|Transcript Title||Welch, Lesley (O2004.3)|
|Interviewee||Ivy Iley (II) and Lesley Welch (LW)|
|Interviewer||Eve Sangster (ES)|
|Transcriber by||Eve Sangster|
Hertford Oral History Group
Recording no: O2004.3
Interviewee: Ivy Iley (II) and Leslie Welch (LW)
Date: 11th February 2004
Venue: 277 Ware Road home of Mrs Iley
Interviewer: Eve Sangster(ES)
Transcriber: Eve Sangster
Typed by: Eve Sangster
************** unclear recording
[discussion] untranscribed material
italics editor’s notes
ES: When were you born?
II: 21st June 1908 I was born in Enfield
ES: How many brothers and sisters did you have?
II: There was one older at that time, I had two sisters and two bothers
ES: What did your parents do?
II: My mother was always a housekeeper, housewife and my father was a watercress grower
ES: So was he growing watercress in Enfield?
II: No he was bricklaying in Enfield, then he came down to, we moved to Tewin because my uncle had got some watercress beds there and my father ran them for him. While we were at Tewin, my brother was born and my mother had a nervous breakdown. Living in isolation, the house was in the middle of a field, I remember it just vaguely so the doctor said she needed to be in civilisation so we moved to Hertford. My father used to bike to Tewin every day because the water was better there.
Transcribers note: The address on the 1911 census is “Kings bridge” Tewin. Later became a trout farm and then part of the Tewin Bury farm complex
ES: So what did that actually involve the watercress beds, I mean the watercress was a famous local product wasn’t it?
ES: Hertfordshire cress, did it involve any more than just harvesting it?
II: He had to set it I don’t know quite, it was a full time job anyway he had a man helping him there they had to kneel on boards across the beds to do the watercress. I don’t know how long he was there but then the ones at Hertingfordbury became avaliable, so he took those on himself
ES: Where were they in Hertingfordbury?
II: Well off by Vigus’ farm that’s all I know, so he used to ….I can’t remember when he gave up Tewin anyway perhaps Les remembers better?
ES: Do you remember…
II: Do you remember when Dad gave up Tewin? And went to Hertingfordbury
LW: Yeah my father had his own watercress beds at Hertingfordbury, but before that he worked for his brother that was at Tewin.
LW: There is a fish farm there now.
ES: Oh right.
LW: They used the same artesian well that fed the watercress for their fish.
ES: At the time your father gave up the watercress beds, was the business on its way out?
LW: No, no,.. age.
ES: Yes he gave it up because of age but there is no such thing as Hertfordshire watercress now
LW: No when he gave up, they gave up at Tewin as well, his brother gave up,
II: But he wasn’t running Tewin at the same time as Hertingfordbury was he?
LW: Yes, Hertingfordbury we used to work weekends.
ES: You did it as well?
LW: Well I helped.
II: I can’t remember
ES: Where was the cress sold?
LW: It went up to the market.
II: London market.
ES: Covent garden?
LW: Covent garden.
II: By train because when I was driving with my car I used to take it up sometimes didn’t I?
II: To Hertford East station and it went up to Covent garden.
ES: Was it profitable?
ES: Never was?
LW: Even now apparently I hear this morning that we are importing watercress from America
ES: Well I am not eating American watercress.
LW: There is still one in Hertfordshire isn’t there, a watercress bed, its Watford way and they built railway lines round it that’s bigger.
ES: But someone was telling me, I was walking from Waterford in to Hertford along the Beane and there was some watercress there.
LW: Wild yes
ES: Wild watercress but somebody said don’t eat it because it is very subject to being infected by anything in the water, is that right? Do you remember that.
LW: Well the watercress beds at Tewin and at Hertingfordbury were all artesian wells, so it wasn’t river water.
II: I mean its all so long ago
Tea and biscuits are served
ES: Yes but it seems even longer ago than that doesn’t it, somebody growing watercress.
II: Oh yes, you don’t see it much now.
ES: Well of course some things have slightly taken over from it. We grow Rocket which is not at all unlike watercress, its fiery, peppery, and you can also get land cress can’t you I have grown that.
LW: Well yes, mustard and cress they used to call it?
ES: No! It looks like watercress and rocket looks like watercress but its much bigger. It’s a very fashionable Islington type salad
LW: This grows in the garden, not grown in water?
ES: Oh no. OK Yes well if you have got any photos of…
LW: There is a very good one, its taken from where I live in Currie Street Its taken from there looking this way and its got the workhouse that used to be there,.
ES: Yes I want to ask you something about that but do you think you might have any photos of watercress beds
LW: Oh I might have yes.
LW: Watercress beds yes, Ivy has got an album that’s full of watercress photos.
II: I looked through the ones this morning and I can’t find any.
LW: Yes we have got some of those, I have and you have got some.
