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Transcript TitleBone, Leslie (O1996.6)
IntervieweeLeslie Bone (LB) and Mary Bone (MB)
InterviewerJean Riddell (JR) and Eve Sangster (ES)
Transcriber byEve Sangster


Hertford Oral History Group

Recording no: O 1999.6

Interviewee: Leslie Bone (LB) and Mary Bone (MB)

Date: 27.4.1999

Venue: 45 West St., Hertford

Interviewer: Jean Riddell (JR) and Eve Sangster (ES)

Transcriber: Eve Sangster

************** unclear recording

[discussion] untranscribed material

(italics) editor’s notes

ES: Les, I just wanted to ask you where you were born in Hertford.

LB: In Ware Road

ES: O.K., Ware Road, right. We did want to know something about Castle Mead Gardens

LB: Well, I’ve got quite a bit; quite a lot

JR: Oh, well, fire away then.

LB: I’ve put in a lot about the property in Hertingfordbury Road ... Castle Mead Gardens was 7 houses and we rented No.15 from 24th December 1938 until the early 70s. The landlord was Mr Ramsden, who eventually sold the houses to McMullens, the brewers. The houses were behind a row of shops in Hertingfordbury Road, including Scales, the butchers, the Red Lion Public House, Hattams Yard, Ginns, the builder’s yard and offices, Davidson’s sweetshop, Wackett’s cycle shop, Emmett’s paper shop. A tailor’s shop, and Mr Cross, the grocer’s shop. Also Pateman’s milk shop and a second sweetshop. Curtis had a television shop, and there was a fried fish and chip shop, which was at the entrance of Castle Mead Gardens, and its living accommodation went partly down the entrance, where there were 7 garages which McMullens eventually sold and was purchased by Mr Curtis, who owned the television shop. In the early 70s, all the mentioned shops and many houses, also St Andrew’s Infant School, were demolished for the new motorway now named Gascoyne Way. But the houses in Castle Mead escaped demolition as they are situated far beyond the road. A new entrance from Warehams Lane to Castle Mead Gardens was made for vehicles

ES: So they’re still there, are they?

JR: Oh, yes, they’re tucked behind. There’s a carpet warehouse there now, isn’t there? ... Did you go into the houses when they were newly built? Or had they been up-

LB: No, they’d been built - should imagine in the 20s Castle Mead was built and I believe, I’m not sure, that Mr Ramsden, who was the landlord when we went there, also he had those houses built. Because, that’s what I think, about the 20s.

ES: Was it a yard? Well, it probably was.

LB: Yes, it was.

ES: I wonder what it was before they built? It probably was called Somebody’s Yard.

JR: Was your address ever Hertingfordbury Road or were they always Castle Mead Gardens?

LB: Castle Mead Gardens

JR: Why I’m asking is that before they were built, the first cottage on the south side of Hertingfordbury Road, on the corner of Warehams Lane, the first cottage of that row of cottages which led to Scales, that used to be No.7 but when Castle Mead Gardens went in they changed the numbers from 39 onwards. We’re wondering whether they had originally thought they would number those houses in Castle Mead Gardens as being part of Hertingfordbury Road. But they didn’t end up as being that, did they? (they were numbered in the Hertingfordbury Road sequence i.e. 7 H/bury Road, 11H/bury Road, 13 CMG, 15 CMG).

LB: No, the first one was 13.

JR: Is there anything else you can tell me about neighbouring property in Hertingfordbury Road, people or people you know who lived in them, in businesses that went on. Anecdotes about, or things that wouldn’t normally appear in history books ...

LB: No ...

JR: What about the scrap dealer? When did he come there, Mr Temple?

LB: Oh, Temple. He was, yes, down Warehams Lane

JR: Was he there all through your time or did he come after you?

LB: He was there when we were at Castle Mead

ES: Did you ever go into the pub? Was it The Oak?

LB: Not The Oak, no. We used to go- There was one on the other side of the road. I used to go in The Red Lion and was also one opposite.

