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Tape 13

Mrs Raven was born in 1893, and was interviewed on 2 April 1977, when she lived at 9 Cressing Road, Witham.

She also appears on tapes 10, 11 and 12.

For more information about her, see the notes in the people category headed Raven, Mrs Edith, nee Turner.

The original recording of this interview is held at the Essex Sound and Video Archive. To listen to the recording, please contact them at ero.enquiry@essex.gov.uk or 033301 32500.

[???] shows words that are not clear enough to interpret and so have had to be omitted.
[?] after a word shows that its interpretation is not certain.
Later explanatory additions by JG or the transcriber are in square brackets [e.g. explaining locations etc.]

[Note: Mrs Raven spoke very slowly and sometimes very precisely, as if she were collecting her thoughts before speaking. I have therefore not put ‘Pause’ in, unless it was exceptionally long. There are also some noisy passages when we were looking for, or at, photos etc., and sometimes where she held the mike in her hand and stroked it !]

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Continued from tape 12

Side 7

[continuing from side 6, i.e. about husband William Raven leaving Palmers’ bakery at 83 Newland Street in 1944]

Mrs R:    …. quite late at night, and he just simply said ‘Good day’ to him when he left. After twenty-six years. [noises in background on tape] And I will say, although I boast and say it, that was twenty-six years faithful service. And, so I did these cakes for all these folks. Of course, one or two more come. And I’d got all these girls that I took to Sunday school, they wanted a cake you see. And I’d got two Miss Ottleys up this road. I don’t know if you know them. And, er, they used to bring their cakes for us to ice over and pipe for them. Well, we never charged them anything. And I found out that they were bringing the cakes that they’d made for other people for us to finish off, you see.
[Conversation fades then comes back very loud on a different subject. This is because this part of the tape was recorded over in error by a continuation from the end of side 8]
The part deleted was mostly about her being checked up on during the Second World War because of suspicions about her cake-making, i.e. about how she got ingredients on rations and whether paid for; all was above board because people brought the ingredients and didn’t pay her. See below, for continuation of this subject of Second World War and especially her job in the Ministry of Food canteen, which subject was started at the end of tape 12 side 6]

Mrs R:    [It doesn’t] seem as they can pull that Roman wall down, do they? [talking about the 16th century wall of Witham Place in Powershall End, in front of 15 Powershall End onwards]

Q:    No, that’s …. (Mrs R: It’s very old.) a few holes been made in it, but I suppose this is …


II 10 powershall end near highfields

10. Powershall End looking west. The top of Highfields Road is on the left. On the right are the five houses discussed (nos. 37-45; were 10-14 consecutive before renumbering in 1970) (MW II 10)


Mrs R: I am interested in this.

Q:    I know, its looking the other way, isn’t it, really? [see picture 10] Those are still there [i.e. five houses at 37-45 Powershall End, formerly 10-14 consecutive before renumbering in 1970]

Mrs R:    Yes, I remember these being built, being built. Miss Butler at Hollybank had them built [Hollybank in Mill Lane, since demolished]. (Q: Oh, did she?) Yes, Miss Butler at Hollybank had them built. Now Miss Stoneham still lives in that, she bought them. They nearly all did buy their houses, as they lived in them. Because they went pretty cheap, you see. There was an old lady lived here. And she was a relation to Granny. And I used to have to go across that road to that well to get her water for her. Very often. And this house here, name of Oakley had that. And she had a son and he had ’flu and he jumped out that window. With the ’flu. I always remember that. In his sleeping. (Q: Yes.) They were little tiny cottages along of here. But these are not. No, these, this is a recent one, this one. Because they’ve got the houses here, they haven’t got them (Q: No, quite.) They haven’t got the little cottages on there. No, they were very quaint for you, if you’d have seen that. You see, coming through Spa Place that time of the day, was all trees, so, this is, this is a late one.

Q:     Yes, the car’s a bit later, isn’t it?

Mrs R:    Oh yes, there wasn’t cars till nineteen ten was there? They came out in nineteen ten. (Q: No.) Oh, I wish I’d have had a photograph of the little old cottages along of here. (Q: That, yes, I’ve not seen one of them.) That’d have been interesting. They’d got this one, but they had little tiny cottages there.

Q:    There were some here where these, between this and (Mrs R: Yes, yes.) the new ones are?

Mrs R: Because we had an old lady belonging to Granny, she was a relation to Granny, and I used to go across there and get her water for her, as a child. And this wasn’t there either, this was all fields. This is a late one.


II 10 bungalow powershall end

11. Powershall End looking east towards Chipping bridge. The bungalow where Mrs Raven’s grandmother lived is on the left next to Spring Lodge. It’s discussed below.


Q:    Um, oh, that’s just another one of your, of the little bungalow.

Mrs R:    Ah, yes, this is a nice one of the bungalow, isn’t it? (Q: It’s a bit clearer, isn’t it?) Mmm. The wall and all. The times I’ve gone up and down there. [Q: laughs.] My goodness. Mmm. Oh, I am pleased to see that. I’d love to take a photograph of that, if that is.

Q:    Yes, well, I don’t know, I’ll ask him, if he’s got another one, or anything.

Mrs R:    I could take one off of it.

Q:    Yes, well, I see, he might be able to get one done, I’ll ask him. ‘Cos that’s a clearer one, isn’t it? (Mrs R: Yes.) I think he can sometimes get one done.

Mrs R:    That’s the old bungalow, oh, many happy days. She used to learn me to play the stones, hopscotch on the stones, on the steps there, poor old dear. (Q: Yes?) As a child. You remember the nice things about it. What is that one?

Q:     Now, I think you said there was somewhere called Spa Place Cottages. Now that’s not there now, but it’s somewhere up …. [Pause] about opposite where …. [Pause] on the other side of the road from yours ….

Mrs R:    That would be more like Spa Place.

Q:    Not Spa, Spa Place Cottages, I think it said.

Mrs R:    No, there never was – no, no, there wouldn’t have been Spa Place Cottages, no. If you’d (Q: I wonder where that would have been, then?) you’d have, I don’t know where this, this might be one they’d had built beside of it, (Q: Yes.) ’cos this is a recent one.  But if you’d have seen the cottages, they were down this way. (Q: Yes.) This is Spa Place.

Q:    That’s Spa Place itself, is it? (Mrs R: Mmm.) Oh.

Mrs R:    This is Spa Place. And there was little cottages down there, if you’d have seen them, they were all broken down old old places. Very very old. And I remember the family, in fact Mrs Jinnens[?] is still alive, where her husband was born in one of these little cottages down here.

Q:    And that was down there, oh, that’s Spa Place itself is it? Yes.

Mrs R:    That’s Spa Place itself that is, I can tell that by the windows and the doors. There’s the front door there. And here, is where the tradesmen went in. But she never once see the tradesmen. She used to have a row of boxes all the way along there and all, every one was different and there’d be a message in each one of what she wanted and Christmas time, she’d have a pair of mittens, she’d knit them, a pair of mittens. Very very quaint, they were Quakers, when I knew these people. Lived in there. Very very quaint people. No, this isn’t Spa Place.

Q:    So that’s, I wonder where that is, then? (Mrs R: Isn’t it on the back?) He seem to think that it was somewhere up – no, that‘s just a number. He seemed to think it was somewhere up that way, sort of, on the other side, left as you go [out] (Mrs R: Unless they built.) but I don’t know which one it ….

Mrs R: Unless they built (Q: Could have been.) that the other side of Spa Place in that waste ground, they did build a place there. (Q: I think that’s where, um, I reckon it was.) That’s this side here, I think, like that.

