Tape 069. Mr Fred Goodchild, side 1

Tape 69

Mr Fred Goodchild was born in 1903. He was interviewed on 31 March 1983, when he lived at 1 Hollybank, Witham.

For more about him, see Goodchild, Fred in the People category.

The original recording of this interview is held at the Essex Sound and Video Archive. To listen to the recording, please contact them at ero.enquiry@essex.gov.uk or 033301 32500.

[???] shows words that are not clear enough to interpret and so have had to be omitted.
[?] after a word shows that its interpretation is not certain.
Later explanatory additions by JG or the transcriber are in square brackets [e.g. explaining locations etc.]

Side 1

Mr G:    [Newland Street, north side, starting at west end – also see Mr G’s list] … You can confirm a lot of this if you like from other people who were here before I was. (Q: Yes.) But over the other side of the  bridge [in Bridge Street] there was Robinsons, the market gardeners and they had all of those fruit trees that are still in there, by the school, as part of his garden. And then you come over this side of the bridge and there was a gas works [number 134], which was – er – Mrs Eva Hayes used to be in the office, Mrs Hayes. And – Croxall was the manager. And then we go up this side a bit further. And the next thing we come to, next to the Crotchet was a blacksmiths, which was run by Shelleys. And then opposite the surgery is the house, which is going to be, I believe a chemist shop, was Mann’s – and years ago it was a school, a private school [124]. And then as you went a bit further up, where the hotel is now, there was Bawtree’s [100] the solicitor. And a bit further up from that where the furniture shop is now, was Dibben’s the hairdressers [90].

Q:    … a good memory. Do you remember all this yourself?

Mr G:    Well, I knew them all you see. And then after Dibben’s was there, I think Barham the jewellers came there. And then where Tony Holt is now, Beards was the ironmongers [88]. And after Beards was Sammy Page [86] which you know about.

Q:    Someone did mention that, yes.

Mr G:    Second hand shop. My mother bought that teapot from there.

Mrs G:    That was half a crown.

Mr G:    Half a crown, she argued about that!

Mrs G:    Those were the days.

Mr G:    And then there was the Post Office, [84] after Sammy Page. And next to the Post Office where Cooper Cocks is now was Hunwicks the haberdashers[?] [82] And then a bit further up, Francis the grocers. And then at the corner shop now, oh, before you got to the corner there was Bradshaws, clothiers, gents’ clothiers. And then there was – on the corner where Martins is now – was a shop called Afford’s, a man called Afford, he sold newspapers and one thing and another. But he was a great musical man. (Q: Really?) Yes, and he used to organise music concerts and all sorts of things in the town and he had quite famous people down.

Q:    Classical music, sort of thing?

Mr G:    Yes, well, not …

Mrs G:    [??? giving further explanation but cannot distinguish]

Mr G:    He had a printing press at the back of the shop. And on the corner where the travel agents is now, there was a shop called Pluck [68] they were a shoe shop. And then right on the corner – just up past Plucks, as you go up the alleyway, you know where Dale Hire and all the [???] [Coach House Way]. That was my father’s back yard up the top there, where he kept the horses. There was a stables and back yard and an off licence run by Drake. [66] Drake’s.

Q:    That was on the front, was it? Back on the front?

Mr G:    Yes, you know where the second travel people are, that was just up there, near where they are, the Drake’s, off licence. And then right on the corner where the sort of music centre is now, was Bellamy’s the chemist [64]. And just after Bellamy’s, along that side, there was an office, [62?] for builders, not a yard, not a builders’ yard, just an office.
Q & Mrs G:  [??? say something – cannot hear]

Mr G:     And next to that we got to our shop.[i.e. 58, Goodchild, butchers] The Wests had a confectionery, a cake shop. They used to make the most delicious cream cakes, you know, cream buns and chocolate eclairs. And next to that was my father’s shop [about 58 or 60].

