Mr Bill Carey (with his wife Mrs Ida Carey), was born in 1899. He was interviewed on 13 January 1983 when he lived temporarily at 28 Bramston Green,Witham, before going to 77 Church Street.
They also appear on tape 57.
For more information about them, see Carey, Bill and Ida, 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 email@example.com 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.]
[Chat about Mr C’s poor eyesight, reading, television etc. Also houses in Bramston Green and Church Street where prefabs were being replaced by bungalows, hence the Careys’ temporary address. Not noted.]
Q: Did you get a Council house when you got married ?
Mr C: No, no, we lived in rooms in the Cressing Road when we were first married.(Q: That was in somebody else’s ?) Somebody else’s house, yes. Yes, we were talking about that the other night. Oh dear. Things were different then of course. But we were all right. We were happy enough. Till we got a, I don’t know whether we got a Council house then or whether we got a private house. I think it was a private house first (Q: Mmm.) But that’s too far back for me, I can’t remember, the wife, she remembers all things like that. We had several Council houses, Cressing Road, Church Street, of course, Hatfield. (Q: What Hatfield road or Hatfield Peverel ?) Hatfield Peverel. That’s when the wife she lost her mother like, the Council, after a while of course, we got a house up there so we had her father.
Q: So then you had to come into work from there did you ?
Mr C: I really don’t know what happened after that.
Q: More used to walking about then.
Mr C: Yes, yes, yes. [???] In Hatfield, walking or cycling.
Q: Yes – wouldn’t like to cycle along there nowadays ? (Mr C: Oh, dear oh dear no.) I think actually there’s a path, you can go on one side. Presumably you would have had to go on the main road wouldn’t you ?
Mr C: Oh yes, yes. But it’d be nice to have a cycle ride. We were only talking last night when we used to, when Maldon used to be fashionable, you know Maldon and Mill Beach and Tollesbury. You never hear anything about them now. (Q: No, no.) Are they still in favour or not ? But oh, dear oh dear, we used to cycle down there Saturday afternoons you know, or have a day down there on the old bike. (Q: Mmm.) Lovely.
Q: Is there actually a beach there ?
Mr C: Well, no, there’s a lot of mud I think. Well, there was then, but that was lovely, that was all right at that time of day, I mean, people didn’t go to the south of France and all that sort of thing, not then. (Q: No.) Maldon used to be very popular, Mill Beach, Tollesbury, all the the little towns down on the river. There wasn’t a lot of seashore, but mudbanks. Still it was good at that time of day. (Q: Mmm.)
Q: What did you used to do when you went down there ?
Mr C: Oh, just sit about I think, as far as I can remember. Nothing really, not like it is today with amusements and all that. There was nothing like that then. You had to make your own amusement. Well some people would go out on a boat and all that sort of thing. Some people of course used to like fishing but things were altogether different at that time of day of course.
Q: So did you ever go away for a day or a week for a holiday or that sort of thing at all ?
Mr C: Well people used to but not like they to today. In that respect everything is different. You hear of these holiday camps and all that. [coughs]
Q: Did you ever have a week away yourself? (Mr C: Oh, well, you could do.) [to Mrs C} We’re talking about holidays. Did you have a week’s holiday ever or was it just weekends ?
Mrs C: We used to go away for weeks didn’t we ?
Mr C: At that time of day they weren’t like they are today you know.
Mrs C: Well, I mean you had a week’s holiday but you never had any pay for it. (Mr C: Oh no.) Used to go to, we went to Butlin’s for five or six years didn’t we, running. When the children were younger we didn’t go away for holidays but we used to go up to London and take them to the theatre or to the zoo, you know, something like that.
Q: You were talking about Millbeach and …?
Mrs C: Oh, when we used to go there when we were courting didn’t we ? [Laugh] Used to do that Saturday afternoons.
Mr C: Saturday afternoons oh yes, well Sunday afternoons, come to that.
Mrs C: Not so much Sundays as Saturdays though
Q: Is that right? What did you used to do on Sunday? (Mr C: Oh I don’t …) Did you do much going to church or anything ?
Mr C: Well, no, not latterly. Well, of course, when you were young you went to Sunday School. Oh yes, we were christened and confirmed and all that sort of business and took communion, but that was a long time ago I’m sorry to say. [laugh]
Q: But that was quite strict then was it?
