|Transcript Title||Wisbey, Cyril and Hilda (O1995.15)|
|Interviewee||Hilda Wisbey (HW) and Cyril Wisbey (CW)|
|Interviewer||Peter Ruffles (PR)|
|Transcriber by||Irene Garrad-Storey|
Hertford Oral History Group
Recording no O 1995.15
Interviewee: Hilda Wisbey (HW) and Cyril Wisbey (CW)
Date: 11th August, 1995
Venue: 25, Riversmeet
Interviewers: Peter Ruffles
Transcriber: Irene Garrad-Storey
************** unclear recording
[discussion] untranscribed material
italics editor’s notes
PR: This is Peter Ruffles at 25, Riversmeet and I am at the home of Hilda and Cyril Wisbey who lived in Hertford for 77 years and the date is 11th August. It's a very, very hot day, the net curtains are blowing in the breeze and Hilda's got a glass of water beside her ready for emergencies and it’s about quarter past two in the afternoon. We've had our "nosh" and this morning I ran into Cyril as I was just coming across to see if it was in order for me to come over and strangely enough, Cyril has only told me off once in my life and it was a curious thing because it was over a little incident which happened at the same spot where I spoke to Cyril this morning.
When I was a lad nearly all the neighbours told me off but I can only remember Cyril telling me off once and that was when I ran down our garden path out into the road and right into Cyril as he was coming out on his push bike and I ran out and he braked and he wagged his finger at me. And when I went out down the road a bit later in the day and Cyril's bike was parked outside number 30 leaning against the wall under the window I thought, "Oh I think I'll go round North Road way and I went round Cross Lane in case I ran into Cyril and got another telling off. I don't know how old I was then and Cyril wouldn't remember that but it's true.
HW: There was Derek, he got told off by the gentleman in the villas who used to wear the uniform.
PR: The Inspector?
HW: Yes, the inspector. He came banging at our door. Derek and John Morgan were only that high and they got out of the front door and there was a load of sand and shingle outside ready to do the road which they'd just tarred and they picked up a handful, Derek did. Well they caught Derek because they threw it at the car and somebody complained 'cos they threw it at the car as it went by and it hit the window. Somebody must have told him and he came knocking at the door. They'd got out of the door you see.
PR: Cor, we were rogues, weren't we? Now Derek, of course, was the brains in our class at St. Andrew's School, same vintage as me, and Derek was the trendsetter, wasn't he? Top of the class. Paula Bilton was a year older. Wasn't she a year older?
HW: Yes, that's right, I've got the photos there.
PR: Oh, but we'd better keep a discipline on this and start with Hilda's beginnings, born in Hertford 77 years ago.
HW: Yes, in the Folly, Frampton Street, August 14th, 1918.
PR: And your maiden name was Lancaster. How do you spell it?
PR: I am never sure where the emphasis is.
HW: My name is the same as the town of Lancaster and the Lancaster bomber. I don't know where that name came from originally. I've always tried to find out because there's so many things, Lancaster College, Lancaster at Clacton. There's parks, hotels, aeroplanes, carpet manufacturers and there's loads of things that's got that name.
PR: Were your people m Hertford a long time before you were born then?
HW: Oh yes. My granny and grandfather, not my father's side.
PR: What name were they then?
HW: Woodcock. My grandfather was at ???? Villas. He was a coachman and my granny was a midwife for the gentry, with Dr Lawson-Smith.
PR: She had stories to tell, the inside stories.
HW: And the Wrens up Ware Road, she brought all that family into the world. Lots of the tradespeople as well. I know a lot. Drury's and well everywhere, hundreds and she never lost one baby. She was a hard working woman and she had a good name and she'd got twelve children and nine were still alive. And now, of course, they were older than me, and I think they've all gone now and there's none left of that family but Nesta who lives at Fordwich Rise. She's my only cousin around here and I've got loads of other cousins but they're all in different parts of the country now. As we've got older there's only Nesta and I who keep together and are close together, you see. She married Reginald Dixon who had the leather shop in Hertford.
PR: There was Rush's or Dixon's, rivals.
HW: Yes and she still comes to me and I go to her.
PR: So where was Mrs Woodcock the midwife living then, in the Folly?
HW: Well, first it was at the Halfway House, opposite The Meads where the new bridge is. They lived in the little cottages along o' there and she brought up the twelve children in one of those cottages.
PR: The Lime Kiln Cottages?
HW: Yes. Oh, and then she moved to the gaol in Oak Street and that's where she was when the children went. My grandfather used to do the allotment at the back of the gaol which carried on to. Addis's ground where all their shops were, because that was a barracks sort of thing at the back. And I used to go as a little girl with my grandfather to get the rhubarb.
PR: So that was handy for the Wrens because their baker's shop was just
HW: Yes, and I'm still friendly with one of them. She's 80 or is she 90? And every time I go to the Methodist for lunch she comes to my table and she gets hold of my hand and she says, "Oh your gran, Mrs Woodcock, she was the most marvellous person." And you see when my gran lived there when she was young with her family, which they were there some of them. My mother went into service when she was thirteen, at Queens Road, and she was a cook and her friend was a housekeeper and they were there then but she did move later to the gaol you see. And grannie used to go over to the Wrens and I used to go as a little girl and one of the Wrens, the daughters who my grannie brought into the world. They all loved her. They used to give me a big bag of cakes because I was at mv grans then and now we still talk about the old times. And she only said the last time I saw her
PR: That's Ruth I expect, Ruth Long.
HW: Ruth, yes but I can never remember her name.
PR: Well, you still think of her as Wren, even though she's eighty-seven.
HW: Oh, she might be older. She might even be ninety. Well anyway, she said to me, "Oh!" she said "My father did a great work in Hertford." And he did. He helped the poor and he would give them bread and cake. He was a very kind man. I knew him quite well. And she said that when he died he wasn't even recognised in the town. And she said that what hurt the family was that they do streets in Hertford with different people's who've been in the town and on the council and she said, "My, they never even named a road after Josiah Wren” And she said he was a man for the poor.
PR: Yes, he was a Liberal and the others were mostly Conservatives. weren't they?
HW: Yes, that's right. And that's what she said to me only recently.
PR: Yes, that's an important little thing to get across.
HW: It's a thing that made think, you see Peter. And she still recognised me because of being my gran's granddaughter, you see.
PR: And sadly, she is still hurt by that after all these years, as he died in the early fifties, I suppose.
HW: Yes. It must have been in the fifties, Peter, at the same time other councillors died, like Addis.
PR: So when you were born your family were living in the Folly by then.
HW: Yes. When my mother got married she went into service you see and she was with a friend who was a Quaker, Ashfords of Hoddesdon. And mum went into service as a cook and Auntie Jennie. I've got a letter in my drawer
PR: That's where you get your cookery skills from!
HW: Yes. And she met my dad who was an errand boy at one of the big stores in London. And he worked hisself up to manager. And when the war came my father had to go into the forces and they got married and lived in London. And they lived over the shop. And I think it was called Roberts. And that was a big shop that did all hams like the one in Hertford and my father was in the Medical Corps. My mum wouldn't stay in London because of the bombs and my grannie got her a house in the Folly because my grannie was well in with the railway people, you know. When she was on that job they got her a cottage and my grandfather was well in with the Eastern Railway, you see. And my mother got a cottage on Frampton Street and that's where I was born.
PR: So was it owned by the railway?