Q:    That’s where the butcher is now is it?

[5 minutes]

Mr G:    That’s right, where the butcher’s is now. And then where the estate agents is, that was our front room. And Dowsett had the shoe shop, [56] George Dowsett had the shoe shop, next to that. And then after that, before Reg Turner came there, there was a big house called The Wilderness, [52-54] and their garden went right back.

Q:    Yes, somebody lived there did they?.

Mr G:    And after that, there was somebody there before Luckin Smiths, but Luckin Smiths was next. But I forget who was before there. And then there was Gages,  they had a hairdressing shop and a tobacconists. And then next to them were Richardson & Preece, the corn merchants. They used to sell all sorts, you know, what the old corn merchants used to do, had great bins of things [???], dog food and stuff. And next to that was Spurge’s, which you know about.[42]. And right on the corner where the ladies’ dress shop is now – years ago before that there was a MacFisheries there but it didn’t succeed and went away [40]. But Winch took it over as a sweet shop after that. And right on the corner where the electricity shop is was Glovers, the cycle shop [38]. We’ve got an old Michelin guide about somewhere, 1912, which mentions them in the Michelin guide – (Q: Really?) Yes, [laughs over words] the Glover Brothers. And then there was the George Hotel, the George pub [36]. And next to the pub, where the motor works and spare parts and things are now [34], you know was Bull’s the photographers. And a little bit further up, at a later date was Drurys[?] the grocers. And that’s all there were along that side.

Q:    And then there were houses, were there?

Mr G:    Then there were houses, yes. If I start down this side again, opposite Mill Lane? [i.e. in Newland Street] (Q: Yes). There was Ellis’s the sweet shop, that was a sweet shop there, and still is. It was the only place that was ever open on a Sunday, in Witham. (Q: Really?). We used to go down there when we were kids and buy sweets on a Sunday from there. A little bit further up where the dog food shop is now, and the pet shop, was Sorrells the butchers.

Q:    That’s where it was. I couldn’t work out where it was.

Mr G:    That’s where it was. Then there was the surgery [129]. Then up on the corner where you go between the Co-op buildings was Claydons the cycle shop. That was a cycle shop you went up steps to. And then a little bit further along, before you got to the bank, the Miss Algars had a private school. (Q: Miss Algar?). There was about a dozen of us used to go there. After I went to the church school down Guithavon Street.

Q:    [reading from book, not distinguishable.]

Mr G:    That’s your mother’s old book [i.e. Mrs Goodchild’s]. Bentalls used to make cars in those days, I believe.

Q:    I see – [reading but cannot hear what is said)]

Mrs G:    My name was Brice. [1912 guide was Mrs G mother].

[Mrs G left to go too painting]

Mr G:    Bye-bye.

Q:    Her mother must have been a traveller.

Mr G:    Well, I you see – [???] [???]

Q:    I didn’t know they had these that early. [???] driving, motoring.

Mr G:    Oh yes, that was the first guide that ever came out. I think the early ones were 1906 or even earlier.

Q:    Anyway, we were talking about – we’d got as far as your school.

[10 minutes]

Mr G:    Yes, and then Greatrex who had a shop or later, or maybe at the same time in Church Street, he had a butcher’s shop there where the Braintree and Witham Times are now [89-91]. And then there was a jeweller’s shop, which is still there; I don’t know who had it at the date I’m taking about but Kings had it then [85]. It was probably before Kings came. Leslie King’s father. Then there bakery shop which is Gilbert’s was Ardley [83]. He used to rent cars for hire and things like that. And then there’s Mondy’s of course, is still there [63]. (Q: Yes) Mondy’s is still there, they still call it Mondy’s. And then there’s the bank [61]. And there was a greengrocers shop, that belonged actually to my father but I think Haslers had it next to the Spread Eagle,  which is Sue Ryder now [51]. And then past the Spread Eagle, was Palmer’s he was a saddler and harness maker. And then there was The Angel on the corner, a pub [39]. And then there was the White Hart. And next to the White Hart there was a Miss Murrell’s had a school – well, my wife used to – well, she used to walk from Braxted to there when she was five. Across the fields.

