14th March 1942

Went to London again this morning, and bought the 6 wagons for £110. I felt afterwards I had been rather weak, but anyway I was glad to have them. There was a bit of fog early, but afterwards the weather was lovely. Whitechapel was a mass of colour, stalls selling flowers, gay coloured women’s clothes, crowds of Jews parading along the wide pavements.

In the afternoon went to see the [Mann Crossman & Paulin] Brewery stables again, as all the horses were in. I had hoped Joanna Round would have come with me, but she did not turn up. However, Mr. Sweeting very kindly showed me everything. The hundred odd horses, the wagons, the beautiful harness. The horses are kept in three places now, in the old stables and in two different stables under the main L.N.E.R. line in Brady St. Quite near the line there are areas of one or two acres which are quite devastated, not a brick remaining, yet on one side of Brady Street there are several gigantic blocks of flats quite untouched, with not even the windows cracked. It would seem that the effect of some bombs in congested parts is very local. It is a terrifying thing to think of the masses of poor people herded into these parts, with virtually no protection whatever, nothing but a few miserable tin shelters in their tiny gardens, or else horrible brick surface shelters, pitch dark, smelling like lavatories, and perfect death traps when improperly built, as so many of them are. Yet these people, with all their suffering, will cheer Churchill until they’re hoarse.

Back on early train, feeling much better than I did last trip.


Anonymous said...


Another great insight in to various aspects of the war and Rudsdale's life.

The £110 wagons would be the equivalent today of spending £3,623.58. Was this purchase for himself or Bourne Mill? I also wonder if this shows his own interest in horses or the importance of horses as fuel supplies became limited during the war.

Once again, his comment on Churchill goes against the usual view of the war we get in popular history and testimony.

Mike Dennis

E J Rudsdale said...

Hello Mike,
Thanks for your comments - it's a very evocative diary entry isn't it? EJR brings each scene vividly to life and it's a great insight into life in East London at that time.

Thanks for the information on the equivalent cost of the wagons today. EJR was buying them on behalf of the Essex War Agricultural Committee who needed extra wagons for the harvest owing to the high number of crops being grown by 1942. The Essex War Agricultural Committee was able to introduce a few tractors and an early combine harvester to Essex farms during the war but the purchase of the wagons shows that they were still largely reliant on horse and people power. CP