BNC Text J8G

Life in Harlow: interview by Harlow Study Centre. Sample containing about 11926 words speech recorded in leisure context

5 speakers recorded by respondent number C481

PS1N3 X f (No name, age unknown) unspecified
PS1N4 X m (No name, age unknown, electrical retailer) unspecified
PS1N5 X f (No name, age unknown) unspecified
J8GPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
J8GPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 079801 recorded on 1982. LocationEssex: Harlow ( interviewees' home ) Activity: interview by Harlow Study Centre

Undivided text

(PS1N3) [1] These are questions that I'd like to ask you from what you've told me so far, erm, I'd like to ask you Mr about erm, from your point of view, from your erm experience with the electrical
(PS1N4) [2] Yeah
(PS1N3) [3] business about light fittings.
[4] I like to ask you both about your experience of moving into Harlow and of living in this house, which is a totally separate set of questions
(PS1N5) [5] Mm, mm
(PS1N3) [6] erm, why I suppose that's two completely different questions and I'd like to ask you from your point of view, from your point of view
(PS1N4) [7] I don't think there's a very great deal in the way of er lighting fittings one can talk about erm in houses in Harlow, it's er, there's a, a distinct difference between the light, a lot, lot of architects in, in Harlow have lived in Harlow you see and they will go in for all the very latest type of lighting fittings erm and because they have er access to the books for the various er designers of lighting fittings er, generally though, they, the majority of the people in the town er have come from er London boroughs and erm they view the same kind of lighting fittings they've always been used to.
[8] I mean when I started with a shop in Harlow what, erm, nearly twenty five
(PS1N5) [9] Thirty
(PS1N4) [10] nearly thirty years ago, erm, we used to sell the old glass bowl fitting on er three chains, hanging from the ceiling and that, and I used to buy those in a crate of about fifty at a time, and er most of the houses had two lighting points in the lounge anyway so, and they'd always wanted a pair and we used to have them in the shop on a display so that about eight of them could all be lit up at once and people could see them and if they didn't like those then the, we could always put another one under the set if we'd got one in a certain colour, we could hang one of those up and er they could look at that and see what it looked like.
(PS1N3) [11] Can I go back and ask you two questions.
[12] One, what were the differences when you say that they chose them, so even though the basic shape was the same there were obviously some, there were some variations?
(PS1N4) [13] Oh yes, erm I think it was generally, er, they had to match the colouring of the rooms that they'd got, the furniture they'd got really because as far as the room was concerned er when, when the, new houses came onto the erm, ready for occupation, er they were all cream coloured inside and anyway and pale cream [laughing] so [] they, they'd got er any choice they wanted there it, really it was just to match their curtains, match their carpets, all their furnishings and erm, of course I suppose they, the rose coloured ones er went better than say the lemon coloured one and that because er people just er liked the idea of moving into a place that's got a nice cosy glow in it, place sort of thing, but we never sell any at all, there's, none of that type of fitting in, sold now.
(PS1N3) [14] When do you think that that erm stopped being popular?
(PS1N4) [15] Oh I, I should think that about fifteen years ago er when erm the lighting manufacturers had decided that er there was a great deal more available in lighting than just the erm, type of glass bowls and shades that had been used, well in between the wars er, I mean after the war was over in nineteen forty six er they were still using the same things that they did before the war and this just carried on er and er it, it only within the last what I suppose fifty years that's over [...]
(PS1N3) [16] In the late sixties
(PS1N4) [17] Yes
(PS1N3) [18] people were still using these sort of light fittings?
(PS1N4) [19] oh yes, yes, erm it's very difficult to say I think when it actually exactly fades out, it would be, it would be fifteen years ago anyway, er when one used to find that there, there were no more of these being bought at all
(PS1N3) [20] Yes and apart from you, you mention lemon and rose, what other colours were there, can you remember?
(PS1N4) [21] Oh yeah, you'd, some people would go for some very awkward colours, er green, which is a terrible colour, blue which is another awkward colour, I mean I even get people today asking for blue lamps for their bedrooms, erm I'm sure they can't read in bed at that rate er, erm, it's an awful colour to use erm and er ... I suppose
(PS1N5) [22] Orange
(PS1N4) [23] yes, any colour you can think of, I mean erm, blue I think is one of the worse, but thinking of lampshades we used to sell a lot of er lampshades for putting on table lamps er and erm, we'd have just about every colour and somebody would come along and say well erm haven't you got one in purple [laugh] and of course I'd refrain from saying thank god no I haven't
(PS1N5) [laugh]
(PS1N4) [24] erm, and er, sometimes even pleased to say well I'll try to get you in purple, but er, nowadays erm, we, we don't go in for that because there's, there's so many er shops now that selling lighting fittings erm and selling nothing else, there isn't one actually in Harlow, but there's one in Epping and there's one in Stortford, erm that er, it's, it's riding a new car people want to see er a good variety of them, have a look at a lot or a washing machine or anything like that, you want to see many before you buy one.
(PS1N3) [25] But, but in the fifties you were probably one of the only shops in Harlow that sold
(PS1N4) [26] Oh yes at one time erm after the New Town got well started, after The Stow was built got to the, goes up to The Stow and be beyond er, well it's just, going on into erm, er, towards the swimming bath, it wasn't up there, swimming bath, erm and we used to call it the Shady Shop in, in adverts and er we used to have a lot of people used to come down because there was only The Stow then and er
(PS1N3) [27] And you had your shop
(PS1N4) [28] we
(PS1N3) [29] in The Stow?
(PS1N4) [30] Oh no, no way, my shop's in Old Harlow always has been
(PS1N3) [31] It's always been
(PS1N4) [32] Oh yes, yes, erm the er, no I, I suppose when The Stow first started we
(PS1N3) [33] When you saying, you saying that people had two points in their lounge
(PS1N4) [34] Yes, it was, yes, yes
(PS1N3) [35] was this an open plan
(PS1N4) [36] Er
(PS1N3) [37] sitting and dining area?
(PS1N4) [38] yes, well I don't know, I suppose that nearly all er the houses in Harlow you could say are open planned now, you know had a, had er, a, kitchen dining area that we have, erm or erm lounge, diner, erm they haven't gone in, in this, the ordinary houses, they haven't gone in for building
(PS1N3) [39] Can I go back to, I know I keep on harping back, but this about the actual designs of the light fittings, erm you've told me that erm invariably the ceiling er lighting position was fixed by, being in the centre unless it was an open plan
(PS1N4) [40] Yeah
(PS1N3) [41] with the dining room at one end and a sitting room at the other in which case you had two light, ceiling light
(PS1N4) [42] Yes, that's right , yes
(PS1N3) [43] erm and that the number of sockets changed
(PS1N4) [44] Yes it started off at er twelve sockets in these house and that er, it must of gone down to about er eight sockets in some houses.
(PS1N3) [45] And when you say these houses, the, the number of rooms and that in those sort of houses would be how many?
(PS1N4) [46] Well again er, er a three bedroomed house, I would, you see and they were putting one plug in, in, in each, each bedroom and, and two plugs in the main bedroom so they dropped one down altogether and erm, erm in a lounge like this to put two plugs in, sort of one in that corner and one in that corner it's no good to anybody, it's, as much as anything else was er, er about placing plugs as well er, if one's only going to have two plugs well then least one should be able to place them in, in the right positions, er putting them behind doors is, is, is no good at all, a lot of them have been done that way because the it always means flex is going to be draped across the, the door if people are walking in gonna trip over it and erm, they probably got down to now, something er just less than the [...] standard I would think in the, in the last houses they built.
(PS1N3) [47] Did they put double ones in or just single sockets?
(PS1N4) [48] Well only in the last er two years I would think, perhaps two and a half years er had they really started putting double plugs in everywhere instead of single plugs
(PS1N3) [49] How many of, erm, did you ever come across a house with only one socket in a living room?
(PS1N4) [50] In a living room, no, no
(PS1N3) [51] Always at least two?
