Witham UDC, Council minutes, 1933-1945

Witham Urban District Council,
Council minutes.
The volume for 1933-1945
Reference  E.R.O D/UWi 1/1/5

Not comprehensive notes. Mostly looking for various specific items, i.e. some AGMs, war preparations eg. Air Raid Precautions, some by looking in index. Then started more fully in WW2, September 1939. Didn’t do much on housing this time.

Page numbers given below are pages of the actual item, not the beginning of the meeting.

Items in square brackets are comments added by JG.Items in quotation marks are exact quotations from the minutes.The rest of the text is in note form, i.e. notes written by JG to summarise the  minutes.

Silver End and Rivenhall were added to Witham Urban District in 1933, adding to the Labour representation. My notes tend to concentrate on Witham.
For other volumes of Council minutes, and for Committee minutes, search for minutes in a Search box, to see how far I've got.


19 April 1933

page 1. Annual Meeting. Chair to be Councillor Ebenezer Smith [note:  he was the first Labour Chairman]. Vice Chair to be Councillor W W Burrows [also Labour, I think].

Committees to be:

Public Health: W W Burrows, W G Naylor, A G Manning, E L Smith, B O Blyth.

Housing: A G Manning, Miss Pattisson, W W Burrows, H L Evitt.

Estates: E L Smith, Miss Pattisson, B O Blyth, H E Reader.

Rating and Valuation: W G Naylor, A G Manning, H E Reader, H L Evitt, W W Burrows ex officio.

Chair is ex officio on all.

[page 3] Letter from Braintree Area Guardians Committee re previous correspondence. Is Council able to consider any work for men ‘as a condition of relief’. No action.

28 January 1935

[page 110] Letter from Whitstable Urban District urging provision of shelters at Employment Exchanges, ‘to ensure that persons attending … having to wait there … could do so under shelter from bad weather’. Shouldn’t be in public view. Resolved to support.

15 February 1935

[page 117] Support to various resolutions from other Urban Districts condemning Unemployment Act 1934, part II, and harsh application of the Act, and protesting against reduction of relief.

25 March 1935

[page 122] Resolution from Aberdare Urban District Council ‘that … the policy of the Government with respect to Defence is completely at variance with the spirit in which the League of Nations was created to establish a collective world peace, gravely jeopardises the prospect of any disarmament Convention, and so far from securing national security, will lead to international competition, and the insecurity thereby engendered, and will ultimately lead to war’. Moved by Councillor K Cuthbe, seconded by Councillor T R Mott, [two Labour Councillors from Silver End]’ that it should be supported. 8 voted for and 2 against, so carried. Send to Prime Minister.

29 March 1935, in Committee

Interviewed candidates for Sanitary Inspector. Appoint the following (I think subject to the interview still to be held with the one in Wales – see F and G P Committee minutes): Mr Jonathan Holdsworth, 60 Treen Avenue, Barnes, SW 13. Six for him, three against, three abstained.

15 April 1935

[page 131] Lengthy reply received from Prime Minister to resolution about Defence [no details] [see 25 March].

27 May 1935

[page 136] Resolution from Urban District Council of Purfleet. Resolved that Council views with alarm the present grave international complications. The feeling of insecurity is hindering the recovery of World Trade, and we earnestly implore His Majesty’s Government to pursue a Policy of Peace’. Agreed to support.

[page 138] Library. Agreed sealing document re hiring of library room in Council offices [may not be first reference though first in index].

16 July 1935

pp 150-1. Re report of Public Health Committee. ‘Travelling facilities for the Sanitary Inspector.’ This matter, referred to in the report mentioned above, was taken in the absence of the officers. Resolved that the consideration of the recommendation on the subject, as contained in the Report, be deferred until September next, to be taken in conjunction with the Clerk’s Report, then to be submitted, on the working of the reorganised staff during the past six months’.

23 September 1935. Council in Committee

page 159. Report on internal clerical staff. Includes after discussion resolved that, inter alia:‘(1) Having considered the several matters brought before the Public Health Committee by the Sanitary Inspector, he be asked to carry out his agreement with the Council as it stands’.

27 January 1936

page 178. Report of Finance and General Purposes Committee of 24 January – Sanitary Inspector, travelling allowance, resolved to refer into committee.

[page 179] Report on meeting on 21st inst between ‘a Housing Inspector and General Inspector of the Ministry of Health and the Chairman and several members of the Council upon the Council’s duties under the 1930 and 1935 Acts’. Mr W T Bowman, Chief Housing Inspector, and Colonel Hayward, General Inspector’s Office .

Mr Bowman. Ministry of Health thinks the Council’s programme of Slum Clearance under the 1930 Act is inadequate. He has come to advise. He gave summary of duties under this and also under 1935 (Overcrowding) Act. Council have obligations. Can’t shelve them. From information on his file, he knew there were additional properties to deal with. Council must assist their Sanitary Inspector. Otherwise Ministry has powers to act.

Questions from Councillors:

If action already taken under Section 19 of 1930 Act re two or more properties which could have been a Clearance Order, is it possible to drop proceedings and commence new proceedings as a Clearance Order? Yes, provided demolition orders not served yet.

Re Clearance Order or Demolition Order, Council not obliged to rehouse the displaced persons, but ‘for every house demolished the Council must build a new house’.

Should preference be given to owner occupiers, e.g. elderly couple who have acquired house for old age? Act does not specify. All properties below standard can not be tolerated.

Inspector then went round district.

He visited the Clerk later and said could not get round all but had seen as follows:

210 places suitable for Clearance Areas

40 suitable for demolition under section 19.

Total 250.

Probably another 125 houses at least in area not seen, so total 275. So any programme showing less than 275 houses for demolition would be unsatisfactory.

Mr Bowman said ‘The Ministry in earnest over the position in Witham, that it would be constantly watched’. He thought members had taken note and would assist the Sanitary Inspector and get him a clerical officer and qualified assistants. The number of houses he had seen would not be put in any communication, but the Clerk might inform members of what was expected.

31 January 1936, Council in Committee

page 183. Sanitary Inspector, increase in salary. Recommendation of F and G P referred to this meeting from full meeting on 27 January. As in newspaper, i.e. Councillor E L Smith, mentioned that this subject had not been again brought forward by the sanitary inspector, but had arisen from a conversation he had had with him in which the official stated he was not disposed to accept a previous offer made by the Council to pay for petrol and oils used in his car upon a 30-miles-to-the gallon basis, and he had requested the sanitary inspector to inform the Council of his decision. In consequence of which the Sanitary Inspector’s decision was referred to the F and GP Committee.

Councillor EL Smith and Councillor Manning proposed that the Council ‘provide a bicycle for use by the Sanitary Inspector within the district in the performance of his duties and that the Council pay any necessary bus fares incurred by him’

Councillor E Smith JP and Cllr Mrs Horridge moved amendment to increase his salary to £40 per annum. Five for amendment and six against, so lost.

The motion being put there were six for and six against. Chair refrained from casting vote so no decision.

Councillor E Smith – would move at next meeting.

24 February 1936

page 185. Public Health and Housing Committee report of 7[?] Feb adopted. No specific reference in these minutes to Sanitary Inspector’s salary etc.

20 April 1936, AGM

[page 193] Present. Councillors E L Smith, W G Naylor, A G Manning, J Croxall, H J Rowles, D J Maidment, K Cuthbe, E Smith, Mrs A M Horridge, C E Richards, H E Reader, A J Horner, W W Burrows.

Elected Chairman: W W Burrows (nominated by E L Smith, seconded C E R Richards, unanimous).

Elected Vice Chairman: E L Smith (nominated by W W Burrows, seconded by A G Manning, got 7 votes)

Also nominated as Vice Chairman was Cllr D J Maidment, nominated by Cllr E Smith and seconded by K Cuthbe, only got 3 votes.

27 July 1936, in Committee

[page 213] Air Planning in Essex. Letter from North West Regional Planning Committee. Messrs Norman and Dawbarn’s recent report advises provision of ‘aerodromes at Bishops Stortford, Braintree and Bocking and possibly near Saffron Walden’. Defer for further consideration [I didn’t follow this up].

31 August 1936

[page 214] Letter from Mayor of Jarrow about unemployment there because of closing down of shipbuilding and iron and steel works. Asks for financial assistance to protest to Government. Defer till ascertained whether within Council’s powers. Same for a plea re Wharncliffe colliery disaster. I’m

20 October 1936

[page 230] Discussion re Temples Meadow, Chipping Hill. On proposal to build. Essex Archaeological Society and Council for the Preservation of Rural England say site of a camp of historic value and national importance. Was suggested should be up to HM Office of Works to declare it an ancient monument. Mr T A Henderson, ‘Town Planning consultant’ said if it did, it would be for them to bear cost. Some pointed out that already considerably built. Thanked Planning advisers etc. Councillor Rowles and Councillor Horner proposed that whilst allowing resolution permitting development, question of preservation should be put to HM Office of Works. Ruled out of order. Resolved that thank the bodies for their representations and inform them that resolution to stand and suggest they approach HM Office of Works about it being an ancient monument. Councillor EL Smith as part owner, did not vote.

