Tape 086. Mrs Dorothy Ireland (nee Goss), sides 11 and 12

Tape 86

Mrs Dorothy Ireland (nee Goss), was born in 1894. She was interviewed on 27 July and 9 September 1983, when she lived at 12 Chalks Road, Witham.

She also appears on tapes 1, 2, 3, 7, 33, 90 and 97.

For more information about her, see the the notes in the people category headed Ireland, Mrs Dorothy (Dolly), nee Goss

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 11

Q:    Oh yes, yes [discussing first letter from Mr Green to JG about Green family, and particularly the Misses Green, July 1983, see pictures 1a and 1b]

green letter july 1983 page 1

green letter july 1983 page 2
1. First letter from Mr Green, July 1983.


Mrs I:    But she made a mistake in saying that was the house that was pulled down for the new Braintree Road.
Q:    Oh it wasn’t that one?
Mrs I:    No.
Q:    Oh I see.
Mrs I:    It wasn’t, it was the high one [i.e. 8 Chipping Hill that was demolished for the road].
Q:    Where there’s two together?
Mrs I:    Yes.
Q:    Ah, I see, yes, I know what you mean now when you say I’ve got somebody as a friend there, yes [at 12 Chipping Hill].
Mrs I:    Yes, ‘cos I’d seen you come from there.
Q:    That’s right.
Mrs I:    And Mrs Chalk.
Q:    Yes, she used to work there, didn’t she, yes, that’s right? Oh, well.
Mrs I:    Yes. Well that was their house. Now they were queer as well. They were queer [The Misses Green].
Q:    Yes? What way?
Mrs I:    Oh, well you knew they were old age, you know, that way. But they were respected, those two. And then this Mead, she used to come and stay.
Q:    Oh, I see.
Mrs I:    Yes, she, she was a Mrs Mead.
Q:    Oh, I see.
Mrs I:    Yes, so we remember those, because you see, that was Miss Anna Bramston the first house [16 Chipping Hill], and then the brick, then there’s Dr Cohen’s, isn’t there [14 Chipping Hill]? Yes. That was a Mrs Holloway, she lived there. They were all, elderly people.
Q:    Were they, yes?
Mrs I:    And I always remember these Miss Greens. Course I suppose with thinking about Charlie Green. Oh and then there ….
Q:    Yes. Which was Charlie Green? Charlie Green was the one with the ….
Mrs I:    The odd one, that kept the shop, where they were steps up [64 Newland Street], that said he slept in the gas works. Well they all go there, and Chipping Hill people, you’ll notice, when Henry Dorking was there [at the forge, 18 Chipping Hill], they always went into the White Horse [2 Church Street].
Q:    Oh I see.
Mrs I:    The White Horse. And they’d go and sit in the blacksmith’s, waiting for it to open. So Henry used to get plenty of visitors [laugh].
Q:    ‘Cos was the one that went, the one that wandered about, was it the same one as the chemist one?
Mrs I:    Oh yes. That was Charlie.
Q:    Oh, I see. Charlie.
Mrs I:    Oh yes. We used to say. Oh, we knew he was odd. It’s rather nice to put it.
Q:    Nice that they remember that, yes. ‘Cos was there any other Greens in the chemists?
Mrs I:    No.
Q:    I see. So who looked after the shop? Who looked after the shop if he was ….?
Mrs I:    Oh, he had a wife, yes, that’s right, yes. But no, you didn’t have assistance ‘cos there wasn’t enough people, you could always …. But I always remember we used to go for Spanish liquorice, if we had a cold.
Q:    [Laugh] Well well. Liquorice, what, like liquorice you get in ….?
Mrs I:    The Spanish, yes. It’d be huge lumps and you’d cut it. And that’s supposed to be very good.
Q:    And then this Mrs, was it Mrs Mead?
Mrs I:    Yes, that was the one.
Q:    She came?
Mrs I:    Yes, she used to come and stay. Remembered the name immediately.
Q:    That’s clever, isn’t it, I suppose must be a long time ago?
Mrs I:    Yes, nice. But the other person must be a Davies [re. verbal query JG had received about boys called Davies at Chipping Hill school]. Would that be the High Street, he took, it was a gent’s clothiers and shoes. He took that after Bradshaw, I should think that was the Davies. It would have to be a notable name, wouldn’t it?
Q:    Yes. Well apparently this was somebody that this other person worked for and, all she knows is that he went to Chipping Hill school, then, but it wouldn’t be the same, then?
Mrs I:    No.
Q:    But then I don’t think they stayed in Witham very long, so, a Dorothy Davies.
Mrs I:    Yes. That was from them. That was, that was …. It’s strange how they write.
Q:    Yes. ‘Cos, perhaps if we found somebody who was at school at that time, they might remember? I’ll have to think who might have been that age, the boys that might have been at school with them. I don’t know whether Mr Cook, how old’s Mr Cook [Fred Cook at Floreat, Chalks Road]?
Mrs I:    Seventy, seventy-two.
Q:    So that would be similar, I’ll see. ‘Cos do you remember, as far as I can make out from this letter, going back to the Greens, there was this, another Green had the wine shop or whatever it was, behind ….
Mrs I:    Oh yes, Drake’s.
Q:    Was that Drake’s, was it?
Mrs I:    Yes, yes, yes, that’s right, they were all connected, that was Drake’s. Have you heard of Drake’s?
Q:    I think so.
Mrs I:    That was at the back, well up the little, there’s a wine shop there now [probably 66 Newland Street]. He was queer, he always used to, ride his bicycle, yes he was queer [laugh].
Q:    [Laugh] But he, he managed to, there’d be these people managed to run the shops even though they were a bit odd, did they?
Mrs I:    Yes, isn’t it strange?
Q:    [Laugh] I mean, did everybody think they were peculiar, or ….?
Mrs I:    Oh yes, ‘cos you used to say, here’s old Drake, then you knew. And Shoobridge, there at Maldon.
Q:    Yes?
Mrs I:    Oh, he used to ride horseback, I remember that. And the boys used to say ‘Joe, a-go a-go and a-go go go’, and he’d make the horse run for them. Oh yes, that was quite a joke. Shoobridge.
Q:    And what, there’s another name somewhere, White, wasn’t there? I think, oh that was the one who married a Green.
Mrs I:    Married a Green, I should imagine. Because there was some other Greens, relatives, in Maldon Road, they were elderly Greens.
Q:    Because he said somewhere that he didn’t know if there were any left anywhere at all.
Mrs I:    No, those two, you see. The 1914, you see, that War, everything went different then. People, you know, you were more interested those four or five years, fourteen to nineteen, the War, wouldn’t it take it off. You had the soldiers all billeted and all that sort of thing, that that really, I think, split the families.
Q:    Yes, so they didn’t really carry on?
Mrs I:    No. After fourteen, it wasn’t Witham any more. [pause] Course Crittall’s made Witham, didn’t they, building, and then the men came back and worked into Crittall’s.
Q:    Suppose there must have been a bit of a change there when they built Crittall’s, wasn’t it?
Mrs I:    Yes, 1914, that’d be 1919, you see, they’d have to come back and settle, wouldn’t they? But course more were killed, people that we all knew, because that was a bad war, they weren’t prepared, you see they went straight out into the trenches and were killed outright. All the notable people.
Q:    Was your husband a Witham …?