Mr C: Yes, oh, yes, sort of, well it was strict.
Q: That was when you were in Braintree, was it ?
Mr C: No, no, no. (Q: Or London?) Witham like. No Braintree, I was very young when I was at Braintree. As I said I left school in London. That was one of my visits up to London and my old grandmother she used to like to keep me there so I had to go to school of course, and I did, I left school in London and then came down to Witham. In the early years I lived at Braintree, down in South Street. (Q: Yes.)
Q: So when you were at Witham was your mother still alive when you came to Witham? Did you keep in touch with them ?
Mr C: Oh yes, I lived at home for some time. After I left school I said, I come down to Witham then. Oh yes, we lived in Bridge Street. I’ve got a brother at Braintree now. (Q: Really ?) Yes, well, step-brother and step-sister. (Q: Mm.) One down Notley Road, Frank and Gwen living in Panfield Lane. Her husband works at Lake’s, an electrician. Foreman electrician I believe. (Q: Yes.) As a matter of fact she was over here a week or two back. But my brother he suffers with his chest and he can’t get about so I haven’t seen him lately. (Q: Yes.)
Q: Because, talking about being ill and that, you know when you were in London you were going up to Moorfields to the eye … What happened when you came to Witham ? Did you go back up there or go to the doctor here or what ?
Mr C: Well, really I can’t remember but I think that was sort of let it go by. (Q: Yes.) I only just used to sort of pay visits to Moorfields from what I remember of it. I was only a kid then of course.
[chat about eye sight, not noted]
Q: You didn’t tell me how old you were ?
Mr C: Well, this is ’83, isn’t it, so I’ll be 84, 84 in May, Oak Apple Day, 29th of May. [laugh] Yes, I shall be 84. (Q: So you were born in the last century then?) I was born 1899, that’s really ancient now ?
Q: So that was Queen Victoria’s time wasn’t it ?
Mr C: Yes, Queen Victoria was alive then. Then Edward, Edward VII. I saw him several times. (Q: Really ?). But Queen Victoria I was too young of course. But there was a programme on there last night. I think it was Bygones. (Q: Yes.) There were several old films. That showed one with the commentator sitting, that would be Edward, there was a lot of Indian Princes all in their regalia and he said he thought, well he was almost sure, that was Edward VII. I remember seeing him, oh Edward, I saw him several times. As a matter of fact I saw him, go to his, oh I think, I can’t quite remember. I saw him go to open his last Parliament and I used to, being in London like, as I was, I used to see, you know, Royalty and such like.Of course you had to travel up to the City like to see it, I saw Edward VII, I saw him, oh several times, with these princes, they used to sort of be more or less, as an escort, all in their, not robes but all uniforms, you know. That used to be a sight as I remember it. (Q: Yes.) But of course, nowadays, it’s altogether a different matter.
Q: So you’d go up specially to watch things then ?
Mr C: Oh yes, we would do that. Well, you see, as I say, I used to be in the old days at Clapham, they used to live. Of course that was just a ride up to London by bus or whatever, tube or whatever. And I did. When I look back, although I can’t remember very well, I mean I did see quite some notable sights, you know, like notable people. (Q: Mmm.) Not only Edward, but of course his sons, and their sons after, right up to …
Q: So if there was anything special going on, like up in town you’d go up and …
Mr C: Well you’d go up to see it, I suppose same as you would today if there’s anything …
Q: Like if there’s an election or anything you’d … ?
Mr C: Oh I dunno about elections, I was too young at that time to know anything about. Oh I can’t remember anything special I’ve seen though they always used to take me up I know. I think once …
Q: What did your grandad used to do?
Mr C: As a matter of fact I believe, I wouldn’t be too certain, but I believe he was a bus driver. Horse bus, of course. It was all horse buses at that time of day. (Q: Yes.) I believe he was a bus driver, horse bus driver. Of course, as I say, at that time of day there was no motors or anything hardly anything at all. You had your old hansom cabs. I don’t know, but I believe at one time he was hansom cabbie. Have you ever seen one? That was where the driver sat at the back. (Q: Sat at the back did they ?) Mmm at the back. Overlooking the roof of the cab. (Q: Oh really – was it closed in the cab?) Yes, more or less. I think they were if I remember rightly. There were like doors, they were doors but they weren’t tall enough, but they used to shield the passengers. You haven’t seen a picture?
Q: I must have I suppose but you don’t, I haven’t met someone who could describe one to me.
Mr C: Well, as I say the driver used to have to climb up the back. I can’t tell you how he did, if there were steps. Then he sat there and the roof was sort of like there you know, he’d sit on the top, with his horse at front and had a whip and the reins of course.
Q: Did you used to go in them yourself ?
Mr C: No, no, they were for high fares, for you know people who wouldn’t use a bus. Like people are today, they were a bit uppish. They were all I should say, they were pretty expensive, cab fares. And the old buses, of course the old horse buses they were, well, not like they are today, but the same sort of thing, I mean they carried passengers like, you know, the same.
Q: On the horse bus the driver would sit at the front would he?
Mr C: Oh, yes, yes. The driver would sit up, up there, more or less level with the top deck. (Q: yes.) Because there was upstairs, you know, two, double deckers, like the motor buses are but, of course they didn’t carry so many passengers. They didn’t carry many passengers at all. And you had to go upstairs of course at the back then you could, the driver sat as I say, more or less on the or top deck and if you were lucky you could get the seat next to the driver and perhaps that time of day he’d explain all the notable buildings and anything there was to be he noticed. (Q: Yes.)
Q: So you’d go on them quite a lot would you ?
Mr C: Oh yes, I travelled by horse bus. There was what they called the Tube, underground, for a tuppenny fare, you could travel almost anywhere for tuppence, if I remember right.
Q: [to Mrs Carey] Did you go up to London much when you were young ?
Mrs C: No, not until I met my husband. Then we used to go up there quite a bit, didn’t we ?
Mr C: Oh, yes, I loved London, always did. You know to walk about.
Mrs C: He walked me about till I had blisters on my feet [laugh] oh dear oh dear. All along the Thames and all that, we used to walk, didn’t we ? (Mr C: Oh my yes). And the old pavements used to be so hot, they brought blisters on your feet. Oh yes he used to walk me along and they he used to say ‘Come on get ready we are going to the Coliseum this afternoon’. And off we used to go didn’t we ?
Mr C: Coliseum, Palladium …
Q: Was that when you were courting as well ?
Mrs C: When we were courting and after we were married, but a bit less I think. [laugh]
Mr C: I always did I always loved London as a kid, however small I was, and I’d walk and walk and walk. [???] One of our grandsons he works there in the Stock Exchange and another works, he’s just got a job at the bank. In London, you know, in the City. And it reminds me of when I used to go round, and they do of course, they get to know London. I used to walk for hours and hours and hours. Funny thing, when I used to get back to Braintree, or wherever, youngsters thought it was marvellous to go to London. But I did at that time, I could walk about for hours and hours and hours and, know where I was and everything. I did love London. Course my father he was a Londoner
Q: Clapham you said it was ?
Mr C: Mmm, Clapham, they used to live at Clapham.
Q: And when you were up in London you would go to school there would you?
Mr C: Oh yes. I was at school quite a lot in London and [???] all the different places. I left school at Balham, Aldridge[?] Road, Balham, course that’s next door to Clapham. But I went to school at Cambourne.
Q: You reckon you got on pretty well at school though? (Mr C: I always did yes.) Even if you moved around such a lot ?
Mr C: Yes, I was a country boy coming up from the country up to London, but I did well at Braintree too. I remember once I got a, I won a book, for composition I think it was. And that was given by Miss, there used to be a Rowe, chemist at Braintree, I don’t know if you’ve ever, in the town opposite the Horn[?] I think it was. And this Miss Rowe I think she was something to do with the school, a governor or governess or something. And she used to give this book and I know for the whole school. I was pretty good at that. I’m not a big head. I always did well at school and think I’ve benefited through it, knowing this and knowing that, you know. Knowing things that other people perhaps couldn’t be troubled with.
[chat about reading newspapers, getting dinner, son in Chelmsford etc., working for Marconi, not noted.
Q: Where did Pam and him go to school ?
Mr C: Witham.
Q: There weren’t so many places then was there ?
[chat about houses hereabouts, effect of moving, retirement, gardening, shopping, etc.,not noted]
[continuation of chat about shopping, Q: Was Wood’s there then ?
Q: Was there a shop in Hatfield when you were young ? What did you do ?
Mrs C: Oh there were only little grocery stores weren’t there, then, when I was young I mean there was the butchers, Sorrell’s, down the High Street [in Witham]. There used to be a little shop nearly opposite where we lived, Courtney’. Where we used to go and get our sweets and that.
Mr C: I was wondering was there a Co-op there, was there ?
Mrs C: No, no. There was up there, when we moved to Hatfield that, em, that used to be a little general stores, didn’t it and then the Co-op took it over.
Q: Because there was a Co-op up Braintree …?
Mrs C: There was a Co-op up the Braintree Road wasn’t there. Been closed a long time hasn’t it ?
Q: Because we were talking about when you were first married and you went into Cressing Road, did you? Is that right ?
Mrs C: When we first married we had two rooms in Cressing Road and then we moved with Flo and Sid didn’t we (Mr C: Mmm.) because that’s who we had the two rooms with and we moved over to the other side of the road into a larger house and we stayed with them until Pam was born. Because Pam was born while we were in two rooms wasn’t she? (Q: Yes.). I went to Nurse Roberts down Maldon Road Nursing Home didn’t I? (Mr C: That’s right.) Down there. She was disappointed because she thought I was going to have twins. [laugh] And she’d never had twins in her nursing home and she was hoping I was having twins but I disappointed her [laugh].
Mr C: Nurse Roberts. (Mrs C: Oh she was lovely.). That was the last house.
Mrs C: The last house down Maldon Road on the right hand side.
Mr C: Near the river.
Q: She looked after you did she ?
Mrs C: Oh, she was more than a mother to me. Any rate I’d only booked in for a fortnight and she said would I like to stay another week, so I said well I’d have to ask my husband for we were paying three guineas a week then. That was a lot of money. So of course when he came down, because she used to prepare a tea for you didn’t she weekends (Mr C: Oh yes, oh yes.) Put a little table up beside my bed, so, you know, we had tea together and that. So I said to him, I said, ‘Nurse Roberts has asked if I would like to stay another week’. So he said ‘Well, would you like to?’ so I said ‘Yes, I would’. So I did, I stayed three weeks and it was lovely.
Q: I mean, these days they get you up out of bed the day after you’ve had the baby. You had to stop in bed then did you ?
Mrs C: Did I have to stop in bed? There was a terrific thunderstorm one afternoon and I got out of bed to go over to the cot where Pam was. Of course Nurse Roberts come up ‘What are you doing out here?’. I said ‘I’m just sitting here for my baby’. ‘Get back into bed.’ she said and you’ll stop another day’ [laugh] And so I had to stop another day because I got out of bed (Q: Really ?)
Mr C: That was the good old days.
Mrs C: Oh that was lovely.
Mr C: Times were different then.
Q: Did she help you a lot with looking after her and that sort of thing? Did you know much about looking after babies when …?
Mrs C: No, no, she just showed me what I’d got to do you know and everything and of course from then I managed on my own. I was quite all right. (Mr C: We had the two rooms.) Yes we had only two rooms.
Q: Nowadays they have clinics and that where you keep taking the babies down. Did you have anything like that at all ?
Mrs C: No, I used to take Pam down once a week you know to see her like and that but I never took her to the clinic or anything like that. (Q: There was one, was there ?) Oh there was a Clinic somewhere but I never used it for, to tell you the truth, I didn’t really believe in ‘em. (Q: Really ?) Not that time I thought I was getting on all right and everything was all right so why worry. (Q: Yes, mmm.)
Q: Did you have any friends that went there or anything ?
Mrs C: When I was there I was the only one, but there were two or three went in after me but you couldn’t praise her high enough because she was such a wonderful person.
Q: Did she just run it for herself or how did it work ?
Mrs C: No, just herself. It was just a sort of private nursing home. As soon as you went there she used to send for the doctor straight away you know.
Mr C: Doctor Ryder Richardson wasn’t it (Mrs C: Mmm.)
Q: So he was there when you had it. Was she a midwife as well ?
Mrs C: Well she done everything.
Q: Because, did people used to have them at home sometimes in those days or did most people go into somewhere to have a baby ?
Mrs C: No, sort of we were all right with her.
Q: So if you hadn’t got into Nurse Roberts then what would you have done ?
