Notes on Mrs Amy Taylor, nee Burton
See interview tape 136
Catholic School, Newland Street, briefly, first, then National School, Guithavon Street.
Father William. Came from Hertfordshire. Worked at the Grove as handyman eg looking after the electric engine, also looking after chickens and cattle etc. Then in First World War to Marconi’s, running the engines that powered the machines.
Mother Mary Jane Pavelin, her parents lived in Victoria Cottages, Maltings Lane. She was cook at Bridge Home at one time. Lived till her nineties.
Brothers and sisters
Percy, sister (died in childbirth), her, Jack, George, Arthur and Douglas.
Family: As child in Avenue Lodge at corner of the Avenue and Collingwood Road, tied cottage, to the Grove where her father worked. Then family to Bridge Street after Mr Laurence of the Grove moved or died about time of First World War. Then to Rickstones Road Council House.
Mrs Taylor: In service in London and Ilford, and also lived in Ilford after marriage 1936-7.
Then back to Witham to her parents for a little while.
Just before Second World War, with husband to new Council house at 141 Church Street.
Worked at Pinkham’s glove factory first.
At some time on land, at farm in Maldon Road.
Then into service at 200 Queensgate. Changed a lot. Also at 12 Queensgate.
At time of marriage, 1936-7, in service at Ilford.
When married, did cleaning jobs eg churches and chapels and at the Vicarage and the Glove factory.
About 1936 or 1937, William Taylor from Hatfield Peverel, where worked on farm. Then after marriage he worked at Gunnerys smallholding at Ilford bunching up vegetables etc. When back in Witham in Second World War, worked for French’s farmers in Rivenhall.
Daughter Mary Meek.
Died October 1990 aged 87.
Three letters from her, 1991
11 April 1991
As I am 87 years of age, I can write better than phoning as I am partially deaf. It was a sudden impulse to write to B and W Times which I regretted after my neighbour had posted it. It is childish memories, such as the time when Miss Grace Laurence bought my sister and I a large dressed doll each for Xmas and a market day when the two large gates were closed at the Lodge gates at the top of the Avenue to keep the cattle out, I was outside the side gate when I heard shouting and saw a runaway bull coming towards me. Then the Vicarage outing when the Sunday School children went to the vicarage for tea, and games. In later life I cleaned the Parish Church. I expect you know quite a lot of its history. I scrubbed every inch of the floor one year, cold water with soda mixed in hot water from home. I loved the work and was always fascinated by the window dedicated to a man who was killed while he was working on the Church. It was real work in those days, cleaning the lectern and candle sticks etc. I can faintly remember about some people I believe were bought to the Lodge after a bad railway crash at Witham Stn. I must have been very young at the time. I would have liked to know the origin of a song about Chipping Hill we used to sing, and have known more about when Witham Hotels were Coaching Inns. I remember we used to visit an old house at Powers Hall End reported to be haunted, that was before Highfields road was built on. We used to pick lovely wild flowers on Blyth’s meadows, I can just remember Blyth’s Mill, I think there is a Church on the old site. Please excuse writing and mistakes. I have arthritic hands and don’t concentrate as well as I used to. I can boast I was top of the School when I left the Church School. I believe that has all been pulled down, and Grove house and garden has disappeared. I believe Sir Percy Laurence had Byford House in Collingwood Road built, also he had an interest in creating the Recreation Ground. There used to be trees planted by or in memory of American soldiers in First World War [actually RAF, Second World War] and I can remember we all had mugs when the Jubilee Oak was planted at top of Collingwood Road.
Later in April 1991
Thank you for Book on old Witham. I don’t think Billy Carter’s Pork Butchers shop is mentioned. Home cured Pork, and scripps which were pieces of fat tried[?] down for lard. We had the scripps with salt after mother had tried[?] them down again and the lard was then spread on the bread to eat with the scripps. Then we used to go to Sorrels family butchers to get 6 pennyworth of pieces and 2 penny worth of suet, good beef pieces which would cost about £2 today, with dumplings from the 2d worth it was a good nourishing meal for the family of seven. During the first World war, we could get margarine when first rationing started in limited supplies from the Maypole shop, but as we were all auburn haired we were too well known to have more than one of us children go in and try to get more than one allowance. Then there were twins John and James Newman who lived in Bridge St who delivered milk from his float, and scooped milk from his can into our jugs at the door. Several of my brothers had training in Goodchilds butchers shops but ended up in Post Office work. My husband and I went to Braxted Park to enquire about a bungalow but as we came to the gate a carriage came toward it and the groom expected us to open the gate, false pride made me reject going any further with enquiries, such arrogance after being in domestic service for a number of years and being classed as second rate citizens, just because we were poor (my husband was a farm labourer on fifty shillings a week) just made me see red. It is a crime to be born poor. We used to have a small circus and fairs on a meadow opposite the old fire station in Guithavon St. Miss Maisie was an actress. I think I am right in saying she visited her father. I was very young when I knew of her. Her father lived near Dorothy Sayers. I have seen D Sayers the writer, rather a manly looking lady with short grey hair was my childish impression.