Mrs I:    No, Chelmsford, Chelmsford. And he was searchlight, he was on this, see. There you are, you see, you’re in this, bothering. His was the Royal Engineers. And of course they didn’t call them volunteers, they don’t say, the Militia, or something. When you were young boys, well, course, he was apprenticed, you see, at Chelmsford, and Colonel Crompton was the boss, and of course he got them all the boys to join, then course, when that was 1914 they had to go, He went to Shotley near Ipswich, on the searchlights. Dangerous. That’s what he did.
Q:    Did you know him before the War?
Mrs I:    Oh no. Was coming, ‘cos it’s strange. He could come from, let’s see, Shotley, it’s not far from Ipswich, he could come to Witham, but he wasn’t allowed to Chelmsford. ‘Cos you see he’d have to go back if the searchlights went on. And he’d got an aunt here, that was …. And I was friendly, you see, with the cousin, that’s how we met.
Q:    Anyway, I was going to show you …. Things I’ve collected from people. Oh, they’re in this envelope, after all this.
Mrs I:    Have you written any more about Witham?
Q:    No, no, not yet, still trying.
Mrs I:    About the gas works, the tan yard, they were rather disappointed, you know, they thought the gas works and, you know, the tanning [re. JG’s Memories of Witham: Shops].
Q:    Yes, I shall have to do a separate thing about that sort of thing.
Mrs I:    Yes. But course that was different, it was the shops. But they seemed to think, you know, they would like that part.
Q:    Yes, I shall have to do, because I wrote to somebody that used to work in the gas works to see if I could talk to him, but he didn’t write back, was it Mr Perry?
Mrs I:    Oh yes, oh yes, Powershall End, he’s got a bungalow on his own.
Q:    Really? He’s at Powershall End, is he? Oh, well I, because, I thought he lived down Pinkham Drive way, somewhere, near the bridge?
Mrs I:    Well, probably he’s sold his house, Powershall End, after the buildings came. He was on his own.
Q:    I see, yes.
Mrs I:    He used to come and collect the gas money.
Q:    I see, yes. Because there was a Mr, a Bert King.
Mrs I:    Oh yes.
Q:    You know him? And I talked to him and he was very nice, and he said why didn’t I talk to Mr Perry. But Mr Perry, I thought well I’ll write to him, give him time to think about it, and he never wrote back, so perhaps he’s a bit shy?
Mrs I:    Oh he is. See, he never married, he was very, stayed on his own. And his aunt lived in the little house next to Crittall’s, this side. She had that house built with the chimneys in the centre [perhaps 44 Braintree Road]. We thought that was great, yes. Well, that’s Mr Perry, yes.
Q:    Oh, I see, yes. Yes, I shall have to do something about that, as you say. Well, and Crittall’s as well, really.
Mrs I:    Oh, I should like to meet him, you don’t meet them, all the people from Powershall End.
Q:    I’m sure somebody said he’d moved, ‘cos Pinkham, there’s bungalows down Pinkham Drive, near, Bridge Street way, you know.
Mrs I:    ‘Cos that was a nice little house on it’s own.
Q:    Was it?
Mrs I:    You see, because there weren’t many houses. Yet you noticed when you went for the country walks, when we went into the woods at Powershall End, you see, you’d think. And then that’s the big house, next to his. Wonder who’s there. The Geeres used to be there, and they used to keep a ram. I know we used to run past there [laugh]. [Geeres were at Spa Place, Powershall End].
Q:    Yes.
Mrs I:    Oh, fancy you speaking of Mr Perry.
Q:    Yes, well, when you said the gas works, that reminded me.
Mrs I:    Well, they lived at the Grove, the Grove Cottages first.
Q:    You probably know what that is? [showing photo of fire engine, c.1900, which appears top of page 75 in Images of England: Witham; JG’s photo M65]?
Mrs I:    Oh. Look at that.
Q:    Do you know any of them?
Mrs I:    And we used to have the water cart. Oh look, course they look different with their helmets. No. There isn’t one I can recognise.
Q:    As you say, they probably ….
Mrs I:    Yes, it’s their helmets. Oh, but fancy, that’s a lovely one, horse-drawn.
Q:    It’s nice, isn’t it, yes.
Mrs I:    And then they used to go down Powershall End, what we call the mill, to get the water [1 Powershall End].
Q:    Yes, yes, I see, yes?
Mrs I:    Oh, yes, course we thought that was wonderful. Look at that lantern.
Q:    I know whose that was, it was Mr Keeble, his, his father-in-law I think was on it. Do you know who I mean?
Mrs I:    Oh, Rice, yes.
Q:    That’s right, yes, yes, yes, that was it.
Mrs I:    Oh, there he is, yes. That’s a Rice.
Q:    But he didn’t know the other people, either. As you say, it’s rather fine isn’t it?
Mrs I:    Oh, that’s a lovely one.
Q:    But I should think they had a job to get, get going very quickly, didn’t they?
Mrs I:    Yes, but they ….
Q:    Did they manage to put anything out?
Mrs I:    But there didn’t seem to be the amount of fires in those days
Q:    No, perhaps there weren’t, no, no.
Mrs I:    Strange to say.
Q:    ‘Cos there was the one, the Constitutional Club one, wasn’t there? [1910, building between 88 Newland Street and 90 Newland Street]
Mrs I:    Oh, yes, that was in the High Street, oh yes, that was ….
Q:    But they didn’t manage to ….
Mrs I:    Oh, no, it was in the night, wasn’t it, with cigarettes and the different things. Course we, we ought not to say it but we were pleased [laugh]. Well, naturally, ‘cos you see there wasn’t Labour, that was Liberal, and it was Mr Pinkham, you’ve heard about the Pinkhams? He was the chief agent. Oh yes [William Pinkham].
Q:    So you think he was pleased, do you?
Mrs I:    Oh, well, I mean, they thought they were the ‘its’, the Constitutional Club people. Then they had it in Collingwood Road [14 Collingwood Road]. Oh dear. Yes, we said ‘Oh, that was with the drink’ [laugh]. Strange, isn’t it, how you remember these. Oh, no, we never thought it was serious.
Q:    Really?
Mrs I:    We didn’t have many fires. Chimneys would catch alight.
Q:    Yes, of course, yes. ‘Cos these odd people, the Greens and the Drakes and so on, would they, where would they go for clubs and things, would they go to anything like the Constitutional?
Mrs I:    Oh yes, definitely. Oh yes, ‘cos that would be the drinking habit, yes, Constitutional Club.
Q:    What, Mr Drake and Mr Green?
Mrs I:    Oh, oh yes, definitely. But they were both queer, isn’t it strange. And old Shoobridge.
Q:    Did the Liberals have a club as well? Did the Liberals have a club or anything?
Mrs I:    I think it was his, home [Mr Pinkham’s].
Q:    Oh, I see, yes.
Mrs I:    But, and the, and the Hall. ‘Cos of course that’s where they used to declare, the results, at Witham, as children [Public Hall, Collingwood Road]
Q:    Oh, I see, yes?
Mrs I:    I always remember Bethell, the Liberal [Thomas Robert Bethell, elected Member of Parliament for Maldon, 1906, when he defeated Charlie Strutt of Blunts Hall]. I always remember. So we’ve had a Liberal candidate, you see. And then we had the Honourable Strutt, Conservative, so we’ve had, the members of Parliament in Witham, haven’t we?
Q:    As you say, I never really, I wonder, how did it come about that the Labour took over more from the Liberals, do you remember anything about that, about the Labour people starting up?
Mrs I:    Through Crittall. Wasn’t it, you see?
Q:    Was it? Ah yes, of course.
Mrs I:    They opened Crittall’s for the men, well then the workmen, you see, voted for Crittall, and Crittall got in.
Q:    Of course, yes.
Mrs I:    And then the Labour. I felt sorry, ‘cos Pinkham was a wonderful man.
Q:    Was he?
Mrs I:    Oh yes.
Q:    What way, did he ….?
