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Transcript TitleBrace, Bet (O1995.2)
IntervieweeMrs Bet Brace (BB) and Mrs Evelyn Hayden (EH)
InterviewerPeter Ruffles (PR) and Jean Riddell Purkis(JR)
Date14/08/1994
Transcriber byJean Riddell (Purkis)

Transcript

Hertford Oral History Group

Recording no: O1995.2

Interviewee: Mrs Bet Brace (BB) and Mrs Evelyn Hayden (EH)

Date: 14th August, 1994

Venue: 40 Grange Close, North Road, Hertford

Interviewer: Peter Ruffles (PR) and Jean Riddell (JR)

Transcriber: Jean Riddell (Purkis); revised transcription typed by Susan Hunt (March 2017)

************** unclear recording

[discussion] untranscribed material

italics editor’s notes

Interview took place at 40 Grange Close, North Road, Hertford.

Conversation starts with Jean and Bet talking about when the first met and moved in to the houses not fully transcribed.

PR: It's 14th August, 1994 and we are at no. 40 Grange Close, Bet Brace's, because last Sunday you (Jean) brought a tape that was made some years ago, not for the museum, of May Dennis ….

BB: …. oh, that's right, I was wondering why you came last Sunday.

PR: Yes, because Evelyn was here and she's here again today, because Evelyn and Bet were both neighbours of May before the houses were pulled down along the Hertingfordbury Road. May lived at 53, Evelyn 55 ....

BB: …. and myself, 45.

PR: Oh yes its up on the wall there…ha…so that was quite an interesting tape because

EH: It was yes, it was nice to hear May laugh

BB: It was her laugh I recognised most of all yes

PR: It wasn’t a proper tape when people knew they were being recorded, no, I was a bit sneaky and you are not allowed to do that for the Oral History Group. You have to always get the papers done properly but I just wanted to get May’s voice knowing that before long she was going to move and in any case she was coming up to 90- if she wasn’t already 90. So I went and I took the tape recorder in a bag and took her this bit of chicken as a reason to go in.

EH: I remember I said to her would you like to go down to Bircherley Court “Oh no” she said “They are only old people down there” She was nearly 90 herself!

PR: Yes yes she was very keen to have an independent place, no warden, 'too warm' as well she said Neale Court.

BB: Well they would possibly have moved her on to the one at Port Hill anyway by now wouldn’t they.

PR: Yes yes

BB: She wouldn’t have liked that I don’t think

PR: She kept saying she was 'in clover' up at Sele Farm

EH: She liked it there

BB: You visited her up there did you?

PR: Oh yes and did the garden, almost every week when she was up there she was over the moon. I am in clover that was the phrase she kept using. The place was as spick and span as this up there. Cause when she moved she sent Nellie her sister in law to Welwyn Stores (now John Lewis) and they ordered all sorts of furnishings expensive curtains new bed, new bedding.

BB: Cause she got compensation for moving yes

PR: It was a picture and she did have a bit of home help up there but everything was so well done and Nellie who was younger than May but still quite elderly was having to do all this running around and it

BB: She was very kind

PR: She was the sister-in-law that lived in Foxholes Avenue that's right, Evelyn JR: She moved to go to be near her son

PR: about two years after he died yes

BB: It's nice to think she has a few happy years before she dies in somewhere she approved of because er it wasn't quite good enough for her at Hertingfordbury Road was it? She had grand ideas

PR: That was all a mixture of her mind

BB: A fantasy world yes.

PR: She wasn't really quite like her the rest of her family really was she? BB: No no no.....

EH: She'd always got big ideas

PR: And lived the dream didn't she?

BB: Absolutely yes absolutely

PR: She felt where her flat was in Norwood Close you could see across to Panshanger Wood across the bit of green and then the Welwyn Road with no houses on it and then field and the woods and she felt she as living in luxury

BB: Panshanger Park (laughter). Did Mrs Watts live quite near her?

PR: Yes, not the same road but her view is the same but it’s the next cul-de-sac up they both come into a hammer head. Iris Booker, Watts. That's the right name she was Booker wasn't she?

