Tape 050. Mr Maurice Greatrex, side 3

Tape 50

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.

He also appears on tape 49.

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.]


Continued from tape 49

Side 3

Q:    A lot of people talk about Moores. It obviously sticks in people’s mind.

Mr G:    One of the Moores died recently at Mersea. I went to school with him, Harold and I saw his will in the paper about six to eight months ago, perhaps a year ago. He lived at West Mersea. That was one of my generation of the Moore family. He was my second cousin. (BG: It’s twenty years I’d say since Moores operated but you see the last ten years in Witham has so totally changed. When anybody starts talking about ‘old Witham’ they immediately think of Moores because that was one of the major bus services (Mrs.G: Oh yes that was.).

Q:    I remember people talking about Moores and getting their shopping by Moores and I noticed Moores and Doughton and I went to see Mr Doughton at Kelvedon.

Mr G:    Yes, you’ve been around a bit then. Wasn’t he a farrier or something (Q: His father was.) Ah well that would be the one that took the business over then, the father would.

Q:    I think his father started off as a farrier and then went into …

Mr G:    Partnership with the Moores, (Q: Carrying.) With the carrying, yes. I’ve got a vague recollection of him being a farrier.

Q:    The chap that’s there now, I don’t know how old he is, but he used to go when he was a little boy on the cart.

BG:    Is he the chap who used to be with Kelvedon Players? (Q:    I don’t know, I didn’t ask him that. [laugh] Wouldn’t be surprised.) I’ve never heard the name Doughton mentioned before. There is a Doughton I knew … (Mr G: I was talking to Margaret Gibson about [???] on one occasion.) Yes but with Kate Collingwood when she was over with Kelvedon Players.

Q:    I don’t know about that (BG: No [???]) But I suppose lots of people didn’t have so much of their own transport then, so if you wanted something to be brought from Chelmsford or anything. (Mr G: Well you had to go and get it generally speaking, yes) but on the whole you would manage to get most of your things in Witham you reckon?

Mr G:    Yes, oh yes. Occasionally you might go to Chelmsford to do a bit of shopping but not generally. You could get all you wanted locally. Because there was quite a nice er, there was good tailors, good outfitters in Chelmsford [means Witham], there was Pluck’s, Bradshaw’s outfitters, Pluck’s had a shop in Braintree as well. Then there was Spurge’s just round the corner from Collingwood Road. That was quite a big shop, drapery and all that sort of thing, haberdashery and now, where else can I think of. There were quite a lot of shops and you could get all your needs for a community of the sort that lived in Witham in those days, of our class you might say. I don’t know what the landed gentry did about their purchasing things and like that.

BG:     I understood it was a peculiar town where it had got the landed gentry, quite a lot of them on the outskirts (Mr G: It had.) and had got the absolute hovels as well and quite a lot of hovels.) (Mrs G: Well that’s what father said, and some had even sanded floors, dirt floors) There was very little in between. Its not all this middle business now, just didn’t exist.

Mr G:    Is the Dorking chap still around? Have you seen him ? (Q: Yes, yes.) Henry Dorking.

Q:    Yes, I did talk to him, he lives on Moat Farm estate.

Mr G:     Oh, down there is he. Now he used to live in one of those little cottages in front of the church years ago. (Q: Uhuh.) His father was a bricklayer and he had two or three other brothers and one or two sisters, Hilda Dorking was it. (Q: Ena’s still ….) Uh? (Q: Ena.) Ena, yes I think that was the youngest one, I think, yes. Henry was the eldest. He was as old as my, he’d be about eighty. (Q: That’s right.) He’s about the same age as my eldest brother.

Q:    May I ask how old you are, or is that a secret ?

Mr G:    No, I’m 77. (Q: Really. Goodness.) I don’t like to put the years on (Mrs G: He’s young, you see, and I’m old.). [laughter] (Q: You don’t look it.). But my eldest brother is eighty. There were eight in my family and we are all alive. I was totalling up our ages the other day with my younger sister who is 63 and we made our total ages 591 (Q: Gosh!). There’s a big gap at bottom. (BG: There’s a big gap at the bottom one, that’s the thing.) (Mrs G: There’s a big gap between Betty and the rest.) (BG: She’s a lot younger than the others.) She’s 63. My eldest brother is eighty. (BG: Yes, but there’s Tom, Doris, you, and you’re only eighteen months between you) (Mrs G: That’s right.) Three years between me and Tom (BG: yes I know but there’s Doris in between.). Oh yes. (BG: And then Ted, he’s not much younger than you, is he.)

Mrs G:    Because your mother had five under, now who was that?

Mr G:     Five under six, no that was Betty. (Mrs G: Yes, she was saying only the other day) We had our Golden Wedding here at the end of April. Here. (Q: Yes, that was lovely, yes.) Last month, or two months, May, April.

Q:    They all came for that did they ?

Mr G:    Oh yes, we had about eighty people in here.

Mrs G:    It was a pouring wet day, couldn’t get outside at all. (Q: Oh dear.)

Mr G:    What I was going to say was, talking about Dorking, now Quys used to run that business. I suppose he has told you all about that (Q: Yes, yes.). They were great, well they were very friendly with my grandfather (Q: Were they?) Dorking used to help load our baskets of meat up every Saturday morning, because they were heavy really and they wanted somebody strong. They always used to go to the blacksmith to get someone to help the men lift this baskets of meat into the cart.

Q:    So you did work together, so you all worked together round there then?

Mr G:    Well, in a way, yes. Quys used to shoe the horses and he didn’t do the carts so much. Occasionally he used to do some work on the carts but mostly if my grandfather wanted the carts repaired or the wheels re-tyred he used to send them to one of his big, well, say a big customer, send them to his customer over at Terling. (Q: I see) Now Quy used to do the farrier work, or shoeing the horses which was quite an order but my grandfather used to like to spread his patronage round his customers, you see. That’s a thing that was done quite a lot too. And some people named Bright at Terling they had a wheelwright’s and farrier business over there and they used to, we used to tow one cart over behind the other and leave it there and then collect it when we had finished the rounds when it was ready to come back and it would be all painted up and lined out and the tyres re-shod, you know the wheels re-shod with metal tyres.

Q:    You must have had quite a bit of space to keep all these ?

Mr G:    Oh, yes, they were quite, in the yard up the top there. Our premises went right up to the builders’ yard. There’s a house stands where our dung heap used to be. In what we used to call the orchard. There was a huge apple tree there and all the stable refuse and the refuse from the slaughter house used to be tipped on this heap. And then Browns who owned the farm, what they called Cocks Farm at the corner of Chalks Road [and Braintree Road] he used to come and clear the manure away (Q: Oh I see.) when the heap was big enough for it to be worth his while. He used to come and clear it away and put it on his ground because all that land on the left hand side of Chalks Road as you went up [north side] was farm land. (Q: Yes.) There’s houses all there now. (BG: That’s where you live.) (Q: Yes, that’s where I live.). Well that belonged to Cocks Farm. I do remember them starting to build on there, because the old boy died and there was no family, only, there was a Miss Brown and she was quite elderly and what happened to her I don’t know. I think the farm was sold and then it was developed. Because, first of all, they started to build the houses in Cressing Road. They were being built and some of them were built while we still lived in Chelmsford, while we still lived in Witham I should say. But Chalks Road hadn’t been started on until a little later I think.

Q:    How did it come about that your aunts had the shop up Rickstones? [2 Rickstones Road]

Mr G:    Well, you see when the business was sold they’d got nowhere else to go you see and they thought they would like to run this little business and they bought this little shop and ran it for quite a time, quite a number of years. And then eventually one of them died and the other one gave up and went and lived in one of those little cottages that runs at right angles …

Mrs G:    They both lived there. They both lived there, surely. (BG: Alice didn’t.) Didn’t she?

Mr G:    No. Alice died, I remember going to her funeral. I remember them bringing the coffin down the stairs. I could hear her sliding down in the coffin because they tilted it so much [Laugh] I could see poor old Alice sliding down in her coffin. (Mrs G: She was enormous too.) Oh she was in a terrible state when she died poor old thing really. She’d got diabetes and her eyes had practically glazed and she went practically blind with it. (Q: Mmm.)

Q:    When they had the shop they lived at the shop did they ?

Mr G:    They lived on the premises there. They had a Post Office there a bit didn’t they ? You remember going up ? (BG: I’ve been over there occasionally when they were there.

Mrs G:    We’ve been to the shop. (BG: They used to sell [???]) Yes. They used to have this sweet shop and I remember an occasion when the children used to help themselves so much that they had to have a sort of barrier thing put round (Q: Yes, so it was mostly sort sweets ?)

