consider going into the …?

Mr G:    It was too hard work for me. We were all frightened off butchering. In those days it was a very very hard job. My father used to get up at four o’clock in the morning very often at the end of week, tail end of the week, say Thursday, Friday and Saturday and be at work by five or half-past, cutting out. You see, in those days, they used to go round the villages and take orders. (Q: Mmm.) At Terling we had a round three times a week, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The main round was on a Saturday but on Tuesdays and Thursdays they used to deliver some joints to the people who were more able to afford more meat during the week and on those days or on the Saturday for the people who only had one joint a week, we used to take our orders for the following week. Well then, they had to get up early on a Saturday morning to cut all those joints off because people ordered what they wanted. They’d say two pound of steak or so many pounds of rib of beef or what have you and that all used to be prepared and put in the cart and off to …, (Q: Yes.) and by the time they’d cut …And there was another round on a Saturday as well at Fairstead. So there was quite a lot of meat to be cut up you see, ready for delivery. Then we used to send it out. Well Father used to do the Terling round mostly and, on occasion, when I was older, when I was about thirteen I used to do the Fairstead round (Q: really?). And bring home about twenty pounds in my pocket, with the horse and cart. Sometimes in the dark of a winter’s night the horse taking its own head, and seeing its way home (Q: Goodness.)

Q:    So you’d take the money as you delivered it ?

Mr G:    Yes, take the money as we delivered it. Mostly. Occasionally people used to pay for the last week’s joint and occasionally some used to leave it and get into debt a bit. But there weren’t many people who got into debt. Very few really.

Q:    What did you have to do if they did ?

Mr G:    Well, I don’t know really what they did do. I mean they just had to wait for their money if they could. Because you had to be sympathetic to people in those days. You knew if they hadn’t paid they couldn’t pay unless you really knew that they were squandering their money but then you just stopped calling. You couldn’t afford to keep calling and taking orders for joints that you weren’t going to get paid for.

Q:    So you did get some, I mean by the sound of it, you are describing the joints, you had some quite well-off customers ?

Mr G:    Nearly all the farming people. Because they were nearly all employed by the Lord Rayleigh estates (Q: Yes.) which is not like it is now. Wasn’t Lord Rayleigh Farms and Strutt and Parker farms like it is now,  it was just the Rayleigh family run the estate but later they were formed into these companies. And the Rayleigh family were, I think, on the whole I could say from my experience, they were fairly good to their employees. They always gave them meat at Christmas time. My grandfather used to kill two extra bullocks at Christmas time to be distributed. They’d be sent in by the Rayleigh family, they’d be sent in to be killed and cut up and Father used to go over to Terling Place and cut up the meat and deliver it to the, or give it to the people. They had, oh I don’t know quite how they did it but they had an allowance of so much per family, according to the number of people in the family, there was so much weight of meat allowed for them. And they had groceries too I believe.

Q:    Did you supply any meat to Lord Rayleigh himself ?

Mr G:    Oh yes, I don’t remember them having any other butcher but my grandfather (Q: Really?) when I was in the business and Parkers too, mostly. They used to change occasionally but Lord Rayleigh I never knew of any other butcher going to the house at all. (Q: No?)

Mrs G:        And how much did they …?

Mr G:    Oh well, it just depends. Sometimes they’d send an order in, although there was no means of getting an order in until we put the phone on about 1922 or 3, something like that. Then they used to phone an order in and if they’d got visitors to lunch perhaps they’d have a saddle of mutton or something like that, about half a sheep, nearly half a sheep [Laugh] for lunch, or if they’d got a shooting party or anything like that. But mostly they organised it so that they’d got the meat available. Occasionally we used to have to get there early in the morning, or earlier in the morning than we normally would because they wanted it for lunch that day. Normally the cook, or the housekeeper, would order their meat. Same as the rest of the Strutt family because there were three of the Strutts lived in Terling. There was Edward Strutt that lived at Whitelands, I don’t know if you know Whitelands do you? (Q: Yes, the offices?) Yes, the offices now. But Edward Strutt, that was the brother of the then Lord Rayleigh, lived there and Gerald Strutt lived at, oh what’s the name of that house, now, Red House or something, White House, where they play cricket in the grounds. Well there, at that moment we always served them as well. The housekeepers of course ran the house and they ordered what was needed.

Q:    So you dealt with the housekeepers ?

Mr G:    That’s right, we dealt with the housekeepers and they had a book which was sent in every so often as to what they had and the account would be settled. I don’t know whether by cheque because I never deal with that. My aunts dealt with all the accounts.

Q:    I see, they did all the money side of it.

Mr G:    Yes, they were in the office or what we called the counting house then. [Laugh] (Q: What, both of them?) Well they used to take it in turn but the eldest one who incidentally lived till she was 91 and died in the old peoples home here, Park View in 1970. (Q: Really?) But she was the one who did most of the booking in and she’d sit there and the men, father, there was another man and sometimes two, but father – grandfather, father and, there’d be three of them at least cutting off. They would cut the joints, weigh it, price it and call out all the details to my aunt who was the clerk really and she would put it in the book, in the day book and then eventually if that wasn’t paid for it would be transferred to a ledger to those people’s names. That’s how they used to run that. That’s the only bit I can remember about it.

Q:    So did most people pay cash ?

Mr G:    Oh a lot of people used to come in the shop and pay cash. Yes.

Q:    And then some would have sort of, pay at intervals would they ?

Mr G:    The local people used to come in and pay for meat as they had it but on the delivery round it was always booked out to them you see and then the person who was delivering, like myself for instance or my father, we’d have a book with us and we’d write down all the money we took. And when we got back at night we’d book that all in. And all those would be crossed off then you see straight away and the money paid in. The book would be added up and the money paid in what you’d taken so the book and your money had to tally.

Q:    Quite involved really if everybody was taking money out on the rounds

Mr G:    Oh yes it was. I used to take half sovereigns and sovereigns. That’s a thing you’ve never done is it (Q: No.) [laugh]

Q:    You didn’t take Lord Rayleigh’s money, you didn’t take the farmers’ money ?