Q:    Goodness.

Mr G:    The way you got about then?

Q:    She lived in Braxted?

Mr G:    No, she was born in Collingwood Road but her father had a farm up at – where Robert Brice is now. Robert’s father and my wife’s father – they ran the farm between them. it was a stud farm, they used to breed thoroughbred horses. Next, just along past the White Hart, Miss Murrells had a private school. Then there was a furniture shop [37] . I don’t know what it was called; it had a lovely bow-fronted window. Then my father had the pork butchers shop where Woolworth’s is now [35]. And Horner had his veterinary practice just there as well. Yes, he was a famous vet round here, Horner. Then he moved up and bought the old Grove House.

Q:    Yes, that must be where I’ve heard of him. But he had a practice there. He had the practice when he moved up there.

Mr G:    Then there was Cutts, the fishmonger. Everybody bought fish from him. That’s why MacFisheries – although they had a [???] they couldn’t succeed against him. He got all business. And then there was King, that was a sweet shop. And later John Taber had the shop for a while. In Collingwood Road, where the betting shop is now, there was a chemist shop. A Mr Mottashead had that. He was an absolute character, Mottashead. When you walked into his shop, you could just get up to his counter. And all up the back were piles of boxes and bottles, yet he knew where everything was. And you couldn’t see a thing when you walked in. [both laugh] Because that was the days before prescriptions or anything like that. And opposite him, a bit further up, where the taxis and things are now, there was a coal yard. Moys had the coal yard.

Q:    Goodness, it’s amazing, isn’t it?

Mr G:    It was a busy little town. (Q: It was.) and only a population of about six thousand.

Q:    And you actually lived …?

Mr G:    I was born over the shop. We lived over the shop. Till about 1927. And then somehow or other my father managed to go broke – with a butchers’ business like that. I don’t know how he did it. [laughs]

Q:    I suppose the times – you couldn’t tell what was going to happen, could you, really?

Mr G:    Oh, no. [Pause] But – you can have that list if it’s any use to you.

[Discussion over list, not noted]

Q:    You said you had your front room next to the shop?

Mr G:    Next to the shop. [???] [talking over each other] [???] Dowsett’s shoe shop.[56] (Q: Yes, yes.) Only it wasn’t right on the pavement then. In those days there was a little bit of garden about that wide and an iron railing, and the front door was on the side. And I used to look out the window and there was a chap who kept the Spread Eagle then and he was a man named was Jones. And he used to have an old bulldog used to sleep outside the door on the pavement.

[15 minutes]

Q:    [laughs] Were there a lot of people living in the High Street then?

Mr G:    Oh yes, most people were living over the shops. Dowsett lived behind his shop, you see. We/he had a garden, at the back that ran down past the side of our buildings which used to come across to our main yard. And up at the end of the yard there was a house stood up there with a family, Groves, they were well known in Witham. A great footballing family. Witham used to play football behind The Grove then. Where all the buildings are now, behind the Police Station.

Q:    Did you used to play football?

Mr G:    Not in those days. I wasn’t big enough!

Q:    You were quite young then. Were there a lot of children living in the High Street as well?

Mr G:    Quite a lot, yes, quite a lot.

Q:    And you went to school, where?

Mr G:    First of all I went to school down – if you go down Guithavon Road [Street] – where the car park is now there used to be the Church school. And up by – where that brick wall ends, and up there, there used to be my father’s slaughterhouse. And after you came to the slaughterhouse, there was The Wilderness garden, and a big house that went right back up to that brick wall, at the back of the car park. Big garden, beautiful garden. And the slaughterhouse used to be up there. I suppose somebody pulled it down. [???] There were two cottages. As you turned the end of that brick wall there were two cottages at the side of it [in Guithavon Street]. And next to the cottages was the school playground. Well, they were houses, actually, they weren’t cottages. And then the Church school.