Mr G:    Yes, that sort of thing yes. Mostly sweets. I think they did start selling stamps. I’m not sure whether they sold it as a Post Office [talk over] They obliged people (Mrs G: Yes I think that’s what it was.) You had to oblige people with stamps. You weren’t allowed to sell stamps but you were able to oblige them.[???] (BG: When did they close, thirty years ago?) (Mrs G: Not so long as that.) I don’t know, Aunt Lizzie died in ‘70 and she was in that, what’s its name Park View for quite a number of years. It could be thirty years ago, when they come out of there, yes. Then Lizzie went and lived in, opposite Crittall’s in Braintree Road … [talk over] (BG: No, it can’t be thirty years.) (Mrs G: No no. ‘Cause you remember it.) Yes, Anita remembers it too.

Q:    Did they have any help there ?

Mr G:    Well, they had a woman, Edie Woodwards, but she wasn’t really any help to them. (Mrs G: she was a robber.) Well, you mustn’t say too much about that. (Q: I won’t go round spreading …) (BG: [???] [???]) (Mrs G: She didn’t live there.) (BG: But Alice did.)

Mr G:    Oh, they lived on the premises. (BG: There was a nice park at the back.)

Mr G:    Well, a cemetery park and the cemetery. (Mrs G: there was plenty living space.) goes right back to Halfhides Farm, no you have to cross over the railway bridge to get to Halfhides Farm.

Q:    No, that’s not there any more, only the pond is there [Forest Road pond].

Mr G:    There used to be thousands of carp in that pond, little rudd, about that length, it used to be full of it.

Q:    When my boy’s try fishing there, they just snails now.

Mr G:    Oh it used to be full of rudd. (Q: Quite deep I think?) Halfhides pond, yes I’ve been fishing round there. Never caught anything myself there ‘cause I only went as a boy with a bent pin sort of thing.

Q:    So you did have spare time yourself as well helping in the shop did you ?

Mr G:    Well, yes, we did, ‘cause I only helped on a Saturday and that’s when I was older, you know when I got to the stage, when I was about, I suppose I started about twelve and a half, or something like that, helping on a Saturday morning. (Mrs G: that’s quite young isn’t it ?) Well when I was thirteen I was regularly did that round, to Fairstead and bring home all that they paid. I very often came home with twenty pounds in my pocket and it was during the First World War. How it was I started doing the round was they called up my grandfather’s assistant you see (Q: Mmm.) and so they had to do something about it. And at one time, one of my aunts, the Aunt Alice we were talking about …

BG:    Why didn’t your father get called up?

Mr G:    Well he was the mainstay of the business. (BG: Why didn’t he get called up?) I don’t know. They exempted certain people. (Mrs G: Well they had exemption, Brian, Stan Hance just the same.), Ah yes but Stan Hance wasn’t the same age group as my father was. But there were certain people were exempt. But there were certain people exempt and my father was the mainstay of the business really. (Mrs G: Yes, they let people stay on like that.) And so one of my aunts started taking over the round and I used to go with her but eventually I did it all on my own. I used to go round. I used to start off and go up this way, up the Blunts Hall Road, call at Blunts Hall, Charles Strutt used to live there, the Honourable Charles Strutt. Another one of the brothers of that time’s Lord Rayleigh. Call at one or two cottages up there and cottages up there and then go up to Dancing Dicks Farm, you know Dancing Dicks do you ? (Q: Mmm.) call there, one or two cottages just on that bye-road, used to be two cottages there. Now they were real tumble-down cottages with sort of earth floors and that sort of thing (Q: Mmm.). Then I used to come along and cross over this road [Powershall End] at the top here the T junction and go on to, oh what’s the name of those farms along there? Troys, there’s Troys, Loys, I forget which is which now, and then go through Fairstead down past Fairstead church to Fairstead Hall, up to Three Ashes Farm and then down the road towards Terling a little way, call at some cottages there, come back again and down to Ridley Hall then down to Fuller Street and round on the road to Leighs, used to go up the road to Leighs a little way to some cottages up there and then I used to come up back and up the road past the Compasses [Square and Compasses, Fuller Street]. Do you know the Compasses? (Q: Ahah.) Down the bottom of Fuller Street. Go up that road to Ranks Green and home by Westocks Farm, Westocks and Warley Hall. There was something in the paper about Warley Hall just recently, in the Chronicle I think, about it being a moated farm. Now one of the Hutleys that used to keep this farm lived there, brother of the Hutley that used to keep this farm. [Powershall] Who is there now. ? One of Tritton family?