ES: Well I can always come back can’t I.
II: So is this just about Ware Road?
ES: Well obviously I can’t help but be interested in that part of an old way of life. So when did you move to Hertford, when did the family move to Hertford?
II: Well we were here for the first world war so it must have been, I was born in 1908, the war started in 1914, must have been somewhere about 1912 I should think. We were, …lived in a house in Cromwell Road then we moved to Raynham Road and spent a little while, then we moved back to Cromwell Road all during the period of the war I think.
ES: Your father didn’t serve in the war?
ES: Your father wasn’t a soldier in the war?
II: No they were …considered it was necessary for food or something like that
ES: A sort of reserved occupation. So you would have been six or seven perhaps? When you came.
II: I was, well war started in 1914 so I was six.
ES: You were six then yes,
II: I remember going to school
ES: Which school?
II: The infants school.
ES: What at All Saints?
II: I remember calling on a friend of mine in Ware Road to go to school because it was a long way to walk, she said “We are not going, she said we have been up all night watching the aeroplane that was bought down at Cuffley.” Was there an aeroplane bought down.
ES: Yes, it was something like the R111 wasn’t it?
LW: Yes it was an airship they were called a Zeppelin.
Transcribers Note: There is still a memorial in Cuffley to that, it was bought down by Leif Robinson and became famous as one of the first bought down by a plane.
II: When the air raid warning went, Mum used to get us all up, there were three of us then and we used to go up the top of Ware Hill
LW: By the chalk hills there.
ES: What at Chadwell?
ES: Why don’t you come over here and I will sit here
Swap places to make the sound better
ES: When were you born? Your name is Les?
LW: Yes 7th July 1919
II: You see my mother had three of us, then the war came, then when the war was over they had Lesley and Ruby,
LW: They had five children then
ES: So are you saying, apart from calling for your friend, you walked to school on your own?
II: Oh no we went as a party, Mum and Dad, Elsie and Jim.
LW: They didn’t all go to school.
ES: No no I realise that ..
II: When we went out to the cave as we called it, a lot of people used to go in there from Hertford and Ware and we went in and spent the time while the raid was on because we felt safer.
ES: But what was it you said it was called “the cave”
II: It was just that, I suppose its still there.
LW: In the chalk hills. It was where they used to burn the limestone for building.
ES: Near Lime Kiln Cottages?
ES: Just a cave or hollow in the chalk?
LW: Must have been yes, it wasn’t in my day.
LW: Halfway house we used to call it. That wasn’t the name of the pub (The Nags Head) but everyone called it that, half way to Ware I think
II: Beyond the cottages.
ES: But in the cliff.
LW: Underneath the golf links
ES: How big was it?
II: Oh not very big. We used to crawl in, walk in, there was room to sit down or lie down. I mean it’s a long while ago.
ES: I know, I haven’t heard this before this is interesting, did it seem like and adventure of were you frightened?
II: We were frightened of the raids you see.
ES: How bad were they then during the first World War?
II: Well Hertford was hit once or twice.
ES: Yes Bull Plain was hit wasn’t it?
LW: Then the second world was as well.
ES: We could see you see we were near enough.
LW: That was the Second World War.
II: That’s was the Second World war was it? We used to go round the back here…
Transcribers Note: We think Mrs Iley is remembering the bomb in Tamworth Road very close to the family home
ES: Yes yes
II: Oh that wasn’t the first war, see I am getting confused
ES: Well no people often do especially with the wars and “Oh what about the bomb that fell on Millbridge”, somehow thinking that was the first world war.
ES: I know it’s the second but people do get mixed up.
LW: Oh do they? Well I was away at the war so…
ES: Yes, so how did you get on at your school, were you a good pupil?
II: Reasonably well, I went to the Grammar school
ES: In Ware?
II: Yes, whether it was luck I don’t know but I got through, so…
ES: Right well let just look at this Gallows Hill thing, now I know hardly anything about this area
LW: Where do you live?
ES: West Street, do you know it? I wondered if you had ever had friends who lived there..
LW: I read an account of yours in the local paper.
ES: Oh yes, oh well, it was fun, so I have got a list of questions about this area. When we talk about Gallows Hill we are really talking about Stanstead Road.
LW: That’s right
ES: When did it change?
LW: It hasn’t changed its still Stanstead Road.
ES: Its still both somehow.
LW: Well Gallows Hill was where they hung …
ES: I realise that but…
LW: Well the hill is called Gallows Hill but the houses are Stanstead Road, the address is Stanstead Road.
ES: OK that’s got that sorted.
LW: If you come the other way from the roundabout, the roundabout at the top its signposted Gallows Hill.
ES: Oh well no wonder I am confused. Now when you were a child did you ever wonder why it was called Gallows Hill. Were there kind of tales …
II: I don’t think so.