Q:    So could you get through to the back there?

Mr G:    No, I had to come round the front. No, I couldn’t get through the back. There were too many garden walls in the way in those days. [laughs] [???] had his –Drakes that I mentioned, they had a long garden there. And then there was this builders office that I told you – yes they did have a builder’s yard round the back of the lane[?] And then there was a bake house up there where the power place is now. A bake house for West’s, the confectionery shop. Oh, there was various people took it after, [???] [???]..

Q:    And then you went to school with Miss Algar?

Mr G:    Then I went to Miss Algar’s and then I went to Colchester Grammar School.

Q:    How old would you have been then?

Mr G:    Grammar school? About ten.

Q:     And at Miss Algar’s

Mr G:    Oh, I was about six and a half, seven I suppose. Seven or eight. I don’t know.

Q:    There were quite a few little schools then?

Mr G:    Oh yes, there were a lot of little schools about, a lot of private schools.

Q:    Can you remember anything about it? What you used to do there?

Mr G:    I think that I started to learn French there, I don’t know, Oh yes, It was just [???].

Q:    The others were from Witham were they?

Mr G:    Yes, or round about. There was one family used to come down from – you know the garage right up on the Hatfield Road?

Q:    Is it Ashbys?

Mr G:    No, right up, way up, opposite past the houses, Lynfields. Well, there’s a house behind Lynfields, lays back in the fields. There was family called Littlejohns used to live there. And they used to come into Witham to school.

Q:    And that was just the one lady, was it?

Mr G:    Yes. Just one lady, yes. She did everything. As they did in those days. Taught us very well.

Q:    And I suppose you came home for lunch?

Mr G:    Yes, well, there were no school meals in those days.

[Discussion on grandchildren in Canada- daughter in Canada, not noted]

Mr G:    My son farms up at Rivenhall. So I’ve got the other half of the family over here.

Q:    Were there any farmers in the family before?

Mr G:    Oh yes! Nancy’s family [wife, nee Nancy Brice] has been farming for five hundred years and mine I can trace back three hundred and fifty years. Not bad, is it?

Q:    Have you traced your family back? (Mr G: Yes.) The Goodchilds?

Mr G:    Yes, on the male line. Hers goes back on the female line, mine goes back on the male line.

Q:    Were they all from Essex?

Mr G:    No, they came from – I suppose the Essex/Suffolk border. My grandfather lived at Clare, do you know Clare? Lovely little village. And then they came from Hundon[?]. And before that they came from Stradishall [???].

[meeting planned with relatives to discuss family tree, not noted]

Q:    Was your mother a local family?

Mr G:    Yes, my mother – you met Mrs Cullen, didn’t you? [Violet] (Q: Yes.) Well, Mrs Cullen is my only aunt left on my mother’s side. And they lived at Ulting. Stock Hall at Ulting. And they had – twenty-two of them.

Q:    [???]

Mr G:    No twins! I only knew sixteen of them! (Q: Goodness.) Has she told you about her father coming in and [???] for market day. And sending the old horses back, it’s quite true. Well, that was my grandfather. [???][laughs] [???] Because Nancy’s grandfather at that time not only had the stud farm but they owned The White Hart before it became [???]. Market days my grandfather used to come in and have a few drinks. And they used to say ‘Now Walter, time you went home’. [???] [laughs]

Q:    [laughs] Yes. Was that the Brice family?

Mr G:    That was the Brice family [actually Grout].

Q:    When you say there the family goes back on her[?] mother’s side, what did …

Mr G:    Well, they go back, I think, on the mother’s side, [???] They were – the Brices were up at Stoke Golden[?] in Buckinghamshire. And the Chignal[? family of Ashley which is near Stoke Poges[?].
They came down to Essex in about 1856 – the records are about somewhere. I think it was. Because there’s some dispute. The landlords – the land had been farmed for hundreds of years. They came down here and took a farm at Steeple.

