Categories ......
Back to Memories Menu  
Letters to Ruth ....

Ruth Fisher

Ruth Fisher is the second daughter of Stanley Isaac Fisher and Agnes May (nee Horne).

Stanley and Agnes owned and ran the village butchers on Norwich Road. They were both descendants
of prominent Mattishall business families,who are on record, dating back to the mid 1700's.
Outside Fisher's shop

Ruth was born at Moat Farm, Dereham Road, Mattishall in 1923. She has many memories of Mattishall and village life and fortunately for us she has also been a collector of all sorts of material concerning her family, her church (of which she is a loyal servant) and our village. You will also notice she has contributed greatly to the content of this Web-site.

Part of Ruth's collection are two letters sent to her by Florence George (nee Green) (nee Purple) in 1996, Florence was then in her early 90's. The content of the letters paint a marvelous picture of how life was in Mattishall when Florence was a young girl. A very long way form how we know it today.

13th February, 1996

Dear Ruth,

I had a letter from Heather, said she met up with you in Mattishall and said you were writing a book about the village. As I have now passed my 90th birthday I thought you would be interested about some of the events and people in 1915 onwards as I don't think there are many of my age living there now, so I will pass on my Knowledge to you. I was born in East Dereham in 1905, and my parents Mr and Mrs Jack Purple moved by horse and cart to Mattishall in 1908 to a house in Mill Road (until he died occupied by Mr Womack). I lived in that house until I married Fred Green in 1927.

My memory goes back to when I started at Mattishall School in 1910, I was 5 years of age. Miss Johnson was the headmistress, a very severe person dressed in black, I was terrified of her, she was very handy with the cane and kept every one in order. There was Mrs Polly White who taught
Standard 1 and Miss Bushell whom us younger ones loved.
Miss Johnson

When Miss Johnson retired Mr Fred Braily took over, I was very much in awe of him when he first came, I was unable to understand his Yorkshire brogue and have never forgotten the day he threw a piece of chalk at me because I laughed out loudly when he started to sing, I ended up in tears. By the time I left school we were good friends.

In those days once a year we had, what was called, a Cookery Van parked on a meadow by the side of the school. 12 girls over the age of 12 were picked to attend the lessons, one week, cookery, second week, housewifery, third week housewifery. I remember washing week, we all had to bring our own garments. Hilda Gunton brought a red petticoat and boiled it with the whites and everything came out a blushing pink. We girls enjoyed those weeks away from ordinary lessons.

The Chapel anniversaries were a great event. I was not allowed to go on my own, my people being strict Church but Elsie Lodge was a friend of mine and I was invited to her house those special Sundays so I went with her. The platform was erected in Neve's Meadow, how I prayed for a fine day. All who could afford it had something new to wear. Recitations, songs and short readings were all enjoyed by the congregation. Some of the younger ones could not stand all the excitement and burst into tears, but that made the event more eventful. The following Tuesday a treat was held on Marshall Cole's Meadow in Welgate Road.

All who belonged to the Chapel had a tea, after tea games were played and it went on till dark. There was much laughter and fun, the most popular game was Kiss-in-the-ring, everyone joined in.
Some of the Horne sisters at the Chapel Fete
early 1900's

If you did not belong to Chapel Sunday School you were allowed in the meadow by paying 3d, a princely price in those days. One summer a treat was organised to go to Ringland Hills.A steam engine was hired from Farrows, the engine driver was Chris Orton (senior). We loaded up at Mattishall Church and away down the Norwich Road we went.We sat on bales of straw but it was a bumpy ride. Unfortunately the wind blew the wrong way and we all got covered with smuts. 1 recall it was a lovely day climbing and rolling down those fern covered hills. One summer we all went to Yarmouth for the day, it was organised for Farrow's employees and some friends. What I remember about that; Billie Edwards, a rather simple man, came and when it was time to return he was missing so we had to leave him behind. He got home in time to blow the church organ the next day having walked the 21 miles back.

Mildred Edwards was the school teacher for many years as you will remember a well respected lady. The three Miss Watson's lived at the Cedars with their brother George who married Nancy Gresion (Fred Braily's wife's sister). There were lots of characters in the village in the 1930s. There was Fred Juby known as the worker's friend who sorted out the village problems. He always wore a black bowler hat when he cycled around. In my school days I remember going past the vicarage, an opening by the end of the house was called The Cut and went out at Back Lane. On this day there was a big white notice out on the wall by Mr. Juby "Cut Closed, Plight of Vicar" a maid at the vicarage had emptied a chamber pot down the wall, she slept at the top of the house. Fred thought the villagers should be warned. Jack Drew a dealer in anything, had two brothers both deaf and dumb. Tom Beckett the cobbler who sat on the floor and most people took their footwear to him to be repaired.