[page 234] The Avenue, Avenue Road and Collingwood Road. Refer back numbering.

9 Nov 1936

[page 237] Re Air Raid Precautions. Councillor A J Horner to be appointed to collaborate with Councillors E Smith, D J Maidment and the Clerk.

9 March 1937, in Committee

[page 259] Clerk had enquired whether any Coat of Arms of Witham were registered. Told that no. Cost of obtaining one would be £81 10s to Heralds College. Resolved not to proceed.

30 March 1937

[page 263] ‘Hutley Recreation Ground. Letter from solicitors ‘stating that the Executors of the Will of the late Mr Philip Hutley desire to commemorate his long association with the town and the council, by presenting the meadows shown on the tracing … as a Recreation Ground for the inhabitants of Witham. Agreed to accept and send appreciation [probably just over Moat Farm bridge going down, and to the left, through the viaduct nearly to the Mill House in Guithavon Valley. Belonged to Powershall in tithe map (and probably at Domesday in 1086). Powershall did not have any meadow near to it].

[page 264] Joint letter to Secretary of State by Secretaries of Local Government Associations arising from conference at County Hall Westminster, about Air Raid Precautions. Says Local Authorities appreciate urgency, but reiterate previous representations that cost should be born by HM Government. So reluctantly advise Local Authorities to defer any further expenditure re ARP or emergency Fire Brigade organisation, till Government have decided financial issue. Resolved to take this advice and spend no more on same for time being.

19 April 1937, AGM

[page 272] Elected Chairman: E L Smith (nominated by W W Burrows, seconded by A G Manning). No other nominations, unanimous.

Elected Vice Chairman: A G Manning (nominated by W G Naylor, seconded by H E Reader). No other nominations.

9 July 1937, in Committee

[page 290] Air Raid Precautions. Wing Commander Sparling, AFC, County organiser of ARP, addressed meeting. Stressed point that first thing should be to appoint an organiser. Said should be possible to get voluntary offer. Leave open with view to getting volunteer.

30 August 1937

[page 289] Air Raid Precautions. Captain Hill had approached Vice Chairman (A G Manning) on behalf of ‘the Legion of Frontiersmen’ saying that they would volunteer to undertake preparation of scheme for ARP for Urban District. Thank them and appoint 3 Councillors to confer with the Legion and to form an ARP Committee.

25 October 1937

[page 315] Air Raid Precautions. Councillor Captain J N Pelly had been to meeting at Braintree. Report to come from County organiser.

29 November 1937

[page 319] Letter from Jarrow about cost of living for unemployed. Get MP to bring matter up. Agreed to support.

[pages 321-322] Air Raid Precautions. Letter from Colonel E A Ruggles-Brise, MP, in reply to letter from this Council asking him to associate himself with action on Bill to secure local burden to product of rate of 2d in the £. He says in general agreement on Bill, and the point about the 2d has been largely met by decision to put 3 year limit on operation of Bill and to consult with Local Authorities if cost higher than foreseen. To give copy to press.

31 January 1938

[page 327] Air Raid Precautions. Captain P T Hill has asked for sum not exceeding £10 to be petty cash for ARP scheme. List of expenditure will be kept. Agreed.

28 February 1938

[page 334] Delegates to go to Conference on Air Raid Precautions to be held by Essex County Council.

[page 335] Letter from Councillor Captain J N Pelly volunteering his services from UDC ‘on the Committee which apparently will be formed jointly with the Braintree Urban and Rural District Councils of ARPs’. Resolved not to appoint anyone till after London conference but to keep him in mind.

28 March 1938

[page 341] Air Raid Precautions. Since ‘the Town’s meeting held in the Public Hall on Tuesday evening last’, progress made. Arrangements for First Aid classes to begin immediately, for both men and women. That afternoon there had been a joint meeting of the ‘combined area’ at Braintree, when it was decided to advertise for organiser for combined district to be paid £300 plus travelling expenses.

[page 343] Resolved to constitute Air Raid Precautions Committee to consider scheme and the appointment of a Sub-organiser. Committee to constitute Finance Committee plus Councillor Pelly and present Chairman, plus others co-opted as needed.

20 April 1938, AGM

  • [page 344] Re-elected Chairman: E L Smith (nominated by A G Manning, seconded by E Smith). No other nominations.

Re-elected Vice Chairman: A G Manning (nominated by W G Naylor, seconded by H E Reader).

20 April 1938, ordinary meeting

[page 345] Special meeting at Braintree has selected six applicants to interview for Air Raid Precautions officer for combined district.

23 May 1938

[page 348] Report of Air Raid Precautions Committee of 23 May adopted. Chair reported that did not vote on Central Distributing Depot as jointly concerned with property under discussion (E L Smith).

[page 349] Air Raid Shelters. ARP Cttee asked to investigate cellars and other suitable places ‘for the purpose of shelters from high explosive bombs during times of war’.

27 June 1938

[page 359] Air Raid Precautions Officer. Major Cowley appointed for joint area.

25 July 1938

[page 364] Report of Air Raid Precautions Committee adopted. Voluntary organiser H W Chaplin had resigned. Thanks for his services which were completely voluntary.

[pages 366-367] Ambulance. New one being bought. When obtained, question of ‘furnishing it with a regulation size of military stretcher’ to be considered.

26 September 1938

[pages 368-369] Air Raid Precautions Committee adopted except that proposed depot at Chipping Hill to be referred to Council in Committee. They referred it back to ARP Committee.

[page 371] ‘National Emergency – Darkening of Windows’. Letter from Chief Constable re provisional measures for darkening windows in emergency. Referred Council buildings to Estates Committee.

‘Arrangements have been made for the Street Lighting to be extinguished at short notice’

Trenches. Letter from Home Office. ‘Immediate steps should be taken for the digging of trenches on properties owned by the Council or where this is not practicable upon private lands provided consent is obtained. Resolved to refer to Air Raid Precautions Committee.

Anti-gas training. Instructions required. Resolved Sanitary Inspector and Surveyor to go on courses.

Same day, in Committee

Acquisition of premises at Chipping Hill for depot and Air Raid Precaution purposes. Correspondence with Ministry of Health. Won’t give loan consent. Resolved to send deputation to Ministry of Health in matter because urgent.

31 October 1938, in Committee

[page 376] Mr George Dowsett, owner of land in Guithavon Valley, site of cottages recently demolished, will sell site for £100 to Council. Resolved to buy it (it constitutes 49.23 poles) ‘in connection with the development of the Hutley Memorial Recreation Ground’, subject to consent of Ministry of Health.

[pages 376-377] Air Raid Precautions. Re premises at Chipping Hill. Question of other suitable premises raised. Refer to ARP Committee.

21 November 1938

[page 378] Air Raid Precautions. Premises Chipping Hill and Mill Lane. Viewed premises. County officer says central depot in Witham not needed as ARP equipment will be stored at Braintree. So resolved not to purchase the premises now.

28 November 1938

[page 380] Women’s Voluntary Service. Meeting of Joint Committee has suggested should form a branch in this area. Local representatives appointed, including Mrs J N Pelly. To be submitted to WVS in London. Aim to co-operate with Air Raid Precautions Authorities with object of enrolling women in ARP service, ‘to help to bring home to other householders in the area what air attack may mean’. Make known to every household what can be done. Mr Esmond L Smith has resigned as Head Warden of the District.

28 December 1938

Air Raid Precautions. Council staff volunteered for training. Workmen may attend at 4.30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

[page 385] Under 1938 Fire Brigades Act, Local Authorities now unable to get from insurers repayment of charges for attendance outside the District. Now duty of every LA to provide fire service for their district. At present annual retaining fees paid by several residents of Braintree and Maldon Rural Areas to secure services. Write to the ones who now pay and tell them can’t offer same service any more. Approach the two Rural District Councils for undertaking to repay charges incurred by Witham Fire Brigade in their districts until they have arrangements.

30 January 1939

[page 385] Loan consent refused for purchase of site from George Dowsett [as on 31 October 1938]. Resolved to meet the cost from revenue.

27 February 1939

[page 390] Air Raid Precautions Committee 21 February adopted. ARP Officer’s report not yet to hand.

[pages 390-391] Resolutions from Ashington UDC received, urging HM Government to take immediate action ‘to provide adequate Bomb Proof shelters for the protection of the civil population in danger zones against aerial attack, in the event of the commencement of hostilities and to direct that the cost of providing such shelters should be a national charge’. Resolved to support it.

27 March 1939

[page 395] ‘Evacuation census’. Clerk informed members of result at Witham and amount of accommodation [no details].