Mr G:    Oh no, no, we’d take the ordinary peoples money, the workers, the working people’s money. There was quite a few of the well-to-do people that used to pay on the nail as it were or pay on delivery.

[comment about tea etc., not noted]

We used to kill about two bullocks a week in normal times and various, quite a number of sheep and pork in season. We only had pork when there was an R in the month. (Q: Really?) My grandfather was noted for his sausages too.  Used to make their own sausages. (Q: Hmm.) Always used to sell out, never had enough sausages.

Q:    Who would make those ?

Mr G:    Well they’d make them, my aunts would prepare and some times us children would help cutting up the pork to put in the mincer to mince it up and also we would cut up the fat to make lard and we used to make those into, my aunts used to make brawn too which used to sell very well. Pork brawn. That was only in season of course. (Q: Yes.)

Q:    Sometimes there were separate pork butchers weren’t there ?

Mr G:    Yes there were. there was one, I think Gibbs was more or less a separate pork butcher in the town, but during the war-time, in the First World War, he started selling imported New Zealand lamb because they used to ship the lamb in, frozen lamb because things were a little bit difficult then if people were on ration and they used to have to draw their ration of meat and, of course if he just sold pork, no he wouldn’t have enough sale you see. So he went over to lamb and a little bit of beef as well I think.

Q:    When did imported, did your grandfather ever do any imported meat ?

Mr G:    Oh, yes he had to during the War [First War] because otherwise he wouldn’t have had anything else. Yes, they had no end of Argentine meat in those days. Argentine was a very great supplier of meat but my grandfather looked down his nose when he found he had to have imported meat. He didn’t think much of that. (Q: No.)

Q:    But that was in the 1914- (Mr G: 1914-18 War yes.) So what did he give it up after that, do you think, or … ?

Mr G:    Oh yes, he gave up imported meat as soon as he could. He used to pride himself. on the quality of his meat. I must say that. A lot of his meat came from Devon, from Devon cattle. Now there was a farmer out at Braxted, his name was Perry, I don’t think he’s been dead very long. You know Little Braxted Church do you ?(Q: Mmm.) there’s a farm just this side of it, after you get over the river, isn’t there. Well he had a brother apparently in Devon and he used to send cattle up here and my grandfather used to go over there and inspect it and buy it and they’d be haggling for hours. And sometimes he’d say to me would you like to come over with me to Braxted and I’d go and sit in the car and he and Mr Perry would go off and they’d walk round this farmyard leaving me sitting in this car and I’d think they’d never coming back. And they’d talk and talk and talk. and talk and talk. And eventually my grandfather would come back and we’d drive off home. A few days later some drover would come up to the back gate and deliver about half a dozen bullocks. (Q: I see, yes.) They used to be grazed in that field, the second field from this road here [Powershall End], which is now full of houses. My grandfather hired that from the Strutt and Parker Farm (Q: I see, yes.). The cattle were grazing there until he was ready to kill them. And occasionally he used to go to the market too, because there was a market in Witham in those days, a cattle market, which was fairly well supported too, and he always used to endeavour to buy the Christmas prize bullock from the, from there.

[comment on tea, not noted]

We had three horses at one time and eventually one of them had to be killed because it broke its leg and he didn’t buy another one in place of it. One of them was very spirited and that’s what we did all our deliveries with. Just before my grandfather died he was thinking about then having a motor van to do deliveries because the old Fords were just coming in then. Ford T models and they were two pedal jobs I think and he did say to me once I’m wondering whether to buy a van, a car instead of having the horses because hay began to get rather dear to buy to feed them with and that sort of thing. It was a question whether the petrol and maintenance of the car was dearer than feeding horses with hay, and stabling them. You see you had to stable them, buy straw for them, oats for them and all that sort of thing.

Q:    So you kept the horses out in the fields as well ?

Mr G:    The horses, in the summer time they used to graze out there. Of course in the winter time they were stabled all the time when they weren’t working.

Q:    And the slaughter house was?

Mr G:    There were two slaughter houses. One attached to the shop, one near the shop which was a bit more modern than the one up the yard. The one down the bottom we only killed pigs and sheep in. That had modern drainage and all the facilities, coppers for scalding the pigs, two coppers they had there. But the one up the yard was very primitive. There was only a sort of a sump hole which all the intestines and things used to drain into and the blood and stuff used to drain. Then we used to have to empty that after slaughtering. Eventually they did connect it up to a sewer. I don’t know how long for. I think it must have been five or six years before he died it had been connected up. Oh yes and we used to kill by candle light in the winter time. Christmas time the whole family, or us elder boys anyway, used to be enlisted to hold candles so that they could see to skin the beasts as they were being slaughtered. and dressed. Very often I’ve been holding a candle there at twelve o’clock at night while they were killing the Christmas beef.

Q:    Did they not have gas light or anything ?

Mr G:    No, there was no gas light. There was very little. They didn’t have gas down in the bottom, they were fish-tail burners. We didn’t have modern things like that. There weren’t many mantles about or incandescent lights. They were mostly fish tail burners. I think they did eventually have mantles, yes incandescent light in the house but that would have been too expensive to have laid it on to the slaughterhouses. But you know mostly they killed the pigs and sheep in daylight. But the bullocks, very often in the middle of the winter time they had to use, do it at night time because of the … Well, they did have hurricane lamps too, occasionally use hurricane lamps just to help dispel the gloom.

Q:    It must have been a pretty skilful job ?

Mr G:    Yes, it was a skilful job

Q:    How long did the apprentices have to serve ?

Mr G:    I don’t know. I should say about the normal three years.

Q:    Did they usually stay on as assistants after that ?

Mr G:    No, they’d go off on their own somewhere perhaps or go back to their own parents’ business. (Q: Yes.) I remember one in particular came from Waltham, name of Campin, I saw him after we were married, he used to deliver meat up our road didn’t he ? Lou Campin. He was apprenticed with my grandfather. (Q: So they just came for the benefit of his …) Experience, yes, yes. Because you see butchers are not nowadays, most of the butchers are not like they used to be. They were really highly skilled people, butchers and slaughter men.