Q:    That’s right yes, but I think it belongs to the Rayleighs.

Mr G:    Yes, they were tenant farmers. I always thought they were tenant farmers. All the Strutt and Parker farms. Because all this area belonged to Strutt and Parker’s. My grandfather’s field there, I didn’t realise at the time but he hired that from Strutt and Parker’s. But anyway we used to come home via Warley Hall, Westocks Farm and then we used to go up along old field and over the stream up to some cottages way out up the wilds and then home. That was my last call. (Q: You must have covered a good few miles mustn’t you?) Yes and very often that road from Westocks back to the road where the Fairstead Vicarage used to be, that triangle, there’s a triangle there, there used to be a walnut tree on there which has now disappeared I noticed when I was there last. Well that road always used to be flooded in the wintertime. I just used to let the horse have its head in the dark. I couldn’t guide it. The horse just to make its own way home through the floods. When you went up the road there were deep ditches at the side of the road you could almost cover the cart with water if you fell into one of those ditches.

Q:    Those cottages that you’d go to would be farm workers cottages as well as the farms ?

Mr G:    Well, mostly the farms, each had a farm cottage or perhaps a bailiff, a farm bailiff, lived in one. Now like Fardings Farm, you know Fardings Farm up here. Well the farm bailiff used to live, well there was a farm bailiff, lived in that farm and also Taylors Farm. Now Taylors Farm was inhabited by Taylors, the people who lived there were nearly all Taylors, Fathers and sons. I suppose that’s how they got their name. Now they used to keep their prize, I think they still do, breed their prize cattle there, don’t they. ‘Cos they’ve got the sale ring there still. But they’ve got a permanent one there now where those days they used to have their sales more or less in the open and make up a sale ring every time they had a sale.

Q:    So, even the small places you would take meat out to them ?

Mr G:    Oh yes yes, we used to go, oh you’d be surprised at the places we used to have to drive the horse and cart. Some of the places you’d never get a car or van to. Because you’d drive in deep ruts and over streams with deep water in.

Q:    I’m surprised it would be worth your while really to go that far.

Mr G:    Well it used to be, well it must have been or else my grandfather would have gone broke wouldn’t he ? He managed to survive. I don’t think he made a very big living out of it. He didn’t make himself a wealthy man. (Q: No.)

Q:    Still, as you say, you had to, I suppose you had all different sorts of customers, you had to keep them all happy really.

Mr G:    Yes. Oh, most of the customers were as honest as the day, you know. A wonderful lot of people we used to call on. I mean you’d get a cup of tea here and there (Mrs G: And a piece of cake.)  and a piece of cake. Oh, I always used to get a piece of cake at Whitelands Farm. When I was a boy, you know, a real boy, and went to Whitelands Farm the cook would come out there and say ‘Would you like a glass of milk and a piece of cake?’ And she’d bring out a nice piece of dough cake and a glass of milk fresh from the dairy. And another place, oh and Terling village, now the butler used to live, you know the entrance to Terling Place do you ? (Q: Yes.) There’s a sharp corner there isn’t there. Well the gardener used to live in that house there, with the gates there, but over here the butler used to live, named Dixon and he had two sisters and if they saw me sitting in the cart, or any of us, not only me but any of my brothers and sisters, if they happened to be out with my father, as young children just for the outing. They’d come ‘Would you like some raspberries ?’ or something. And they’d go and pick a rhubarb leaf out the garden and they’d fill it up with raspberries and redcurrants and hand them up to us. (Q: Oh yes.) You don’t get that sort of thing these days do you ? (Q: No, no.) But those sort of things are really, you know, things you can remember and look back on, some of the happy days.

Q:    I’m holding you up from getting your.[talking over, not noted]. You seem to have remembered everything yourself without me having to ask. [laugh]. You’ve got an amazing memory haven’t you, really.

Mrs G:    He really has. I was just thinking a moment ago I could no more make up a story about my young childhood to last two hours nearly. (Q: Quite.)

