Tape 068. Mr Fred Gaymer and Mrs Evelyn Gaymer (nee Cook), sides 1 and 2

Tape 68

Mr Fred Gaymer and his wife Mrs Evelyn Gaymer (nee Cook), were born in 1907 and c 1908. They were interviewed on 18 March 1983 when they lived at Grasmere, Stevens Road, Witham.

They also appear on tapes 74, 75, 120, and 121.

For more information about them, see Gaymer family, including Doris Goldsmith, nee Gaymer 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.]

Unfortunately much of the sound on this tape is very poor.

Side 1

[General conversation, not noted]

Mr G:    I was born down Maldon Road, Park Cottages, where the filling station is now.  There were four or five cottages; they’ve been pulled down. The filling station has been built there now. And we moved up to Cuppers when I was eight, when the First World War was on. My uncle lived there and he owned a smallholding. Dad worked on the Freebournes estate. And he used to come to the yard, to work, because Richardson and Wakelin had Cuppers yard, for the blacksmiths shops and workshops and one thing and another. And he used to do the repairs to the machinery, the threshing tackle and the steam ploughs and all sorts. And so Dad already come up here [Cuppers] to work, you see, and then he come up here to run the smallholding because my uncle went in the War.

Q:    When he was at Freebournes, did he specialise in the machinery? When he was at Freebournes did he do the machinery?

Mr G:    He was the estate carpenter, working for Richardson and Wakelin and then he had to come up here to do the repairs on the elevators or the farm works or the living vans and that sort of thing for the steam plough engines you see. And then, of course, eventually he had to go in the War. My grandfather who was foreman on the Freebournes estate, then he run the smallholding, as best they could. (Q: Your grandfather was working.) For Wakelin. (Q: He was the foreman.) That’s right, yes. He lived at Park Cottages as well.

Q:    How many of you were there, then? In Park Cottages.

Mr G:    There was four cottages.

Q:    And he had a different one?

Mr G:    Oh yes. The end one was nearest to the River Brain. The end one of the four. His [grandfather’s] window looked out – sort of down Maldon Road, his living room window, instead of looking out the back. In the end house.

Q:    [to Mrs G] And you lived up Church Street?

Mrs G:    We came to Witham when I was six. We lived up the terrace [Chipping Hill Terrace, . 106-134 Church Street]. We lived up there till I was seventeen I think. My parents moved over to Hatfield Peverel, so I didn’t live in Witham. I worked in Witham. Then after I was seventeen, I was in service you see, and then I went to Terling and I went to [???] so I never actually lived in Witham after I was seventeen till we married.

Q:    So where did you start in service?

Mrs G:    I worked for Mr & Mrs Manning. He was the …

Mr G:    Manager of the painters and decorators. Where the sports shop is now [62 Newland Street]. He had a business in the back yard.

Mrs G:    Yes they lived there. They had one little boy [???]

Q:    So what did they call you?

Mrs G:    I don’t know. [laughs]

[5 minutes]

Q:    Were you the only (Mrs G: Only one.) You did everything, did you?

Mrs G:    Oh yes. Well, I didn’t, my main thing was to look after the little boy, you see. But I used to do the washing up and do the steps.

Mr G:    Mrs Manning used to work in the office.

Mrs G:    She did a lot of the office work. But I didn’t have to do the washing or anything like that [???]. I was there for about three years. And then I went to Terling Place. And that was a big step that was. There was sixteen domestic staff there. Four housemaids, four in the kitchen, four in the pantry, that’s the men. Three in the nursery, then the lady’s maid. There were four housemaids. I was the fourth of the housemaids. There was the head housemaid, second housemaid, the third housemaid and fourth housemaid. You started at the bottom. Finished my education there, I can tell you. Had to work there. Had to be up at – I had to take the head housemaid a cup of tea at half past six. But she didn’t want to get up at half past six, really. That was to ascertain that I was up! She didn’t get up till half past seven. But that’s what the idea was – to make sure us younger ones were up! [???]

Q:    [???]