Mrs I:    Well, he, he worked and he put his whole heart and soul into Witham, oh he was. And then of course the son brought the work, didn’t they, the glove factory.
Q:    Of course, yes. ‘Cos the Pinkham you talked about, the old one, was he the one that started the factory?
Mrs I:    Oh yes, the old one, Liberal.
Q:    He was the one that started it up in the first place?
Mrs I:    Yes, that’s right. Then the son. And of course they said that’s why we had the bombing, because of the son, you see, he was blackshirt [Second World War; Leslie Pinkham, known as Bert Pinkham].
Q:    Really?
Mrs I:    Mm.
Q:    Ah. How do you reckon, how you reckon that affected ….?
Mrs I:    Well, they, he was very friendly with German people, through the glove making, and you see he had the men over, and they knew. Oh yes, they always blamed Pinkham for a lot of bombing. ‘Cos they knew, you see, it[?] were here.
Q:    He had Germans come over, you mean?
Mrs I:    Yes.
Q:    To the works?
Mrs I:    Yes. For the gloves, you see.
Q:    Was, was there an actual, he was actually in the blackshirts, was he?
Mrs I:    Yes.
Q:    Did they have a, sort of, did they have a group in Witham or did they go somewhere else?
Mrs I:    Oh no. Not in Witham. No. He’d go, you see. Oh yes, they all said that.
Q:    So what, what did people think about, I mean before the War, this was, was it, that he was in that, yes?
Mrs I:    Oh yes, because then, in 1914 [actually 1939], when the War came, that was when they said.
Q:    I see, what, you mean the First or the Second?
Mrs I:    Yes. Second. Oh yes.
Q:    Second, yes, yes. ‘Cos I mean his father, that’s odd really, isn’t it, if his father was a Liberal, I mean.
Mrs I:    Yes. Oh, he was popular, most popular.
Q:    The father was?
Mrs I:    Yes, the father. Well, then the son came along, and of course, opening the glove factory, you knew the girls, and they used to have these little entertainments, and different things. He was popular. But of course he drank, and he wasn’t good to his wife.
Q:    What, this is the second one, you mean?
Mrs I:    Yes. Oh, she was a nice person.
Q:    Was she, yes. Was she local?
Mrs I:    No. Oh, she was a nice person. Oh, you, you know, she’d …. Miss Butler, that lives in Church Street [Effie Butler, 30 Church Street], she lived with them all the time, and she was careful what she said, but they’d even fight, she’d even have her eyes blacked. Oh he was cruel.
Q:    How’s she getting on, Miss Butler, you said she wasn’t ….?
Mrs I:    Oh yes, she had that stroke.
Q:    Is she coming on O K?
Mrs I:    Yes. Well, of course she has to have the Meals on Wheels, and this chair thing, but of course, you don’t regain, do you, you don’t get anything back. Speech, you do. Speech.
Q:    Yes, yes.
Mrs I:    But that is …. that’s nice, ‘cos you miss the Witham people now, but there’s not many, that you can chat, about, old Witham.
Q:    No, no.
Mrs I:    You know, and when you do, they ‘Oh, Witham’s spoilt, Witham’s spoilt’. And it’s altogether ….
Q:    That’s all they can say, isn’t it, sometimes, it’s silly, isn’t it?
Mrs I:    Yes spoilt … [glitch in copy tape here, repeating last few seconds]
Mrs I:    And then they’ll say ‘The old Labour. Course you know what it was, it was the old Labour people. If Labour’d have never’d have come into Witham, it’d have been all right’, they say. ‘The Labour people, they married these Witham girls, and they thought they owned Witham’. Course those girls, they did marry nice educated fellows, and there’s no getting away from it [probably referring particularly to the Wood girls, Peggy Wood (later Peggy Smith), Vi Wood (later Vi Bentley) and Nin Wood (later Nin Strathearn), who married Ted Smith, Alf Bentley and Alex Strathearn, all Urban District councillors]
Q:    Yes, yes.
Mrs I:    But that’s who they blame, ‘Oh, blame the Labour’. Cause that was Labour council, you see, that gave in, for the overspill [agreement with London County Council, later Greater London Council, for building that began in 1966].
Q:    Yes, yes.
Mrs I:    But I think it’s ridiculous. Because I mean you don’t get one party just suggesting it, it has to be voted, doesn’t it?
Q:    Yes, yes. It’s interesting though, if there hadn’t been Crittall’s, I mean what would have happened here you see, ‘cos if he started it all?
Mrs I:    Oh yes, oh. ‘Cos ‘It all spoilt Witham, the factory’, ‘then the glove factory came’, oh yes, you hear it all [laughing].
Q:    Makes you wonder what, I mean,what people would have done though, if they hadn’t had the factory, doesn’t it?
Mrs I:    Well, I often wonder. Because it was, they couldn’t come, well, they told you so, they couldn’t come back on twelve and sixpence a week, could they [after the First World War]?
Q:    No, no, no quite.
Mrs I:    I mean, that’s all Witham was, farm people, or navvies on the line. And that’s a true saying. I mean, we said, that’s why they didn’t come back to their wives. Weren’t coming back on twelve and sixpence. But you’d hardly believe it, would you? ‘Cos, old Mr Butler used to speak about it, and he used to say about the twelve and sixpence [Cyril Butler, Gaza, Chalks Road].
Q:    Yes. So, it wouldn’t, you think if it wasn’t Crittall’s somebody else would have come?
Mrs I:    Poor old Joan [Joan Shelley, 10 Chalks Road], said to me, ‘cos they all like to know about the background, so she said, see her father was guard on the line, so she said ‘Now my sister’s come to live with me, people think she’s like my granny Chalk’, ‘cos her mother was a Chalk. And so she said ‘Well, what did my grandfather do, then?’. ‘Well’, I said, ‘like the rest of the people’, I said, ‘on the land, with a hoe’. I said ‘I can see him coming down the road now, with the hoe, over his shoulder’. Poor Joan didn’t like that [laugh]. Well, she asked me.
Q:    I see.
Mrs I:    And I know one or two have said to me ‘We’d like our family tree’. I know Joan suggested. I said ‘You leave your family tree alone’ [laugh]. ‘You ask me. Any questions’.
Q:    Yes, you might find things you don’t like.
Mrs I:    Well, it’s silly. You remember, poor old Chipping Hill, don’t you? I know, I haven’t got anything against the London people, as a matter of fact I think they’re more friendly.
Q:    To some extent, yes, yes, yes.
Mrs I:    As regards looking in the shop window, I’ve noticed. They’ll turn and they’ll say ‘That’s very nice’, or ‘Oh, the price of that’.
Q:    Yes, that’s it, yes.
Mrs I:    Well, our people don’t.
Q:    No, they don’t, no, no, no. Very cautious, Witham people, aren’t they, really.
Mrs I:    Yes.
Q:    Careful what they say, yes.
Mrs I:    Oh, you keep to yourself. And mothers and fathers. Oh, I said to Joan, ‘Just look at this road’. I said ‘That’s all mother’s, all living in your mother’s and father’s houses’. And then we count all the way down. Surprising. I think there’s seven, all living in mother and father’s houses [in Chalks Road].
Q:    Really, I see, how funny. Yes, I suppose there are, yes.
Mrs I:    So that’s what we have to sit and think about, when anyone passes on, we say ‘Oh, there’s another Witham one gone’.
Q:    These are a bit small, these pictures, but that’s the, I think that’s the baby clinic or something, but I don’t know when. Can you make anything out of that? Now somebody told me that, is it Mrs Brown, Mrs Brown was on there, at the back somewhere [showing photo: see picture 2, baby clinic picture].