Emily Horne (right) and her niece Lillian Horne
out side her shop which is the cottage next
to what is now Mattishall News

Emily Horne who sold haberdashery in her front room, she lived next to Ivy Cottage, lived in by Bert Clarke who drove a covered wagon around Mattishall and surrounding villages for Bert Neve's shop. He was accompanied by a man called Monkey Godfrey. The butchers were Gerald Hewitt and Stanley Fisher. Lottie Palmer kept a small shop next to Miss Horne's. Bert Leveridge had a general shop at the beginning of Welgate Road. Opposite was Hurrens cycle repair shop, Frank Norton had a general shop by the church. Eddie Cole had the Post Office at the beginning of Cemetery Road, opposite the Odd fellows Hall where all the village events took place, whist drives, dances, concerts etc. Miss Hunt and her brother Malcolm lived at the Hall, she was a great animal lover.

Norwich Road to Burgh Lane 1912.
Electric Cinema on the left to be replaced by Odd fellows Hall in 1920
Post off ice on the opposite corner. You can just see the post box in the wall.

Dr. Griffith Williams was the local doctor, Nurse Ford was the midwife and was driven around in a horse and trap to assist women when expecting babies. Mrs. Parnell the working woman's midwife, she had an upright bicycle and attended to them, a friendly person and well liked. The Reverend Madoc was vicar until the 1930s, on his death his place was taken by Rev. David Graham, he was not very well received in the village, the village folk did not take to what they called foreigners. Mrs. Neve (Bert Neve the grocer's mother) another well known person, anyone who was ill and in need of help, she went to their aid, a kind and respected lady. Mrs. Richmond was called on to lay out any one who died, a very good hearted woman. Another character was a man called Jampot Savory, he made a jampot with a candle fixed inside on tallow, string made into a handle round the rim, which hung on his handlebars when he went out in the dark. Mr. Howe's was the carrier, every Saturday he drove a covered-in cart seating six people to Norwich, you booked your seat during the week and paid 2 shillings for the journey. The first bus to travel through Mattishall was in 1924 from Dereham to Norwich. We girls around that age all walked to Dereham Road turn and paid Id bus fare for a ride on the top deck as far as the church.

In 1912 there were Maltings opposite the church, these were demolished in the 1920s and Reynold's shop and house were built on the site. In the 1930s I moved to Mill Street into the house vacated by Arthur Home and his family, I lived there until I moved to Norwich in 1950.

In the 1930s when I lived in Mill Street Dolton Turner was my milkman. He cycled round the village with the milk chum on his handlebars came round to the door with can and dipper the price was 2d per pint.
Dolton Turner with
Brian Youngs as a boy

George Randal was parish clerk, lived nearby as did Tailor Home, further along was Dick Norton's bakery. In my childhood days 1 lived down Mill Road, your grandfather and grandmother lived further up the road in the next house, I went to their house daily for a pint of milk. Your grandfather Isaac Fisher had a shop at the bottom of their yard, it was the ground floor of the mill 1 suspect that is how Mill Road was named. I don't recall going there to buy meat, but 1 remember your Aunt Elsie (Mrs. Arthur Home) taking me for a ride in her horse and trap when she drove round the surrounding villages delivering meat to customers. No motor vehicles on the roads then. I think Luke Harrison was the first man to have a car in Mattishall.

Your father Stanley was a few years my senior so I did not see much of him. Wilfred was a shy boy who married an older friend of mine (Eva Bingham), Russell I seem to know much better. I remember being invited to a Christmas party at their house. I knew Russell better when he married Edie Horne and they lived at South Green.

Lusher's greenhouses were in Mill Road. We went there to buy our tomatoes and cucumbers. Blackberrying time lots of the women and children picked blackberries, took them to be weighed at Wesley Lusher's Barn, we were paid 1d for every pound. Lusher's then sent them to a Norwich jam factory. In those days Mattishall had lots of blackberry brambles: and a nice amount of money could be earned. Holly wreaths were made in the greenhouse for Xmas sale.

In the late 1930 Bert Bell opened a barber's -shop in Frank Norton's yard and the local boys went to have their haircut for 2d. Mr. Skinner drove a donkey cart and it contained a ice cream chum., his 1d and 2d wafers and cornets were very popular, he stayed outside the school and was welcomed by the children who had a copper to spend.

