Miss Pim donated the Medicine Chest in the Museum.

Interestingly, John and Samuel had established a firm medical tradition in the Daniel family which continues to this day. John moreover bequeathed ‘all my stock in trade as well Grocery as Apothecary and all my Apothecary’s Shop Drawers Bottells and other utensils’ in trust to his executors, one of whom was his nephew-in-law, Thomas Hine. This may have included the old medicine chest that the Beaminster Chemist Richard Hine (Thomas’s great-grand-nephew) left in 1939 to Kathleen Pim (a Daniel descendant). Miss Pim died in 1999, having bequeathed it in turn to Beaminster Museum – housed in the former Meeting House – where it is now on display.

There are two separate interviews by different interviewers.

Interview 1 above.
Interview 2 Above

Interview Number 1

MISS PIM (no Christian name or date of birth) 

Thought to be Kathleen Pim born 2nd October, 1903

TALKING TO AN UN-NAMED INTERVIEWER (thought possibly to be Marjorie Aird).  

One other person present but no name recorded – possibly Mr. Aird.

NO DATE, TIME OR PLACE OF INTERVIEW RECORDED (but thought to be 1995/96)


MP = Miss Pim

= Main Interviewer

2 = Second Interviewer

MP  My father came to Beaminster 100 years ago in September, next September as an assistant to my Grandfather Daniel, in Beaminster on my mother’s side.  Well I’m sure he came with a view to partnership and he made sure of the partnership by marrying the younger daughter.  The older one was already engaged to a doctor.  Well, they married in 1896, in this church, and they lived on the Bridport Road, Brook Cottage next to where the girls hostel is now.  Well then before I was born, I expect about 1900, they moved to Farrs which belonged to a Miss Frances Cox.  She was the Great, Great Aunt I think (or more Greats) of the present owner of Farrs and we paid £60 a year rent.  £60 a year, you can’t believe it can you?  Well, both of us were born there.  It was a very nice house  but so inconvenient – two babies in the house, there wasn’t even a cold water tap upstairs, let alone a bathroom.  When I was born there was only one bathroom in the whole of Beaminster and that was where Dr. Horner now lives.  Even the Manor House didn’t have a bathroom.

1  We know that the waste water disposal didn’t function……………

MP  Oh, not until ’66.  We didn’t have main drainage here until 1966.  It was awful when they were doing it.  Well, anyway, when I was six, all the two days, 30th September 1909, we moved up to live with my Grandfather who lived where my sister now lives, next to the washeteria.  The part of the house you see is the old part.  Well then my father built on a whole lot – when you next come to me I’ll show you what he built on – and there are 18 rooms in the house now with the old and new and we all moved up there.  Grandfather was a widower, and the surgery was there, so it was much more convenient for father to be up there.  Well then my sister is still living there and we know that our Great Grandfather, Thomas Palmer Daniel, was born in that house, in the old part, in 1800.  So it must have been owned by the family before 1800.  And my sister still lives there.  Two years younger.  She couldn’t move now.  I mean it would be too much of an upheaval.  

In the old part of the house there’s what we called a lumber attic.  It’s unsealed, gets very, very hot in the summer and cold in winter and I haven’t been in that room since I left 38 years ago.  And what it’s like, I don’t know.  We know that there were old ledgers belonging to the firm, the doctors’ firm, there were old splints, wooden splints, up there, an old pestle and mortar, all these old things up there.  It’s never been turned out.  When we both die I think they ought to be given to the museum.  There must be quite a lot of things.  

I remember….. now Parnham.  We’re on to Parnham now and I remember Mr. Robinson, who bought Parnham in 1902 for £6,000.  He bought the whole of the house and grounds, two farms and all the land round – you know, you walk – £6000.  Well, he was a merchant in Chinese goods.  He was a bachelor.  When you (don’t record this) but when you next come to me I’ve got a most beautiful Chinese bowl that he left to my father.  Well I saw Mr. Robinson, he was there from 1902 to 1910, and towards the end of his life he was an invalid and he had a resident nurse.  Now he was a bachelor.  He can’t have been very keen on children.  Now my father never took his children into his patients’ houses but I was taken to see Mr. Robinson – he must have asked to see me – and I can’t have been, at the most, more than seven and I’m the only person, still living, who ever saw him.  I can remember him.  He was…… he looked Edwardian, I recall what he looked like and the nurse I remember in starched uniform. She made an impression on me.  Well then it was sold in 1910 when Mr. Robinson died.  He actually died at Netherbury Court.  Do you know where I mean?  