BB: You went to school with her did you? You went to school with Iris?

EH: Oh yes yes. She had one or two brothers.

BB: Oh she lived up Sele Road didn't she yes yes yes. I knew one brother which I think he was a carpenter. Rather full faced man yes. I remember him. Of course Jim, Iris's husband he was a rather nice man. Do you remember Jim, yes he was nice.

EH: He was quite young when he died

PR: Good old May

BB: Poor May

PR: She went to the Catholic Church every day didn't she.

BB: Peter you mentioned an Aunt who lived at the end of the Hertingfordbury Road. Well she lived there when we moved in actually. Was a Miss George. I thought there were two Miss Georges. Would there be two sisters.

EH: Yes, Jessie and Emily died when I was about 10 We were all led in to see Miss Emily in her coffin. I was only 10.

BB: Really!

EH: Poor Miss Jessie she was eaten up I suppose now you'd say it was arthritis but in those days we said she'd got rheumatism but her poor hands her knuckles were all swollen. She had an old girl, she came from a home, Florrie to look after her, she gave her a home and she looked after, or Florrie sort of did the work and looked after Miss Jessie, someone on our side of the road, she had one of these girls from this home, so it was company for Miss Jessie and someone to do the heavy work. She was a little bit vacant, poor old Florrie but she was very kind and was very kind to Miss Jessie, very kind.

BB: I remember Evelyn – the first time I saw Evelyn I was cycling to work and Evelyn was standing at the top of the lane in a gym slip. You were with two or three other kiddies, I don't know, who but I always remember you. I remember it quite well. I remember Dolly Park when she was about 10 being as fat as she was tall Dolly I remember Dolly I don't remember Elsie at all. Funny isn't it. Yeah. Never dream in those days I would ever live near them you know.

PR: Mother didn't like Aunt Jessie. She did like Emily the one

EH: Emily went to work she worked at Squires' the haberdashers shop in St Andrews Street and Jessie stayed at home and did the housework and you see that's how they got along.

BB: Where would Squires be in St Andrew Street then? EH: Where that new hairdressers is now along…

Transcribers Note: Was actually No6 was Hertfordshire Graphics in 1994

PR: Up a bit from Barbers

BB: Oh there yeah yeah.

EH: Cos I remember if you went in there and something came to one and eleven pence three farthings they wouldn't give you the farthing change they gave you a strip of pins

BB: I've still got a sheet upstairs! I have a sheet. I've got one of those upstairs I think its er yeah. Three farthings you know!!

PR: Right, now its a job to know what's what. What if we swap mikes for a bit because then if we only get one person we'll have about – not sure which one's working from this [un typed discussion] [ a lot of noise!] You went to St Andrews school until you were 11

BB: No 14 Ooh!

PR: What's happening?

BB: Pat Kennedy just going out

PR: Oh

BB: She went to church on Wednesday to a short service.

EH: They hadn't had the difference in ages then when you had to leave at 11. I left when I was 14. I did my full whack at St Andrews. (laughter)

PR: So we've got [discussion and muddle] Who would have been your contemporaries at St Andrews the same sort of people who went through with you?

EH: Dorothy Platt, (Mrs Austin) , Elsie Brooks who used to live up West Street. I don't know what her married name is. Peggy Walls who uncle Jack next door to us they adopted. Erm Jean Hayden who lived in the yard near Patemans. Winnie Crane who was Nora Phipps' sister.

PR: What happened to Winnie?

EH: She lives at St Albans. She lived there ever since just after the War.

JR: Dorothy Austin?

PR: 97 West Street she lives now.

EH: She was a bit younger than me so she wasn't in my class., although I say actually my class in one room poor Miss Rutter our teacher she took standard 5, 6 ,7 and X7 we were all in the same room so we were divided in half so while one half were doing their written work, composition she was teaching the other history or geography or whatever it was. But Iris was in just a lower grade.

PR: How many in those classes then. Were they big classes at that stage.