m0067 baby clinic
2. Witham Baby Clinic, or Baby Welfare. Probably at Witham Lodge, Hatfield Road. Mrs Ireland thought that she was 4th from right (5th baby from right). People disagree about whether it was a routine event or something special.

[Noises on tape]
Mrs I:    I believe it’s me.
Q:    Really? Good heavens, which one?
Mrs I:    You say that’s the baby ….
Q:    Yes. Which one’s you?
Mrs I:    Maybe, I’m almost sure it is.
Q:    Just there? That’s one …. good heavens. So when would that be, then?
Mrs I:    That would be, not Marie, that would be Renee, I should think, fifty two years ago.
Q:    Oh well, fancy that.
Mrs I:    Cause I remember, that would be in the Park [information from Miss Mens’ photos says at Witham Lodge].
Q:    Oh, would it, because, that’s the thing, we couldn’t where it was?
Mrs I:    Yes, in the Park.
Q:    Oh. So you’re about the, the fourth one from the right then, and the fifth baby [on the front]?
Mrs I:    Yes, I feel sure it is. Because we went to the, used to, and, that’s what it is [laugh].
Q:    Fancy that.
Mrs I:    Yes, Clive at ….
Q:    We’ll have to show Clive, that, and see if he ….
Mrs I:    Oh, it is, look, and there’s, look, there’s Mrs Rushen, oh yes.
Q:    Really, which is Mrs Rushen, with the ….?
Mrs I:    There. Yes. On that front row, yes, that’s the one.
Q:    There with the, sort of two away from you?
Mrs I:    Yes, oh yes, oh I can see that.
Q:    In the middle there? Well, fancy that. You all look very glamorous.
Mrs I:    We went down.
Q:    Who organised that, then?
Mrs I:    Now, which would, what would this be for? Well, it wouldn’t be, ‘cos we didn’t have the carnivals then.
Q:    ‘Cos you all look very dressed up, I thought, or perhaps you always dressed like that?
Mrs I:    Oh, my word.
Q:    Well, fancy that.
Mrs I:    Oh, yes. Oh, Mrs Everett’s there, with her baby.
Q:    Which is Mrs Everett?
Mrs I:    Oh, look, there’s my, Cressing Road.
Q:    That’s, who’s that, then, Miss Taylor?
Mrs I:    Miss Taylor. Oh, that, is that, well, would it be, it wouldn’t be carnival, but you ….
Q:    I see, something like that, was it?
Mrs I:    Yes.
Q:    That her on the end, is it?
Mrs I:    Yes, it could be a Coronation or something. Oh, yes [Miss Mens thought just a tea party or something].
Q:    I see. Oh, well well well, oh that’s nice, I’m glad I showed you that, then.
Mrs I:    It’s not me with Marie, that’s with Renee, ‘cos I know she got it, ‘cos she was the prettiest baby.
Q:    She’s got a nice lot of hair, hasn’t she?
Mrs I:    Yes.
Q:    Well, I expect you know a lot of the others, then, do you?
Mrs I:    Oh, I rem-, yes. And then it would be when we’d go down for the mugs, the Coronation.
Q:    Oh, would, it, oh I see.
Mrs I:    Two mugs.
Q:    Goodness. Well, you said that was, what, fifty three?
Mrs I:    Yes, three, that’s fifty-two. Clive is fifty this year.
Q:    So it’s round about 1930 or so?
Mrs I:    Fifty-two, yes. That’s what it is, that’s right, some celebration was on. We would have the races and different things, it wasn’t ….
Q:    It wasn’t an ordinary ….?
Mrs I:    No, it wasn’t, carnival, no.
Q:    No. Yes, because I thought everybody looked a bit dressed up. Well, well, well.
Mrs I:    Oh, it is nice, isn’t it.
Q:    Well, I’ll have to show that to Clive, then, I should think he’ll like that, will he?
Mrs I:    It’s strange how you …. Oh, and Mrs Everett, oh, she was annoyed, she said ‘Oh, well’, she said ‘prize babies are never lucky’. [laugh] [Q: [laugh] How funny!] And when it was Clive at Chelmsford. Of course they put it in the paper. Bothering. She said ‘Fancy, Mrs Ireland’s baby, first prize, Chelmsford’. She said ‘It wears glasses!’, she said, ‘you wouldn’t have thought’, she said, ‘it’d got a prize’. So I saw Mrs Archer, and she said ‘Clive doesn’t, your baby doesn’t wear glasses’. I said ‘No, why?’ And she said, ‘Oh, Mrs Everett says, ‘It’s not fair, him getting that prize and wearing glasses’. I said ‘That’s Mrs Corley’s baby’, I said ‘our prams were the same’. So she, they were Dunkley[?] prams. So I said, ‘She’s got mixed, with the babies’. But you know, you’d never think, would you?
Q:    How funny. And that was Clive won a prize, was it?
Mrs I:    Yes.
Q:    Is Mrs Everett on there, did you say?
Mrs I:    Yes, Mrs Everett, see, she’s just lost her husband. Oh yes, she wanted her, she was a nice girl, she thought her baby was the prettiest baby. Oh, dear, yes, oh yes. And then there was another one. King. Did you know the Kings?
Q:    I don’t think so.
Mrs I:    That was a pretty baby, they were to do with the glove factory, they’ve got Mrs Meakins ….
Q:    Oh, I know what you mean.
Mrs I:    Mrs Meakins’ sister, yes.
Q:    Yes.
Mrs I:    Yes, yes. That’d’ve been Mrs Meakins’ brother, King.
Q:    I see.
Mrs I:    That was a beautiful baby.
Q:    Was he?
Mrs I:    I remember that.
Q:    Yes yes, I met, ‘cos there’s Miss King still, isnt’ there, May King?
Mrs I:    May, oh the cripple one?
Q:    Yes. She lives at Rex Mott Court.
Mrs I:    Yes, they moved, because they lived in the house as you went up, the Valley.
Q:    And Mrs, Ager, isn’t it, her other sister? Christina [also of Rex Mott Court]?
Mrs I:    Oh, yes, Cecil.
Q:    Cecil Ager, yes {Christina’s husband].
Mrs I:    That’s Christine, see she doesn’t get out, she hasn’t been going out for years, he does the shopping.
[Noise on tape]
And Mrs Meakins, she’s very good, she organises different things.
Q:    Yes, yes. She always keeps busy, she does.
[Noise on tape]
Mrs I:    …. at River View, in Maldon Road, and I saw by the paper that, she’d moved. But she’s very good. They’re lovely, though.
Q:    Who else do you know on there, then? Is that Mrs Brown, is that right, do you think, that at the back there?
Mrs I:    You mean Keith’s mother?
Q:    No. No no no, do I mean Brown? Collingwood House, I thought perhaps she was organising it, or something. Is it Mrs Percy Brown, do I mean?
Mrs I:    Oh yes, that’s the elder lady. And then the daughter, still lives, by the factory, doesn’t she, mother died, Mrs Brown. Mrs Coleman [of 23 Avenue Road].
Q:    Mrs Coleman, that’s right. Yes, I think that might have come from her. I thought that was perhaps the mother up, up there? Whether some of the people on the back were the ones who might have been organising it, the older ladies.
Mrs I:    Yes, definitely, yes. Oh yes, course Mrs Coleman’s a Witham one. Course they lived in Collingwood Road in my early days.
Q:    ‘Cos did they do anything, did they run the sort of clinic or anything. Did you go to any sort of, I know you said that wasn’t the clinic, but did you go to any sort of clinic with the babies?
Mrs I:    Oh yes, Church House [Collingwood Road].
Q:    Oh, I see, yes, yes.
Mrs I:    Church House, that was the clinic. No. But this would be, I should think, some Coronation, to ….
Q:    Yes, I see, yes, to explain it?
Mrs I:    Oh yes, definitely. And then you’d have a flower show, and different things.
Q:    Do you know any of the other ones on there?
Mrs I:    Strange, how you ….
Q:    You forget their names now, don’t you, it’s a long time ago?
Mrs I:    It’s funny how some are very striking, you know them immediately.
Q:    That’s it, yes, yes [noise on tape]
Mrs I:    When you imagine, this was really, about the only mothers in Witham.
Q:    Was it really? That would be everybody, would it?
Mrs I:    Yes.
Q:    I suppose it would, wouldn’t it?
Mrs I:    Strange, isn’t it? Oh, I never. Some at the back, holding them up. [noise on tape] Strange. Beautiful.
Q:    You all look very proud of them, mm.
Mrs I:    That’s a nice photograph, though, somebody kept.
Q:    Yes, fortunate.
Mrs I:    Course the girls all took mine.