Mr G:    Sometimes I hear things from my other brothers and sisters that I’d completely forgotten about (Q: Really.) (BG: People always tell tales about Chipping Hill.) I know we used to go scrounging walnuts over the field just the other side of the river. there used to be two walnut trees in there. That was glebe land again. And also there was another one right up where the Vicarage orchard used to be, almost by the [???] which corresponds with the level of the Cherry Tree. If you go far enough up that field beside the river and go out of the, you come up to The Cherry Tree. We used to go bathing in the river up there. That’s where I learned to swim, in the river up there. But in the autumn time, just as you go over the river from this side, just oh about I suppose twenty or thirty yards inside that field on the brow of that hill, because the field slopes up like that from the footpath doesn’t it ? Well just on the brow of that rise there used to be a walnut tree and although Everett the dairyman used to graze his cattle in there and he reckoned that was, well it was his right I suppose to have em. We used to go down there early in the mornings and see what walnuts had fallen down off the tree and if there weren’t enough fallen down we used to help them down! Then we’d watch for old Everett coming along in his [???] cart and soon clear off if he came along. Mind that was all the boys not just me. All the village boys. Yes we used to get quite a lot of walnuts there and they were nice walnuts too. Then all of a sudden Everett and his men would go along and brush the tree and they’d all be gone, so we didn’t get any more. [Laugh]

Yes, because you know that used to be a dairy you know down there. (Q: Spring Lodge was it ?) Spring Lodge was a dairy run by a firm named Everett, or man named Everett and he had some, now, there was a name Rice associated with it. What relation they were to Everett I don’t know. (Q: No.) But that used to be a monastery there you know. (Q: Mmm.) And I have been in the cowshed there and seen the tombstones on the floor (Q: Goodness.) (Mrs G: Spring Lodge ?) Spring Lodge, used to be a monastery and rumour has it that there’s a tunnel goes through there to Faulkbourne Hall. But I think that’s all baloney, because I don’t think there would ever keep a tunnel … (BG: What foundation was it?) I don’t know, there was a monastery years and years and years ago and I have seen the flagstones in the cowshed floor. I don’t know if whether they exist now or what’s happened there but, and also there used to be another dairy up on the hill.

BG:    Perhaps that’s the reason why Witham had so much glebe because Witham had so much glebe. (Q: Yes, yes.)

Mr G:    Well that used to be a monastery, I feel sure of that. I don’t know if you could find any records [talking over].

Q:    I remember a name Abbots or something [???]..

Mr G:    Now, there used to be Abbots Hill, and Abbots field and Abbots Dairy. That was right opposite the Vicarage entrance, you know, there used to be a shop there that sold shoes, but they also when they had a few cows which they used to run in the field below and they always used to get hay out of there as well [55 Chipping Hill]. But they had a dairy underneath the shop, which was half sunk in the ground so that they used to open a flap when we used to go there and kick on the door. They’d push this door open, which was about that height, that would be ground level and people’s faces would be on that level you see. And inside there was a dairy and you could see the cream pans and all that sort of thing in there. But the local boys, one or two of the local boys used to be sort of house boys for the local people and they used to have to go there with their cans in the afternoon and get the milk for the afternoon. Maclarens. Now this chap Bright that I was talking about, he used to be the boy for Maclarens and he used to go there and I’ve seen … (BG: The Maclarens lived in Brookcote, Brookcote house. That’s right. [29 Chipping Hill] And then the next one used to be Earlsmead. There were only two houses there then. There was Brookcote and Earlsmead. (BG: Only I know [???] Maclaren who lives in Little Baddow.) The Maclaren family lived there and then there was the Smith family lived in Earlsmead [where nos 15-27 Chipping Hill are now] and they were builders and originally they ran this yard I was talking about behind the Albert Hotel there, down that yard where I think there was a coal yard there or something. The entrance was there.

Now Uncle Tom Evers. Now you know Evers the builders, at Tiptree, you’ll see their name, T J Evers. Well that’s related to me in the distant past. (Mrs G: That was your Uncle wasn’t it?) Yes. The founder of the business was my uncle. His wife was my mother’s sister but the grandson now runs the business and I don’t know him actually. But the father, no the grandfather, no wait a minute, the father and the brother of my uncle used to be the saw doctor and the engineer respectively of this Smith’s business. Because they had quite a bit of machinery and they used to have a little cottage next to Temples house {Temples House was 8 Chipping Hill and the little cottage 6 Chipping Hill; the latter still there behind a newer part]. You went up a little passage, garden path, and this little cottage stood up there and the father of my uncle was the saw doctor used to look after all the saws and planers and things like that and their son who was, Andrew, who was a bachelor he was a bell-ringer too at St Nicholas, he used to look after machinery I think (Q: Yes.) for this Joe Smith that ran Earlsmead. And then that was taken over by people named Blake I think it was and then Blade Wendon, they were the last people. ‘Cos my next brother down was apprenticed there to Blade Wendons.