30 May 1939

[page 418] Fire Brigades Act 1938. Enquiry from Chelmsford re Mutual Assistance etc. Agreed to offer understanding with Chelmsford BC, Maldon Town Council, Maldon RD, and Braintree and Bocking UDC.

31 July 1939

[page 425] Halstead to join Joint Air Raid Precautions Committee.

[page 426] Letter from Home Office. A surplus of sand-bags is expected to be available and will be offered to Local Authorities who wish to protect own buildings outside the Air Raid Precautions scheme. Price will be £10 per thousand. Surveyor estimates for the several buildings would need 25,000 sandbags at cost of £250. Resolved not to buy any.

5 September 1939, Special Council meeting, page 428

‘The Chairman at the commencement of the meeting referred in suitable terms to the present emergency in which the Country finds itself, and the Council unanimously resolved to do and to carry out all matters and things within its power to further the cause of defending the country, and in particular so far as the Urban District of Witham is concerned’.

Appointment of Food Control Committee. Five trade members plus councillors.

Cllr Ken Cuthbe appointed Fuel Overseer, he willing. This under Fuel and Lighting Order.

Telephones to be installed at 5 Millbridge Road (residence of surveyor George Ogden) and at 25 The Avenue, residence of J Holdsworth, Sanitary Inspector.

Clerk (H Crook) already had had phone installed by consultation with Finance Committee.

Fuel (page 429): four officers authorised to get petrol and oil from Hurrell and Beardwell, Chipping Hill, et al, because of use for Civil Defence needs.

Evacuees: Members in Rivenhall North and South wards to have powers to deal in their areas. Welfare Committee to be set up for rest.

Clinics: Clerk may set up clinics for minor ailments re evacuees.

Chair and Clerk to have general emergency powers.

Fire Brigade: both Brigades now full time on full pay. Agreed they should stand to, fully manned, till end of month.

In Silver End, Auxiliary Fire Brigade working with factory brigade

Water Tower in Rickstones Road to be camouflaged.

Two ladies temporary staff appointed i.e. Mrs Stella Ida Eccleston at 50s a week and Miss Peggy Maude Mills at 30s a week.

30 January 1939, page 385

Loan consent refused for purchase of site from George Dowsett [as on 31 October 1938]. Resolved to meet the cost from revenue.

29 September 1939, page 433

Fire Brigade: letter from Home Office. Suggested Council now may man with skeleton crews. Special Committee to deal with.

(page 434) Pay set out for Regular Brigade and for Auxiliary Fire Service.

Joint Air Raid Precautions Committee, representative appointed.

(page 435) Government Evacuation Scheme: letter from Hon Sec of Witham Evacuees Welfare Committee. Re obtaining ‘Hostel for certain of the difficult Evacuee children’. Subcommittee.

Ministry of Transport wants low bridge signs where appropriate. Clerk to enquire as to necessity.

Tenders for camouflaging water tower. Blackaby of Edmonton at £85 chosen, with Council providing £17 10s of distemper and brushes. Work has been done.

Same date, in Committee

Re Control Centre, Guithavon Street and First Aid Post, Bridge Home. Special meeting to be called by Joint Air Raid Precautions Committee re payment to ARP workers.

‘Shelter trenches’ completed as arranged at beginning of emergency. Now query of validity as UDC ‘not considered to be a vulnerable area’. Report sent to Essex County Council to send to Home Office.

30 October 1939, page 437

Agreed to support resolution from another Council about inadequacy of allowances to dependants of men in forces.

T R Mott couldn’t attend meetings at 5 p.m. Resolved to hold them at 3 p.m.

(page 438) Resolved to approach Rowland Stagg about a building for storing waste paper. Scout Master of Bridge Home Scouts could arrange collection.

(page 440) Slum clearance. Morning Star not yet vacated. Defer compensation of £10.

Under Housing Act 1936, Clerk had asked Ministry of Health about using condemned property for agricultural workers. But told should only be lived in to rehouse people whose houses destroyed or damaged by air raid.

25 November 1939, page 443

Housing Act 1936. Condemned cottages at Powers Hall End. Letter from Strutt and Parker of Chelmsford, notifying use of condemned and empty cottage at Powers Hall End to house tenant from cottage in Faulkbourne who not employed at Faulkbourne any more. Council do not approve.

(page 444) Difficulties in manning the Witham Sub-Control re Air Raid Precautions. Lack of volunteers. Agreed members should volunteer if able, and also provide their own staffs.

30 December 1939, page 445

Air Raid Precautions in Schools. Letter from Essex County Council. Arrangements noted.

£20 has been allocated by London County Council to UDC for Xmas festivities for evacuees.

(page 446) ARP Sub Control centre. Clerk and Chair say no alternative but to discontinue it. Difficulties of securing volunteers. ARP Officer notified. Witham only to be manned in emergency. Stores would continue to be maintained at centre. Council voted to object. Committee to consider.

29 January 1940, page 450

ARP Sub Control centre. Councillor A G Bright said that his remarks last time were not to be construed as reflection on neighbouring authority. Report of Special Committee adopted.

(page 452) Revised arrangements with East Anglian Electric Supply Co while lighting restrictions on.

Re evacuation, Evacuation Officer says need ‘compulsory billeting powers’ which UDC may do. School groups must be maintained in their locality. Discussion. Decided that would authorise, but use with discretion.

26 February 1940, page ?

Public Hall, re securing release by military authorities for use for social functions, referred to Estate Committee.

(page 456) ‘Allocation of War Industries’. Report from Clerk: ‘allocation of industry in the war emergency, particularly affecting the Witham District, and as to interview held upon the subject. … concurred … direct approach … to the Member for the Division …’

Agreed to proceed to set up Citizens Advice Bureau as asked by National Council for Social Service.

16 April 1940, AGM, page 464

Elected Chairman: H E Reader (nominated by E Smith, seconded by J Croxall). No other nominations. Elected Vice Chairman: D J Maidment (nominated by E Smith, seconded by J M Walmsley). No other nominations.

William George Naylor had resigned from Council. Resolved to elect new member at Council meeting on 29th inst.

29th April 1940, page 468

Three names received to replace W G Naylor.

Victor Percy Beardwell of 46 Braintree Road. Got 6 votes.p

Christopher Alfred Walker of 1 Manor Road. Got 6 votes.

Arthur Charles Mens of 6 Collingwood Road. Got no votes.

Chairman’s casting vote in favour of Victor Beardwell.

26 May 1940, page 460

Letter to householders. Thanks to be sent to ‘those who have responded in the affirmative for the contemplated re-evacuation’.

(page 461) Members invited ‘to view certain new Galvanizing Plant’ installed at the Crittall Company works’. Accept.

10 April 1940

Appointment of full time Auxiliary firemen to be discontinued.

16 April 1940, page 466

Discussion re proposed bridge at ‘Riversdale, Guithavon Valley’. To be temporary structure.

29 April 1940, page 469

Over £18,000 has been saved in War Savings in Witham U D, Faulkbourne, White Notley, Terling and Hatfield Peverel.

To have Fuel and Lighting Committee.

27 May 1940, page 472

Letter from Mr William Rice of 16 Millbridge Road urging reopening of Witham Sub Control. Memorial with 138 signatures received. Resolved that Council approves. Approach to County ARP to be made

(page 475) Surveyor submitted plan 1070 for Church Hall from Messrs H W Webb and J Seward for ‘Assemblies of God’. Approved.

Fuel and Lighting Committee. Chairman informed Council that had visited local Fuel Overseer to impress on him need to attend Committee meetings. Clerk read letter ‘previously received from Mr Green’ saying wouldn’t attend meeting where Councillor Maidment was present because Cllr Maidment had made ‘certain allegations’ against him and his conduct of his office.

Resolved to inform Mr E R Green that Committee will meet to investigate the complaint. If Mr Green doesn’t come, Clerk to discharge Mr Green from office as local Fuel Overseer.

(page 476) Mrs R Pelly, Womens Voluntary Service leader, had written offering their services to set up a ‘Casualty Information Service’ for emergencies. Resolved to leave to Dr Moffatt.

Chair mentioned  ‘possible cleaning out and use by the Military of the Swimming Pool’. Referred to Committee.

24 June 1940

Witham Sub Control Centre will ‘officially re-open at 8 a.m. on Wednesday next’. Thanks to volunteers.

Evacuation. Ministry of Health letter, referring to message from Queen to householders providing accommodation ‘to priority classes’. Thanks to all concerned.

(pages 477-478) Resolution from Romford Borough Council that should conscript all men 18-55 for military training and Civil Defence. Agreed no action as ‘HM Government has matter well in hand’.

Resolved to support collection for salvage of materials, refer to Pub Health Committee.

(page 480) Tenants of Church Street estate have asked for ‘camouflage precautions’ of their houses as they ‘consider they are a good target for an air raid’. Clerk to enquire in proper quarter whether they are considered dangerous.