EH: No well I think there was about 8 of us in well I'm talking about towards the end but before that when it was mixed there was Eddie Bayley, their people used to live up Sele Road the window cleaner, Eddie Bayley was there , Ken Wilsher from down Raymond Street er Ernie Walker Georgie Thomason, Ada Green and when I moved up into the standard 5 all these were older than me but you see but I was pushed up cos I'd got to learn a bit more cos I'd got to take the scholarship which I didn't pass by the way (laughs) I didn't want to I didn't want to go to Grammar School! So Ernie North, Winnie North she died Winnie North. Not the Winnie North you know, no her sister in law the one you know, its her sister in law her name was Winnie.

PR: And that was all Polly Rutter's class.

EH: Yes they were all.

PR: And what did Miss Turnbull do then?

EH: She was in the other big room, so I suppose she must have taken standard 4. There was Miss Smith she was there before she was headmistress, she used to lodge with your grandma didn't she.

PR: Not my favourite person!

EH: She wasn't, no. No (laughs)

PR: She was the headmistress when you know Marion and was

EH: At school – when you were there Peter

PR: That's why I did pass my 11+ to get away. Tom & Sheila didn't want to

EH: I know Sheila never wanted to

BB: Was she strict or what was it?

PR: She used to pick on me I was the root of all the trouble whatever it was! It was always me.

BB: Pick on You? What a brainy boy like you?

PR: I was the root of all the trouble!

JR: Quite perceptive then!

PR: Quite perceptive, yes! And then she'd tell mum because having lodged there when she first came she felt she had special responsibility to make sure I kept to the straight and narrow, and then mum was working at the school and what became a secretary. She wasn't when she started. There wasn't much to do. Didn't even have a telephone. When mum started there. That was – and you used to do the dinners.

PR: Win Johnson

EH: Yes I used to with Mrs Johnson, until she gave it up and Ruby came and gave me a hand.

PR: But the dinners then were at the

EH: At the depot up on the er Hertingfordbury Road right along opposite the new estate. [discussion] Yes Willowmead

BB: You didn't work there though Evelyn?

EH: Ooh no I was I only used to serve the dinners at the school. Yes

PR: Now, Ruby's always been a bit deaf hasn't she?

EH: Ruby's deaf yes, she's worse than ever now

PR: She was deaf then wasn't she?

EH: Oh yes she's always been deaf

PR: Because I can remember being in that long classroom on a hot day must have been July or September or something and they had just one big window onto the street right on the pavement, frosted glass but it was a sash window and it was lifted up and we heard you and Ruby coming along ready to make your way down to CAWG Hall (laughter) We could hear Ruby talking away and you back but loud voices and we knew it was coming round about quarter to twelve

EH: Nearly dinner time (chatter)

PR: Hear this sound of Ruby and have this cake and custard for pudding (laughs) But we nearly all the children stayed to lunch, surprising because a lot of them lived quite close to the school and their mothers were at home more, weren't they? Had to march down there two by two. Right down St Andrews Street

BB: Dick Baxter, and there's a farm or something down the lane, Warehams?

EH: Oh yes the Orchard, the one on the left hand side just over the first bridge.

JR: Did they keep a few pigs there?

EH: Oh yes pigs and cows

JR: Cows?

EH: Oh yes he always had two cows well they used to go down into the field cos he had a field down there yes and then he used to bring them up and put them in their stalls.

BB: Yes, a couple of sheds cowsheds there

EH: Yes he had two cowsheds. Oh yes he used to keep all sorts of poultry, He had a shop down St Andrews Street

BB: I remember going and buying a rabbit already skinned you know. It was 2/6d and I thought that was an awful lot of money because you see you could buy them, not that I went in pubs but I know one could go into a pub and buy one for about 6d! I suppose they were poached really.

PR: Yes. There used to be as you went in the archway to where the lady who left that folly in church with the infrared lamp in it Jeannie Carpenter lived. What number's that by the chemist?

EH: It's where the chemist is now that's where Dick Baxter had his shop

PR: No 9 and there were two doorways and the Dickens on one side and Baxters on the other and a metal tin thing by the door saying “Baxter, Licensed Poultry Dealer”

BB: Where did Dick live? Did he live over the shop?