Thank you for photo, it was taken three years before I was born but I recognised my father. We used to see the maids come up the Avenue to go to Church on their Sunday mornings “off”. I have a faint recollection they made quite a stir when the younger ones started wearing “pneumonia” blouses (low necked) when I first started in domestic service, the lady told my mother “they are not becoming” (low necked). The earliest memories of Braintree Rd was Mr Ketley’s grocery shop, with John Hannah as assistant, he used to come round for orders, sometimes in a white apron. Cheese, butter, bacon all had to be cut up and weighed those days. We used to spend our penny, Saturday pocket money for broken sweets, these were remains of nearly empty jars. Would cost over £1 for same amount of sweets today. Marjorie Ketley one of the daughters would have made a second Margaret Thatcher. Mr Hannah eventually bought the shop and Mrs H was very good at teaching the assistants to save[?], one of my brothers worked there for years. Then there were the Gaymers. Doris Gaymer was about my age. She eventually went to High School and married in the Goldsmith family. Braintree Rd and the left hand side of Avenue Rd, and Collingwood Rd were very private those days, there were only Grove fields on the right hand side of Avenue Rd, no houses, These are myself looking at childish memories from an adult summing up. Miss Vaux and Mrs Paterson [Miss Pattisson] were two “noted! people who lived in Collingwood Rd in those days. When the Grove was sold Miss P was instrumental in getting my mother a Council House, as we were living in a one living room house with an attic with no door for a bedroom, and the stairs led from the one sitting room with the coal place in the same room. The entrance door was on the path and everything had to be brought in the entrance door as there was no back entrance. I cleaned for Mrs Hannah before I came to Colchester, they were still at the shop and I once cleaned the brass scales and weights, horrible job. I once went to a party for children at Mrs Lewis house when I was quite young and the young school boy son kissed me . A bit of O La La. I think that was my first kiss. Some of my brothers had more than one clout over the head for not behaving in Sunday School, from Miss Vaux. She was quite a “warrior”. Then Miss Pelly who lived up Hatfield Rd, can’t remember the name of the Lodge but I think the house has been turned into high class flats, it’s just a little further on the opposite side of the road to the public house leading to Maltings Lane. Miss P, as I see it now must have been interested in coming up to teenage people. She organised the Sunbeam Club. We used to do basket work and learn Country dancing. I remember one dance was called what sounded like Peas Cod. It was danced in groups, and so class wise East did mix with west. I t was held in the Church House. One of my brothers sent me a photo of my father. It was taken during the first world war. He is posed by the large engine that supplied the power for Hoffmans when it was turned in for munitions. The engine is almost twice his height and he was in charge of it. He was uneducated, what a waste of potential if he could take on a job like that. The firm was in Chelmsford, sounds like a German name. We used to go to an elderly gentleman’s house in Easton Rd for Sunday School. It had a below ground large room. I cant remember if it was because the Church House was not built then.
Extracts from documents
1891 census returns (mother, Mary Jane)
RG 12/1425, f.9, p.11, schedule 74, Victoria Cottages
George Pavelin Head M 46 Platelayer born Essex, Witham
Harriet Pavelin Wife M 45 born Essex, Witham
Maurice Pavelin Son S 13 Scholar born Essex, Witham
Jane Pavelin Dau 12 Scholar born Essex, Witham
Percy Pavelin 10 Scholar born Essex, Witham
Emily Pavelin 9 Scholar born Essex, Witham
Bertie Pavelin 7 Scholar born Essex, Witham
Emma Pavelin 6 Scholar born Essex, Witham
Arthur Pavelin 2 born Essex, Witham
1901 census returns (parents and brother)
RG 13/1725, f.50, p.26, schedule 185, Avenue Lodge cottage
William Burton Head M 27 Stockman to private gentleman born Herts, Widford
Mary Burton Wife M 22 born Essex, Witham
Percy Burton Son 1 born Essex, Witham
1920 Electoral register
Bridge Street: William Burton, Mary Jane Burton.
1930 Electoral register
No Amy Burton or Amy Taylor.
43 Rickstones Road, William Burton and Mary Jane Burton.
1938 Electoral register
No 141 Church Street, odd numbers stop at 63.
Her identity card gives address as 141 Church Street
1947 electoral register
141 Church Street, William Taylor, Amy Taylor