The Poulter family
For an interview with Charlie Poulter, see tape 9. For interviews with his brother Albert Poulter, see tapes 32, 91, 105 and 106
Charlie Poulter and his brother Albert
Both born in
Witham, at what was later 147 Newland Street.
Parents, Thomas and Emily, and early residences
The family story is that at one time he was a coachman at Glazenwood, a big house at Bradwell juxta Coggeshall, and Emily Jane Cottee was a maid there which is how they first met. When Thomas’s employers moved overseas, he bought the coaches and set up in Witham as a jobmaster, i.e. horse-drawn taxi business, with large vehicles for eight or more people. Lived at back of Spread Eagle. Had premises back of both Spread Eagle and White Hart (1906 directory; livery stables, White Hart, not there 1902 or 1908). Also bred horses. Lost money in bank failure 1890s. Then took up market gardening with land in Hatfield Road (info from Charlie and Albert).
Thomas died in 1911 after gall stone operation (info from Charlie and Albert).
Then living at 116 Newland Street (info from Albert)
Emily Jane had many jobs especially after Thomas died in 1911. Including cook at Whitehall college, 18 Newland Street, taking in washing, and lodgers, serving teas (info from Charlie).
Notes on Charlie, born 1902
School. National School, Guithavon Street. Left aged 13, in 1915.
1915: for about one month, market gardening in Bridge Street.
1915: to Mr Eve to learn shoemending (2 shillings a week while learning, then 2s.6d.)
1919 to 1922 approx: to Hoffman, Chelmsford, on grinding machines (27s. a week). His older sister got him the job.
1922 approx began own shoe-mending business with brother Thomas (‘Poulter bros’, boot repairers, High Street, 1922 and 1926 directories, not 1929).
1925, 75 Maldon Road
1930, 111 Cressing Road, stayed there the rest of his life.
Married Alice Olive, they separated
Notes on Albert, born 1907 from phone conversation on 25 February 2001
He left National School unofficially and then went back and left again
When he left school he worked for four years at F.H.Bright, solicitor, which was in Collingwood Road then. An Ernie Green worked there. He had earlier recommended stamp collecting to Albert as a way of learning geography, which he did. Then when Albert worked there he let him practise typing on the office machine.
1925, 27 Albert Road
1930, 9 Albert Road
Later 19 Cressing Road, then 15 Homefield Road after widowed.
Married Adelaide M
Extracts from relevant documents
Baptisms in Wethersfield, children of Joseph and Harriet Poulter of Wethersfield, labourer
The baptism registers after April 2nd 1858 were still in Wethersfield when I looked.; there may have been other children baptised then. A number of the children who appeared in the 1851 census return for the family do not have baptisms above, so they must have been baptised elsewhere.
1839 Sept. 29 Henry
1842 April 24 Joseph
1843 Nov. 5 Thomas
1849 May 6 William
1852 July 11 Alfred
1852 July 11 Robert
1854 Aug. 13 Ellen
1856 Nov. 30 Emily
1851 census returns, HO 107/1785, f.124, p.4, schedule 15, White Post, Wethersfield
Joseph Poulter Head Mar 38 Ag lab born Essex, Weathersfield
Harriet Wife Mar 35 born Essex, Weathersfield
Eliza Dau 14 Straw plaiter born Essex, Weathersfield
Henry Son 13 Ag lab born Essex, Weathersfield
Caroline Dau 11 Straw plaiter born Essex, Weathersfield
Joseph Son 9 born Essex, Weathersfield
Thomas Son 7 born Essex, Weathersfield
Mary Ann Dau 5 born Essex, Weathersfield
Sarah Dau 4 born Essex, Weathersfield
William Son 2 born Essex, Weathersfield
Catharine Dau 7 mo born Essex, Weathersfield
Ann Harrington Visitor 17 born Essex, Toppesfield
1856, marriage at Great Braxted
25 December 1856
James Cottee, full age, bachelor, butcher, of Great Braxted, son of James Cottee, butcher
Emily Jane Banham, minor, spinster, of Great Braxted, daughter of Isaac Banham, brickmaker (made mark).
Witnesses George Banham, Maria Eley
1855- Feb 1875
Baptisms in Great Braxted for children of James Cottee, butcher, of Great Braxted, and Emily Jane Cottee. Later baptisms were still in the parish when I looked.
1859 July 3 Charles
1862 May 4 Alfred
1864 Oct. 2 Joseph Albert
1867 March 3 Emily Jane
1870 March 6 William Arthur
1873 July 6 Julia Eliza
1881 census, RG 11/861, f.71, p.72, Main Road, Bexley, Kent
Thomas Poulter Head Mar. 34 Beer Retailer born Essex, Weathersfield
Florence Poulter Wife Mar. 28 — born Blackwell Dale, Derbyshire
Percival Poulter Son — 4 — born Sussex, Brighton
Herbert Poulter Son — 3 — born Kent, Bexley Heath
Constance Poulter Daur. — 1 — born Kent, Bexley Heath
1881 census, RG 11/1777, f.76, p.1, schedule 3, Village, Great Braxted
James Cottee Head Mar 46 Butcher born Essex, Great Braxted
Emily J Cottee Wife Mar 42 — born Essex, Inworth
Charles Cottee Son Unm 21 Ag Lab born Essex, Great Braxted
William A Cottee Son Unm 11 Scholar born Essex, Great Braxted
Julia E Cottee Dau. Unm 7 Scholar born Essex, Great Braxted
Elener Cottee Dau. Unm 1y 9m — born Essex, Great Braxted
RG 11/1774, f.58, p.27, schedule 23, Motts Farm, St Lawrence
Emily Cottee Servt Unm 14 General servant born Essex, Maldon
with Briggs Seed, farmer (partner, 557 acres), and family
1891 electoral register
Occupation electors include
Poulter, Thomas, of Witham, qualified by land, described as ‘Hamptons’.
[perhaps in Hatfield Road]
RG 12/1425, f.27, p.24, schedule 152, Newland Place, Witham
Thomas Poulter Head Widr 45 Market gardener born Essex, Wethersfield
Percy Poulter Son — 14 Ditto assistant born Sussex, Brighton
Herbert Poulter Son — 12 Scholar born Kent, Bexley Heath
RG 12/1425, f.39, f.17, p.113, Mill Lane, Witham
Emily Jane Cottee Head M 52[?] Nurse dom born Essex, Bocking
Joseph A Cottee Son S 26 Farm labourer born Essex, Gt Braxted
Emily J Cottee Dau. S 24 Domestic servant born Essex, Gt Braxted
William A Cottee Son S 21 Fellmonger’s labourer born Essex, Gt Braxted
Eleanor Cottee Dau. — 11 Scholar born Essex, Gt Braxted
Ernest William Cottee Son — 10 mo — born Essex, Witham
1 December 1892, marriage at St John’s Moulsham, Chelmsford
Thomas Poulter, widower, aged 45, farmer
Emily Jane Cottee, spinster, aged 25
Both of 21 Anchor Street, Chelmsford.
27 July 1890 Ernest William Emily Jane Cottee of Witham —
18 June 1893 Maud Thomas and Emily Jane Poulter of Witham Farmer
28 April 1895 Thomas Walter Thomas and Emily Jane Poulter of Witham Farmer
1901 electoral register
1901 census, RG 13/1725, f.61, p.14, schedule 97, Church Street
John Smith Head M 49 Platelayer’s labourer born Essex, Wethersfield
Ellen Smith Wife M 46 born Essex, Wethersfield
Bert Smith Son S 19 Groom (domestic) born Essex, Witham
Alfred Smith Son S 14 Stable help (jobmasters) born Essex, Witham
Ellen A Smith Dau S 12 born Essex, Witham
Thomas Poulter Bro in law M sic 55 Gardener (domestic) born Essex, Wethersfield
1901 census, RG 13/189, f.103, p.2, schedule 10, 9 Rocliffe Street, Islington
Emily J Poulter Wife [deleted, head written in] M 36 Washerwoman (worker, at home) born Essex, Witham
Ernest W Poulter Son 10 born Essex, Witham
Maud Poulter Dau 8 born Essex, Witham
Thomas W Poulter Son 6 born Essex, Witham
Edith M Poulter Dau 1 born London, Islington
31 August 1902 Charles Edward Thomas and Emily Jane Poulter of Witham Gardner
23 April 1905 Ethel Thomas and Emily Jane Poulter of Eagle Yard, Witham Jobmaster
[Register only goes up to 1907]
1906 Poulter Percy William, Albert hotel
1906 Poulter Thomas, livery stables, White Hart yard
1911 electoral register
Occupation electors include:
Thomas Poulter of Newland Street, Witham, qualified by dwelling house in Newland Street.
Manuscript ‘muster roll’, First World War
Includes: H Poulter, T Poulter.
Essex County Chronicle, 19 January 1917
page 6, see xerox on newspaper file. ‘Witham Church School. Children and parents and friends, distribution of certificate for full attendance. Songs, and address by the Vicar. Vast opportunities. Boys had won the County’s Challenge shield this month for their attendance. Mrs F Round presented the certificates. ‘Little Ellen Bright’ thanked her and the Vicar. List of winners. Includes H Godfrey, A Poulter, W Peirce.
Essex Weekly News, 4 January 1918
page 3, col 5. Quarter Sessions. William Poulter, licensed victualler of Braintree, 67, sent to four months imprisonment for receiving beer etc. Previously foreman of livery stables in Brighton, then licensee three years at Witham, then Braintree ten years [probably same as Percy].
1920 electoral register
Poulter, Emily Jane, of Newland Street
Poulter, Thomas Walter, of Newland Street
Poulter, William, of Temperance Hotel, Albert Road [perhaps the same as Percy, see 1906]
1922 Poulter Bros. boot reprs. High st
1922 Poulter William, temperance hotel, Chipping Hill [perhaps the same as Percy, see 1906]
All Saints, tombstone
No. 847. Alice Poulter, nee Cronk, died Feb 10 1925.
1925 electoral register
Albert Edward Poulter 27 Albert Road
Thomas Walter Poulter 19 Cressing Road
Charles Edward Poulter 75 Maldon Road
Emily Jane Poulter 147 Newland Street
John Poulter 9 Albert Road
1926 Poulter Bros. boot reprs. High st
Adverts, Braintree and Witham Times, 24 April 1931
Front page. Ads for:
E R Poulter ‘late of Bedford’, 31a High Street, haircutting (probably no relation to the Witham family).
‘Charles E Poulter, boot and shoe repair specialist, 111 Cressing Road. High Class work. Moderate prices. Best English leather only. Repairs collected and delivered in Witham, Silver End and district within 48 hours’.
The following is not from this family
1933 Poulter Edwin Redvers, hairdrssr, 31a High st
1937 Poulter Edwin Redvers, hairdrssr. 31a, High st
Note about 1932 and politics, information from Ted Mawdsley, son of Maud (nee Poulter, sister of Charlie and Albert)
Ted’s father John Mawdsley stood for Witham UDC in 1932 (see notes on Braintree and Witham Times, 10 March et al, in newspaper files.). He was a workers’ candidate, in opposition to the regular Labour Party councillors like Ebenezer Smith. One of the main issues was the means test for unemployment benefit, which the workers’ group opposed. Albert helped him; he, Albert, was probably in the Communist Party then. The CP was strong in Braintree but not in Witham. Charlie was sympathetic also, but was always loyal to the Labour Party itself in the long run. Was till he died.
Charlie and Albert never got on with each other but Ted thinks the problems were more personal than political.
He didn’t stand again. Ted thinks he tried to start a trade Union at Crittall’s and after that found work hard to get etc.
He (Ted) thought of a career in journalism once and Albert helped him by starting to teach him shorthand. They got some articles in the Braintree and Witham Times in 1937 or 1938, one on the history of all the pubs in Witham, and another about Foot and Mouth disease – full page spreads.
The Mosleyites, black shirts, had quite a few adherents in Witham before WW2, eg one of the Pinkhams. Albert was very much opposed to them. Ted and Albert went to a meeting of theirs at the Corn Exchange in Chelmsford once out of curiosity when Ted was 16 (c 1936). Ted got pushed outside and Albert was hit over the head with a chair.
Conversation about Second World War etc. with Roy Poulter (Charlie’s son), 13 September 2003
Some Royal Engineers were billeted in the Co-op Hall, i.e. above the Co-op shop in Braintree Road.
Got boat at Ipswich. Floating around for five days before D Day, Normandy Landings. Engines started up and off they went. Roy was first Witham casualty after landings. Shot in knee. Boat next to his got sunk. Navy shells overhead.
After month, caught others up in Brussels, very nice there. With them a fortnight and then into Germany.
Brought home when War finished, in draft to go to Middle East and said at last minute that shouldn’t go because of knee. So sent back to Germany after 28 days. Later exactly same happened re Far East.
Should have been demobbed winter 1946. Was teaching motor mechanics and driving in Germany. Ended up a sergeant. So stayed longer, came home July 1947.
When home, went back to Crittall’s where he was before but didn’t like it so went to Hoffmans, on tools then. Became design engineer, there 41 years. Made grandfather clock when he retired.
His father Charlie, as shoe repairer, did lots of work at Notley Hospital. Had shop down town and lived at Nelson House, Maldon Road. Roy born there Feb 1925. Then soon after went to Cressing Road council house.
Unexploded bomb that killed Mr Burmby in Cressing Road. Charlie had been standing across the road and looking out and had seen the plane that dropped the bombs. Two came down and only one went off. Roy in bed, whole house moved, rumble on roof (had slate roofs then). Exploded just inside hedge on other side (ie east side) of road. Big hole. When went off a chap repairing telegraph wires and was blown off ladder.
Took Mr B’s body to Cook’s butchers [5 Newland Street, since demolished] where they had the mortuary, in the back, in one of the four pig styes. Roy was working there then, and went to get his bike from back. Next to slaughter house.