Q:    So, you speak of being bell-ringers. A lot of people would be connected with St Nicholas would they ?

Mr G:    Oh yes, a lot of the local people were connected with St Nicholas. Now then the head bell-ringer was, in my time, was, I tried bell-ringing, I have rung those bells but not in a peal. I could never learn to ring a peal, I could always get through a course but not a peal. Dorking used to ring. Ernie Bright used to ring but at that time, when I was here the bell-ringer was a man named Chalk, Brad Chalk they used to call him and he lived in one of the cottages up Church Street and do you know that man used to walk to Faulkbourne Hall. He was the gardener there and he used to walk there, even when he was about eighty. (Q: Mmm.) Used to walk over there to do his gardening work and he’d come back and do his bell-ringing on a Tuesday night. He was a marvellous old man. His son was a school teacher up in London. He won a scholarship to Braintree but he was considerably older than me the son was. Because he was teaching when I was but a child. He was teaching in a school in London somewhere.

Q:    About the Council, would the other shopkeepers be on the Council or …?

Mr G:    I don’t remember any of the shopkeepers. Ebenezer Smith was one of the people that was on the Council then there was a chap, one of the Bright family. He got on the Council. The eldest one of the Bright family. But that was after my grandfather had more or less, I think he’d given up the chairmanship there and actually I think Bright pushed my grandfather off because they started, at one time there were no party politics in local Councils, but then Bright put up as a Labour man and he got in and pushed my grandfather off the Council. But my grandfather was still a JP but for quite a number of years before that he was the chairman. Now who was on? I think Pelly was probably on the Council. I can’t remember who were, there weren’t many people on the Council, because they only had an office about, it was a double fronted place [later the electricity shop, Collingwood Road, since demolished]. I shouldn’t think the whole place covered much more than this. (Q: Really?) You know where the old waterworks was in Collingwood Road ? (Q: Yes.) Well, there was a little, I don’t know if its still there. (Q: It’s an electricity.), I can’t remember, there was a little narrow building, it was turned into some offices, belonged to Mens the coalman, he ran a coal business. Well there was a little double fronted building I shouldn’t think it was much more than twenty feet long where they used to hold their Council meetings there. That was the Urban District Council Offices. So you can tell there weren’t many people on the Council.

Q:    No, So it was quite an honour then ?

Mr G:    Oh yes, yes. and my grandfather as I say was churchwarden. I don’t know when he came off being churchwarden but he was a sidesman right up till the time he died. (Q: Really?) In fact I’m not sure if it was the night he died or the night before the funeral they rang a half muffled peal for him. (Q: Really?) So he was, you know, sort of well known and respected.

Q:    As you say , a road or something …

Mr G:    Nothing has ever been [talk over] (BG: Over at Howbridge you see Maidment and Laurence and all that lot, they’re all the local …)  Well Laurence was a big land owner and so were the Pellys you see. But Ebenezer Smith wasn’t. Ebenezer Smith. There’s an Ebenezer Close and he was only a railway porter or railway guard or something like that. (BG: There’s Luard Way.) Luards, well Admiral Luard I don’t think he was on the Council. (Q: No.) But when my grandfather died, another thing they, one thing they did do they asked my brother for a photograph because they wanted to hang a photograph in the Council Chamber at that time, but where that is now I don’t know.

Q:    I believe they’ve got some still down, they’ve got some photographs down, there’s a little Council office in the Grove.

BG:    What in that shed ?

Q:    Yes, well I think they’ve got some photographs there.

Mr G:    Well, if they’ve got, you have a look. (Q: I’ll ask Mr Backler some time.) Because they did, my brother, my eldest brother had the only photograph of my grandfather in existence and he had a copy made from it for the Council specifically. (Q: I see.) Whether it hung up in the – because they transferred the Council Chamber to the back of the Public Hall, didn’t they?

Q:    They did have a number of photographs hanging up when it was at the back of the Public Hall but then it’s down in The Grove now. They may have taken some down there.

