Interview Archives

Interview with Arthur Fitz-Simon and Anne Welldon
Introduction

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.

Personal details

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.

Post Office

Anecdote about telegrams delivered to Wrotham Hill Camp.

 

Various happenings

Three police stations. Stocks at The George. Bus falling down hole near George and possibility of secret tunnels. Road widening by Vicarage.

Farming families

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.

Merchant Navy

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.

Other celebrations

Meopham Make Merrie and Judson's fete.

Present house

The history and how it has been modified.

Anne's involvement with Brownies/Guides

Anne mentions her connections with Brownies and Guides.

Village people

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.

Changes

How new housing has changed the village.

Traffic

Transport, including buses.

Characters in Meopham

Murray Urquhart the artist lived at Well House.

Police

In the past there was more police presence and less crime.

Problem with neighbours

Fall out with neighbours over a squeaky gate.

Unknown Track - Unknown Artist
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Meopham Historical Society