Q:    Did the slaughter men just specialise ?

Mr G:    Well, in some businesses. Nowadays mostly slaughter men are just slaughter men. They work in these abattoirs and they don’t do anything else but slaughter (Q: No.) Then the meat is carved and quartered and then delivered to the buyers. I mean you might get anybody’s meat in any butchers shop. Two or three butchers might have the same meat off the same animal almost. You see. (Q: Quite.) But it was more individual in those days. The butchers used to buy their own beef or cattle and sheep and slaughter their own when they were ready. My grandfather very often used to have thirty to forty sheep running in that field over there, ready for bringing in for slaughter as he needed them.

Q:    So it was just the same people that served in the shop really ?

Mr G:    Oh yes, yes. Same people that slaughtered were butchers as well. Slaughter man and butcher combined but they didn’t just specialise in the one thing.

Q:    The busiest time of year was …?

Mr G:    The busiest time of year was Christmas time generally, yes. Specially when we had the gift meat to look after as well. (Q: Yes. That was for Lord Rayleigh’s?) Yes. And at Coronation time we did have a hectic time I remember. One Coronation, well that must have been 1910 because I was only very young then. I remember going with father. He had to find some of the most outlandish places to deliver this gift meat. (Q: That was gift …) That had to be delivered. That was done by Lord Rayleigh I think. But there were some of these farms with tenant farmers, well, they were up beaten tracks and you wouldn’t realise farms were there. Some of them still exist today. I can take you round Terling and show you some odd spots that perhaps you wouldn’t realise there were farms there.

Q:    You had to take them all individually?

Mr G:      Well that Coronation Day I remember we did, the Coronation meat. But that’s quite a long long while ago. I forget really much about it. I think it must have been 1910 because that was George V (Q: Yes that’s it, when Edward died).

Q:    I’m sure somebody has spoken to me about getting tickets from the church in Witham to spend ?

Mr G:    I believe they used to. Now, I’m not sure that, I can’t remember tickets for meat but I remember, this was apart from the business side, I was in the choir at St Nicholas at one time. My grandfather was actually churchwarden for a number of years too. I meant to have brought over photostat copy that I’ve got – (BG I think you’ve seen that, from Chipping Hill School, that magazine, Parish magazine).

Q:    I think they had some things on show. [talk over]

Mr G:    Yes they had an exhibition there several years ago. That’s right I went up and took them.  Well I saw this magazine with my grandfather’s name on and I happen to know the husband of one of the teachers there. Mrs Conley. And she said I will get you a photostat copy of it and he brought me two photostat copies of the June and March wasn’t it, in 1905 that was and it shows my grandfather’s name as churchwarden with a Mr Thomas.

[chat about Mr G visiting Chipping Hill School and giving talk a few years previously, and them having old parish magazine etc., not noted]

Q:    So your grandfather had, he found time for doing other things ?

Mr G:    Oh yes, he was an Urban Councillor and chairman of the Urban Council and a JP as well. (BG: We always think there ought to be a Greatrex Road or something, because all the other ones …) (Q: Yes.) All the other people, all my grandfather’s contemporaries have been mentioned, commemorated in the town, but my grandfather hasn’t. (Q: No.) and he was chairman of the Council for quite a number of years. He was on the Council and he was a JP. He was actually a JP at the time he died.

Q:    That must have been quite time-consuming ?

Mr G:    Oh yes, he used to go out quite a lot in the evenings times.

Q:    He had quite a lot of family to help him I suppose.

Mr G:    Well, father used to, my father really was the mainstay of the business. (BG: He wasn’t the oldest though – another voice). Yes father was the oldest. The others had their apprenticeships paid for them and father was put into the business.

Q:    So how old was your grandfather when he …?

Mr G:    Grandfather? Now, I’m not sure whether he was 72 or 78. I could find out by going down to the churchyard. [laugh]

Q:    So he kept himself pretty busy. Did your father do any of these things in the church as well ?

Mr G:    No, father didn’t have time. (BG: Grandfather, my grandfather [???] do the work here). (Q: I see, yes.) My father, he worked all the hours that he could in that business. Really worked hard all the time. When he wasn’t working in the business he was trying to run an allotment where all these houses are just down the road here. That glebe land that was sold by the Church [Saxon Drive]. Well we had an allotment, twenty rod allotment on there which father used to keep going as well and, ‘cos there were eight of us in the family you see (Q: Quite.) and wages weren’t very high. They weren’t anything like they are nowadays. And so he had a job to keep things going.

Q:    So he got a wage sort of from …?

Mr G:    Yes, grandfather paid him a wage same as any of the other men. He didn’t share in the profits of the business or anything of that sort.

Q:    So do you think he would have hoped to carry on with the business, your father ?

Mr G:    He would have done I think if he had got enough money to have bought it when it was sold. Because the business and premises when they were sold made two thousand pounds, I know that but, mind you that was a fair amount of money in those days. (Q: Quite.)

Q:    Because some businesses did seem to …

Mr G:    Oh the goodwill was worth quite a bit really. Actually it was the biggest business in the town. (Q: Really.) Because, how we found out, during the War [First World War], all the butchers had to assess their number of customers and they were allocated so much meat for every customer (Q: Yes.) and they used to have to go round to the goods yard and take their proportion of meat according to the number of customers. Well, when they first started, Sorrell claimed to be the biggest butcher in the town with my grandfather in second place. Goodchild’s followed and the others were sort of minor fry. Well, eventually the counting of the ration books was done by the Ministry and they found out that my grandfather was far the biggest butcher. He’d been receiving only the second grade or second quantity allowance of meat and Sorrell had been taking more than his ration. But that was put right after that you see. It was rather late in the War that happened. (Mrs G: There must have been [???] going on under the counter.) (BG: It was Aunt Alice and Lizzie were doing under the counter business.) (Q: Were they?) But that was when I think Clines[?], Mr Clines was the man who brought this in. He ran the Ministry of whatever it was, the Ministry of Food.