LW: Well they unearthed loads of skeletons up there when they built that school, well they did hang them there.
ES: What was it like when you were a child was it more like a lane, Gallows Hill
II: Its always been a road hasn’t it?
LW: Well it was a lane, it was the road from the junction to the Amwell crossroads..
ES: I mean was it wooded.
LW: No, agricultural fields.
II: There’s always been a road.
ES: Yes I just wondered. So you took shelter in this cave in the chalk. Was any of that still being worked. Were they still burning lime up there.
II: No, I don’t know.
ES: No I mean was it a going concern do you remember the chalk pit?
LW: Yes it belonged to Norris’ the builders.
ES: Oh I didn’t know that.
LW: They burnt the lime for plastering, all these walls are lime plaster
ES: Yes, but where were the sandpits and clay
ES: Well it says here clay, chalk, sandpits. Tile and brick kilns. Where there tile kilns?
LW: No I don’t think so, they were up the road.
ES: Yes I mean it was probably a biggish complex
LW: Up the road where they dug in to the limestone.
ES: Did you ever know anybody that worked up there?
ES: Who owned the land the land I wonder, do you think it was owned by Norris’ or just worked by them?
Transcribers Note: The land that is now housing and Taylor Trading Estate was owned by Braziers in the 1950’s when it was still derelict lime pits.
LW: All the golf links above it belonged to McMullens, they sold part of it off for the road (A10)
ES: Were you always warned to stay away from the pits and so on? As a child, where they dangerous?
II: Not as far as I know.
ES: No, no.
LW: As a boy we used to go birds nesting up there…
Coughing over speech
ES: Yes, that was a dangerous affair.
LW: That was.
ES: Yes, you never hear of anybody doing that nowadays, I expect it is still done by boys…
LW: It’s not allowed now is it?
ES: No no. Were you interested in birds’ eggs or just interested in climbing..
LW: Climbing yes.
ES: Doing something totally wrong.
LW: Oh yes, boys…
ES: Boys will be boys nothing changes does it. It says here George Lines was at the farm does that ring a bell, George Lines?
ES: I mean where is Foxholes farm?
LW: Well its now on the road from Hertford to Hoddesdon, isn’t it
ES: Was it always called Foxholes Farm… you don’t know.
II: I wasn’t interested.
ES: I mean where did you play as a child, did you just play with your brothers and sisters?
II: Yes, I wasn’t ….
LW: We used to play down the meads.
II: We used to go down the meads, but I wasn’t, not Elsie or I or Jim had the life you had, you had a much freer life.
ES: That’s the difference in age really.
ES: By the time you appeared…
II: Yes, I went to school but I was mostly at home when I wasn’t at school and I didn’t have many… I had a friend next door and she had one or two particular friends but I didn’t mix a lot. Didn’t go out like Leslie did and play in the streets.
ES: Your mother presumably recovered from here nervous trouble, she was better once she got here?
II: More or less.
LW: She had lived in a little cottage in the middle of a field.
II: Although I had to go with her places, she didn’t go on her own.
ES: Yes, that’s really what I meant.
II: That’s why I was always stuck to the house.
ES: Did you feel that even at that age you had got to half look after her?
II: Well I did in those days of course.
ES: Did you help your mother as well in the general way, you had to help in the house?
II: Oh yes, well she had five children to look after.
ES: Was it partly, you said you had a less free life than Lesley, was it partly that you were busy, you had to help in the house and so on and so on or did your mother say no you can’t play in the street, you can’t …?
II: I honestly can’t remember but I think I was of that temperament that Leslie had much more freedom than the three of us did (cups rattle) but that was the time you lived in.
LW: Well Ivy’s younger days were wartime to begin with.
ES: Yes of course.
LW: I was born after the war.
II: Yes I …. I did a stint up the County Hospital.
LW: In the second world war that was.
II: Oh that was the second world war of course.
ES: Yes I know the difference, that’s all right.
II: During the first world war of course I was too young.
ES: Right, where did the family go shopping?
ES: You went in to town?
LW: No we didn’t, in those days everything was delivered.
LW: Everything was delivered, the groceries and the butchers and the milk and the baker.
ES: Would you go in on market day?
ES: You wouldn’t, who would go there on market day? Was it people coming in from the villages?
LW: Villages more so as they do now.
ES: Yes you hardly ever see anyone you recognise in town do you? Well Hertford must have been very quiet.
LW: Yes it was.
ES: Right did you go to…which shops did you order from.
LW: Westropes was the grocers.
II: They had a man Mr Gray used to come round and get the orders.
LW: Delivered every week.
ES: He actually called for the orders.
LW: Didn’t have a telephone
ES: Yes so you probably had an order book, I remember we did.
II: I don’t know, I can’t remember
ES: That was the Co-op I think used to deliver where we lived and we had a…
LW: That was a divi book you had there was it?
ES: Well it wasn’t actually but of course we did have a…
LW: Five per cent
ES: Dividend, and I can remember it was 787055 the dividend number, though I haven’t used it you know for about 60 years.
LW: Is there still a divi?
ES: There is funnily enough because when we go on holiday to the Scilly Isles that strangely enough is quite strong Co-op country and when we go to the Co-op in St Mary’s they always say “Oh have you got a number?” Well I don’t think I could re activate my mothers number after all this time.
So you went to All Saints and did you sing in the choir?
ES: So you weren’t big noises there? You know churchwarden or sidesman or anything?
II: Kate Davies was the headmistress.
ES: Kate Davies, yes at the school.
LW: That was the school!
ES: Yes yes I realise but you were happy there at the school?
II: Yes and Miss Metcalf - funny how you remember names isn’t it
ES: Well I suppose the name of your headmistress is likely to stick, they had ways of making you didn’t they.
LW: They did, they had sticks!
ES: But I guess you didn’t then use any local pubs, well you children wouldn’t have done but did your father?
ES: Did they belong to the Band of Hope or anything?
ES: They weren’t drinkers at all.
LW: Not drinkers no, because his father was a drunk and he used to have to go and get him out of the pub every night so he never drunk all his life.
II: I don’t remember that
LW: His father, our grandfather used to play the squeezbox in a public house in Rye Park where they lived.
ES: Sounds a bit racy.
LW: Yes, so father used to have to go and get him out. They were watercress growers in those days of course and Rye Park was very big in those days, the whole family were there, four bothers and they had a lot of men, maybe ten men working for them
ES: I have only just been to Rye Park three weeks ago, it’s the first time I have been, we walked along the tow path.
ES: So where, you walk along the towpath and then you have to cross the river don’t you at Rye House itself but where are the watercress beds in relation to that?
LW: I don’t know that they are there now.
ES: No no but where were they? In relation..
LW: Well near the railway because they used to put their watercress on the trains from there. There was a big Sunday outing where Rye House was, all the brakes used to come down, with four horse…
Transcribers Note: “The Rye House” was a hostelry very near to the original Rye House.
II: From London…
LW: Day out.
ES: Well of course it was, I have got at home a leaflet which is almost and advertisement for Rye House, advertising they used to do lunches, teas, hold functions there.
LW: Yes a dance hall there yes. Father and Mother used to dances there.
II: I don’t know whether the Rye House is still open?
ES: Er no.
LW: It’s a castle of some sort.
ES: It looks like a gatehouse, there is not much left, I think you can…
II: We haven’t been there donkeys years.
ES: It probably has open days I imagine, once or twice a year something like that.
Transcribers Note: It is now part of the Lea Valley Park, the grounds are open and the gatehouse has open days in the summer.
II: They used to tell you the history of Rye House and how the..
ES: The plot against the King
II: There was somebody murdered ..
LW: Yes the King was attacked at Rye House on his way home from…
ES: There was a plot and they were going to ambush him at Rye House
LW: Yes on his way back from Newmarket races
ES: That’s right, but er
LW: They got the wrong coach didn’t they?
ES: Yes history might have been very different.
From the Rye House webpage, its history:
Situated on the outskirts of Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire, next to the River Lee, Rye House was one of the first brick buildings ever to be constructed in this country.
Built in 1443 by Sir Andrew Ogard, a Danish knight, the site was originally called Atter Eye meaning ‘at the island’ and it stands on land inhabited at least since Saxon times, and which was associated with the Knights Templar.
It was later the main home for the Parr family and of Catherine Parr, last of the six wives of King Henry VIII, until 1531. In 1577, the house passed to the Frankland family, who then sold it to the Baeshe family, in 1619.
The Rye House Plot
In 1683, Rye House became the centre of a notorious plot to assassinate King Charles II and his brother, the Duke of York (later James II). The plotters were Protestant members of the Whig party, many of whom still had republican sympathies from the time of Oliver Cromwell. They were alarmed at Charles’ support for France and other Catholic monarchies, as well as James’ recent conversion to Catholicism.
At that time, Rye House was owned by Richard Rumbold, one of these plotters. The royal brothers were due to pass the house on their way back from the horse racing at Newmarket, and the plan was to ambush the party at Rye House. However, their plans were foiled when a major fire at Newmarket forced the King to return early.
The plot was discovered and many suspects were arrested and executed. The Earl of Essex committed suicide in the Tower of London, while the Duke of Monmouth, Charles’s illegitimate son, fled the country.
The Gatehouse is now a grade 1 listed building, featuring high-quality diaper brickwork and a ‘barley sugar twist’ chimney as well as a string of underground chambers or dungeons. It’s open to the public on weekends and bank holidays during the summer, featuring displays about the Rye House Plot and the early history of brick-building. The rest of the grass-covered site has the original floor-plan of the house marked out.