Mrs C: Well, I’d have had to gone either to, there used to be a Nursing Home in Collingwood Road, (Mr C: Oh yes, there was, there were several nurses there) where you could go. But they were the sort of day nurses that used to visit different people. But I went to this one and you couldn’t praise her high enough. She was such a wonderful person. (Q: Yes.)
Mr C: Well, it was a lot of money at that time.
Mrs C: Well, three guineas a week was a lot of money.
Mr C: [???] But now, oh well.
Mrs C: I know they get nearly everything paid for and don’t have to worry do they ? (Q: No.)
Q: Did you stop work when you got married ?
Mrs C: Yes, that’s the one thing I was looking forward to ? [Laugh] (Q: What stopping work ?) Not biking to Chelmsford every day.
Mr C: I mean that was something wasn’t it ?
Mrs C: Ten years I done that.
Q: Yes, it’s a fair old way isn’t it? (Q: Yes.) Did you have to stop work, did they have any married people working there ?
Mrs C: Oh yes, yes. There was married people there.
Q: So have you ever worked anywhere …?
Mrs C: That was my one and only job. Well, I did, I say that’s my one and only job. I went to the glove factory when I first left school at fourteen and I biked from Hatfield to Witham to the glove factory and I worked there for a week. There was no place where you could sit and have your lunch. You had to stand up in the cloakroom and have it. (Q: Mmm.) And at the end of the week your wage packet was a half-a-crown. I was biking from Hatfield to Witham every day and that was the winter time and when I took it home and laid the wage packet on the table my Mum said ‘What’s this then ?’ So I said ‘That’s my week’s wages.’ ‘Two and six ?’ she said. I said ‘Yes.’ ‘You don’t go there any more then,’ she said ‘that’s that.’ So I didn’t go there any more and never even went to give me notice in. (Q: Really ?) She took me up to Hoffmann’s next week and I got a job at Hoffman’s and there I stayed until we married, ten years.
Q: Can you remember anything about what you did at the glove factory ?
Mrs C: Just sort of, what I did ‘cos I was only a sort of a learner, then, well you had a poker thing pushing them up the fingers of the glover. Sort of a stretcher thing. (Mr C: They weren’t over paid were they ?) Then, when it come dinner time you’d got to, all the others were going home and you had got to stand in the cloakroom and have your dinner. [laugh] All for half-a-crown.
Q: Who was in charge of you ? Was there somebody come round ?
Mrs C: Well, there were supervisors and all that sort of thing, I was, I wasn’t interested really enough to …
Q: What about in the War time ? Did you work at all ?
Mrs C: Yes I worked in Crittall’s.
Q: What did they do there?
Mrs C: Well, when I first started there I said to my husband ‘Can I come with you ?’, because I only done part-time you see in the afternoon. I said ‘Can I come with you?’ He said ‘No, you can’t. You went and got the job, you go on your own’. Of course I had to find my way there. Anyway I was on those long, cutting off those long bars wasn’t I ? (Mr C: I dunno.) For a start. Then we got on to painting bridges. (Mr C: Which war was that?) [laughter] The last one. And then I left and went as a cook to the nursery school where they used to take little children in when their mothers were at work. Where Pam was, nurse, wasn’t she there. Then I went as cook. Then when that finished I went back to Crittall’s in the canteen and that was nice and I stopped there, I dunno how many years. I was there several years wasn’t I ? (Mr C: Blowed if I know.)
Q: Was the nursery just for Crittall’s workers ?
Mrs C: No, no any mother that was at work, they could bring their children to the nursery and they would be looked after. (Mr C: Oh that’s right.)
Q: Whereabouts was that then ?
Mrs C: Well that used to be, that’s that big house, I can’t explain it to you. (Mr C: Where ?) Just past the White Horse on the left hand side coming down, where you go down.
Q: Where there’s a big sort of hill in front ?
Mrs C: What’s the name of the house where you used to go to work to work? Bramstons.
Q: Bramstons [16 Chipping Hill] – opposite there ? Oh I think I know. It’s a long way down below the road isn’t it ? [Brookcote, now 29 Chipping Hill]
Mrs C: Yes, well that’s where it used to be.
Q: Goodness, well who ran that then ?
Mrs C: It used to be run really by the Council more or less I should think wasn’t it ? (Mr C: Yes.)
Q: Was that just in the War time though ?
Mrs C: Yes. There used to be two or three nurses because Pam, our daughter, she was a nurse there wasn’t she and there were two others and then there was the matron, Matron Ward. And, oh, there were several little kiddies used to come.
Q: And what did they do with them ? They were all young ones I suppose ?
Mrs C: Yes, but they used to take them out in the mornings for a walk and then in the afternoons they had a rest. You know they all had their little sleeper beds and that and used to have a rest and then they used to have a sort of a little tea but not a heavy meal. They used to have their mid-day meal but they used to have sort of a little tea before their mothers used to come and pick them up after they left off work.
Q: Yes, so that would be sort of after school time really wouldn’t it, (Mrs C: Yes.) because they worked till four or five ?
Mrs C: Yes, see mothers didn’t leave off work till five o’clock.
Q: But by then Pam was working was she ?
Mrs C: Oh, she was there. I used to knock off after dinner. I used to cook their dinner and that and see to all the washing up and all that sort of thing and then in the afternoon the nurses used to get the tea for the kiddies. I used to prepare whatever they wanted (Q: Mmm.) and they used to just give it to them and then the mothers used to come and collect the children.
Q: So what gave you the idea of going back to work in the War ? What made you decide to go to Crittall’s say ?
Mrs C: Money ? [Laugh]
Q: I was wondering whether they were asking for people ?
Mrs C: Well they were asking for people. They did want people.
Mr C: Everybody used to work some where or other.
Mrs C: I was at home doing nothing and I thought, oh well, a bit of extra money comes in handy.
Mr C: Money is the root of all evil.
Q: But did they still do windows then or was it all War … ?
Mrs C: No, there was windows as well, wasn’t it? I mean I did several different jobs. (Mr C: Well, men’s jobs.) I used to do the fasteners on the windows, the handles and that. And then I went on shearing, where you clipped the corners off the frames. Oh different operations, yes.
Q: What did the men used to think about that, about all these women coming into Crittall’s ?
Mr C: Well, it just happened like, that was the thing, that was the war effort. I mean they did that. Some had to go in the Army and others go on war work, heavy work, but that was the general thing like, everybody did just like that. Oh yes, well. [???] [???]
Q: When the War finished what happened then, did you stop in the canteen?
Mrs C: I didn’t go to the canteen till after War. (Q: Oh I see.)
Mr C: Don’t seem as long ago as that. That’s what I can’t remember all these little details.
Q: Were there still some women working in the factory? (Q: Oh yes.) What happened to them when the War finished ?
Mrs C: Well, I don’t really know. I think a lot of them still continued with the jobs that they were doing didn’t they, I mean a lot of them did. You was never asked to leave. I mean you weren’t told you’d got to leave. (Q: No.)
Q: You would imagine with all the men coming back presumably they …? In the War was there much bombing in Witham ?
Mr C: A fair amount I think.
Mrs C: Well they bombed Crittall’s didn’t they? (Q: Did they ?) (Mr C: You’re getting onto details. Oh yes I suppose….) They had two in Cressing Road. They dropped two bombs in Cressing Road. We had some down the bottom here.
Mr C: [talk over] They did bomb Crittall’s factory, and Cressing Road.
Mrs C: Well, they machine-gunned all the way up Cressing Road, one Sunday dinner time, didn’t they. (Q: Was that when you were there ?) When we lived in Cressing Road, no we was in Church Street wasn’t it, because they went right up the main thingy of Church Street and then turned round and came back over.
Q: Was anybody hurt ?
Mrs C: Well, no, nobody was hurt was they?
Mr C: I don’t think so, I don’t know whether anybody …
Q: Because that sounds …
Mrs C: They had the shelters and all that didn’t they so I mean. They had shelters and that. As soon as the warning went you had to clear out.
Mr C: There were shelters down here weren’t they ?
Mrs C: There were shelters down the bottom there somewhere.
Q: I suppose, you’d got all this money there wasn’t much to spent it on, I should think, was there ?
Mrs C: I don’t know. I only got …
Mr C: There wasn’t ever so much.
Q: You managed all right did you ?
Mrs C: I mean the children still wanted clothing and one thing and another and your money wasn’t all that hot was it? (Mr C: No.) That wasn’t like they’re earning today.
Mr C: Oh dear, oh dear, People earned about four or five pounds. I think the highest I ever earned was three pounds sixteen I believe.