Q:    I didn’t realise it was restricted in the First …

Mr G:    It wasn’t restricted right from the start. I can’t tell you the from when it was restricted but fairly early.  When they started the U-boat war they had to transport nearly all the meat, I don’t know really why we had to have more foreign meat, Argentinian meat than we could have our own unless its because of people being taken off the land to join the army because they were scouring at the end of the War they were really taking them right down to the dregs almost in age and abilities. If you were eighteen you were in the Army (Q: Mmm.) as soon as you were eighteen you went in the Army. If I had been another couple of years older, I should have been taken in.

Q:    So it made quite a difference to people at home. Would they be worse off do you think or, with the folks away ?

Mr G:    I think yes they were, yes, because you see when they went in the Army they got a shilling a day, and they couldn’t send much of that home could they. That’s what the Army were paid when they were called up – a shilling a day.

Q:    So when you got this meat allocation was it rationed, did you have to ration it out to the customers as well ?

Mr G:    Yes, we had to have, they had coupons, same as in the last War, they had coupons, and we used to have to tear them off and count them and that sort of thing, send them up to be …. Oh yes there were special books and there was a great kerfuffle. ‘Cos when we went on the rounds you see, not only did we have to collect the money, we had to collect the coupons as well.

Q:    Must have been a bit complicated. You reckon they didn’t always … ?

Side 2

[Chat about tape recorder etc., not noted]

Q:    You reckon there was a bit of extra. You’ve heard some tales have you, that aren’t fit to print? (BG: I’ve heard tales about the two spinster aunts.)

Mr G:    I think they used to look after themselves, that’s all really. They were a little bit on the selfish side. (Mrs G: They’d pay the grocer out of the till.) Well they used to do little things like that. I realise it now. I didn’t at the time that they used to sometimes, one of them used to day to me ‘Well we don’t take any money out of the till’, but very often if the baker called – course the bakers did the same sort of thing as the butchers did, you see, in those days. If the baker called with a joint, they’d just put their hand in the till although they had their allowance for housekeeping you see. (Q: Oh, I see.) They feathered their own nest a little bit.

Q:    Like your father had wages they had …?

Mr G:    Well they had housekeeping and I don’t know quite what the arrangement was with my aunts. I can’t say at all. (Q: But the money was supposed to be …?) They should have paid everything out of the housekeeping money. They had so much of an allowance for housekeeping. How my grandfather remunerated them all together I just don’t know. I mean I was too young to bother about things like that.

Q:    I mean if it was a family business in a way you would expect in a way that you almost would pay out of the till for … ? (BG: No, Grandfather was a businessman. He treated his …)

Mr G:    Well, no, you see, the two aunts ran the house and the accounting side of it. They looked after all the house itself. And my father worked in the business itself but the aunts they worked in the business too. as, you know doing the accountancy and that sort of thing but (BG: Later on when Great-grandma, my great-grandma died they ran the house.) No they ran the house all the time. Grandma was away. She went and put herself away ‘cause I think she got a bit fed up of things in general. And she went and sort of put herself into Brentwood, although according to report when the business was sold that she was still of sound mind but she was just there. My grandfather used to have to pay for her to be there. What I could never make out what it was all about. (BG: One of those mystery things  that was. When they were ill they were put away in those days as I understand it.) Well, I remember some little phrase in the bills that were put out about the sale of the business and grandmother, but which really meant to say that she needn’t have been there, that she’d gone there from her own choice, but my grandfather used to have to pay for her to be there you see. So much to be paid.

Another thing about the business was, that might be interesting to you, especially if there’d been pieces in the paper about these Lordships of the Manor being sold. Have you seen them ? (Q: Oh yes.) Well now that premises didn’t belong to the Lord of the Manor but when my grandfather first owned it and until, I don’t know quite when it was redeemed, but the premises were copyhold, not freehold (Q: Really?) yes and my father did explain to me that my grandfather had to pay the Lord of the Manor so much every year. I don’t know who the Lord of the Manor was. (BG: [???]) It could have been, I don’t know.

Q:    I think it was Chipping, I’m not sure. There was a Chipping Manor. I don’t know if the owner of it was necessarily anything to do with Witham by then. It might have been a Du Cane was it ?

Mr G:    It could have been, it could have been one of the Universities or something like that. (BG: [???] in the Record Office would tell you something about that.]

Q:    I’m not sure but there are some separate, there are some manor books as well which I haven’t really gone into but it’s strange that it’s copyhold because most of the shops I think were probably freehold.

Mr G:    Yes, well now, that was copyhold right until only a few years before my grandfather died. (Q: Mmm.) because I remember something about it being redeemed, the copyhold being redeemed, and strangely enough when we moved to Chelmsford (BG: Who was patron of the church ? I don’t know who the patron of the church …). I don’t know who is. I don’t know who’s the patron there. But I do know that Canon Galpin who was the vicar there was offered the living of Faulkbourne and the living of Faulkbourne was of much greater worth than the living of St Nicholas. (Q: Yes.) ‘Cause it was eight hundred pound a year plus that big house that runs down to the Warren, as you turn down to the Warren Farm, there’s a big house on the left. Well that was the Vicarage and the stipend from the patronage was eight hundred a year which was good money in those days you know. When the average wage for a farm labourer was about thirteen and sixpence and a tradesman was about thirty shillings (BG: Yes, but you know why that’s different, St Nicholas has an enormous amount of glebe) Yes, maybe, but even then I don’t know the ramifications of it really. But I do know my grandfather, or the copyhold was redeemed. But what I was going to say was, is that its rather strange that when we went up to, we moved to Chelmsford, we moved into London Road where we had to pay tithe on the house there. But eventually that was redeemed, we redeemed that for a very small sum it wasn’t much, and we used to have to pay that, now, we used to have to pay it to Cunnington[?] the solicitor at Braintree and they, it was for one of the, I think it was Cambridge University or something like that, that this tithe belonged to.

Q:    So your father moved up to Chelmsford ?