HW: Yes, all the houses in the Folly were owned by the railway. In fact going back, I believe that when my grandfather first came to Hertford, I don't know so much about him, but he was on the railway and he was a guardsman. And he fell off the platform and hit his head on one of the buffers. And he had to come off that work and I think that's how he went as a coachman you see. and he was with Faudel-Philips.
When my grannie died my mother took over the job of doing all the family graves at All Saints' Church and I know where they are. Well I tried to find it the last time and I couldn't find it because it was all overgrown.
PR: Well, they've just cleared it last week.
HW: My mum used to do all that. And one of the Phillips that was left, she moved to London. And my mother used to go up and see her. And she used to send money to my mother to buy flowers for the anniversaries of those graves. And I was going up there when Derek was a little boy. And there was Derek and mum and mum used to do the graves and mum had the money. And she also used to give mum a bit of money for doing it. Mum was glad of a few shillings because money was scarce.
PR: Absolutely! When I remember your mum she was living, was it Ashley Road?
HW: Yes, Ashley Road.
PR: So did she move up there when they were built?
HW: When we grew up, you see, there wasn't enough room. My father suffered with asthma and that was during the war, through the war, because he was under tents through the bad weather and he developed it. And when he came out of the forces he had to take an open air job but he didn't because it was the slump and when he came to Hertford he was with Roberts, with Mr. Abrahams. He lived at Bengeo and he was a friend of my fathers.
PR: Was that Howard Roberts the Grocer?
HW: Yes. He was there but then he was at Horns' Mill, the glove factory. But I think that was where he went first. I'm not sure where he went first. He had to come out of there because he was getting the fluff on his lungs and he had to leave. Then he went on the National buses at Ware High Street. And he was on there until the Green Line came and then he was transferred to them.
CW: Harvey & Burrows!
HW: Yes, Harvey & Burrows, that's right. I've got photos in my scrapbook.
PR: Oh right!
HW: From there, oh, when the second war came he wanted to do something for his country so he came off the Green Line and he went to Wickham's at Ware, cleaning the turrets out on the tanks. You know when they came back from the desert they took them to Ware to clear out the sand.
PR: Coo, I'm glad we've got this recording going. That's a bit of history, Cyril.
HW: Yes. So that was that. And so it wasn't to be. And I had Derek who was 6 months old. And he was over there then and he did a lot of gardening and he caught a chill. And I said to him one day, “Oh Dad, don't keep doing that gardening.” I said, “Just look at the sweat.” And it was like this really, hot weather and he took his jacket off and hung it on the fence. And I said, “Don't do that dear, you'll catch a chill. You've been perspiring." And he said, "Oh I shall be alright.” Like all men, they're very stubborn. Cyril's just the same.
PR: This is going down into history, Cyril.
HW: It's not. It's not. So he had pneumonia and he was at the County Hospital and then it turned to emphysema and he never got over it. And he was 52 then. Derek doesn't remember him but when he used to come in the room he used to look round the door and say, "Where's my little boy?" You know, and he used to love him. But I've got photos of North Road, you know.
CW: But when did you move up Ashley Road?
HW: I was…I went to Addis's about 19
HW: Yes, 1932 about then.
CW: No, after then.
HW: Well, I was about 15 or 16.
CW: About 1934 or 1935.
HW: Yes, you see I was growing up and my sister Betty was growing up and my brother was older then me. And he needed a bedroom you see. And Doctor Eager said to my dad that he must get out of the Folly and he said, ''It's far too damp for you." And it wasn't too good for me either because I take after my father and I was rather on the chesty side. I don't get asthma but I have to be careful. Of course they were new then, Peter. Mrs. Morgan lived near us in the Folly, Nellie and Trevor. I was brought up with her and I've got a photo to show you where we learned to swim in the river in Frampton Street. And you say about the rivers and pollution, Peter, I learned to swim in that river in Frampton Street. All of us did. And we used to get all the old weeds out and all the crawly things. And the rats used to be running along and we never worried and never caught anything and we had happy times. That's when I moved up to Ashley Road.
PR: Was it difficult to get a house then?
HW: Oh, yes, definitely. We were on the list quite a while. We went and looked at a lot of houses along the Ware Road, in Townsend Street and up by Kingsmead, as there was a row of lovely villas and dad wanted to move up there but my mother wouldn't let him. There were some people along the Ware Road who could have got us a nice house near them but mum wouldn't move from the Folly because she wasn't secure because of my father's health. She said she didn't want no ties round her neck, because he wanted to buy. They paid so much down and then paid off same sort of thing. And she wouldn't let him do it because she, well she always said he wouldn't make old bones and she wouldn't take any risk. So we stopped at the Folly and then when they built them new houses, Mrs. Morgan and them got one because she'd got the boys, you know, Jack and George. And Ralph and Nellie and I was brought up with them.
PR: Nellie Morgan?
HW: Yes, I'm still friends with her. And Mr. Morgan came down one day and he said, "Mrs. Hastings is moving next door to us. And it was a new house where they hadn't been in very long and they lived at Hertingfordbury near Cyril, in the pub. What was it called?
CW: Prince of Wales.
HW: Well, Hastings their name was and they wanted to come out of it. Well, she was offered a council house and then she died and Mr. Morgan came down and said, “There's a house going next to us and you're on the list. Why don't you try for it?” Dad got it because there were three of us and Dad was asthmatic and he got the doctor to say he needed to get out of the Folly and Peter. You say there wasn't any damp down the Folly. There was. Because under our house I remember, as a girl, there was the Warner's in Railway Street and they had to take all our flooring up and the water was that deep and it was all going up the walls. And dad had to sell our piano.
We had a lovely piano because my dad was musical and I think that's where I get my singing from really. You know, I love music and singing. Then we got up to Ashley Road.
PR: Mm, same sort of thing as today really. If there was a need proven then you got it.
HW: Oh, yes, definitely. You see the people on the Green, they were very poor. We classed ourselves in the Folly as not better than them because we are all equal but they were really the poorer class. They really were. And it was really bad down there. But we always mixed with those girls because we all went to the same school. We were all the same.
PR: Yes, all part of the same community but they had a rougher time.
HW: A rougher bringing up. Oh definitely. They did but we liked them and we mixed with them and we weren't snobbish in any way because we were only working class people.
PR: Who was it that came up from The Green then on to the estate?
HW: Loads of them. There was Daisy Ansell, there was people in Campfield Road. There was loads.
PR: Teddy Newell, Rosie Dunnage. Did Rosie come from The Green?
HW: Yes, Rosie Dunnage. Yes, thev all come from The Green.
PR: Thorogoods. I can just think from up that side there.
HW: Yes, there was loads of them. Not so much round the area where I lived. There was the lady who used to be at the fish shop, the elderly lady.
PR: Mrs Watts.
HW: Yes, they were all from The Green.
PR: Yes, because Mrs Henry, her daughter, is still there.
HW: Yes, and all those fish shops. And my mum wouldn't let me go down Railway Street if we wanted to go to the fish and chip shop. My mum used to say, "You're not to go down there.” You know, you'd got to have somebody with you. There was Donaghue's, there was Dobson's and there was that one on the corner. There was three fish shops. And when the men used to come out of the pubs at night, they were drunk and sick in the gutters. And there was all papers strewn, papers with all the chips lying about. It was rough but the point was, you see, Peter, those men had been working all the week and they had hard lives them men did, because they used to have these corded trousers tied round with a bit of string; you, know, and a red scarf, like gypsies. They were harmless and they wouldn't hurt you but my mum was just nervous, you see, because we were girls. But we went down. And if you went down for a 1d bag of chips, you didn't really have to let them know you'd been down there.