Mrs C: But I used to bike from Hatfield to Chelmsford every day for thirty shillings a week.
Mr C: What would that be today ?
Q: Goodness knows, pounds and pounds ?
Mrs C: I tell you we were born too soon.
Mr C: Yes, well then there was a long period when there was big money being earned wasn’t there ? After I retired.
Mrs C: Ah yes, after you retired. That’s when the money started to go up (Q: I see.).
(Mr C: As I say.) Well, you’ve been retired nineteen years this year isn’t it? What have you done with that nineteen years.
Q: I goes quickly doesn’t it. It goes much quicker.
Mr C: I can’t even remember, oh dear, its just a slice out of your life that you can’t …
Q: You say you still kept on with odd jobs and things ?
Mr C: Oh yes, after I retired, oh yes, for years didn’t I, I did part time work ?
Mrs C: Well you used to go gardening and that. Till you had your eye trouble. Then when you had your eye trouble that finished everything.
Q: How long did you keep up your singing and all that ? (Mr C: Singing?) When did you give that up? You’ve still not given it up maybe? [Laugh]
Mr C: I have, unfortunately, oh dear I do get envious when I see what’s it’s name programme. (Mrs C: You gave it up a long, long time ago.) Yes, a long time ago I suppose. Have I got some of me old songs ?
Mrs C: No, you haven’t because we did away with they all, when we moved.
Q: I expect you can remember them though can you ?
Mr C: Oh, yes I do. Occasionally you hear one, you know, when they go right back, what I call right back.
Q: Did you ever get paid for any of that or was it all …?
Mr C: Oh, yes. [laugh]
Mrs C: But you didn’t when you done the Crittall’s, when you were in Crittall’s. No that was all voluntary.
Mr C: Well you did that for your job. Course.
Mrs C: And he used to go out private like, somebody asked you going somewhere, you used to ….
Mr C: I used to go out two or three times a week didn’t ? I must have done quite a trade really. I wonder if I was any good ?
Q: [laugh] I expect so.
Mr C: Well, it makes you wonder don’t it ? If I did a lot of it. And I did do a lot of it, surely. Oh I’ve sung all over Essex, like you know, Colchester, Chelmsford, Braintree, Witham, Maldon, Kelvedon, Tollesbury, Coggeshall. Oh yes I’ve sung all over …….
Q: Did you used to go and hear him at all?
Mrs C: I used to go after we were married. I weren’t allowed to go when we were courting.(Q: Really !) They didn’t used to take the young ladies. It was just a men’s apart from the girls what were in the concert party. That was a different thing. (Q: Uhuh.) But after we married when he used to go out, I used to go didn’t I ? Used to come with you but after I had the children well then that was a different matter. I just couldn’t go. (Q: Yes.) I had to stay behind and I didn’t think much of it any rate.
Mr C: What did I used to get for that then? Do you remember. [???] When you think of what you hear of today, well, I wasn’t a professional, that’s true, but I used to be decent enough. I wonder if he’s still alive, old Calker[?]. He lived at Braintree. He was a …
Q: Still it brought in a bit extra.
Mr C: Oh yes, but not much. That’s true. There were [???] Crittall’s was, well they kept your job, that was the main thing. (Q: I see.)
Mrs C: Yes, I used to moan and groan but he used to say, ‘Oh well, think of me job, think of me job’ and I just had to put up with it.
Q: You think being in the Concert thing …? (Mrs C: Me ?) Do you think him being in it had any effect on …?
Mrs C: No, no, it was all right. He enjoyed it.
Q: You said it was his job. I wondered if you thought being in the Concert party had anything …?
Mrs C: Well, it did help him. (Mr C: Oh yes, well, of course.) Because there was a lot that were sacked. And I mean you used to wonder every Friday whether you was going to be …
Mr C: [???] things were, for years and years there was a period, well not so bad as it is now, I know, but when things were very bad. There was a lot of unemployment.
Q: So you reckon the people that were in the Concert party …
Mrs C: Well there wasn’t any of them got the sack did they ?
Mr C: No, they kept their job, course they did.
[Talk about getting dinner ready, not noted]
Mr C: No, everything is different today. Football and all that sort of business. Oh yes. I went to first Cup Final at Wembley. That was quite an occasion that was, of course.