ID: SVN_1992_005 / Tom Parmenter

TitleStories of Old Salcott - Mr Francis
AbstractSalcott-Virley Village News May 1992

Written by Tom Parmenter.

Inspirational Poem
To have the steadfast knowledge
That we never walk alone
And to rest in the assurance
That our every need is known
Will help dispel our worries
Our anxieties and care
For fear and doubt are vanquished
In the peacefulness of prayer

On a spring day it was a pleasure to walk to Colchester Castle Park and view the gardens with a lovely display of spring flowers.

Stories of Old Salcott
I went to interview Mr Francis about how Salcott was a long time ago. He told me first he had always lived in the village. I asked him what had changed since he was young and he said about lot of things. There used to be two sweet shops, one at the top of Rose Lane and one at the end of the houses. The post office was in Fosters and there was a butchers nearly opposite. Sometimes the butcher killed the animals round the back. Three or four different bakers came to the village by horse and cart. The road was different because it was rough and there was no tarmac. There were no cars in the village. But the first car he could remember was Doctor Salter's from D'Arcy. Most people had to walk everywhere. The horse and cart brought heavy things to the village.

The meadow used to get covered with water. The creek was much wider. Barges used to come from London to bring gravel for the roads and they took back hay for the horses in London. Water came into people's houses and sometimes put out their fire. They had brick floors with coconut mats. If there was a very high tide in the night you used to step in it when you came down the stairs in the morning. Sometimes when the tide was very high the people who went to the pub at night couldn't get home so they stayed there for half the night. People couldn't have water from taps they had to get it from a special pond behind Cob Cottage.

Most of the children went to the old school in Salcott. There were two classes. The infant's teacher came from D'Arcy, and the Head teacher taught the older children. The teachers were very strict and if the children were naughty, they got the cane. The children sat in rows on benches and they had collapsible trestle tables. The only heating was one stove.

Sometimes after school in the summer they went pea-picking but they played lots of games together. He like playing with his home-made catapult (he used to do something very naughty but I won't tell what he did!) They used to play hop-scotch in the road and they used chalk to draw all over it. One of the games was birds nesting.

They went to Colchester town only once a year and they had to save their money from when they worked to buy clothes. They travelled there by Osborne's horse and cart. It was a covered in van with two horses. They driver used to go in every pub that they passed.

I asked Mr Francis, "Would you like to live somewhere else?"
He said. "No."


Transcribed by Anne Taylor Aug 2020

AuthorTom Parmenter
PublishedMay 1992
SourceMersea Museum