PR: Well, yes. Now you've known Daisy, was she a twin? I forget which were the twin sisters.
HW: NO, that was Evelyn and Renee. I knew them. They went to the church. Well, Daisy did but not the others. You see I was christened at ALL Saints' because my mother and my father were Confirmed at All Saints'. My father was when he came to Hertford, you see. And I always had to go to All Saints' Church as a young girl. And Nellie and Mrs. Morgan and Jack was in the choir. And we used to sit at the back Nellie and I and we used to fidget because we weren't very old. Nellie's father was on the railway and my father was on the split shifts on the Green Line. No not that part of the time, he wasn't. I'm getting mixed up now. When we were very little we used to go to All Saints' and we used to fidget. When I was five I didn't want to go to All Saints' School. I wanted to go to Cowbridge. And also I wanted to go to the Baptist Sunday School because all my friends at Cowbridge School came from that area. And I went to Port Vale and we all wanted to be together. And I went there until I was 16 and I went all through the Classes. The girls were at one side and the boys at the other. And from there you got to the Bible class. And then I went as a teacher in the primary when Mrs. Hiills, you know, the Keeble’s, and I was trained by Bernard Keeble in the choir, in those days, you see. I went down there. And then I left because I was at Addis in the Despatch Office and, you see, we drifted from there more.
We went to church on Sunday nights and we gave up the Sunday School part then, Nora and I. That was Nora Ansell, Len Ansell's sister. We used to walk round the Castle Grounds and talk to the boys which is natural. And, you see, we come away. And then because I met Cyril when I was 19 and we got married.
PR: Secret meetings you've got to keep quiet about. I thought you were coming up with a good story there.
CW: I doubt it. She'll tell you. She knows more about it.
HW: Well I was friendly with Nellie you see and mind you, I was a bit of a flirt, Peter. And I was 19 then and I hadn't found the right one. Nellie and I used to go dancing at the Corn Exchange and I had lots of boyfriends, nice ones, but I'd never really found the right one. And then Nellie came to me one day and said, "Hilda there's someone who'd like to meet you.” And we made an appointment to meet each other. I did know him, I knew a lot of the boys in Hertford.
PR: But you hadn't ventured out to the villages.
HW: No, but I ended up with a country lad.
PR: Where did you arrange to meet?
HW: That was in the castle, wasn't it?
CW: I can’t think.
HW: You sent a message that you wanted to meet me. Was It the bottom of our road?
CW: I can't really remember now.
HW: Ain't he awful?
PR: There's a romantic for you. He's forgotten.
CW: Well she can't remember herself!
HW: I know the gate that we used to stand next to and he wrote my name. And I went to get my name off the gate and I knew it was there. Just a few years ago I went up to Sele Farm and along the holly bushes. I've got a photo actually. We went up there and I said to Cyril, "That gate is still there." And it was rickety and it was pushed back against the hedge. And on it, it had got the heart and on it was his name and mine. It was only last year and I wanted to carve it off because I wanted it to put out here and they'd taken the gate away.
No, we met…
CW: It must have been in the castle or somewhere like that, I would have thought.
HW: No, I think it was down the bottom, you know, down by the allotments, wasn't it?
PR: Campfield Road.
PR: Mm, so it rolled on from there.
CW: Yes, we started going out from there, didn't we?
HW: Yes, and he didn't turn up one night.
CW: I don't know what happened.
HW: Something went wrong on his side to do with work or something. And I went as far as Fore Street. We'd arranged to meet in Fore Street I think, and we missed each other. And I was just going home and I thought, “He's let me down and he's not coming anymore.” And I thought, “Right!” And all of a sudden I saw him in the distance. That was at the beginning and from there we made appointments and we kept going out together.
PR: So when, I know the kind of answer but since we're doing it for people 50 years ahead, where would you have done your courting?
HW/CW: All around Hertford, all round. We used to walk miles and miles, around the lanes, right along the holly bushes. Then we'd come to stiles and he used to help me over very chivalrously.
We used to go to Birch Green and you came out right by the holly bushes, and all through the woods up there. We used to go through The Warren, through The Meads right out to the Ware Park low road, right through Ware and right round in a circle. We used to go to Hertford Heath and Hertingfordbury and across to the rifle range and (Cvril) I used to go swimming, along there, in the river.
PR: So you had one hand round Hilda and the other one on your bike?
CW: We used to leave the bike behind.
PR: So had your family, Cyril, been in Hertingfordbury for some time before you were born?
CW: My eldest brother was the only one who wasn't born in Hertingfordbury. And he was born in Port Vale, one of those little side streets by the bridge which is now pulled down. There was a little alleyway up there and my mother lived up there for a time but, you see, then before I was born, my sister was two years older than me and my older brother who died was two years older and so my mother lived at Hertingfordbury anything up to 5 years before I was born.
PR: Why would she have gone to Hertingfordbury then?
CW: I should think it was something to do with my father’s work, because he worked at Cole Green for a man by the name of Waddington who had the farm which is now Munns Farm. You know where I mean, don't you? He worked on the land all his life, you see. And I think he had that job, so it was better for him. It wasn't a tied cottage because I don't think my father wanted to go into a tied cottage. There were ones attached to the farm but he wouldn't have one you see. So 'that's the only reason I could think of. I don't know what the place was even like that they had at Port Vale, poky little places, perhaps.
PR: Byde Street twitchel.
CW: Yes, you used to go up that twitchel.
PR: They're not that small.
CW: I don't know. I've never been to it.
PR: But what was the address in Hertingfordbury?
CW: 251, that's what it was made into. In the early stages it was No. 11. 11, Hertingfordbury but, you see, when it was taken into the county they were all renumbered.
PR: Yes, the sequence starting down here and
CW: They renumbered it all and finished up at 251.
PR: Where is 251?
CW: Next to the barber's shop, next to Rayment's shop.
PR: And that's on the town side? Which side is it?
CW: The town side. Oh no, the further side. There's nothing attached to the shop at this side.
PR: There's the shop then the yard.
CW: Well we used to go under the arch to get to our back gate.
PR: And Mrs Cannon was next door.
CW: Yes. That's right. I remember they moved from Essendon. Mrs Cannon did. I tell you who used to live there. You know them. That's Bush who used to live in North Road.
PR: What Herbie Bush?
CW: Yes. He used to work for McMullen's. The old man did. Well they used to live next door. And Sonny Bush, he was a baker, wasn't he? And Mrs Bush taught Derek. Yes, she was a schoolteacher. Well, they used to live where Cannons lived. Oh yes! I lived there when they did, oh yes.
PR: And your dad?
CW: Used a threshing machine.
PR: So he was really into the country life!
CW: Oh yes. He did all sorts of things in that line. Actually I think the biggest shock he really had, I think he was down at McMullen's. I think he was sawing wood down there with a machine and Mr. Bush was there and he said to him, "Don't go near that belt". You know, on the threshing machine there was that big, long belt was flexing while they were sawing this wood and Bush put his coat on while they were sawing this wood and it picked him up and that was the end of him. He never did no more work after that.
PR: So that would be Sonny Bush's father.
CW: Yes, because he was quite old, older than my father.
PR: So that's a story going back a long, long way.
CW: Oh yes, but that's what happened to the old man Mr Bush. It didn't kill him but it gave him a hell of a turn because the belt whipped him round immediately because they're big belts. I mean the belt is about that wide.
PR: So It was village life for you then, all the time.
CW: Oh yes, we were born there.
PR: Were there many children in the village because there aren't many nowadays?