EH: No, um he lived on the other side didn't he Peter? He lived on the – the shop was on the left hand side Dick lived on the right hand side and the two Miss Dickens lived beyond, above the shop, they had their drawing room above the shop.

BB: Oh I see yes.

PR: that's where Ethel Dickins fell down the stairs, aged 90. She had been expected to recover from the fractured skull, but had developed a blood clot. She died in the hospital Sister Nellie was 98 when she died.

EH: She worked at Graveson's for years didn't she, I rather think she was in the office. She didn't serve behind the counter but she worked, she did the book work at Gravesons, Ethel did.

JR: Anything to do with Mr Dickin the hairdresser?

EH: Their brother who lived on Cowbridge, he had a barber's shop in Fore Street. He was their brother, yes he lived on Cowbridge, yes.

PR: With a shock of white hair

EH: That's right he was a good advert for his business wasn't he! Yes

BB: Marjory Peet worked there didn't she? You know Hilda Peet's sister

EH: Oh yes that's right she did

BB: When Mr Dickens died Miss Dye took a little shop at Ware and Marjory used to go over there.

PR: Gertie

BB: Is she still alive?

EH: No no and Bill Rose has just died hasn't he? It was in the Mercury a Rose and it was Bill and it was from Sister Joy and I know he's been in hospital because Lydia Dye has been visiting him so I take it that it was Bill who quite recently within the last two or three weeks.

PR: Oh I didn't know that. Poor old Bill. He nursed Gertie for a long time.

EH: Oh yes, so did Kath. Kath was very good she used to do. She moved to Ware to be near them didn't she and she did a terrific lot for Gertie. Yes it was very sad when she died first.

PR: Had a stroke... All the Dyes have got that sort of sweetness in a way

EH: Yes, yes.

PR: Kathleen was a bit brighter and go getting

EH: And then Bill, Bill Bailey who lived with them. Wasn't he an adopted? He died he's been dead some time.

PR: Yes he was adopted. Cinema?

JR: Yes last time I came you were telling me about the cinema – Pecker Farrow features quite largely in the tapes

EH: Pecker Farrah (Farrow) and Annie Hattam, who had a shop (cakes?) at the top of Pavitt's Yard, played the piano. I only know it's a bit of a job to place him now its a long time ago but I know he used to play the drums at the Old Castle Cinema during the silent films they always had music in the background and Annie Hattam used to have a shop at the top of Pavitt's Yard well she played the piano and Pecker played drums

BB: I know they had an Epic film there once silent of course black and whit with Lilian Gish that's correct. She was floating on a block of ice down the river and Pecker was on the stage behind the curtain somewhere and there were stones in the drum and he turned the drum and made sort of crescendo effect. It was quite something, a crescendo. All the pebbles went round and …..

JR: Annie Bridal-lake?

EH: Annie Bridle Lame used to go occasionally if there was a film on where there was a song attached to it she used to go and sing, give a solo.

BB: I don't remember the film

EH: No I don't remember it wasn't Ramona?

JR: The picture showed someone singing did it?

EH: No they had an interval and so Annie played the piano and Annie sang.

BB: When the film was about to start, Pecker used to walk down the cinema, there were no carpets, and everyone would cheer and whistle. Mum couldn't really afford 9d seats but we sat in them, in the gangway near the side exit because if they went in the middle they usually got behind some lady in a big hat. Mum didn't like the 6d seats because she usually got beside some man who smelled of drink! (laughter)

EH: I used to go with mum and my grandma and used to get so thirsty I always used to – cos they didn't sell drinks in those days – in the end Granny used to take a medicine bottle of water and a little glass for me so that when I said “I'm thirsty mum” granny produced the medicine bottle and poured me a little glass of water (laughs)

PR: Were you quite a regular?

EH: Yes we were Peter, we used to go twice a week

JR: Which cinema was it?

EH: The Castle.

JR: There was the one in Market Street.