It is over 40 years since I lived in Mill Street Mattishall so the places I knew and the people have gone - time marches on. When I left Mattishall in 1951 I lived in Norwich, 10 years later I moved to Gt. Yarmouth. I remarried and when my husband died I decided to move to Devon. My daughter Phyllis was living here with her two daughters, I went into Abbeyfield House and was quite happy there. I moved to Sandpipers retirement home 2 years ago, its a very nice place, I have a lovely large room looking out over the sea, at the side a little park filled with flowers in the various seasons, a tennis court and bowling green so plenty to see if I don't want to go outdoors. The staff are very caring, the food good so I feel I am very fortunate. Seaton is a small lovely little seaside town. Most days when the weather is good 1 walk along the prom as it is only a few minutes from the house. Red sand and white cliffs make it very picturesque. Phyl lives at Sidmouth a short distance along the coast also my granddaughter and her children so I see them most weeks. I now have 8 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren and 3.great great grandchildren.

Do hope you will enjoy this letter and the contents will be helpful in your book writing. Don't hesitate to write if you think I could be of help and able to supply any information.

Yours affectionately

Florence George (nee Green)(nee Purple)

PS....... A few more items I have recalled - Farmers who lived in Mattishall in the 1920, Luke Harrison, Tom Lusher, Herbert Wier, Charles Grix, Reg Gay, John Norton, Herbert Savory, E. Allenden, Bill Fendick, Osborne, Wyatt, Edgar Fish, Ambrose Fish, H.Williamson, F.Faircloth and Talbot Hill.

Public houses were The Eight Ringers (Mr Batson) The Swan (Earl) The White House (Mr Pignal) Crown & Anchor (Frank Edwards (closed around 1911) Cross Keys (John Reeve). Tradesmen were Dobbs brothers wheelwrights and farriers, Lebell King carpenter and coffin maker, A. Reeve painter and decorator, D.Howard carpenter, W & R. Norton bakers, Horne tailor, Ina High knitter and dressmaker. Policemen were William Powell followed by P.C. Nightingale. Mr. Bowers was the man from the Prudential he cycled round the village and collected their insurance payments weekly. He was known locally as "Old Wish Me Dead".

8th April, 1996

Dear Ruth,

Thank you for sending me Mattishall Society News. I was very pleased with all the news and it gave me great pleasure to catch up on all the activities taking place there. Since I last wrote I recalled a few more memories which will probably interest some members. I was interested in "Where is the lane known as" No Road" I think I am not sure but it was on Norwich Road, past the church on the left side and led to Nowhere, in the early 1930s the first Mattishall council houses were built a short distance on. Mattishall Burgh started at the end of Cemetery Road at the top of Back Lane opposite the then Cross Keys. The west side of Mattishall started at the end of Mill Road where on the left is a lane (called Lusher's Lane) so named because Daddy Lusher had some greenhouses a short way down. The lane carries on to an open space, which was called Peewep so called because a large number of birds called Peeweps made their home there and made a penetrating weeping noise. Carrying on to the end of this field you came to an adjoining lane which came out by the side of the Stone Road Bridge opposite Old Moor Chapel. There was an unbridged ford at the end of Mattishall Burgh leading on to the North Tuddenham Road.

I have good cause to remember this ford, as when I was 8 years old my mother hired a donkey cart and took my brother and I to visit an uncle who lived at Hoe, 4 miles away. When we came to the ford the donkey refused to go through the water, along came two men in a horse and cart, they tried to get the donkey to go but no success so they drove through the little stream, took off their boots and socks, took the laces out of their boots, waded through the water to us and tied the donkey's front and hind legs with the laces and carried the donkey across the stream, came back pulled us over in the cart, re-harnessed the donkey and we carried on our journey. My mother was very grateful to the men who were Mr. Lebel King and his assistant, the Mattishall undertaker. I recall him saying "it's all right missus Farmer Savory died last night, we're off to measure him for his coffin". I remember we went home via Dereham to avoid any trouble.

Fred Horne outside his tailor's shop in Mill Street

Tailor Horn lived in Mill Street, he did his work in a top room of a little 2 roomed house, the top window faced South Green and could be seen sewing away at his garments. Ina Gap (late Mrs. George High) was the village hand knitter and dress maker. The Odd fellows Hall was built in the early 1920s, was used for all the village meetings, we had whist drives and dances, the music was supplied by Mr. Ladbroke, he played his dulcimer, Mrs. Ladbroke played the piano. They lived at Hockering and travelled by motor bike and side-car. They were a bit overcrowded as Mrs. Ladbroke sat in the side-car with the dulcimer, and then daughter Ula on the back. Ula later married Ted Youngs and their son Brian still lives in Back Lane where Ula and Ted lived all their lives.

Another memory is of the l9l4-18 war. It was a bright moonlit night and a loud buzzing noise was heard in the distance and came over the village. It was a German Zeppelin, it looked like a huge silver cigar and was flying very low. On its side painted in huge black letters R.101. It dropped a bomb in a field near Edgar Fish's house, except broken windows no damage. This was around 1916. In the 1920s Dick Norton kept the bakery (and 1 hear his son Dick still carries on the business).

