E.J. Rudsdale Talk

I will be giving a talk as part of the Chelmsford Ideas Festival on E.J. Rudsdale's Journals, entitled 'Creating History: A Civilian's Experience of the Second World War in Essex' on Thursday 30th October from 7.30-9.00pm at Anglia Ruskin University. Tickets are free. Book your ticket here. Many thanks, Catherine Pearson

10th October 1940

Gorgeous night last night in the Oven [at the Castle]. Quiet and still. Only occasional rumble of traffic. The ‘All-Clear” went at 11.30pm, but I never heard it. Fast asleep.

Miss Morgan came over from Stowmarket today to see the Phaeton-Dogcart. As a matter of fact there were two, both in very country tweeds, very well bred, and so on. I think she will have it, although she would have preferred one on rubbers. Sorry to let it go. Alarm tonight at 8.20. Nothing happened. Settled down to sleep as soon as I decently could.

I hear Australian troops are coming here.

EJR was now sleeping regularly at the Castle in order to open the Castle during air raids. He slept in what is known as the 'Oven' or James Parnell's Cell in the entrance to Colchester Castle. James Parnell was a Quaker who was imprisoned for his religious beliefs and died at Colchester Castle in 1656. EJR later wrote of his experiences:

Parnell and myself might claim to be authorities on living in the "Oven", as being probably the only people who, in recent centuries, have lived there for any length of time. I am not, however, in any position to complain with him regarding its discomfort, for when I slept there for several hundred nights in the early part of the war, I had comforts which he had not, notably a mattress, several thick blankets, and an electric fire.

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