EH: That was the Regent. They used to nickname that one fleapit but they had very good pictures there They used to get some very good films there. I remember once I went with my brother I went with Phil and we got seated and we were sitting there and he nudged me and said come on let’s move. I said no I can see alright. But he said well come on let's move. No No I can see alright. Well he said you feel and he raised himself up and said you feel my seat and all the padding had gone and he was sitting on springs! (laughter) So of course we moved and we hadn't been sitting in our new seats long and some people…

End of Side A

Side B

EH: …into the cinema and these shows if they didn't like it they used to throw these cakes at the artists (lots of laughter).

PR: The 'Thisledoo' had been demolished at the widening of Market Street when buses came to Hertford and had to turn into the street.

EH: It was quite narrow when the Thisledoo was there.

BB: Mr. Roberts, the chef's speciality was doughnuts

EH: Yes I know

BB: The only thing is if you saw his face it put you off his food. He had some skin problem and he used to stand there in his white coat by the door. Doughnuts were his speciality.

PR: So you were more loyal to the castle tho than er…?

EH: Yes well then until well of course I mean we had the Regent then when the County cinema opened we used to go down there and you could see then whichever picture you wanted to see in the end we used to go down to the County more than anywhere else yes.

BB: I suppose it was a time when the County and it was about the same time they started building the Castle Hall was it?

PR: Well yes the Castle was failing but it had 'nice pinups on the trailers' although not a full programme towards the end. Most families would have gone to the cinema would they?

EH: I think the County killed the trade at the Castle. Well I think so yes, they often had to queue up. When I started work I didn't finish 'til seven. Mum and granny used to go early so I went with Ernie and Winnie North and their mother to the second house.

BB: I remember queues over the Mill Bridge.

EH: I remember queues from the County by the Plough.

PR: Could we talk about Evelyn's family?

But just before that Jean asked Bet to recount one thing, briefly.

BB: (To Evelyn) You remember Lakes, the haulage people? 12 Ware Road. During the War I worked at Fordham's of Hoddesdon. It wasn't possible to buy new furniture so we bought everything from salerooms and sometimes the boss would go as far as Brighton or London salerooms and we only had a wee van, so, we had to hire and we hired Lakes of Hertford. And their chief driver was Fred, a jolly portly gentleman and often when he came back bringing us a load of furniture he'd come and have a cup of tea. And he was telling us that on the previous day he'd taken a load of furniture to Bedford. Mr. Bridle Lake had died and Mrs. Bridle Lake had taken over the business and she was a spiritualist and he said when they got back from Bedford, Mrs. B.L. said, “You've been a long time.” And he said, “No, we haven't, we've worked very hard.”

“Oh, no!” she said, “You should have been back an hour ago.” He said, “Oh, no!”

She went on, “I've been in touch with the spirits and they said you should have been back an hour ago.”

“Ah!” he said, “But your B... spirits didn't tell you that we had three B... flights of stairs to climb!" PR: So she could clock the progress of her …. journey of the van!

BB: Through the spirits, yes!

PR: Is your family a Hertford family then Evelyn?

EH: Yes, at one time they lived down the bottom of Bull Plain. Then I think that after dad married they went to St. John Street. Yes they must have been a Hertford Family because when my father was born, Marion asked me the other day where Grandad got his nickname of Jum, because he was always known as Jum Walls. I said it was because when he was born a circus came into the town and the elephant came through walked down Fore Street and dad's brother saw it and when they got home my dad had arrived as a baby and they said Oh Little Jumbo! And ever since then dad was always called Jum.

PR: I didn't I thought it was Chum.

EH: No a lot of people thought it was that but it was Jum, no it wasn't it was Jum. Poor old Dr Eager our doctor who always used to come, he always called my mum Mrs Jum. He never called her Mrs Walls – Hello Mrs Jum!

PR: He was anything but a jumbo was he! He was very slightly built. So the grandmother you mentioned who went to the cinema with you

EH: That was my mother's mother. Yes, Grandma Walsl she was bedridden for some years before she died. I don't remember her as I was only a baby when she died so I had been born but I wasn't very old when she died. But my aunt Emily known as Aunt Bill, Aunt Amy (Duckworth), you remember the Duckworths? They looked after Grandma Walls because she was bedridden.

PR: She lived to be 100 didn't she.