(PS1N4) [52] Two yes, at Potter Street there was erm, er houses built with two plugs in and that really wasn't any good at all and that was in erm a living room where there would be er, a dining living room as well
(PS1N3) [53] Yes
(PS1N4) [54] because the kitchen wasn't large enough and er, and the two plugs in the kitchen as well and that's just not good enough
(PS1N3) [55] Yes
(PS1N4) [56] for me
(PS1N3) [57] Can we go back to the, very quickly to, er to the review of the design of the light fittings in the fifties and sixties, you mentioned the pleated paper ones which were close to the ceiling
(PS1N4) [58] Yes
(PS1N3) [59] plastic ones which were close to the ceiling, can you, could you give me a bit more of a description of that or perhaps a manufacturer's name?
(PS1N4) [60] Well, I, I think that probably erm, when we started out, er, it
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N4) [61] again after the war, in this country, they erm, the lighting manufacturers never got round to it, there are too many er, there's, there was too much call for er lighting in offices, shops, schools and that sort of thing and er, so a lot of the idea did come from abroad at first, the er Fin
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N4) [62] shades they were made in Finland they were the paper pleated ones, er, most of them, no, no not most of them, a lot of them fitted er close up onto the ceiling where they're intended for centre lights and were held up onto the ceiling with a little spring, erm, they also did some quite nice pleated paper shades, er at a time when you find that most electrical shops were, would have er the old type of erm what is it, imitation silk shades with fringes round them, er fringe at the top and fringe at the bottom and so on sort of thing, when the, when those was sort of old of age everywhere, it was just the same as it'd been before the war, er it was, you know, quite right really to see these all in different colours, completely plain, but pleated shades but in just one particular colour each shade.
(PS1N3) [63] Was the inside of the shade white or did it, did the light glow through and [...]
(PS1N4) [64] The glow through, er yes the paper was erm, was the same colour all the way through and er, and erm they had quite an impact, but of course they, would only last a year or two er and er they started a small factory in London and, erm call it Hula-Hoops I think er, I don't know whether Hula-Hoops came from the lighting shades or the lighting shades from the Hula-Hoops, but it was the same process that made them both and er this was erm thin plastic tubing brightly coloured, er which was er cemented together into er
(PS1N5) [65] Sponge
(PS1N4) [66] er beehive shapes and er
(PS1N3) [67] Yeah
(PS1N5) [68] Round
(PS1N4) [69] and erm circular shapes, that sort of thing.
(PS1N3) [70] Like hanging lanterns?
(PS1N5) [71] Yes
(PS1N3) [72] Yes, yes
(PS1N5) [73] they were very attractive actually
(PS1N4) [74] They were very attractive and they did have the advantage that you could take them down and plunge the whole thing in water and wash it and er
(PS1N3) [75] And they were popular a lot of people bought them
(PS1N5) [76] Oh yes, yeah
(PS1N4) [77] Oh yes, yes
(PS1N5) [78] sold an awful lot of them
(PS1N4) [79] there must of been a thousand thousands sold of this, done I should think
(PS1N5) [80] Mm
(PS1N4) [81] and erm then some of the people like er er in London started out erm making shades or er fittings which were erm quite at home in the house er or in the office and erm these were, well that is one design of them the wall back is to match you see, er but you could equally er, put those into erm hotel bedroom or something or er hotel lounge somewhere there, erm or you can get them large with more lamps in them I think and all sorts of new designs were coming out mainly in, in plastic er and erm
(PS1N5) [82] That
(PS1N4) [83] er they also brought out some a good range of lighting fittings er, which you still see about again used well I, I remember putting one, you saying about putting lights at different levels, erm a staircase which was in a new house which was architect design and built and erm, the staircase was er more or less centrally in the house rather than be stuck against one wall and so it had a well and down the centre of the well we strung one of these lights with er five different glasses suspended on black flex five black flexes and erm these were shades made of heavy glass er the glass wasn't painted it was coloured all the way through, er and erm they were called er Chelsea, Chelsea glasswork and erm these each had a lamp inside them well ... er about three inch diameter cylinders actually about eight inches long and they were hung at different heights er so that the lip behind the staircase and also of course there's a staircase being where it was, it was in the centre of er, a, quite a large hallway for modern stand for modern standards and erm it of course was a feature of the hall as well.
(PS1N3) [84] So it became not only erm practical thing but the light fitting became a decorative
(PS1N4) [85] Oh yeah, yeah
(PS1N5) [86] Oh very much so
(PS1N3) [87] Do you think that there was a changeover from being practical, I mean can you remember seeing that transition from the very practical shade to the, to, to the light fitting becoming something decorative?
(PS1N5) [88] Oh I think that occurred about erm, I mean now the, the trend is for long erm chromium stems you know with lights coming out of all different angles and they are very decorative in a very modern house and that will be
(PS1N3) [89] But do you think that in the fifties already this sort of trend was something
(PS1N5) [90] I don't think so , I think this is
(PS1N4) [91] I think this is more in the sixties really
(PS1N5) [92] this is in the sixties
(PS1N4) [93] erm
(PS1N5) [94] seventies, sixties, seventies
(PS1N4) [95] fifties , all I can remember there was an all very stolid erm, people didn't know where they were yet, and erm, it er
(PS1N5) [96] I, I I was so
(PS1N4) [97] it was still in the sixties, they call it the swinging sixties, I mean I didn't see anything swinging in the sixties at all, I didn't think it was swinging, but er and they don't like now the swinging sixties and I think really it was then that er people did er branch out to new ideas.
(PS1N3) [98] These Rotaflex ones that you spoke of, were they in the fifties or the early sixties?
(PS1N5) [99] Early sixties
(PS1N3) [100] Yes
(PS1N5) [101] I see
(PS1N4) [102] Oh no in the, in the fifties we were on the erm, the glass bowl fittings, yes
(PS1N5) [103] On the glass bowl fittings
(PS1N3) [104] Yes , yes, do you think that one of the reasons that they, that they became less popular apart from fashion was that, that they, erm wo that, that you had, the way that you cleaned them, that they caught the dust or
(PS1N5) [105] Oh no
(PS1N4) [106] Well that , that could be an idea but I think people would put up with that I, I think it was just because they were, then old fashioned.
(PS1N3) [107] When you say glass bowl, do you mean like the gold fish bowl?
[108] That was
(PS1N5) [109] Like, yes, the gold fish bowl on chains, they're hanging down on chains
(PS1N4) [110] No it, it they hang on three chains er and er
(PS1N5) [111] s s some of them
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N4) [112] yeah, about that shape sort of thing you see, like that
(PS1N3) [113] Yes, yes , did they have a kind of marbled
(PS1N5) [114] Yes, yes all sorts of different things, all
(PS1N4) [115] Oh yes, marbled, painted and all sorts of things on them, yeah
(PS1N5) [116] We used to get them by the, twenty at a time all sorts of, because people just absolutely loved
(PS1N3) [117] So when people first moved in they
(PS1N5) [118] these things
(PS1N3) [119] Yes, was it because you think that, they, that's what they had for in the house
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N4) [120] Oh yes that's what they remembered, yes, yes
(PS1N5) [121] They would remember from London you see
(PS1N4) [122] er and erm, I, I think that er ... most people are erm
(PS1N5) [123] Dougal you have made a smell you are a naughty boy
(PS1N4) [124] Er, I think most people now are influenced really by what they know at home er, and erm, today, yet that today they're, they're far more er adventurous and they're far more prepared, prepared to erm try out new ideas and see what they like
(PS1N3) [125] Mm
(PS1N4) [126] although we did notice, I mean, it and this will be during the er sixties anyway that erm, er the various new types of fittings that came out on er several of the London manufacturers were erm stepped up really weren't they you know
(PS1N5) [127] Oh yes, yes
(PS1N4) [128] the adjustable types of fittings and er, and in, it all really led up to what people are going for now in, in their houses, they want spotlights, erm clipped on, screwed on the ceiling, screwed on the walls er
(PS1N5) [129] Eye ball fittings in the ceilings
(PS1N4) [130] all this sort of thing you see
(PS1N5) [131] all that sort of thing
(PS1N4) [132] And that's what we're selling more of now than anything else er and I, I think it's quite a good idea really, light up the things that you like in the house, er and erm, not the things you don't like. [laugh]
(PS1N3) [133] Do you think that the idea of a adjustability er you say that they were snapped up, do you think that people actually once they get an adjustable light fitting, do you think that they actually adjust it?
[134] Do you think that they move it around?
[135] Or do you
(PS1N5) [136] Oh I , I would think so
(PS1N4) [137] Some do, er the rise and fall type of fitting over a dining table where when you're er, er having dinner you'd have erm it down to about what not more than twelve inches above the table er so that it lit the table but didn't shine in your eyes, erm some people leave it like that all the time, other people having had a meal lift er it up, erm I think the main thing about the, er adjustable fly and fall is that erm, it's there for, as you want it, if you're trying to find a meal you've lost on the floor well then you pull it down to floor level really.
(PS1N3) [138] When in, when you had the erm, you put your ceiling lights on
(PS1N4) [139] Yes
(PS1N3) [140] in the erm living room, or dining lounge, what other light fittings did people buy apart from that, if they did at all?
(PS1N4) [141] Oh, usually er for bedrooms er they, they would have erm [sigh]
(PS1N5) [142] Bedside lights
(PS1N4) [143] decorated type of shades, erm usually nowadays in, in plastic but erm ...
(PS1N3) [144] But I mean in the actual downstairs, in the living room
(PS1N5) [145] Did have table lamps
(PS1N3) [146] Table lamps
(PS1N5) [147] Yes, I mean
(PS1N3) [148] Standard lamps?
(PS1N5) [149] Oh aye, in the early days, yes, standard
(PS1N4) [150] Not much in the way of floor standards now, erm I don't think there's many floor standards sold nowadays
(PS1N3) [151] But I mean in the fifties, sixties
(PS1N5) [152] but, we, oh we used to sell a lot of floor standard
(PS1N4) [153] Oh in the fifties yes, yes, oh yes
(PS1N3) [154] Yes
(PS1N4) [155] wooden ones yes, yes, yes
(PS1N5) [156] With large you know
(PS1N4) [157] large shades on them
(PS1N3) [158] Traditional or again modern?
(PS1N5) [159] Er well both, mainly traditional turned wood
(PS1N4) [160] Oh mainly traditional, turned wood of yes
(PS1N5) [161] or and then we used to have some gorgeous lamps that er we used to get in Chelsea that it was fasten on the wall and the lamp would come over on the shade, down and completely change, do you remember that?
(PS1N4) [162] Oh yes, yes
(PS1N3) [163] That sounds like a modern one
(PS1N5) [164] Very modern, yes
(PS1N3) [165] And those were bought and
(PS1N5) [166] Oh very much so, yes, this was in the sixties, sixties, seventies
(PS1N3) [167] Can you remember the make of that, like?
(PS1N5) [168] Oh blimey we used to go to Chelsea and buy them
(PS1N4) [169] Those, no, no, no I think the one you're thinking of, the brass tube
(PS1N5) [170] It was a brass tube
(PS1N4) [171] made by the same people who made that one there actually
(PS1N5) [172] that was then that's then
(PS1N4) [173] Yes I think it was that's right, yes
(PS1N5) [174] cos it's just got another shade on it
(PS1N4) [175] It came up on the wall like that and had a big wooden block fastened to the wall that block
(PS1N5) [176] That's right, yeah
(PS1N4) [177] so you could pull it up and down and the effects went out the bottom of the tube, the tube came up like that and it came over, and like that and then the shade would be like that and then you could swing it round
(PS1N3) [178] Swing it round
(PS1N4) [179] Yes
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N3) [180] Did you , did you get any ideas from the Design Centre about what fittings to buy?
(PS1N5) [181] Oh yes we used to go to the Design Centre, yes
(PS1N4) [182] Oh yes we used to go to the Design Centre at Haymarket er and erm, see what they had and see what was going, yes
(PS1N3) [183] It sounds as if you were both involved in the shop?
(PS1N4) [184] Oh yeah
(PS1N5) [185] Yes, yes, yes.
(PS1N4) [186] Excuse me I get a Polo Mint
(PS1N5) [187] I was going to say shall I make, would you like a cup of coffee?
(PS1N3) [188] Now please tell me if I'm keeping you, I know I've been here for a very long time
(PS1N5) [189] No, are you, are you worried about your time because ...
(PS1N4) [190] That, that they have garages
(PS1N3) [191] Excuse me
(PS1N4) [192] and outside the porches, to light their number up outside their house, erm people don't seem to have erm, really changed their ideas very much, we still sell the same type of fitting to people, er the one that goes over the garage doors, on the corner of the, of the house wall, er lanterns er outside the front door with coloured glass in them er things that have been going for
(PS1N5) [193] Come on sweety
(PS1N4) [194] forty, fifty years really
(PS1N5) [195] come on
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N3) [196] Do you think that there's a fashion in light fittings, I mean you've noticed the change
(PS1N4) [197] There's a definite fashion of yes, yes, the only thing is, is that people are not erm, er ... religious bound by the fashion, they don't, sort of say like well I think we'll have to change our porch light it looks old fashioned compared to the one next door, erm
(PS1N3) [198] What about in lounges?
(PS1N4) [199] In lounges?
[200] Well again I, I, I think that er, wall lighting is a, is a thing
(PS1N3) [201] Now?
(PS1N4) [202] er now
(PS1N3) [203] Mm
(PS1N4) [204] and really always has been, erm, the idea of a centre is, is simply because you consider how much it costs to have a point wired when the house is, is built, er several people nowadays is ha well they buy an old house, they erm, say well we'll take out the centre light and put us in some wall lights instead you see.
(PS1N3) [205] But as far as the Harlow Corporation Housing are concerned mostly
(PS1N4) [206] They never put in any wall lights in at all
(PS1N3) [207] Well when you say wall lights do you mean brackets wall brackets?
(PS1N4) [208] These, yeah, yeah, yeah
(PS1N3) [209] Yes
(PS1N4) [210] yes, we, we put those in there you see
(PS1N3) [211] Yes
(PS1N4) [212] very soon after we got here, but er the Corporation never put any wall light in houses
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N3) [213] did you ever have a desire of er a wall bracket where you didn't have to chase in the flex that it actually ran up from er a socket in the wall?
(PS1N4) [214] Oh yes, yes, er we've got one upstairs in one of the bedrooms now.
(PS1N3) [215] Did, were they popular?
(PS1N4) [216] Erm ... I, I can't say that we sold a lot of them I, I, and I haven't seen a lot about at all, er it's a very good idea I mean two, there's mainly two different types, one that was held up by pins which was, was quite good er and erm ... and there was another one which was held up by erm a pin which ran, which the flex ran through, a stud rather than a, a pin and er two little black legs on it, was very good.
(PS1N3) [217] Can you remember the make of that?
(PS1N4) [218] Er, oh that particular one was one of erm I don't know if they've even got a lighting showroom in London now, er
(PS1N3) [219] Do you have any of their old catalogues, have you kept any old catalogues?
(PS1N4) [220] Er lighting I think I've got some old lighting catalogues, yes
(PS1N3) [221] Because I would be very interested to photograph some of them if I may?
(PS1N4) [222] Oh yeah, yeah, mm, mm, mm, mm, yeah, erm, yes I've got quite a lot of catalogues really I
(PS1N3) [223] Do you have any
(PS1N4) [224] the trouble is not having enough modern catalogues of, of things that you can actually buy today because when they manufacturer them now they don't erm make catalogues as often as they used to do er, it costs so much money in it ... I'd er, I, I think that probably the next trend is going to be in lighting fittings er which will take in er you er, low energy lamps er, at the erm, the new fluorescent lamps er where erm, well there's one in the hall which takes eight watts and it's given us as much light out as a hundred watt lamp, er and
(PS1N3) [225] And it uses less power?
(PS1N4) [226] Yes, it uses eight watts against a hundred, well I say probably against seventy five, eight watts instead of seventy five and given us the same amount of light out.
(PS1N3) [227] Are people concerned about erm saving on the electricity bill?
(PS1N4) [228] I think everybody now
(PS1N3) [229] I mean from the lighting point of view as opposed to things like heating and obviously more expensive consumption.
(PS1N4) [230] Er, well certainly erm as far as erm er, obviously as industry's concerned they're extremely worried about it
(PS1N3) [231] But what about in houses?
(PS1N4) [232] In houses I don't think that people, er worry much about, about that erm
(PS1N3) [233] Do , do you think they used to in the fifties?
(PS1N4) [234] I think they didn't like a lot of bright light in the house in the fifties, er and of course before that and er now that people they've got such good lighting in the offices where they work that they feel that, well they can't bear to poor lighting at home ... and yet there are still people who will watch a colour television with er no lights on in the room at all
(PS1N3) [235] Really?
(PS1N4) [236] Yes, next do [laugh] , er which I think is terrible I mean er it's enough to make one
(PS1N3) [237] Because it's not necessary any more with er modern televisions is it?
(PS1N4) [238] Oh no, no, it's not necessary no, no, we have all these lights on just like this and we
(PS1N3) [239] Yes
(PS1N4) [240] when that's on
(PS1N3) [241] well it's not necessary
(PS1N4) [242] Yeah
(PS1N3) [243] Mm
(PS1N4) [244] Oh no, there's no need to have it in the dark, you can see alright with it.
(PS1N3) [245] When you spoke about the colour shades
(PS1N4) [246] Yes
(PS1N3) [247] erm, the coloured pleated shades that came from
(PS1N4) [248] Yes
(PS1N3) [249] can you remember the, the colours that they were in?
(PS1N4) [250] Oh er, usually pale er, pale pink er again the ever [...] cream colour which seem to, you could of painted the fifties with cream I think, erm and erm ... pale blue, powder blue colour er, they were all pale colours, er pale yellow or an amber colour, they had to be pale otherwise they wouldn't let the light through
(PS1N3) [251] Mm
(PS1N4) [252] erm, it's only in, in things like the Chelsea glassware er of where you could really get, really strong colours er because of the thickness of the glass that they used
(PS1N3) [253] Mm
(PS1N4) [254] er and erm the fact that the colour was in the glass not on the glass.
(PS1N3) [255] When people came in to choose a light fitting, how often do you think that they considered what they wanted the light for, or whether they liked, or whether they choose it because they liked the style of the design of the light fitting?
(PS1N4) [256] I think that generally they came in because they liked the style erm they, they, usually had er, in their minds what they wanted and because they go round and see all these fittings at night, I mean our shop used to be all the fittings were lit up at night so that you could have a look in, erm it's very confusing I think when you, you've got an awful lot of fittings in, in, in a shop and, and all of them lit, decide which one's gonna to be the best for your house, but I think most of them already had ideas what, what sort of fitting they wanted and of course we used to do a great deal of
(PS1N5) [257] Could you put down
(PS1N4) [258] getting fittings especially for people, it
(PS1N5) [259] I'm gonna put this chair for you because I'm sure you
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N3) [260] thank you
(PS1N5) [261] Do sit on my
(PS1N3) [262] Yes this is better
(PS1N5) [263] A little high there
(PS1N4) [264] Then I, I er seen fittings in er, in a friend's house or they'd seen them in the erm
(PS1N5) [265] Dougy stop it
(PS1N4) [266] glossy magazines, of course
(PS1N3) [267] Did they ever say to you I don't want a diffused light I want a direct light?
(PS1N4) [268] Mm, well, yes then I should put them off it, erm
(PS1N3) [269] But I mean did they, did they have specific, erm did they, did they have that kind of idea about the type of light they wanted or
(PS1N4) [270] [whispering] Sugar Dougy, come here []
(PS1N3) [271] did they, or did they just like, did they just look at the colour and the shape of it, and the style of it?
(PS1N4) [272] Oh I, I think one had to consider erm, I, I'd have to ask them the size of the room, what, what sort of a room it was, er, it was no use getting the fitting which erm was either far too big for the room in it's, in it's physical size
(PS1N3) [273] Mm, mm
(PS1N4) [274] or perhaps which er wouldn't give up, wouldn't give out enough light
(PS1N3) [275] Mm
(PS1N4) [276] erm otherwise you'll
(PS1N5) [277] [whispering] Do you take sugar? []
(PS1N3) [278] I do yes please
(PS1N4) [279] They'll be soon back again
(PS1N5) [280] How much?
(PS1N3) [281] One please
(PS1N5) [282] Just one?
(PS1N3) [283] Yes
(PS1N5) [284] It's a very small spoon
(PS1N3) [285] Thank you , that's fine
(PS1N5) [286] Have a biscuit or not?
(PS1N3) [287] I will thank you.
(PS1N4) [288] This'll be very hot I expect
(PS1N5) [289] It is
(PS1N4) [290] Mm
(PS1N5) [291] fairly
(PS1N4) [292] and
(PS1N5) [293] I'm sorry if Dougy's a
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N5) [294] but it's one of his great problems [laugh]
(PS1N3) [295] No don't worry really I'm used to animals
(PS1N5) [laugh]
(PS1N3) [296] it's okay
(PS1N5) [297] Good [laugh]
(PS1N3) [298] Erm, it interests me very much how people choose er not only in light fitting, but how you choose furniture and they choose designs generally, because I have a theory that er a lot of people don't consider the practical things, maybe as much as you know like you or me when we're conscience of that sort of thing
(PS1N5) [299] Yes quite, yes
(PS1N4) [300] No, cold , er one example of that is for instance erm an Anglepoise lamp
(PS1N3) [301] Yes
(PS1N4) [302] a standard Anglepoise lamp er which it's been going for a number of years, you can get it in about six different colours to match different designs of, er put colour into your room, now if somebody was spending a lot of time sitting knitting and has to look at the knitting or has to look at the pattern then er a good strong light which won't get in their eyes but goes straight on to what, whatever they're doing, is by far the best thing for them, er but they say oh I don't like it, it's a bit angular isn't it, erm, modern sort of thing, er but because it's angular it doesn't mean to say it's not gonna fit into the room it's the right thing for it, er for the person doing that work.
(PS1N3) [303] Do you think it's because it doesn't look domestic enough maybe it looks a bit industrial or
(PS1N4) [304] Yes I think if it had a few
(PS1N5) [305] I think so, mm, mm
(PS1N4) [306] if it had a few twists and curls round it and little things like that and bits of gold plate on it I mean that they'd go for it, but er, because it's made for its purpose and don't want it.
(PS1N3) [307] Yes, mm
(PS1N4) [308] And yet we always do sell them, er we always have Anglepoise lamps in the shop
(PS1N3) [309] I've still got this one, thank you
(PS1N5) [310] Do you want
(PS1N4) [311] We're about the only people in, in Harlow that do sell the Anglepoise lamps
(PS1N5) [312] Yes
(PS1N4) [313] Yeah, now they've become very erm, there's nothing exciting in the lighting shops in Harlow now, at all.
(PS1N3) [314] Do you think that designs in the fifties and sixties that there was more variety?
(PS1N4) [315] Oh there was a tremendous variety, but then there were all the same in, erm you look at the er the three light fitting er it hangs down from the ceiling and has three branches out from it and it either has three lights hanging down or three hanging upwards, er with four ordinary bulbs in or candle bulbs in and shades, sometimes they have four, erm, there's still an awful lot of those about and any lighting shop you look in you'll still see plenty of those er and yet they've got a tremendous number of disadvantages, one thing, a lot of them got glass shades, if you break one shade three year's time you might as well throw away the fitting because [laughing] you can't get another one [] er, and erm ... it's a design that doesn't, it doesn't lend itself to giving a good lighting in a room at all er, it they, they harsh glassware, the edges of the glass during all round the room and that sort of thing
(PS1N3) [316] Mm
(PS1N4) [317] doesn't help ... I think that
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N4) [318] erm plastic erm, er the new plastics erm always give much more scope to lighting fittings, erm than the, the glass in the past but erm
(PS1N5) [319] Well erm from, from my observation of catalogues and I was just looking through the other day, lighting doesn't alter very much, there's nothing very impressive in any of the catalogues really
(PS1N4) [320] No but on the other hand you can look back and you can see all the things that have gone, I mean the for instance which er
(PS1N5) [321] Oh yeah , mm
(PS1N4) [322] somebody bought in large quantities er in Finland and started making up in a factory in Harlow erm, at one time, erm, they're all a bit
(PS1N5) [323] I think that period was nice
(PS1N4) [324] Yes a lot of those about er, and, erm also the Rotaflex shades
(PS1N5) [325] Mm
(PS1N4) [326] er
(PS1N5) [327] Mm
(PS1N4) [328] and erm, a lot of the types of fittings and single pendants with heavy coloured glasses on and things like that
(PS1N5) [329] Mm, I liked those
(PS1N4) [330] they were, they were all, all going, people had them, but er you don't see them nowadays
(PS1N5) [331] No, it's gone quiet do you
(PS1N4) [332] Mm
(PS1N5) [333] know there doesn't seem to be any er great enthusiasm for new designs at the moment.