ES: So was it your grandparents that lived at Rye House?
LW: Yes my father lived there
ES: What about your grandparents on the other side?
II: Roydon they were, farmers and er..
LW: Its still in the family, the farm is still there
ES: Oh really? Did you visit them much?
II: Yes we used to go over weekends and stay, we had a horse called Nobby, do you remember Nobby?
ES: When you say “we” had it do you mean the horse and cart was at your grandparents farm?
LW: It belonged to the watercress beds.
ES: Oh I see.
II: One of the brothers, the watercress growers. But we used to have it to take us over there but I don’t know how Grandma put us all up, but she did. We used to go for weekends didn’t we?
Transcribers Note: Jane Alice Barker was the farmer at Poplar farm, Low Road, Roydon from c 1905 when she was widowed to her death in 1938
LW: No I didn’t, this is your age not mine!
II: Yes we stopped going.
LW: Didn’t stay, we used to go but we didn’t stay.
II: We lived in Cromwell Road then.
LW: Cromwell Road
ES: Cromwell oh sorry, Leslie when were you born?
LW: 7th of the 7th 1919
ES: 1919 yes well that’s 11 years you see, made all the difference, so
LW: We came here in 31, we had the house built in 31
ES: But, by the time you came here, the workhouse, was that already Kingsmead School?
II: I can’t remember when it changed.
Transcribers Note: The Hertford workhouse was taken over in 1919 by the Hertfordshire County Committee for Mental Defectives and in 1924 the Poor Law Union was dissolved. The building later became Kingsmead school and was demolished to built a Police station which itself has been demolished and the site is now housing.
LW: It wasn’t the workhouse then?
LW: The workhouse was at Ware and they had to walk from Watford to Ware which was a days walk.
II: A day’s walk yes.
LW: They used to call in here with their can for tea
ES: What in at the house?
LW: They got to know them.
ES: I expect there was a mark on the gate to say
LW: Could be yes I expect…
II: It was a school after it was a workhouse.
ES: That’s right yes Kingsmead
II: It was a kind of junior school, I don’t know when the police took it over .
LW: They didn’t take it over they pulled it down.
ES: No, of course they did.
LW: To build the police station.
ES: Was it still referred to as the workhouse?
LW: It was really yes.
II: To us it was yes
LW: I don’t know when Ware was built?
ES: Oh well I think that must have been….. I don’t know 1850 or something
LW: There was a workhouse there till ware was built you see
ES: I can’t believe that Ware was built in the 20th century
ES: It’s a very handsome building though isn’t it, we are talking about this, its like an octagon.
ES: Yes, Western House, I mean its like an octopus isn’t it?
LW: Well I worked there
ES: Yes but wouldn’t you think its quite old? At least Victorian surely.
LW: Not really.
II: It was probably a house converted
ES: I don’t know it was purpose built
LW: Yes it was purpose built
ES: Its not unlike a prison is it.
Transcribers Note: Ware Workhouse was built in 1839-40 it later became Western House Hospital and now housing.
LW: I used to work for an electrical company and I did all the installation testing and I was over there for five weeks and the interesting part about it, one long, which was near the entrance, was the punishment cell there and the last one (inmate) was a woman there, who was in there and they used to push a big rock through a big hole in the wall and she had to break it up to put it though a small one (hole) to go away. I wish I had taken a photograph in there. But they pulled it down.
ES: Just like stone breaking on the road
LW: Yes but inside you see.
ES: I can tell when this goes off because it makes a click but I get nervous.
LW: Because they have got the clock on All Saints Church now haven’t they?
ES: Yes but I wonder why? I mean its probably in the history of All Saints but I wonder why it went from there. Did it go to All Saints when the building was demolished?
ES: Ah. Did All Saints not have a clock then?
II: It went when the police station was built
ES: Yes when that was built. Right how are we doing. I mean the land where Wheatcroft school is now, was all that just agricultural?
ES: Wheatcroft, up Gallows Hill just above the police station.
LW: It was barren land because it wasn’t agricultural. It was on a hill.
ES: So it couldn’t be worked?
LW: No part of it was a burial ground I think.
ES: Burial ground for where?
LW: The hangings…
ES: Oh I see. Yes of course they wouldn’t be buried in churchyards would they?
LW: When they did the school they found the bodies there.
ES: That’s interesting, you don’t know any more about it than that.
ES: Ha no I mean Wheatcroft school is not that old is it?
ES: I just wondered.
LW: I don’t know officially I didn’t read that but I was told at the time when I was working there.
II: The time I left school I was working down Hanbury’s so I was working at Ware.
ES: Yes, I wanted to ask you.
II: I didn’t have much to do in Hertford. I didn’t have any connection with people in Hertford that’s why I became rather isolated, you know Les has got a lot of school friends, still has but I didn’t keep any of mine apart from school friends. I just kept one or two specials who I am afraid have all died.