Q:     Yes, yes, something like that.

Mrs R:    I think. Because they did say that they had built a house there, but I don’t know. But the other places, they’ve done them all up, the little cottages away along of here, there’s, there’s little tiny cottages, very old wooden cottages, they’ve done, they’ve made them up, (Q: Mmm.) like ordinary houses now. I’d love to have had a photograph really. (Q: Yes.) I was playing in the meadow, opposite, along of here, there used to be these little cottages. And there used to be a gangway to get up the back of the fields. They’ve built this in that spare bit of ground along of here, I think you’ll find. And I was playing, only a child, and in this first house, the name of the people were Butlers. The son of those Butlers, in fact, one of them, lives up the top of this road, Bill Butler. Sonny Butler died over, in the club a little while back. Well, they had a big family, the Butlers, and one by one, they were taken out of there, to the scarlet fever, this particular day, that I was playing opposite in that meadow, where they built all them places now. They built opposite to this Spa Place now, haven’t they? (Q: Yes, yes.) I was surprised they built in there. I was surprised they built in the wall come to that. I don’t know what the old folk’d say if they’d come back and seen it. [Q: laughs.] I really don’t. ‘Cos the walk was a beautiful place with the monks all up and down, really was a lovely place. They’ve spoilt this countryside, haven’t they? Really. They really – though I’m ever so pleased to see that one of the bungalow. (Q: I’ll see if I can get one done.) And that one of the Spa Place is exactly like it. (Q: Yes [noises on tape] You was lucky to get them, dear, really.

Q:     Yes, I don’t know where [????] have to go in a minute (Mrs R: What? mustn‘t make you late.)

[confused talking over each other]


tape 010-013, pic 12, tithe map re powershall end

12. Map of western end of Powershall End. The grey base is the 1950s OS 1:2500 map. The colour drawn on top is from the Tithe Map dated 1839 (ERO D/CT 405). As far as I know, the Ravens’ house was the one numbered 654, just above the P in Powershall Road. The Victoria Public House is number 673, with the stone-picking field to the west of it (c 30 acres).


I’ll come back another day. These are a bit hard to follow but there’s maps [noises on tape] I think, I’ve drawn on, the red ones are the old, old ones that I’ve drawn on [see picture 12, map of Powershall End]

Mrs R:    You are, you are interesting here. This is Powers Hall End.

Q:    See, that’s the Victoria. (Mrs R: Yes.) And these, where there’s red, that’s where there was cottages before, I don’t know whether ….? And, um, (Mrs R: That’s where I was living.) So one of these would be one of yours, I expect, wouldn’t it?

Mrs R:    Yes.

Q:    Think of that is one still there, that’s a funny thin one, there, isn’t it? And sort of one of those I expect would be one of yours?

Mrs R:    The garage is here now, isn’t it? That’d be the house what stands on its own and comes up to our brick wall [655 on the map].

Q:    So yours was this one here (Mrs R: The gar – ]) the first one you come to past that [654 on the map] (Mrs R: Had some happy days there.) Yes. [Q: Laughs]

Mrs R:    Oh, fancy, you are interesting there.

Q:    But these grey ones are the newer ones, of course. But I drew the old ones on off the old map.

Mrs R:    Marvellous what you’ve done there. [Q: laughs] How you’ve got the, got to know the old place. you know the (Q: Of course that was Powers Hall, wasn’t it?) You see, it really is a, a history old place, really. (Q: And that’s the one where you picked the stones, I expect, is it? [west of the Victoria]) That’s the field. (Q: The old field.) That’s from the Victoria to the farm, that’s that field I picked the stones up in. [Q: laughs] It’s a big field. (Q: Yes.) Very very big field. I should say that’s three-quarters of a mile to a mile long (Q: Mmm.) You go right back, you see, it goes right up Faulkbourne Road. That goes right back, this is Faulkbourne Road, here, I should imagine. (Q: That’s right, yes, yes, it is.) Well that goes right back there, you see, right back there, this field. They’ve built all along there, now. (Q: Yes.) Oh, it’s not the countryside as it was. (Q: No) No. It’s a, you’ve got a lovely map there dear of it. You’ve done some work, girl, there.

Q:    Well, the colouring is off an old map (Mrs R: Yes.) you know, that they’ve got at Chelmsford and the, um …. [noises on tape.] I think this is the other end of Powers Hall [noises on tape]

Mrs R:    What part is that?

Q:    That’s the, um, wait a minute (Mrs R: What is that ?) That’s Highfields Road, you see, and that’s, Powers Hall, (Mrs R: Ah, yes, that’s High Street, is it?) I think this, that’s Chipping Hill, up this way, because that’s the other end of Powers Hall, (Mrs R: Ah, yes.) before you come to the, (Mrs R: Yes.) yes, so there’s some of these cottages that you were mentioning. (Mrs R: Mmm.) opposite the end of Highfields Road. (Mrs R: That’s where it is.) And the well would have been …. (Mrs R: Where’s the farm on here?) The, um, let’s see (Mrs R: I spent many happy hours ….) Spring Lodge is there. (Mrs R: on the farm.) What, Highfields?

Mrs R:    Yes, my aunt kept that, you see. (Q: Oh did she? Yes?) She was in there for years. (Q: Yes. That’s down there, mmm.) I had many a happy hour there on the farm, there. (Q: What, that, was that your um, your mother’s ….?) Highfields Farm. No, that was my father’s sister (Q: Father’s sister? Mmm.) Aunt Annie. And then she went, and she lived in the cottages at the top of the hill. And they were, what do you call the hill, Capon Hall Green. (Q: Oh, I know) Capon Hall Green [i.e. the hill in Highfields Road]. I think you’ll find, er, er, the man that used to keep the second-hand shop, lives in the bungalow, he’s bought a, he had a bungalow built there, right on the hill [81 Highfieds Road, formerly three cottages on the site]. Well, eventually, Gran – Aunt Annie owned all that row of cottages. When she died she owned all that row of cottages. She came out of the farm and she gradually bought those cottages. They worked hard to buy these thing that time of the day, because, mind you, property went cheap that time of the day. But er, [noises on tape for several minutes from here] (Q: What was her) Hicks (married, what was her married name?) Hicks. Her married name was Hicks. (Q: Hicks, I see.) She’s got a daughter-in-law still lives down in, in, I wonder if Ethel’s got some photos? She lives in Pinkham Drive [Ethel Hicks of 63 Pinkham Drive]. (Q: Oh I know, yes.) I’ll get on to Ethel and ask her [Q: laughs.] she might have got some of the photographs. I know she’s got one of the pump. (Q: Oh yes.) If she, if she, they used to have to go down to the pump, you see, to get their water, you see. I know she’s got one at the pump [the ‘running pump’ next to the three cottages]. (Q: Oh, that’s interesting, yes.) I don’t see Ethel very often because she’s getting on. She’s got one son alive, her, her husband was my cousin, you see, Aunt Annie’s boy.

Q:    Well, I’ve taken those few of the cottage from you …. you know where I am ?

[talking over each other for a few moments]

[Tape stops abruptly then restarts with no preamble, because of the foregoing part having been recorded over another section]

[now continuing from beginning of this tape, i.e. Second World War, when husband left the bakery and she went to work in the Ministry of Food in Chelmsford; see also the end of side 6 on tape 12, and the beginning of this tape, for beginning of story]

Mrs R:    [about Ministry of Food] …. she said ‘You’ve never known me to be wrong yet?.’ I said ‘No,’ I said, ‘I don’t know where you get this gift from, I’m sure.’ Any rate, she said ‘You’ll get the job.’ I said ‘There’s fourteen of us there.’ ‘I don’t care if there’s the twenty of them,’ she said, ‘You’ll get the job.’ [Pause] Well, I didn’t particularly want the job. See, I was so nervous, you see. So she said, er ‘You’ll like them and they’ll like you.’ [Pause] So I waited a week, and I got this job. So, er, I had to tell my husband and all of them. So Pop said ‘What ever did you want to get a job like that for?’ I said ‘I’ve got to get out of the house, dear, I’ve got to do some work.’ I said ‘Otherwise, my nerves will bad,’ I said, ‘They’re bad enough now.’ I said ‘It’s just I’ve got to have something different to do.’ Well, I got this job. And I went up and I didn’t know whether I should be able to do it or not, [???] I was so ill, you see. And to my horror, there was mice everywhere. ‘Oh,’ I said, I said to this kitchen maid, I said ‘My goodness,’ I said ‘I’ve never been in a place like this before.’ She said ‘Oh, you can’t ….’ I said ‘You can’t get rid of them?’ I said ‘Oh, we’re going to get rid of them’ I said ‘Or I won’t stop here.’ I was, er, the person that was doing the sweets, you see. Puddings. Well, believe me or believe me not, I was worried to death about this. I had a pound of margarine and I think they’d got eighty to ninety people sitting down to dinners and I’d got a pound of margarine and a few jellies to make a sweet with all the week. I was worried to death. I said to my husband, I said, ‘I can’t stick this job’ I said, ‘I haven’t got enough stuff,’ I said, ‘I know we’re rationed,’ they had, we were allowed a pennyworth of meat at that time of the day, you see. So he said ‘Well, don’t keep it, dear, give it up. You’re not forced to do it,’ I said ‘No, I know.’ Well, any rate, the end of the first week, Mrs Ainsworth was, er, sort of superintendent there. So she said to me, she said ‘They were very very pleased with the sweets this week, Mrs Raven.’ So I said ‘Well I don’t know about that’, I said, ‘if you’re telling me the truth because,’ I said, ‘I haven’t had the stuff,’ I said ‘to do it with.’ I said ‘I’ve had to use my brains to make ‘em a sweet any day,’ I said. ’I don’t know if you are aware of it,’ I said, ‘I’ve only had a pound of margarine,’ I said, ‘all the week,’ I said, ‘and a few jellies’ I said, ‘to get a sweet out of.’ So she said, ‘Well, they’ve enjoyed their sweet.’ Because I used to do puddings as much as ever I could, you see, with the flour and that, that used to go further round. And, er, so she came to me and she said ‘I want you to take on head cook’s job.’ [Q laughs.] ‘Oh,’ I said ‘No, I couldn’t do that, not here,’ I said. ‘I couldn’t do that.’ She said ‘You can,’ she said, ‘this cook is leaving, now.’ ‘Well’, I said, ‘I couldn’t stop’ I said, ‘to do the sweets,’ I said, ‘any longer, I was going to give you my notice, as it’s, well, so much of a worry,’ I said. She said ‘You should have had more than that, you know,’ she said, ‘to do the sweets on.’ So I thought, ‘Yes I know I should’, because I’d had a look in somebody’s bag one morning and I thought ‘Oh this is where it goes, is it?’ I couldn’t say nothing, I was new there, see. That worried me. Any rate, she said ‘You think it over.’ I said, ‘No, don’t, don’t rely on me,’ I said, ‘I won’t be taking it over.’ Well, they couldn’t get anybody to help their job over so before the end of the week was she came to me and she said ‘Mrs Raven, you say “Yes” to this, quick,’ she said, ‘because I want you to take it all over’ So I said ‘Yes, well, all right, I’ll have a go’, I said ‘if you promise me that I get a little more stuff than that, to work with’ I said. And I said to Florrie, the kitchen maid, I said ‘The first thing we’re going to do,’ I said, ‘is scrub all these places out and put a lot of disinfectant down,’ I said. ‘and traps down’. I said ‘I’m not having this’ I said. ‘Because,’ I said, I can’t work where mice are’ I said ‘This is filth. Dirty place like this,’ I said. ‘Shouldn’t be.’ So we had two days, when we’d finished the other meal, scrubbing and cleaning out so this head cook said ’You’re going ahead.’ I said ‘Well,’ I said I’m not working in dirt.’ I said ‘I like my food clean’ I said. ‘And they, they want their food clean.’ Well, do you know, dear, I took that over, the stuff came in, just as different again, and I, er, got to get another one to take my place. Evidently, this person, she came from er, Hoffman’s. I had a little bit of a job with her. Well, any rate, I said, I told her she’d got to do the sweets. And I’ll just give you an idea of what she was like. Er, she was rolling out a piece of pastry one day, and I went over to look at that bit of pastry. I said ‘Are you aware what this pastry’s got in it?’ ‘No,’ she said, ‘It’s all right isn’t it?’ So I said ‘No, it isn’t all right.’ I said ‘And they’re not eating that.’ I said ‘And if you’ve wasted that fat,’ I said. ‘And that fat is precious, girl, I said ‘We’re only allowed so much,’ I said ‘That’ll have to be thrown away.’ I said ‘If you haven’t got any eyes, put your glasses on,’ I said ‘This is full of maggots,’ I said ‘Fancy you trying to sit these people down to stuff like this’ I said. ‘You put that in the bin’ I said. I said ‘We’ll find something else for them today,’ I said. ‘For a sweet,’ I said, ‘you’re not doing that.’ See, that’s the sort of person she was, you see? (Q: Mmm.) Now Mr Davis came in late one day, for dinner. And, er, he said ‘I’m late, Cook.’ I said ‘Yes, you are, Mr Davis.’ He said ‘Am I too late for a meal?’ I said ‘Well, we’ll fetch you something,’ I said. Well it happened to be that I’d taken up some eggs that morning with me, something particular I wanted to do and I knew we’d got some bacon in, so what I did was bacon, eggs and chips. Well, she went up into the canteen, and I noticed she was washing some potatoes underneath the tap. I said ‘What are you washing them, for?’. She said ‘ Mr Davis wants a meal.’ I said ‘He’s not eating that.’ I said ‘Don’t you dare let me see you do that again.’ I said ‘Because I wouldn’t give them anything that I couldn’t eat myself’ I said, ‘and I certainly couldn’t eat that!’ ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘you‘re too fussy!’ she said. ‘We used to do it ….’ and I said, ‘You’re not at Hoffmans now, you’re in here,’ I said. ‘So we’re not having that!’ I said. [Pause] So I gave Mr Davis a meal. Do you know, I used to get up early in the morning. I used to catch this seven o’clock train, that day. And er, he said ’You’re a fool!’, ‘cos I was up in the morning. They’d got all these individual meat tins, cups, and they’d never once used them, and I thought, well, I’m going to try them. So I said to the – because we were on rations on the meat, you see, we only had a pennyworth each, you see. So I said to the butcher, I said ‘You sell ox hearts?’ He said ‘Yes’. He said ‘What you going to do with them?’ I said ‘Make a meal of them.’ I said ‘They’re not on the ration, are they?’ He said ‘No’. And I forget the meat that I said wasn’t on the ration, I said and ‘I’ll have that.’ He said ‘What you going to do with that?’ I said ‘You bring me suet, I’m going to make meat puddings with it.’ I said ‘That’s lovely stuff,’ I said, ‘that.’ So I said ‘That’s not on the rations?’ So he said ‘No.’ He said ‘I’ve never served them with this before,’ he said. ‘All the time they’ve had this canteen.’ I said ‘No, I don’t suppose you have.’ I said ‘But one has got to be economical if there only a pennyworth of meat each,’ I said. Any rate I boiled these hearts, I stuffed them and I baked them. And I thought ‘Well I’ll try you with the pans of fried onions’, because they weren’t on the rations, you see. And I thought I’ll try you with those with the other vegetables. My dear, they went just like hot cakes! And do you know, before I, when I left them they were all coming in from different offices. (Q: Mmm.) For the meal, you see [Q: laughs.] But you see they started doing that with this other cook, but she had her joint at the beginning of the week, and at the end of the week, and they knew the days the joints were, so I altered that. I thought, ‘Oh, no, you’re not doing that,’ I thought. ‘You’ll have the joints another day.’ So I was getting them all in from the other offices. And, er, do you know the girls came to me, they were a lovely crowd of girls, there. They came to me and said ‘Mrs Raven, we want to throw a party. Help us?’ I said ‘Yes, dears, I’ll help you.’ I said ‘If you just tell me what you want,’ because they brought their bits and pieces in for that, you see. ‘Cos they couldn’t come out of the canteen, you see. Well, I used to do all these dishes up, and my husband knew I was busy, and he’d come in when he left off at the office, and he’d pipe them all round for me, you know. ‘Cos he could do it quicker than I could, see, this[? or his] hand wasn’t none too good. And, er, oh, they had a rare good party. They bring us home, at midnight. (Q: Yes.) Down from Chelmsford, so it was good of them, you know. I really had some happy days there, with them. (Q: Yes, good.) Well when I left there, I left through ill health and I, after I got better, me and my daughter were in Chelmsford one day, and there was quite a crowd of these girls, oh, they flew round me, they said ‘Do open a shop, Mrs Raven, so we can have a meal with you.’ So my daughter said ‘My mother’s too ill, to do that now,’ she said. ‘It’s too much for Mother.’ But you know, those girls used to go on here, out this way to Sudbury way, they used to be, and they used to call in, on their way. ‘Hallo, Cook.’ I used to say, ‘Come in quick, have a cup of coffee, quick, before you go on your journey.’

Q:    What did your husband do, after he’d been at Hoffman’s?

Mrs R:    He done, he was in the office.

Q:    Yes, did he stay there?

Mrs R:    He stayed there till he retired. (Q: Oh, I see.) And when he retired, the girls sent me bouquets and boxes of chocolates. And this is one of the chairs they bought, they bought a pair, another one in the other room. And er, they gave him a lovely cheque and they all came to his funeral. (Q: Did they?) And, er, several of them came down and had tea with us, occasionally. (Q: Yes.) Pop was ever so pleased to see them. you know.

Q:     So he only did the baking at, sort of, before the war? (Mrs R: Er ….) The baking?

Mrs R:    No, he gave that up during the War [Second World War]. (Q: During the War.) You see dear, they were on the control, really. You see, so this Labour man, and my husband had a week off when he left Mr Palmer’s. The son came down and I said ‘Your dad’s not very happy in the bakehouse, been there all those years’ I said. ‘It’s all through,’ I said ‘two of them have been taken off the rounds and put in the bakehouse’. I said ‘And they’re causing trouble.’ I said ‘And we’ve lost a son in the War and your father thinks that’s their place to go to War’ I said. ‘And that’s what’s making it uncomfortable there.’ I said ‘So he’s not happy there.’ He said ‘Isn’t he, Mum?’ He said, ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I can get him a job in Hoffmans,’ he said, ‘in the office’, because he was in the office, the boy was. So I said ‘Do you think your dad can do that?’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘Dad’s well educated,’ he said. ‘He could do that.’ He said ‘And I’ll get the man to show him,’ he said ‘for six weeks before he leaves.’ And Pop got on ever so well there. (Q: Mmm.) And the girls really liked him. Because Pop’d study them, you know. I’ve still got one of the girls’ mothers come here, she was here on Thursday afternoon, and her husband. Er, Pauline worked with Pop and the mother said only Thursday, she said ‘Oh, they, they all loved Pop.’ Any rate, they served him very very well, when he left there. He did very well. They gave him a nice cheque. and the girls sent me chocolates and flowers. And when we had our Golden Wedding, they sent us lovely messages and cards then. Which I thought was very good of them, you know. (Q: Yes.) And, er, Pop done good few years there, too. After he left the bakehouse. But when I say, when he left the bakehouse, and he said to Mr Palmer he was leaving, and he said ‘Good day’ to him. Well, he didn’t go down on the, he didn’t go down to the Labour. (Q: No.) He said ‘I’ll have a week off,’ I said ‘That’s right, dear, you have a week off.’ ‘Cos changing jobs, the men get a bit on the nervous side, the same as what we would be, you see, and I knew he’d – wanted bracing up a bit, so I said ‘Yes, that’s right, you have a week’s, a week off’ I said. So he had a little, so he didn’t go down to this Labour. And that was at the Lodge, top of The Avenue at that time of the day. (Q: Oh, I see.) And the man’s name that run the Labour that time was Herbert. And [pause] we’ve lost him, of course. So Pop went down after he’d had a week’s holiday, to get his cards. Before he started at Hoffman’s. He knew he’d got the job at Hoffman’s. So when he got there, Pop said to me, he said ‘I’m sure there’s a lot of phoning going on between the Labour and Mr Palmer.’ He said, ‘Because’, he said, ‘I know that that Labour man owes Mr Palmer a lot of money, so therefore he’ll try and get his debt wiped off by getting me back in the bakehouse, because’ he said, ‘I’m on the Control’. [Pause] He said ‘And he’s the only baker in Witham that wants a baker, now.’ So Pop said ‘I’ll have a week home.’ He had his week – he went down to see this Labour man. So he said ‘Why didn’t you come down here before?’ He said ‘No, I didn’t want to come down here before.’ He said ‘You’ve got to live’. He said ‘Yes, I know I’ve got to live.’ He said ‘But I’m entitled to a week’s holiday if I want one’. He said ‘I hadn’t had one from the bakehouse.’ He said ‘Well, I’m sending you back to Palmer.’ He said ‘Yes, I thought that’s what you’d say.’ He said, um ‘I quite believe there’s been a lot of phoning going on this week,’ he said. ‘Backwards and forwards,’ he said. So he said ‘You’re on a Control.’ He said ‘I was, until I got a job’ he said. ‘I’m coming here for my cards.’ So he put the card down on the table. ‘What do you want the cards for?’ he said. ‘Hoffman’s.’ He said ‘Your case is no interest to me’ he said. ‘And I give you no cards.’ He said ‘No I quite thought that.’ He said ‘That’s all right, I can get the cards.’ He said ‘Yes, you’ll go to Chelmsford.’ He said ‘Yes I shall go to Chelmsford and get that,’ he said. So he wouldn’t give Pop the cards. (Q: No.) you see, because he was so mad, to think Pop had got another job, you see.

Q:    That’s right, yes. And if he hadn’t he’d have had to go back, would he? (Mrs R: What, dear?) If he hadn’t had the other job, he would have had to go back, would he?