1  Yes I do.  His sister lived over there didn’t she?

MP  Well, while he was at Parnham, he was only there eight years wasn’t he?  1902 – 1910.  Netherbury Court.  And this sister of his died while they were living at Parnham and you know the thing in The Square, they called it Julia, and it’s a memorial to her.  They haven’t got it right in here.  That’s wrong. (? maybe looking at a book)  The memorial to her and she is buried, they’re both buried, in Netherbury churchyard.  One day I could show you.   And her horse – she was a great rider – her horse is buried just outside the churchyard with its railings all round.  Well, when we go to Netherbury I’ll show you.  You know it do you?

1  Well, I know where the churchyard is there but they say that he wanted to be buried with the horse didn’t he?  Is that the story?

MP  No I don’t think that’s right.  The horse died before her I think and the horse was buried, well I’ll show you, outside the churchyard and it’s there, the tomb, with railings all round it in what is now, well it used to be a lovely garden there.  But it’s not consecrated ground.  Well then she I think, well, it says on the thing, Julia, when she died,1907 I think, and Mr. Robinson died in 1910.  

Well then after he……….. the Sauers  came………….have you been to Parnham?


1  Oh, yes, we steward over there.

MP  Oh, you Steward there?  They haven’t got things……..do tell them, they’re not quite correct you know.  

1  Are they not?

MP  But you wouldn’t wonder, would you.

1  Well they change don’t they because everybody knows something different don’t they.

MP  Something different.  And even telling someone something on the same day it’ll change probably.  And anyway, these Sauers, he was a Doctor Sauer (well you know that) he was a South African Boer.  Well, he came and he, the Sauers…… in Mr. Robinson’s day and before, the entrance had been where it now is, you know, you come down the side of it, it’s a right of way, and then you come round and into the front of the house?  Well, the Sauers made the entrance (unrelated talk about glasses, etc.) Well, the Sauers were only there 1910 to 1914.  They altered the entrance and put it so that it came down slap opposite the house.  They built the Lodge, you know there’s a Lodge?  Well they built that, they put all those balustrades and those little, sort of pergola things, at the corners, well they put all that and well, I think (I’m not sure) that they didn’t make these little streams at the side.  But they did all that and they altered the entrance,but those stones there, as you go into Parnham, in the entrance hall, in the entrance porch, were there in those days.  

Well these Sauers had five children – the three eldest were older than me, Elsa(? unclear) Molly and Nicholas.  Patrick was eighteen months older than I was and Patricia was two or three years younger than we were.  We used to go to a dancing class with her at Crewkerne and he, Sauers, owned a Bentley car and he used to go ………..it was only………… my father had the first car ever in Beaminster and I suppose the Sauers had the second.  My father’s was an 8 h.p. Rover.   But anyway, we used to go to play with these……….. Patricia and Patrick….. and the nurseries were right upstairs. I don’t know what they are now, but they were right upstairs.  Well we went one day and we were playing in the garden and then we came in to go up to tea.  Took off our hats – little girls always wore hats in those days, so did everyone – took the hats off.  They put them on the stone bench in the………… and went up to tea.  The Sauers had a Great Dane dog, you know, a thing that stands that high – called Sigard (I even remeber the name).  When we came down to leave, and to put the hats on, there were no hats there but there were bits of ribbon and straw all about the drive.  The dog had eaten the hats.  We were delighted because we had to go home without hats.  Mother wasn’t pleased at all and I expect those hats only cost 2s. 11d.  You’re too young to know but little girls used to wear sort of sailor hats with a plain white ribbon round you see.  Well they were little bits of straw.  Anyway, as I say, mother wasn’t too pleased.  

Well then since it’s been, what it is it now, the…….. what’s the name, Makepeace.  Do you know Mrs. Lewis, don’t you?

1  Yes.

MP  She used to read….. look out my books for me – well she’s a Steward there and well, says it’s six years or more ago this boy Patrick who was the only survivor of the five children was in Australia and he changed his name.  I think he changed it to Fitzgerald (why not Fitzpatrick, his father was a Fitzpatrick) and anyway he wrote to the Makepeaces and he was only, well when they went there, he was only eight and he was only twelve when they left.  Well he had a remarkable memory because he told them a lot about the alterations and not quite right not…. Makepeaces tell the people now (I shouldn’t record all this)

1  No I ‘d better not.

MP  Well Mrs. Lewis came to me on Saturday and I said I expect Patrick is dead now because well, I’m nearly 91, he would be nearly 93 you see and I expect he is dead now.  But then, as I say, I remember them perfectly well.  Well, then, the Sauers left in 1914 and the Rhodes Moorhouses came in April 1914.


1  Why do you think the Sauers actually left?  I wonder, because to spend all that money on the house and then move seems amazing.

MP  Well, somewhere, someone’s got an account of it because he went to France I think.  It was nothing to do with the war I don’t think because he wasn’t a German.  I mean the Boers weren’t German, he wasn’t a German.  But they did leave in April 1914.  Well the Rhodes Moorhouses came in 1914 well then you know, the son who was killed, the first V.C. Airman ever because there was no Airforce before the first war.  And he was killed in April 1915 and I remember pefectly well seeing, because in those days widows wore what they called ‘widow’s weeds’, black clothes and black veils all over them, and I remember – she was very pretty Mrs. Rhodes Moorhouse, Linda, and his son was three months old when he was killed.  

The boy was born in January and Will, they were both Will, was killed in April 1915 and he was three months old you see.  And he was killed in this war in the Battle of Britain, the boy was.  The only child.  Well, she had had another but it died.  She had a boy before that one I think but he didn’t live a long time.  Well, anyway, I remember seeing Mrs. Rhodes Moorhouse, and some of the rest of the family, walking down the hill outside where my sister now lives.  Outside the washeteria and she had this veil all over her face.  Well I didn’t go to the funeral, I mean it was a private funeral, but there is still one man in Beaminster – he’s the oldest person now living in Beaminster who was born here.  I’m the oldest woman but there are three men older than him and he’s in the choir.  And the choir were at the service.  They had a service up there, well you know where the burial ground is don’t you.  Well they had a service up there and well I never actually saw Will, the boy who was killed (he was 27 when he was killed).  Have you read the book Kaleidoscope?  Well, I’ll lend it to you.  It’s very valuable.  No, I can’t, I’ve given it away.  (Laughter).  Well, it’s in the library.  

(Kaleidoscope was written by Linda Rhodes Moorhouse)

1  Well I’ll ask for it.

MP  You can get it.  But Mrs. Rhodes Moorhouse, well the boy sadly was three months old when his father was killed.  The father was killed in France.  He died of wounds.  Actually he was flying over Courtrai, single plane, and he was very, very brave.  He managed to bring his plane back and landed in Courtrai with the information and he died the next day.  He died of his wounds.  Well then they brought him back to Parnham.  They were very rich, I mean you and I wouldn’t have been able to bring a body back would we, even if we wanted to, and he lay in state in the Great Hall, you can tell them that.

1  Did he really?  I didn’t know that.  No.

MP  Yes, he lay in state there and then they took him and climbed right up the hill and buried him up there where his father had planned to build a house for him.  That’s why he’s buried up there.  In those days, well you’ve been there haven’t you?  Well in those days there was an avenue of trees and you looked straight down from where he’s buried on to the grounds of Parnham.  The lawns of Parnham.  Now it’s all overgrown.  Well, its 70…………. well he was killed in 1915.  Its nearly 80 years ago.  Anyway, well then his………..  they left.  

They were there until 1928, then people called Bullivant bought it and Mrs. Lewis said that last week one of the Bullivant children came back to Parnham.  Well she said it was a son, but the son actually…………… because Mrs. Bullivant was married before.  I think her name was Reed, and she had three children by this first husband.  A boy Teddy, and Garland and Loveday two girls, and they would be 70 and more now I expect.  Well, Mrs. Lewis said she thought it was the son.  Well he’d taken his original name of Reed, he didn’t get on with his Stepfather.  Stepfather wasn’t up to much, Bullivant, and I think that’s why he changed his name.  Whether it was him or one of the girls and her husband.  Anyway, they did come.  Were you there?

1  No I didn’t see him but they said there had been somebody from the Bullivant family had actually visited and I think still has quite a lot of, I’m not sure…………….. (lots of external noise, etc. then a change of subject)

Can you tell me about your father’s car?  I know he had the first car didn’t he?

MP  Yes, well that’s in Mrs.Eedle’s book  you know?

1  I know, I know.

MP  Have you got it?

1  I read it, yes.

MP  Well, he had it in May 1909 just before we moved from Farrs and, incidentally we weren’t allowed to call the name.  A lot of these big houses hadn’t got any names.

1  Didn’t they?

MP  No, we weren’t allowed to call it a name so it had to be Dr. Pim’s House and then, when the Trotman’s who owned it, they went back there, they called it Farrs.  It was the original name but we weren’t allowed to give it a name.  


Well anyway, in May 1909 father had the first car ever in Beaminster and there’s a picture of it, and him, in Mrs. Eedle’s book.  A Rover, 8 Horse Power Rover.  He, well, two or three years ago my sister and I were standing at her door and Cecil Poole who’s a fornight older than I am, he was born in Beaminster, well he was walking down the pavement the other side, and he came across.  He said ‘I’ve just found a copy,’ he’s got copies of the Bridport News, he’s got a terrific lot of information, ‘I’ve just found a copy of the Bridport News in which it said the police had to come out into Beaminster Square because Dr. Pim was there with his new car and a lot of people had never seen a car.’  Like we used to look up at an aeroplane you see, well you didn’t but I did, well we’d never seen one.  Now you just curse the noise of them don’t you?  (Laughter)

2  I can remember, as a small boy, that we went from where we lived then, in Upminster, to my grandmother’s, in Ilford, by bus.   All the way I sucked a pea, that was what I was given for the afternon.  An ordinary pea and I sucked it all the way and didn’t eat it until I got to Ilford.  And I looked up from this bus and I saw this silver cigar up in the sky and that was a German Airship.

MP  That was a German Airship?  When you were a little boy.  Not in the war you don’t mean.

2  No this was before the war.

MP  Well that was interesting.  Like father’s new car you see wasn’t it?

2  That’s right.  Only I couldn’t touch it.

MP  You couldn’t touch it no, that must have gone against the grain.  But you literally saw a German airship over you did you?  


Well, in the first war I think, well you know they had raids, but nothing like they had in this war and one Zeppelin.  They had Zeppelins didn’t they?  I believe one did get as far as Portsmouth and someone here, because we had sort of what was called, more or less, (? unclear) went up and rang the church bells but that’s the nearest anything ever got to us in the first war.  

1  Do you remember that war very well?

MP  Oh I remember it, yes, perfectly.  Now have you seen this newest Book of Beaminster?

1  Yes, Mr. Gosling isn’t it?

MP  Gerald Gosling.  Well, he came to me about a year ago and, it’s very good, there are lots of mistakes in there, and he came to me, someone had sent him, John Wakely I wouldn’t know, he wanted to know what I could tell him about the first war.  Well I was nearly eleven when the first war started you see and I do remember.  The things I remember impressed me so much I thought it was dreadful.  They commandeered all the horses around.  They just took them, I suppose they gave you a little money for them but they brought the horses into the Square and sold them in the Square and then, the then Vicar of Beaminster was a Canon Hutchings and his wife was mad – she was a bit odd – but she was mad keen on animals and they had two beautiful carriage horses, Prince and Ruby.  I can remember them perfectly well.  Well they just took them.  You couldn’t do anything about it.  We still had one horse because father had to do all his work on horseback you see when he first came until he had a car and we still had one but luckily it was too old.  Fuzzy it was.  We had it in a stable where Cissie now lives but it was too old to be taken.  

Well that made a great impression on me.  And an even greater impression on me, the…………..well I think most people volunteered at the  beginning of the first war didn’t they………….  I think so.  And these poor men, they came out into the Square in front of the Red Lion and Hunt, well he’s gone now, Hunt had a great big charabanc in Beaminster.  That was the only means of conveyance, well there was a bus I think otherwise it was horsepower.  This charabanc came  up in the Square and these men had to say goodbye to their wives and sweethearts in front of all of us.  I thought it was dreadful.  And then they got into the charabanc and they were driven to Bridport Station.  There was a station there then you see.  A nice ending to one, I remember a Mr. & Mrs. Newton (well he was engaged to her), Jack Newton was engaged to Elsie Macey, and I can remember seeing him kiss her goodbye and I’m glad to say he came back.  They married and they had three children and his son still lives here.  He lives in Myrtle Close and is married to a very nice girl – she stammers that’s all.  Reg Newton, I used to teach him in the Sunday School.  And they’ve got two boys so that was a happy ending.  But even though I was only a child I remember thinking it was so dreadful that these people had to say goodbye to their relations in front of all of us.  And then, these poor horses you see.  The people must have been broken hearted to have their horses, that they were fond of, being sold.  So that was that.  That was what made a great impression.  

Then the rationing was very, very bad in the first war.  Well, here in the country, we weren’t so badly off because father used to get butter given him by the farmers.  I expect he paid something for it.  But we used to get butter you see.  I mean you had awful bread, maize bread.  We really and truly were short of food.  I think in 1917 the submarines almost got us down.  The German submarines.  Well then America came in you see.  America stayed out until the last possible moment.  They came in and I remember the Armistice perfectly.  We were at school, it was our first term at school, at boarding school in Clifton, Bristol we were and you didn’t really know any news you see until, it was a Monday morning I’m sure, they suddenly said the war was over.  Well you know, it was eleven o’clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month and the only way we celebrated was – I mean everyone had long hair in those days – and the staff let their hair down and the girls put their hair up.  We had a hockey match, ‘Oxford against Cambridge’, and dance in the evening.  With the girls, that’s all, we weren’t allowed near boys of course.  But that I do remember, the first  Armistice Day.  Well then the war – I was only how old when it ended?  Fifteen wasn’t I?  Fifteen when it ended but I do remember that we, well I don’t think we children were hungry but we just had awful food and in the towns it was much worse you see.  I mean, as I say, father did get butter and they used to send us butter to school.  We had awful food at school.  We had horse, I’m absolutely certain we had horse, and margarine came in in the first war and we either had bread and marge or bread and jam.  We didn’t have the two together and not much of that either.  