Q:    Did they?
Mrs I:    Yes, you know, different things.
Q:    Now, what was that one?
Mrs I:    And Clive would say something, have you got those photographs, but you never had them back.
Q:    Really?
Mrs I:    Records the same, you’d never, they’d take them to the clubs, the Church clubs, never had them back.
Q:    Really? That’s a pity. Oh I know, I think I know what that is, was it the Co-op? [showing photo of Co-op treat, 1909, which appears bottom page 59 in Images of England: Witham, JG’s photo M68]
Mrs I:    Oh, they, oh, they were beautiful treats.
Q:    Were they?
Mrs I:    Oh, they were. We had them over the road [i.e. on north side of Chalks Road, and where Templars Close is now]. We used to have the steam engine for your tea, to make your tea. Yes, the last Co-op treat, was there.
Q:    [????]
Mrs I:    Oh, we often speak about it. Joan says that. Oh, and with the fire engines for the tea. Now to think it’s all built up. Oh, yes. And then we had a Coronation, over there once, all the trees, under the trees.
Q:    Really, oh under the chestnuts [now in Templars Close].
Mrs I:    Yes.
Q:    Yes, that was a very nice place to have it. I think that one was down at the, King’s Chase way somewhere.
Mrs I:    Well, there’s nothing, yes, there’s nothing like, today, we were saying. There was the Co-op treats, ‘cos the children used to say ‘We don’t belong to the Co-op, do we, so we can’t go to the treat?’. So I used to see Mr Butcher or who was that, ‘Children says they can’t to the Co-op treat’, so he used, so he said, ‘Well, they can’t have the ticket for the tea, but you can bring them down for the sports’, see, they couldn’t enter. But still, you went down, it was nice.
Q:    Oh, I see. Who was Mr Butcher, then, he was the ….
Mrs I:    He was that, only, yes, it wasn’t in Eccleston’s time [John Eccleston], because, see, they were grown up, but that used to be, but, that’s right, Co-op. And then the Sunday school, that was beautiful at that beautiful Vicarage meadow (behind the Old Vicarage, Chipping Hill]. They even had the swings and everything put up, that was beautiful. I think the Church. And we used to come out Powershall End, the back way, and you had a big bun. Always remember. I always think of the big bun.
Q:    Yes, yes. ‘Cos were you in the Co-op, yourself?
Mrs I:    I didn’t join for a long long time. Until this came, the near one [62 Braintree Road]. Then Mr Butcher and they came down, and they said ‘Oh, you should join’, and then I joined, when that came to Chipping Hill. Oh, yes, those were the treats. But Joan [Joan Shelley, 10 Chalks Road] is very good, she often, and especially now the sister’s back, she remembers things and chats, ‘cos I suppose she’s got nothing else to chat about, she’ll say ‘Oh, don’t you remember this? Don’t you remember that?’ It is nice. I should miss Joan, very much. See, ‘cos Cissie never went out, ‘cos of course, you see she was in London so much, irons in her legs, you see, ‘cos, I’m almost surprised she hasn’t had a stroke, ‘cos of course it’s the same thing, paralysed, that one leg, you see, before she can go, you know, just that little walk for her hair, she has to strap it, you see [Miss Ada Hayes, 11 Chalks Road].
Q:    Really? Yes.
Mrs I:    So of course, she didn’t join in anything, there’s nothing to chat about. No. Gladdie Keeble’s a good one, we like her [Gladys Smith, formerly Gladys Keeble, Michaeldene, Chalks Road]. I have to say Gladdie Keeble, because there’s so many Smiths in the road, you see. See, Gladdie’s a good old one. See, Mrs Chalk’s not a Witham person, she’s Langford, she came and married and lived there [Annie Chalk, nee Parmenter, 1 Chalks Road]. So you see you don’t chat to her, she doesn’t know, much about …. There’s one person, I’m rather surprised, that I don’t remember, that lives in the first old people’s bungalows, Mrs Knight, she said she was a Wright at Guithavon Road, but, if she went to the Maldon Road school, I shouldn’t remember [22 Chalks Road].
Q:    No. You mean the one at this end?
Mrs I:    Yes. But, she’ll chat. And the other morning little Rosie chatted, she had a chat [Rosie Burch].
Q:    Oh, of course, yes.
Mrs I:    She had a chat about, she’s eighty-two.
Q:    Is she really?
Mrs I:    She always says ‘Dorothy’, and I laugh [laugh]. ‘Morning, Dorothy’, she says.
Q:    Yes, that’s nice. ‘Cos she’s from round here, is she?
Mrs I:    Oh definitely, yes. Yes, she lived opposite the railway station. Yes, so …. And then in Church Street. She said ‘I was twenty-five years at the glove factory’. I said ‘Doesn’t seem possible’. Yes, so we had a chat, and she asked me about one or two different people. So I said to Clive, ‘Well, there’s still one or two around, I hadn’t thought’.
Q:    Yes, there are.
Mrs I:    Of course Ada’s gone [Ada Smith, 2 Chalks Road].
Q:    I suppose, as you say, like Mr Perry and them, they don’t, they’re about but they don’t get out?
Mrs I:    Oh, it was nice, it was nice when you spoke about Mr Perry, because he used to come and collect the gas money, you see. And then, knowing his aunt, that maiden aunt, that had that house built, and he had his little house at Powershall End, on his own. But definitely that was sold, when the …. I often wondered if he was there.
Q:    Mm. No, somebody said he lived in Pinkham Drive, but he didn’t answer.
Mrs I:    See, there you are see, you see.
Q:    As you say, Witham people are careful, aren’t they?
Mrs I:    Oh, my patience.
Q:    Funny, isn’t it?
Mrs I:    Oh, very, you see, they’re not ….
Q:    Especially the men, I think, I don’t know what they’re frightened of, but they seem very careful, worried about what they tell you, often, the men, don’t they?
Mrs I:    Yes, because they haven’t got anything special to say. They know there’s this funny little ….
Q:    I wondered perhaps if it was the way they were brought up, not to speak out of turn in case they did them any damage, you know?
Mrs I:    Oh yes, now, Mr Bright, now, he passed away, I don’t know if you, he’s a bellringer, the chief one, at the church.
Q:    Oh yes, yes.
Mrs I:    Well, he’d say ‘Look’, he said, ‘you remember when we lived opposite the church?’ He said ‘Look, when Admiral Sir William Luard used to come’, he said, ‘and the Honourable Strutt’, he said, ‘we used to have to curtsey’ [laugh]. We often laugh about it [Luard from Witham Lodge and Strutt from Blunts Hall].
Q:    Yes. But you had to, didn’t you?
Mrs I:    See, they would ride up in their cabs, ‘cos of course there weren’t cars in those days. And then they’d have the footman at the back with the black, hats. How the times have changed. Yes, we spoke about that. Said ‘All the nobility’, he said ‘used to have to bow and scrape’ [laugh]. Poor old Ernie Bright. Well, you don’t meet many old ones now, do you. Mr Poulter stopped the other day, he said, ‘Oh, pardon me’, he said, ‘can I ask you how old you are?’ That’s the little one, the little bootmaker, the little thin one [Charlie Poulter, 111 Cressing Road].
Q:    Charlie?
Mrs I:    Yes. And he said ‘Only I was wondering how old my sister was’. And I said ‘Well, she’d be the same age’. They lived in the High Street down at the bottom. They were nice people, but I don’t think much of the baby one, Albert [Albert Poulter, 15 Homefield Road]. The others were, altogether different. But he’s an odd one. He always laughs and says ‘You remember me when I used to have a fringe and a little lace collar’. ‘Cos they were always dressed ‘it’.
Q:    Really?
Mrs I:    Oh, always, mm.
Q:    ‘Cos how many were there of them? There was the sister, you say, was there?
Mrs I:    Oh, Maud, yes. And Tom, and he was killed down the Swan ….

