Ref NoWIN/009
CollectionWinstanley Oral History Collection
TitleMiss. E. Backhouse interviewed by Michael Winstanley
Name of creatorWinstanley, Michael
Date18/05/1976
Duration1 hr. 06 min. 37 sec.
Extent1 sound tape reel
1 audio file Waveform Audio
DescriptionMiss. E. Backhouse, born in 1894, interviewed in Gravesend. Miss. Backhouse's father was a city merchant/trader, and her mother was a small dairy/poultry farmer. Backhouse belonged to a family of 5 (of which she was the eldest), she was a nurse by profession.
Track 1 [1:06:37] [First interview: 18th May 1976] [0:00:00] Introduction: interview of Miss Erna Backhouse [Miss B] of The Caravan, The Cottage, Butchers Hill, Shorne near Gravesend Kent by Michael Winstanley of the University of Kent at Canterbury on 18th May 1976. The interview took place in the Cottage, in the rooms of Miss Bernice Baker. [0:00:31] Miss B born in London 1894 moving to Harvel, near Shorne c1900. Description of family background, mother a farmer, father in business in London. Comments on poverty, mortgage defaults, bailiffs. [0:03:30] Description of farm, Harvel House, 75 acres, main focus raising heifer weaners [calves], new calves brought from Gillingham to Sole Street by train. [0:06:40] Description of dairy production, milk not sold but churned for butter, mother’s regular weekly round in Gravesend selling eggs, butter, chickens. [0:10:10] Mention of father’s work in shipping in London, his financial ruin during World War I. [0:10:59] Remarks on keeping chickens, turkeys, geese and bees. [0:12:04] Comments on Miss B’s role at home, farm work after school, taking father to station in pony and trap. Remarks on low status of women working in fields. [0:14:02] Description of Miss B’s return to London c 1910, nursing/midwifery training and career. Mention of West London hospital Hammersmith, hospitals in Bishops Stortford, Exeter. Mention of death of Miss B’s mother and return to working as night sister at Central Middlesex hospital. [0:16:14] Description of working as district nurse in Rosebury Avenue Finsbury, remarks on unemployment, starvation, families living in one room, fleas. [0:17:98] Description of the new Finsbury midwifery service, friction between student doctors from Barts and midwives run by town council. Anecdote about drunk ‘handy women’ [untrained maternity attendants]. [0:22:00] Anecdote about cabbage leaves wrapped around feet to cure fever. [0:22:35] Description of maternity care in Cobham [Kent] pre NHS; by subscription, costs, midwives at birth, doctor in emergency. Before midwives, birth attended by village ‘handy woman’, some caring for families after birth. Midwife attended for 10 days, bed rest recommended for 9 days. [0:27:43] Description of country health care; costs; doctors mostly gentry, university educated, travelling by pony and trap, bicycle, later by car. [0:31:40] Comments on keeping clean; in Harvel pump in yard, rainwater collected in underground tanks, heated by boiler attached to stove. [0:34:43] Comments on drinks; beer, cider in house but not water; sweet black tea at work; coffee, cocoa on occasion; tea and lemonade outside home. [0:38:50] Remarks on sanitation, outside dry earth closet freshened with earth and ashes. [0:40:15] Description of heating; 12-14 rooms, open fire in sitting room, fires in bedrooms only for illness, kitchen fire heating water and oven, coal and wood burnt. [0:43:40] Remarks that washing done fortnightly by washerwoman but mangling, starching, ironing done by family. [0:44:50] Remark that shopping done in Gravesend by mother on her Saturday round. [0:47:00] Mention of visits to grandmother in Buckinghamshire. [0:48:15] Anecdote about fire in stables next door, fire engines from Gravesend, Wrotham and Snodland. [0:49:58] Comments on village; shop, blacksmiths, pub, weekly visits from baker and grocers from Wrotham and Birling; social events in Meopham and theatre in Gravesend. [0:52:25] Mention of production the Little Stowaway at Gravesend theatre. [0:53:08] Comments on schooling; 4 children, Miss B, sister Elsie and 2 brothers; governess pre-school; mention of Culverstone school [Meopham], private school in Windmill Street, Gravesend, church school in Luddesdown; Miss B leaving school at 14. [1:00:05] Mention that Miss B’s father Danish. [1:03:03] Mention that Miss B’s sister worked in the Admiralty in World War I.
NotesTranscript exists for this interview.
PhysicalDescription1 sound tape reel : analogue, 5 inch reel, 9,5 cm/sec, 2 track, mono
Waveform Audio
Related OrganisationUniversity of Kent
Related PlaceHarvel, Kent
Gravesend, Kent
Access filenameWIN-009-001A-A.mp3
CategoryAudio recordings
Access conditionsAvailable for consultation at the University of Kent's Special Collections & Archives reading room, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU. Access is available via digital listening copies. The University of Kent acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors in this recording and the rights of those not identified.
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