JR: Cold Bath

LB: That’s right! I used to go there. I used to hire a garage in the Cold Bath yard to put my car

JR: Yes, in fact, behind The Cold Bath, was there quite a lot of ground? Was there a field? Yes. Cos I noticed in one of the census returns there were a lot of people living at an address called Cold Bath Field. Now, whether they were itinerants, you know, in mobile homes, caravans or whatever, or whether they actually had cottages there, I don’t know, but they were Travelling’ and I can’t read the next word. I imagine they were to do with a fair or something. I think they had fairs behind there, didn’t they, sometimes? What about the houses on the other side of Hertingfordbury Road, which are still there, that row of little cottages, can you remember when the larger houses on the corner of Cross Lane and Hertingfordbury Road were demolished? Was that for the road?

LB: That side, I don’t think that side was touched.

JR: Well, there were some on the corner, bigger ones, with 4 bedrooms, which came down, 5 of them, I wonder if you remember those. I should have brought a picture of them, shouldn’t I? What about neighbours, then? Who did you have as your neighbours?

LB: Oh, in Castle Mead? No.13 was Mr & Mrs Bright, who still live there.

JR: They’re still there. Does she walk a little dog out? Yes

LB: Yes, they’re still round there. And then there was Mrs Haywood and her son. The next one was Mr Rayment, who was related to Rayment, the baker at Hertingfordbury. Then there was, on the other side of the road, Mr Parrott. He had a shoe repair business in St Andrew Street. Then there was Mr Bird, he’s still there, and then there as a Mr Mead. He was ... ?? ... he went to Bengeo

JR: Are those houses still owned by McMullens? Or are they privately owned now, some of them?

LB: Well, that I do not know. I don’t know if Macs sold any after we’d left

JR: >Cos they look the same to me since I’ve lived in the town. They haven’t changed and often if people buy them they do them up, don’t they. And make them more individual? ...

LB: In the yard at Castle Mead, there’s an outbuilding next to these garages. A person named Calloway, Wally Calloway, he started making hair shampoo and he used to supply hairdressers all round the county

JR: Did he have a little workshop or something?

LB: Little workshop. A place to make it.

JR: Those houses have very long gardens, haven’t they? They’re in the front. The backs face Hertingfordbury Road, don’t they. The backs of the houses and fronts face the garden? ... Did you know any of the people in the cottages that go on from Warehams Lane, the Parkers, or any one like that?

LB: Yes, I know the parkers, and the Meales (Neals at 57?)

JR: Brace? Bet Brace?

LB: Oh, yes.

JR: Horace, he had a chair, a wheelchair, a mechanized wheelchair.

LB: And there was Mr Matthews.

JR: And across the road there was Evelyn Ambrose. You knew her, did you? She was a Walls.

LB: Oh, yes.

JR: She’s been on our tape recorder many times now, actually

LB: Of course, Mr Walls, he used to live along there.

JR: Yes, they started off on the south side, as a family, when Evelyn was a child, and then when she got married she moved over to the little ones on the back of North Road; those small one; she had one of those instead. Her brother took her parents’ house. I think that’s what happened. She’s got a lot of relatives in the town, Walls.

ES: You said your father set up his own tailoring business in Castle Street. I just wondered whereabouts . You might be able to just describe it.

LB: It’s No.11. It was. It is now a book shop.

JR: The map shop

ES: [to Jean] Oh, you said it [Castle St] had probably run round into Parliament Square

LB: Botsfords shop, years and years ago, used to be the Gas Showrooms, and the manager lived over the top

ES: I’ve always been intrigued by The Blue Boot Stores. I don’t know whether there’s anything else you can tell us. Now, that was, sort of, what? Next-door to Connells, the jeweller?

LB: Yes, that’s right. There was a yard in-between ... Where Boots the opticians are now

ES: So, was it between Connells and Stallabrass? ,,,,, Have you any particular memories?

LB: Mr Joyce was the manager at the time. It belonged to- The owner was Mr Hatton, I think. He lived in the big house that lay right back as you go up Bengeo Hill. They were the owners.

ES: ..... When you were talking about George Barker’s horse-drawn cabs, where did he operate from?

LB: Railway Street. There’s a garage there now where it was.

ES: What, going up towards South Street?

LB: No, near to the Eastern Station.

ES: Oh, yes. What, near St John’s Street?

LB: Yes

ES: Probably on the corner

LB: ..... There was a house there and then the big yard at that side where they kept their cabs.

ES: So his business was mostly, I expect, with the passengers arriving at the East Station?

