21st May 1944

Strong N.W. wind.  Went to Colchester, to lunch at home.  Father a good deal better, but Miss Payne very gloomy and depressing.  Unable to do justice to a very good lunch, as felt sick.

This afternoon went to Dedham Miss Walshall and Sgt Merrill there.  After tea to Lawford, and bought some eggs, then cycled back to Dedham and Langham to Lt Rivers.  Everybody very busy and disinclined to talk so did not stay long.  Heard that Nancy, the Australian, had been down to say goodbye, as she expects to go to France with the Quaker relief people “soon”.  Being reluctant to go into a prohibited area, she went to Nayland, to Phoebe Pickard’s, and Dodo Rose went down there.  Phoebe has been forbidden by the Colchester Police to use the Public Library, but I think she intends to do so.  She was very foolish to ask them, in any case.  Actually it is understood that the Nayland and Wiston people can go into Colchester for shopping, and there is no physical reason to stop them, except that occasionally on Sunday evenings a policeman stands on Nayland Bridge and checks identity cards.

Heard at Dedham that A.J. Munnings, the new President of the Royal Academy and his wife, are staying at the “Sun” [in Dedham], in complete defiance of orders concerning prohibited areas.  They had been to Sissons’ and were in great form.  Possibly he intends to go back to Dedham one day after all.
The artist, Sir Alfred Munnings, lived at Castle House, Dedham but the house was requisitioned during the war.  Castle House is now open to the public as the Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum and is well worth a visit.  CP

Clouds tonight, and few ‘planes before midnight.


Anonymous said...


Yet another fascinating entry!

What was the restricted area, and why was Phoebe Pickard not allowed to use the Public Library?

Mike Dennis

E J Rudsdale said...

Hi Mike,
I believe that Colchester was a restricted area owing to it being a target for invasion and also by this stage of the war, owing to the troop movements in preparation for D-Day. People from Nayland and outlying districts could only travel into Colchester with their identity cards and presumably were not permitted to use public information services such as the Library without prior permission. As Rudsdale noted, there was probably not much check on people from outlying districts using these services unless you drew yourself to the authorities attention by asking if you were permitted to use the service, as Phoebe Pickard did. If anyone else has any information on this, do let me know. Thanks and best wishes, CP