Information supplied by Mrs Millie Goodwin


This information was collected by Nicholas Butler as part of the research for his book”  The Story of Wivenhoe “These notes have been retyped by Ann Jones and posted here by Frances Belsham

Regarding Mrs Millie Goodwin (formerly Mrs Arthur MASON) nee Mitchell.

Millie Mary Mitchell came to Wivenhoe in 1897 as a small girl, she was born in Sussex on 13 September 1885. Her father, George William Mitchell was a mariner on Steam Yacht Chrysalis he was born in Shoreham, Sussex.   Her mother Mary Dunstall was a Franco-Prussian war refugee whose family settled in Newhaven.   They moved to Wivenhoe because the yacht was laid up there each winter.   Her grandfather was a small ship owner.   About 1900 her mother applied for and was employed as  Wivenhoe’s first Caretaker Telephone Operator for the National Telephone Company.   Wages were £1 per week plus coal and light, but entailed a service of 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.   There were only 7 subscribers in the first year, then 9 and after 2 years it increased to 17. By 1925 it had grown to about 50.   She resigned in 1930 and by then the number of subscribers had increased to 150.   She was kept very busy then passing all the calls made.


Millie started at the girls school by the railway which was built in 1893 on ground known as “Cokers” – the previous owner of the land.   There were about 225 other girls.   It was very crowded with 4 teachers trying to teach 4 different classes in one room.   The Head Mistress was a Mrs Wright, a wonderful woman, very clever thorough and interesting.   Millie did very well at school and was advised to apply for a post as a pupil teacher. She passed her exams and was appointed at a salary of 5/-d per month, attending the Art School centre in Colchester on 2 days of the week.   She was at Wivenhoe for 3 years as a pupil teacher and got her first full appointment at Brightlingsea at 18 years of age.   She cycled there daily and taught a class of 61 boys.   She still has her first year testimonial.

Regarding Mr John (Jonnie) Turner

Born in Wivenoe 1897 in Sun Yard (no longer there) at the back of the Black Buoy Inn.   Son of Arthur (Barr) Turner who was also born in Wivenhoe.   Indentured to John Harvey the boat builder (above still held by Mr Turner)   He has a number of old photos which show a lot of the local ‘characters’ on them.   He attended the infants school and then the Boys School, leaving at 13.   Started work at Tom Fayles fried fish shop on Anchor Hill, cleaning fish and scrubbing spuds.   Went in to Forrestts Yard as a rivet heater at 14 years old.   Aged 17 years he served on a tanker during the First World War, then came home to work in the yard until it closed in the depression in 1922.   He then went fishing in the local smacks (sail) where he gained great skill as a mast headsman.   He joined the Royal Yacht Britannia in that capacity, under his uncle Captain Albert Turner until she was scuttled off St Catherine’s point after the death of King George V.   He then became a fireman employed by WUDC (1932) until the Second World War when he went in to Rowhedge Ironworks.   Afterwards he went back to the Fire Service for a year or two and finally to Cooks shipyard until retiring at 68 years of age.   He was married in 1918 to Miss Mathews from Colchester, had one daughter Lily, a post-woman for 8 years in Wivenhoe.   Jonnie’s grandfather (maternal) was Alfred Welham of Brightlingsea a scallop fisherman, he died about 1913 at about 80 years old.   Mr Jonnie Turner was a keen darts player and held several medals and cups.   He played football for the local team as a young man.   His younger brother Ernie is a “primitive” artist.

Regarding Mrs M. Goodwin

Next to the Girls School was the Infants School – the Headmistress was Miss Alice Pullen.   The girls went “up” from the infants to the Girls at the age of 7 years, the boys went up to the Boys School up the High Street (now the Public Library).   The Headmaster was Mr Wright, husband of the Headmistress of the Girls School.  Mr and Mrs Wright lived at the School House next to the Boys School)   About 1900 Mr William Wadley took over, Mrs Wadley also taught when her husband became head at the Boys School.  They lived at Ivy Bank in The Avenue.

Millie Mitchell was married to Arthur Mason in 1906, had two children and left teaching.   In 1911 she went back to work and started at Fordham about 4 miles west of Colchester.   She cycled there every day for 3 ½ years a round trip of nearly 20 miles a day.   Her children were looked after by her mother at the Telephone Exchange (25 High Street – now 88)   The things she remembers vividly when first starting attending the Girls School at Wivenhoe was the strange ‘sing-song’ dialect.   Old Jimmy Munson selling water at a bucket for a half-penny taken from the brook at the bottom of Queens Road.   Children doing what was called “their burden” before going to school, which was carrying 2 buckets of water from the brook to their houses with the aid of a light frame which kept the buckets away from their legs.   Men and women used yokes and chains.   Bare footed children were common, even in winter.   Later on, Mr Barlow at Wivenhoe Hall had 3 stand pipes/pumps erected in the High Street and allowed the villagers free water from his private source.   There were 2 other springs, up the Heath which were used until WUDC had its own supply from a deep well at the bottom of Queens Road near the old brook.

Social evenings ie Dances, Whist Drives, Parties etc were usually held at the Boys School around the 1900s but then Dick Hams Auction Room – a large shed at the bottom of Brook Street and New Town Field (Hamilton Road?) was used.   Then the Forresters Hall was built and films were also shown there in 1924-27 and a second attempt about 1930, both finished in bankruptcy.

Dates to remember:

Station Road. Top End 1867.  Lower End 1866.

Flats off Top end 1973-4.

West Street from Station:-

2 semis 1876

Chapel 1847

West House 1548. Congregational Church opposite 1846.

Quay Street 1846-8

Bath Street 1846-8

Quay Cottage, Maple Cottage and Trinity House 1728,   The former practically rebuilt after earthquake 1882 (this date must be wrong per NB)

Cottages top west side Anchor Hill 1872.

Anchor House, formerly hotel, 1700.

Store House on Quay was Maidens Head Inn prior to 1750, then changed to White Swan.

London House Stores back part pre 1700.   Front part rebuilt 1772.

Folly approx 1830-40.

Information from Don Mason’s Aunty Olive (now deceased)

A list of Wivenhoe nicknames to “add to your list, they came from George Harlow”

Jesus Pittuck,  Pewi Turner.  Oct Goodwin / Bumper Jones

Mampsi Barrell.  Didi Smith.  Noct ? Cracknell.  Chopper Hatch.

Boxer Payne.  Friday Green.   Asa Beckwith.   Sloddy Walker.

Porky Munson.  Scabs Wadley.  Didi Salisbury.  Sprog Ham.

Scrappy Watcham.  Wicker ? Ham.  Boomer Bell.


This page was added on 06/11/2016.

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *