Interview with Arthur Fitz-Simon and Anne Welldon
This is a summary of an interview with Arthur Fitz-Simon and his sister Anne, recorded on 7th January 2013 at their house in Camer Street. The interviewer was Ann Kneif.
Arthur Kingsley Charles Fitz-Simon, born 24th October 1936 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Anne Welldon, born Anne Fitz-Simon on 2nd July 1934 also in Belfast. Their father was an accounts officer in a shipyard. The family moved to Meopham in 1950 when parents bought the Post Office in The Street.
Arrival in Meopham
Description of their new home, Elizabeth House, which was dilapidated when they moved in. Tales of a ghost.
Other homes in Meopham
When parents gave up shop there were several moves: New Road and then corner of Whitehill and Foxendown. The whole family moved to Camer House: Anne and her husband and in-laws, parents and Arthur. On parents death, Arthur moved to Cobham and Anne and her husband moved to their present house. When her husband died Arthur moved in.
School and life in Ireland
Arthur describes an idyllic childhood.
First impressions and schooling in Meopham
Arthur went to Gravesend Technical College but Anne had very little schooling as a child as she was often ill.
Shops in Meopham
Arthur lists the shops he remembers.
Anecdote about telegrams delivered to Wrotham Hill Camp.
Three police stations. Stocks at The George. Bus falling down hole near George and possibility of secret tunnels. Road widening by Vicarage.
Mention of various people connected with farming.
Activities when young
Arthur was involved in bell ringing at the church. He was also involved with the scouts.
Arthur spent about 5 years in the Merchant Navy before returning to Meopham to work locally.
Coronation and the Festival of Britain
Mentions bought second-hand TV to watch Coronation. Anne remembers riding on a horse side-saddle at a parade.
Meopham Make Merrie and Judson's fete.
The history and how it has been modified.
Anne's involvement with Brownies/Guides
Anne mentions her connections with Brownies and Guides.
George Stevenson and some of the other characters in Meopham.
Earthquake and Elizabeth House
History: Dodmore Manor was destroyed and Elizabeth House built on site. More information on Elizabeth House.
How new housing has changed the village.
Transport, including buses.
Characters in Meopham
Murray Urquhart the artist lived at Well House.
In the past there was more police presence and less crime.
Problem with neighbours
Fall out with neighbours over a squeaky gate.