The Hyams - Shopkeepers of Peldon

Special Constables outside Peldon Shop after
Zeppelin came down September 1916

This picture, from 1916, shows Clem Hyam, second from right, wearing a Special Constable's armband. His five-year old daughter, Marjorie, is thought to be the little girl front left, wearing a white dress. The picture was taken shortly after a Zeppelin came down in Little Wigborough in September 1916. Three of the Special Constables who captured the German crew of the Zeppelin are posing outside Peldon village shop, then known as S C White and Co. They are standing with Edgar Dansie (on the right), the shop-keeper.

Young Marjorie Hyam, who was to live to 103 (and died in 2014) was probably the last person alive to remember the Zeppelin coming down although she used to relate that she was told she had to stay in bed and missed it.

The Hyams themselves ran a grocer's shop in the village, two doors along from S C White's. The Olde House, as it is called now, stands at the junction where the Moss Haye path comes out on Lower Road. This was the Hyam family's home for over 80 years and for much of that time they ran a shop there.

Clement Hyam's father, Samuel, (1839 - 1916), was born to a Wigborough agricultural worker, James and his wife Mary. It was Samuel who was to set up the family's grocery business in Peldon.

Samuel starts out as a 'hawker' in Great Wigborough. His first wife Lucy dies leaving him with two girls and two boys but by the census in 1891 he has married Eliza, and they have two more children. By then they have moved to Peldon and he is listed as shopkeeper, grocer and hardware living in The Shop (near Brick House Farm) which in every likelihood is the first reference to The Olde House being a shop.

In the same census, son Clement is working in Peldon as a baker's assistant for George Smallwood and is a boarder there. The bakery was not far from Peldon church.

Samuel subsequently moves to a grocery shop in West Bergholt while son Clement takes over his father's house and business as a grocer in Peldon. Following their marriage in 1897, Clem and his wife Edith are living in the Olde House and running the shop.

Village Pump, Peldon c1911

Clem's shop, The Old Cottage (now The Olde House), Lower Road, Peldon, is on the left of the picture. Dansies shop can be seen next door but one.

In the 1911 census Samuel and his wife Eliza have returned to Peldon, living in Hill House in retirement. Samuel was to die in 1916.

By the 1911 census Clem is listed as a general dealer and born in Peldon. He is living near The Plough with Edith who is assisting in the business. They have Catherine Mallett aged 63 as a nurse for their younger daughter, as yet unnamed and under a month old [Marjorie]. They also have Norah who is 5 also born in Peldon.

From all the census returns it appears the Hyams were running the shop from before 1891 and they appear in the Kelly's Trade Directories

1894 and 1902, Samuel Hyham Grocer

1914 Clement Hyam shopkeeper.

It was in the early hours of 24th September 1916 that Clem was to experience probably the most dramatic event of his life. He was serving as a Special Constable during the war. The Special Constables had no uniform but wore arm bands on the left arm above the elbow plus a lapel badge whenever on duty as seen in the picture above.

That night the Zeppelin L33 was to come down at Little Wigborough straddling Copt Hall Lane. Its Captain ordered the airship to be set alight and he and his crew, 22 men in all, set off walking towards Peldon where they were met by Special Constable Edgar Nicholas. They offered no resistance and he accompanied them to Peldon. Eventually, the men were handed over to the Police Constable and five of the Special Constables.

Special Constables Traylor, May, Fairhead, Hyam and King accompanied the Regular Police Constable and prisoners to the ' Strood', West Mersea where the latter were handed over to the military escort Police Report

Their work was not over for during the next few weeks tens of thousands of sightseers made their way to see the remains of the 650 foot long skeleton of the L33 and the Special Constables were needed to control the crowds and the traffic.

In December of that year, at a ceremony in Colchester Town Hall, Clem and the other Special Constables were presented with watches each with his name on and the words

Presented for good work when Zeppelin L33 was brought down in Essex September 24 1916

Clement and Edith had three daughters, Norah, Marjorie and Gwen. Marjorie's story is told on Mersea Museum website:

Marjorie Costello of Melrose Road, West Mersea was born in a small room above her father's Peldon hardware store one hundred years ago Sunday 26 March 1911. Marjorie's father was very protective of his three daughters (Marjorie was the second) and would not let them near the horse he kept to cart his paraffin and oil deliveries to the surrounding villages. Neither would he allow them to cross the Strood to Mersea unchaperoned, fearing that they would be caught by the tide. Marjorie went to school in Peldon, but like many young girls at that time, left at the age of fourteen to go into service. She was taken on as a lady's maid to look after the wife of a brigadier general at Manwood House, Abberton, and remained in the same job for the next fifteen years. She remembers her years in service with great fondness. "I had a marvellous position there', she said. "I had my own room in a lovely house and the lady I worked for was very kind. I used to look after her clothes and make sure she had everything she needed.