(PS1N3) [334] Do you think that the spotlights have
(PS1N5) [335] Yes I think so
(PS1N3) [336] taken over?
(PS1N4) [337] Oh yeah, yeah
(PS1N3) [338] The modern part of the
(PS1N4) [339] yeah people have seen them at the discos and, will do, and er even, even those that gives patterns or designs people are buying, have in the house now instead of watching television, sit and watch the pattern on the wall er, but erm
(PS1N5) [340] [laugh] Oh no
(PS1N4) [341] Oh yes they're, they're old, they're going down as well, yes, mm
(PS1N3) [342] I couldn't bear it
(PS1N4) [343] No, but er, I don't know people, it's, it's where people get their ideas from I think for a start, I know one time we used to sell oh a lot of erm spotlights and spotlamps, but only to people who were running discos, er now erm there are people who erm, well they, they want a, a couple in the lounge or something like that or, and er, and then of course they, there's others who erm have them outside and light up their trees, at night.
(PS1N5) [344] Well a lot of people now, a lot, I mean I've known several, they put er lamps underneath plants to make, it's very effective that
(PS1N4) [345] Mm
(PS1N5) [346] I like it
(PS1N4) [347] Mm if you have some nice
(PS1N5) [348] if it's got a nice
(PS1N4) [349] autumn weather of course Rosie
(PS1N5) [laugh]
(PS1N4) [350] it can sit outside and
(PS1N5) [351] No, I mean them indoor, indoor plants David
(PS1N4) [352] Oh indoor plants, oh
(PS1N5) [353] Yeah
(PS1N4) [354] mm, mm, yes.
(PS1N3) [355] Could you tell me a little bit about when you first moved to Harlow, because it interests me very much the fact, I didn't, I wasn't aware that you lived in a, house that was
(PS1N5) [356] Well I came
(PS1N3) [357] built by the Corporation
(PS1N5) [358] Mm, I came to Harlow with my parents, when my husband was in the Air Force
(PS1N3) [359] During the war?
(PS1N5) [360] Mm and we moved from Sussex, here
(PS1N4) [361] The last one of course
(PS1N3) [362] Pardon?
(PS1N4) [363] The last one
(PS1N3) [364] The last one, yes
(PS1N5) [365] [laugh] The last one , not the great one [laugh]
(PS1N4) [laugh]
(PS1N5) [366] and er, it was bad enough the, the last one, erm, and I started with the Corporation when they opened at Turlings in that, that was in nineteen forty eight ...
(PS1N4) [367] Oh yes well I mean, I, I, I came back from the war
(PS1N5) [368] Aye, so
(PS1N4) [369] of course erm then we were living with your parents weren't we?
(PS1N5) [370] my husband and yes, just a minute , my husband arrived home from the war in nineteen forty eight I think it was or was it nineteen forty seven?
(PS1N4) [371] Good lord no, it was nineteen forty six ,a er March nineteen forty six
(PS1N5) [372] Mm, beg your pardon
(PS1N4) [373] the war ended in forty five you know
(PS1N5) [374] Yeah forty six
(PS1N4) [375] I thought that was bad enough having to stay another year
(PS1N5) [376] Anyway, forty six and then we had no house, at all, because my mother had died and my father, we said to my father you leave if you want to we should be alright we'll find somewhere to go and we didn't and we had to have a Nissan hut for about a year, supplied by the Council
(PS1N4) [377] It was accommodated by the soldiers before wasn't it?
(PS1N5) [378] which had been occupied by soldiers, this was our first hut, well by then I was working for the Corporation and of course by virtue of my job with the chief architect I got this house and we were offered this house about two years later for two thousand pounds and we said oh we wouldn't be staying here for more than ten years in any case and we wouldn't be bothered to buy it, but then my husband started in business you see soon after he came back and we eventually got the shop and, of course it's very convenient because we're only a stone's throw from the shop you see, so we stayed here
(PS1N3) [379] You say it was
(PS1N4) [380] and eventually we bought it
(PS1N3) [381] And this was the first group of houses
(PS1N4) [382] This was the first of development of houses
(PS1N4) [383] First of the houses
(PS1N5) [384] first of the houses that the Corporation built
(PS1N4) [385] Yeah there were , there were a hundred here actually, there's now a hundred and fourteen
(PS1N3) [386] What year were they completed?
(PS1N5) [387] Er
(PS1N3) [388] Forty nine?
(PS1N5) [389] well this, no, fifty one, er this was the last house to be completed on this estate because it had been used as a paint store and we were the very last people
(PS1N4) [390] Apart from those on the far side of the road which were built several years later on on another complex
(PS1N5) [391] Oh yes later, yes that's true, yes
(PS1N4) [392] Out of the original hundred houses this was the last one to be occupied and we saw this being built, erm right from the time that it was a plot of land and we knew it was ours
(PS1N5) [393] Brick by brick, we knew it was ours [laugh]
(PS1N4) [394] er from, from the footings in other words so I was
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N4) [395] from that, it was quite interesting really
(PS1N5) [396] And hundreds of people, architects, all this development here, this hundred houses were mainly architects or engineers from the Corporation
(PS1N3) [397] Who?
[398] Who?
(PS1N5) [399] who lived in these house plus I should think about
(PS1N4) [400] Million workers
(PS1N5) [401] ten per cent of building workers and er about five per cent of British hired mechanic staff.
(PS1N3) [402] It was a mixed development?
(PS1N5) [403] It was a mixed development with very much the emphasis on Corporation staff at that time er and of course they had to house the, got house
(PS1N4) [404] But they had to house you didn't they?
(PS1N5) [405] the staff somewhere and we, we came in here and of course most of the people eventually had families and er they moved out to bigger accommodation as their families grew up, you know, er, we were very pleased to get the house of course because we'd [laugh] we'd lived in this Nissan hut for er either one or two years but it did
(PS1N4) [406] Don't know very difficult to tell the time now how er, how long these things were
(PS1N5) [407] Not er
(PS1N4) [408] but er, I know it was forty six that I er came back
(PS1N5) [409] Came back
(PS1N4) [410] because that was the year that I, I actually started the business because erm
(PS1N5) [411] That's right, mm
(PS1N4) [412] in er, we had a cutting somewhere Marie, oh I know when we became a limited company, er that's right and er we put in erm formally erm ... er ... take over the business
(PS1N5) [413] Patent
(PS1N4) [414] run by
(PS1N5) [415] That's right
(PS1N4) [416] er since nineteen forty six or something I don't know the date exactly
(PS1N5) [417] That's right, mm quite, mm
(PS1N4) [418] and er that's how I remember it by except for of course the war ended in nineteen forty five but weren't
(PS1N5) [419] But when we
(PS1N4) [420] we weren't the first to come back or anything
(PS1N5) [421] You're interested in the furniture side of it?
(PS1N3) [422] Yes I am
(PS1N5) [423] Well when we came here of course we had certain furniture and we just sort of er, er and we, I don't know what other people did, we just erm furnished a room at a time until we got [...]
