8th April 1944

Brilliant, warm, morning.  Went to Holly Trees, met Poulter, and we both went up to Craske’s old office in the High Street, to see if there was anything which might be of use to the Museum.  Saw Mrs. Craske, who is now winding up the business, and got a few odd things – a few more 1857 photos, Lexden Church, village, etc, but nothing fresh, the ox-roasting photo, and one of the Mayor and Corporation, 1879.  Also half a dozen 25” sheets of the Clacton area, which will come in useful, and a few Essex County Standards about 1863.  Somewhere Craske had quite a lot of plans of various building developments, but these have not yet come to light.  Mrs C. was very cautious about giving anything away, and young Cocker, Craske’s right-hand man, was watching everything very carefully.  The old man had a mass of information about the town, but I cannot find that he left any notebooks.  I remember that he told me once that he was instrumental in naming “King Stephen Road”, as the land on which it lays was in the hands of that King, but I have never found any reference to this.

Back at Holly Trees we found the Chairman, who told us that extensions were being built onto the Britannia Ironworks, adjoining the Priory ruins, and that considerable excavations were being made. So we went along there and found it was so – a large concrete building has been erected on the site of the choir of the church, destroying for ever any chance of excavating the complete plan of the church.  This scheme must have been passed by the Borough Engineer and the Town Planning Committee, yet we know nothing of this except what Alderman Blomfield discovers accidentally.

The curious thing is that practically nothing has been found except a few bones and there appears to be well over 3 feet of black soil with no sign of any walls or foundations.  I expected to see the bases of further columns of the arcades, but there is nothing.

It is a scandal that this work must have been going on for at least three months, and yet nothing was known of it.

This afternoon to the library and did some shopping.  Bought Vera Brittain’s “London’s Hour”, interesting but extraordinarily naïve.  Several minor errors too, such as when she twice speaks of the 17th century as being four centuries ago.

Had great difficulty in getting any tea; owing to the great crowds in the town, but finally got into Jacklin’s.

This evening went down to see Hampshire, and gave him his trap-licence.  Had a fresh pony there, a little black forest pony, with badly clipped ears.  I drove it down to the “Goat and Boot”, while Hampshire rode my cycle.  Met Pim Barbour, the dealer there, and he showed me a fresh cob he had brought down from Diss, an ugly little devil, called Cock Robin, who is reputed to be very fast.  He was driven down here by road, 56 miles, and the little black pony as well, so they said.  I think the pony belongs to Pim as well, and Hampshire is keeping it for him.

They both tried to sell me a new set of brown cob harness for £20, but we all went in the “Goat” and had a drink and there was no deal.

Had supper at Culver St. and then back to Boxted by 9.  Glass falling, and looks like rain.

No comments: