Memories of living at The Falcon Hotel 1945 – 1956
Written by Helen Douzier nee Helen Halliwell
My grandfather, Oswald Henry Halliwell, was licensee of the Falcon Hotel from 1939. When he died in 1945 my parents Joe and Di Halliwell took over running the Falcon Hotel as it was known then. I was born there in 1947, having 2 older brothers John and Michael. It was an odd existence when I look back but seemed quite normal at the time.
Life was very busy for my parents. Looking through the register from 1945 the Falcon was a hotel with between 8 and 10 guests at a time. One lodger was a captain of a ship from the Falkland Islands who remained a friend for many years.
We had 10 Irish men living with us in 1954, which holds many happy memories for me as I was spoilt rotten! They worked at Cooks Shipyard, all having to sleep in the snooker room above the bar. Considering we only had one inside loo – did they have to use the toilets in the outside yard?! Two of these lads that I know of married local girls.
I remember they had a mad scheme to own a greyhound, to race, called “Sugar Plum”. She was kennelled in the outside yard.
My brothers remember on Saturday mornings, hosing down the outside toilets, clearing all the empties from the bar, before having to go into Colchester to buy the week’s cigarette supplies. Then they were able to go to the Saturday morning flicks.
My father was a generous soul, a non-smoker and teetotal, who would make cocoa for the customers at closing time. He was very musical so many musical evenings were spent with either Rosie Marshall or my dad on the old jo-anna. (As youngsters we were always sent to bed early before the rowdiness of the evening began.)
Whenever there was a wedding at the church, I would watch from my bedroom window then go into the churchyard to collect all the pretty confetti.
At that time there were still the row of cottages at the rear of The Falcon. So there were always children playing in the yard at the side.
I remember once sleeping overnight in The Shipwright Arms, which was run by George Hilliyard – Rosie Marshall’s, father. It was a very dark drear building and I was terrified. This was in about 1953, just before the pub was demolished.