CW: Well, there was a few. There was the Shepherds, Harry Shepherd. You know them and you probably know Strattons. They're still there. Les Stratton and Reg, there were three. There was the Rayments. There was three of them. And there was the Lamberts.
PR: Oh yes, John and George.
CW: John and George Lambert, there was. Mrs. Cannon had Doris.
PR: Oh yes, Doris Cannon.
CW: There was Crawleys. used to have Gunners. There was Boulter. There was Saggers as well.
PR: I was forgetting all these!
HW: Oh yes. We knew all those. I did see. I didn't come into town so much then.
CW: There was Ted Boulter.
PR: Ted Boutler lived right at the end of the pathway that goes at right angles to the main road beyond the Prince of Wales, the end house.
CW: Yes, that's right and Saggers lived up there next door to him.
PR: Mr Boulter worked at Panshanger. Was he on the estate?
CW: I don't know. I can't be sure as to what he done. He could possibly have worked for the farmer, Topham. I don't remember whether he did or not. I didn't know much about them. Well you see, it's like the rest of places, you didn't play with all of them. Certain ones didn't come out. For example, Alan Stratton you never saw much of him. And you never saw much of Harry Shepherd and them or people like that.
PR: Alan's quiet now isn't he?
CW: Yes. Oh yes. I always get on alright with Harry. I always got on with Harry's father. I used to do very well with him.
PR: There was a time when Harry's father had a place down here next to The Oak.
CW: Yes, that's right. He did.
PR: He used to wear his glasses on top of his head.
CW: I don't know why he always used to put them up there but he always did. A very clever man he was.
PR: Was it electrical stuff then?
CW: Yes, he done all sorts of electrical stuff, he did. See I worked down Warehams Lane, as you know, with cars. And we had several what I'd call naked chassis come in. And we put the body on them and he used to come in and do all the wiring, everything, right from the start, you know. He used to wire everything up, all the lights and all the speedos, everything. He used to do all the electricals, all manner of things.
PR: I didn't know that. He just seemed to me a bit of a ramshackle old boy.
CW: Well he was very, very clever. Well I think he was anyway.
PR: Well yes, and the business is still there in a form today. isn't it.
CW: He always told me a tale. I presume there was a lot of truth in it. That he had a lot to do with the fire engine. Apparently for some escape on the fire-engine, Merryweathers said it couldn't be done. And Shepherd reckons he done it for them years ago.
PR: Yes,yes. It's quite possible isn't it? One man applying
CW: Well if he knows what he's doing. But he was a clever man. Well I think he was anyway.
PR: Presumably the business was in the village at that time?
CW: No, I don’t think he had any business in the village. No, because that yard he's got was Avis & Brooker, wasn't it? You don't remember that? Well it was a builder's yard, Avis and Brooker, that was,
PR: Ah, right. So he was simply operating from the sheds next to The Oak.
CW: Yes. He'd got nothing else that I know of because, I'm trying to think of another chap's name. Another chap had it but I can't think of his name. He used to grow mushrooms in all those sheds, this chap did, didn't he? What was his name?
CW: No, his name's completely slipped me. He lived right along the holly bushes. There's two houses, you know, where you go on to Tewin or turn down to 0ld Welwyn. Over on the right there's a couple of houses and he lived in one of those. I just can't remember his name. He used to grow loads of mushrooms. He was a carpenter but he just started growing mushrooms in all those sheds.
HW: You used to go into MrWatsaname's yard, didn't you, Shepherd.
CW: No. Shepherd had nothing there then because my father bought a car and he let us have one of those these sheds for a garage.
HW: I was riding about in a car all the time I was courting Cyril. All the time, we went everywhere. We used to go down to Chrishall and everywhere down there, didn't we? Cambridgeshire and everywhere - Thaxted.
CW: You see, my mother and father come from that way. My father lived at Arkesden.
HW: And the Wisbeys are round there now. Because they've phoned Paul up or is it Derek and they say there's a Wisbey out so and so. Are you any relation to them? They're knocking around that way.
CW: We used to go to Birch Green School, you see. There was about 70 children there so there was children all about the Greens and we used to cycle round to meet each other. There wasn't an awful lot of traffic on the road so it wasn't any bother. There weren't many buses. We couldn't afford buses. We had to have push bikes.
PR: I suppose the 342 to New Barnet was going through, was it?
CW: It may have been.
PR: So it wasn't relevant to you coming into town here?
CW: No, we didn't use the buses much. When we were older we used to come into the town but until we started work, we didn't get into the town very much, only when our parents brought us.
PR: So how did you get provisions for the family?
HW: Oh, that's a story.
CW: Well actually we had got Rayment's next door. My mother, like most mother's in those days belonged to the Co-op and all you done was you had a book and you filled it and I don't know whether they collected
it or whether you took it in, I can't remember.
HW: We used to take it in.
CW: You used to take the book in and they would deliver the stuff for you at the end of the week. They delivered anything that you wanted, which you'd put in the book and you paid the bill.
PR: So you didn't have to do any trekking around?
CW: On no.
HW: And his father was on the land and he used to kill a lot of rabbits.
CW: Oh, there were plenty of rabbits about.
PR: And he died on his allotment, didn't he, your dad?
CW: He did, yeah.
PR: did he have the allotment a lot of years?
CW: I don't know how many years he had it. I used to do it with him. There's houses on them know.
PR: Mayflower Close, isn't it?
CW: I don't know what it's called. I've never been up the little path since. Oh yes, he died up there. Well he shouldn't have gone up that little bit of hill.
HW: His mum told him he wasn't to go but he would go. You see these men, they do all these things, don't they?
CW: Well he wasn't old but old Doctor Mortis said his heart was completely worn out. He didn't say there was anything really wrong with it, only that it was worn out. Just worn out through hard work.
HW: He did work hard.
PR: And your mum lived on a bit after?
HW: Oh, a long, long time. My father died when he was sixty-nine when my mother was sixty and she lived on another twenty-nine years. She was ten years younger than my father to start with, wasn't she?
PR: I remember hearing the news that your dad had died.
HW: I've got it all in his scrapbook.
PR: You should have had a video camera as well.
HW: I've got all sorts of things here.
PR: I'm going to put the pause on, Hilda, because the listeners won't be able to see the photos. Unless! I tell you what. Let's just ask you from where I came in. I remember that first of all you were living at Number 30 Hertingfordbury Road opposite The Oak.
HW: Yes, when you started school.
PR: When did you move in there?
HW: End of the war. Yes, I moved there in 1945. I was there five years.
PR: It seemed longer.
HW: I had Derek up Ashley Road. Yes, Derek was born up Ashley Road.
PR: Oh, he was born up there was he?
HW: Yes, he was. Derek was. Yes, he was.
CW: Oh yes, of course he was because you were living at home with your mum.
HW: Yes, I was living at home with mum and my dad, you see.
PR: How did you manage to get Number 30?
HW: (Laughing) This didn't oughta come out you know. It's past.
Now this is where my gran comes in. My gran, she brought Mrs Chapman of Ware, my gran brought her son into the World. I'm not sure about her daughter but my gran was very friendly with her. They were monied people, you see and they'd got property. And Lilian moved there first. And we were very close, the Morgans and us. And they knew I wanted a place because I didn't want to live at home. I had my name on the rural list at Birch Green when I married, didn't I, because Cyril was living in that area. And I'd also got it on the Hertford Council list and then at first Lilian lived with Mrs Chaprnan at Ware. And Mrs Chapman gave her one of the cottages. And I was friends with Lilian. And John was a baby then. And I wanted a place. And they told me there was going to be a cottage going. And I knew that my gran was friends with Chapmans so I went to see my gran. And I said there was a cottage going down there. And she said she'd get in touch with Mrs Chapman and ask for it for me. There again, you see, I got It.
CW: Wheels within wheels.
PR: Where did Chapmans get their money? Were they in trade?
HW: They were builders because there was one in Hertford, in Molewood Road, a Chapman's.
CW: Yes, on the corner. They used to come and do the repairs.
PR: That's nothing to do with? There was a Miss Chapman on Old Cross, dressmaking,
HW: No, it's a common name.
PR: So who were the neighbours along there?
HW: Oh I can tell you most of them. There was Lilian.
PR: She was a widow very early on then?
HW: Oh yes, yes. Jack died before she got that cottage. That year, Peter, it was a sad year. My father died. First Jack was killed, then George and I went to all their weddings. First there was my dad and then there was Jack. And Mrs. Morgan came to the door and told us and it was terrible. And, of course, I'd got Derek as a baby and Lilian had got hers, you see. And on top of that George was killed.
CW: Who lived next door to Lilian?
HW: There was Stokes, Dot.
CW: There was someone there before Dot though. Who was that?
PR: You used to have pens up at the doors to stop the children running out.
HW: Yes, Cyril made mine and the front door.
CW: There was Ruby Walls at Number 32.
HW: Yes, Ruby and us and then there was Miss Godfrey, the old lady. And she was very fond of us because we used to give her vegetables and eggs because l had chickens in the back garden, Rhode Island Reds. And we used to have new laid eggs.
PR: She was very deaf wasn't she and wore black.
HW: Yes and we use to chop wood for her.
And Derek and John little tinkers out in the garden, you know. And I'd got my washing out and they'd have a stick and it had all dirt on it. And they'd rub it along the washing-sheets and she'd come out.
CW: Who was next to Miss Godfrey then?
HW: Ford. Mrs Ford and Whiting. He used to kill rabbits.
PR: Arthur Wright used to live at Number 36.
CW: Yes, he's the one who used to sell poultry. Then there was Wackett's, a fat one. Do you remember Wackett's shop?
PR: Just back here, yes.
CW: There was a big fat chap used to work, in there. He was a White, I think.
PR: Yes there were Whites down there.
HW: Yes, Whites. A young married couple with no children.
PR: And Lambert. Lambert on the railway.
HW: Yes, Mrs Lambert and Mrs. Billings.
PR: Evelyn Ambrose's aunt. And the Walkers.
HW: Yes. The Walkers, Pat.
CW: Who was that other chap who lived there at one time, who married, he worked at Session's Garage. I was trying to think who he married. That woman we used to meet in the Saracen's Head, who brought you mushrooms off the Mead.
HW: Izzard? No, Fordham?
CW: What was her name? She married him, didn't she? She was his second wife. I can't remember his name.
PR: And then Biltons on the other side.
CW: He must have been there before Biltons, the one I'm talking about or before one of them there.
PR: Yes, Biltons have done a hundred years.
HW: Yes, the father was there, wasn't he?
CW: I can't remember which one this chap was in.
PR: We've been down the road. Where did Lilian Morgan come from?
HW: Wales. She was a nurse. Yes. I think Jack met her at the Gallows Hill Hospital first and I think she went up to the County for a time.
PR: And is she still in Herford, at Sele Farm?
HW: Yes, she's 82 now. I can hardly recognise her.
PR: And our villas, can we go along there?
HW: Yes, Mrs. Walls, Mrs Harding. Mrs. Walls was my mother's friend and your mum. I knew your mum well. We used to have a chat. Because you were little, weren't you.
HW: I was very fond of your mum. We always used to have a chat. Then there was the ginger-haired girl. I've forgotten her name.
PR: Tubbett. Joan Tubbett. Because there was the wall up I don't think there was the community thing along our villas.
HW: No, they all kept
PR: They all had curtains or Venetian blinds.
HW: No, the never mixed. They were more reserved, weren't they? I knew them and they always spoke but you never got in a proper conversation.
PR: I mustn't keep taking all your time. It's so good getting through these bits and pieces.
HW: I could tell you plenty.
PR: What about Rose Dunnage that we used to torment a bit. She came up from the Green.
PR: She was alright, wasn't she really?
HW: Well, she was harmless but she wasn't senile, not really.
CW: Backward, I should think.
HW: Yes, backward! There are Dunnages about in Hertford. There are some up on the estate which I think are some relation.
PR: Her husband, we used to call him Cuckoo.
HW: Had he got a cap on?
PR: Yes, a little man.
HW: I don't think she was always like that. I can remember when they were at the Green. You could pick her out sort of thing. They were comical. But I wouldn't say she was. I wouldn't know how to term her.
PR: Nowadays there would be a term, or something.
HW: 'Well, there was one up at the goal. She was Maudie Mead, another character. Now my gran knew her. She was up there when my grannie was younger. She was a character in the town.
PR: She used to frighten me. She used to work in McMullen's, in the bottling when I was in the paper shop and I don't remember her mother but they both took firewood around, didn't they?
I remember Maudie.
HW: Oh yes, long dresses and high boots more like a man. She was as strong as a horse.
There were a few characters around the town then, wasn't there then.
PR: Almost every shop you went in would have somebody in it who was memorable in one way or another. If you think of it, little things they said.
HW: Yes. And I mean really my friends at Bengeo, they're strangers to Hertford and they're down at the church. And I go visiting them. And when I'm with them and we're out somewhere special and we go up and talk to different people, they say, "I don't know, you two know everybody,” as though we're busy bodies and we're nosey. But we're not. We're not that type, are we? We're friendly and we're Hertford people and interested in their conversation. And you can talk about things but when they come from out of town and they're complete strangers they know nothing of your past. And who you knew when you was a child you see and you've gone to school with them, you've grown up with them and I've got photos out of Addis's.
PR: If I clip this one on to you it will give you a spare hand. It's just the same but this one hasn't got a clip on it.
CW: You've worn that one out!
PR: Someone has!
HW: This is how I love my town Peter. I don't like it as is not really, because I reminisce back too much.
PR: This is the Addis's indoor staff Brush Works, Hertford, 1931. It's like a school photograph.
HW: I tell you we all look like prison girls. As soon as you got there you were shoved a straight pinafore. No style, you slipped it over your head. Where are they, these pinafores? I'm not on it. My cousin's on it, Joan Meads from Hertford Heath. I know lots of these and I could go through all the lot.
PR: But they're all in the same sort of gear.
HW: Yes, and the women who have got the coats on are the overseers. There's Phyllis Plough, old Mr. Addis, Mrs. Addis. Where's Bertie? I don't know whether he's on it. He should be.
PR: There's about 300 people here.
HW: Yes. Do you remember her? Lived up Sele Road. What was her name?
Ooh, my names go a bit now. Oo, she lived up there, Miss, er. I don't know whether she'd got a sister.
PR: Where did she live, on the main bit?
HW: Yes. Ooh, that is what gets me Peter now. It's the names. Ain't it awful.
PR: Mind you. I can't recognise anyone but it was twelve years before I was born.
CW: You weren't very old at the time.
HW: And I look at Mrs. Addis. You remember her. And look at Mrs. Addis and Bertie. I was under Bertie. He used to come and give me orders and stand over me and I used to shake like a leaf.
I was in the Despatch Office.
PR: What a start there. There were several hundred people.