LB: Yes, or you could, if you wanted to go anywhere, you could hire a cab instead of a taxi

ES: Did you ever hire one?

LB: No. I was only at school then. We used to, one or two of us, when we’d see a cab coming along, get on the back of it and have a ride along. There was one of the cabbies, Mr Wicks, he used to sit and watch us and he used to, getting the whip ... [becomes indistinct] ... the back of the cab

ES: You don’t actually look as if you’ve ever been a naughty little boy but perhaps you were one of those angelic-looking children. Were they more like hansom cabs, then, with a bit of apparatus at the back that you could cling on to?

LB: There was a rail

ES: I just wondered where your best friend Ernie Skinner lived?

LB: As he was a lad? In Currie Street

ES: ..... Why didn’t your father teach you children music? He played about 6 instruments?

LB: Well, I don’t know whether he didn’t want to or didn’t have the time

ES: You say you remember the laundry in West Street. Do you remember what it was called?

LB: No, I really don’t .. I know there was a house behind there where a man called Charlie Game used to live

ES: What had he got to do with the laundry, then?

LB: Oh, he hadn’t. It was just the house and he lived there.

ES: ... This is by the side of Wallfields Alley, isn’t it? [looking at a map] ... Where did the laundry operate then? These sheds in front?

LB: Behind there.

ES: Behind? Which bit of the house did the Games live in?

LB: Well, I think they were kind of by the side of the laundry.

ES: Oh, well, I suppose it is possible. When was this? This was obviously before you came to the street. Yes. Did your family use this laundry, then?

LB: No, I used to come down that way when I was an insurance agent, used to come through.

ES: Yes, so you knew the town pretty well, didn’t you? I’m just slightly intrigued because John Laker - I mean, they came in the 50s to No.30 and he was a lad then and was friendly with the Game children and used to play with them and he said that Charlie Game kept pigs in the front - The house was set back, where it is now more-or-less, and there were sheds in the front, probably behind those hoardings. H, so we don’t really know where the laundry is.

JR: Do you think the laundry is further up the alleyway here?

LB: More-or-less, yes.

ES: Did you ever have any customers for your insurance in West Street? Who were they, do you remember?

LB: There were the people at - You know The White Cottage, there. And several in the flats. There was a Mrs Kirby used to live in one of the flats.

ES: Is this Westall Close? Yes. You didn’t sell insurance in any of the bits that are now pulled down? Go there when it was Ivy Passage?

LB: No, but I remember those as a child, when I was younger - [Les doesn’t Recall Anchor Yard or the cottages behind The Black Horse] Talking about cabs, Barker’s cabs, when I was a child, doctor used to come round in a cab, a horse and cab, to visit patients, He lived in Castle Street. Dr Hall.

ES: Wasn’t it somebody like Annie Inman’s - oh, it can’t have been her father, can it? - who drove the cab for Dr Hall.

LB: Yes, he used to have a driver.

JR: Cos I think they kept the cabs, some of the cabs - Didn’t he work for McMullens, though, first of all, in their stables. And I imagine when the Council took over the offices, the Castle, he then perhaps was displaced -

ES: You said about John Laker’s house being a school; actually, you meant the house probably next-door to John Laker’s, Miss Hilton’s School, and that one of your aunts was there, a Law. Yes. Well, I don’t suppose you’ve got anything more to say about it than that, really. No. You describe your father’s death from this perforated duodenal ulcer, was that in Castle Street, when your father lived in Castle Street?

LB: No, he was at Clyde Terrace.

ES: Right, well, we’re really on to Charlie Law, the tobacconist. He’s your mother’s father. 4 daughters and a son. 2 daughters and a son by his second marriage. Did you ever visit your grandparents? Yes. Have you any particular memories of going round to Old Cross?

JR: Did they live over the shop? Because it’s not a very big shop, is it?

LB: No, but there was quite a lot at the back.

ES: What is there now?

JR: Well, isn’t it the new development?

LB: Both Hugman’s and Law’s shop are there ... They’ve made another entrance to go up to the flat and they’ve made the windows smaller, now ....