But that was, we went to school in September 1918 during the rail strike.  Well you’ve heard of it I expect?  And mother took us to school by train – of course we had to go by train – I mean now they go by car don’t they.  Poor mother took us to school, I expect it was about the 25th September because you had very long holidays in those days.  The school liked your parents to keep you, not have to keep you themselves!  Well, she took us to school and there was this rail strike.  Well we did get there to Bristol and poor mother had to get herself (and there was a blackout, nothing like it was in this war but there was a blackout) she had to get herself from Bristol to Bath by train to stay wth some relations, Daniel it was, relations it was.  She did get herself there but it was blackout.  She had to get from the station up to these people.  Well she did manage it, she stayed the night there.   I just remember that and just the food was awful until long after the war.  We had awful food at school.  

2  Oh I think you had awful food at school right up to the next war.

MP  You were at school in this war were you?

1  Yes 

MP  Yes.  Well, I mean I wasn’t a boy………. (Laughter)  This rationing was far better in this war.  It was better organised.  Far better I think.


1   And am I right that a plane came down in Beaminster?  (Question repeated)

MP Two came down on the …….. No.  Important as we think Beaminster, the Germans didn’t think it important enough to bomb.  But I told you about the gun did I?  (I shouldn’t record this.)  But do you take the magazine, what they call the Team News?   Well a few months ago there was a middle page all about this gun.  I can’t tell you how many mistakes there were there.  Well I happen to know about it.  We had the gun because anyone who had a V.C. in the first war they were given a German gun.  Well I suppose they didn’t know how to get rid of them so they…………….. So we were given this gun because we had the Moorhouses.  Well then they built this plinth – well that’s gone now, long before you came – you know Frampton the butchers, well they built this great big plinth.  Great high thing.  And mounted the gun on that and then they put the names of all those, I mean it’s absolutely fantastic the number of people we had serving in the first war, they put all the names round this plinth and now the church.  You’ve seen it haven’t you.  

1  But when was it actually put up that?  It was put up after the war obviously, that gun?

MP  Yes, after the first war.  And then all the names round and, incidentally Beaminster had in proportion to its size, the greatest number of people serving in that war except one village in Scotland had more.  In proportion to the population.  You look at the names on that it really is a terrific number.  The population was only 1600 in those days with the hill farms.  Well anyway I know all about it because, before this war unfortunately (I shouldn’t record all this) my father was a cripple for the last eight years of his life.  He had some accident and his spine was injured and he was on crutches.  It was so sad.  He died when he was 69.  Had to retire when he was 62 and if anyone would have enjoyed his retirement he would have. And he couldn’t, he was in so much pain that he was on heroin for the last eight years of his life.  Well, anyway he knew the Rhodes Moorhouses you see.  Well he knew them, they were a bit younger than my father,  They were between me and my parents in age.  Well he knew them.  They used to have dances and things at Parnham, father and mother used to go.  Well anyway about, I expect, 1937/38 it did look as if there was going to be another war and Beaminster people wanted to take the gun down because they thought that if there was a war the Germans might think them a sort of fortified town.  

My father was dead against it.  He said it would be an insult to the Rhodes Moorhouses so, although he was a cripple (in a wheelchair he was), he called a meeting in the public hall, I know all about it, it was packed and he went to the meeting and he addressed the meeting. I mean it was so brave of him I think, and said that they shouldn’t take the gun away.  It was given because we had the distinction of having the V.C. so they shouldn’t take it away.  Well, eventually I expect in ’39 or very early in ’40 they did take it away because he must have been willing for ………. because he didn’t die until 1st February 1940, it was taken away either just before the war started or just after.  But the plinth was left there until, now I know this is right, it was Molly Gilson (you know who I mean) she remembers when they came to look at their bungalow they stayed at the Greyhound which is slap opposite and the plinth was being taken away then.  1969 that was.  I think she said ’69.  And because they thought it a traffic hazard.  Well it would be now with all the cars there you see.  Well then they took the names away and put them where they are on the church wall.  Well have you ever read, in the middle, there’s a sort of plaque with an inscription on it?  You haven’t read it?

