Mrs Marjorie Coleman (nee Brown), was born in 1907. She was interviewed on 20 May 1983, when she lived at 23 Avenue Road, Witham.
She also appears on tapes 82, 115 and 116.
For more information about her, see Coleman, Marjorie, nee Brown, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.]
There is a lot of noise and distortion on this tape, which is very short.
Continued from tape 82
Mrs C: And Mrs Gerald Bright who died recently at ninety-three. Lived at Roslyn House. I don’t know whether she was at Roslyn House then, I think she was. She was O.C. – she was WRVS. She was O.C. British Restaurant. [Second World War]
Q: I see.
Mrs C: [Laughs over words] I used to go and be a waitress! Terrible stodgy food! Oh dear, yes. I went once a week or twice a week, I can’t remember, and my aunt used to act as cashier. With the money. And people used to come in from outside Witham to go there.
Q: What sort of people used to….?
Mrs C: Oh anybody! All sorts of people. With no – nobody minded, you know, and one of them was the – Martin Shaw the composer who lived at Boreham and he and his wife used to come in regularly. I remember him.
Q: Because that was run by – provided by the Government, weren’t they?
Mrs C: Government, yes, subsidised yes. And it was free, you see. No rations. You didn’t have give any coupons up.
Q: I see.
Mrs C: They must have had some choice but I wonder it wasn’t a help – of course ‘help yourselves’ hadn’t come in – I suppose the self-service, in those days …
Q: No, they hadn’t really thought about it.
Mrs C: No, so we all went in and helped. We got a buckshee meal, you see.[Laughs]
Mrs C: I used to go and sit by the telephone down at the old Police Station in Guithavon Street twice a week and I could do that because my mother and father had acted as babysitter, you see. But that was the Second War.
Q: Yes, that was [noise on tape hides talking for approx 1 minute]
Mrs C ……I don’t know now but we got these numbers that were sort of coded. And I suppose they let so many places know and then these centres had to alert the villages, or something like that.
Q: Sounds very important …
Mrs C: I don’t know. I can’t really remember but [Laughs over words] Twice a week and also there was a horrible greasy stuff and terrible sausages I remember. Oh dear.
[Noise on tape]
Mrs C: …Spurges! Did anyone ever tell you about Spurges?
Q: I – that was something – I did that little blue booklet …
Mrs C: Yes you did.
Q: I’ll give you one. (Mrs C: I’d like that) I’ll put it through the door sometime.
Mrs C: But Spurges was a great shop. My father and Mr Spurge – used to have long conversations about chrysanthemums. He grew the most marvellous chrysanthemums behind the shop.
[chat about borrowing photo, not noted]
Mrs C: Yes, well it’s rather fun isn’t it? I’m furious! My sister seems to have lost it but I had a great big photograph of my mother and her brother in a car without a windscreen taken behind Freebournes in 1903 – its got the date on it. And they went to Scotland in it! [Noise on tape] …All the ball bearings they had in those days, fell out of the wheel in Glasgow (Q laughs)…. and they had to finish their journey with their Scottish friends by train at [noise] …and my mother made a great story of this ….[noise] … but it was …I’ve got a photo because they wrote about her after she died, you see, (continuous noise over words but can make out gist of sentences) and they put this photo in the papers and all I’ve got is this paper one. And I don’t know how my sister got hold if it because I had it, But I ……
And she must have borrowed it. And one day I …well I wonder where that is now, and she was saying she’d got it on her landing. Well, now she’s moved and she can’t find it. And you see it’s history apart from just being my mother and uncle – its history – a 1903 car that went to Scotland without a windscreen. Isn’t it? I hope it’ll turn up but she [???]