Mr G:    Yes, we moved up to Chelmsford and he took various jobs in various areas. (Mrs G: He went into several butchers shops.) Oh he worked in, first of all he worked in Kelvedon for Bacon the butcher there. Used to travel from Witham to Kelvedon because he’d more or less signed away his right to work within so many miles of Witham. So he went down to and then he found that wasn’t very convenient so we decided, by that time too he was getting almost to retiring age, and so he bought some property in London Road and we moved up there. (Mrs G: Then he worked at Rowes[?].) Oh he worked for Rowe[?] the butcher for s time. (Mrs G: And Candler.) Oh yes, for a little while in Moulsham Street, yes. But he was getting near retiring age. Didn’t work for them for a very long time. (Mrs G: A few years I believe he did.) W-e-ll. I forget what his age was now when we moved.

Q:    Have you always been in Chelmsford since then ?

Mr G:    Since then we’ve been in Chelmsford yes. (Mrs G: About 192’?) 1928 we moved to Chelmsford.

Q:    What did you do after you’d finished at the High School ?

Mr G:    Well, [laugh] jobs were ten a penny then, no not jobs were ten a penny, jobs were hard to get and I was out of work for three months (Q: Yes.) and eventually an uncle of mine on my mother’s side came to see her one day and he said ‘Has Maurice got a job ?’ and she said ‘No.’ He was a builder actually and he said ‘Well he can come and work for me for a time if he likes’. And I was glad to get a job and I went and worked for him and I stayed with him for about three years and then I went on to Marconi’s in the same sort of, in the woodworking line only it was a much higher skilled job there. It was a very highly skilled woodworking job that we did there. I stayed there until about 1928 and then I worked up in London for a film, Agfa people selling films and cameras and things like that in London as a traveller. Well then came the big Depression and I was out of work again (Q: Yes.) and I was out of work at odd times, my uncle took me back for a little while in his builders’ business but he got slack again so I had to go from there. But eventually Marconi’s got a big order from Rumania to make fit up vehicles up with wireless telegraphy and that sort of thing. It’s much more crude than it is today, let me tell you, and they heard that I was out of work and they sent for me and asked me to go back. So I went back there and stayed until I retired.

Q:    A bit of a far cry from the butchery business ?

Mr G:    Yes I finished up as a charge hand in the woodworking shop when I retired and I’ve been retired eleven years now.

Q:    Goodness. He looks well on it, doesn’t he ? [laugh] (Mrs G: Well, partly retired.)

Mr G:    Yes, partly retired. I’ve been doing a part-time job for the Essex County Council since I retired actually, at the Grammar School, but they’ve pushed me off now because they say I’m too old. [Laugh] The funny part about it is that they’ve sent me a letter to say that they are not keeping on anybody over 65 except under exceptional circumstances. Well they took me on when I was nearly 67 [Laugh]. (Mrs G: But you see that there was a lot of out of work in those days.) Oh yes. People don’t know what it is to be out of work really, the people who are out of work today (Mrs G. No, they don’t.) they don’t know a thing. I mean, how much did we get when I was out of work ? (Mrs G: I haven’t got a clue. No idea.) We didn’t have enough to pay the rent with anyway, really. Fortunately I wasn’t out long, about three months. (Mrs G: But it never worried me, that was the funny thing, the strange thing about it. We seemed to carry on more or less the same.) [???] stretch that I was out. And then I got something to do for a little while even if it was only temporary.

Q:    Going back again. I suppose they’d be mostly farm workers in Witham would they when you were young ? What would their employment … ?

Mr G:    Well yes, there were several building people in the town. There was a joiner’s place at the back of, well it’s difficult to describe, at the back of what is, is it called Earlsmead now ? That road down by the station, the new piece of road. Well where the road joins there, the new road, the back of the Albert Hotel, or the Black Boy, some people used to call it [between the Albert and 1 Braintree Road]. Down that yard there used to be a joinery firm. (BG: Cullen’s has always been there, the seed merchant.) Yes, well, of course there were quite a few people employed at Cullen’s and Cooper Tabor’s. Then Crittall’s started their factory there in 192’, when did they start, I’d left school, about 1920 or 21 I think, Crittall’s opened their factory in Witham. Of course that brought business there but apart from that they were employed in the big houses and that sort of thing. Because there was a big house, The Grove, Percy Laurence, he had quite a few people working there, gardeners and grooms and chauffeur, that sort of thing. And The Lodge, Pelly, they had gardeners and grooms and that sort of thing too. Of course that got burned down [Witham Lodge]. You know where I mean, Pelly, The Lodge (Q: Yes.) Well there was a big family there. Admiral Luard used to live there when I was a child and he got killed in an accident when a horse or horses ran away with him. Then the Pelly family bought it and after they, now what happened ? It was empty for a long long while then somebody bought it and there was a bit of a mystery about the fire that burnt it down. It was always thought it was arson you know, deliberate arson by the people who owned it to get the insurance money. Because I think they were rather suspected of that sort of thing in other parts of the country as well.

Q:    Yes, I can just about remember that. These big houses that you mentioned, would they be customers of the shop when you were there?

Mr G:    Well, Pellys were. Percy Laurence wasn’t. He wasn’t one of our customers but several of the big houses down the Avenue Road were but we didn’t serve a lot of people in the town (Q: No.), because you see there was the local butcher Goodchild who had been [???] (BG: You were out of town really, you were at Chipping Hill.) (Q: [???] separate then, yes.) Yes my grandfather’s business was mostly rounds (Q: Yes.) and the local people, just in Church Street and round up to the station, that area. Albert Road, Braintree Road, Chalks Road, we used to have quite a few customers in Chalks Road. Church Street, the top end of Church Street, of course a lot of those people up there were very poor people. Some of the houses up there were almost hovels really at one time.

Q:    Did they come, did they have enough money to buy meat sometimes ?

Mr G:    Well they did occasionally, yes. There was one old girl used to come along and pinch it if she had half a chance [Laugh.]

Q:    Really? How did she manage that ?

Mr G:    Well, it used to be on display with the open, the shop front was open you see. I remember one Saturday night she lifted a nice big joint and my father had to chase her up the road.

Q:    Really? Would there be any cheap cuts and things that they …?