Mrs R:    Yes. Being on the Control you see. So er he, I got on to the Hoffman’s office. They said ‘Send Mr Raven up, Mrs Raven.’ So he went up, and he went to their Labour and they gave him his cards just like that. (Q: Oh quite.) See, and he got the job. You see how underhand some people are, and that’s not right on this earth. But you get that in life you see. And Pop knew, he knew before he went, that he would be funny because he knew he owed him a lot of money. He owed Palmer a lot of money so that would have wiped that debt off you see if he’d have got him back there, you see? (Q: Yes.) You see that they didn’t do things straight that time of the day. But you know, I’ll never forget. Pop had got a bit of allotment over there and there was a man digging his bit next door. So this man said to Pop. He said ‘There’s a funeral on today.’ So Pop said ‘Oh is there?’ So Pop said ‘I wonder who that is?’ So this man said ‘That’s Herbert from the Labour.’ So Pop said ‘I hope he’s got his cards with him!’ [Both laugh] I never forgot that, I thought that was dreadful.

Q:    I mustn’t forget to show you these photos I brought. I brought a few photos but we’d better have the light on, hadn’t we?

Mrs R:    Am I keeping you?

Q:    No, its all right, as long as I’ve got [???]

Mrs R:    I’ll just run through and put my blanket on ….

Side 8

[Looking at photographs – both talking over each other, hard to distinguish words at times.]

Q:    ….Where was that one taken?

Mrs R:    That‘s [????] some seaside place. I should imagine it’s Clacton. (Q: laughs.) I should imagine that’s down at Clacton. (Q: Mmm.) That was down, (Q: [????boats]) I’d forgotten about them. You can have that if you want it. That’s old fashioned. (Q: Yes) All those years. But that one you’ve got there now is Hoffman’s[?] old place[?].

Q:    That one is. That was your father, you say?

Mrs R:    That’s, that’s my husband, that is (Q: Yes, your husband I mean, yes.) Yes, that’s my husband. But that’s his father that you’ve got there.

Q:    This is his father?

Mrs R:    Mmm. Now that was taken in the Mafeking War. (Q: Really?) So you know it was old. (Q: Yes.) He was in the Mafeking War. (Q: Was he?) Mm he was in the Mafeking War.

Q:     Was he a Witham person?

Mrs R:    No, he was a Norwich man. (Q: Mmm.) Isn’t my husband like him?

Q:    Yes, isn’t he? Yes.

Mrs R:    Isn’t he like him?

Q:    So when did they come to Witham?

Mrs R:    He came in the, Forces. (Q: I see.) He was a soldier laying about here. When his mother picked him up. (Q; Ah ha.) Or when he picked her up! [Both laugh.] She was a nurse at the Asylum where The Retreat is now [in Maldon Road]. See, laying about, see. Well, he went to War and – Mafeking War it was at that time of the day, and he came back and he married her. And they went down to Norwich to live, you see. Well, Granny wouldn’t part with the baby, so she brought him up. You’ve seen him outside the house in Maldon Road. (Q: Oh I remember that, yes. Perhaps we‘ll come to that, yes.) So he never had his child with them really, which really grieved him very much. Well when he came back and married, they settled down in Norwich, because he was a Norfolk boy, and er, he was a very nice boy from what I can gather. And, er, he got a job as a cook with what they called a gang. They were doing the roads and that sort of thing that time of the day, you see. He’d be there to give them a meal. Well, he went into supper with one of the men that he worked with. That invited him. And he came out of there, and along the road and he dropped down dead. Now there was another man, in the Mafeking War, that I knew, his daughter lives up this road, Mrs Robertson. And she had Nellie by her husband. and she went into the, and he’d got a job in The Tower, when he came back. In London. So Mary and him lived in London. And she had this baby, Nellie. And a friend of hers said, he was in the same lot as this one, and a friend of hers said would they go that afternoon to the cinema, to have a, see the picture, so she went. On the screen it came, would she go so and so. Well, she didn’t dream anything like that’d happen. When she got there he was dead. He’d dropped dead. And a lot of those boys that was in that Mafeking war that came back and they just went out like that. So they must have got something over there. You know. and she ….

Q:    So he stayed in, sorry, he stayed in Norwich?

Mrs R:    His people, he’s got some relations still living in Norwich. and, er, his wife, which was my husband’s mother, which was Granny’s daughter, because she worked over the Asylum at that time of the day, the nurse. She’s dead and gone now. But she had a daughter. She married again when she lost this one and she had a daughter, and that daughter’s very often up here now. She’s still alive in Norwich. Matter of fact I’ve got to write her a letter tomorrow. They come up and stay with me which is very nice of her, really. Because they are like stepsister to my husband (Q: Quite. Yes, sort of related.) Now that, you see that woman there, don’t you? (Q: Mmm.) Well she’s my daughter-in-law’s mother at Chelmsford. She had seven boys and seven daughters. (Q: Goodness.) And they all met once a year. And they still keep it up now they’ve lost her. She was a marvellous old lady. Marvellous mother.

Q:    Oh, that’s an old one, isn’t it?

Mrs R:    That’s hubby. (Q: Is it?) Now I’ll tell you this. Now I’ll tell you, Miss Luard’s got him to go down to the hop fields. It was long before I ever married him. He’s evidently sent that card, if you read it, home to Granny, you see. You see what it says on there?

Q:    [Reads] ‘Hope this will find you all quite well. I shall be home sometime. Got to arrange with my [???] to go back with a policeman’.

Mrs R:    Yes. (Q: Really?) They had some trouble with one of the pickers. Now he, they provided that don – that horse and trap and he had to go down there and they gave the hop pickers refreshments. That’s got an old stamp on there. You’ll find a lot of the cards, I think, have got old stamps. I never (Q: That’s right, yes.) I never thought nothing about the stamps. But somebody (Q: That’s nineteen thirteen, that one.) Well, somebody came in and took one off a card, nineteen fourteen. and I never realised till after they’d gone. I thought, well you’ve got a cheek, haven’t you? (Q: Goodness!) [Both laugh.] Taking that card. It was a friend of mine so I didn’t say anything. I thought, well, I shan’t ….

Q:    So he went down there with the …

Mrs R:    Hop pickers, to help them during the hop picking season. (Q: So he was ….?) Well, this Miss Luard’s here, sent him there, you see. They sort of paid him something like that, you see. To .…

Q:    And this cart’s the um ….

Mrs R:    That’s the cart that he took the food in.

Q:    To take the food in, so he was sort of cooking for them?

Mrs R:    Yes. well, no, he went and picked it up. At the shops, you see.

Q:    Oh, he went and collected it? I’m with you, yes.
[Talking over each other]

Mrs R:    Cakes and stuff, cakes and stuff. They used to come round the pea fields like that, at one time, you know. (Q: Oh did they, really?) With cakes. Yes. Oh, we children used to love that cart to come in the pea fields with the buns and that. ‘Cos we used to be able to have a bun, Mother’d buy us one. See, if we picked peas, yes, you could have a bun, you see? (Q: Oh.) And that’s what he did. And that’s old. (Q: Yes, that‘s interesting that one.) ‘Cos that’s long, that’s just after he left school that was, you see.

Q:    And so he …. (Mrs R: He hadn’t started ….) he got sent down from here.

Mrs R:    He hadn‘t started working, you see. Not then. He was young.

Q:    What was his .… (Mrs R: Raven) Yes, his first name, you must have told me (Mrs R: Will, Bill.) Will, yes, Bill, that’s it. (Mrs R: William Raven, William Raven.) Let’s see, better not take ….