ES: That’s the price you pay for winning a scholarship or something and going to a grammar school. I mean I went to a convent school, I lived in Potters Bar and went to one in North Finchley and I had no friends either. So where did you go ?
LW: The Cowper school in Hertford after All Saints.
ES: Yes so the town is crowded with your friends, you keep seeing them. Yes I belong to the British Legion now, I went there last night there are one or two there.
II: He meets lots of people his own age you see.
II: I have got past that, I have lost two friends in the last year.
ES: Yes its sad isn’t it but it’s the penalty you pay for living to..
II: Yes I am ninety six now, my younger sister she came to live with me, when she retired, she was living in Abbots Langley, her two children had got married so there was no point in living on her own, she came here what is it, five years ago now she died. She was that much younger, she was 13 years younger than me, she should have been here instead of me.
ES: It’s not done in order is it/
II: No but she was completely different to me, we got on so well together because we were so different. She was in everything when she came here she joined the church and all the fellowships, she became a leader, I could never become a leader.
ES: Right so now what about the isolation hospital. You never had scarlet fever or anything
II: My sister did.
LW: That wasn’t built then. I worked on the isolation hospital when it was built
ES: When was it built.
LW: ‘38 I would say about.
II: But it was there before then.
ES: Wasn’t there a… I thought it was an old building.
II: It is an old building
LW: It was all built in 1938, there was a house there before…
Talk over one another
II: Elsie went there
LW: I know she did yes.
ES: I would have expected she did go there.
II: Yes she did go there and during the war we had soldiers billeted with us and one of the soldiers went up there and courted one of the nurses and married her and that’s how I know it was there during the war.
ES: Which war?
II: This is the second war.
Talk over one another
LW: I though it was the first world war you were talking about with Elsie having….
II: No no , yes it was maybe I have got it wrong.
LW: It was the first world war when Elsie was a child
II: Well anyway….
Transcribers note: the isolation hospital was first opened at Gallows Hill in 1898 and the extension was built in the 1930’s so it seems likely that Ivy was right - her sister did go up there and the building work Les remembered was the extensions.
ES: When did you have the soldiers billeted on you, which war
II: First world war
ES: How did that work the soldiers did you..
II: I don’t know I just know they were there, Bill and Bert
ES: Bill and Bert oh right, you can’t remember what regiment they were in?
ES: Oh so Elsie did she have scarlet fever then?
II: No she had …….what’s the other thing
ES: Wasn’t TB?
LW: No TB was at Ware Park, there’s three different type of fevers up there.
II: Yes but what’s it called?
ES: Anyway she went up there was she really isolated, you couldn’t visit her.
II: Oh yes she was isolated
LW: That wasn’t that building.
ES: No but there was an isolation hospital I mean in the 1830s there was a Cholera Isolation Hospital at the corner of Ware Road and Gallows Hill. Yes the site we are talking about the police station. In fact the Ware, as far as I know the Hertford workhouse actually went in to the former Cholera isolation hospital. So whatever it was Elsie was taken with it must have been quite rife.
II: Yes they tried everything, I mean I wasn’t very old, I could only have been 8 or something like that.
LW: Scarlet Fever
II: Scarlet fever
ES: What did we say then? I thought we said Scarlet Fever. Well anyway it wasn’t that.
II: I am trying to ..
LW: I was only a young lad when we was working up there, I should have been in the wards really, but I was working in the wards with this fever, 38.
ES: No you certainly shouldn’t have been should you, were you an electrician then? That’s what, that was the work you were doing up there.
LW: Crooks of Ware, Crooks they built the whole building
ES: They are still going aren’t they Crooks of Ware
LW: Just about I would say.
ES: They own a building in West Street that’s how I have heard of them
LW: Do they, oh.
ES: But up at this hospital it just was an isolation hospital was it? They didn’t do any operations or anything like that.
LW: No no.
ES: Do you, well obviously you do remember when the other side of Ware Road was developed?
LW: You mean the green …?
ES: The green roofed yes
LW: Yes I remember that because that was our taboggan field before they built on it
ES: So I mean apart from..
LW: Farm land it was.
ES: As far up as where? How much of that was farmland.
LW: 200 yards I suppose and then you found the old properties there. The Spinney was the first house I think. It had a long drive up, its now flats I understand. Well they had the bottom field that was quite handy from Cromwell Road to there.
II: I seem to remember you used to go on skis or something.
LW: Tobogganing yes with Ruby that’s right. We used to have oil cycle lamps in those days you know. Either acetylene or oil. We put one on a toboggan …
ES: Who built… sorry to interrupt.. who built the green roofed houses?
LW: I think it was Lee I am not sure.
LW: I think it was, whoever first started it went broke, I am not sure but I can find out…
ES: No I mean that information is somewhere.
