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Memories of Haverhill - Ken Bailey

(Email Dated 16/09/1999)
I was born in Clements Lane 1928, and moved to Cambridge with my parents soon after.
My memories of Haverhill were the holidays I spent at 2 Recreation Road with my Grand parents, days when the sun always seemed to shine and can only remember one wet day and getting wet through.
When one has such happy memories of Haverhill it is hard to know where to start to describe such a town.
My grandparents name was Thake and my Grandmother was a Wybrow, my relatives all seemed to work for Gurteens, Eric Thake,  Jack Thake and Peter Thake. I am sure my mother had worked there too.
My Grandfather had been wounded at the Dardanelles, and so many I knew as a child had been in the Suffolk Regiment.
Can always remember looking for the windmill with its circular sails as I would be arriving on the train. It was my beacon of arrival.   Have never seen a similar windmill in pictures of windmills since, it was like a large turbine.   There was what was left of another windmill up Mill Hill.
My Grand mothers sister farmed at Haverhill Hall.and the hours and hours I spent there with my uncles, the harvest time, and the foot path through there to the Bumpsteads.
How bare it seemed when I went there a few years ago, the hedgerows gone and few trees.
Puddle Brook at the top of Clements Lane and the woods further on.
The courting couples on a Sunday evening as my Grandparents took me for that usual Sunday evening stroll, to a pub out to wards Helions Bumstead, where we sat in the garden, my Grand Father having a pint and I think my Grandmother had Port and lemonade. I had usually a lemonade, when I think back it must have made a hole in their finances, farm labourers at the Hall were paid about ten pence per hour. Rachel Patrick was with out doubt in charge at the Hall.
When I went to Haverhill I noticed that they spoke differently to us in the Cambridge area.
The older people said. "How are ye, ye hev grown sin I last sin ye". And this with more of a drawl than we used in our speech. When I went back to Cambridge, my friends laughed when I said "Herebe", instead of. "Here you are". when passing them some thing.
But Haverhill people laughed when the people in a village not far away said. "Where be yew goin Bo".  Shew was another word used instead of show. A horse was a hoss, and work was wuk.
My mother went to the school on your photos, and I remember her telling me they had to address the teacher as "Ma'am".
But looking back I think their speech was already changing from that almost Elizabethan way.
Can remember the farm labourers sitting in the hedgerow for their break, cold tea, and a part loaf in a napkin, and with a knife, cut of mouthfuls.  A lump of cheese was placed on the part loaf and a small piece of bread in between their thumb and the cheese. No sandwiches that I can remember.
Hot Pads and short bread were delivered in the mornings by school boys who shouted out, "All Hot".  Would like to know the recipe for the short bread. I think Uncle Rolly made these, he had a bakehouse down the road towards Burton End.
Can remember the Army maneuverers around Haverhill, the summer of 38, the soldiers told us who won in the Joe Louis v Max Schemelling fight in the U.S.A. they were awake to listen to it in the early hours.
Tanks came down Clements Lane, they had come through from Haverhill Hall, soldiers had gas rattles to simulate gun fire, if they had a Lewis Gun like the pair of soldiers in Clements Lane near the Fever Hospital. Facing the foot path from hangarse as it was called, they whirled the gas rattle for a few seconds and then took of when an officer came through the gate opposite riding a horse and surrounded by his infantry. It was a bit of a surprise to me because I thought soldiers didn't run away, but a ten year old has only read the gallant parts of war of course.
Royal Scots Fusiliers, Royal Horse Artillery with spurs when walking out, jingling.
It is strange how locals forget things of the past, when I said to some one there, about Kedington being called Kitton by most people, they had no recollection. Perhaps some one could tell me where the name Thake came from, was it an occupation in
the past.
My Grandmother Died 1939 and a part of my world died too, it had been a part of the world that I feel sorry for those who didn't know and the growing up amongst it.
The Playhouse managed by Glendering. The Ram, part owned by my uncle Jack.
Haverhill Gala, and afterwards the flaming torch lights, behind, people linking arms dancing down Queen St.
The pop of the gas lanps as they were lit at night, An Aunt still lives there in Eastern Ave.
(Email Dated 16/09/1999)
Here is a photo that went to France in my Uncles tunic, during the war 1914 to 1918. The reason my Grandfather is not on the photo, he was away to and was at the Dardenelles with the Suffolk Regiment. You will see the result of being carried in France, the damage on the right.

It gives some idea of the fortitude of the women and the men at that time.