The three girls were all married at St Mary's Church, Peldon as these entries in the local newspaper report.

On 2nd November 1934 Miss Norah Geraldine Hyam eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs C Hyam of Peldon with Mr Edward Albert Clark youngest son of the late Chas Clark and Mrs Clark of Gt Wigborough

On 5th August 1939 On Saturday Mr Patrick Bernard Costello eldest son of Mr and Mrs B Costello of Stratford upon Avon, and Miss Marjorie Lucy Hyam, second daughter of Mr and Mrs Clement Hyam of Peldon

On 11th February 1944 January Mr Frederick Inward Wass, only son of Mr and Mrs F W Wass of Elm Villas, Mill Road West Mersea and Miss Gwendoline Mary Hyam youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs C Hyam of the General Stores, Peldon

Their parents, Clem and Edith, enjoy a long marriage and celebrate 50 years in 1947.

GOLDEN WEDDING - A family gathering in celebration of the Golden Wedding of Mr and Mrs Clement Hyam took place on Sunday August 31. The party included their three daughters and sons-in-law, Mr and Mrs Clarke, Mr and Mrs Costello, and Mr and Mrs Wass also a grandson and granddaughter. Numerous greetings cards and telegrams marked the actual date, August 4, and an iced cake inscribed 1897 - 1947 was reserved for the festive occasion. Mr and Mrs Hyam still occupy the house in which they started married life 50 years ago. Essex County Standard 5.9.1947

Although a grocer's shop early on, later, the Hyams sold pots and pans and paraffin. When Clem's daughter Marjorie was talking about her father, it was almost always about selling paraffin, the purest paraffin around and an important commodity in houses where it was used for lighting and often cooking. He also sold it in Layer de la Haye; in those days before the Reservoir was built, Lodge Lane, being a through road to Layer de La Haye, made it much closer.

Many locals remember Clem being called 'Tinny' on account of him selling saucepans and tins. He would deliver items bought from the shop in a horse and trap. The iron gate to the backyard of the house through which he took the horse and cart was still there until recent times alongside the path up into Moss Haye.

Penny Burr (nee Pullen) who lived with her family at The Peldon Rose remembers 'Tinny'. In the 1940s he would get the bus to Colchester to buy all the pots and pans he was to sell in his shop. She remembers him getting off the bus at The Rose and walking all the way home carrying his purchases.

'Tinny' also sold sweets and tobacco. With sweets being rationed in the years following the war, Penny recalls the only sweet thing always available was Penguin biscuits. She also remembers 'Mr Hyam always had to go into the back room, the kitchen, to get any change'.

Clem died in 1950 but Edith remained living in the house.

When Edith's daughter Marjorie Costello was widowed herself in 1963 she decided to return to Peldon to look after her mother. Edith died in 1971, having spent all her life since marriage in the Olde House, 74 years in all.

EDITH ELLEN HYAM Mrs Hyam, the grand old lady of Peldon has passed from us at the great age of 96. She came to Peldon as a young bride of 22 in 1897 and has lived in the same house, The Old Cottage, ever since; her husband died in 1950. Peldon and Wigborough Parish News September 1971

Marjorie remained in The Olde House for a short while after Edith's death before moving to West Mersea and selling the house to the Coes.

Three generations of the Hyams are buried in Peldon Churchyard, Edith, her husband Clem, his father, Samuel , step-mother Eliza and half-brother Mark, and daughter Marjorie and her husband, Patrick Costello.

As for the shop, now a beautiful family home, long-time Peldon resident Mike Watson recalls

The shop was fitted out especially for the purpose and remained so long after it had ceased to be a shop

When Mike and Jenny Coe moved in to The Olde House, around 1972, Jenny says there was an old till in the kitchen and the brick floor was worn with the passage of so many feet.

Elaine Barker
Peldon History Project

Thanks to
Tony Millatt
Penny Burr
Jenny Coe
Alan Smith
Ron Green

Author: Elaine Barker
August 2018

Related Images

 Marjorie Lucy Costello 26 March 1911 - 22 May 2014
 St Mary the Virgin Church, Peldon.  MJC_SVC_001MJC_SVC_001
Marjorie Lucy Costello 26 March 1911 - 22 May 2014
St Mary the Virgin Church, Peldon.
4 June 2014
 Village Pump, Peldon. The Plough is just out of sight on the left. On the left behind the pump is the Old Cottage, run as a shop by Clem Hyam. The Post Office visible in the distance on the right. Hammond Postcard. Posted to Mrs Gunstead, 28a Culver Street, Colchester by Jdy.  RG14_041RG14_041
Village Pump, Peldon. The Plough is just out of sight on the left. On the left behind the pump is the Old Cottage, run as a shop by Clem Hyam. The Post Office visible in the distance on the right. Hammond Postcard. Posted to Mrs Gunstead, 28a Culver Street, Colchester by Jdy.
c1910
 Marjorie makes a century.
</p><p>
Marjorie Costello of Melrose Road, West Mersea was born in a small room above her father's Peldon hardware store one hundred years ago. Sunday 26 March 1911 was also the birthday of acclaimed American playwright Tennessee Williams, and in the same month, Captain Robert Scott was in the Antarctic preparing for his ill-fated attempt to reach the South Pole; Henry Ford opened his first factory in England to build Model T motor cars; and preparations were under way for the coronation of the new king, George V.
</p><p>
Marjorie's father was very protective of his three daughters (Marjorie was the second) and would not let them near the horse he kept to cart his paraffin and oil deliveries to the surrounding villages. Neither would he allow them to cross the Strood to Mersea unchaperoned,
fearing that they would be caught by the tide.
Marjorie went to school in Peldon, but like many young girls at that time, left at the age of fourteen to go into service. She was taken on as a lady's maid to look after the wife of a brigadier general at Manwood House, Abberton, and remained in the same job for the next fifteen years. She remembers her years in service with great fondness. I had a marvellous position there', she said. I had my own room in a lovely house and the lady I worked for was very kind. I used to look after her clothes and make sure she had everything she needed.
</p><p>
But one summer, while she was holidaying with her younger sister Gwen, she met Patrick Costello. The two were soon married, and in 1940 Marjorie left Abberton and moved to London with her new husband. Almost immediately the blitz started, and Patrick was relocated by his company to Sevenoaks in Kent. Marjorie stayed behind in their house near Clapham Common and endured the worst of the war on her own. Our street was bombed five times', she remembered 'but we never had a direct hit on our house. The windows came in once or twice, but I was very lucky.'
</p><p>
Patrick returned after the war and the couple picked up their life together in Clapham, but when her husband died at a relatively young age, Marjorie decided to return to Peldon and look after her mother. She remained in the family home until 1980 when her mother died at the age of 97, and then she moved to her current home in West Mersea.
</p><p>
'Being a hundred years old doesn't seem any different to me', she said. I feel just the same as usual. But it must run in the family because my mother lived to a great age and my sister Gwen was 93. I might be going a bit deaf but I can still see well enough and I don't have to take many pills.'
</p>
<p>[ Marjorie's father was Clem Hyam. She died in 2014 at the age of 103.
 The source of this article is not known. ]
</p>  TBM_MJC_001TBM_MJC_001
Marjorie makes a century.

Marjorie Costello of Melrose Road, West Mersea was born in a small room above her father's Peldon hardware store one hundred years ago. Sunday 26 March 1911 was also the birthday of acclaimed American playwright Tennessee Williams, and in the same month, Captain Robert Scott was in the Antarctic preparing for his ill-fated attempt to reach the South Pole; Henry Ford opened his first factory in England to build Model T motor cars; and preparations were under way for the coronation of the new king, George V.

Marjorie's father was very protective of his three daughters (Marjorie was the second) and would not let them near the horse he kept to cart his paraffin and oil deliveries to the surrounding villages. Neither would he allow them to cross the Strood to Mersea unchaperoned, fearing that they would be caught by the tide. Marjorie went to school in Peldon, but like many young girls at that time, left at the age of fourteen to go into service. She was taken on as a lady's maid to look after the wife of a brigadier general at Manwood House, Abberton, and remained in the same job for the next fifteen years. She remembers her years in service with great fondness. "I had a marvellous position there', she said. "I had my own room in a lovely house and the lady I worked for was very kind. I used to look after her clothes and make sure she had everything she needed.

But one summer, while she was holidaying with her younger sister Gwen, she met Patrick Costello. The two were soon married, and in 1940 Marjorie left Abberton and moved to London with her new husband. Almost immediately the blitz started, and Patrick was relocated by his company to Sevenoaks in Kent. Marjorie stayed behind in their house near Clapham Common and endured the worst of the war on her own. "Our street was bombed five times', she remembered 'but we never had a direct hit on our house. The windows came in once or twice, but I was very lucky.'

Patrick returned after the war and the couple picked up their life together in Clapham, but when her husband died at a relatively young age, Marjorie decided to return to Peldon and look after her mother. She remained in the family home until 1980 when her mother died at the age of 97, and then she moved to her current home in West Mersea.

'Being a hundred years old doesn't seem any different to me', she said. "I feel just the same as usual. But it must run in the family because my mother lived to a great age and my sister Gwen was 93. I might be going a bit deaf but I can still see well enough and I don't have to take many pills.'

[ Marjorie's father was Clem Hyam. She died in 2014 at the age of 103.
The source of this article is not known. ]


26 March 2011
ID: PH01_HYM


This item is part of the Mersea Island Museum Collection. The information is accurate as far as is known, but the Museum does not accept responsibility for errors.