LW: I am not too sure.
ES: Where are the council houses?
LW: Well of course right opposite here, Burleigh Road and Gallows Hill
ES: That’s council housing up there on the right.
LW: On the right.
II: The whole of these were council houses at the back here.
ES: Yes, so when were they built was that a between-the-wars development?
ES: I wonder what the older residents thought of that, having council houses, because this is quite a desirable…this bit of the Ware Road is quite a desirable area wasn’t it?
LW: It was yes, the land belonged to a builder..
II: Down Tamworth Road
LW: I can’t think, he left the land …
Tape Side one stops abruptly
ES: Peggy and Ann used to live next door to the Kemps didn’t they
LW: Did they?
II: They lived at Fairfax Road.
ES: Fairfax Road I think
II: Oh yes Kemp.
LW: Because the builders yard in Currie Street that I used to use which was Lawrence he was foreman for the Kemps and when Kemp died he took over the builders yard in Currie Street and the other bit of history about it, the wall that was built round the yard was built when Kemp became engaged and the wall is still there
ES: Oh really
LW: Big brick wall yes
ES: Why was it built then?
LW: To celebrate their engagement
ES: Lets go out an build a wall..
LW: He was a builder there that was his property
ES: Do you know anything about or have friends in Woodland Road? It’s a very odd development isn’t it in a way with those steep steps.
LW: Yes well Ivy has friends there.
ES: Not comfortable is it really the way they are built?
LW: An awkward site isn’t it
ES: A very odd site, so you used to play out on the meads, amazing that they are so little changed.
LW: We used to play football down there every Sunday morning.
ES: So were the meads flooded, do they flood in the winter?
LW: Yes partially.
II: A bit yes.
ES: Because up by Chadwell Springs, just under the bridge. That hasn’t been dry I would say for years even.
LW: No, Well the is a bank across there and that is a designated flood area its been there for years and that’s what the bank is for to hold it.
ES: I see it is an unusual amount of water isn’t it.
ES: I haven’t seen it dry.
LW: Its always been there because in the winter time people used to go skating there, ice skating.
ES: Yes, did you?
LW: Father did, I used to go down and sweep the snow off.
ES: What sweep the snow off the ice. Was your father a gentle man?
LW: I think so yes.
ES: Kindly and so on, just got happy memories of him, yes, that’s nice. Right.
LW: If we were out, when we went out on Sundays he would always pick a rose, you know, good old Victorian.
ES: Yes. It hasn’t quite died out that habit.
LW: Hasn’t it?
ES: No I don’t think so, its probably more on big estates though now, the owner would go round and pick a buttonhole, before he went up to town. Now some of these local names, Brazier..
LW: Brazier yes, they were owners, they owned the sandpits on the Essendon Road.
ES: But where was their holding round here?
LW: They did have a sandpit on the Ware Road, its now been built on, not sure where but on the Ware Road
Transcribers Note: They owned the land that is now Taylor Trading Estate and possibly either side these had been chalk pits. The Taylor Trading Estate land was sold to Mr Gordon Taylor in 1951.
ES: I don’t know what this is Lines and Drummond, does that ring any bells?
ES: Lines and Drummond
II: The chemist.
LW: Lines the chemist.
ES: I wonder why its one of the questions to ask? They were never in the Ware Road were they?
Transcribers Note: Mr Lines was one of the farmers at Foxholes.
LW: Might be they lived there I don’t know where they lived
ES: Did you… was there a corner shop?
ES: Well on any of these corners, I mean you are a long way from town, I know there is a corner shop now.
LW: Still there yes, always been there, next to garage now, used to be Lakes.
ES: Lakes yes
II: There was one in Cromwell Road in our childhood.
LW: The shop is still there is a plumbing and heating engineers
II: That used to be a general store.
ES: When I was talking to Peggy she said about this shop here on the corner there was a murder there.
LW: Yes there was yes
ES: Oh what happened was it the proprietor?
LW: I think it was yes, I don’t know the details.
II: I had forgotten that.
ES: Well where did you work after you had left grammar school.
II: Allen and Hanburys.
ES: Allen and Hanburys and what did you do a secretary?
II: I was a secretary, office work, that was until 1960.
LW: You ran the milk department there
ES: Yes well its just grown and grown hasn’t it?
II: Then I had to move, there was a big take over by the Co op of the milk and I had to go to Luton, they bought a business in Luton.
ES: When you say milk was that baby’s milk?
LW: No whole milk
ES: Did they do ordinary milk
LW: Yes they did, all the tankers came to Ware
II: you see we had lots of farmers that supplied us with milk and they used to make baby food Allenburys, they had too much milk so they started a retail business out at Biggleswade ..
LW: No but they used to sell milk locally the milk shop in the Ware Road, what was his name now, Sparkes they supplied Sparkes ware Road Dairy.