HW: Yeah. All these girls I went to school with and look how sad we look and, look at our hair. We couldn't afford perms, all straight hair. We all looked plain and it was hard work. You worked from 8 o'clock in the morning till 5:30 to 6 o'clock at night.
I've worked there from 8 in the morning till 7 at night getting out Boots' and Maws' work, getting the orders out and you used to sweat and if you dropped a polythene bag or anything on the floor, Bertie would come along and wipe it and tell you not to drop anything.
CW: They didn't want you to waste anything.
HW: I'm not on it. I went there a year later, in 1932. A lot of my friends, there's Ruby Walls there, just there.
PR: Oh yes, Ruby.
HW: We were sad people. We weren't happy there. But we had nowhere else to go. I mean the unemployment there was about. You see the youngsters today
PR: She's 85 now, Ruby, isn't she? She had her birthday the other day.
HW: Yes. Oh, there's loads on here. There's May Wallace. A lot or my friends are still alive but there's a lot gone now.
PR: People did quite a lot or Addis work at home, didn't they?
HW: Yes, Cyril's mother
CW: Oh. Yes. My mother used to pick bristle for years and years and years
HW: Yes, I was in the bristle room when I first started and I didn't like it. There was all this bristle, all different shades. And I thought I shall never like it in here. I wanted to be a florist in Nicholl's and I was on the list but I couldn't get a job. In the end I had to work down there. But I worked myself up and in the end I got in the office. But just when I got in the office my mother was taken ill and I had to give up and help to look after her.
CW: Oh yes. My mother done bristle for years.
PR: One of the O'Smotherley's in St. Andrew Street, in Hayden's yard, when I used to go there, Michael, his aunts had been there.
CW: Oh yes, of course. Reg worked there, didn't he? And he was the only driver they had there m the early days.
PR: Oh, was he?
CW: Well they only had one lorry and we built that and Reg took it over. There was another man who was the driver before him and I can't remember his name now, a little short man. Reg used to be van boy with him. And, I think, when they got this new lorry, it was about 15 cwt, 3 ton. Lorry not big in comparison to today but it was the only one they had and Reg was the driver.
HW: Mr Warren, he used to come in for my orders because I was in the Packing Office where I was working after the bristle room. And Mrs. Addis tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Come along Popsie, Topsy. She called everyone Topsy. I was only 15 and I had to walk through this big machine shop. I'd never seen a machine in my life and I had to walk through with all these working and that was the bone shop and we walked through and crossed the road. And there was another nice building and it had some coconut matting in strips and all the white painted benches and I thought, "This looks better." And I had to work.
CW: Weren't you serrating?
HW: No. I had trays of work and they were bone. Hooking and ringing. I had a rubber band and a little thing to put round the top and you'd got to put the hook through that hole in the toothbrush and this little leaflet and put a band round it put it m the tray. Well I was on that for a while and thought, “This is boring and it's not what I want to do”,
CW: Well all factories are boring work.
HW: And from there I went on the benches. And there was a little machine with all the cartons. And I had a bone spatula and this wheel was going round and you had to go quick because you'd got to keep all the girls busy round the bench. And you'd got to open them up and push them through. And I was doing that and then when they were done they were taken to another bench. And it gradually got to the top where there were big benches and they were the orders. Now from that bench I went on to the orders. And that's where I was made up to the staff and I got up to that.
That was all orders. And you had a box with all the steaming not wax and you had to tie the parcels up. The string was nearly as big as my finger. And you had to go up to the barracks. It was called the barracks
CW: They were barracks once upon a time.
HW: The string was all up there and I had to carry it back. And we weren't very big. And I'd got a pair of scissors as big as that with thick blades and very sharp. And you had to put your parcel like that on to your paper. And you'd measure it. How much you'd need for packing. And put your scissors right up the paper, like that. And then you'd do your folding, turn the ends in, turn it round and put your string round, make a slip knot, pull it round here. I can still do it. And you worked and worked until you dropped. And if you went out to the toilet they timed you. And they'd say, when you got back, “Where have you been?” And they'd watch you. And they wouldn't let you go out there two or three times. You clocked in and you clocked out. I always say it was like a prison.
They had the work out of you, Peter, they did really. And when you think of things today, the hours and everything. It's totally different. You had to work real hard, real hard down there. No wonder
CW: Yes, but the machines do it all today, don't they, Peter?
HW: I was happy. I was happy. I didn't really want to leave my job because I'd got on but it was a duty that I had to do. I had to do it.
PR: So were you away in the war?
CW: I was called up on October 16th 1939. What happened you see, Peter. I was fortunate in one way as I come under the Militia and I'd got 6 months to do. I went to have a medical in June 1939. Well before the war started. And when I got there they said, ”'Well, you're A1. What do you want to do? You can do six months in the army or twelve months in the air force or the navy. So I said, “I'll do six months in the army. I've got to do something." He said, "What do you want to go in?"
And I said, "Well, I can drive so I think I'll go in the service corps.” And when it started I went in the
service corps, October 16th 1939.
HW: He had to leave his job.
CW: And I come out in 1946. January 13th I got home. So that was 6½ years nearly.
PR: All our kids were born without dads around.
CW: Yes, 6½ years.
HW: And brought up by their mums. We did well.
PR: Yes, you did quite well.
CW: Yes, course you did.
HW: You used to come and call for Derek.
CW: Well your father was in the army, wasn't he?
PR: Yes. He was away in Algiers most of the time.
CW: Well, being in the service corps we weren't classed as a fighting regiment, not really. They always said it took about 16 people at home or behind the lines to keep one in the line, with all the things. They'd got to have food and petrol and ammunition, you see. I had 2½ years in Northern Ireland to start with.
HW: Yes, he only come home once or twice a year.
PR: Yes. It's hard for people to realise now, isn't it?
HW: Yes, he even used to come home in the middle of the night. I mean I had the warning that he might be coming.
CW: Well, you never knew when you were going to get home.
HW: And Derek, he was only a baby and he used to stand up. And he knew that rat-tat on the door. And he used to put his arms forward and say, “Dad, dad, dad dad.” But with all the periods of not seeing him for so long, he'd got to get used to him again. And it was the same with all of you, wasn't it?
CW: We didn't go abroad until after D-day, you see. It must have been eight or nine days after because they couldn't land us. There were difficulties in the early days. The sea was so rough they couldn't land anybody.
HW: I used to do parcels up and send them. I used to make cakes and sausage rolls and everything. And his mum used to put hers in my parcels and I used to put mine in her parcels. And we never knew whether they were going to get them but we chanced it.
CW: Loads of them didn't get there.
HW: I've still got a couple of letters. I've kept two or three. I had loads, stacks and stacks of letters and and I had all of them done in rubber bands. And I kept them for so long until Cyril came home. And I said, “Thank you, all this lot in six years." And l didn't know what to do with them because really they were private and I'd either got to put them in pouffes and things. And I didn't know who was going to get them. did I? So I picked the most sentimental and the private ones out because they were all censored, and I've stiII got them in my drawer, yes, yes.
CW: Well, it's a long time when you think of it but really, I rnean, look how quickly this last fifty years has passed, since it all finished.
PR: Yes, that's the other side of it.
CW: It doesn't seem possible.
PR: To try and describe to the young people today what
HW: Life was
CW: That's right
HW: There's lots of things, you'll see some of them in there.
PR: I'll have to scuttle on in a minute because I'm taking up your time.
