6th February 1942

Terribly cold. Had to go down to the Hythe this afternoon to see Pertwee’s. The River was full, with the tide coming in. Only three barges in, one just sailing, going round the bend by the swinging-berth under auxiliary engine, steam and fumes rising from the stern, and the dinghy bobbing behind in choppy yellow-grey water. I went round by the Distillery. The Laundry is now entirely rebuilt, and there is nothing left to remind of the tragedy that dull autumn day in 1940. The style of the new building is not very impressive, in plain red brick with numerous buttresses. The familiar laundry smell drifts out of the place.

An account of the bombing of the Old Heath Laundry in Colchester on 3rd October 1940 appears in EJR's book.

Called at Cannock Mill. No hay at all. Straw 2/- a truss. Fed the horses, and went to tea at the Regal. The beautiful little blonde came in with another girl, and sat talking at my table until almost 8 o’clock. She is married (of course!) and her husband is a captain in Persia. The strange thing is that she has lived in the town all her life, yet I never saw her until a few months ago.

Intense cold. Roads like glass. Back to Holly Trees at 10, and Poulter told me that Miss Oldfield is leaving [the Castle staff] to join the ATS, in fact she has gone today, without notice or any arrangements being made. She is such a strange child, never speaking, never giving any idea what she was thinking about. I fear she will not be missed, except in fire watch rota. Hull is as usual unperturbed and uninterested in Museum affairs.


Robin King said...

Really surprising that there was once enough water in the brook at Cannock Mill (and at Bourne Mill too, I suppose) to turn a mill. In search of boyhood memories, I returned to Bourne Mill last Christmas. I went through the gate and was greeted (warned off the property?) by a bounding dog, marvellously full of energy. I then followed the brook that enters the millpond at its western end, but the rivulet disappeared under the Mersea Road. Perhaps it runs in an underground culvert through the housing estate on the other side of the road, where earlier it used to be visible. Must have a look at the 1777 Chapman and Andre map!

E J Rudsdale said...

Hello Robin, Many thanks for sharing your memories and information on Bourne Mill. If you have the chance to return to Bourne Mill when it opens in the summer months, the warden and volunteers have a lot of infomration on the mill and the water course and there is a very interesting exhibition too. Best wishes, CP