Mr G:    Well, yes. People would get three pennyworth of pieces in those days. Very often children would come in to the shop for three pennyworth of pieces for a pudding and they’d make a nice pudding out of three pennyworth of pieces. Now those pieces would go into beef sausages and things of that sort. If they’re made by the butchers themselves. (BG: But you were almost on the end of the line, I mean it was all farmland after this.) I know, but you see grandfather he had this big round at Terling. I should say we served 75 per cent of the people that lived in Terling village and the same in Fairstead and Fuller Street. I could take you round those places and say we used to call there, there, there, there, there, can’t remember the names of all the people now but then there was Faulkbourne and Notley. We used to go out this way and home the other way. Cressing Temple. Now the Cullens were always customers of ours. Thomas Cullen at the corner of White Horse Lane [16 Chipping Hill]. Used to be Thomas Cullen there. I don’t know who it is there now, ‘cause he must be dead. He was near to my grandfather’s age. Then his brother Frank lived over at Cressing Temple where the tithe barn is. And all those farms along the road. That used to be my first delivery on a Saturday morning. I used to load up the bicycle with their joints and cycle out there, calling at the Waterworks, no Elm Farm first. That would be my first call, or the level crossing. Dodds, the level crossing. I can remember the people who kept that. Dodds kept the level crossing. I can’t remember the people who lived at Elm Farm, nor the people at Hole Farm. Then we used to call at the Waterworks as well. Then there was another farm on the right hand side of the road. There was a Mrs Hull there and then further along, there was Hole Farm as I said, about two or three farm cottages down there, we used to go down under the railway line a little low arch. And then further along to Cressing Temple and then there were some cottages just beyond Cressing Temple on the other side. We used to serve those. But we used to come, that’s where I, I used not to go any further than Cressing Temple because on Friday afternoon the round used to come the other way and finish up at those cottages and on Friday afternoon too there used to be two small rounds, another one at Wickham Bishops. we used to go round Wickham Bishops on the high road, no we didn’t go up the high road we went on the low road and past Wickham Bishops station and almost on to Langford but not quite.

Q:    So you didn’t really need the customers in Witham, …?

Mr G:     No, not so much. See my grandfather, I think they built up this business by calling on people and asking for their custom which my father used to do and if he found a new person moved in he always used to go round and call for their custom.

Q:    And em, well, I suppose people like places Lord Rayleigh and so on, it’d just be a matter of having to get their custom, do you think?

Mr G:    I don’t know how grandfather got their custom at all but apparently he satisfied them and I never remember anybody else we used to call there about three times a week and we always did the gift meat for them. Two bullocks every Christmas.

Q:    I was asking about these tickets. You say you didn’t have church tickets ?

Mr G:    I don’t remember. They may have come in and I’d not known anything about it you see, because I wasn’t at the shop all the time. I was only there on a Saturday morning if I was helping in the business at all, or perhaps I might go over one evening. Father would say ‘I want you to come and hold a candle for me tonight’. [Laugh]

Q:    Did you ever turn anybody away from the shop. Well, you said there was this old girl who you had to chase off?

Mr G:    Well, no, I can’t remember them ever … You see people would spend threepence and sixpence. They’d come and get three pennyworth of suet to make a pudding with or six pennyworth of suet to make a pudding and three pennyworth of pieces. Well they’d get enough to make a nice little meal with that, you see. And that’s how they eked their money out, the poorer people.

Q:    What happened at the end of the week if you had bits left ?

Mr G:    Well, in the wintertime it would keep, but in the summertime we had an ice house, an ice cupboard where my grandfather used to buy ice from London, used to come down, Frascati’s the name of the people were. I remember seeing their labels on. It used to come in huge blocks, about as big as that and then we used to have to measure up the cupboard and then get a saw and saw through this ice to pack in the cupboard the most economical way and that would keep this ice cupboard cool, this room, it was like a little room, like a big pantry you see and the shelves would be lined with lead and as the ice melted it ran to the back and then dripped down and we had a bath at the back to catch the water that dripped out. This was before refrigerators came in [laugh]. And that’s how they kept the meat cool in the summer time.

Q:    So didn’t have to sell it off as it was getting older ?

Mr G:    Oh, no, no. Well, meat wasn’t like it is now you know. My grandfather had a bit of a fit when he was told he’d got to charge two shillings- a pound for rump steak [laugh].

Q:    How did he decide what to charge ?

Mr G:    Well, at one time, they used to charge what they liked. But after the, at the end of the First World War there were fixed prices for joints and there was the list up in the shop. So much for this such and such a joint, so much per pound for that and there were regulated prices.

Q:    But otherwise do you think there were differences between the shops ?

Mr G:    No, not at that time. Oh I daresay there was at other times. (Q: So it would be up to him really ? ) Yes but I think he used to try and keep his prices in line with other people. You know if he knew …

Q:    Did he know the other butchers ?

Mr G:    Oh yes, he knew the other butchers personally, yes and I mean they’d meet at the market and have a natter with one another you know. There was a little bit of rivalry of course but it was friendly rivalry.

Mrs G:        How long did that load of ice last ?

Mr G:    I can’t remember. I think they used to have about, I’m not sure, one or two deliveries a week.

Mrs G:        Must have been an awful business to measure out this ice.

Mr G:    Well, it wasn’t really. It was only measured roughly so that it could get on the shelf, and pack the shelf as tightly and as full as you can you see. Because the ice that came in wasn’t brought in to fit the shelves. You had to cut it out of the block to get on to the shelves and I mean you might, it might only come half the height and you had to cut another piece off to jam in up the top.
BG:    What about your special bangers ?

Mr G:    Well we used to make our own sausages that’s all.

Q:    Did you have a secret recipe ?

Mr G:    Well, we had our own recipe (Mrs G: Oh, a very secret recipe.) I’ve got it at home now. I use it sometimes to make sausage meat. I can’t make the, I can’t do the skins, I can’t put the skins on, but I make my own sausage meat sometimes. And we had our own brawn. My aunts used to make their own recipe brawn and that used to sell very well too.

Mrs G:        Pigs’ head brawn.