JR: Charlie Law married his second wife. Was she the daughter of Hugman’s? Yes. So they obviously were neighbours there? Was she then living over her shop, with her family? Yes. And he was living over his shop with his family. O.K. Just want to ask you who was Charlie Bone who played the violin and used to play with Cyril Stalley, together during the war years. They used to go out to the villages. Presumably they were entertaining the Americans or the troops, somewhere? Do you know who that is?

LB: Never heard of Charlie one, no.

JR: Cos, do you know Len Green?

ES: He was a school teacher.

JR: Yes. He said, when I was coming here, "ask who Charlie is"

LB: ... I think he’s probably got the name wrong. Father used to play a violin but he’s Robert not Charlie.

JR: I noticed. I was looking through St Andrew’s parish magazines at the turn of the century, early years of this century - there was one of the children of Charles Law died in infancy, I noticed. So he had more children. It must have been after he married Miss Hugman. It was not from his first wife.

ES: I see you said that Mr Strubell was your last head teacher. I just wondered what you were caned for.

LB: There were two of us. It was during the two minutes silence - the Armistice - and unfortunately this Neal, Cyril Neal, and myself suddenly had a fit of laughing and we couldn’t leave off laughing during this two minutes silence. Course, afterwards, we were taken into Mr Strubell, Hold out your hand.

ES: You obviously deserved it! Now, let’s hear about the clay pipe factory, the highwayman and the hand-made fags -

LB: My grandfather, Charles Law, tobacconist, of 5 Old Cross, also supplied public houses and shops around the villages with cigarettes and tobacco in a van drawn by two horses and it appears that one evening on his way home he was held up by highwaymen but he gave the reins a tug which the horses were used to when he wanted them to start off’. They did! And he left the men behind. After that, he carried a revolver and in later years he purchased a Ford van and was driven round by his son to deliver his goods. Also, he made clay pipes at premises in The Folly, Hertford. He also had premises in St Andrew Street where the van and horses were kept and, above the shop attached, his two daughters made cigarettes, which he called Law’s Home-made Cigarettes’ and sold them in the shop at No.5. The St Andrew Street premises were later taken over by Cross & Palmer, Car Repairers, which still exists.

JR: Yes, I’ve got a nice picture of the second premises, the one you’re talking about, that Cross & Palmer’s took over, but, he had a shop front there, as well, didn’t he, with Law?

LB: Yes, that’s where the two daughters were over the shop; had these machines making cigarettes.

ES: When you say machines’, not these sort of machines? [mimics licking a cigarette paper in a Rizzla machine]

LB: [laughing] Oh, no.

ES: I hope not! ... Do you ever wonder what happened to that stuff? I mean, was he bought out or what happened? No. ... You said, by the way, that this incident with the highwaymen happened at Tonwell.

LB: Well, at the crossroads at Tonwell.

ES: I mean, it certainly ought to happen at a crossroads, late at night, and I’m glad it did.

JR: Did you have any idea where Charlie Law originated, himself, before he took the shop? Did he live in the town as a boy or was he from another town?

LB: I really don’t know.

ES: I wonder when this highway incident happened? ... It might have happened about 1875.

LB: Yes.

ES: And those hand-made cigarettes, was that in the last century? ...

LB: Yes, I should think so.

ES: So, late 19th century.

JR: If we look in Rosemary’s book we’ll see that there was a clay pipe factory. Somebody called Hughes. Probably took over the premises from him.

ES: So, were there a lot of clay pipes in the family? Were you all brought up on hand-rolled cigarettes?

LB: [laughing] No. I was only a child.

ES: ... You didn’t inherit any decorative clay pipes or anything like that? No. [some discussion about the Whinnett’s cottage. Jean & Eve press on with the idea that the Whinnetts lived in the only surviving dwelling in the row just below Leahoe in Wallfields Alley. [ES does not recall this building, Then the lodge is mentioned] ... That’s the lodge to County Hall, where Father Maceroni lived.

LB: The Whinnetts, they lived in that cottage.

ES: In that lodge?

LB: Yes....

ES: You know, looked up in the directory and it said, A Whinnett, Garden Cottage, Horn Mill Road. Perhaps that is Garden Cottage.

JR: It must be, mustn’t it? ...

LB: Grace Law married Charles Law’s son, James.

JR: She lived a long time. She lived well into her 90s. ....

Interview drifts to a close.

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