Interview with Dorothy Wells
The interview with Dorothy Wells was recorded on 3rd September 2013 at her home in Istead Rise. The interviewer was Ann Kneif.
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Dorothy Wells was born in 1926 at Park Royal Hospital. Maiden name Redditt. Father was a trolley bus conductor and mother was a housewife.
Elementary. When war broke out left school at 13 but caught up later with evening classes and Pitman’s College. Did secretarial work later in life.
Hobbies and Activities
Drawing, painting and reading. Mother taught her sewing.
Local London clerk and general dogsbody.
Married in 1954 when nearly 29. Her husband was a probation officer.
Move to Meopham
Moved to Meopham in 1956, where bought a new bungalow in Orchard Drive. Her mother was a frequent visitor.
Both her children were at school in Meopham. Mr Strand headmaster. Both children then went on to St George's in Gravesend.
Shops and Tradespeople
Describes various shops at the station end of the village and the people who owned them.
Bungalow in Orchard Drive
Dorothy lived in the bungalow for over 50 years. She later worked in London so it was ideal for travelling to London on the train. Village shops were also handy. Mentions change over the years in shops.
Bus to Gravesend
No car so used the bus, which cost 8d. Last bus left Gravesend at 10pm.
Remembers the gypsies living there and coming round selling pegs. Also hedgers and ditchers, two old men on bikes who did the work by hand.
Remembers the Queen visiting Meopham but did not go as son was a baby. Did not belong to any clubs or societies but her son was in the Cubs. Talks about Waterditch and the woman (Mrs Birch), who lived there and had horses both at the house and in a field near the Catholic Church.
Now very busy but used to be 'like a one horse town'. Drainage built in 1960s and then the building started. Until then very rural.
Orchard Drive was one of the first building projects after the war. Johns Road was there but not built up. Had large garden so no time to join anything as grew own fruit and vegetables. Husband died in 2001 and he had wanted her to leave so now lives in Istead Rise. Does not miss Meopham as not the same without family.
Catches up on the gossip at the hairdressers, where she goes once a week. She is pleased to meet old acquaintances there.