42. The Royal Mail

George Hayes was born in 1904 in Church Street. He once gave me this nostalgic recollection of his youth. “That’s one of the things we miss today. If you was laid in bed, or you’d been asleep and you woke up, ‘cause we used to go to bed very early, you woke up it was … Continue reading “42. The Royal Mail”

36. Railway signalmen

Until 1961, the Witham area had four railway signal boxes, and twelve of the sixty station staff were signalmen. The main box, Witham Junction, adjoining the water tower, was the busiest (see the photos). There was another box next to the road bridge, and more distant ones at Blunts Hall and Rivenhall. They have all … Continue reading “36. Railway signalmen”

12. The arrival of the railway

Recently I watched the steam locomotive Britannia, roaring through Witham with an excursion train. I tried to imagine what impact the very first trains would have had when our main line opened in February 1843. Previously the fastest and largest means of transport was a horse. Most people had never seen anything mechanical, something that … Continue reading “12. The arrival of the railway”