Mr G:    Yes but she, they used not to make it out of pigs’ heads. I do, because that’s the cheapest meat you can get to take off the bone to make the brawn with. They used to cut up all joints and things like that. That’s what my father used to say, my grandfather used to cut up some of the best joints for his sausages. Of course, pigs in those days were fatter than they are now. The loin of pork would have that much fat on the outside and what they used to do was cut about an inch layer off so you would get a slab of pork about that length and about that width all fat and they’d put that down. And we had two big wooden tubs which were filled with brine. I used to have to make the brine up. Used to have to make it so an egg would float in it. We used to buy our salt from the Maldon Crystal Salt Company and the brine used to be made up and then the pork would be put in there. People used to buy lumps of that and liver and have liver and pork for breakfast instead of bacon you see. Much cheaper than bacon it was. There was a lot of people used to have liver and pork for meals instead of bacon. Well bacon wasn’t so popular as it is now. It was too expensive for people to buy bacon.

Mrs G:        Didn’t you say once there was an extra big pig ?

Mr G:    Oh yes, we killed, during the War [First World War] some of the local farmers, there was Mr Perry, Frank Cullen and Thomas Cullen. They all fattened their own pigs and they got my grandfather to kill ‘em and dress ‘em for them. Well we had one come in from Thomas Cullen, sent his in for himself and his brother. There were two pigs there, they weighed thirty score. One went thirty score and the other one was twenty-eight I think. Well, a score is twenty pounds so you can tell how big those pigs were. And then we went over one night to kill two for Mr Perry, almost the same size. That’s the Mr Perry over at Braxted. We put our tub in the car, our scalding tub, put in the back of the car and drove over there after we’d finished work at night, I went over with my father after he’d finished and we took all everything we needed and went into their dairy and they provided us, out of their dairy they provided us with the water to scald the pig with and we killed this pig and I carried the ‘flair’ that’s the, I don’t know if you understand a pig, but inside a pig there’s a piece that holds the kidneys. It’s where the kidneys, same as the kidney suet in a bullock. But that’s fat, its not suet. Its real fat and we used to strip that out and use that for the lard to make the lard with and I remember this was a cold frosty night and we were working until midnight nearly. As a matter of fact we did have supper afterwards about midnight in the house, in the farmhouse, Father and I with Mr Perry and his housekeeper. But anyway I carried this flair. There was two pieces, after pig’s cut in half, there’s one each side, you see, the kidneys down the back and I carried this flair across, the first piece across the yard from the dairy across to the house and when I walked back to get the second piece there was all spots like candle grease along the pavings where this fat had dripped. Although it was raw fat it had dripped on to the cold stones and frost had frozen it. It looked just like blobs of candle grease along the path. And Mrs Sainty her name was, she was the housekeeper there, she tied[?] this all down into lard.  And then they hung this bacon up in the room and turned it into green bacon. They had their bacon. But cor that must have been fat. There must have been a lot more fat on it than there was lean. ‘Cause these pigs were huge. They would have stood nearly as tall as I did. (Q: Good Lord.).

Q:    But that was a sort of special thing to go out and kill …?

Mr G:    Well, it was only in War time, that was necessity, the mother of invention as it were. These farmers you see had the means to fatten their own pigs.

Q:    So that didn’t sort of go through the system ?

Mr G:    The normal channels, no. They were allowed to do it mind you. They weren’t committing any offence to do that. But they were the only ones that did it. The two Cullens, well Thomas Cullen had them done, had his lot done and he had two pigs done for himself and his brother Frank and Mr Perry had this one done over at …

Q:    Normally they would bring … I mean if the farmers had their own animals that they wanted the meat off them they would still bring them to you to kill?

Mr G:    They never did that, no. The farmers though they reared cattle they never said kill this for me, no. No they used to buy their meat in the normal way. Occasionally father used to buy pigs from the local people in Terling and Fairstead, one or two, there used to be some of the farm labourers used to fatten their own pigs and father would buy them on the round. We’d take a net with us to cover over the top of the cart so they couldn’t get away while we were driving them home. [laugh] But they generally used to sell them. They didn’t have them back as their own, no. They hadn’t got any means of storing them you see because most of these farm cottages were very primitive. You walked over the threshold into the room and probably some of them were earth floors. So you can tell they were.

Q:    I spoke to someone who used to work in Wadley’s [Wadley’s bakers, 48 Church Street] (Mr G: Wadley’s the bakers?) And I think she said they used to drive, occasionally get pigs in and drive them to your place to be killed. Would that be …?

Mr G:    Wadley’s might have done. I think they did sell some pork sometimes. I can’t remember. I’d forgotten about the Wadleys. Because that family, there was a Miss Wadley a relation lived in that house that stands down a bit in Chalks Lane. There was a Miss Wadley lived there. [Dean House] I think she was related to the Wadleys in the bakers, almost next to the Infants School. Used to be a bakers there, Wadley’s (Q: Mmm.). Well now that family sort of they ceased business when they were quite young. I think he died quite young and left her a widow. Then there were some people named Griggs came and they, I think her husband died quite young and then one of the sons was killed by a bomb in Marconi’s during the War. He was burned to death by a bomb that fell on some oil and trapped him up a corner and there were two brothers Griggs. But there’s one of them still alive. I did hear something about one of them the other day. Somebody said they knew a Griggs.

Q:    Well his sister still lives in Chalks Road. (Mr G: A sister of the Griggs ?)

Mr G:    What is her name ?

Q:    Elfreda.

Mr G:    They were much younger than me. I think the two Griggs boys followed on to Braintree a year or two after I did.

Q:    She teaches piano that’s how I know her. (Mr G: Oh.) I think one of the brothers was good at …

Mr G:    Both of them were clever boys. Both of them were. But one of them, as I say, got killed at Marconi’s. I feel sure that was one of those. (Q: Yes.).

Q:    So there were several other shops up Chipping Hill weren’t there ?