HW: I only picked one or two things out, of the Folly, my brother and I. I fell over and broke my arm in two places and I was up here for three or four weeks. That is me. My mum used to make all my clothes, skirts and that. And that's my brother. She used to make his trousers and only buy his pullovers, because times were hard you know. That is me when I lived up Ashley Road. That's when I first started work, that was, but that was not the place I really wanted to go. My aunty wanted me to be a lady's maid with her. One of mum's sisters and she went all over the world with the gentry people and she wanted me to go but I wouldn't because I always wanted to be at home.
PR: Yes. That's the Topsy that got called up.
HW: Yes. That's the gate.
PR: Oh, by the holly bushes.
HW: Yes. And you see it was falling to bits in those days. That was right up the top and we used to go along and park, the car when we did most of our courting in that area. That was our wedding in Hertingfordbury during the war. Cyril's leave was cancelled and then it was on again so that he could come home and I had everything ready.
CW: It was cancelled the first time.
HW: Yes. So he didn't have his ordinary suit on. He had to be married in his uniform.
That's my Betty and that's me. I sent that to Cyril during the war and that is one of Cyril.
PR: He hasn't altered much, has he?
HW: No. He looks the same. He hasn't altered much has he? That one is John Morgan and Derek sitting on the wall somewhere over the cottage. No, I'm not sure about that one. It can't be on the wall because that would be too high.
PR: Mm. It looks very lofty.
CW: Let me have a look. I might know.
HW: Yes. You might know.
HW: That's me and my brother and that's the railway. You see in Frampton Street the railway runs there and when over the other side was Hartham. And when I was little the fair used to be down there and we had fêtes.
CW: (Looking at photo) I doubt it. No! I don't know. Don't know it.
PR: LMS goods truck on the right. That should have been a Great Eastern really. It's out or It' area, London Midland.
HW: Oh, that was at Clacton with all the girl from Addis. My friends who I worked with in the offices. Joyce Turner lived in North Road. There's Barbara, who lived in Ashley Road and that's Olive from Ware. She was older than all of us. She was mother but she kept an eye on us, to keep us in order so we didn't go astray.
CW: Didn't let them go astray, Peter.
HW: That's in the Folly. That's Nora and that's me and that's where Nora lived in the Folly, with the Hollyhocks. And that's when we just left school. Well, we'd got boyfriends. That's Henry who she married. I introduced Nora to him and, of course, they went on and paired up. That is my mother.
PR: Oh yes. I can remember that face.
HW: Yes. She used to make all her own dresses and that is a nice one with the roses.
That is Derek. I just picked these out quickly, you know.
PR: Is that the grammar School there.
HW: Yes. We went to Clacton for the day. That's my father as he was as a young man when my mother first met him, you see. And that's one when he was older. That's when he was in the medical corps and that's when he started being ill, my mother told me. Oh, this is Beryl Walker. I've got one of Pat somewhere but that's in a different box. That's Nora and me in the Folly in the garden, when we got a little older and we had enough money to buy.
PR: Yes, that's swish.
HW: We used to buy all our dresses at Graveson's. We both got them at the same time. I can remember that.
That's Derek outside the cottages and here he is again, look. I just pricked these up but I've got loads of photos but I thought you'd know these.
HW: That's when he was in the St. John's Ambulance and he won the cup after he won all his exams. And when you look at him now. Have you seen him lately?
PR: No, I haven't seen him for a bit.
HW: He's got older and fatter now.
PR: Worries and worries, yes.
HW: That's Derek when he was born. And that's when Derek got married. That was his wife. That was over "The Bury."
PR: I'm just trying to think who the parson was.
CW: I wouldn't know. Kingston had gone then, hadn't he?
HW: I might have it somewhere. Now you've got this one at home, haven’t you?
PR: I don't know. I think I need to turn some things out.
HW: Oh. Now this is round the North Station what used to be the Mayflower Hotel.
PR: Oh, yes.
HW: And these would be the war children. When it all finished. We had a party for all the children in this area. You'd know a lot of the children on here. I don't know whether John Morgan was on it but there's a lot on there you would know. Oh that's the cottage when Paul was born. Look at the old toilets.
PR: Yes, across the yard.
HW: Across the yard, weren't they? I spent most of my savings in that cottage.
PR: Yes, I bet.
HW: Didn't we, Cyril?
CW: In the early days, yes.
HW: Across the road from Mrs. Luck's and I paid for it.
CW: Yes. Mrs. Luck had The Oak, didn't she?
PR: Oh yes. Mrs. Luck had The Oak. I'd forgotten about that. And you had to pay for the …
HW: Yes. And all the others had the electricity laid on. On what I paid for it and nobody offered anything towards it. And I hadn't got a lot of money. It cost quite a bit but it was worth it because I wanted to be a bit more modern, you see.
CW: Wanted electric light.
HW: There's another one or Paul. What's this one. Oh, there's another one. There's Derek on that one, look just there.
PR: On yes.
HW: There's a lot of the children. I wouldn't know a lot of them now. I only know one or two of them. Now this is along Hertingfordbury Road.
PR: Yes. That's the Little bridge.
HW: And not a car in sight. There wasn't many cars, not in those days.
PR: Yes. I'd forgotten about those great big trees by these allotments and the bank.
HW: My mum bought Derek that bike.
PR: Lovely little trike and behind this is where they did the school dinners.
HW: Yes. That's right. Oh, there's another one of Clacton when I was with the girls. And there's another one and that coat I had for about ten years after I bought it, Peter. And I still look after my clothes and they come out every year. I don't waste a lot. I do occasionally. There's Derek again.
There's another one and that's Paul. He looks saucy there. I like that one.
PR: Yes. That looks saucy.
HW: He's taking me out to lunch on Monday because it's my birthday. We're going to the Chinese Restaurant.
CW: You don't know where you're going yet.
HW: Well, I don't know but I've got a faint idea because of what Christopher, my grandson, said.
CW: What have you got there in them papers?
HW: Now that's, the reason I took that out of The Mercury was 'cos he wanted to know what was the first buses that went around. Well I could have wrote to him and told him Harvey's & Burrow's because I've got a photo of them in here and I was going to write. And I thought, "Well I don't know." If I start doing that, Peter, and I've had a lot of health problems. And I thought if I start doing that I should be getting correspondence and I don't want to get involved.
HW: No, I don't think so because he's a complete stranger.
PR: Yes. And they might pressurise you a bit more.
HW: Yes, might pressurise me, and I wouldn't do it. But I have got a photo in here.
CW: She keeps 'em all. She puts everything in her scrapbook.
HW: Oh, that's a cricket lot of young men. I don't suppose you'd recognise him but this is a little bit of going back before I met Cyril. That was my first boyfriend and you wouldn't believe it but it was Phil Tomlin.
PR: Oh, Phil.
HW: I speak to him but I haven't seen him for years now.
CW: He doesn't have the best of health, does he?
PR: No, his speech is, er, slurred.
HW: Yes. I saw him once in the Salisbury and that's the last time I saw him to speak to. I mean we don't go out to them places now because we just can't get out to do it now. Well, we can get out but you just haven't got the money.
CW: Well it isn't that. You can't drink and drive.
HW: There's Cyril and there's me. That is when he got the award. And there's the old lady.
PR: Mrs Blades, -yes.
HW: Best allotment winners. And that's Cyril when Cyril won. I've got all sorts of things in here. You might even see your own photo. You'd be surprised. Morris men, Derek's in the Morris Men. I save all those. Now that's the cookery class when I was at school at Cowbridge. We had a girls' reunion a few years ago and we met after all those years. Most of them came and we had a lovely time. There's Nora and there's me there. They always used to call me at school the Bisto Girl because every photo I had taken at school I'd always got my head stuck like this. That's what we had to wear on our heads you see, handkerchiefs. Pinafores, you see, you couldn't afford uniforms. You had to take your own. There was no money. There's Len.