EH: I don't know I couldn't say Peter. I didn't know much about

PR: No, Mrs Duckworth.

EH: Oh yes Mrs Duckworth she was 101, yes when she died.

PR: What about your mum's family, where did they come from?

EH: I think they originated from Ware, but I don't know what Granny's maiden name was or anything. Grandad died when he was 49 just before my mother got married so er I never knew either of my grandfathers and I don't remember Grandma Walls at all as I was a baby but I knew Grandma Mansfield alright. She lived in Pavitts Yard to start with and then when they condemned those houses she moved up to the Hertingfordbury Road Estate with my uncle, Uncle Ern and Aunt Ruth. They lived at the beginning of Ashley Road.

Then Uncle Ern and his wife wanted a place of their own. They knew if they moved out Granny couldn't – cos they lived upstairs and granny lived downstairs – they knew Granny would never be able to cope so one of the alms houses was going and mum went to see poor old Nat Gardner and said what are the chances of Granny having it and he said well I'm not doing it for her but I'm doing it for you Mrs Walls cos mum was on the refreshment committee to do with the church so Granny moved into the almshouse behind the church which has all been pulled down now.

BB: Who was Aunt Bill?

EH: She was dad's sister She was caretaker at the Quaker Hall down Railway Street. She lived in a cottage down there.

PR: So how did they come to be in Hertingfordbury Road at 55 then?

EH: Well Uncle Jack lived, in those days it was number 23 Peter it was number 23 and uncle Jack lived in No 25, so when dad and mum got married I suppose number 23 was vacant and in those days there was To Let all over the town and you could see To Let and there was no trouble to get a house in those days so I suppose Uncle Jack put in a word for dad and thats where they got.

PR: What sort of year?

EH: Oh I don’t know. Well mum was married when she was 21 and what would she be now I am 78, she'd have been 105 now. So a long time ago.

PR: A good bit of history there. So they were both your mum and dad were very leading lights at St Andrews.

EH: Well yes Dad was a sidesman and yes on the PCC and mum was in charge of the refreshment committee, her and Mrs Godfrey. Poor Mrs Godfrey they used to do the all the refreshments for whatever was on.

BB: I always thought Mrs Godfrey was your mother's sister. They were so alike.

EH: Did you? yes they were. They used to get on very well together those two.

BB: They both had white hair

EH: Yes we were regulars down there.

PR: When did that start?

EH: Oh when I was at school when I was quite young round about 10 cos my dad was a football referee but not – before he was married he used to play. No poor old Mr Mansfield they formed the I dunno what it was called then the Junior Football League Mr Mansfield he was Mayor at one time he was my mum's cousin. Sonny Mansfield they called him, he was um and Dad formed this league all the junior football players teams used to play in this league and dad was the referee and when he gave up he used to have to appoint referees for all the different games and er then we started going down to Hertford Town and have kept going ever since.

PR: I remember you going in the car. A big black car for a bit. Was that Ron's mother's

EH: CLO 10 Oh yes !

PR: Drove down onto the park before it was all fenced in like it is now.

EH: Yes you could park right there. It wasn't until I met Ron during the war, I met him before the war was declared actually I met him and he wasn't at all interested in football (laughter). Then he was chairman of the Gate Committee and became as keen on football as I was.

BB: What about Cyril - was he interested?

EH: He used to go down. No Cyril never played football but the Blue Cross I believe was the team my father used to play for. I think he was goalie.

PR: So that was avery long time you were at rthe football club keeping it going Funnily enough some families are supporting all sorts of things and some nothing at all.

BB: They had quite a niceclub house down there at one time didn't they

EH: Oh lovely we used to have some lovely evenings down there um Roy Castle was down there one Saturday He was lovely and he had several in his band with him but he was splendid and there wasn't one smutty joke. He was really lovely I mean we've had others down there you know at a football do you get quite a lot of smut from some of these well they start off and they slip one of these little ones in and of course the women in the audience all Ha Ha Ha and they think that's what they want – and you see you got quite a lot of smut! But not from Roy Castle he was splendid the whole evening

PR: Then your daughter Marian married Phil Garrod once the Footballer, Town Star (laughter) He played for a long time.

EH: Marian met him when the family attended a football dinner and he asked her to dance. The footballers were going on an outing to the sea and he asked Marian to go. When she told me I said What to the sea? I said No Fear (laughs) She said well why not what shall I tell him? I said tell him you're fifteen and you're still at school and your mother says you're not going! (much laughter) But anyway Phil came over to me he said I promise you I'll look after her I've got a sister myself he said so I will look after her. So mum relented and let her go. And that is when they first started going together. But she packed him up once or twice afterwards. Then they got together again and now both their boys play football for Ware Town.

PR: A touching scene - I saw her waiting for him on the street corner only this week, Marian. She was waiting for Phil to pick her up from outside Halfords. Well cos it’s very hard work running a club and then running a church as well with the financial problems both of them have. Your dad would have been subject to two lots of management and finances in those days.

BB: He was very capable that way wasn't he?

EH: Yes, he was very good at figures wasn't he well of course he was an insurance agent and I mean every evening he used to have to do his booking and doing figures. I mean give dad a list of figures or anything like that to work out – but put a hammer in his hand and he wouldn't know what to do with it

BB: Very keen on bowls as well

EH: Oh yes he belonged to the Castle Gardens

PR: I’ll have to show you – you've got a copy of the history of the Castle Gardens Bowls Club they just produced a booklet. It started in about 1910 I think opposite Cross Lane in the gardens behind the brick wall.

EH: Oh did it? And then there was a bowling green at the bottom of Brewhouse Lane wasn't there. I don't know who played down there.

PR: I don't think that was the Castle Gardens

EH: No cos they went into the Castle grounds itself they used to play in the Castle grounds, in front of the Castle.

BB: I thought they played at Wallfields?

EH: Ah, they moved from the Castle and then went up to Wallfields.

BB: You used to go to the Castle

EH: I used to go to the Castle, yes and watch Dad play

BB: Then Ron took over

EH: Yes, then Ron started playing and yes, so we used to go up there. I used to go up to Wallfields well every time Ron was playing in the evenings or we used to go up there. Poor old Miss Books, Ethel Hebbs, she used to come and walk and watch we used to sit on the seat with her

PR: We haven't talked about Mrs Hebbs much in the oral history

JR: Nobody seems to introduce her do they?

PR: No and yet she really was quite a person wasn't she!

EH: (loud laughter) yes she certainly was!

PR: They ran the book stall at the North station, she and her husband. But she was born in West Street I think wasn't she?

EH: Yes because she lived there with her parents because Bert went to lodge there didn't he? And I think when the parents died Bertie married Ethel

PR: He called her Mary, he never called her Ethel.

EH: Oh he called her Mary did he? My mother was Ethel Mary

PR: Was she linked with the church all her life or only in her mature years, as it were?

EH: I should imagine she'd been with it most of her life because her brother was in the choir, not Percy the other one that went to the sea to live. Did he go to Felixstowe or something? I think he was in the choir. There was a lot in the choir in those days they used to have a good choir. Old Mr Dickens the hairdresser Mr Bryant he used to keep the grocery shop on Old Cross, Mr Graves who worked at Munnings. Molly Graves and Jack Graves' father. Mr Skerman a very tall thin man in St Andrews Street. Did he keep a shoe shop? He was in the choir.

PR: Bob Baxter

EH: Bob Baxter, Ron Millsom, they came after these older men that I was talking about. Yes Ron Millsom Bob Baxter, Ickle Wallford, who lived his parents used to live next door to you. The Wallfords lived next door to you. Buster Jeffries, Mrs Harding's brother, he was in the choir

PR: I bet they could make a good noise between them!

EH: Bob Baxter who lived up North Road he was in the choir The used to have a very good choir at St Andrews in those days a lot of men and of course a lot........my brother was soloist. My brother Phil was soloist he had Cyril had a very good voice, lovely voice.

PR: So old Hebbsie got awkward I mean she used to talk talk talk talk talk when you were down the town and

EH: Running people down all the time yes the way she used to talk about people behind their backs.

