|Charles 'Tiddler' Mole interviewed by Len Broadhurst
Tiddler was born early 1911, lived in The Square. He was gardener and went with Bill Clarry when he was 14 and was with him for 17 years. During WW2 he worked at Clarke & Carter, making oars, paddles, ropework. 13 years with Leslie French oyster trade, 3 years with Ted Woolf, and then back to Clarke & Carter. Finally he was a cleaner at the school for 4 - 5 years. Now man of leisure, except for the garden. Has a wife and daughter. Hobby in autumn is drying herring to make them into bloaters - 150 a week. Oak smoke from sawdust. 8 hours in a box.
He talks about his brother in a John Leather book [ Jack in The Salty Shore ] c1955 Tiddler worked with his brother, dredging out by the Bench Head.
As a gardner he worked at West Mersea Hall with Mr Clarry - 3½ acres.
Talk about the School ...
Boat laid up in river - most he can remember was 45 and two sailing ships.
The interview is in what was the Reading Room, built about 1911, which later became the Council Chambers. When the Legion was built, the young men moved to the Legion and the Reading Room could not keep going. The Urban District Council bought it and money from it was distributed to the different sports clubs and charities on the Island.
The Glebe was bought after WW1 by public subscriptions. Big concert at the Hall Barn - chief artist was May Maud Depree [?] who lived in Seaview Avenue with Mrs Grant. Pavillion was built with money that came from Soldiers and Sailors canteen fund.
Tiddler can remember the Zeppelin from WW1 coming down and Prisoners of War coming to the island. Young man named Wright came to Mersea on his motor cycle to inform the Army and Police and got killed on the Strood. His sister Polly Wright used to teach at West Mersea School and cycled from Wigborough every day. [ Florence Wright from Grove Farm, born 1882 ?]
Tiddler can remember [other] Prisoners of War on the Island [ WW1 ] who used to walk around the island freely, based in the Hall Barn. Used to work in the fields on the Coast. They used to play football on the green at the bottom of Cross Lane.
Tiddler learnt to play cricket on the Cricket Ground along the front. For cricket balls, they used coconut balls, pinched from visiting fairs, soaked in mud and water to make them heavier.
This interview appeared on Tape 59 in two parts, on side 1 and side 2.