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Memories of Haverhill - Frances Osborn

(Email Dated 24/11/2004)
I have many happy memories of Haverhill, my Grandparents moved there from Halstead around 1912, they were Percy and Bertha Kibble, Percy was the organist and choir master for many years, he also had a lot to do with the Clare Festival, he was so very well known for his music abilities, around the local area, He also took people for private music lessons in his home at 2, Hamlet Rd, Percy also taught music in local schools, even going to Gt,. Thurlow to a private school called Miss Webb/s, where we were pupils. They had a son called Denis, our father, he later on met Lena [Maisie] Shanks, they met while she was in service at a house in Wratting Rd, the family was called Smart, Mum later went on to work for a Mr., and Mrs,. Baldock of Withersfield Rd,. where she looked after a little boy, he died at a young age, Mum always said it was because he was too brainy, at the age of around two he knew all the nursery rhymnes. she has always said since not to get them to learn too young.

My parents lived at Thurlow after they were married, and they had two children, Frances[ Frances and Neil , born in 1935 and 1938 . We visited them often, and would go down the street,[ asG/dad] called it, and we would go to the sweet shop, for his pipe tobacco and some sweets, the shop was called Chapmans, i believe, it was such a treat for us, it was on the righthand side of the road, I also remember Tuffins opposite to Prykes butchers, we used to get the meat there, G/dad always stood and talked to them in the shop. In the main street was Merchants the drapers, they sold clothes as well, and opposite there was the Echo newspaper office. Of course G/dad went to the co-op as his father had been an important man in the building society department, being one of the founders. G/dad also used to take a pony out with a trap attached, it belonged to Prykes, he would help us get in , then off we would go, out Sturmer and round the villages, people would call out and say; hello Mr Kibble, and he would lift his trilby hat and wave, sometimes we would go to Withersfield and say hello to our other G/ma. he would sing as he went along [threeh halpennies for a penny] and Bess would know she was on her way home, it was a job for us to climb in and out of the trap though.

During the war years G/ma helped to run a canteen for the troops, at the Old Independent Church, opposite their house, you would see her making sandwiches in her kitchen, mostly spam ones, i think. They kept boxes of chocolate in their spare bedroom, we loved to go in there, g/dad always let us have one bar, there were kit kats, mars bars, crunches, and of course cadburys, There house at Hamlet Rd, was covered in a creeper, and in the autumn the leaves turned a lovely red. colour, We wiould go to see a Miss Gurteen, she lived in a very old house just down the road, we used to run about in the garden while they talked, we also went down the other side of the road, to the last house, opposite the meadow, where they held the Gala, to see a Miss Hetty Ashplant, she lived with her sister, and they ran a private boarding school, Mum told me a woman later known as Mrs,. Driver at Withersfield, who was born at Samford in essex, was a boarder there, G/dad always seemed to look after the older ladies, Dr Sunderland also lived down Hamlet Rd,. My G/mother was a very quiet and shy lady, she did/nt like all the fuss that G/dad did. she was always in the background.

They had a cellar at their house and when you opened the door, there was a small pantry, and on the shelves were all big jars of homemade biscuits, which were lovely, and if you went down the steps to the cellar there was all jars of homemade jam, her raspberry sort was the best, My parents were friendly with a Muriel and Jack Tuck, he worked at Atterton and Ellis, they lived at the last house in Withersfield rd, with a steep drive up to the door. Somewhere along the Withersfield Rd,. there was an old railway carriage, which had been made into a home, and people lived in it for years, My father Denis went to school at the bottom of Wratting Rd,. and G/dad taught music there , dad was in the choir, in fact we have a photo somewhere of the schoolchildren when my dad was there, in about 1915 to 1920, or around that date. there was a swimming pool in those days, along the bottom road, you had to cross over the stream, to go inside, we did not go that much.

In the summer Bess the pony would go down to the meadow at the bottom of the road where Prykes shop was, they also lived in a house on the other side of the road, G/dad would lead her bess there then take off her reins and she would gallop off across the meadow, a lot of people fed her there, and children loved to stroke her, in the evening we would go and get her , into the stable again., we have a photo of us in that pony and trap outside G/dad/s house, at the side., it was about 59 years ago,. There was also a lovely orangery in the big Gurteens house opposite G/dads, and i saw lovely oranges growing in there, what a shame the house is no more. Ihope this will have broyght back a few memories, and a few snippets you didn't know, no doubt i could go on for ages, I would be pleased to hear from anyone if they care to e-mail me my mother is still alive at the age of 92 years, but sadly my dad died at the age of 62.

Frances Osborn [nee Kibble]


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