1  I don’t know that I have actually, no I don’t think that I have.

MP  Well when you come to me I shall have to take you down.  Well, this inscription had been on the plinth you see, by the names, and it said this gun…..and all it said….. was given to Beaminster because we had the V.C.  Well, after the names were moved, and this inscription was moved, it became almost obliterated.  Because my father – he wasn’t…. we didn’t have any….. we were very lucky we didn’t have any near realations in either war only cousins we had, Irish cousins and some here, but anyway I thought my father, ill and all that he was, had taken all this trouble to try and keep the gun and the plinth there so I got Dick Coben (I don’t think you’ll know him, he’s very ill now) he was the Chairman of the British Legion and he came to my house and I said ‘Now I should like you to have that inscription painted in again’ because it had faded, and I said ‘All you need to do, instead of putting this gun, just put a gun’  that’s all.  And it was done and I paid for it.  And no-one knew, not for years, I didn’t even tell my sister I don’t think, but I thought father had taken all this trouble you see and it was a pity not to let the record be there.  So Sidney Poole, this Marjorie who walks with us now, her husband, (well he’s dead now), he painted it in.  Well then if you look at all these names, a terrific lot of names of the men who served there and that……. I tell you they got a lot wrong about the gun and the time it was moved.  Norman Welsford wrote something in the next……. but it’s not right, it isn’t right, but how people can get things wrong you see.  I mean things that I told Marie Eedle for her book, and I was telling the truth as far as I knew, she’s found since that it wasn’t right.  But I just told what I could remember.  

1  Well that’s what happens isn’t it?

MP  It’s so easy for them to get the things wrong isn’t it?   I think I’ve talked enough don’t you?


(Talk about cups of tea, etc.)

MP  Well then,  I went, they had a map and scheme of it and I could see better in those days.  I went to the town offices and the, what was he called, the Sanitary Inspector I expect, was a Mr. Bird and I was looking at this map you see and he came out and I said ‘My father was Medical Officer of Health for the Beaminster Rural District which comprised 27 parishes’  (It was terrific earlier) ‘And was dead against main drainage.’  You should have seen Mr. Bird’s face.  He obviously thought it was a good thing my father is not with us now.  That’s the story.

1  I wonder why it was he was so against it?  (question repeated twice )  Do you know?  

MP  Yes.  He said that if you didn’t get drains you didn’t …… (and so was Dr. Legge against it)…….. you didn’t get infection carried.  Well I mean he was quite wrong because you know there are lots of little streams in Beaminster and they were all the drains.  The Beaminster……….   Well, the first year I went to Rose Cottage, (you recording all this?  I shouldn’t publish it) (Laughter) the first summer I was there was ’56 and it was a very hot summer and I used to lie in bed and I could smell the stream which runs through the Burton’s garden.  Did you go?  The Burton’s garden was open for this Cancer thing

1  The Chimes you mean?

MP  Well it was one of the drains of Beaminster.  It ran from here – well there was a stream here, it’s all filled in now – went under the road through what was the Grammar School and down the back of and through what’s the Burton’s garden, under the road and then at the back of all the houses in Church Street under the Church Hall and then went on down into The Brit.  I mean The Brit was absolutely filthy and you know there are lots of streams in Beaminster, well they were all the drains of Beaminster.  Well it wasn’t healthy, of course it wasn’t healthy, but we didn’t have main drainage until ’66.  

It was dreadful.  They had the road up – January ’66 they started – and I was living at Rose Cottage.  They had my lane up, I couldn’t get out of my front gate until about the end of February I think.  They’d got all the earth piled halfway up my front gate, I had to go out through the – luckily I had a garden gate into the garage – through the garage, through the garage doors then they put some steel stuff across the trench.  They’d got a trench all the way up the Lane.   And then into Mrs. Meagis(? unclear) , what’s now the Burton’s, through her back door to get out.  I didn’t have my car in my garage, it had to be at my sister’s, for well over six weeks I think.  And the whole of …………….. oh it was dreadful.  It was very muddy and wet.  

Shadrack Street was………. they had this great deep trench well, it was about at least six foot deep I should think, and in those days I was looking after this uncle – the brother of the one that’s Evelyn Leigh – and I had to go up to him (he lived where Esther now lives) and I used to have to go up there and you could only get along a little narrow path at the side of this great trench.  No traffic could come down you see.  Oh it was dreadful.  But it was a good thing.  I mean it was a good thing we had the main drainage.  Well it was so unhealthy wasn’t it.  Well that was my father.  Medical Officer of Health and he was dead against main drainage.  I think that the population has increased so terrifically you see. Well, they said when they put those drains in that they put them in to take what was then Beaminster and the new houses.  Well now you see all these have been built, all The Beeches, all up East Street and I think they’ve………….. they must have reached saturation point now.  But they can’t build any more.  But they seem to go on building.

1  Do you feel that the town …………….. did people like all the people coming to live in the town?

MP  No they hated it.  Did you say did I like it?

