Shameen, circa 1924
Shameen was a large house built about 100 years ago at the end of Seaview Avenue, close to the beach.
My maternal grandfather Roland 'Roly' Green worked at Shameen as a gardener, firstly for Sir Jesse-Herbert, the Liberal M.P., and later for Capt Chaworth-Musters.
The house had a very large garden which stretched from the beach up to Osborne Road and some way back. The original area is still surrounded by a rustic brick wall.
I imagine that Roly had some help, although Sir Jesse did have a pony, as I recall my Aunt Mary telling me that Roly used to borrow Sir Jesse's pony and trap, and they would go to visit relations at Fingringhoe. I've yet to discover who these relations were.
It may well be that Sir Jesse had horses and some implements for cultivation which Roly used. He was a horseman on a farm in 1901, probably at Firs Farm, so he would be well able to make use of a horse.
I'm not sure when Sir Jesse Herbert sold Shameen, but I have a postcard showing the front of the house from the beach. It is written by Maxine Chaworth -Musters to a friend in London, to say this view does not show the garden, which is the best part. I would like to think it's thanks to granddad Roly's efforts. The postcard was franked on 8th February 1924.
I have a rather battered photograph showing Roly on the lawn in front of the house ,with a large mower pulled by a donkey. I don't know if it was during Sir Jesse's time or later.
The Chaworth-Musters family used to entertain a lot, and on one occasion the guests were being shown round the vegetable garden when they remarked on the fine cauliflowers. 'How do you do it?' they asked. The hosts said they would ask Green the gardener, which they did. Roly would not at first divulge his secret, but they insisted. He told them that each morning he lifted the lid of the cesspit and drew a bucket of juice which he poured round the cauliflowers. Strangely, they went off cauliflowers after that.
My mother Edna and her sister-in-law Ada, a Newcastle lass, were in service at Shameen during the Chaworth-Musters time, and decided to have a party on one occasion when the owners were away (Aunt Ada's idea I would bet). Several other friends were invited along too, and, of course the inevitable happened and the owners came home early. I think they got away with it and were not dismissed.
Roly bought a pair of houses in Fairhaven Avenue, and when the holiday chalets were built in the avenue leading down to the beach (mostly by people from the Tottenham and Edmonton areas). Roly's pump was the nearest water supply. He and Grandma made a lot of friends and looked after the chalets for them.
Roly laid the original bowling green in Yorick Road and also the tennis courts at the Glebe, which he also maintained. He continued to work gardening up to the age of 85. Then he came home for his mid-day dinner one day, after which he laid down and went to sleep in his favourite chair, and didn't wake up. I think this would be around 1962.
Roly on the front lawn. The donkey has shoes on, to avoid damaging the lawn.
The name of the donkey and the name of the girl are not known.
This article was published in Museum Piece in Mersea Island Courier, 17 December 2010