Mrs R:    A lot of the old folks knew him about here. But she was a marvellous mother, she was. Seven boys (Q: Yes, [???]) and seven girls. I’d love you to have heard their history, how they were. Her husband took us round in the cars round, er Butley, Butley they were born, in Suffolk and he’d take us round and he’d say, to my son drove the car, he said, ‘Take us’ and every church we went past, he said ‘I made that archway, I did all those pews in there.’ And he done marvellous woodwork.(Q: Yes.) Marvellous woodwork. He was a wonderful carpenter. That’s my sister in law. (Q: This one?) Isn’t that old fashioned? Isn’t that old fashioned? That’s years old, that is. [Q: laughs.] ’Cos she’s been dead several years now.   And that was before she married my brother.

Q:    Let’s skip a few or some of these, or we won’t get through them. Although they are rather interesting but ….

Mrs R:    There’s my, there’s my sister, I think you’ll find there, look, in the kitchen.

Q:    Oh, yes. That one.

Mrs R:    See, there’s me, look. (Q: Oh yes.) And there’s one of the maids, and there’s my sister. And on here, there’s real copper, real beautiful stuff, and that pan she’s said to me ‘I wonder, dear if you’ll make me eight pound of plum jam’. (Q: laughs.) I said ‘Have you got a preserving pan.’ ‘That one dear.’ I said ‘That’ll never make eight pound of plum jam, dear.’ She said ‘Oh yes it will.’ And do you know they’d made twice that amount when I found out. (Q: Did they? Goodness.) They made her eight pound in that …..

Q:    So whereabouts is that?

Mrs R:    That’s in, um, Bayswater.

Q:    I see, that’s the one.

Mrs R:    Mmm. If I find a photograph of her house, I‘ll show it to you. She was there a good many years. That’s an old one (Q: Yes.) That’s down at Southminister. [Mrs R says ‘Southminister’, presume she means Southminster.] You just look at the dresses on there. Look at me on there, my daughter looks …. Look at her, look, she’s there, look. (Q: Yes.) There, am I this side of her? No I don’t think I’m this side of her. Where am I? Dunno, oh, yes, somewhere there. Very old fashioned. There I am. Old hat, look. (Q: Oh yes, just {????]) It’s all, that’s several years ago. That’s down Southminister Church. On the marshes (Q: I know it, mmm.) You know marshes? Down on the marshes, that is.

Q:     I’ll have a look, a better look some other time.

Mrs R:    Did you want the old, that’s an old one, with stamps on, by the look of it. What one is that? [Pause] Oh, that’s quite (Q: I think that’s quite a .…) Oh, that’s my brother.(Q Its been sent to you quite recently isn’t it?) Yes, that’s my brother. That’s come out of the old album. (Q: Oh, I see.) That’s the one I’ve been talking to on the ’phone tonight. (Q: Oh is he) That’s the niece. And my brother had got them, you see. That’s my second youngest brother, that. (Q: That was the one that was um….?) At Reverend Galpin’s (Q: On the ship?) No, he’s going over on that, you see. (Q: I’m with you.) He’s in the army. He’s evidently going over on that. (Q: Yes.) [Pause]

Mrs R:    Now there he is again. (Q: Another one, yes.) That’s him again. When he worked for the Reverend Galpin at Faulkbourne, now the Reverend Galpin’s been dead several years. [Pause] You know what my daughter said? She said ‘You look better looking now, Mum than you did in that photograph!’ [Q: laughs.] I said ‘Thank you, dear.’ [Pause]

Q:    I’ll have another look at these some other time. [????]

Mrs R:    The old dresses (Q: They‘re lovely aren’t they). Have you got one there with the ….. [door bell ?, tape, cuts out]

Q:    …. So this one you reckon, as you said, before you were born?

Mrs R:    That’s Dad, that’s Dad. (Q: Your dad with the plough [see pictures 1 and 2].) That other one, I, that was a mate of his, I know and they’re both on the same cart.


m0139 maldon road cottage

13. A cottage on the west side of Maldon Road since demolished, now part of the site of number 30. William Raven (later Mrs Raven’s husband) as a boy, with his grandmother and Winnie, a cousin. Very early 20th century.


And that is where …. (Q: And this was the one in Maldon Road, wasn’t it?) Yes. You see, there’s my husband. There’s Granny, what brought him up. You see [see picture 13]?

Q:    And the little girl’s ….?

Mrs R:    That’s, that’s, er, she was Winnie. That’s another granddaughter of Granny’s. I think she’s still alive. (Q: Yes.) I don’t know quite, I think she lives at Clacton now. She’s still alive.

Q:    So Granny was his, his granny.

Mrs R:    That’s his grandmother. (Q: Yes.) So that’s Granny’s daughter what …. (Q: Yes) married that soldier, you see. (Q: Yes.) And he went back to, they went back to Norwich. (Q: Back to Norwich.) And Granny wouldn’t part with him. She had the baby before she went down there.

Q:    And that cottage, I remember you told me, is where the dentist’s ….?

Mrs R:    That’s where the dentist is now. (Q: Mmm.) There was a row of houses there, you see. And there was a row of, and there were some houses at the back of where the dentist’s is. We used to come out the back door there to go down to the toilet. Had to go right down the, right past those houses. You know where those houses are, where the library is? (Q: Yes.) There’s two cottages there. Well, we used to have to go right down the back of there, to our toilet. ’Cos I lived with Granny after I got married for a little while. While Pop was in the army, see?

Q:     So they were, Granny was from Norwich, too?

Mrs R:    No, she was, no. (Q: She was a Witham ….) Yes, she was a Witham person.

Q:     Person, oh, so I see, so he was ….

Mrs R:    Oh she was, no, I say she was a Witham person, she wasn’t, she was a Cressing person. Er, and I’ll tell you, um, she used to have the trap out, in the summer time, every Sunday afternoon. One Sunday we’d go to Cressing. ’Cos she’d got some people lived there. And the other Sunday we’d go to Mill Beach. And she’d always have her money, hand, in her hand, in a cloth, wrapped up, for the man, Ottley used to take in a landau that time of the day. But when my husband grew older and I, we got, you know, like, getting on like me and I am now, Granny used to go over in a little tiny trap, a gig they called it, little pony and gig, you know. Little round tub. I would go to Cressing to see her people and one day, when we were coming back, one Sunday, we were coming back, just outside of Cressing Temple, the pony fell down. There’s a little pond there, with a white railing round.  So I said to the driver, and I said ’What’s the matter with the horse?’ I said ‘Why has it fell down?’ He said ‘It’s fell asleep.’ (Q: laughs.) I said ‘He’s got some good driver, ain’t he?’ [Both laugh.] Everyone, we all huddled outside this little gig thing, you know. He said ‘It’s fell asleep!’ [Both laugh.] I had to laugh, I said ‘He’s got a good driver, hasn’t he?’ [Mrs R laughs.] But do you know, those cottages still stand, where Granny was born. Now they stand on the corner where you go round to Cressing Temple. They haven’t pulled them down yet. (Q: Oh, I know.) You, there’s two cottages there, I think there’s two, I don’t know if there’s more. And, Granny used to tell us, you know, I used to be very interested in Granny’s tales. And she’d got, one son, baby, and she strapped him on her, on her back, and she walked from Maldon Road, where she is there, with this baby strapped on her back, it was only a little lane, along here, that time of the day, wasn’t a road, a proper road [i.e. Cressing Road]. And she walked all the way to Cressing. And she’d got as far as the water tower, along of here and she was up to her knees in snow. And she thought ‘Shall I go on or shall I go back?’ She thought if she went back, her folks wouldn’t get any money because they had a Parish Relief that time of the day. She’d had to go and get that you see. And she’d have to go into Cressing and do the little bit of shopping. So she thought ‘Well if I don’t go, they won’t get no food.’ So she went along. And she had a sister that went abroad and left a little girl here and she was a delicate, too delicate to go with them so she left her here with her mother, which was her niece you see. Well any rate when she got there, she said um, she was ill. So Granny said to her ‘I think I ought to stop here tonight’ she said ‘And look after you.’ Well, she’d got a daughter living up Wickham Bishops which was this girl’s mother, and she said ‘No. Aunt Emma’, she said ‘you‘d better go home.’ She said ‘I shall be all right, she said ‘’cos you’ve got to go home’. Took this baby and went into Cressing, and done her shopping. Got this baby strapped on her back, which was Uncle Tom, and er, she came all the way back to this cottage, at Witham. Cooked them a meal. Strapped the boy on her back again and walked up to Wickham Bishops, and stopped up all night with that daughter’s baby. When she got back in the morning, this dear girl had died. And she never forgot that. (Q: Mmm.) She thought ‘I ought to have stopped with this dear girl.’ But she’d got, in between the two, what to do for the best. Now would we do that today? I said to my children ‘Would you do that? Would you walk to Wit – to Cressing?’ I said, ‘Up to your knees in snow, with a baby strapped on your back?’ I said.

Q:    What was the name of her people?

Mrs R:    She was a, I don’t know, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of …. (Q:????} No, I did hear. No I did hear, it comes to me sometimes afterwards. They lived in the in those two cottages, on the corner of Cressing. They’re not pulled down yet. That was where Granny was born. And she used to walk that bit once a week from Witham to there and they had a Parish Relief that time of the day. They didn’t have pensions you see, that time of the day, and the Parish Relief‘d probably be half a crown. So they didn’t get much. (Q: No.) And they were lucky if they got a half a crown.

Q:    Was her husband, um, alive when [???]

Mrs R:    He worked in the Maltings for years. (Q: Yes.) And when I got to know Pop, he was, he was, er, cleaning the roads. With a barrow and shovel. And the roads were clean in those days. And you know, we used to have an old Captain Abrey lived in the town. And a lot of these Witham people, old Witham people, remember Captain Abrey. And if he saw him out in the road he’d pop a shilling in his hand. (Q: Mmm.) He was a good old boy, Captain Abrey. He lived where Do-, where Mrs Dorothy Sayers. (Q: Yes.) One of those houses [Captain Shafto Abrey, lived in 26 Newland Street]

Q:    So the Parish Relief would be – if he wasn’t working? (Mrs R: Half a ….) Would it? If, he if he (Mrs R: Oh.) If he wasn’t working?

Mrs R:    ‘D’be half a crown. He’d be lucky if he got, oh, he wouldn’t get that if he was well.

Q:     No, quite. I see, that would be if he was sick.

Mrs R:    If he was, old, and couldn’t work. Or if he was sick like, these were, you see. But he wouldn’t get that if he was work – if he was able to work. Oh no, he wouldn’t get that. (Q: No.) Oh no, they didn’t give it to you unless you [????hissing noise, tape fades for seconds.]

Q:    What was his Christian name, do you remember that?

Mrs R:    No, I can’t remember. Jasper. (Q: Jasper Raven.) Jasper Raven. Jasper Raven. He’s got some slight relations, I think, still live in Chelmsford somewhere. I think they live, as you go up that bridge towards the crematorium, I think they live in a road off of there, they did.. But I haven’t known them for years now. (Q: No.) But he, he never went to bed. He always had to sit up in the chair.(Q: Right?) He’d got asthma. And he died sitting in the chair. He was all right as regards to saying, all right when we went to bed. And Granny called up the stairs, and she said ‘Can you come down, dear?’ I said ‘Yes, Granny, you all right?’ She said ‘No, we’ve got trouble’. She said ‘I can’t wake Grandfather’. And he died in his chair. He …. (Q:??) He never went to bed. He never laid down in bed.
Now that, there’s one ….

Q:    [???] These were the ones at Powers Hall. (Mrs R: That’s my family.) That’s, that’s your place, isn’t it? [see picture 4]

Mrs R:    Fifty-six years Father lived in there. (Q: Did he? Yes.) Fifty-six years. He used to make the wine with those grapes on that grape tree. (Q: laughs.) But, we had some happy times. (Q: And who? Tell me again whose all .…)

Mrs R:    That’s my brother, that you saw on that photographs.

Q:     And what were their first names?

Mrs R:    He’s Bill. (Q: He’s Bill, yes.) Yes. There’s my hus- (Q: He’s the one that ….) Went on the P & O liners. (Q: On the P & O. Yes.) And he worked, when he came off the P & O liners, in Jerkins. (Q: Oh yes.) Well he – had a daughter and a son just retired from Jerkins, you see. The daughter I spoke to tonight. (Q: And that’s your husband.) And that’s my – young man, that was, that time of the day, you see. And there’s me. And er, whose this?

Q:     No, I didn’t notice. No, I don’t think there’s anybody there, it’s just a (Mrs R: Is it? Oh.) a shadow, yes.

Mrs R:    Oh, there’s me and my young man he was, that time of the day. Then there’s my youngest brother. That’s my father (Q: Youngest brother you told me, moved down, what was his first name then?) Percy (Q: Percy, yes.) He died. A lot of Witham people’d know him. (Q: Yes.) I tell you why. He was on the milk cart, you see. (Q: Oh, I think I remember you told me about him.) He worked, he worked for Everett (Q: Yes.) Everett took over the milk business from Rice. Mrs, Miss Rice’s; they used, they had it in my young day. (Q: Yes.) Where the Community Centre is. I think the person who lives, name Brown now, isn’t it? [Spring Lodge, 3 Powershall End]

Q:     I think you’re be right.

Mrs R:    Didn’t she have a son die in an aeroplane or something?

Q:    Mmm.

Mrs R:    I think she did. What’s took it on now. And that’s father (Q: Your father.) And that’s [talking over the top of each other] (Q: Is this, is this John Turner, was it?) That’s John Turner. And this is this one’s wife. And that’s the, that’s the dear (Q: That’s the eldest one?) boy that’s got the multiply sclerosis now. (Q: As you said ….) Today. And that’s a friend of ours. That’s wasn’t Mother. (Q: No.) That wasn’t Mother.

Q:    And this is the same house. (Mrs R: That’s the same cottage) But that’s .…

Mrs R:    That’s me. And that little girl lived about a fortnight after then and she died. (Q: Oh, yes.) She was delicate [see picture 6]

Q:    I remember – was that – you said this is the place where he made the wine (Mrs R. Yes.) and storing it in [talking over each other] (Mrs R: That’s the shed, he built the shed purposely for his wine, yes.) That little place there, yes. [Q laughs.]

Mrs R:    He used to make a lot of wine, Father did. (Q: Yes.) And he’d call them in on the way home from work and get them drunk and they’d go down that ditch out – such as Spa Place. (Q: Mmm.) Lay there drunk, you know, so. That’s my sister, that’s some years old [see picture 7]. (Q: Yes.) ’Cos that’s, um, that was in Gerald Bright’s. Is that a stamp on the back of that? Or did they take that off? [talking over each other] (Q: Oh that’s a ….) A nineteen fourteen stamp. that’s right. That was the one they took it off. Nineteen fourteen stamp. She’s writing to Mrs Rudd there to ask her if she knew her. (Q: O, I see.) Well, Mrs Rudd had got a daughter and that brother of mine I told you was on the P & O liner, he was courting the girl Rudd, you see. Now she made those dresses. (Q: I see, yes.) That’s the cook, this is the housemaid, and she was the lady’s maid. (Q: What, this is ….?) My sister. [talking over each other] (Q: This is your sister and this is the ….) She was a lady’s maid. That’s the cook and that’s the housekeeper. (Q: The cook. So this is the one that ….) And they worked for Gerald Bright’s mother and father at Maldon. That time of the day. Now Gerald Bright‘s lost his mother and father. [talking over each other] (Q: So is this ….) Because he’s got a son working here in Witham now, you know? At the bank, hasn’t he? (Q: There’s ….) Young Gerald. Er, this was the old people that they worked for. (Q: At Maldon. So this was taken at Maldon, was it ….?) Yes. On the hill, the back of the hill.