Mrs G:    Wouldn’t have had time to stop and drink one anyway. (Q: What did you do for meals?) [???] in the servants hall – all the men and housemaids. The kitchen people didn’t come, they had theirs in the kitchen and the nursery people had theirs in the nursery. The servants’ hall was downstairs. But it’s surprising that you know, we got used to it. First it was terrible, every so strange but when you got used to it, it was quite good. I only had one half day off a week, and every other Sunday afternoon. But you had to do everything [???] in the morning – you didn’t get out till half past two to three. And you had to be back in sharp at half past nine. And that was your lot. (Q: How long did you stay there for?) Three years, just over three years.

Q:    Did you move up at all?

Mrs G:    Yes I was moved up to third housemaid. But you didn’t move up till somebody else left, you see. The second housemaid left so the third housemaid went up to second, [???] then I went in her place, and another [???] started.

Q:    How did you get the job, do you remember?

Mrs G:    Well, I think it was advertised.

Mr G:    I think it come about through your father being the postman as well, knowing about it perhaps.

Mrs G:    Well actually no he didn’t, we saw it [???]

Q:    You thought that would be an improvement did you, on your old job?

Mrs G:    Oh yes. I learnt something, the biggest thing I learnt was to live with other people. You learnt to live with other people and realised you weren’t the only pebble on the beach. Especially when you started. But still that didn’t do me any harm.

[10 minutes]

Q:    Did you see much of the family?

Mrs G:    Not a lot. [???] You had to be finished downstairs, [???] we had to be finished our jobs downstairs before the family came down to breakfast. Yes you had to be done downstairs. [???] [???] brushes and that [???] Hands and knees. And it had to be done properly.

Q:    What happened if it wasn’t?

Mrs G:    We had to go back and do it.

Q:    Who was checking up on you?

Mrs G:    The head housemaid really. But Lady Rayleigh, her ladyship [???] if she spotted anything [???] she’d call the head housemaid you see, and [???] and the head housemaid would know which one of us it was, and we had to put that right. [???] [???] But that was all discipline wasn’t it.

Q:    [???] after breakfast what you do?

Mrs G:    Well then us younger ones, we had to go round and make all the beds, the servants’ beds, the housekeeper’s bed, not the kitchenmaids, we didn’t do their beds, they had to do their own. We had to do the men’s beds. [???] We had to do the children’s beds when we got up to third housemaid.

Q:    Did they have a lot of children?

Mrs G:    Yes. Well there were two families because Lord Rayleigh lost his wife, and [???] and Lady Rayleigh lost her husband [???] and she’d got four children, and then they had one after they were married. So there were nine. Mind you the boys were away at school. [???] they had a governess you see.

Mr G:    [???]

Mrs G:    [???] The girls, young ladies, had their maid, she was a cut above us, [???] she was a cut above the nursery maid. She lived on the nursery floor with [???] But she had do the lot, she had to know how to dressmake [???]

Q:    Did you know what to expect when you went there? (Mrs G: No.) Can you remember what it was like when you first arrived?

[15 minutes]

Mrs G:    [???] I kept getting lost. (Q: How old were you then?) Seventeen. [???] You got used to the different bells and knew each bells would ring for. They used to ring for our, when it was our mealtimes, of course you had to be there. Especially at lunch time. The butler had the first part of his lunch with us and the lady’s maid, but then they went up for their second course in the housekeeper’s room. [???] When the butler and the lady’s maid got up to go up to the housekeeper’s room, cos we were right downstairs, the fourth housemaid had to go to the kitchen and get this pudding and take it into the housekeeper’s room. I did that at first and hated having to do it. Then I got up to third and didn’t have to do it you see. But the poor girl that come after me, she came from Braintree, and it was a time when there was no work going at all, she’d worked in a factory, and she hadn’t got the foggiest idea what to do. It was awful to her. She sort of resented having to conform, you know what I mean. It took her a long time. [???]

Q:    When was that about?

Mrs G:    It was when we were in our teens, wasn’t it. There wasn’t much work in the factories and that.

Mr G:    [???]

Q:    Did you ever think about doing anything different, apart from going into service?

Mrs G:    Never had a chance. You didn’t have a chance in those days.

Mr G:    You would have liked to stay on at school, really.

Mrs G:    Oh yes, it broke my heart, I left school early because, well I was quite bright, I was always top of the class sort of thing. [???] my ambition I wanted to be a teacher. But you just couldn’t do it. I hadn’t got my own, I’d got a stepmother, and there was three more. That was out of the question those days. But I could have done it. I know I could have done it. [???] My grandchildren, they’re getting the opportunities today. [???] eldest [???] Exeter University. [???] I’m ever so pleased about that, [???]

Q:    Which school did you go to?

Mrs G:    Maldon Road.  Chipping Hill first, then we went to Maldon Road.

Q:    [To Mr G] Did you go as well?

Mr G:    No, I went to Guithavon, Church School, that’s right, yes.

Q:    How did you choose which?

Mr G:    Well one was Church of England, you see, if your parents were Church of England and that sort of thing, that’s where you went.

Mrs G:    Other people could go. You didn’t have to be Church of England, but the majority did, and that time of day we went to the [???] Church, you know, the Congregational. [???] That was a long way to walk from the terrace. (Mr G: Top of Church Street.) We had to walk right down the Maldon Road, and we used to go home to dinner and back again. [???] In the real bad weather, if it was deep snow, or sometimes on a Monday because that was the washing day, we used to take bread and dripping, or bread and jam. We didn’t get a drink, only water. A lot of children, they used walk from Braxted. (Mr G: Wickham Bishops) Wickham Bishops. Yes. They had to walk.

[20 minutes]

Q:    You liked school did you?

Mrs G:    Oh yes. But, if ever anybody had to stop at home, because my little brother was ill, or something of that, it always had to be me. (Q: You were the oldest were you?) My brother was the oldest. I was the oldest girl. I had real brother and then I had a step sister and this little boy which was my half brother. And I had to look after him.

Q:    Your father was a postman?

Mrs G:    That was after the War. [???] He used to go round on the coal cart before. But he was wounded in the hand so he couldn’t hold the reins properly.

Q:    What was his name?

Mrs G:    Cook.

Mr G:    You said did you see much of the family when you was at Terling Place, didn’t you. Well [???] used to [???] the old Lord Rayleigh was an astronomer, and he’d be studying the skies from different windows in some of the bedrooms where they had to go and turn down the sheets and that. And he’d be behind the curtains. And he’d say ‘Never mind me’.

Mrs G:    But you mustn’t put on a light.

Mr G:    Terling Place, still there is the astrodome, you see, where they used to study, but at certain times he’d have his telescope at a window, certain aspect I suppose.

Mrs G:    You’d go in that room, and you wouldn’t know he was there, and it made you jump! [laugh]

Q:    Presumably you had, did you have people coming round the school or anything like high-ups. You say that Lord Rayleigh and them were [???] Were there people living in Witham that were, gentlemen if you like?

Mrs G:    Well there were so many business people, thought they were a cut above us. Those people that employed one maid, they were the people who thought, you know, they thought they were ‘it’ didn’t they, up above the …(Mr G: Oh yes.) Oh yes there were so many of them they mostly had one maid.

Q:    [???] I suppose the farmers, the farmers would think quite a lot of themselves, would they, where did they stand in the picture?

Mr G:    It’s a bit difficult to say, but they used to be at the Constitutional Club and those sort of places, you see. My father, he was always one who had his beer regularly at say the Morning Star, or the Dragon, and that sort of place, where the smaller used to gather you see I suppose.

Q:    Was Freebournes quite biggish?

Mr G:    It was then, all where Crittall’s was built, it all come under Freebournes you see. Collingwood Road.

[25 minutes]

Mrs G:    Then, talking about the nobs of Witham, there were the Laurences weren’t there.

Mr G:    Oh yes, at the Grove. My father, when the electricity first came around, he helped the electricians when they wired the Grove, or Freebournes house. He [???] help laying the wires and all that sort of thing I suppose. And then they had the engines to run the dynamos, charge the cells for the start of electricity. And then after we came here to live, Cuppers I mean you see, he used to run the electric light plant at Blunts Hall, for the Honourable Charles Strutt.
Because he’d done that before for Freebournes and the Grove. And he used to be able to hear this engine when he was down here, and make sure everything was going, can you hear the engine all right you see. You could hear it.  From here [Cuppers] to Blunts Hall.

Q:    Was that for machinery as well? Did they run, that was just for the lights ?

Mr G:    Just for lighting only. (Mrs G: Lights]

Q:    [???]

Mr G:    Well, the steam ploughs and the threshing tackle used to go out from this yard and all round the district, working on the farms. And then there used to be the living huts that used to go with them. They used to work, well not quite night and day but all hours, when the land was right after harvest you see. Otherwise it’d be standing in the yard a long time.[???] Did you know Randalls, used to be up Church Street, before you get to the Cherry Tree.

Mrs G:    [???]

Mr G:    That’s been pulled down.

Mrs G:    Well, anyway, Mr Randall lived there. And he had steam threshing tackle you see. As soon as the gate was opened the word would get round at the top of Church Street, ‘Mr Randall’s getting his engine out’ and they’d run down, we all used to run down to watch Mr Randall get his [???] (Q: Worth watching.) Well it was in those days. It was marvellous.

Q:    With the threshing machine, how did you get it from point A to B, was that [???]

Mr G:    There was a traction engine. That wasn’t what they call a portable engine. Q: [???] The traction engines, they pulled the farm [???] and the elevators and the chaff cutters and that sort of thing.

Mrs G:    Then sometimes when we were all watching then he’d make it whistle, you know.

Mr G:    Whistle with the steam. Another thing you might like to hear about as well. When they had the ‘Co-op treat’, it was up Kings Chase where Mr Holt’s got his horses and the barn and that there now. We used to have the Co-op treat once a year.

Mrs G:    Treat of the year that was …

Mr G:    Treat of the year, the highlight of Witham that was, and Mr Randall would perhaps come over and go to these rallies to heat the water for making the tea. I don’t know exactly how they do it – called steam injection, anyway.

Mrs G:    He used to be there for Sunday school treats, used to have Sunday school treats, that was our Sunday school treat you see, and he used to be there making the tea.

[30 minutes]

Mr G:    When we used to have the Parish treat, for the churches. They used to have it on the vicar’s meadow up Church Street. Where Chipping Dell is now, where that entrance to Chipping Dell is now.  There used to be a barn. That used to be one of the entrances to this… I remember Mr Randall being there with his engine, we had this school treat, whatever it was. And heating up the water for making the tea. (Mrs G: I can see him now.) I remember once at the, the school treat I think, I couldn’t be sure though.

Mrs G:    The Sunday school treat I suppose. Used to [???] them days, the Sunday school treat.

Mr G:    They used to have races for youngsters and one thing and another. I won two races. And I don’t know, this has always stuck with me – they only gave me one prize! [all laugh] I didn’t get the prize for the second one. Someone else had to have it. I won two races anyway. (Q: You don’t know what the prize was, do you?) A few religious poems or something like that I should think.

Q:    Presumably you went to church regularly as well, did you?

Mr G:    Oh yes, when we were at Maldon Road we used to go up to the parish church Sundays. Well, different parishioners had their own pews. And Grandfather Thake who was foreman at Freebournes, he had this pew, and if we went up we always used his pew.

Mrs G:    He used to drive up there in his pony and cart didn’t he? (Mr G: Sometimes.) I’ve heard your mother say. He used to drive her up there before she married.

Mr G:    I don’t remember going up with him in his cart though.

Q:    That was your mother’s father?

Mr G:    That’ right, yes

Q:    And did he always live in Park Cottages.

Mr G:    Park Cottages. And all where the industrial estates are now, that all come under Freebournes.

Q:    Did you used to go out back there? Could you play on the fields?

Mr G:    Being fixed like we were, we had a back garden for our cottages just out onto the meadow, but we were allowed to go on there and play.  Normally. We weren’t allowed to take many boys, we could have one or two. Couldn’t run a football team or anything like that.

Mrs G:    When we were in Church Street we weren’t allowed to go into those fields up there you see. We did. (Q: What happened to you then?) Well, if your mother knew you’d been trespassing on the fields you got into trouble. So it all had to be kept quiet.

Mr G:    Another thing you might like to hear about is when they sold the skimmed milk at Freebournes. I believe the building is still there. On the end nearest to the police station, there’s a lean-to place. And the gates were there, an entrance there as well. And Grandfather, Mr Thake you see, he used to have a pony and cart and go off to Benton Hall, which all come under Freebournes estate, and he was in charge of that as well. And when he come back from there, it’d be about eight o’clock or after, perhaps there’d be perhaps a dozen people with milk cans, ready to go and buy two penn’orth or a penn’orth of skimmed milk, or even a ha’porth of skimmed milk.

Mrs G:    We used to get a ha’porth …

[35 minutes]

Mr G:    And he used to skim the cream off and then dish out the milk. And then sometimes boys used to wait near this little low building and used to catch flies. Take their wings off and put them in the spiders’ webs. To be able to see what happened.

Mrs G:    You weren’t one of them were you?

Mr G:    Oh no, I wouldn’t do anything like that. But I remember, now the Stonehams, Ted Stoneham the cabinet maker, he was one of them. And another thing which was always interesting to me. We got an earwig – you know – a large web – where you knew there was a fair-size spider. And the spider would go and investigate but it won’t touch the earwig – goes off the web underneath and get it from underneath. That is interesting if you see that. [???] But I remember doing it there. We used to queue up for this, ha’orth of milk or penn’orth of skimmed milk.

Mrs G:    I’ll tell you where we used to go for milk – especially on Sundays – milkman didn’t come round that day. On Chipping Hill, there was Miss Abbot’s, you know where Charlie Rallings’s shop is? [55 Chipping Hill]

Mr G:    Dr Lee’s now.

Mrs G:    Dr Lee’s. [???] There’s a cellar there you see. We used to go – and take a jug – and get a ha’porth of milk Sunday afternoons. That’s right, the Milkman used to come round twice a day, but not Sundays they didn’t and of course there was no fridges then. [???] Especially if anybody was coming, like Sunday tea [???]

Mr G:    Where that new house is there now [55A Chipping Hill], was where the tithe barn used to be. And when that was pulled down my father undertook to pull it down and clear the tiles off the site or something like that I forget the exact details. And all the tiles were carted back into Cuppers Yard and the beams were sold and all those things. Cut up for firewood I suppose. But up in the roof among the beams was a little old place where they’d made an office. Sort of place for the dairy there. And one section of this was done with oak panels. Old oak panels. So they saved them and I made a bedstead, four foot six bedstead. Head and end, head and ends you see and used half a dozen of these panels, three in each end.

Mrs G:    That was our bedstead, wasn’t it.

Mr G:     We was talking about Bill Randall, who used to be in Church Street. After I got working for Richards the builders, I used to go up to Randalls’ yard to repair his elevator or perhaps woodwork on [???] When there was odd jobs to do [???]

Q:    Did you go straight to Richards when you started work?

Mr G:    No, I worked for my father. And my father being estate carpenter would [???] here with all the workshops and the blacksmith’s shop and everything you see. And he used to undertake wheelwrighting, building repairs, and then do cartage contracting and that sort of thing you see. I worked for my father a long time.

Mrs G:    [???]

Mr G:    That’s right yes. [???] He could turn his hand to lots of things.

Q:    So was he still sort of working for Freebournes when he was down here?