‘Councillor Beardwell stated that his attention had been drawn to the fact that one resident has made a substantial cellar in his house available as an Air Raid Shelter for the public in the street, and enquiring whether steps could not be taken to extend this to other residential properties where adequate cellar protection exists’. Resolved that Surveyor to survey cellars and ask householders to make available. Notices printed. ‘The Council intend such accommodation to be available only to persons who are upon the streets during an air raid and who cannot reach the Public Shelters or their own accommodation’.

2 July 1940, page 483

Resolution from Borough of Chingford. Essex Education Committee should ‘ask for the resignation of teachers who are Conscientious objectors or who hold undemocratic views’. Resolved to let resolution lie on the table.

Clearance of lofts order 1940. Re fire precaution etc. Fire Brigade staff to be authorised to inspect any places covered by it.

26 August 1940, p 484

Thanks to Mrs Rosalind Pelly for W V S work.

Public Health Committee adopted, except 51 Newland Street deleted.

(page 485) Auxiliary Fire Service. Housing of fire tenders. Negotiations were under way with J S Green of West End Garage, but Military Authorities have requisitioned his premises. Consider Staggs. Buy Stirrup Pumps, Ministry of Home Security.

30 September 1940, page 487

‘Officer commanding the Troops in the occupation of the Public Hall’ has asked permission to dig trench ‘on the centre grass plot at the back of the offices’. Has been dug.

(page 489) Fire Watchers Order 1940 means a fire watcher needed for all places where more than 30 workers and also warehouse over 50,000 cubic feet and saw mill with that much timber. F H Redman has asked for exemption.

(page 490) Circular from Ministry of Health authorised condemned properties for occupation ‘by persons rendered homeless by enemy action’. Also authorised requisitioning of unoccupied furnished residences.

Committee to assess claims of billeting allowances from evacuees.

26 October 1940, page 493

Domestic Air Raid Shelters. Proposal from Messrs Baker and Burton, Chartered Architects of Colchester, for provision. List of people who had applied appeared to the clerk to ‘require careful consideration’. People appointed to scrutinise and then send to Regional Commissioner of Ministry of Health who now responsible for accepting cost of such shelters, without reference to County Council.

Request for Tortoise stove to be installed in Auxiliary Fire Service Garage in Mill Lane to ‘keep the premises warm and the vehicles ready for action throughout the winter’. Leave to committee.

30 November 1940, page 494

Letter from Mr Anthony Eden re troops’ welfare. To make local arrangements etc. Committee appointed.

(page 495) Tenders for stove for Auxiliary Fire Service garage in Mill Lane.

(page 496) ‘Air Raid Shelters in unspecified areas’. Visit from Regional Technical Advisor. Architects of Colchester had visited Regional Technical Officer at Cambridge. Notification from latter that much of scheme approved and may be done.

Surveyor not in a position to carry out work which extensive. Messrs Baker and Burton willing to. Need clerk of works or good foremen bricklayer to do it. Clerk enquiring about imbursement for posts. Resolved to appoint Baker and Burton to carry out and to appoint said foreman or bricklayer, subject to approval of appointments by Regional Commission and fees being reimbursed.

Meeting to discuss communal feeding.

28 December 1940, page 498

Local Hurricane Fund reached £980. Chair proposed to close fund. Hopes to get £1,000.

More volunteers needed for Stretcher Bearers training for ARP, ones already trained called up. Best wishes to civil defence for happy new year ‘and a victorious conclusion of the War’.

(page 500) Troops Welfare Concert and Dance 26 December. Clerk to thank Mr and Mrs Mens for hospitality for Miss Christina Young ‘on the occasion of her visit to Witham for the entertainment of the Troops on the evening of Boxing Day’.

Sanitary inspector to attend course on foodstuffs contaminated by gas.

Auxiliary Fire Service want to play football against local team tomorrow (Sunday) morning on Rickstones Recreation Ground. Regret unable to agree.

25 January 1941

Report from Fire Brigade and Auxiliary Fire Service. Long. Stirrup pumps distributed. Hydrants being painted and marked. Sandbags being got. Instruction will be given re incendiary bombs when equipment available. Sent help to London, away 37 hours, on December 29.

‘During the past month enemy attacks have been made on the town and an industrial plant. On the town a number of incendiary bombs were dropped, some of which started small fires, these were very quickly dealt with by the Brigade. On the industrial plant in the town, high explosive bombs were dropped and fires started, the Brigade were very quickly on the scene in full strength and the fires under control in a very short time’.

(page 506) Rooks in Maldon Road Recreation Ground to be killed.

24 February 1941

Gas Light and Coke Company had supplied 23,352 cubic feet of gas during 1940 (information supplied under Gas Undertakings Act 1934).

(page 509) Finance and General Purposes Committee report. Reference back of part re ploughing up Rickstones Road Recreation Ground (doesn’t say what it says) proposed by Councillor Cuthbe but not supported. Hugh Page willing to make offer to cultivate it. Agreed to let. Provided comes back to Council in condition taken over, i.e. laid down to grass.

31 March 1941

Rickstones Recreation Ground had been let to Hugh Page. Except for condition re. handing back. Clerk reports Council can claim compensation instead.

(page 513) To apply to Ministry of Health for loan of approximately £750 for restoration of war damage to Council houses.

(page 514) National Council of YMCAs have offered the Scout Hut in Maldon Road to Council for £30. Leave in abeyance till secretary of YMCA approached. Captain J N Pelly, who interested.

16 April 1941, AGM, page 516

Elected Chairman: D J Maidment (nominated by J M Walmsley, seconded by Eb Smith) got seven votes. Also proposed, H E Reader (nominated by J Croxall, seconded by E L Smith). Only got four votes.

Elected Vice Chairman: K Cuthbe (nominated by H E Reader, seconded by Cllr Palmer), unanimous.

Cllr W W Burrows had resigned. Proposed letter of thanks and suggest he offers himself for re-election.

(page 517) Home Security Circular asks members and staff to carry gas masks and set example to public.

(page 520) County of London Electric Supply Co Ltd applied to supply electricity in Urban District. Resolved that consent to be given for supply ‘to a war department site on Field Ordnance no 429 in the U D.’

(page 521) Maldon Road Recreation Ground. Captain Pelly has agreed with YMCA to sell [hut?]. Proposed Council do not buy. Discussion re possible use for storing salvage. Agreed to buy it after all from the National Council of YMCAs.

67 Newland Street, formerly used as a fruiterers’ shop and dwelling house, ‘are required for evacuation purposes in connection with the establishment of a Rest Centre and Club for evacuated women’, according to wishes of Ministry of Health. Agreed clerk could formally requisition it.

42 and 44 Bridge Street. Clerk has requisitioned 44 (a condemned cottage) for housing homeless, and proposed to requisition 42 also, condemned also.

28 April 1941

V P Beardwell had resigned. Letter of thanks to be sent to him.

Reply received from W W Burrows that ‘owing to the difficult times through which we are passing, if it still the wish of the Council, then he will let his name go forward’.

Letter from Councillor Eb Smith nominated Christopher A Walker of 1 Manor Road to fill Beardwell vacancy. Mr Walker has held position in British Legion and taken active part in many Witham events. Resolved that clerk give notice of vacancy in public.

26 May 1941 page 523

Cllr F H Palmer has resigned. Public notice of vacancy.

Letter to Section Officer Evitt and Auxiliary Fireman Punt for ‘courageous action’ in ‘rescuing valuables from the basement of a building, the upper portion being in flames’.

(page 524) Councillor H E Reader has visited Civic Restaurant at Southend on Sea ‘and learned much useful information … invaluable in setting up a Civic Restaurant here’.

Re unsatisfied demand for allotments, Ministry of Agriculture has authorised entrance upon land in Collingwood Road belonging to Mrs Peecock. Managed to persuade Mr Morgan to release additional land at Rickstones Road allotment field (Mr M is a market gardener).

(page 525) Five nominations for Central Ward vacancy:

Christopher A Walker of 1 Manor Rd

Henry Lilley Evitt of Lound, Maldon Rd

Leo Victor Dibbens of Longmays, Rickstones Road

Arthur Edwin Brice of Hawthorns, Easton Road

Wilfred James Marshall of 76 Newland Street

Ballot: Evitt 8 votes, Walker 3 votes.

(page 527) Still lack of volunteers for ARP work. Resolved to put appeals in the local Cinema, and ministers of churches to be asked to stress from the pulpits on Sunday.

30 June 1941, page 531

North ward election of member. Nominations Walker, Brice and Marshall as before. Brice got 6 votes, Walker 4, Marshall none.

Parade to occur 6 July re War Weapons Week. Service in Recreation Ground.

Support establishment of Air Training Corps in District.

(page 532) Finance and General Purposes Committee agreed to withdraw paragraph entitled ‘Refusal to accept billeting’ from their report.

28 July 1941, page 536

Contracts with builders re constructing shelters in district.

Re harvest. UDC have no vehicle available to help as asked, but agreed could lend two men to help if War Agricultural Committee require them.