PR: And yet she did as much good on the other hand as she used to say talk about Fred Kahno’s circus after the service where nothing much had gone wrong at all she'd walk up and down the isle there with her bunch of keys muttering about the dreadful shocking things that had happened in that service perhaps someone didn't hold the cross straight or you know. Fred Kahno’s circus is er (laughter) and er…

JR: John Summers Gill talked about her a lot

PR: They were very adversaries but good friends in a way but she was good friend (phone rings) to a lot of people but er. Now in the interval we were just referring to another St Andrews person who the old lady who she was older than who looked after the cassocks and surpluses of the choir boys.

EH: That's right yes, Miss Vines, she was a nice little old lady and she was Sunday school teacher She was my Sunday School teacher Emily Maud Vines

PR: She lived in the Alms houses when I knew her behind Foster butchers

EH: Oh did she go round there, oh did she! I remember when she was younger she lodged with the Grays Mollie Gray and Jack Gray and I forget Jeffrey Gray.. Do you remember the Grays?

PR: Yes, they were in Hartham

EH: Hartham Lane, quite a big house on the right hand side going down I think he worked at MacMullens so I think it was the Mac's house that they lived in

PR: Oh so she wasn't a sort of Hertford person then?

EH: Well I don't know what how no I only knew her from the time she was lodging with the Grays. So er

PR: She had a sister, Hilda. She lived with the Dickens

EH: Yes, I've got a feeling she went with the Dickens

PR: Poor Miss Vines never she was always seemed to be poor but she went on holiday on a coach trip and sombody stole her suitcase with all her clothes in. She was quite old and there was a big event Miss Vines is going away and on the way there

EH: Oh I say!

PR: So what other people were there round the town that you used to tuttut about?

BB: you asked if did I know of someone called Maudie somebody......

JR: Maudie Mead

EH: Oh yes Maudie Mead she used to bring the chopped wood round. She sued to have a wood round and she used to bring bundles of wood

PR: Yes lived down in the gaol

EH: Yes that's right She used to come round once a week with a barrow she used to push. Yes she used to sell wood.

PR: She worked at McMullen’s. The Ansell family erm Mrs. O’Smotherly were they Hertford people. There was Daisy Ansell from Campfield Road, Michael O’Smotherly’s mother.

EH: Yes Evelyn O’Smotherly - they didn't live in the tall houses – up Pateman’s Yard, the O’Smotherly’ s lived there and Hayden’s, Reg Hayden the shoe repairer his people they lived up Pateman’s Yard and the O’Smotherly’ and Evelyn Ansell married Reg O'Smotherly. Yes

PR: I can remember them there I don't know whether they

EH: No I don't know I don’t remember Peter

BB: I'm getting to you now. I get on a bus sometimes at the car park with I think her name is Mrs Ansell I don't know she is partially blind.

Peter & Evelyn: Yes Daisy that's Daisy that's Miss

PR: She was a twin wasn't she Daisy.

EH: No Evelyn was the twin with Daisy was older and she had another sister, the two sisters lived together but one – she died – Daisy lives on her own now but Evelyn O'Smotherly she was the twin her twin sister I don't even know if she is still alive. They moved right away they live right away.

PR: Bob Harding. Well the Harding family

EH: Mrs Harding she evidently lived in our row of houses because her mother and father Mr and Mrs Jeffries till she got married

PR: She was bridesmaid to my grandmother in 1900, she was four, when she got married then

EH: Your mum was bridesmaid to er Buster Jeffries, he married Gladys. I don't know what her other name was oh she was a pretty girl Buster's wife, oh she was a pretty girl.

BB: I remember the Johnsons

EH: Oh yes The Johnsons because Mrs Johnson she was a Jeffries wasn't she. Tommy Johnson's mother she was a Jeffries, so Peggy and Eileen Johnson I think they were bridesmaids and your mum they were bridesmaid s to Buster.

PR: Yes, um I don't know whether we got – what did Emily die of?

EH: I've got a feeling it was cancer, Peter but I can't say for sure, I've got a feeling it was cancer.

Tape finishes here.