1  Yes, did you like it?

MP  No I hate it.  Well, no, I’m bound to say now, to be fair because people are always………. someone said it to me this morning and yesterday, Beaminster has changed so much.  Well it has I mean all………. I said to you didn’t I, all this was fields and all where The Beeches are, that was a rough lane and our tennis courts were up there where – there’s a house built on one of the tennis courts where ………… Fairfield……….. the only council houses that were in Beaminster until after this war, were at Pattle.  Do you know where I mean.  Well, they are built (a bit of chat about hearing aids) those council houses are built in a field which belonged to my grandfather Daniel, mother’s father, and he died in 1925 and his Executors must have sold the field to the council and the field was called Pattle.  That’s why that estate is called Pattle.  Well then they built onto that.  They’ve increased that because they’ve now got Egardon Close, Lewesdon Close, Pilsdon Close.  It’s terrifically……..  but that was the first council  estate in Beaminster until after this war.  Well, since this war you see, there’s Hogshill Mead, Gerrards Green (a terrific estate) well then there are all the private ones.  Culverhayes – well I saw, you don’t know who I mean – Wyn Harris?  Do you?  Well she did live in Culverhayes and, since the first lot of Culverhayes they’ve built on a terrific lot more.  Oh, it’s unbelievable.  The population, I said to you didn’t I, was 1600 with the hill farms, when I was young, and not so young. It’s now over 2,500 I think.  It must be you see.  But in the old days you know they had the flax trade here, well I think the population then was about 2000 but where the people lived I can’t think.  They must all have crushed into a few houses.


1  The flax trade hasn’t been since……………  (lots of talk about hearing aids) …………. I wondered about the flax trade.  Was it actually working………. were people actually working in the flax trade since  you’ve been alive?

MP  None of them worked in my lifetime.  But there  were a lot of…………. you know there was a flax mill up, well, where Spicer lives – he was on Radio 4 today, James Spicer – yes he was speaking about……….. I don’t know what he was speaking about.  (laughter)  Something to do with Parliament.  Well, there was a flax mill up there where the……. do you know the…… what’s the name of the people, he’s written a book, where Macksey’s live.   Well that was a flax mill.  Well then, opposite me in Shadrack Street there was another one there definitely.  But it was a flourishing flax trade but not in my time.  And all the streets in Beaminster, except one, have got two names.  Fleet Street, you know where I mean, on the way up to Trinity Church, Roman Catholic Church, that’s Fleet Street and Flax Street because of the flax mill, well then North Street, a lot of people don’t know, but North Street you know, going down by the factory and Manor House, that was North Street and Ball Street, East Street and High Street.  When I was young it was usually High Street – that’s up, you know where East Street is don’t you?  Going up to Riverside?  Well all that’s new, Riverside you see.  And St. Mary Well Street and Duck Street.  Old Beaminster people like me always call it Duck Street.

1  What about Hogshill Street?

MP  Hogshill Street and White Hart Street – I think Hogshill Street must be the older name although the White Hart’s been there since the 12th Century I think.

1  Well we saw an old picture, at a Craft Fair, and they said White Hart Street on it.

MP  Well that’s Hogshill Street.

1  Yes, but it was right up here at the top (repeated) it was right up here towards the Tunnel and it was still called White ………………..

MP  Yes, right up to the turning here, that was………… and if you, I think the name’s still up, you know where Sam Hymas is and you know where Pickwick is, well if you stand on the pavement by Hymas and look up, it’s still there I think.  Hogshill Street is written up there on the side of Pickwick so I think that’s the older name.  But its various………… Hogshill Street and White Hart Street well it was the whole of the street from the Square up to Newlands Corner.  Well then the only one that hasn’t got two names is mine, Shadrack Street and the other Church Street, that’s Church Street and Little Street.  So they’ve all got two names.  But, not many, but well as I say, old Beaminster people like me call St. Mary Well’s Street, Duck Street.  High Street and East Street but now it’s just East Street.  But Flax, you can see Fleet Street and Flax Street because of the flax mill up there.


1  Yes. What about at Yarn……….. next to the Public Hall, those buildings there………….?

MP  Yarn Barton.  Yes.  Well those buildings are very, very old.  They did want them for the museum at one time but I’m not very well up in that and where the car park is, until they made it a car park, since this war, they were allotments.  People had allotments.  I’m bound to say the middle of the town, the Square which my father said isn’t the Square it’s the Fore Place is the proper name, it hasn’t altered practically at all since I was a child except now…………….. where the Midland Bank is (I think I’ve told you that haven’t I) was a Corn Chandler’s, a man called Swattridge, you know where the Midland Bank is?  And I may also have told you in those days, I can’t believe it, when we were children there was no way of weighing people.  There were no scales you see like doctors always have in their surgeries now don’t they, the only way we could be weighed we were taken up to the corn chandler’s and he’d lift a sack of corn off and lift a little Pim on and weigh us.  That was the only way you could be weighed.  Well that was Swattridge.  