(page 539) People riding cycles in ‘Blood’s Chase’ and Lockram Lane passages. Clerk authorised to prosecute. Warnings haven’t worked.

ARP has asked for ‘gas detector paint’. Clerk to ask Joint Committee.

29 September or 27 October 1941[?date – confused notes]

A report from the Civic Restaurant Committee [first I’d noticed].

27 October 1941

(page 544) Re Public Health Committee report 24 October, adopted. It asks Council to decide scheduling of railing at All Saints fronting on Guithavon Street. Agreed not to schedule for time being or until greater urgency.

Slide to be displayed at Whitehall Cinema re need for fuel economy (letter received from Mines Department).

(page 545) Civic Restaurant expenses, being borne by Ministry of Food where losses incurred.

Clerk to buy a new ‘cyclostyle’ from Gestetner’s at £39 19 0.

24 November 1941, page 546

Most owners of railings have been willing to assist with iron.

In Civic Restaurant, 11,000 meals have been served in the High Street premises to date.

29 December 1941, page 550

Mr N L Dickson has resigned as Senior Officer in charge of Witham Sub Report Centre. Mr Holdsworth and Mr Ogden doing the duties.

Reference to Coal Dump, Collingwood Road. Board of Trade to remove erections there after tenancy expires.

(page 551) Discussion of whether should be made a special area for compulsory enrolment in civil defence and fire watching.

(page 552) Clerk reminded Council that had constituted selves ‘Parish (Invasion) Committee’ for Witham, and Home Guard Commander was asking that the Committee should meet. Agreed Council should meet as such on 5 January.

26 January 1942, page 553

Letter from Mrs R Pelly, W V S Centre organiser, asking Council’s views on ‘the opening of a hairdressing establishment at the Witham Works of the Crittall Manufacturing Company Ltd., for the use and convenience of their staff.’

Resolved to support, ‘with an ointimation that the Council trust that facilities will be given to employees to use the establishment otherwise than outside working hours’.

Warship week. Had been consultations. Agreed to let the Warship Week Committee use the Council Chamber for 8 weeks, terms to be sent to Secretary. If have own telephone, pay for cleaning and take car.

Re Public Health Committee. Plan 1088 Crittall have asked to drain ‘from the proposed new Cleansing Station at Witham Works to a seepage pit’. Agreed to insist on connection to sewer. Salvage, Chair of Public Health raised question of moving Hut from Recreation Ground, Maldon Road, to site of numbers 5, 6, and 7 Guithavon Valley adjoining the ‘present tipping ground’. Sanitary Inspector said would be good to bring it nearer the tip because it was used for storing salvage. Agreed to move as temporary measure.

Re. Housing Committee, Councillor Ebenezer Smith moved adoption, but K Cuthbe and T R Mott wanted to refer back review of rents because now not the time to increase rents of houses occupied by agricultural workers because they have received an increase in wages. Amendment defeated 5 to 2 so report adopted.

Civic Restaurant: number of meals being served at St Christophers’ restaurant is increasing

Parish (Invasion) Committee. Motion proposed by Chairman. That Resolution of 28 July 1941 be rescinded re Witham Town and that Committee be appointed for Witham, with people who will be responsible for action ‘in the event of an invasion’. Suggested to include:

Chair of Council

Cllr Eb Smith (proposed Vice Chair)

Cllr W W Burrows (contact with Council and chair of Finance and General Purposes Committee)

Dr T G Benjamin (Casualty Services)

Mr H S R Mortimer (Head Warden)

Inspector Giggins

Food Officer


Sanitary Inspector

Evacuation Officer

Public Assistance Officer.

Carried unanimously.

Fire Watching. Question of compulsory enrolment had been deferred to this meeting pending enquiries about obligations. Clerk reported that subsistence allowances ‘for fire watching at certain types of premises’ reimbursable, 65% would be made to Council for clerical staff. Councillors K Cuthbe and E L Smith proposed Council ask Regional Commissioner for prescription of Urban District under Order re business premises, and for compulsory enrolment for fire watching generally, because otherwise will not be properly done. Carried nem con.

Salvage. Report on conference re scrap metal.

23 February 1942

Asked to set aside day for Lord Mayor of London’s National Air Raid Distress Fund street collection.

Warship Week. Letter from Mr H Keeble, Hon Secretary of Parade Committee. Councillors invited to parade. Councillor Captain N Pelly RN raised whether Navy would be included.

Letter from ‘Travelling Organiser of the Red Cross Agriculture Fund, stating that a Mobile Display Unit consisting of a fully equipped ambulance, and X ray van, a van for Electrical treatment, a Prisoner of War parcels van, and a van illustrating the many other activities of the Red Cross would arrive in Witham at 4 p.m. on 14 March and stay in High Street one night. Chairman to make speech.

Public Health. Letter received re. Scabies.

Water, Highways and Works. Company Officer Evitt had reported that all the Stirrup Pumps inspected and in order.

Firewatching. Letter says probably no consent in Witham for compulsion, and results of compulsion have usually been disappointing. Lots of those enrolled in Witham would be exempt. Gave suggestions.

Robinhood Boiler and Shed offered for sale from old Swimming Pool. Only one offer, from Mr Len Sprunt, accept.

Accounts [regularly included in detail, usually not noted by me here] Include: Home Office, for 59 Stirrup Hand Pumps at 19s 3d each £56 15 9

Evacuation. A few applications received for part time Evacuation Officer. Needs to be done soon before Rev F C Milne leaves. Resolved that delegate power to Finance and General Purposes Committee. To be discussion about grading of staff

30 March 1942

Rate estimate. Resolved rate of 14s 4d in pound [have this every year, usually not noted by me here]

30 March 1942

Letter from Essex War Agricultural Committee, giving Council notice to destroy at least half the rooks’ nests in the Recreation Ground, Maldon Road. Resolved to approach Captain H L Evitt ‘with a view to his organising a party for the destruction of nests’.

Circular received re economy of water. Resolved to circularise users.

East Anglian Electricity Supply Co intend overhead line from Braintree over Stoverns Farm.

Housing. New notice to quit on Percy Henry Haygreen of 14 Cross Road. Re cleanliness.

Finance and General Purposes. Junior assistant named Austin Beardwell aged 16 of 46 Braintree Road, appointed full time assist in Sanitary Inspector’s Department, for preliminary period of one month and continue if satisfactory.

Account to be paid including Civic Restaurant, eg Palmer, Gaymer, Loveday, Spring Lodge Dairy, Essex County Laundry.

16 April 1942, AGM, page 564

Elected Chairman: D J Maidment. Elected Vice Chairman: K Cuthbe

Re Joint Air Raid Precautions Committee, Braintree and Witham. Councillor N L Dickson resigned as UDC representatives. Resolved J Croxall and J P Walmsley be representatives.

12 May 1942 (in Committee)

Re grading scheme for salaries. To put before Council.

27 May 1942

China Campaign Committee had written re Aid to China Campaign. Agreed to support Aid to China week.

Warship Week. Plaque to be exchanged with H M S Chelmer.

Finance and General Purposes Committee, agreed to refer back paragraph re storage of petrol.

Public Hall has been de-requisitioned from the 20th inst, and ‘previous to this date the hall had been promised, free of charge, for a Dance to be held on Friday next in aid of Funds for local prisoners of War’. May have it free. Proposal for staff grading scheme defeated.

Mrs S I Eccleston and Mr J Holdsworth’s applications for salary increases referred to Finance and General Purposes Committee.

9 June 1942

Report from Mrs Pelly, WVS Centre organiser. Members admiration. [no details]

Councillor Capt J N Pelley, RN, has been made CBE.

Water, Highways and Works Committee, adopted with meeting times amended.

Housing Committee adopted with date correction. Condemned property. Mr R C Gaymer, dairy farmer of Ingatestone, wants to re-let 4 Lockram Lane to man working as cowman at Freebornes. OK

China Camp meeting. Suggest inviting newly elected Member of Parliament, Mr Tom Driberg.

Discussion of proposed Entertainments Week in light of Government’s ‘stay at home’ policy. Committee to be formed to investigate etc. Reserve Public Hall for them provisionally for week 3 August on.

Same date, in Committee

Staff war Bonus discussed. Left over to next.

27 July 1942

Councillor A G Bright resigned because has a promotion and will have to live at Halstead. Vacancy to be advertised.

Re damage to Rickstones Road by Agricultural Tractor. Because National Traction Engine Owners and Users Association had misunderstood instruction from Ministry about ‘use of frost pins’.

Because of changes in staff at National Fire Service station, sandbags in Urban District not replaced or repaired. Clerk to ask Divisional Officer of NFS for help.

Resolved to pay war bonus 10s a week for inside staff over 21 and 5s under 21.

28 September 1942

Election of member for North Ward. Christopher Alfred Walker of 1 Manor Road the only nomination. So elect him.

Public Health. 89 Cressing Road is bug infested. To fumigate. Notice to quit if recurs.

