Interview with Nellie and Jim Plumb, 19 March 2007
Level: Category
Sound Archive
Level: Fonds
Scope and Content:
Interview with husband and wife Nellie and Jim Plumb about their family background and life together in Castle Hedingham from the 1960s onwards.

Side A of original recording
[Part 1:] Nellie describing her uncle Tills [Victor] Smith, worked in his father Rufus’ blacksmith’s shop on the green; cousin had another blacksmith shop near church in Sible Hedingham; Tills started cycle shop in square, then started selling motor vehicles and running garage, lived on the green (4 minutes 17 seconds).
[Part 2:] Grandmother Ellen Smith ran newsagent and fish shop with her daughter; also had youth hostel from 1937; grandmother died in 1945 (1 minute 51 seconds).
[Part 3:] Different blacksmiths in shops; story about Nellie’s father Dyson refusing to help put out fire at Hedingham Castle, after receiving fine for poaching from estate; father was a traction engine driver (4 minutes 46 seconds).
[Part 4:] [Brief pause in interview] Tills Smith’s bicycle shop by church gates; served in Royal Flying Corps in the First World War [looking at photographs]; garage still in Castle Hedingham, involvement of Drury family (3 minutes 58 seconds).
[Part 5:] Jim returned to Castle Hedingham in 1952 after being at sea in the Merchant Navy; worked as telephone operator at Lake and Elliott, Braintree [steel founders and jack makers]; worked as labourer at Ripper’s [joinery company]; worked at Portways, Halstead; worked at Heron Gate Farm at Maiden Leys; worked as stockman and gardener at comprehensive school (4 minutes 15 seconds).
[Part 6:] Jim also worked as youth warden at youth club based at school; started football clubs for young people, played at bottom of Church Fields and in Sible Hedingham; granted permission by Miss Majendie to use field behind Bowman’s Park (3 minutes 8 seconds).
[Part 7:] Jim’s son Julian interested in motorcycles; Jim involved with St John’s Ambulance in Halstead; more information about youth football clubs, joined Football Association league and grew (3 minutes 3 seconds).
[Part 8:] Further information about Julian riding motorcycle, became semi-professional; had one daughter with Nellie, belonged to East Essex Pony Club and attended hunts; horses owned and where stabled (5 minutes 16 seconds).
[Part 9:] Nellie’s job as cook at new De Vere Primary School [Kirby Hall Road]; left job at Hedingham Castle; taking children to work; cleaning chickens at the Castle and being affected by fowl pest (3 minutes 1 second).
Part 10:] Meals cooked at the school for about 120 children; three assistants; working hours; chose meals from set menus; making Christmas puddings with children; other food served (5 minutes 59 seconds).
[Part 11:] Involvement with bowls club; opened in 1924, Miss Majendie gave land near Castle and opened the club; Nellie and Jim joined club in 1989 after they retired; moved to new green in c. 1990; ladies initially not allowed to bowl, few lady members; cards played in old bowling green hut (5 minutes 36 seconds).
[Part 12:] Nellie and Jim served on committee; made life members; participation in different leagues and friendly matches; new green let by Mr Newton on peppercorn rent; new hut installed (3 minutes 47 seconds) [ends mid-conversation].

Side B of original recording
[Part 1:] Continued conversation about erection of new bowling hut; carpet bowling in Pavilion (55 seconds) [break in recording].
[Part 2:] Playing carpet bowls in the winter; started to host social club in the hut during the winter; changed to carpet bowl evenings; facilities in the club (4 minutes 25 seconds).
[Part 3:] Grant from Council to try to attract youngsters; difficulties with legislation about working with young people; Charity Day bowling gala in August to raise money for charities; other special events (5 minutes 55 seconds).
[Part 4:] Nellie joined Brownies and Guides in Sible Hedingham as a child; tending bowling green; Brownies and Guides in Castle Hedingham (3 minutes 55 seconds) [break in recording?].
[Part 5:] Letch’s Sunday bus trips to seaside in 1930s, based at Highstreet Green; taken over by Hedingham Buses; Nellie’s holidays on the railway with her father; story of almost drowning in the sea (3 minutes 7 seconds).
[Part 6:] Watching the hunt with her father, used to meet at the Bell Inn and Hedingham Castle; development of Sible Hedingham with arrival of railway; Jim’s ex-father-in-law’s work for the railway (4 minutes 11 seconds).
[Part 7:] Local history; collecting postcards and albums (1 minute 42 seconds).
Dates of Creation:
19 March 2007
73 minutes 12 seconds
Admin History:
Jim Plumb was born in 1923 in Islington, London. He came to Sible Hedingham when his foster family moved there in c. 1929. Jim married his first wife in Sible Hedingham in c. 1948. He had one son, Julian, born in 1950. He moved to Castle Hedingham in c. 1949 with his father-in-law, Mr Bacon. He divorced his first wife in c. 1955.

Nellie Plumb was born on 22 March 1927 at Swan Street, Sible Hedingham. She married her first husband, Alfred Day, a serviceman from Cardiff, in 1944 and moved there in 1946 after her husband was demobilised. She had five sons with Alfred before he died of a brain abscess in 1962. She then returned to Castle Hedingham and worked in the kitchens at Hedingham Castle before getting a job as a cook in the new primary school in 1973. She retired in 1988.

Jim met Nellie in 1962, and they married in 1966. They had one daughter together. Jim died on 17 October 2009.
Copyright Essex Sound and Video Archive
Physical Characteristics:
Originally recorded on cassette. Editing done at time of digitisation to smooth drop-outs and gaps in recording.
Related Unit of Description:
See SA 54/68/1 and SA 54/69/1 for two earlier interviews with Mr and Mrs Plumb.
Not Available:
Use digital copy available on Soundcloud

Key terms

TypeKey termsDescription
Subjects Bowls Interview with Nellie and Jim Plumb, 19 March 2007
Subjects Food Interview with Nellie and Jim Plumb, 19 March 2007
Subjects Football Interview with Nellie and Jim Plumb, 19 March 2007
Subjects Football Interview with Nellie and Jim Plumb, 19 March 2007
Personal Names Jim
Interview with Nellie and Jim Plumb, 19 March 2007
Personal Names Mrs
Interview with Nellie and Jim Plumb, 19 March 2007
Place Names Hedingham Castle
Castle Hedingham
Interview with Nellie and Jim Plumb, 19 March 2007
Document Types Sound recording Interview with Nellie and Jim Plumb, 19 March 2007
Institutions De Vere Primary School, Castle Hedingham Interview with Nellie and Jim Plumb, 19 March 2007