(PS1N4) [424] We furnished two rooms when we got in
(PS1N5) [425] We furnished two rooms when we came in here
(PS1N4) [426] that was the one bedroom and er and it was this room some what
(PS1N5) [427] and er, we never have had any hire purchase arrangements
(PS1N3) [428] Yeah
(PS1N5) [429] but I rather gather large people would get everything you see
(PS1N3) [430] Yes exactly
(PS1N5) [431] but we didn't you see, we didn't, we just got things as we went on and of course in those days, it was, what was it called?
[432] Erm tt furniture er
(PS1N4) [433] Furniture that what it were called
(PS1N5) [434] you know, erm, mm
(PS1N3) [435] What the manufacturer?
(PS1N5) [436] No, no the erm tt deary me
(PS1N4) [437] The hire purchase?
(PS1N5) [438] No, erm, that the in the war time the soldiers
(PS1N3) [439] Utility
(PS1N5) [440] Utility furniture, I couldn't think of the word
(PS1N3) [441] Did you have utility furniture?
(PS1N5) [442] No we didn't because I had bought various things, I like antiques so does my husband, I'd bought various things while he was away in this erm, the card table and er, I had a new place of stuff, er but since we've been, but we had odd chairs didn't we?
[443] Er
(PS1N4) [444] Oh yeah
(PS1N5) [445] but all of which are gone and we've replaced them with these since many, you know, quite a few years ago, er we bought one utility suite from an engineer who was going to Rhodesia and that's in our second bedroom still [laugh] it's, well the bed is but the
(PS1N3) [446] The bedroom suite?
(PS1N5) [447] The bedroom suite, yes, the bed's still there, but er, we changed the erm dressing table and the rest of it
(PS1N4) [448] I think there's only , there's only the bed there left now
(PS1N5) [449] there's only the bed there left
(PS1N4) [450] Oh yeah cos we've, we've erm, apart from the antiques we've, we've refurnished everything er at least once since we've had it
(PS1N5) [451] Just once, yes
(PS1N4) [452] and yes, er our bedroom of course is
(PS1N5) [453] Refurnished
(PS1N4) [454] completely refurnished, er
(PS1N5) [455] and the dining room's refurnished
(PS1N3) [456] You have a dining room?
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N5) [457] yes you can have a look, it'll be interesting for you
(PS1N3) [458] I would be, yes
(PS1N5) [459] in seeing this house, because it's, well we think it's rather nice er, you know it's quite a
(PS1N4) [460] It's got a good long garden with this as well
(PS1N5) [461] It's got a long garden
(PS1N4) [462] more than sixty feet long and erm over the last two or three years er I've made a patio at the bottom, right the whole width of the garden
(PS1N3) [463] Mm
(PS1N4) [464] and er eighteen feet wide so that you can get a dozen down there seated if necessary, you know, yeah
(PS1N3) [465] Really?
(PS1N4) [466] looking very pleasant ...
(PS1N3) [467] Right I think so, I'll check it again in a minute just to make sure.
(PS1N5) [468] It's a complicated piece of apparatus
(PS1N3) [469] Well ... the last time I came you told me
(PS1N5) [470] Well we got married in nineteen forty one and I lived first of all in Sussex where erm my mother was living because my husband went into the Air Force and he was erm away for five years, well we had a lot of bombing in the early part of the war in Sussex and my father eventually came here to Harlow thinking we were getting away from it and of course we came right into the V er what was it?
[471] What was it called?
[472] The V bomb, V bombers and the doodlebugs and er when he came home it was nineteen forty six I think or seven er, my fath er my mother had died and my father wanted to get away from the place we were in and we said oh well go ahead you know, we'll easily get somewhere and of course we didn't and they put us in a Nissan hut, which we made absolutely beautiful, we did all sorts of things to it and had a lovely garden all around it and the people from the Council use to come around and say to us oh well you don't need to be rehoused because you've made this so very nice you see, anyway I then started to work for the Corporation and then there was the possibility of course
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N5) [473] of me getting a house.
(PS1N3) [474] Could I ask you to go back and ask you to describe what the Nissan hut was like, what kind of a accommodation did you have in it?
(PS1N5) [475] What, well, we had a very large sitting dining room where we put er our dining room furniture at one end and as, the sitting room furniture at the other, it was very large actually, a Nissan hut doesn't look very big, but it is quite big ... and we had one large bedroom where we got all our furniture in there and then there was er a kitchen, and there was an Elsan lavatory in the garden which er you had to go outside for that, and er, we bought a full length galvanized bath like an ordinary bath upstairs and there was a boiler in the kitchen so we used to light the fire of the boiler, fill the boiler with water from the tap, we had a, oh we had all sorts of er innovations that made life easy as could be in the circumstances, we had er hose pipe from the kitchen sink into the bathroom, we managed to get about three baths a week, cos it, it was a terrible fag, but we did, and then you just emptied the bath out and out in the drain outside you know.
(PS1N3) [476] So you had to pick it up and carry it outside?
(PS1N5) [477] Well we had to drag it and
(PS1N3) [478] Yes
(PS1N5) [479] till we got to near the den and do that and we spent er a year and a half there and all the time we were watching this house being built, because I was working at the Corporation and the number of people of the Corporation from the tea boy cadet down came up to see this, this and that, was nobody's business, mm, without, we enjoyed it, it was quite funny really it is
(PS1N3) [480] Were there many Nissan huts in, in the same
(PS1N5) [481] Yes there were , there were about ten I think, but they were all widely separated, we all had a lot of ground around us, so,s so you weren't on top of your next door neighbour, you didn't, you hardly see them, or hear them really, there was plenty of room.
(PS1N3) [482] And apart from the garden that you said that you made it lovely while you were there, what other things did you do to make it look like a home?
(PS1N5) [483] Well for instance a lot of people didn't even bother to erm make the kitchen floor into anything reasonable, but we did, we, we got some very good, very heavy
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N5) [484] and put it down, it, on the kitchen floor of this place, and in the, our sitting room we had a carpet it was er a carpet of David's mother's actually, but it covered the entire sitting room and it looked rather nice you know, because it was a big room and we also had a carpet of sorts in the bedroom.
(PS1N3) [485] And did you buy new furniture when you
(PS1N5) [486] Oh no , no I'd, I had a new case of furniture, I had some of this furniture there.
(PS1N3) [487] Antique furniture?
(PS1N5) [488] Antique furniture, yes, erm, because I'd bought that during the war in various antique places, you know, and erm, what did we buy, no I think my father gave us the bedroom furniture was, which was at the
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N5) [489] at the time and we took that with us, which was an old fashioned, a really old Victorian suite which we got rid of when we moved into this house.
(PS1N3) [490] So you didn't buy any utility furniture?
(PS1N5) [491] So we didn't buy very, little utility furniture, the only utility furniture we've got is, it used to be a bedroom suite up in that second bedroom, we've still got the bed of that, that was utility, but had we been in the market we would of bought utility because it was very good, some of it was really good if you looked around and erm, you know, choose your furniture, it was very good
(PS1N3) [492] Could you tell me a bit more about that, because I don't know anything at all about utility furniture
(PS1N5) [493] About utility furniture , well you know the G Plans that now that there is, well this utility furniture to my mind if you choose really good makes of your utility furniture it was rather, after the style I would say G Plan, that was I've always imagined it were, it was good quality of, of a price that people could afford, if you got the right erm, type of stuff.
(PS1N3) [494] So there was a difference in quality between one make
(PS1N5) [495] I would think so, yes I think, I would think so because the bedroom suite, the bed upstairs er of that er suite is quite a good quality bed, you know, it's only a spring mattress of course it's not a, it's not a box thing like we'd have today, I mean, what we have in our other room, I've always intended to change it, but never got round to it, but it er just had a spring mattress, but it was good quality of its time
(PS1N3) [496] Mm
(PS1N5) [497] er, and I would think, well like any furniture now wherever you go you can buy the most atrocious furniture can't you?
[498] And pay terrific amount of money for it
(PS1N3) [499] Mm
(PS1N5) [500] and you can buy something, well which would appeal to me, anyway, er for not very much more if you look around.
[501] I rather like a lot of the G Plan stuff I like very much.
(PS1N3) [502] But there wasn't very much choice in the styles was there?