“Old photos bring back school day memories. Musicians take to the Road."
Now that was put in for something.
CW: You don't know what it was, do you? Don't worry.
PR: Ah, you're mentioned here. 'Get in touch with Mrs. Hilda Wisbey.'
HW: Oh, that was to do with that. That's right. That's a long time ago since we had that. Now that's my father. Look at the old-fashioned trilby. Look at his trilby. Always wore a trilby dad did. That was 1926 and I think there were some strikes. That another one of that. There's Nellie Morgan and Ethel. William H. Brown's. I stuck that in there. That was something to do with Paul I think.
CW: Yes, Paul.
HW: Oh yes. Wisbey, when he first got in there. Morris dancers. That's my granddaughter who was married a couple of years ago. More Morris Men. Derek's on here somewhere with his helmet. That's Derek's wedding and that's my other granddaughter, Emma. That's Derek's, my oldest granddaughter. And that's my great granddaughter.
CW: Great, great no, your great granddaughter.
HW: Can't get used to these things, Peter.
PR: No, no. I'll have to nip off because I've got some ashes in the churchyard. Dora Edward's ashes. It's past four.
HW: Oh yes. Mustn't keep you. You must get going. Perhaps it might not interest you.
PR: Oh yes. It's fascinating but I think we've got the main bits for the tape.
HW: What you wanted. Yes. That's Hoddesdon. That's where my Auntie Jennie who was a Quaker and was with my mother in service. And who took my mother under her wing when she first started. There's the grammar school. Where's Derek? I put that in years ago. Look at him. He's singing away. Look at his old mouth.
PR: Oh, I see there. That's me singing. Yes, that's me there.
HW: Is it really?
PR: Yes. And that's Richard Creese.
HW: Oh yes, I can see it is now. I said to Cyril, "Peter must be on here somewhere."
PR: And that's Pudmore from St. Andrew Street, you know the end of Victoria Place. And there's a bloke called Evershed and a bloke called Collier. That's the headmaster Mr Bunt on his violin, and Leaper.
HW: Were you at the grammar school when Penrose was there?
PR: No, no. I know him but
HW: No. I wondered. I speak to them but I never got in conversation.
CW: He came later, did he?
PR: Yes, he came later. Dave Cooper.
HW: Oh yes. He's had a heart attack.
PR: Has he?
HW: Yes. And he's been made redundant.
PR: Poor old Dave.
HW: It was David wasn't it?
CW: Yes. It was David but whether he's found a job I don't know.
HW: Oh! And there's the Scouts. Derek's on there. There's lots of things. Oh look, 'On the Buses,' Reg Presents. Oh look, there's Daisy Anderson there.
PR: Yes. And Peggy Darton in the middle.
HW: I haven't looked at this for a long while, Peter. And I thought there might be something of interest.
PR: Oh yes.
HW: Oh look, Paul and them. They come and took photos to do with insurance and they wanted a photo at the time. And it was in the "Daily Mail," wasn't it Cyril?
CW: Yes, they changed from BUPA to something else.
HW: And just look, they look different to that now. They're tall and that Lesley said, "Fancy putting that in. There were some better photos than that." You know what women are, they like to “Gosh,” she said.
CW: Yes, they changed from BUPA to er
HW: Well, he made them all laugh.
PR: Highly embarrassing.
HW: Yes, that's what I could have shown him or told him about because he wanted to know of anyone who knew anything about the old man. That's the WI that I did cooking for, Mary Milton and all the workers. There's the Morris Dancers again.
CW: Yes. You take all the Morris Dancers because Derek's in them.
HW: There's Nellie and Trevor.
PR: A lovely lot, yes.
HW: This is when Derek and Paul was young. He looks different there and he looks different now.
There you are, we all change with age, don't we? What's that Christian tradition at St. Edmunds? They go to that school, Christopher and Sarah do, and they're very happy there. Who's that?
PR: That's Trevor but it's not a very good picture of Trevor.
HW: No. Now from here I wouldn't have known who it was. Trevor, he was a lovely old boy he was. I was very fond of Trevor. Oh, that's my friend at Bengeo's grandson, James, presenting a radio programme.
CW: Yes. There's been a lot about him at different times in The Mercury. He's a DJ.
HW: Who's that?
PR: lvy Raymond.
HW: Oh, yes. That's right.
PR: Well I'd better go. I'd better get myself organised.
HW: Well, yes. You'd better. Oh there's school. Are you on that? I'll just show you that.
PR: Oh yes. That's me and that's Desmond Chapple.
HW: That's my dentist. I even cut him out, Malcolm Bishop. That's a nice one, isn't it? Mrs. ???? didn't get in that did she?
PR: No. She didn't get in that, did she? I remember going on that. It was the Christ Church one.
HW: Yes. I remember it. I've got the little pot in my bedroom.
PR: Yes. We went to Poole Pottery.
HW: Yes. And he bought me a nice little pot. And I've got it beside my bed with all my little knick knacks in it, you know.
PR: Mike and Gerry Anderson, oh dear, Gordon Frost, Bertie Phipps, Gloria Law, Kenny Rose, Doug Rayment.
CW: You know em all, do you?
PR: Yes, Marion Ambrose. We all went for a week together, didn't we? I remember it but I'd forgotten the company, Hazel Wymans
HW: Yes, you would. I mean as you go along through life it's the names you forget.
PR: Yes. You rub a few off.
CW: You forget all the names. I do anyway. I'm bad now.
PR: George Crowe, he's died now but be was
HW: Well that's got a story to it.
CW: That's why that's in there.
HW: He worked with my father on the Green Line and he was my dad's driver. Well when my father died the little bit of money my mother had got was in the Friendly Society and they tried to twist her. And when my father died my mother wanted to claim that money out and it wasn't there. Well my mother didn't know what to do and this George, he helped mum and my mother had a solicitor and they had to sort it out. They knew they'd done wrong and he helped.
PR: Of course, he had a garden just about here.
HW: That's right.
PR: And a bit of it was under the plane tree.
HW: There's my doctor and the lady who worked with him, Dr. Watson.
PR: Yes, Mrs. Lee.
HW: Yes. She was nice and ???? tax and Robinson. Yes, Robinson. He's often been to me but Dr. Watson, I'm very fond of him. He comes out to see me now. I don't have to go down there.
PR: Oh well, you're a VIP.
CW: Yes, a VIP. You're right.
HW: Nice to see you again Peter. We've had a little bit on the past.
PR: Yes. Oh we've done very, very well.
HW: Haven't we done well? I still can't remember the beginning of our courtship but
PR: She's only joking.
CW: No. It was a long time ago.
HW: It is 54 years, Peter.
PR: Oh dear, 54!
HW: We're still together.
CW: Yeah and still arguing! Still falling out, Peter!
HW: No. Well that's stimulation. You've got to do that.
CW: That's life actually.
HW: That's life! We can't let them have all their own way, can we?
CW: You've got to collect all your gear.
PR: Well. I tell you what you can do while I'm doing it and that is fill in one of these forms. We haven't said anything private about anyone, have we?
HW: No. I hope not.
CW: Well if we have mate, you'll be for it, you will.
HW: They'll be after you.
PR: Well, there are two forms, that one and that one. One is about personal details, date of birth and so on and the other one is what we can use it for and you can sign the bottom and tick.
CW: I don't care what they use it for.
PR: Well, no one minds.
End of tape