Mr G:    There was, my grandfather’s was the first one. There was the White Horse pub, then two houses, two private houses, then my grandfather’s shop. Then there was a builder’s office, Rust, the name was when I was young when we lived opposite. But he died and the business was sold to some people named. oh, dear had the name on the tip of my tongue the other day, now, forget the name, it will come to me, but eventually it went to Adams and Mortimer, that’s the place up White Horse Lane. I think it is about the last place you can get to nowadays. Its still there ?

Q:    Yes, I think it’s somebody else, some other firm owns it but I think they’ve still got … (BG: Yes they’ve been taken over comparatively recently.)

Mr G:    there used to be a sawpit just inside the gate where they used to saw their logs up and that sort of thing. Then further down was a two storey building where the carpentry shop was upstairs and they used to keep the timber down below. Well, there was, Dean, ah, there was Rust, Dean. Well their office was in Church Street. Then there were several cottages and then nearly opposite the bottom church gate there was a place there that used to be a shop at times, and at times it wasn’t. Used to change hands. At one time I think they used to have all sorts of odds and ends, a junk shop what I remember of it. Then there was the rest of the cottages. Then there was the school and then Wadley’s was the next shop and then, on the corner of Chalks Road, was Hasler’s [54 Church Street]. Now that was a little general shop that sold sweets mostly and that sort of thing. That’s the only shops that I can remember.

Q:    So whereabouts did you go for your shopping when you were young ? Did your family do most of their shopping up in Chipping Hill or further afield ?

Mr G:    Well, when Wadleys were alive we had Wadleys’ bread and then after we went to Ardley down at, oh we had Ardley part of the time because Ardley was slightly related to my mother, down at the bottom of the High Street, there used to be a bakers shop down there and Ardleys ran that. [137 Newland Street] And we used to have, of course they used to call round you see. You could get anything brought to your door, even oil, paraffin or anything like that. It was all brought round to the door, milk and …

Q:    So you didn’t really have to go shopping ?

Mr G:     No, not like you do now.

Q:    Was your mother a Witham person ?

Mr G:    I don’t know, oh mother was born at Hutton I think, she was born at Hutton. But her family moved around quite a bit. He did a bit of building. He built some houses in Witham here. You know, you go down Albert Road beside the station. There’s a house there, used to be called Ashlea [15 Albert Road?]. I don’t know if it is now. Well the Crittall family bought it at one time and some of them lived in it. Its right on the corner as you turn round. Does the road still go down and turn round by the old well. (Q: Yes.) Well on that corner there’s a house. Well my grandfather built that, Ashlea. I’ve got a photograph of it at home still. If I’d have thought you might ask that question I’d have brought it along with me. And also those two three-storey houses. [13-14 Albert Road] I think he built those but I’m not sure. I’ve heard somebody say that he did but nobody that really could authenticate it. But I believe he did build them. (Q: The two semi-detached …?) The two semi-detached tall houses. They were. That’s where the Pinkham family started up their glove making business until they had the factories built, which are no long glove factories are they ? (Q: No, they’re something else now.) Well that’s where they first started their business, the Pinkhams, in those two buildings. And then my grandfather he kept the Temperance Hotel [9 Albert Road]. (Mrs G: That’s Grandfather Moore?) Yes Grandfather Moore, that’s mother’s father, used to keep the Temperance Hotel for a number of years but they were roving people. They kept, oh they moved, they lived in two or three different houses in Tiptree, and Tollesbury, and all sorts of places round like that. In Chelmsford I think they … Oh they had two shops in Moulsham Street didn’t they too. Furniture shop – they started a furniture shop in Moulsham Street which my Uncle Stanley took over and my grandmother had the fancy shop, fancy goods shop next door to it, 199. (Mrs G: That’s Moulsham Street?). At one time they lived, do you know where Cramphorn’s fire, was in Moulsham Street (Q: Oh yes I remember it being …) You remember it being burnt down, well my uncle that had the furniture shop, lived there at one time but then they did a swap with Cramphorns. Cramphorns had number 200 opposite which is Orrin’s flower shop now (Q: Yes.) (BG: [???]) What Orrin’s has closed ? (Q: Yes.) Anyway my uncle, that’s my grandfather’s eldest son was my Uncle Stanley. (Q: Mmm.) He lived where Cramphorns’ fire was and Cramphorns had that premises but we went up there to stay once, I always remember this ‘cos its stuck in my mind. We went, it was when we lived at Witham, we went up to visit my uncle at one time and we were staying there and, all of a sudden, the rest of the family disappeared and left me and I couldn’t find them in the house anywhere (Q: Mmm.) and I looked and searched and searched and eventually they came back and I said where have you been. Oh we’ve just been across the road to have a look at the new place we’re going to move into. [laugh] So they’d been over there in amongst the corn sacks and all that sort of thing. Anyhow next time we came up they’d moved over into 200 and my grandmother owned the next door shop selling fancy goods which my aunt helped with, little lace things and all that sort of things.

BG:    Weren’t they also tied up with the Moore bus company at Kelvedon ?

Mr G:    Ah that was another part of the family. They were… The Moore bus company were founded by my grandfather’s father I think it was on my mother’s side. And he started with, I’m not sure whether it was a donkey and cart or horse and cart but I know that, as a boy, when my father used to go down into the town to deliver any meat by horse and cart that we had to deliver into Witham, very often at about eleven o’clock on Saturday morning and about Thursday morning, no Fridays it would be, because of Chelmsford market day, they would meet this, my father would meet this van and they would stop and have a chat with my mother’s two second cousins they were, no my mother’s cousins they were. This Moore family were. The younger branch, there were two generations down then and they used to stop and have a chat and occasionally I used to be put on the van to come up and see my relations in Chelmsford. That was the way I used to come up.

Q:    Did they ever use Moore to deliver things or get things ?

Mr G:    Occasionally we might send a parcel up to … They used to stop at the King’s Head, where Woolworth’s is now [in Chelmsford]. Used to be the King’s Head pub and there was a big yard behind there. That’s why that’s called the King’s Head car park, because that was called the Kings Head meadow. (BG: We’re in Chelmsford of course.) They used to put up there and anybody that knew they’d got a parcel …

Continued on tape 50

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