Same members to serve on Witham UD Food Control Committee.

26 October 1942

National Remembrance and Thanksgiving Day 15 or 16? (Sunday) November. Circular from Ministry of Home Security, says decided to appoint as day of remembrance ‘for the defeat of the German air attacks on this country in 1940/41 and the work of the Civil Defence Services’. Suggests local demonstrations. Letter from Hon Secretary of British Legion inviting to Armistice Parade on Nov 8th, Sunday. So no action re Ministry circular.

Two circulars from Ministry of War Transport, re ‘further curtailment of Passenger Road Services in the Eastern Region’. Vehicles on last outward journeys to leave terminus not later than 9 p.m. and reach home base of garage not later than 9.45 p.m. except where authorised for leave for forces. No Sunday services before 1 p.m. Resolved to support Rivenhall North members in representations against latter proposal which will inconvenience Silver End.

Report from Mrs Pelly, W V S. Letter of thanks. Also to Mrs Blyth and Miss Pierce ‘who provide and arrange flowers for both Civic Restaurants’.

Finance and General Purposes Committee adopted except different date for someone’s pay.

30 November 1942

List of street collections proposed in 1943. Resolved to tell Joint Committee of Essex County Council that there are too many flag days and house to house collections and they should be limited to one a month.

Condemned cottages. Messrs Strutt and Parker of Chelmsford want renewal of licences for occupation of 15, 16, 17 Powershall End.

Councillor Maidment resigned from chair of Parish Invasion Committee. Councillor C Walker appointed instead.

Circular from Ministry of Fuel and Power urging reduction of consumption of petrol.

Finance and General Purposes Committee adopted except, paragraphs re Billeting of War Workers to be referred to in Committee.

Public Health Committee adopted except deal with salvage of waste rubber in Committee.

Estates Committee adopted except to alter to read three dead elm trees at far side of Maldon Road allotments instead of at the entrance.

Same date, in Committee

Billeting of War workers. Arrangements have been made re 33 of them on instructions of Ministry of Health. Expected on 14 November but not yet arrived. Most of the billets now taken up ‘by other imported war workers’ and will now have to be billeted in residential areas. To send delegation to Ministry of Health.

Re Public Health. To sell waste rubber to F H Hill of Wood Street, Chelmsford, as will pay more than Ministry of Supply.

28 December 1942

Arthur Frank Claydon, Rating Officer had died.

Mr E C Brown resigned as Billeting officer and has commenced other work.

National Fire Service putting on Play, proceeds to Witham Maternity Bungalow and Nursing Association.

Nominee for committee of Witham Youth Centre.

Estates Committee adopted except hall charges referred back.

Finance and General Purposes Committee, adopted except re-organisation of local government to be dealt with later in committee.

Billeting of War Workers. Visit from Ministry of Health and discussions, re use of Durwards hall, Rivenhall. Inspected. Decided would be OK. Resolved to lay on water if necessary.

Same date, in Committee

No action on re-organisation of local government.

19 January 1943, page 598

Discussion on appointment of Rating and Valuation officer. Finance and General Purposes Committee had interviewed Mr Walter F Pickett of Syston, Leicester. Two members present then, recommended appointment. ‘Before the appointment is actually made, it was felt that the members of the Council should know that Mr Pickett is a Conscientious Objector, being a Quaker’. After discussion, proposed by W W Burrows, seconded by Councillor E L Smith that he be appointed. 5 in favour, 2 against, 1 not voting, so carried.

Confirm Finance and General Purposes Committee re. appointment of Mrs I Royffe of the Homestead, Highfields Road, as Evacuation and Chief Billeting Officer.

Durwards Hall ‘has been taken over by a Public Works Contractor as a Hostel for War Workers’, water main to be laid.

25 January 1943, p 599

No objection under ‘Location of Retail Businesses Order 1941’ to Mrs E M Edwards of ‘Speedway’, Sudbury, Suffolk, taking over Cross Road Stores from her father the late Mr A M Hines.

Water, Highways and Works Committee adopted except Avenue Road in last paragraph altered to The Avenue, and Firewatching to be considered later in Committee

Same date, in Committee

Firewatching. Report of Water, Highways and Works Committee adopted. Chair reported he had attended a further meeting of the Wardens. ‘The Clerk reported that he had this day received from the Head Warden a list showing that the Wardens in Witham have been able to obtain the names of 183 voluntary watchers only in the town of Witham. At Silver End, they say no more voluntary effort necessary.

Proposed that the Regional Commissioner be asked to prescribe Urban District of Witham for compulsory enrolment. And approve appointment of ‘Fire Guard Assistant Staff Officer’. Agreed.

22 February 1943, page 605

Tender accepted from Braintree company for construction of ‘20,000 gallon circular steel and concrete base tank’ in Avenue Road opposite Cooper Taber. Council as agents for Ministry of Home Security. Static water tank.

Public Health. Councillor Reader had been to conference re. salvage. Resolved to appeal to the public re saving ‘all and every type of bone’.

Mr G H North to be told that he is not clearing the cesspool of ‘Bon Vista’ Maldon Road properly, Tenant has complained.

Amendment to Public Health Committee report proposed by Councillor Croxall and seconded by E L Smith that they refer back the paragraph re Town and Country Planning, to the Committee. Agreed 7 to 4.

Delegate powers to Fire Guard Committee.

Special meeting in Committee, 22 March 1943, page 609

Rate estimate. Increase from 3s 10d to 4s ‘with the object of building up a balance in anticipation of post war commitments’. Proposed by W W Burrows and seconded by Eb Smith. 5 for and 4 against.

G S Shelley ill, James Porter died (former members of Fire Brigade.)

29 March 1943, page 610

Report from Mrs R Pelly W V S Centre Organiser [no details]. Thanks [this is regular item]

Re. paragraph in the report re ‘Rest Centres’ re ‘alteration of existing arrangements …  by the new Area Executive Officer of District, stating that the Constitutional Club is to be opened first, if an incident occurs in the vicinity of Maldon Road or the Police Station with the Public Hall being used as an overflow’. Resolved to make representations that Senior School better for ‘first line Rest Centre’

Letter from British Legion. Legion had been asked by Wings for Victory Week to arrange a ‘Popular Dance’ but had refused.

Public Health Committee adopted, except paragraph re 10 Church Street to be discussed further in Committee.

Same date, in Committee

10 Church St had been inspected. They are subject to closing order. Had been occupied by man wife and two children. ‘In a deplorable condition and in no way fit for human habitation’. Resolved that Messrs Balch and Balch, who had permitted it, be instructed to remove the people in the next 14 days.

16 April 1943. AGM, p 615

Maidment and Cuthbe to continue as Chairman and Vice Chairman. Committees to be re-appointed en bloc. Representatives to other Committees.

Same date, ordinary Council meeting

‘Councillor E L Smith drew the members’ attention to the fact that there are a number of Anderson and Morrison shelters issued to residents in Witham, which have not been put to the use for which they were intended, whilst there are other families who would be glad to have a shelter’. Referred to Public Health Committee.

Delegated powers to Public Health Committee re non-compliance with a nuisance order served on G H North of 4 Maldon Road.

Councillor E L Smith drew attention to male OAPs getting supplementary pensions, willing to do agricultural work but wages would affect pension. Agreed to write to Government.

Special meeting, 7 May 1943

‘Mutual Aid

The Chairmen read a letter which he had received from the Mayor of Chelmsford, in which the writer expresses his thanks and appreciation for the ready response given to his appeal for assistance last week, and the splendid work performed by the Council’s workmen’.

Consent received to increase water charges.

31 May 1943, page 619

Tom Driberg, M P, was to ask a Question in House of Commons about supplementing pensions etc.

Agreed to support representation from another Council that Old Age Pensions should be increased.

Two tenders received to take grass on Cemetery and Recreation Grounds, Rickstones Road. Accept Mr L D Blake, Chipping Hill, £3. (other was H W Upson, 36 Guithavon Road, £1).

Public Health: Council to clear up Bona Vista in Maldon Road themselves and served notice on North. Dr Moffatt’s salary as Medical Officer of Health to be dealt with later in Committee.

Same day, in Committee

Discussion about making up army pay for staff now in forces

28 June 1943, page 625

Thanks received from Wings for Victory Week re use of Recreation Ground and amplifying equipment.

Councillor Reader to be chair of Parish Invasion Committee.

Same day, in Committee

10 Church Street. Still occupied. Letter from Mr F W Balch, says to his regret the people have not cleared out. He asks for delay as ‘the Council would not wish to put him to the ignominy of putting the occupants into the street’. Agreed to continue as before.

28 June 1943, p 628

To be a conference on ‘place of Community Centres in Post War Social Development’ in London.

More discussion about War service pay.

