An Interview with Mr James Harvey

Notes of an interview with Mr James Harvey made by Nicholas Butler in the mid 1980s

These are the notes made by Nicholas Butler who interviewed James Harvey in the mid 1980s as part of his 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 James Harvey

I was born in 1922.   I first lived in the Smuggler’s Cottages, the row of six cottages which jutted out from the Quay.  One-up one-down, soil floor and wooden box for lavatory.

What Mr Harvey told Nick Butler

Walter Wix 47 Rectory Road 6486 Worked at the Sand and Ballast Company

Jessie Forsgate. About 90 Her son sings in the choir

Photograph: Edward Harvey, my brother aged about 15 outside the Co-op in about 1936-7

‘Gassy’ Edwards of Belle Vue Road (there is one at 5 Rectory Road) was pushed out of the window in a galvanised bath when the floods came.

People were up-streeters or down-streeters – up-street began at the Park Hotel.

Harry Hatch, about 70 he would tell you about cricket.

In about 1930 my father Tom was crying mother said “What’s the matter Tom?” he said “I can’t get a bloody job May”.

I took my father’s supper to him when he was firing the kiln for bricks at Fingringhoe.   I went over on the ferry and walked along the river wall.

My father was a pneumatic rammer when they laid the mains for the Gas.

The Employment Office was where Barclay’s is.

Went Carol singing to get enough to pay for Christmas fare.   William Loveless would give 3d, he lived in Belle Vue Road.

Fish and Chip shack in Hamilton Road.

I went to the Nottage, learned maths and drawing from Captain William Ham. He had a beard.

Old man Husk had my uncle William Cross charged at Colchester and given six of the best for jumping up and down on a gangplank of one of the big yachts in about 1900

When it was known that the “Rosabelle” was at Brightlingsea, all the village would know that at  the next tide she would come up to Wivenhoe.   Captain Abraham Harvey would be rowed ashore in the captain’s barge by six of the crew. All immaculate, lovely to see.   The vessel lay parallel to the shore, she was moored opposite the Fingringhoe sandpits, he would be rowed up to the Quay.   Captain Harvey lived at 57 The Avenue.

George Cook lives up Rectory Hill

Captain Turner lived in the Evan’s present house.   I had to touch my cap to him and refer to him as Captain Albert Turner (not Mr) or I got a ding behind the ear.   Captain Turner was not stand-offish.

My father raced on the Britannia, then no work in the off season.

Dad was on a boat called the “Liberty”, when Lady Houston spoke to him, he temporised by saying “I beg your pardon, Madam” She said “You are not begging my pardon.  You are giving yourself enough time to think of an excuse.”    A holy terror.

On the Britannia only for a few years.   The crew had to behave themselves all the year round or they would not be chosen again.   My father was very proud to crew on the Britannia.

Mother would make up alpaca jackets, she was a very good machinist.   She would alter children’s clothes.  

Robert Wyatt, the carrier, brought round pieces of alpaca from one of the three or four large clothing factories in Colchester and Mum would make them up.  She made 3 shillings a week, extra money needed to live.   She worked with one child on her lap, another on her back and a third tied to the treadle of her machine.   Circa 1933. Council House.

We lived in Smugglers Cottages; Gas Road; the Anglesea Arms (called Anglesea House); Dr Squire’s old house and then a council house.

Paid 6d a week to The Nottage.

Used to deliver papers for the Post Office.


This page was added on 02/11/2016.

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