Q:     So that would be some time ago then, wouldn’t it?

Mrs R:    Oh it’s years ago. (Q: Yes, but, what you said, about nineteen fourteen or so.) Cos my, my sister was eighty-seven when she died. and I think that was her first place out. (Q: Mmm.) That one. Because you see Gerald Bright, he’s passed away. He lived near that, in that house at one time, when I remember, against the cinema. And Mrs Bright was a cripple. Gerald Bright’s wife was a proper cripple in a chair. Because my husband’d go down the town on a, in the morning and he’d very often, she’d be in a wheelchair and he used to help her out. Cos she used to go and see Mrs Benjamin a lot. (Q: Oh yes.) See? (Q: Yes.) so I know that’s old. Cos his son is running the business now in the bank.
[sounds on tape]


II 10 powershall end including 7

14. Powershall End looking west. Includes 7 Powershall End on left where Mrs Raven’s brother lived (since demolished). On the right are 26-30 Powershall End.


Q:    Well, that was, these are the photographs off, somebody you don’t know. (Mrs R: Of Witham?) [Pause] Now that, is that, I think that’s Spring Lodge. [Pause] (Mrs R: [gasping] Ah, that’s the bungalow.) Is that the bungalow, there? (Mrs R: That’s the bungalow, that is.) Mm. [see picture 11]

Mrs R:    [Gasping] Oh, well I am pleased to see this. [Q: laughs.] Now then, down there, that gate, we used to go in after our milk [into Spring Lodge]. (Q: That’s the one you got the milk, was it, there?) And the people that kept it then was Miss Rices. Yes, they used to have all these trees round there. (Q: Yes.) They’re not there now, are they? They’re down. This cottage is still standing [i.e. 6 Powershall End, on the right hand side]. The nurse that comes and does me, washes me, she goes to see Miss Springett, there [Eva Springett]. (Q: Oh, does she?) Yes. And Miss Springett and my sister went to school together. There was Miss Springett, my sister, Frenchie, and Miss Wiffen, they all went to school together. Miss Wiffen, one of the Miss Wiffens is still alive. Because, now, how do I, I get news through these nurses of these old folks, you see.

Q:    Yes. I‘d like to meet Miss Springett, but I don‘t know anybody that knows them really. You can’t just go bashing on the door, she’d probably be a bit ….

Mrs R:    She would tell quite, more than I would I guess you know, [Q: laughs] but she’s a very poor old thing now (Q: Yes, quite, yes.) And her brother, the nurses said he’s a wonderful brother he waits on her hand and foot {Douglas Springett]. And, er, she said he’ll go before her, and he’s younger than her. Now you see, you see those cottages through there, you see, can’t you? Many a time my brother has fell in the pond there. (Q: [laughs] Really?) I tell you what, why he fell in the pond. It’d be covered with ice, you know, see (Q: Oh.) And there’d be the older ones and they’d throw bits and pieces ‘Go on Tom, go and get them’, and he’d be silly enough to go and break the ice and he’d get in. Then he’d get a hiding when he got home [Q: gasps.] For being wet. (Q: Yes.) And there was a pond up in this, um, up in this place where they’ve built those houses and that allotments, there [Saxon Drive, probably]. And he fell in there once or twice. They’d throw their bits and pieces. They knew he was soft enough to go and try and get ‘em, and go on the ice and he’d go. He’s dead and gone now. But you ….

Q:    Was your grandfather alive then as well? Was your granddad alive – did he live in that house, too? (Mrs R: Yes he did, yes.) So what, what was his name? Do you remember his first name?

Mrs R:    His name was Everett. That’s her second husband (Q: Oh, I see.) My, my father was very much against that. Because my father’s father lived, I don’t know whether you know where the Rushen, er, Johnson lives? Up Powers Hall End? (Q: I think you mentioned [probably 90 Powershall End].) You know, you know as you go along Powers Hall End there’s a house stand on it’s own, just before you get to our cottage, it was. They got two garages now, there, where our cottage stood. Well, you go up a little slope to them, well, you did, but you can’t now, I suppose because it’s gone, made level, I don’t know. I haven’t been up there lately. But there was three cottages along of there. (Q: Mmm.) And there was a big well at the bottom. Well, Father was born up there. And his people lived up there. (Q: Oh I see.) Well, when Granny married, lost her husband and she married, they got this little bungalow there. It was a beautiful bungalow inside there and she had that spotless. Grandfather used to come out on that doorstep there, when I used to go Sunday mornings, you see, Father, my father, used to do my hair up all in braids. And, and, Mother used to say ‘Well your father did it up, he’ll have to undo them now, too fiddly for me to do it’. [Q: laughs.] And when I got there, I was so ginger, when I was a child, that he used to pull my hair and say ‘Hallo Ginger, hallo Ginger’. [Q: laughs.] And I used to be so mad, you know, see. But it’s funny, all Father’s side was ginger and I was ginger. But you see how I changed. I went dark after, I don’t know why (Q: No.) But the old bridge is really altered a little bit isn’t it?

Q:    Yes [???] Mr Everett was the, did the milk then?

Mrs R:    Everett took it over over after the Rices. And my brother lived in that little bungalow at the top of, this road [probably 7 Powershall End, since demolished]. That’s empty. Been standing empty ever since [talking over each other]. (Q: I don’t know, next to the lane, to Faulkbourne) Yes (Q: Your brother.) That’s an illfated bungalow (Q: You mentioned that one.) Yes (Q: That was the one your brother lived in.) Yes he lived in there. An illfated bungalow. (Q: I remember [???]) This is very nice, who gave you these?

Q:    Well, mm, you remember Mr Wadhams? (Mrs R: Yes.) His son, Mike Wadhams collects these. I don’t know where he got it from.

Mrs R:    He, well, he must have, he must have gone round and collected off someone.

Q:    I think it’s a postcard, I’ll have to ask him where he found it from. That’s, that’s the other bungalow isn’t it, then? That will be the one where your brother ….? [see picture 14]

Mrs R:    Yes. That’s right, yes.

Q:    I don’t think those are there now, are they?

Mrs R:    There’s a well here, deep well there. (Q: Yes.) Mmm. I used to go and get the water there, out of there, for one of the old folks down there. Yes, that’s the illfated bungalow. (Q: Mmm.) One of the girls that I took to Sunday School married and she still lives in there. (Q: Really.) And along of here there’s a barn. There was. I don’t know if it’s still there now. And one family came out of the Union and he, got into that barn, pea-picking season, and they stopped there. And he got a job at Powers Hall on the farm and he got a cottage that was going empty. But that’s pulled down I see now. And they’ve got a railway carriage now there, where that was [88 Powershall End]. And some of that family is still alive. This is very nice, this is. You know, I, I remember seeing these in years gone by ….

[this conversation about Powershall End is continued from about the 2nd to the 13th minute of side 7, where it was recorded in error over part of side 7]

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See the end of Tape 10 for notes on Mrs Raven.