Letter from officer in charge of Essex County Council ‘Rest Centre Service’ ‘stating that efforts have been made to obtain the use of the Bethel mission Hall and the Rickstones Hall, for use as Rest Centres’. Bethel no good because fixed seating. But Rickstones Hall has been offered. ‘It is hoped that the members of the church to which the Hall belongs will form a team of voluntary workers to man the centre which is regarded as having accommodation for 40 sleeping and 80 feeding.’

Housing, refer back to Committee the paragraph re E Webb of 37 Rickstones Road. Re 5 Homefield Road. Mr G A Banthorpe not accepted. Accepted by H M Dorking of 38 Cressing Road An OAP but working, so rent 7s. a week.

Public Health Report of 23rd to be considered later in Committee.

Same day, in Committee

Public Health. Appointment of Sanitary Inspector. Agreed not to increase offer to Mr Dunsmore but to start again.

27 September 1943, page 633

To be an exhibition by Colchester District RIBA at Colchester Castle illustrating ‘the importance of Town and Country Planning’.

Proposals for electoral register etc. re. armed forces. Discussion.

‘The Ministry of Information are holding a film show at the Whitehall Cinema on Sunday 3rd October and during the interval Captain Alan Lennox-Short will be speaking on the subject of ‘South Africa at War’. Ministry want Councillor to introduce him. W W Burrows agreed.

Works and Highways Committee OK except item re Hayward-Taylor and Co to be taken in Committee.

Four Conferences to be held by Institution of Municipal and County Engineers on ‘Practical Planning’. To send delegates.

Same day, in Committee

To pay account of Hayward Taylor.

25 October 1943, page 637

Letter received re. annual Armistice Parade.

Letter re. Flag Day organiser of United Aid to China Fund.

Letter from Mrs N Turner on behalf of ‘Witham War Savings Committee’. Asks opinion re. ‘organisation of a Comforts Fund for the men of H M S Chelmer’. Delegate to Committee.

Support proposal of another Council re post war housing.

Discussions re Public Hall as Rest Centre.

29 November 1943, page 641

Not to be conference on post war housing at present because already discussed.

More discussion re Public Hall as Rest Centre.

‘Land, Guithavon Valley. The Clerk reported that he had recently had occasion to again meet Mr D H S Standish (late Coghill) and had mentioned the question of the gift to the Council of part of his land in Guithavon Valley, lying immediately behind the present Salvage Hut. Mr Standish had said that he would give certain of the land to the Council, the boundary having been defined between him and the Clerk on the spot …’. Another letter received confirming same, but ‘which also mentioned a matter of adjustment of a footpath which passes Beaumanor’. Resolved to thank for gift and take up footpath later.

Re H M S Chelmer Fund, committee appointed. There is £22 6s 6d in fund. No reply to letter sent to commander re comforts for crew.

Estates Committee, refer back land in Guithavon Road.

Special meeting to be held re Town Planning.

Housing and/or Finance and General Purposes, refer back re. residents including Jean Foulsham 27 Powershall End.

List of Food Control Committee. Included Mr [??? not noted?] a ‘Trade Employee member’. Mr W G Naylor resigned from it because of his deafness.

Same day, in Committee

Town Clock. Advised by F H Bright and Sons that the premises of ‘Barclays Old Bank’ are about to change hands [i.e. 61 Newland Street]. Requests Council to communicate with purchaser re. the Town Clock. If it had to be removed, ‘Mr E King, Clock Maker, was prepared to remove the works and store them for the time being, that it would be necessary to obtain a local builder to remove the barrel etc.’ Agreed to do if necessary.

Town and Country Planning Association to hold conference in Chelmsford. Delegates to go.

Further discussion re. cost of living allowance.

7 December 1943, in Committee

Town and Country Planning. ‘The Council at this meeting considered generally the planning of the Urban District, and in particular Witham Town and Silver End. A report of the Surveyor on the Subject was taken into consideration’. Resolved

(1) to set up Town and Country Planning Committee, with powers of co-option.

(2) The Committee to take into consideration the ‘views of this meeting’ i.e.

(a) ‘That planning proposals as regards Witham Town should aim at an extension of the population of Witham town to 20,000 persons’.

(b) to reconsider industrial zoning in light of possible residential area.

(c) ‘In providing for future housing estates of any description proper zones be marked to ensure of recreational and allotment facilities’.

(d) Silver End to be considered.

16 December 1943, in Committee, page 648

Cost of living increase. Various bonuses agreed.

28 December 1943, page 649

Letter from Ministry of Health, consider urgent scheme for post war sewerage and water etc.

Letter from ‘Ministry of Works, Directorate of Emergency Works and Recovery’, ‘in which it is pointed out that a number of gates and fences in certain parts of Witham, have not been included in the Council’s schedule of such items for removal, and requesting that the Surveyor should personally check over the schedule before the work of removal commences’. Resolved to refer to Public Health Committee who compiled the schedule.

Letter from Ministry of Fuel and Power, re. agreement re ‘the land at the Car park, Collingwood Road, now used as a coal dump’. Agreed to continue.

Letters from H M S Chelmer, appreciation of gifts.

Re Guithavon Valley land. Councillor E L Smith asked that ‘the question of cutting down existing trees growing on the river bank and planting other trees in their places’, recommended by the Committee on 3 November, and ‘not acted upon owing to subsequent recommendations, be referred to the Committee for further consideration. Agreed.

Discussion re rent control.

Town Clock. New owner of old Barclays Bank is Mr L J Rippon, who wants the clock to stay, and asking Council to repair and restart it. Leeds company have looked and offered to repair and maintain (for £40 plus 50s a year). Had also offered ‘making the clock able to run for a week with one winding at an additional cost of roughly £1’.

Evacuation. Clerk said roof ‘of the premises under requisition to this Council known as Blue Posts, Newland Street ‘is in such a bad state as to be beyond satisfactory repair’. Regional officer has instructed ‘re-house the present occupiers consisting of two families’ and to de-requisition premises [i.e. 126 and/or 128 Newland Street]

Notification has been received that War Department propose to relinquish no 41A Church Street, shop with residence, and Clerk agreed to transfer the requisition to the Council for housing a family from Blue Posts. Has also been instructed to requisition 24 Collingwood Road (‘except for one room used as a barbers shop’ for the other family.

Councillor Walmsley, owner of Church Street property, retired from the meeting. Resolved not to take Church Street property but to take 24 Collingwood Rd.

All members to constitute Town and Country Planning Committee. And Council to deal with Building Bye-laws now, and not Public Health Committee.

31 January 1944, page 655

Letter from another Council saying the Lords Day Observance Society has deprived public and forces of Sunday entertainment and hampered charitable work. 5 wanted to support and 5 against. Chairman cast vote in favour of amendment i.e. that should support it.

Decreasing rainfall. Problems later.

Housing Committee, referred back item on post-war finance of housing to Committee.

31 January 1944, page 660

Town and Country Planning.

Letter from Regional RIBA asking for information re. water supply, they are working on future planning.

Plan 1108. Approve mixing and calf sheds to be erected by Messrs Richards and Son for P Hutley at Powers Hall Fm [plans are always in main Council minutes now, not usually noted by me]

(pages 661-663) Report on Post War Sewer and Water schemes.

28 February 1944, page 664

Correspondence from entertainers who want to work at Holidays at Home Week if any. Defer.

‘Business specially brought forward by the Chairman. Entertainment for 8th Army Troops in Witham. [i.e the Americans, the [Eighth Army Air Force’]

The Chairman said that arrangements have been made to provide an entertainment in the Public Hall on Thursday March 2nd, commencing at 7.30 p.m., in the form of a variety concert, with refreshments provided’. Members invited.

£50 sent in January last to R N Amenities Fund, Admiralty, to provide goods for crew of H M S Chelmer.

There had been one-day training school for fireguards at Public Hall. Urgent to train more, especially Sector leaders.

Same day, as Town and Country Planning Committee, page 669

Regional Architects in RIBA. No mandate from any  Government Dept. Agreed not to act on previous letter from them.

6 March 1944, page 670

Circulars etc from Ministries re advance preparation of housing sites. Resolution re. Rivenhall End.

20 March 1944, page 671


89 Cressing Road lately vacated. To offer to Mr Howes of Alfrose Chalks Road, ‘his tenancy there being subject to an Ejectment Order issued by the County Court’.

27 March 1944, page 672

Fireguards. Meeting to be held.

Holidays at Home Week to be held in Silver End. Agreed to hold in Witham too. Members appointed.

Stuff about pay.

More circulars re preparation of housing sites.

Letter from Salute the Soldier Week asking permission to use Recreation Ground for 13 and 14 May next year. Agreed.

17 April 1944, AGM, page 675

Councillors Maidment and Cuthbe to continue as Chair and Vice-chair. Committees re-appointed etc.

Council’s loudspeaker and amplifying system to be lent to National Savings Committee for Salute the Soldier week if they want it.

Fireguards. Discussion re. non-attendance of fireguards at practices and exercises. Report requested.

Members of Committees listed.