[25 minutes]

Q:     So it was the Brices that had The White Hart, you said?

Mr G:    Oh yes. And they also had the stud farm. They still have the stud farm today. But they haven’t got any horses now, Robert turned that all over to corn. They had a stud farm there for fifty years.

Q:    So you knew them from way back, did you?

Mr G:    My mother’s family lived in Witham.

Q:    Your grandfather that you speak about – did you know him?

Mr G:    Oh yes, I knew him very well. Yes. [???] [???] The cricket club. [???] [???] When I was small the cricket club was one of the best-known cricket clubs in East Anglia. (Q: Really?) Yes, really fine. And the Witham Cricket week, two of the chief people in those days were Stewart Richardson, [???], and Barry Wakelin played, do you know Barry Wakelin? He used to live up at the old Manor House, Freebournes, he farmed there, his father farmed there. That was their place, called Manor House. They used to have a very a really fantastic cricket club. Cricket week, all round the side of the grounds there used to be some tennis courts where Dr Denholm lives, that side [???]. Oh, there’d be marquees and – when they played the Colchester and East Essex Hunt, they used to bring the hounds on to the grounds. It really was something, Cricket Week. They used to play some very [???].

Q:    You used to play yourself, did you?

Mr G:    No, I didn’t play, I didn’t play [???] After the War – they were really professional – they had professional groundsmen. (Q: Really?) [???] used to play for them. I mean, they produced so many Essex players, in the years past. They played for England, played for Essex. Yes. Yes.

Q:    Did your father do anything like that?

Mr G:    No, he didn’t. He used to play bowls. Bowls in those days wasn’t very much. I mean, it wasn’t an international sport. Hardly a County sport in those days.

Q:    Did they have the bowls club?

Mr G:    No, when I first knew it, it wasn’t, it was on the cricket field, before they built that one up there. We used to have a bit of the cricket field. And there was a quoits pitch there, on the cricket field as well. You know, a stake in the ground and …

Q:    I suppose really, being a butcher was pretty much a – he didn’t get a lot of spare time, really.  (Mr G: No.) Do you remember much about the shop?

Mr G:      Yes, I was there till I was thirteen.

Q:    Did you used to help out?

Mr G:    Oh, no, no. He had too many men by half, he didn’t want me to help out. I think that was his trouble, he’d got too many helpers. [laughs]

Q:    Did you ever want to or weren’t you interested?

Mr G:     I suppose if it had still been there, I might have followed him in to it, but I didn’t. I used to, even when I was small, I used to go down the slaughterhouse and watch the cattle killed. Well, you get used to it when you’re young.

[30 minutes]

Q:    The person who mentioned Goodchilds to me was this Mr Ager [Cecil]. When I thought about it that would be when you were just a baby I should think. Because he was only there when you he was a boy and he’s eighty-odd. So I should think he’d be talking about 1914 sort of time. I remember him saying, it perhaps bears out what you say, that your folks were kind to him and took him in and gave him breakfast and everything.

Mr G:    Oh, well, I mean, people did those things in those days. Yes, We lived always/almost at the back of that shop and the main dining room was at the side, the main lounge and dining room was at the side. As a matter of fact there were five bedrooms in that place. Oh, yes, upstairs. There were three along the front and two at the back. The real back ones was where of the maids, two of the maids lived. I mean, if you had help in the house, it cost nothing, I mean, for a few shillings a week [???]

Q:    What, they lived in?

Mr G:    They lived in.

Q:    Did they do the cooking as well?

Mr G:    Yes, I think they did most of the cooking. In those days, but my mother was a very good cook.

Q:    Did she help – do any work for the business?