When Dick's father died Mrs. Adde Norton still carried on assisted over the years by Ben High, Phyl Dye and Tom Fulcher. Dan, Charles, John and Dick, the 4 sons, all friends of the passed years.

My love and best wishes,

Florence George.

PS...... Mattishall Heath commenced at the bottom of Old Hall Road, passed Luke Harrison's Farm, it went through to Welbome Road. It was well known for the large amount of mushrooms that grew there in September.

Edith Bear collected subscriptions for the Scripture Union. Roper Land (so called because he toiled the death bell), he was also caretaker of the Church. During the winter Sundays he lit the Church furnace which was under the middle and had an iron grating over it to let the heat through. To my memory it gave out very little heat but filled the Church with what we called Holy Smoke.

Hope this will interest some people. It's Mattishall memories at the beginning of the century

Just to finish off..... below is a little article that Ruth has written.

Memories of the times when the Americans visited
Mattishall in Norfolk: 1943-4

Ruth Fisher

I remember the day we had an American air force man visit our home. We were returning home after the afternoon service in our Methodist Chapel and there was an American sitting on his bike against the church wall. He looked alone and homesick, my dad invited him home for tea. This turned out to be the first of many happy encounters.

Johnny was a friendly boy, he was the Chaplains assistant on the camp and it was not long before he brought others to our chapel and they visited the homes of other relatives.
One day I remember particularly several from the camp came to the Evening Service at the chapel, we were crowded into the Schoolroom because of blackout regulation, and the service men had cleaned their uniforms before coming out, and the fumes from the cleaning fluid became stronger as the room became warmer, some of the older members thought we were going to go up in flames.
Johnny ?

One evening Dad came cycling home from a preaching appointment ten miles distant and when he opened the back door to come in, he stopped in amazement, the Chaplain and his boys thought they would repay in some measure the hospitality they had received from us and they brought from the camp Mince Beef, Onions, Cooking Oil and chunks of bread. They were making Hamburgers for our family and themselves. We never had any cooking done on a Sunday in those days. We always had cold meat and pickles on Sunday’s.

I think Dad thought he had come home to the wrong house, we thoroughly enjoyed our first ‘Burgers’.

We also had a Christmas party at the Church when they were visiting and again the Chaplain brought a Cooked turkey for us all to enjoy. During the evening we played the usual old time British party games. I well remember that when charades were being acted in one scene a wedding was acted and one of the boys was nervous of acting as a bride groom because he thought it might be taken as legal if the wedding words were repeated. Their weddings being held in any hall or building and not just in front of an altar, with a priest officiating.

A carol party was thoroughly enjoyed too, we had two American lorries and we traveled to several nearby villages, we learned the chorus to Jingle Bells, and Joy to the world the Lord has come.

I still have two or three of the service Hymn Books that Chaplain Durban left for the Sunday School.

We still have contact with one of the boys and he and his wife have visited several times and members of my family also cousins have visited America.

They were stationed at the airfield we called Weston but I believe some called it Attlebridge it was linked I believe with other camps in the area, as in the mornings planes would take off from several points and circle round until all were in formation and high up in the sky and away they would go with their dreadful bombs.

We belong to a pacifist family and we felt, for those that were on the receiving end, as well as for the boys going up to face the dangers.

German prisoners were later living in part of the camp that the Americans left and they were also welcomed to our home and Church.

Ruth Fisher

These thank you's were written in Ruth's Autograph book by some of the American Service Men:-

“Best Wishes to a very nice girl – the first English girl I have had the pleasure of meeting”…….

Richard R. Lawrence.
December 26, 1943

“I shall never forget the time I spent at your home. Through the trails and tribulations of life in the future I hope that your every step is one of happiness”….. Roland……

Roland G. Rakel: 48 East Mitchell Ave:
St Bernard: Ohio

Best wishes and happiness always. May God bless and keep you….. Chuck…..

Charles H. Kaylor: 3940 Utah Street: San Diago: California:
Air Marshall Wray Schayler Virginia

“And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace”…… Will you forsake all and follow him ?.… Laird….

Sgt Laird Simons Jnr: 3417 Race Street: Philadelphia; 4: Pennsylvania: USA:
26/12/1943 (Boxing Day)

Dear Ruth…. “ Words cannot express how greatly we have enjoyed being in your home. The Christian Fellowship has been very fine, and we shall remember our very many nice visits to your home and church and when we return to the U.S. your Christian mark is a great blessing to this community and other places were you visit. We would love you to come to our country some-time and make us a nice visit. The Lord bless you and make a great worker for him”……
Your friend…. C. C. Durbin (Chaplain)…..

February 2nd 1944


Back to Memories Menu  
If you are viewing this site through someone else's browser then refresh here:-