9 May 1944, page 680

Ink Stand on table, received as gift from Major F G Bright. Thanks.

Council resolved itself into Committees.

Air Raid Precautions. Mr Ogden Deputy Subcontroller. Anomalies about payment of subsistence. Meeting to be called.

Beaumanor. Information re price suggested by owner, Mr Standish. Resolved not to accept.

‘S.I.P. Grenade Demonstration’. To be held at Chelmsford. Councillors invited.

‘Factory made House’. Invitations from Ministry of Health ‘to view this type of house in London on Saturday 13th’. Six invitations received. Ministry asked that they ‘should be allocated, where possible, to working housewives and young married women’. Resolved to give a ticket each to Women’s Section of British Legion and to Women’s Institutes of Witham and Rivenhall, Councillor Mott to give one out in Silver End, and a councillor and the Surveyor to attend.

30 May 1944, page 682

Letter from British Legion branch re ‘the housing of a Mr and Mrs Hammond’. Clerk to tell them that Council decided on new tenant of recently vacated Council House.

Finance and General Purposes Committee, matter of service pay to be considered later in Committee. Also overtime rates for workmen.

Conveyance of 3 Millbridge Road to Mrs Jessie Morris.

Air Raid precautions. Meeting held. Re subsistence allowances proposed instead of meals. Joint Committee had not supported. Councillors hadn’t attended. Resolved to ask for reopening of matter.

Appreciation of Surveyor as Deputy Sub Controller.

Same day, in Committee.

Letter received from owner of Old Mill House Guithavon Valley. Clerk to pursue in accordance with Council’s wishes already intimated to him [not clear what].

Public Health Committee of 22 May referred back.

Finance and General Purposes Committee, War Service Pay referred back. Workmen’s pay accepted. Rest adopted too.

14 June 1944, in Committee, page 688

Not to supplement War service pay. 6 to 5 against.

26 June 1944, page 689

Thanks from H M S Chelmer.

Resolve to support resolution from another Council that should be flat rate of War service pay for people who have lost sons or daughters.

‘Protective Works, Blast Walls’. Question of Council permitting removal of ones erected at Government expense. OK if erected by householder though should warn that if remove, won’t get Government issue shelter. If erected by Local Authority, resist application, unless dangerous, give same warning.

Proposed to give ‘general approval only’ to White Paper on National Health Service. Agreed nem con.

Crittall are to pay balance of housing loan, and nec for Council also to pay principal owing to the public Works Loan Board. Agreed.

Same day, sitting as Town and Country Planning Committee

Report on railways and planning.

31 July 1944, page 695

H M S Chelmer want map of River Chelmer ‘for the War Room’. Agreed if possible.

W V S report. Thanks.

Congratulations received from National Savings Committee re Salute the Soldier Week.

Public Health Committee adopted except that item on River Brain and Gas works to be considered in committee.

Seals included conveyance to Council of land in Guithavon Valley.

Foul water from Gas works. Facilities to be given to dispose on ‘old refuse tip at the bottom of the sewage farm at Maldon Road’.

Re. 39 Powershall End. Mr P Hutley wants to renovate this condemned cottage for one of his workmen. This because doesn’t want to turn out his late cowman who is nearly blind from one of his cottages [no decision mentioned, perhaps OK]

Same day, sitting as Town and Country Planning Committee

Copies of Town and Country Planning Bill received. To be circulated.

25 September 1944, page 699

Delegates to go to meeting called re implementation of Education Act 1944.

‘Welcome Home of men and women from the forces’. Letter from British Legion, asking if arrangements have been contemplated for after the War and offering Legion help. Resolved to call meeting.

Demonstration Houses. Invitation to demonstration. Two to go.

Members invited to Salute the Soldier plaque presentation by War Savings Committee to Council.

Application from H M S Chelmer for ‘a replica of the coat of arms which was lost when the “old” Chelmer was lost’. Council to make up cost from what in fund.

Same day, sitting as Town and Country Planning Committee

Application from Cooper Taber, Avenue Road for a ‘certificate of Essentiality’ for repair work exceeding £100. Agreed.

Re request from Region, not in a position to say whether any planning staff will be needed post war.

30 October 1944, page 705

Evacuation. Circular from Ministry of Health re ‘Christmas arrangements for evacuees’. Reasonable expenditure sanctioned. Agreed to put on Christmas entertainment for evacuated children.

Invitation to Armistice Parade.

More appreciation from H M S Chelmer.

William Duncombe, one of Council’s workmen for 45 years, had to retire through ill health. Letter to be sent.

Public Health Committee, paragraph re. Petroleum referred back.

British Restaurant Committee report of 25 October. Discussion. Clerk instructed to ask local Ministry of Food for assurances on trading losses.

20 November 1944, sitting as Town and Country Planning Committee

‘The draft Town Planning Scheme’ needs revising. General instructions to Surveyor. Ask Essex County Council about school proposals.

Pinkham’s wish to extend their factory. They ask whether would allow extension onto plot adjoining them. Discussion at some length. Now zoned for residential. Get views from nearby owners. Councillor E L Smith refrained from voting.

Clerk and Surveyor to attend conference to be held by Town and Country Planning Association on ‘the problems of Redevelopment, Overspill and Rural Planning’.

23 November 1944, sitting as Town and Country Planning Committee

Discussion re Rivenhall Housing site.

24 November 1944, sitting as Town and Country Planning Committee

Re Pinkham’s. To tell that will be willing to re-zone if asked.

Same day, in Committee

Mr Austin Beardwell has been called to the armed forces. Application from Derek Jeffrey of 34 Braintree Road for the post. Resolved to appoint as temporary assistant in Sanitary Department.

27 November 1944, page 713

Invitation from ‘Lt Col MacDonald, CC 7th Bn Essex Home Guard’ to ‘watch the March Past of the Stand Down parade of the Home Guard from the Saluting base at 88 High Street’ at 11.50 a.m. on Sunday 3 December.

Housing. Refer back item re rental of Mrs Chambers.

Same day, sitting as Town and Country Planning Committee

To be national Housing and Town Planning Conference at Central Hall Westminster in March 1945. Two delegates to attend.

27 December 1944, page 716

‘A question was raised about dispensing with street lighting for a period before and after a full moon with a view to conserving electricity’. Referred to Health and Works Committee.

Housing. Refer back arrears by H A Hammond of 1 Glebe Crescent.

Same day, sitting as Town and Country Planning Committee

Rivenhall housing scheme.

29 January 1945, page 720

More on War service pay.

Housing Committee, adopted in the end but discussion re. prefabricated houses, agreed doesn’t mean it will tie Council to giving them to Crittall employees so OK.

Finance and General Purposes Committee OK, though Councillor Cuthbe didn’t agree with paragraph re. William Duncombe.

Estates, refer back item re. Public Hall caretaker.

Local or Retail Businesses Order. Application from R H Hollis of 23 Guithavon Street to open premises re. gents tailoring. Agree to approve.

Same day in Committee

Re.-occupation of condemned houses, 4 Lockram Lane. Has been re-occupied. Leave on table.

Same day, sitting as Town and Country Planning Committee

Plan 1120. Application from Mrs Y Keats, Quantity Surveyor of Clapham Road, London, for layout of Moat Farm estate. Resolved to refuse because road not well aligned or wide enough. Don’t approve proposed widening of Moat Farm Chase because of danger at opening in Chipping Hill and would require demolition of property on one side of chase. Plot layout, too narrow etc.

26 February 1945, page 724

Location of Retail Businesses. To make more enquiries re. proposed 41a Church Street shop.

Housing Committee, refer back prefabs at Silver End.

Congratulate Surveyor on good condition of the roads.

Accounts. £15 10s to be paid as compensation payable re. repair and re-decoration of one room at ‘Earlsmead’ Chipping Hill, ‘recently de-requisitioned by the Council, the property being held for Evacuation purposes’.

Defer consideration of further planning application re. Moat Farm estate.

Resolved to hold special meeting re post war development.

19 March 1945, page 728

Discussion re. temporary housing.

26 March 1945, page 729

Retail Businesses. Tell Price Regulation Committee that OK re 41A Church Street for hairdressing and toilet requisites but not stationery.

Also that OK for Mrs E M Wood of Chelmsford to use 58 Newland Street re ‘books, stationery and circulating library’.

Second hand Chappell piano purchased for 75 guineas plus cartage for use in Public Hall to replace the present piano which is to be sold.

Miss Ruth Peecock, resident at Paignton, South Devon, has sent book in possession of her late father containing references to Jubilee celebrations in Witham in reign of Queen Victoria. Thank her and preserve on behalf of town.

Water, Highways etc. OK except to deal with National Fire Service in Committee.

Housing Committee, item re. Church Street allotments referred back.

Same day, in Committee

National Fire Service. Recent fire at Moat Farm. Clerk to write to Fire Force Commander for this area, ‘calling his attention to the inefficiency of the local National Fire Service in dealing with this fire’.


End of volume.

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