Mr G:    No, I don’t think so. My father was very independent. Which was unfortunate really because she was a lot better businesswoman than he was a businessman [laughs].

Q:     Oh dear. [laughs] Most of the butchers seem to have had a cashier of some sort?

Mr G:    Yes, yes, I had an aunt of mine who used to do most of that. A sister of my mother, before she was married. Well, she wasn’t married till [???] She was engaged in the first place to – you know where the Indian restaurant is now? [High House, 5 Newland Street] Well, Dr Payne used to live there. She was engaged to one of his sons, who was killed in the First World War. But she got married. But the two doctors, Dr Karl and Dr Ted Gimson. They were never known as ‘Dr Gimson’ they were always known as ‘Dr Karl and Dr Ted’!

Q:    Were they here when you were here?

Mr G:    Oh, yes, oh, yes! Well, Dr Ted came back in the last War. Because  [???] can tell you more about him. He was a great shooting and fishing man. Funny how doctors love shooting, isn’t it? (Q: [laughs] Yes). [???]

Q:    [???] fresh air.

Mr G:    Well, I mean, [???] get away from all the worries. A lot of these people today get so tied up with the business.

Q:    Did you work in Witham yourself?

Mr G:    No. I left school and I went to Courtaulds at Bocking. I was a colour chemist. Do you know Liberty’s. I was a colour chemist up there for years. They didn’t pay me enough money so I went on the road selling chemical [???]. I was up in digs in London.[???] [??] thirty shillings a week.

Mr G:        I had my digs for twenty-five shillings, and all I could eat.

[35 minutes]

Q:    Quite an adventure for you, wasn’t it?

Mr G:    Well, you had to move about if you wanted to work.

Q:    I suppose you must have done pretty well. To get to the grammar school in those days you had to take a test did you.

Mr G:    No. Well, you took a bit of a test. But it was mostly a paid school. [Colchester Grammar School] I think my school fees with board and lodgings were ninety pounds [or nineteen?] a year.
Q    You boarded as well did you? I didn’t realise that.

Mr G:    Yes. At that time we had about two hundred boarders I should think.

Q:    Were there many went from Witham?

Mr G:    Oh, quite a lot, yes.

Q:    [???]

Mr G:    Yes, Barry Wakelin was one that went. You know the Cullens at Clarks Farm, Kelvedon? Well, they were related to the Tabors and [???] Well, Tommy Cullen who’s just retired, he was a surgeon. He was at school with me. They were from all over the county. And cousins of mine from Maplestead.

Q:    Have they mostly moved on elsewhere?

Mr G:    No, they’re still around about the county in Colchester and all over the place.

Q:    Somebody told me that Goodchilds originally had other shops in other parts of Essex. Were they cousins?

Mr G:    No, not that I know of. My grandfather had a butchers shop at Clare. But in my younger days there were no Goodchilds that I ever heard of. Except my relations. There were none in the phone book. There’s seventy[?] now. [both laugh] There’s a lot more Goodchilds down near Bury St Edmunds, all along the Suffolk border.

Q:    So your father was the one that moved to Witham. There wasn’t a Goodchild before him?

Mr G:     No, no. He had a farm – his father bought him a farm I think when he was twenty-one. Place called [???] just outside Clare. Lovely old house. He got mixed up with some married woman in Clare so they shipped him off to Canada. In about 1890 something. He went out to a place called Brandon. There’s a Brandon in Suffolk. But he went out to Brandon in Saskatchewan. And a cousin of mine who – he’s out in Canada now – he went back and forth to Canada. He never used to talk to me about it except I knew he was at Brandon. But my cousin told me he was in the Yukon gold rush! He went up to Yukon somewhere. I don’t know, how he got from Brandon up to Yukon, I don’t know! And then he came back [???] . When it was Goodchild Brothers, his brother who was with him, he bought his brother out, that was the worst move he ever made, because his brother was a good businessman. He was a director of [???] in Smithfield Market. [???]

