Interview with Marcus Knight
Level: Category
Sound Archive
Level: Fonds
Level: Series
Headline History
Scope and Content:
Headline History Project – Mr Marcus George Knight (b.1929) talks to Stephen Hussey about his memories of Chelmsford.

(0:30) Parents chose name because it was in the Bible. Mother was a Baptist Minister’s daughter and father was a Baptist Church member. Marcus went to chapel on Sundays and to Sunday school. Still goes to chapel and is a Sunday school superintendent. Nowadays, churches not so full. A range of people attend chapel. (3:20) Father worked his whole life for Crompton’s, later Crompton Parkinson’s. He started there at 12 years old when he left school, working from 6am to 6pm. Also went to night school at what used to be Mid Essex Technical College and School of Art in Larkin Road, taking exams and becoming a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers. He became Manager of the Switchgear Department. He found jobs for a lot of unemployed people who came to chapel in the depression in the 1930s and 1940s. Ending his career being in charge of the apprentices. Marcus’s eldest son having an interview about 20 years ago at Marconi Radar in Writtle Street. The interviewer telling him how he was given his first job 30 years ago by his grandfather, Freddie, when it was Crompton’s. (6:50) Marcus’s father having to work at Crompton’s on Saturday mornings. Saturday afternoons usually spent visiting mother’s parents at Mersea Island. Her father sailed an oyster dredger. Marcus was ten years old when the Second World War started. Liked helping father with fire watching duties. Remembers the air raid on Chelmsford. The Archer’s Suet factory on New Street, next to the railway, being burnt down. (9:10) On Christmas Eve 1944, Hoffmann’s being hit by a V2 rocket, reported in the Essex Chronicle. When Hoffmann’s was pulled down to build the University they found fragments of the rocket. Remembers having a party in St John’s Church hall in Vicarage Road on VE Day. When they lived in Moulsham Drive, the vicar of Widford Church had an open air service of thanksgiving in Oaklands Park. (12:10) After the election, things becoming worse, bread being rationed. Government slogan ‘build homes fit for heroes’. Temporary prefab buildings in Beeches Road still being there. Talks about taking in refugees and being billeted with soldiers. Providing facilities for the RAF people who were running a barrage balloon in Oaklands Park. People being tired after the War. (16:10) At the Grammar School around 1944, being linked up with observer post at Hoffmann’s. Hoffmann’s ringing the bell and being evacuated under the stairs. Remembers walking in fields where Galleywood Road now joins Longstomps, during the Battle of Britain, picking blackberries with brother. Sheltering under trees and watching the planes. Talks about the 1953 floods and a member of the Chapel’s brother drowning at Jaywick. Marcus married in 1952. Son born in November 1953. Still having food rationing. Butter coupons during the War. (21:40) Making television valves at EEV [English Electric Valve Company] at the time of the Queen's Coronation. Going in to neighbours to watch the Coronation on television. Talks about washing machines. Television business expanding, independent television. Having an after work’s club, building own televisions. (26:40) When youngest son was 10, in 1967, getting a tent which went on their Volkswagen van, going to Dover, Eastbourne and the West Country. Eldest son driving, going to Scotland. Recalls camping stories about a donkey, sheep and ponies. (30:40) The shopping precinct being built. Not being pedestrian-friendly. Difficult for older people. Traffic free zones. Bus service getting worse. (35:20) No big buildings for meetings after the Corn Exchange. Chelmsford lacking a large Town Hall. Learning pipe organ since retirement. Cathedral organs not being available.

Dates of Creation:
18 August 1999
38 minutes
Creator Name:
Essex Record Office
Archivist Note:
Synopsis prepared by Carol Sudkamp.
Copyright: Essex Record Office, 2000
Originals Location:
Essex Sound and Video Archive
Publication Notes:
Some excerpts from the interview can be heard on the audio CD which accompanies the book, 'Headline History: One hundred years of Essex history from the pages of the Essex Chronicle newspaper' - Essex Record Office Publication No.142 (Essex County Council, 2000).

Key terms

TypeKey termsDescription
Subjects Holidays Headline History Project – Mr Marcus Knight, 1999
Subjects Second World War Headline History Project – Mr Marcus Knight, 1999
Subjects Television Headline History Project – Mr Marcus Knight, 1999
Place Names Chelmsford Headline History Project – Mr Marcus Knight, 1999
Document Types Sound recording Headline History Project – Mr Marcus Knight, 1999
Institutions Crompton Parkinson Ltd Headline History Project – Mr Marcus Knight, 1999