Side 12
[Very poor quality sound. Maybe the machine or the batteries failing, as the speed kept varying a bit on the previous side too.]

Mrs I:    But I wonder if it’s why he was so interested in them all [discussing second letter from Mr Green to JG about Green family, August 1983, see picture 3 below]

green letter august 1983 page 1

green letter august 1983 page 2
3. Second letter from Mr Green, August 1983.

Q:    I don’t know, I think it must be his family. Because ….
Mrs I:    It’s very interesting to me, because I, you know, I can remember people more than ever. And after reading that letter, I remember one was very dressy and prim and proper, and the other one did the shopping, and she wasn’t [Miss Greens].
Q:    Well well. That would be the Miss Greens?
Mrs I:    So it’s rather nice, yes. And I thought those Villas, I said to you that was over the bridge[?] [Temple Villas, of which one was 12 Chipping Hill]
Q:    I think, I’m sure he’s got it wrong, hasn’t he?
Mrs I:    I wonder why they took it off? I wonder, is the name still the name still on there, Villas?
Q:    I haven’t noticed it, I haven’t seen it. But, I’m sure that’s what it was, wasn’t it. And I mean, he said well you couldn’t see the railings, but you probably could then, couldn’t you.
Mrs I:    You couldn’t. I thought if it was on there, it would be the railings from, Smith’s house, at the hilly meadow, then [???] the fence down, but you wouldn’t see the railway. Oh. Oh, I’m glad you.
Q:    [???]
Mrs I:    Oh no, it was that, the little ….
Q:    Because I’m sure I found somewhere that the address was number 12 or something, and that was what that one ….
Mrs I:    Yes, but I wondered if Villas. But what always draw, drew my attention to the house was, they’ve got those yuccas[?] haven’t they, and they’re only supposed to bloom once in seven years [at 12 Chipping Hill]. They’re very tall [???] things. Well they’ve got several. And you don’t often see them. Yes, yes, so I always used to watch to see if they were on bloom because they’re supposed to be once in seven years.
Q:    Have you ever seen them bloom?
Mrs I:    No. But Mrs, in St.Nicholas Road, the last house before the bungalows, Mrs Dean[?], I said, she had one in the centre, and I said ‘Oh, you’ll have bad luck’. Mrs Dean[?]. They’re nice, they just bloom up, you see, white with like candle. But that was what always drew my attention. And then Mrs Chalk walked in and that was another thing that made me, she used to go in there. But then you think of all the people that lived in that part, so it’s rather nice.
Q:    Because he said somewhere he’d like to meet you, would you mind, if he came to Witham would you?
Mrs I:    Oh no, I don’t mind if he comes.
Q:    Yes, ‘cos he, he’s a Green [???]
Mrs I:    I wondered why. I thought ….
Q:    [???] into his family and that’s why he’s put all this, you see. He’s worked out how they’re all related.
Mrs I:    Would you know what position he’d been in?
Q:    Well, do you mean, work ?
Mrs I:    Yes.
Q:    I’m not sure. He said he’d retired now, the one who’s writing.
Mrs I:    Oh yes. But he must have visited Witham.
Q:    He does say he, yes, he’s been here, because he said he can remember this business about the railings, you see.
Mrs I:    Must have done.
Q:    Yes. So he must have been to see these aunts, to, perhaps [???] So he must have been when he was little, I suppose, when he was small, he must have come.
Mrs I:    Well, I should hardly think that the elderly people ….
Q:    Well, you wouldn’t think they would want somebody running around, would you?
Mrs I:    Because, after 1914, there was no notable people left. You see, the War came those five years, and you weren’t interested in the people, you were thinking of the War, weren’t you, and the people that were killed. It was these notable people all that were killed, because they were, naval people, or army captains perhaps, yes. So that was why, then everything, went.
Q:    Mm. Did the families move away after that?
Mrs I:    Oh yes. ‘Cos Canon Ingles, he went away after his son was killed, he went to Brentwood Priory [Vicar of Witham]. And the Rounds, all the people.
Q:    You mentioned them [???]
Mrs I:    [???] was killed [???], his son.
Q:    Did they move away after?
Mrs I:    Yes. Everyone went. And Colonel Howard-Vyse, he went. Course Admiral Sir William Luard, he was killed in an accident, Bridge Street. But that’s why Witham is dead now. So he must have visited before 1914.
Q:    Yes, yes, that would make him, well, he must have been born in 19 ….
Mrs I:    Twenty[?]. He’d only be ten, wouldn’t he?
Q:    I suppose it is possible, isn’t it.
Mrs I:    Yes. And I[???] that’s twelve years older than him, well thirteen. So that’s why, they would be ten.
Q:    It’s nice to hear about the aunts [???]
Mrs I:    Oh, very nice, yes. Well, you see, then you sit and think. There was a Miss Newman, and then there was a Miss Bramston, at Cullen’s house [16 Chipping Hill]. You see that brings it all back, when you sit and think, doesn’t it.
Q:    You used to go there, did you?
Mrs I:    Oh not [???], you knew they were nice people. And McClarens, then there was Joseph Smith, and his son Ernest Smith. They were all nice people then [???], independent people. And the nursing home. You remember Pinkham’s big house, by the Albert, the public house?
Q:    Which was Pinkham’s house, then?
Mrs I:    Right on the corner. Well, that would be the actual road, they took this nice house down [8 Chipping Hill].
Q:    That would be ….
Mrs I:    Yes. That’s Pinkham’s son, Bert Pinkham [???] But that was a nursing home. For the nurses. Yes, before.
Q:    The nurses were living there then?
Mrs I:    Yes.
Q:    Oh, I see. ‘Cos I remember somebody telling me, or perhaps this was later though, about the big house being a nursery school, but I think that was in the War, the last War, the one probably that used to be Smith?
Mrs I:    Oh yes.
Q:    Was that right, was that ….?
Mrs I:    Oh no, that was ….
Q:    A nursery or something?
Mrs I:    Oh yes, the next house, the one that runs right down [Brookcote, 29 Chipping Hill]. Oh yes, during the War. Oh yes, because this little person that’s a home help. I always remember, she used to take the children there [Pam White, formerly Pam Carey, probably worked at nursery].
Q:    Did she?
Mrs I:    Yes. And she, brought a message from an elderly person over ninety, in Rickstones Road, and I said well, ‘I didn’t know you, but I remember you taking children out from the nursery school’. How strange you should mention that. And that was only yesterday I said that to her.
Q:    Well, perhaps it was, it might have been her father that mentioned it. Is it Pam, that’s the home help, the one that lives up Bramston Green?
Mrs I:    Yes, somewhere there, don’t know her name. She used to come to Mrs Hammond.
Q:    Ah, maybe, yes. Her father was, I think it’s the same one, a Mr Carey?
Mrs I:    That was it, yes you’ve brought the name. Yes. ‘Cos you see, you don’t remember these people, because they worked at the Bridge Home. But that’s how I knew her, only, through [???]knew she used to take these children from that nursery to school. But it does, that’s what I mean, I can’t see, who, really, he’d visit. Well, I was wondering who he’d visit.
