ID WW01_181 / Winifred Hone

TitleMr Edward Paxman - Winifred Hone memoirs
AbstractI had known Mr Edward Paxman, affectionately known as Ted, since he was at Cambridge in the 1920s. He came into his inheritance on the death of his father Mr James N. Paxman during the engineering depression. He was a young man who should have been enjoying a carefree life. Joyful and genial, he gave you the feeling of being out to achieve with an identity of his own. He possessed great wisdom and above all human understanding, in spite of frustrations and disillusion he tacked the problem of building up the Paxman Empire again like a general going into battle, with one foot on the brake and the other on the accelerator. His army consisted of a few trusted workmen who had worked for his father James N. Paxman, but it took years of brawn and brain to do so.

When war broke out Mr Paxman became Managing Director of Messrs Davey Paxman & Co. Ltd. With a world of opportunity before him, Paxmans became part of a great war time achievement endeavouring to solve the tragic problem of winning the war and allowing people to resume a peacetime family life again, but his untimely death in 1949 deprived him of this opportunity to live a life of peace and happiness with his enchanting wife Dora and his son Philip, who is now making headlines in the industrial world with his foster mother for new born lambs. Mrs Paxman and family had evacuated to Bath, a lot of real cloak and dagger crept into my culinary effors, Mr Paxman asked me to prepare luncheon for twelve at his home 'Deoban' in Colchester. I had no idea as to their identity and as he has never released me from that pledge I will just say they were the War Lords in charge of armaments, many of them including their host now gone. The menu was unrationed foods, oysters, Crisp Fried Sprats, Roast Widgeon and a Flambe Omellete made from eggs of his own goose.

On one occasion when ordering lunch which was creamed oysters and venison which he had shot himself in Scotland, he said he was bringing a special guest and he really wanted something special if possible. By this time we were getting Algerian Wine in small quantities, so I cooked venison in wine and served root vegetables with herbs. They were all very fond of sauces and gravies and you didn't have to worry about putting on weight. I mentioned when he was ordering this lunch that I had got eleven partridges and one pheasant, but he decided that they would have the main course of venison, rum flambe omellete - no meal seemed to be complete without the omelette. As a surprise would I send the partridges in as if for savoury on a big silver dish. The special guest was Commander W. Grockenhins of the Dutch Navy, he had brought the Dutch Royal Family to England as there was a fear of them becoming made hostages by the Germans when Germany occupied Holland. He was a very tall quiet man and he told me he had to shanghai Princess Juliana to get her aboard as she didn't want to leave her people.

From then on he often came with Mr Paxman and used to refer to his first lunch as a propaganda one. Many Sundays [Mr Paxman] would bring to lunch friends, their wives and families, yes he was very kind to children, sometimes it would be high tea and the children would have boiled eggs. He used to draw faces on the eggs to add to the amusement, he was very generous and hospitable and I cooked many meals for him during my second decade on the island. One of the highlights for me was the dinner he used to order each month for himself and members of the Board of Directors before the monthly meeting. This procedure went on after his death when Colonel Riggall of Messrs Ruston and Hornsby of Lincoln became chairman and after his retirement Sir John Greaves.

Paxman Family with Betty Garriock, Winifred Hone and Wendy Goddard around 1942

When war broke out it necessitated him coming to the Island to carry out experiments connected with the salt water and the salt air. Before Dunkirk the Island was one of desolation with troops stationed on the Strood scrutinising everybody going and coming, even people who had weekend homes here had great difficulty in visiting. I realised that in order to keep the Club going I should have to get a job to do, which I did. Mr Paxman was quite shocked when I imparted this information and said he had a tremendous lot of Navy and War Office personnel to entertain when they visited his works and he would bring them to me whenever possible. From then on there was aponderous array of gold braid but I can assure you no pomposity; these were not good time boys beating it up but part of Mr Paxman's team, strong determined and united helping to beat the enemy. Mr Paxman had always believed that a well cooked meal in quiet surroundings was a good start to solving world problems, and as head of Paxmans he had many. Guests he brought frequently were Admiral Dennis Hoare, Admiral Cowland, Admiral Sir Davis Maxwell engineering chief of the Admiralty, Sir Linley Mosassuy Master of the Farriers Company, Percy Lister afterwards Sir Percy Lister Diesel Engineers. Messrs Sharpley, Wongle and Bone Directors or Ruston Hornsby of Lincoln of tank fame, Brig. General John French C.O. Colchester who tragically lost his legs abroad in a train accident.

AuthorWinifred Hone
Publishedc1969
SourceMersea Museum / Wendy Brady
IDWW01_181
Related Images:
 Paxman family of the Colchester engineering firm. Aunt (Mary Kathleen Garriock), Gran (Winifred Hone), and Wendy during WW2.
 Mary Kathleen was often known as Betty. Wendy is holding the doll brought from New York by Mary's husband.  WW03_PAX_001
ImageID:   WW03_PAX_001
Title: Paxman family of the Colchester engineering firm. Aunt (Mary Kathleen Garriock), Gran (Winifred Hone), and Wendy during WW2.
Mary Kathleen was often known as Betty. Wendy is holding the doll brought from New York by Mary's husband.
Date:c1942
Source:Mersea Museum / Wendy Brady