(Email Dated 24/04/2000)
How we lived in the thirties ...
One of the biggest changes in life from how I remember Haverhill in the thirties, is probably diet.
Putting on weight was not a problem for most people as the food we ate was mostly starch and not to much of that. And a lot of work was physical labour.

Bread and butter or margarine was the mainstay for most people and jam to brighten it up. Meat was used sparingly and made to last, so that Xmas was special in a choice of two or three meats, one of which would be poultry. Salt Pork I can remember one year So Xmas was something everyone looked forward to. Now people can have Xmas day every week of the year. The Xmas presents one year were hung from a round hoop above our heads in the front room, I must have been pretty young then as later it was pillow cases. Sunday was Yorkshire pudding day with gravy from the Sunday roast, and in our family eaten before the meat and vegetables, although I had been to another family's house and it was eaten all together on the one plate, but the piece of pudding you received covered a fair area of the plate.along with the gravy from the roast.

During the week we would have suet puddings with gravy or some times other variations such as onion cut up and rolled in it, some times currants, or fruit. The pudding was boiled in a cloth or a pudding dish when apples were added. At harvest time rabbits came on the menu often baked in a big pie dish with an egg cup set up side down in the middle to stop the pastry sagging. Bread and jam was my favourite for breakfast and teatime Cake was a special treat mainly on Sunday.
My Grandfather kept pigs in a sty well up the back garden where the Duddery is and chickens nearer to the house The pollard and boiled potatoes smelt really good when you felt hungry and can remember him throwing pieces of coal in the sty and the pigs crunching it up like boiled sweets.
We didn't eat pork if there was an R in the month. The apples trees in the garden were Bramley Seedlings and Bismarck.

My Grand mother in the photo had six sons and four daughter's so it was a pretty busy house hold for my Grandparents to run not many luxuries for either of them. The Wireless was run off a wet battery we called an accumulator, we took it to a garage to be charged up. The garage was near near the Playhouse Cinema.

When we were sick we had tallow rubbed on our back or chest some times brown paper on that too, so we crackled when we moved. Medicine was coloured water that tasted quite nice and if you went off your food, Parishes Food was given to you, which I realize now had iron in it.

In March it was the time for kites, these were made with a long slim flat piece of timber as a centre and a piece of bramble bent round in the shape of a bow fixed to one end by string and at each side taken down to the bottom of the centre batten to where the tail was fixed, then covered in brown paper and glued by mixing up flour and water paste. Some times a piece of paper was threaded on the string and the wind slowly took this up to the kite. This we called sending a message up.

When the maneuvers were on the soldiers had stew for breakfast which a lot of them threw away round the trees at the Rec. As we walked past an officers tent, he was the only one who had one, he looked at me, and said. "You would make a fine drummer boy". I wasn't to sure about that as I had seen pictures in someones house of red coated soldiers in line facing the battle with a drummer at the end beating the drum. I thought it was a pretty vulnerable job.

Along from us at the Rec. was the Basham family, I think he was an ex soldier, who made boiled sweets and sold them, we would go along to the house and he would have glass jars filled with them on the sideboard, perhaps he did this to supplement his pension? It may have been here that I saw the pictures of Red Coated Soldiers.

At the bottom of the lane past a thatched cottage on your left just round the corner on the road to Burton End was a sweet shop run by Farrants, you opened the door and stepped down into their small shop, a beautiful smell greeted you when the bell above your head clanged at the same time as the aroma hit you. The aroma that can only come from boiled sweets and lollipops You could spend the ha-penny you had on a gob stopper that changed colour as you sucked it. or perhaps even a farthing could buy an aniseed ball.

It was about this time Hitler Youth came to play soccer and won because of teamwork and positional play, I heard the older ones say. Then I remember the concern when Hitler and Stalin got together, but weren't we Saxons or something.and our soldiers the best in the world. But strange really I suppose when I heard no one discuss politics, that I can remember. It was also at this time I saw my first searchlights over towards Stradishall, and an aircraft caught like a silver moth in a beam. The next plane I saw caught in a searchlight beam was a Heinkell.

Each night I had to kneel by my bed and ask God to bless all my aunts and uncles and then I was allowed to jump into bed. I now thank God I had such wonderful grandparents and knew Haverhill the way it was. The smell of a farmyard and horses, wheat fields, threshing machines, hay stacks being built. Piglets being warmed by a blazing fire at the farm in winter. Nuts in the hedgerows and the taste of sloes in summer. It was all my idea of heaven, what more did we want.

Here are a couple of words that were pronounced differently back then ...
Meadow was pronounced 'Midder' and Shirt was pronounced 'Shut'
If anyone would like to Email Ken about Haverhill during this period, please feel free to do so ...
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