[40 minutes]

Mr G:     He worked at Freebournes until he went into the army. Then when he came out the army, after about two or three years or whatever that was, he started up on his own. But he still went to work for Richardson and Wakelin and the Freebournes estates, sometimes, anyway.  He worked for himself then. [???] He lived till he was 92. But he never paid any health insurance stamps so he didn’t draw any pension. Until the Act came in for people over 86. So he drew pension, his first pension on his 90th birthday. [all laugh] Mind you, he never paid for it, you see. They didn’t have to, did they, that time of day.

Q:    He stayed down here then, did he? Was he still living down Cuppers Yard?

Mr G:    He was still living here. He lived there till the last fortnight. The first year I retired. I looked after him. [???]

Mrs G:    Well we knew he wanted to stop there as long as he could.

Mr G:    He worked hard all his life, and he lived to a great age.

Mrs G:    Also he was sort of independent, not exactly independent, but he liked to do everything his way, if you know what I mean. It wouldn’t have been easy for him, to have lived with anybody else, put it that way. [???] We used to laugh at the things he did, didn’t we? [???] He never ailed anything, he was never ill. [???]

Mr G:    He used to brew beer in what was the brewhouse there you see. And always keep pigs you see, and kill one pig a year, salt them down and pickle it in treacle[?] [???]

Mrs G:    [???]  [???] He’d go and buy a piece from the butcher, a bit of fat meat or something like that. Anyway he used to do something with that. And then he’d hang it up in a muslin bag. He’d hang it up in the washhouse for ages and keep it there. Take a bit down, scrape all the mould off, he’d cook it and eat it and thoroughly enjoy it. He was a character really. So he wouldn’t have found it easy to live [???]

Q:    Did your grandfather work down there as well, at Gaymers at Cuppers? How long were the Gaymers at Cuppers.

Mr G:    They were there from 1914 or 1915.

Q:    Was that your grandfather or your father?

Mrs G:    His father.

Mr G:    [???]

Q:    What is it, an advertising card? [photo M23]

Mr G:    I’ve still got the plate for making that. [???]

Mrs G:    [???] That’s the Avenue.

Q:    [???]

Mrs G:    That was the treat of our life on Sundays. We used to come home from, used to go to Sunday school, used to walk from Chipping Hill to the Congregational Chapel and give ourselves a treat. We used to walk home through The Avenue. That would take us a little bit longer. [???] That was beautiful.

Q:    You were allowed to go in there, were you
Mr G and Mrs G together: Oh yes.

Mrs G:    You could walk through it.

Mr G:    There was a footpath, you could walk right through.

Q:    [???] This was a special advert for the wood, was it? One of the many things that he did.

Mr G:    That’s right, yes. For the firewood and pea sticks and all that sort of thing. (Q: Is that a saw …) Sawbench driven by a tractor. That’s my father, my brother and myself.

Side 2

[General conversation., not noted]

Mr G:    That was to get in Witham Fire Brigade, volunteer fire brigade. That’s one of the [???] papers.

Q:    [???] 1935. It looks as if it was printed yesterday doesn’t it. That was voluntary, was it?

Mr G:    Oh yes.

Q:    How did you get paid?

Mr G:    You had this retainer of about ten shillings a month or something like that.. Then you got paid when you attended fires, about three shillings an hour.

Q:    What sort of a machine did you have?

Mr G:    Nice – fairly up to date – a Morris fire engine and it used to be driven by Vic Beardwell – Ralph Beardwell’s father [???]

Q:    [???] That’s the one that died … [???]

Mr G:    Just recently. His father used to. [???] Hurrell and Beardwell. And the ambulances as well one time. Then Dick Ashby done the fire engine as well. he done it in latter years we were there. And then there was a possibility of War, all of us volunteer fireman were called on full time a fortnight before War broke out. And we had to be down the fire station – you know where the old fire station was, do you?

Q:    I’m not sure I do.

Mr G:    Well, the bottom of Guithavon Street, Mill Lane.

Q:    On the corner there?

Mr G:    That’s right, poor old place it is now. That was the fire station. That was the pride of Witham! And the people used to look in those glass doors and see where they were shining all the brass up. I used to say we used to use more Brasso than we did petrol! [both laugh].

Q:    What sort of pumps for the water?

Mr G:    The engine – the fire engine itself had got the pump attached to it. The same engine that drove it on the road would also be used for running the pump on the back of the engine. And there was ladders you see on top. We were down there fulltime, twenty fours hours a day and they had to bring us food and one thing and another. And there was no convenience or anything. We used to have to just wash in a bucket with water.

Q:    And that was just before the War?

F:    That was just before the War broke out. That gradually got sorted out so that we were on shift work more or less. [???] [???] being down there twenty fours a day, a fortnight before War broke out.

Q:    How long did that go on for?

Mr G:    A fortnight.

Q:    During the War itself, were you on special …?

[5 minutes]

Mr G:    Well. I suppose that went on for several months. Then we went back to our normal jobs and you were on call then if there was fires. And on evening time.

Q:    Were you working for Richards then?

Mr G:    That’s right, I was working for Richards.

Q:    How did that come about. Did your father retire?

Mr G:    I built this bungalow up near the railway line in 1929.  We married the 30th of January 1930, 29th of January 1930. This land belonged to my father. He eventually bought a smallholding from the Rayleigh estate. That – Cuppers belonged to the Rayleigh estate then. But after the War [First], the workshops needed a lot of repairs – wanted a lot of repairs done and the Rayleigh estate wouldn’t do them. And then sometime [???] he bought five acres and then hired the other land that he used to farm, he was hiring that. Then he gave me a plot of land and I built that little bungalow. All the timber for that,  for the framework anyway, came from London field. You know where the London field was – just over the railway bridge, on the left. [Colchester Road] Where that industrial estate is. Where the first industrial estate was built. That was London field. They had the Essex Show [June 1929]. The last time they had the Essex Show in Witham – it was held on there. And when they used to have the Essex Show, they were all from different places, they used to buy a lot of timber and put up all the different things, pens and so on. And then salvage the timber and sell it afterwards. And the timber for that bungalow was bought at this auction sale.

Q:    I’ll take a closer look next time I go past.

Mr G:    Richards were the builders of Witham, one time. They were the big builders round here. When I first went to work for them they’d got the Peculiar People’s chapel on the go, that’s the Evangelical church now [Guithavon Valley, built 1932] the Co-op at Hatfield, alterations to Witham Co-op as well. And they had a house being built at Tolleshunt[?] and a bungalow at Coggeshall all at the same time . And Charlie Richards he knew my father’s business had gone down [???] and came and offered me a job, as a carpenter and joiner. I’d been used doing all sorts of work really, building repairs with my father. So I left my father and went to work for Richards.

[Showing photographs etc]

Mrs G:    Here’s a photo of him at twenty-one and me at twenty. Now I’m 75 and he’ll be 76.

Q:    [???]

Mr G:    Something like that I suppose.

Q:     If you were in service you wouldn’t get much chance for meeting young fellows I suppose.

Mrs G:    [???]

Mr G:    Used to keep the right side of the gardeners. [at Terling Place]

Mrs G:    That’s right the gardeners.

Mr G:    They had about six gardeners there. More. Eight gardeners. And of course some of them would be young, wouldn’t they.

Mrs G:    They’d come in to see to the plants in the house and [???] give me a nice pear or a nice apple, slip it in your pocket.

[looking at photos and papers, then general conversation, not noted]

[15 minutes]

Q:    Presumably if you were just at Terling Place for three years, you went somewhere else after that did you?

Mrs G:    I went to Hylands Park, Chelmsford, well, Widford, but I didn’t stop there long.

Mr G:    Andrews.

Q:    Why was that?

Mrs G:     Oh! Dreadful. And then I went to Francis Crittall at Silver End. (Mr G: The Manors.) I finished up there. Yes, it was good there.

Mr G:    Oh yes. Boyfriends were allowed inside and we had some good fun. Well, that used to be a weekend place for them you see.

[looking at publication about Silver End, etc., not noted]

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