Q:    It just says the aunts, it was just the aunts that lived there, was it?
Mrs I:    Yes.
Q:    There wasn’t anybody else there?
Mrs I:    No. And this Miss Mead, I remember that.
Q:    You’d probably like talking to you him, then, wouldn’t you?
Mrs I:    Yes.
Q:    Well, if he comes ….
Mrs I:    Oh, I should, I wondered who he …. I can’t think there’s anyone left in Witham, that’s with him. He must have definitely come here to stay.
Q:    Yes. Because this, does it say who [???] I wonder? That goes back, I can’t find, I was just wondering who his parents were. He probably did say one time.
Mrs I:    Wickham Bishops.
Q:    Oh, I see. Oh, ah, that would be it, then.
Mrs I:    ‘Cos I wondered if it was Wickham Hall.
Q:    I see. You think it might have been?
Mrs I:    Yes. I should imagine.
Q:    Yes, ‘cos he mentions Wickham Hall, yes, perhaps you’re right, yes.
Mrs I:    [???] I wonder if he was a cousin to Mrs Brice?
Q:    Well he mentions a Brice as well, doesn’t he, yes, that’s right.
Mrs I:    Oh, does he?
Q:    Somewhere I’m sure, oh that was in the one I, the previous letter that he had, that he sent me, there was something about Brice.
Mrs I:    I should think it was Brice.
Q:    Were they related, do you think, yes?
Mrs I:    I should, oh, I should imagine that [???]
Q:    That rings a bell, yes. I’m sure there was something about ….
Mrs I:    Simon[?], that would be, that would [???].
Q:    In this other letter that I had earlier on, yes.
Mrs I:    Oh, I should imagine that’s Brice. They [???] the farmers at Wickham Bishops. But I should think it’s Brice. Then it would be on our road[?], with Chipping Hill, wouldn’t it?
Q:    I suppose they might have gone to see the aunts, it was a big house, they could have kept the children downstairs, couldn’t they? Well anyway, perhaps if I send him a note to say to thank you for this, and that you wouldn’t mind talking to him, he could give me a ring sometime and tell me when he was thinking of coming, couldn’t he, and I’d pop and tell you, yes.
Mrs I:     Oh I should think it was Brice.
Q:    ‘Cos these Greens that were the chemists and so on, they were further back, weren’t they?
Mrs I:    Oh, yes. And the glass bottles. You see that’s what drew our attention. They used to have the yellow, and green. Huge glass bottles by the [???] [???]. And then, oh of course he’d be gone, the wine merchant, Charlie[?] Drake, you’ve heard of ….?  Oh, someone’s going to write ….
Q:    Oh, I saw that, his history, yes,that would be interesting, yes, he was collecting ….
Mrs I:    I wonder who it is?
Q:    I think I know him, it’s [???] [???] Lives down Maldon Road.
Mrs I:    I thought oh ….
Q:    He’s about, well, similar age to me, I don’t know exactly.
Mrs I:    Oh, so I thought [???] somebody else …
Q:    Quite a popular subject.
Mrs I:    Well, I mean, it’s ….
Q:    It’s always the people that didn’t live here that are interested ….
Mrs I:    [???] See, we lost Mrs Glass a month ago, she’d be 93 [???] opposite the garage [Braintree Road]. See, there’s no-one now. Not Witham born.
Q:    No, because often I find, I talk to people and they perhaps moved here when they were a child or something, there’s not many were actually ….
Mrs I:    No, because, this road, it’s strange, because, you see Mrs Hayes is not Witham [Dorothy Hayes, 8 Chalks Road].
Q:    No, that’s true.
Mrs I:    See, she’s Fairstead, but her husband is. And there’s Joan [Joan Shelley, 10 Chalks Road]. They always come and live in mother’s and father’s houses. ‘Cos we laugh, this road, it’s full, all the way down, in mother’s and father’s houses. Strange. But now today, you see, the mothers don’t live with the children, do they?
Q:    No. Is that how it came about, they used to live with the mothers and then they …. ? Yes.
Mrs I:    Yes. They were really annoyed with Joan because she wanted [???] to the sister that’s now living in there, because it was her house. I mean she was living with father, and of course you see she, the landlord, you know, kept bothering him to buy, and of course she’s bought the house, [???] Joans’ father, and then he moved out. And that’s made no home for Annie. See, but we always thought that was not fair. So we’re pleased to see that Annie’s back down to the house {Annie Aldous]. Although Shelley bought it, but it wasn’t the right thing to do. [???] Joan and her husband and George Hayes [8 Chalks Road], and Billy Dazeley [6 Chalks Road] [???] mothers and fathers, they would laugh about [???].
Q:    The Dazeleys were always here before, were they?
Mrs I:    Oh yes, they were. He was a baker for Blyth’s. Their father, yes. They were nice people. See Mrs Ager’s not a Witham person [at Bembridge, Chalks Road]. That little person, Mrs Joyce, she lives at the last house, the end one [Alfrose, Chalks Road]. Yes. Her mother was a nurse at Maldon Road, she used to take in patients.
Q:    What was her name, then?
Mrs I:    Roberts.
Q:    Oh, she was Nurse Roberts, was she?
Mrs I:    Yes, in Maldon Road. Because that is where I thought I was going [to have her babies]. Because that was Nurse Roberts at the bungalow, and Nurse Roberts at Maldon Road, yes. But still, I preferred the bungalow, but, that’s where I thought I was going because I knew her, you see. The father was, well, much older than the mother, and always they fussed, I often say to her ‘I always remember your dad lifting you over the pools’, she wasn’t allowed to step in water [laugh]. She’s a nice person. Yes, she’s a Witham, you see [Phyllis Joyce].
Q:    Why did you prefer the bungalow, do you reckon [Nurse’s bungalow, 46 Collingwood Road]?
Mrs I:    Well, they’d just opened it just recently. I don’t know whether you know those in Church Street. She was a Prentice from Powershall End, that blind man, what’s his name, that walks with the stick. But, was it Margaret somebody opened that, wasn’t  it, a big political person, and they wanted this baby to be named after, but the mother wouldn’t have it. Oh no, but oh it was nice in that bungalow, [???] [???] really good. But that’s where, that was Nurse Roberts, she lived down in Maldon Road. Oh you’d get better treatment, wouldn’t you, there, of course there’s Doctor Gimson [???]
Q:    So the other one, they didn’t have the doctors there?
Mrs I:    Oh, what a shame to close that place up, after, after collecting the money in the parish to open it, and then to close it up.
Q:    Who collected the money for it, then?
Mrs I:    We all did. ‘Cos it was in remembrance of the War. Who was it came? Margaret …, it was the same time as Ramsay Macdonald came and opened Crittall coming.
Q:    There’s a stone on it, isn’t there. perhaps it says on that?
Mrs I:    Yes, probably. But I know they were disappointed, because, the Labour people, they didn’t have this Margaret, who would the Margaret be?
Q:    I ought to know, but I can’t remember.
Mrs I:    Megan[?] Lloyd George, wouldn’t be [???] [???]
Q:    Might have been? [??] in there and ask if I could read that white stone that’s in the bungalow, ‘cos it’s probably written on there, isn’t it?
Mrs I:    Oh, silly me, of course.
