An Interview with Mr and Mrs Hatch

Notes of an interview with Mr and Mrs Hatch made by Nicholas Butler in the mid 1980s

These are the notes made by Nicholas Butler who interviewed Mrs & Mrs Hatch in the mid 1980s as part of the research for his book “The Story of Wivenhoe”.   These notes have been re-typed by Ann Jones from Nicholas Butler’s original notes and posted here by Frances Belsham

About Mr and Mrs Hatch

After WW2 I was employed on the railway, I was 41 years old in 1949. I was born in 1908 at the top of Queens Road.   When we first married we lived in your (Nick Butler) house, at the end.   We used to use the cellar for coal. Downings lived in the open part.   Enfields lived in the top one.   Green used to live in the cottages which were taken down.

What Mr & Mrs Hatch told Nick Butler

Six years old when WW1 broke out.   My Dad was in the territorials.   We still live in the old way.

In the railway photograph at Wivenhoe, Mr Hatch is Leading Railwayman and Mr Jack Burnham is Station Master.

Moved out of the infant’s school when you were 7.

Philip Road belonged to the railway….we used to speak about “going down School Lane”.   God knows where they got Philip Road from, unless it’s after Phillip Chamberlain.

Etta used to play the piano while we went round the maypole.  Evidently there was maypole dancing indoors.

Polly Kent:  swivel chair, fur coat, she used to get up every so often.

Sid Green: Put the clock back.

Boys School for over 7s, there was a hole in the floor where the maypole used to go.

Between the wars, when I left school I went as an apprentice to an angle-iron Smith at the Rowhedge Ironworks.

I went down to Gloucestershire, worked on a tributary to the Severn.   Did work on a boat.   When I came back Ernie, my son, was in his pram.   I worked at the Albert Docks in London for several months.

WW2 in Fire Service.   Used to have to go to Colchester for that.   Johnnie Turner was in charge of the fire service.

During WW2 the shipyard at Rowhedge used to work from 8am to 7pm on Mondays and Fridays and 8am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and a night service on top of that.

Lived in Paget Road for quite a while, young courting couples used to go round by the railway.  There was a signal box where the line divided.

Jimmy Joyce: The gamekeeper of Wivenhoe Hall.

From Dr Palmer’s to where the sub-station is used to be corrugated iron fence.   Used to run along it with a stick. That was split into four.   All this land went down to the edge of the woods (ie where 4 Woodland Way is now)   In the middle was a wooden hut where they used to store apples and plums.   We used to raid it, the police couldn’t catch us, we were too smart for him.   We also went to the woods for chestnuts.

There would be a bust-up in the playground and then we used to go round the back of the Co-op, form a ring and fight it out and then shake hands and be pals again two or three hours afterwards. Say “You know where to finish that off”

At 11 years old you started to go in for scholarships, I was in X7 the top form.   Went in for scholarship because my father was out of work at the time.   I didn’t want to see my family going without.   I don’t regret it anyway, I have come through.   Working on railway, not a bad lot of lads to work with, played practical jokes.   Packed up when I was 65.

There were about 100 boys at the school.   I played football.   My Dad used to play for Wivenhoe Town, they played on Tenacres.  Cricket was also played on Tenacres.

I lived in Manor Road.

Volunteers used to first wear an Australian type of hat.

We had soldiers camping in front of us in Spion Kop, old Manor Road was there.   They were in tents under canvas, horses were on a single line.

Sergeant Flux used to keep a store on the corner of Alma Street.

I was sent from the Labour Exchange once to do work on the sewer….”I have been informed you know quite a bit about this kind of work…” I said “At a price guv’nor, at a price”   Got 3d an hour extra.

Wesleyan Chapel had a band who used to practice down Phillip Road in the old school.

Mrs Munson: of Queens Road (little house before the big one), a very nice person, her husband Walter was in the band.   I was starting to read music.  Used to have a band which played music for the dances.

Mrs Munson: St John’s Ambulance, there was no violence or anything, it was fun, real fun.


This page was added on 03/11/2016.

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