(PS1N5) [503] Oh no, no there was, erm ... it was very utilitarian, very er, were I should think plan would use the I, I don't think er, I can't remember a great deal about utility furniture apart from the fact that we have just this one bedroom suite, but remembering back to the, er we had the bed and the chest, the chest was very plain and very nice, very nice
(PS1N3) [504] And you don't still have it?
(PS1N5) [505] I don't still have it, no, no it had got knocked about a bit, you know, being moved hither and thither and the other people have had it a bit as well as us, because we bought it from the people who lived next door when they left you see, cos when we started in here, we didn't have any carpets on these floors or under here it's brown Marley tiling ... and I can still show you that
(PS1N3) [506] Oh yes
(PS1N5) [507] brown tiles and it was brown tiles all in that room and of course we couldn't, we had started a business and all the money had gone into the business and we couldn't afford to, to start carpeting, it was impossible, so, but that room really looked superb I think, I had huge rugs, you know, one in front of the fireplace and another one this end and the other end in colour, in colours, and there really, it really looked nice and the floor was polished up to the nines, you know, er right through here all polished all the same colour
(PS1N3) [508] And you moved into the house in nineteen fifty
(PS1N5) [509] Nineteen fifty one, we moved in, er and, I've had, you're not the first person to come all round here, this house, they used, they used to come round in shows from the Corporation all visitors used to come, they used to say, right Jean can we bring them round [laughing] we've had people from Germany [] and everywhere and being in the architect's department I fell for all this [laughing] you know I had []
(PS1N3) [510] This is all very much in the early days
(PS1N5) [511] Yes, right in the early days.
(PS1N3) [512] So you worked with the Corporation
(PS1N5) [513] From nineteen forty eight
(PS1N3) [514] until nineteen fifty two?
(PS1N5) [515] Yes, and during that time they used to have a lot of people visiting from overseas
(PS1N3) [516] And Chipping Field was rather like a, like a sort of prototype for Harlow New Town.
(PS1N5) [517] Well it was the first hundred houses that were built in the New Town and it housed a lot of building trade workers, a lot of engineers and a lot of archi well a lot, a few architects and a few engineers and the rest were building trade workers or of some sort or another, and a few British Hydro
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N5) [518] Research Association been put down on this
(PS1N3) [519] So mostly people involved with
(PS1N5) [520] Most the people who were involved with getting the town together, from the beginning
(PS1N3) [521] Mm.
(PS1N5) [522] you know, right from the beginning.
(PS1N3) [523] And how did you feel about moving from the Nissan hut into a brand new house?
(PS1N5) [524] Oh absolutely marvellous we watched the house go up brick by brick, you know, we, we used to come down here and think oh my goodness won't it be marvellous to be able to run some water and have a bath in the [laughing] normal way you know [] cos we don't, we'd both always had electricity and baths and everything else until this happened and erm, we er, oh it was wonderful, really wonderful ... absolutely marvellous
(PS1N3) [525] And how did you feel about the New Town being born?
(PS1N5) [526] Oh well we had no feelings about it because I really wasn't an Old Harlow person, nor was my husband and all that we could think about it was that it would be very good for the area, it would erm, bring work and employment and everything like that, but of course Old Harlow people were very, you know, a lot of them were very against it and yet, in the end, the Harlow High Street shops was, made a fortune in those first few years, you know, when there was nothing else and the, the Old Harlow High Street wasn't of course paved over in those days, anything like that and it, it was a narrow, narrow high street, it was almost like taking your life in your hands walking down there because there were crowds of people obviously with all this influx of community and they er ... the main Chelmsford road used to come up through there, so it was a, a hell, sort of a traffic hazard really.
(PS1N3) [527] And how did you feel about the sudden influx of a lot of people and?
(PS1N5) [528] Well, I didn't mind it was quite interesting, for one thing erm ... we were sort of off the beaten track here and although we're in the town you might say, we're out of it, we're in the country aren't we?
[529] You see
(PS1N3) [530] But don't you think that gen that Harlow generally has that feeling?
(PS1N5) [531] Well it does here, I don't know er, I wouldn't say in some of the parts of Harlow I would get that feeling, but then I am really a country person at heart and I don't like towns anyway, so I'm not really the best person to ask, no.
(PS1N3) [532] Could we go back and perhaps you tell me, erm what it felt like, for example cooking a meal or doing the washing in a Nissan hut and the difference of when you came in to to Chipping Field
(PS1N5) [533] Well the difference was like moving from purgatory into heaven really, because er ... in the Nissan hut I had one tap of cold water, that's all, every bit of water had to be heated on a gas stove, and every bit of water for a bath had to be heated in an old fashioned er boiler in which you lit the fire under ... and of course when you came here we had a ni an electric cooker, er straight away
(PS1N3) [534] Was it a new one?
(PS1N5) [535] Yes I had a brand new electric cooker, that was one of our buys, I didn't have a washing machine when we got here, but I had a wash boiler, an ordinary wash boiler.
(PS1N3) [536] Did you have a refrigerator?
(PS1N5) [537] Yes I did have a refriger I had, we bought a refrigerator and er a cooker and it sat in that recess there, that was our big buy when we first came, er we had a bedroom suite when we came here and we had sufficient furniture to, to erm furnish the sitting room and we had er a suite of furniture in here erm
(PS1N3) [538] Was it this one?
(PS1N5) [539] No, an oak table and an oak sideboard and that was all and just four chairs or six chairs I think it was, yes, er and it was erm that furniture was a utility, er I'd forgotten about that, it's taken me back now, that was a utility dining room suite of really first class quality, it was a tallish sideboard with two doors with big bow legs and a square table, erm, but it was solid oak really good
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N3) [540] Can you remember the make?
(PS1N5) [541] Ooh no I can't, I can remember where we bought it, we bought it in Hillsham and we paid about two hundred pounds for it, I know, erm, what was I saying?
(PS1N3) [542] Sorry I interrupted you.
(PS1N5) [543] Er, I can't remember what I said, oh ... no it's gone
(PS1N3) [544] Oh
(PS1N5) [545] It was a joy to be able to go and have a bath every night [laughing] you know [] to just run the water and find it came out hot, it was absolutely marvellous
(PS1N3) [546] How was the water heated, by a boiler?
(PS1N5) [547] No, by an immersion heater, yeah
(PS1N3) [548] Electric?
(PS1N5) [549] Electric immersion heater, er, ah, oh of course we had an Ideal boiler under there and it, that's what heated this kitchen actually an Ideal boiler and it heated the water in the winter and also heated the, and in the summer we let that out and had an immersion heater, well being in the electrical trade we had an immersion heater all the time and if we wanted to top up from the boiler we used to just put the immersion heater on for a erm week or so and get hot water and then let it go off in the winter time, you know, but er ... we haven't made a great deal of alteration to this place really, we've put a new front door on fairly recently, that was one of the things that er was very ugly, they, the back of the front of the doors to look at, ooh they were ugly doors
(PS1N3) [550] Where they metal
(PS1N5) [551] Er
(PS1N3) [552] frame?
(PS1N5) [553] erm
(PS1N3) [554] Were they glazed?
(PS1N5) [555] They were glazed with ribbed glass, you could see quite a lot of them on Chipping Field, still, er and nearly everyone who's bought their houses have altered the doors, but a lot of people have put these wooden doors in you know
(PS1N3) [556] Yes
(PS1N5) [557] filled in and that, and they look completely out of er they don't look part of the house to me
(PS1N3) [558] Yes
(PS1N5) [559] I don't know whether it's er me or whether it's er
(PS1N3) [560] Talking about front doors I've noticed that a lot of the houses have got two doors on the front side
(PS1N5) [561] Yes
(PS1N3) [562] one which is the front door and
(PS1N5) [563] that's the front door and that's the back door, through there
(PS1N3) [564] Yes, do you have one as well?
(PS1N5) [565] Yes
(PS1N3) [566] Yes, how did you feel about that when you first came to live here?
(PS1N5) [567] Er, well having, no did, didn't worry me at all
(PS1N3) [568] Because a lot of people of, were very disturbed about having two doors on the, on the front, they felt that one should be on the back by the side
(PS1N5) [569] By the side you can't with a terrace, can you really, yeah, I think any terrace, surely would have two doors on the front, wouldn't it?