Q:    That’s somebody’s house now [???] don’t like [???].
Mrs I:    Is it up?
Q:    I think it’s still there, and I thought I’d go along and have a look before [???]
Mrs I:    But  I mean, why didn’t they turn it into just a unit [???], I mean after all it belonged to the parish, didn’t it?
Q:    Anybody could go there, could they?
Mrs I:    Yes, it was seven, seven and a half guineas a week. But, oh, who was that Ruth, I was trying to think of it?
Q:    Peecock.
Mrs I:    Yes, yes. Well she was very good [i.e. Mrs Peecock, Ruth’s mother]. With people that couldn’t afford it, she paid, because I know Mrs Hawkes told me, that was her twelfth baby. And she said ‘Of course’ she said ‘you wonder why I’m here’. She said ‘because Mrs Peecock is paying’. And she paid for the car to take her [???], you were in there fourteen days. But I was pleased to have her there with her twelve. Well, she told me all the little things. Yes. And of course you weren’t allowed to have the baby with you, that would always be, ‘cos you got the rest at night. And she used to say to the nurse ‘Cold out tonight’, she said ‘we’ll have our babies in our beds’. [???] [???] Lots of little …. Oh, I was pleased.
Q:    Were you? I suppose you wouldn’t have much idea.
Mrs I:    No. And you see my husband went away that very morning. It was strange. And all her little children, well they were growing up, used to come to visit, and you see they would take a message for me, you see, or post a letter.
Q:    Where did she live?
Mrs I:    Shooting Lane, on the Catholic bridge, do they call it Shooting Lane?
Q:    I don’t know whether they do.
Mrs I:    [???] Catholic Bridge [???] laying right down.
Q:    I remember, there were some houses there, weren’t there [on Chess Lane]?
Mrs I:    ‘Cos that’s a football patch now, is it, you know the football ground [???], well it used to be in my young time [behind the Grove].
Q:    I think it’s houses there now, you know [Grove estate].
Mrs I:    Oh [???]. And there used to be the horse trough, for the drinking. I suppose that’s all down now, the pump and all that. Oh, it has altered.
Q:    Do you go down the town at all, do you go down to the town at all now?
Mrs I:    Sometimes. Not the same, is it? These shops are not the same. International, I’m very sorry, really, I am, because there were different things in there, that you could get. Yes, I liked that. Lipton’s was very convenient [???]. I thought that would have been the one. [???] Oh nice. The special place for bacon, that’s what we liked that for. Yes, beautiful place for bacon. But the International was cheese. I always used to go, pop from one to the other with the crossing..
Q:    It’s very busy down there now, isn’t it?
Mrs I:    Oh, oh it’s not Witham, is it? No, of course, you wouldn’t know [laughs].
Q:    No, I know what you mean though. Well, I suppose you don’t see people that you know [???].
Mrs I:    No. But I must say this [???]the overspill people, London people, or strange people, they’re more friendly.
Q:    Really?
Mrs I:    Oh, much more, because if they’re entire strangers, they can be looking in, especially Shelley’s in the precinct, you know the fashions, well they’ll pass a remark, they’ll say ‘That’s rather nice, but it’s pricey’. Well, our people wouldn’t. [???] [21 Newlands precinct]
Q.     Yes
Mrs I:    And it’s the same with the, with buying things, whichever’d be, they’d look in the window but they’d never pass a remark.
Q:    Really? Isn’t that strange.
Mrs I:    Isn’t it. I notice they’re far more friendly, yes, they chat.
Q:    Whereas Witham people wouldn’t, unless it was somebody you knew specially?
Mrs I:    No. [???] no-one now who goes, you don’t meet …. I do like going in the summer time. I like going down the Chase, where they [???] you know, by the blacksmith, I do like going there. And then straight up, to the [???] running pump, but of course that’s all done with a new road [Highfields Road]. So you don’t enjoy it the same.
Q:    No. You have to go a long way to get out into the country now, don’t you, really.
Mrs I:    No cornfields, that’s what I miss. Used to love to go in the cornfields.
Q:    You were allowed to, were you?
Mrs I:    Yes. I’ve taken my children. Used to go right across to Faulkourne, I wonder if the pathway’s still there?
Q:    I think you can still go [???], I know where you mean, I’ve been there, but not for perhaps four or five years [to Faulkbourne, path from nearly opposite Highfields Road]. I think you can get there but you have to go through sort of playing fields.
Mrs I:    Oh, definitely, it’s ploughed up. And then people constantly going. But there’s no people living there now, that [???] You made your own pathway, but it was public.
Q:    I did go once, only I remember there were a lot of cows.
Mrs I:    Oh yes, that [???]
Q:    [???]
Mrs I:    [???] We used to go there for mushrooms and watercress, ‘cos the spring. Oh, fancy. And the children used to have to write about different things, and of course they liked to see Faulkbourne Hall, and when the gardens were open we’d go.
Q:    That’s what we went for. You could go round when you were, when your children were small, could you?
Mrs I:    Oh yes, yes, we used to go in one gate and [???].
Q:    Would it have been the Parkers?
Mrs I:    Oh yes, Christopher Parker. And the flag was always flying, so you knew when he was in residence. But there was a rumour, and that, and I think it was correct, because the children wrote that for their history for the High School, that the Queen was going to live there when she was Princess Elizabeth.
Q:    Oh?
Mrs I:    Yes. And that’s why, one reason why, I went with the children.
Q:    Yes, of course yes. [???]
Mrs I:    And that was beautiful then, I mean the gardeners came out, didn’t they, Mr Parker’s servants. Marvellous. The laundry room. Oh yes, they used to open it to show off. Well, that’s the only place, I think, that’s left of importance, isn’t it? Round here?
Q:    [???] Terling [???]
Mrs I:    Yes, oh yes, that’s a nice. Why did we, oh, ‘cos of Lord Rayleigh, what happened there. I know it was all to do with history for the children. And then there were woods, and you’d take them into the woods and walk all round Dancing Dicks. Well the children never see little lambs now, do they. That’s another thing we used to go, you see. Elfreda Griggs, you know, Miss Griggs, Freda and her brother, they were always interested. You’d always meet them out, and the brother Rex. He’d always be in the meadows, for the different leaves, you see. [???]
Q:    So you used to meet quite a lot of people when you were out?
Mrs I:    Yes, you used to meet friends, [???], of course, they were doing it for the school, weren’t they. [???]
Q:    On Monday I’m going to Mersea with Susie and her class.
Mrs I:    Oh that’s a nice place. Oh [???]
Q:    I haven’t been there before. We’ve got to take our wellington boots, so I expect we’ll get muddy.
Mrs I:    Oh, Marie went with Margaret Mens one year, a fortnight. And we used to go occasionally in the evening.
[section about children etc. hard to hear: not transcribed]

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