ES: Did they have their own bottles, logo I wonder?
ES: Allen and Hanbury
LW: Well no that would be Sparkes.
ES: It would have been Sparkes then.
LW: Sparkes didn’t have a dairy, they just supplied it.
II: Because Allenburys were a big firm with London branches, they sold out to Glaxo, they said sorry Miss Welch you will have to find another job they were selling the milk business to one of big dairies, Oh dear.
LW: They did sell it, that’s why you left.
II: United Dairies.
LW: At Luton was it?
II: So I bought a car and I used to drive to Luton every day.
ES: Bit of a trek.
II: Had an office and I did it for four years till I got married.
ES: So where did you meet your husband?
II: It’s a long story, we had a friend, how did I meet the Waddingtons?
LW: Well they came to stay with us, well with you here, during the war, to get away from London. Looking for somewhere to come and they used to come for weekends here
II: They walked by and Ruby spoke to them and they said they came from Wood Green, they were staying in a hotel in ware but it was a bit out of their way during the war so Ruby came in, she said to Mum there are two people want accommodation would you like… we can take them can’t we at weekends. So we had them here for some time and got very friendly and then after the war they went back to Wood Green, they only came weekends. Then she moved, when her husband died she moved up and then north and was house keeper to a gentleman who became my husband. I went up there to stay with them then she died and he kept it up and eventually we got married. He was older than me and died 7 years after we married.
ES: Quite romantic though.
II: Yes it was, I left work, I suppose its still running (the tape?)
ES: Of course thinking of Braziers we actually, by we I mean the family, we get our milk from Braziers dairy, different family you think.
LW: I believe so, not local people is it.
ES: Well Welwyn Garden City she comes from.
LW: Braziers were Hertford people weren’t they?
ES: Yes well it may be a branch.
LW: They lived in the corner of Currie Street where the doctors is I think.
ES: Oh really?
II: Yes. I remember Braziers.
LW: They took over Bartons dairy at Tewin, they had a place there, Bartons, I used to do a lot of the work there, installed electrics equipment on the farm, but they don’t do cattle there now its all gone, they just supply, no parlours any more.
ES: No I didn’t realise that, we have their organic milk and its such a cheeky price, I think its about 59p a pint.
LW: You are better for it.
ES: No, that’s not the point I suppose, I know we could be drinking milk imported from Eastern Europe at 20p a pint
LW: They bring it in.
ES: They bring it in from Europe anyway, a lot of that is two litres at a knock down price, a lot of it comes from abroad.
LW: Oh, does it?
ES: Right this last question is about the Reliance laundry.
LW: Oh, is it
ES: But did you ever do any work there?
LW: No I worked in the other laundry the Innisfail laundry in Tamworth Road.
LW: Before that there was Clarks in Cromwell Road before that then there was another laundry on Cromwell Road called Smotherbys on the end here there were quite a few laundries in those days.
ES: Where was the Reliance was it up ..
LW: The building is still there, you turn first right it is on the left hand side, the building that stands on the left hand corner, don’t know what its used for now.
Transcribers Note: Corner of Stanstead Road and Foxholes Avenue
ES: Right well is there anything you want to tell me?
II: You’ve raked things up that I’d forgotten!
ES: Forgotten you knew, what about Currie Street, any tales from Currie Street, how long have you lived there?
LW: Since 1948, the only thing I know about that is connected to the workhouse at Ware, the reason it was pulled down, there was one there before, and the bricks from there built Currie Street, so a plasterer told me many years ago
LW: All the old stock bricks there came from the building at Ware
II: When was your house built?
LW: 65, 1865 so that’s when the pulled, that’s when they rebuilt Ware.
LW: That’s what became of that.
ES: Isn’t that just what I am saying that workhouse is a Victorian building, I mean that pattern, like a prison, central warder I …
II: Are they rebuilding it now?
ES: Well the actual the workhouse bit is going to be luxury apartments or something. I mean I went to visit somebody in…
LW: I haven’t been over there for years.
ES: Well there is something at the back which is almost a convalescent home but people, patients go there in between coming out of hospital.
LW: Which road are you talking about?
ES: I am talking about just behind Western House, you go up and incline to Western House, its set well back from the road, you go up and incline, behind Western House is now a modern building which is something like a convalescent home. A sort of halfway house between leaving… I think mostly elderly people, leaving hospital and going back to their own homes.
LW: That’s been a hospital and home for years hasn’t it?
ES: I don’t know, I have only just….
LW: Ivy’s husband died there.
LW: It was a hospital.
ES: What I am saying is the building whatever you say it is, 1865, is that one with the arms isn’t it, that is now going to be either offices or you know flats, I am not sure I would want to live in a converted workhouse, not that one anyway.
ES: It’s a grim structure,
II: What are you going to do with all this information?
ES: I think we will call it a day.