Q:    You don’t remember if there was a butcher’s shop before he came?

Mr G:    No, I wouldn’t know, because he came here in about 1906. [?but Fred said to be born here 1903 so perhaps this wrong]

Q:    Did you have lots of brothers and sisters?

Mr G:    Did I? I had one brother, he died in 1964. Same time as my mother.

Q:    You probably know Maurice Greatrex? [butcher’s family]

Mr G:    Well, I probably know him but I haven’t seen him for so long, I wouldn’t recognise him now.

Q:    Well, he lives in Chelmsford, now. They were a big family. They all seemed to help in the shop.

Mr G:    He very likely did.

Q:    They saved their father a bit of money.

Mr G:    Oh yes.

Q:    Then they packed up eventually, didn’t they? Probably a similar sort of time I think. They didn’t last, the Greatrex shop stopped probably when  the old man died I suppose.

[40 minutes]

Mr G:     Oh very likely. Because it’s a long time back since I knew them as butchers.

Q:    There were an awful lot of butchers at one time?

Mr G:    Well, only three that I remember and that was Greatrex, Sorrell and my father. And my father had the specialist pork butcher shop down near Woolworths. Did nothing else but sausages and pork and ham. How you can go broke with two butchers shops I don’t know…! [Q laughs] I don’t know! But, you see, take the Tabers, You know the Taber family. Cooper Tabers. Well, Nancy’s mother was a Taber and when – Nancy’s mother – her great grandfather, I think it was her great grandfather; anyway, he was the one who built up the Cooper Taber business. I think somebody’s writing a book about it now, so I won’t say too much or I shall get [???] But they left all their sons two or three farms and a hell of a lot of money. And they went phffft in one generation. Well you see, people – they were either careful and built up the families over the years or they suddenly got rich, they didn’t do any work. And if you don’t look after it, money soon disappears. They say a fool and his money are soon parted and it’s very true [laughs].

Q:    If you’ve got a lot you stop being careful, don’t you?

Mr G:    Especially if you have it given to you on a plate and you don’t have to work for it.

Q:    And did a butcher follow your father?

Mr G:    Yes. A man named Massey bought it. He wasn’t actually a butcher but he put a manager in there, called Ringer and that ran a little while and then they sold it. It didn’t have any fridges in those days.

Q:    [???]

Mr G:    Well, you kept it in a cool place. Meat was never sold if it hadn’t been hung for a few days. It’s as tough as old leather, beef, if you don’t hang it. The longer you can hang it, up to a certain degree [???]

[Discussion over tea etc, not noted]

Q:    You could get more or less what you wanted in Witham. When you wanted clothes and that sort of thing.

Mr G:    Oh yes, there was Bradshaws, there was a clothier’s shop, oh yes. Two or three shoe shops you see. People just didn’t go into Colchester and Chelmsford, in those days. It meant going on the train. There was no buses. And not many people had cars. Moores, the bus people at Kelvedon, [???] he used to run a little van, you know, horse van delivering things, a delivery van. Later he had a motor delivery van because he used to take my trunk to school.

Q:    You had a uniform and that, I suppose?

Mr G:    Oh yes! Same one as they’ve got today, same blazer. Only we used to wear Eton jackets and high collars!

Q:    Did you enjoy it there?

[45 minutes]

Mr G:    Well, I suppose I did in a way. Like all schooldays they’re all full of anxiety, same as after you leave school. Yes I suppose so. But a lot of the masters were very strict, they were really schoolmasters, no messing about. If you were in trouble they were very kind. But if you started messing about they were a bit ruthless. [laughs] It was a good school. I mean, if the headmaster saw you eating sweets in the street, you were severely reprimanded for eating sweets not just for anything else. We used to get sixpence a week, for spending. Paid out Saturday mornings. All in pennies. Cos’  Some had to go in the church collection. We went to Church twice a day on Sundays.

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