Title:
Oral history interview with Joyce Woods about being a magistrate in Chingford and Waltham Forest, 11 October 2005
Level: Category
Sound Archive
Level: Fonds
EPPING FOREST DISTRICT COUNCIL
Level: Sub-Fonds
Epping Forest District Museum
Level: Series
Changing Perceptions oral history project
Scope and Content:
Interview with Joyce Woods, primarily about her time serving as a magistrate in Chingford and Waltham Forest. The voices are a little muffled.

Part One
[00:00:] Early life; parents; different locations lived and schools attended; war work for Ministry of Aircraft Production; studying chemistry at university.
[03:20:] Her marriage; daughter born in 1942 in the middle of air raid; move to Oxford to escape bombing; her husband's work researching rockets; return to Woodford after the War; move to Chingford, then to High Beach, then move to Upshire in 1969; her husband's death in 1979; different places lived in around Upshire.
[06:35:] Becoming a magistrate: father's involvement with Labour party; joining Labour party and first role as councillor for Chingford; joining Haldane Society [of Socialist Lawyers]; appointment as magistrate on Epping bench, serving in Waltham Abbey and Chingford; sitting for juvenile and matrimony courts.
[11:15:] Becoming chair of juvenile court through colleague's resignation; stories from her early experiences of serving on bench, including mistreatment of elderly people in institutions.
[16:45:] Adoption cases; potential punishments available for magistrates to use, including sending juveniles to approved schools.
[21:35:] Recollections of court cases brought in after Bonfire Night celebrations; other punishments administered; relative trviality of juvenile cases then.
[26:20:] Sending more serious cases to Crown Court; relationship with policemen; stories from matrimonial court, obtaining maintenance payments.

Part Two
[00:00:] Further details of cases in matrimony court and practical limitations on power to enforce rulings; child cruelty cases; maximum punishment terms available in magistrates' court.

Part Three
[00:00:] [Starts mid-sentence] Motoring offences and punishments; time commitments of serving as magistrate for different courts; reliance on volunteers to serve, gradual increase in expenses allowed.
[03:40:] Juggling her work for magistrates' courts with raising family; discussion about women working after marriage.
[07:00:] Her preferred work on juvenile court; serving on additional committees; serving as inspector for closed school under prison service in Redhill, Surrey; petitioning then Home Secretary James Callaghan to reform system, resulting in closure of school.
[13:25:] System of appointing magistrates through county council; influence of political allegiance; influence of clerks on procedures.
[18:05:] Story about judging poaching case; stepping down from cases if participants known personally.
[23:50:] Efforts to widen diversity of magistrates.

Part Four
[00:00:] Historic development of magistrates' court; desirable qualities of a magistrate; evaluation of her time as a magistrate.
[04:35:] Memorable case of child negligence, detected by policeman; challenges facing social workers.
[08:35:] Memorable case of series of bank raids and high security throughout trial; perceptions of the Kray brothers [Ronald and Reginald].
[13:50:] Memorable child custody case.
[20:40:] Courts held at Waltham Abbey Town Hall; council chairs or town mayors serving as magistrates; additional duties as deputy chair and chair of courts, making up benches for each session; practical challenges of deciding cases.
[27:50:] Sitting on bench for pornography case; attitude of other judges towards her.

Part Five
[00:00:] Her estimations of other judges; relationship between magistrates and clerks; socialising with other magistrates; her husband's service as magistrate for Epping.
[04:20:] Changes in service over her time serving as magistrate; problems now with obtaining child maintenance payments; geographical areas of courts becoming too large.
Dates of Creation:
11 October 2005
Extent:
99 minutes 21 seconds
Creator Name:
Carien Kremer
Admin History:
Joyce Woods was born in Wandsworth in 1921. Her father was a pencil manufacturer, and her mother was a nurse. She had three siblings. The family moved to Sheering (near Harlow), then Woodford. She studied chemistry at university before she was called up to do war work.

Joyce married, and they had a daughter in 1942. She went to Oxford for the war, then returned to Woodford. The family moved to Upshire in 1969.

Joyce joined the Labour party and served as a councillor for Chingford from a young age. She also served as a magistrate, becoming chair of the juvenile court and later chair of the main court.

Joyce's husband was a doctor and also served as a magistrate for Epping. He died in 1979.
Archivist Note:
SJM 19 October 2017
Custodial History:
Original reference number CP/EFDM/2004/109
Acquisition Source:
Received from Epping Forest District Museum. Originally deposited as five tracks on two CDs: Parts One to Three on CD 1 and Parts Four to Five on CD 2.
Copyright:
Interviewee transferred her copyright to Epping Forest District Museum. Contact the Museum prior to use for public performance by the public, for non-Essex Record Office publications, for broadcasting on the radio or television, or for broadcasting on non-Essex Record Office website.
Physical Characteristics:
MP3 files created from two CDs
Originals Location:
Epping Forest District Museum
Not Available:
Essex Sound and Video Archive: use digital copy available on Soundcloud

Key terms

TypeKey termsDescription
Subjects Air raids Oral history interview with Joyce Woods about being a magistrate in Upshire, 11 October 2005
Subjects Law Oral history interview with Joyce Woods about being a magistrate in Upshire, 11 October 2005
Subjects Second World War Oral history interview with Joyce Woods about being a magistrate in Upshire, 11 October 2005
Personal Names Mrs
Joyce
Woods
Oral history interview with Joyce Woods about being a magistrate in Chingford and Waltham Forest, 11 October 2005
Place Names Chingford Oral history interview with Joyce Woods about being a magistrate in Chingford, 11 October 2005
Document Types Sound recording Oral history interview with Joyce Woods about being a magistrate in Upshire, 11 October 2005