(PS1N3) [570] If they have two doors it's not
(PS1N5) [571] If they have two doors, yes
(PS1N3) [572] Could, the furniture that's right er was there
(PS1N5) [573] was one
(PS1N3) [574] was there any furniture that you could buy which wasn't rationed?
(PS1N5) [575] Well yes you could go to antique shops and buy that sort of furniture
(PS1N3) [576] Yes , but you couldn't buy all new?
(PS1N5) [577] secondhand no, no, no new furniture
(PS1N3) [578] No new furniture?
(PS1N5) [579] no, it was rationed, and er, talking about erm people's taste having changed, I think the media has a great deal to do with that because when you look at things on television you can see how ... people
(PS1N3) [580] Yes
(PS1N5) [581] do things, can't you?
(PS1N3) [582] Mm
(PS1N5) [583] You can see furniture, you can see old houses, Arthur Neagus going round all these old houses, you can see a lot of things now, that the normal public never would see in the, the ordinary man in the street probably never saw them at one time, but I think this must of made a difference to people.
(PS1N3) [584] What do you think influenced you, I mean if you went to choose a chair did you sit on it to see if it was comfortable or were you more interested in what it looked like?
(PS1N5) [585] Oh no I think I'd want it to be comfortable, but I'd also want it to look well what I considered to be nice.
(PS1N3) [586] Do you think that the sizes of the rooms that people considered the sizes of the rooms when they choose furniture?
(PS1N5) [587] I don't know
(PS1N3) [588] It's difficult
(PS1N5) [589] I don't know about that, it's difficult
(PS1N3) [590] Mm
(PS1N5) [591] very difficult
Unknown speaker (J8GPSUNK) [...]
(PS1N5) [592] bottom cupboards and the rest of it, therefore I wanted that and I wanted this
(PS1N3) [593] Would you call this a dresser?
(PS1N5) [594] No it's a desk actually
(PS1N3) [595] Because it's
(PS1N5) [596] because it's got a desk, it's desk and er, we keep it, er this comes down as a desk, you can write on there
(PS1N3) [597] Yes
(PS1N5) [598] and erm the rest is just cupboards for glasses and cutlery and my hu husband's inevitable lots and lots of papers that he has everywhere [laugh]
(PS1N3) [599] Mm, do you think that it's important to have a sideboard as a piece of furniture, because a dining room isn't a dining room without a sideboard or?
(PS1N5) [600] No, no, that wouldn't worry me, I just, I said when we got rid of our other sideboard let's do without one and then I looked round and thought well what the dickens am I going to do with all this stuff that we've got and I just found that we couldn't do without it.
(PS1N3) [601] Mm, so
(PS1N5) [602] We had to take the door off there, there used to be a door on there, but to get this long sideboard in we had to take the door off
(PS1N3) [603] Really?
(PS1N5) [604] otherwise the door took up so much room, you see.
[605] A lot of things that I'd still do here if, if I could whip up some enthusiasm [laughing] if my husband would, I can't [] [...] , he was a bricklayer, sub contractor and they have knocked this kitchen out about three times since they've been there, and the last, this last effort, I think they've put imitation beams in, I haven't seen it, but we think they have and er, oh it's, you wouldn't know it's the same house at all, you wouldn't know it
(PS1N3) [606] Mm
(PS1N5) [607] He was and because he was getting on in years and er didn't get out as much as usual, my husband said we'd get a television for him and we had a black and white television
(PS1N3) [608] Would you remember what year that was?
(PS1N5) [609] Oh, dear he's been dead, ten ... it must of been the ten, this is eighty two, seventy two, about sixty five I should think about sixty five
(PS1N3) [610] So it was long, long after most people in Harlow
(PS1N5) [611] A long, long after most people had televisions here
(PS1N3) [612] Especially in Harlow?
(PS1N5) [613] in Har oh everybody had television before us
(PS1N3) [614] Mm, mm
(PS1N5) [615] the same way is, now is everybody is rushing out buying videos
(PS1N3) [616] Yes
(PS1N5) [617] how on earth they can afford it I just don't know [laughing] it's ridiculous []
(PS1N3) [618] And when you came to find a place to put the television in your living room
(PS1N5) [619] Yes
(PS1N3) [620] or do you call this living room?
(PS1N5) [621] We call this the sitting room
(PS1N3) [622] The sitting room
(PS1N5) [623] Yes , yes
(PS1N3) [624] did you have difficulty finding where to place it?
(PS1N5) [625] Er, well no, it's always been in the place it's in now
(PS1N3) [626] Next to the fireplace
(PS1N5) [627] next to the fire place, er a lot of people have put it up in this corner and, but
(PS1N3) [628] Near the window
(PS1N5) [629] near the window, but we decided that that's where we wanted it, it suited us and that's where we put it.
[630] It never has moved from there because our two chairs and it's normally only two of us watching it, cos if we've got visitors we never have it on, you know, er they just face that way and it's convenient and that's where we put it.
(PS1N3) [631] Do you feel that it competes with the fireplace as a focal point in the room?
(PS1N5) [632] No, no
(PS1N3) [633] So it's a double focal point
(PS1N5) [634] Yes, yes, it doesn't compete with the fireplace, we have a, a, er mock fire in there you know, normally in the winter that, that's on and it looks, it's very realistic, it almost looks as if it is a fire glowing all the time cos there's a rotary spinner in it and it flickers, er, and er the room is very warm because it's central heated anyway and, no I wouldn't say, it never bothers me the television, I don't suppose that er, if I were left on my own I'd hardly have it left on [laughing] you know [] I think men watch television more than women.
(PS1N3) [635] And do you think that the, the room wouldn't be the same without the fireplace, without the glowing red, even though it's very warm with the central heating, you still need
(PS1N5) [636] Oh yes I think , I think you need a focal point, I think, I'd find it rather difficult without a fireplace at all.
(PS1N3) [637] So really it, the, the fireplace is more of a focal point than would the
(PS1N5) [638] I would say
(PS1N3) [639] television?
(PS1N5) [640] Oh yes, yes I would say that yes, and of course that fireplace is the original fireplace, and it's very nice isn't it don't you think?
(PS1N3) [641] It's very nice
(PS1N5) [642] Mm lovely
(PS1N3) [643] and the erm, when you moved in obviously you had to use it
(PS1N5) [644] Oh yes we had coal fires
(PS1N3) [645] Yes
(PS1N5) [646] yes
(PS1N3) [647] What kind of coal, fuel did you use?
(PS1N5) [648] Well we used erm, a smokeless fuel of which we found very good, I forget what it was, er
(PS1N3) [649] Was it rationed?
(PS1N5) [650] It was like Coalite, er when we first came here, oh yes it was, yes, but we have electric fires of course as well to, what we did because we were both out working all the time, we had electric fires and I think my husband, husband had them allied to a timeswitch and they came on before we came in, an hour or so, before we came in this room and in that room
(PS1N3) [651] That was a modern, that was an innovation
(PS1N5) [652] Yes, yes, that was an innovation
(PS1N3) [653] Yes
(PS1N5) [654] I mean we did a lot of things that other people probably didn't do, I always remember next door to us at one time the curate of the St Mary's church, er, who is er, he is now Bishop of ... mm, gosh, he's a up in Nottingham way, Bishop of something or other, we met him at a, at a do not so very long ago and he's just the same, he's marvellous and he was the curate and they were as poor as church mice and er in relation to them we were really well off you know, and er they had hardly any fires or anything and we gave them an electric fire to heat their place up and er ... when we met him, it was last February at a, a do of one of the research engineers from where I was work working the last job I had and er, he said I've still got the electric fire [laugh]
(PS1N3) [655] And that would of been what in the fifties?
(PS1N5) [656] That would of been in the fifties
(PS1N3) [657] Yes, yeah
(PS1N5) [658] early fifties
(PS1N3) [659] Yes
(PS1N5) [660] fifty fiveish
(PS1N3) [661] Yes
(PS1N5) [662] yes, certainly is.