Mr G:     Well you ask if Quintin Dick Greatrex is up there.

Q:    So there isn’t a Quintin Dick …?  [Talking over]

Mr G:    I haven’t got a Quintin Dick. He’s the only male in my family. (BG: But there is a Quintin Dick [???].) Now my eldest brother’s eldest son is Quintin Dick. My cousin that just died he was a Quintin Dick, and my youngest uncle’s son which died, he lived in Danbury, worked as a surveyor on the Council. Now my father’s next brother has got a son who lives in Colne Engaine I think it is, or Earls Colne or one of those places there, Harold Greatrex, his name is, well he’s got a son called Quintin Dick. But where they live I don’t know.

Q:    I know I was just saying, I’d always assumed having seen the name in directories that it must come from Quintin Dick the MP. (Mr G: Yes it does actually come from …) But I mean that was 1840 or so that he was an MP for Maldon or something so ….

Mr G:    Yes, well my grandfather was named after him and it could have been you because my grandfather could have born about that time. (Q: I suppose so, yes.) You see my father was born in ‘73 I think, ‘72 or ‘73. I think it was ‘73. So you’ve got to go back to ‘50 you see for my grandfather. (Q: Mmm.) or round about that time. Let’s see, if my grandfather was, if my father was born in, my grandfather must have been twenty at least, (Q: Mmm yes.) So you’ve got to take, that’s 1850 isn’t it. I have heard, now I’m not quite sure who told me but somewhere along the line I’ve been told that the Quintin Dick came from [???] (BG: But there isn’t one in the next generation is there.) (Mrs G: What, a Quintin Dick? No there isn’t) I don’t know whether Harold’s family have named (Mrs G: Not as far as we know.) We’ve rather lost touch with the one at Earls Colne. Matter of fact he didn’t know my aunt had died. When we phoned him up and told him my aunt had died he said he said ‘Oh I thought she’d have been dead died ages ago.

Q:    Anyway, I’ve taken an awful lot of your time.

Mr G:    Time, nothing to us nowadays, really. Any more questions ? I don’t know what this is going to sound like when you play it all back. I think your husband will laugh.

Q:    You told me how many assistants there were in the shop and so on but would they be local ?

Mr G:    Yes, they were all local people. Now wait a minute I think there was father, there was Nightingale and I can’t remember whether they had another. They did have other people but I’m not quite sure whether they all overlapped. But then they always had a young lad, either an apprentice or a local lad that worked and did odd jobs and learned what he could. He wasn’t actually an apprentice you know, sort of an errand boy, well, not only that, stable boy and all that sort of thing. Used to clean out the stables and groom the horses and all that sort of thing. Because they all had to be looked after you see. (BG: I thought grandfather groomed the horse.) (Mrs G: Sometimes he did.) (Mr G: Oh father did.) (BG My grandfather.) Father did occasionally, when there … Well there was the harness to clean on a Monday, and all the bright work in the shop all the hooks and knives and everything like that had to be scrubbed and clean. All the counters scrubbed down and that sort of thing, on a Monday because the shop was closed mostly on a Monday. Hooks all had to be done with silver sand and cleaned up. All the grease taken off and shone up. Harness had to be cleaned. And then every day the stables had to be mucked out and new bedding put down for the horses. They had to be fed and watered. Any cattle that was in the yard had to be fed as well as the horses because very often they had a sort of reserve of perhaps a few sheep in a pen and pigs in a sty and perhaps a couple of bullocks in a pound. Father got picked up by one once, by his braces in the yard. [???] in the yard. They used to shut the, be able to shut the yard off a bit if they got [???]. It’s a biggish yard and they used to put a have big five bar gate across it and divide it up.

Q:    Yes. So you were shut Mondays ?

Mr G:     Yes, used to shut generally on a Monday and do all the cleaning up and that sort of thing.

Q:    And how late were you open in the day ?

Mr G:    Oh as long as you’d got people wanted any service ? Eight o’clock. Be open till seven or eight. Gradually towards the latter part of the time they used to close a little bit early. But at one time they used to be open eight or nine o’clock at night on a Saturday. And start – father always used to get up at four o’clock in the morning. And he used to wake me up too sometimes when I got a bit older and say ‘Come on, I want you to bone out some of the joints’. I used to have to bone out what they called the clod and sticking. I remember that. Used to take the big bones out of that so that they could cut the joints up. (Q: Did your brothers …) But very often after he’d gone downstairs I used to creep back to bed again and he’d have to come and call me again.

Q:    That was before you went to school ?

Mr G:    Yes. (BG: No your brothers didn’t help very much did they?) (Mrs G: Yes they did.) Cliff[?] did, Tom didn’t much. (BG: But he went away.) Well Tom, Tom went, when he left school he worked in the Post office for a time but then, at about seventeen I suppose Tom went into the Marconi school in London to train as wireless operator and he went to sea as a ship’s wireless operator, my eldest brother did. He didn’t help in the business. Doris went into the Post Office as a permanent official.. (BG: Telephonist). She went round the country quite a bit. Hilda was apprenticed at Spurge’s. Now where did Olive go ? Olive started work at Spaldings. (Mrs G: Olive went away.) Oh yes she went for a nanny down at Fareham in one of the Mountbatten families or something like that. She didn’t like it and she only stayed about a month or two. She did like being, well she wasn’t nanny actually. She was nanny’s assistant or something like that. I don’t think they got treated very well. She didn’t stick that for very long anyway. And so she came back and she worked for Spalding. And then she worked for Joy’s. We’re coming back now nearly to the beginning of the war [Second World War]. George, when he left school, started to work for BP at the depot in corner of Wood Street didn’t he and then he joined the AA and then he went in the army, in the Military Police during the war. He went through North Africa (BG George and Betty were the two youngest ones.) He came home and when he retired he was office manager of the AA in Chelmsford.

Q:    So it was mostly you that got lumbered with the butchery ?

Mr G:    Well, George didn’t have anything to do with that. Well actually we’d moved to Chelmsford by the time he was eligible to work.[???] [???] There was only the eldest ones, so that was my eldest brother who didn’t do anything much, and myself and my next brother down that did any work in the butcher’s.

Q:    Did your mother do any … ?

Mr G:    We saw too much of the work in the …. Well you fancy my father worked from four o’clock in the morning sometimes. I myself used to wait for my father to come home off his round, after I’d done my round on a Saturday afternoon I’d wait for my father to come home. And when he’d come home I would take his horse and feed and water it. If it was summertime I’d bring it up here and turn it out into the field. Many a time I’ve been walking past the clock at twelve o’clock at night. Taking the horse up.

Q:    Put you off really. What about your mother ?

BG:    What did grandma do then, your mother?

Mr G:    She looked after six or seven children. She hadn’t got the time for anything else.

Mrs G:    She didn’t work, not outside work !

Q:    She didn’t do anything in the shop at all did she?

Mr G:    Oh, no, no, no. She never. It was a full time job to look after the six children.

Q:    She was a Moore. What was first name ?

BG:    Julia Rebecca.

Q:    It’s just if I come across the names anywhere it’s nice to recognise them.

Mr G:    I don’t think my mother would be mentioned anywhere really, only in Register, the Church Register of marriages. Father and mother was married at St Nicholas and I was christened there and confirmed there. I was confirmed there in 1915 I think it was by the Bishop of Chelmsford, the first Bishop of Chelmsford. Watts Ditchfield[?]. And Canon Galpin was the vicar who prepared me for confirmation.

Q:    Did your Mother live to a good age like …?

Mr G:    Mother was 78 when she died. Father was 82. [talk over]

Q:    So it runs in the family this age? (BG: On both sides.)

Mrs G:    My mother was 96 and my grandmother was 92.

Mr G:    But my father’s sister, the eldest sister she was 91 when she died in 1970. There’s a family grave in All Saints churchyard. There’s four of them buried there. Grandfather, grandmother, and two aunts are buried there.

Q:    Did they used to go to All Saints ?

Mr G:    No, no. I was in the choir at All Saints for a little while. I was in both choirs. I was in St Nicholas choir for quite a while, longest time from seven when they recruited boys from the Sunday School to go into the choir and then, after a time, when we moved to Easton Road, we went to All Saints choir. My brother, next brother down, he was in the choir there. He used to sing solos in there occasionally. But Henry Dorking was the soloist. He had a very good voice and he went as a tenor singer at concerts and all that.

Mrs G:    What about the chairs ?

Phone conversation 3 July

Father was an acknowledged expert with the poleaxe. Accepted that, if you had a horse fall down in the street and break its leg they sent for my Father to dispose of it.

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