Then, what’s the……… oh it’s some Estate Agents I think next isn’t it between that and the Greyhound? That was a Jeweller’s, Emery.  Well he was the father-in-law of this Cecil Poole I’m talking about who is a fortnight older than I am.  Then the Greyhound was there, then the (? unclear) then this house where you are going to look at the inscriptions, that was there and that was the paper shop.  Then the Red Lion was there.  I think that was only built at the beginning of this century but it was always there when I was there.  Then you cross over and what is now the fruit shop, it was a dairy I think when we were children.  Well then, the next, which is an antique shop was a tailor’s shop, Brooks the Tailor, and then Frampton’s was there, the great grandfather, his great grandfather of the young Giles who’s there now, so that was the same.   Then what’s the tuck shop was a saddler’s shop.  Mr. Warren, he was a character too.  He really was a character.  Then, what’s 21, you know the whole of 21, was a draper’s shop.  That was Crocker’s, Mr. Crocker was a character too.  They had a men’s, where the wine shop is was men’s department, and the other was a draper’s shop.  Well then, where Crane’s have just taken over, since you came, was a chemist.  You know, where Smalleys are, well Hine, Richard Hine who wrote the book, he was a chemist in that part.  Then where Crane’s main shop is was, that was Hill’s.  Lovely bow windows it’s got.  That was a grocer’s shop, the same.  


Well, then, when I was a child the post office was where Hurford’s is, you know, and when I was a child Lloyds Bank wasn’t there.  Can’t think what was there.  But there was Wilts. & Dorset Bank and that was where the washeteria now is.  You know, below where my sister’s is?  I can’t think what………… but Lloyds Bank must have moved up, well when I was quite a child because I am now, I’m absolutely certain of it, I’m the oldest customer of Lloyds Bank, Beaminster still living.  I’ve been a customer since, for 73 years.  I had a bank account when I was 18.  Well I was saying to this child who came yesterday, children have  bank accounts now don’t they.  Well she’d just been to the bank to bank her……….. because these children have to work for their pocket money, they aren’t given it, and I said well, you’re only 16, I didn’t have a bank acount until I was 18.  So I don’t know when Lloyds Bank moved.  

Well then, there’s a sort of art shop, do you know, where we gather for the (? unclear) well that was, when the post office moved from Hurford’s, that was the post office but what it was before I don’t know.  Well then, where the dress shop is, Monica’s, Mrs. Chapman, that was a private house, someone who let rooms I think and an old man lived there, old man, brother and sister called Swattridge, and the old man rode a tricycle and the old lady had elastic side boots.  You don’t remember seeing them, heard of them I expect.  And where Pickwick is was just a store room for Toleman’s.  You know where you cross the road and there’s this sort of arcade and sort of shops, well that was Toleman’s and they had a very, very good ironmonger’s shop and used to go all around the country.  Well their man used to drive a horse and cart, but they went all over the place and they had, where Pickwick is, as their storeroom and we were saying the other day in front of that, where Pickwick is, there was a weighbridge.  Do you know what I mean?  Well that’s only been taken away….. well I think someone said 20 years ago, but since this war, that’s been taken away. 

Well then you’ve got Toleman’s and then you went up…………. Pines had gone by the time you came?  Well that was a very old grocer’s shop and looked the same with those nice windows.

1  I believe that was a very good one?  I believe it was a beautiful grocer’s shop wasn’t it, Pines?

MP  Yes it was but then it did go down.  You see these chain stores have ruined these small shops really.  When we were young – and quite rightly too, and I think it should apply now – we didn’t have the chance to shop out of Beaminster but we had to shop in Beaminster.  Father said he got his living from Beaminster and it was only right that we should support the shops here.  So we did. I mean we didn’t think…………unless you possibly couldn’t get anything in Beaminster, we shopped in Beaminster.  But now you see these people go out, stock up from the chain stores.  Well in a way you can’t blame them because I think the prices here are more aren’t they?  Of course they say well you’ve got to take a car, you’ve got to pay for the petrol but, even so, I still think you ought to support …………… especially old ones like Frampton, he’s an old firm you see.  

Well, anyway, I must go. 


Interview ends very abruptly.

Interview Number 2


Sunday, 19th March, 1995 at her home, Rose Cottage in Beaminster, Dorset.


1 = Interviewer

KP = Kathleen Pim

1  What I’m interested in is about your family, your memories of childhood, who did what in your family and education and aspirations for your future really.

Can we start off with when you were born?

KP  Well I don’t think girls had much aspiration, they had to get married……………

Well I was born on October 2nd, 1903 in Beaminster.  I was the elder of two daughters, my father was a doctor and he came to Beaminster in September 1894 from Ireland, from Belfast.  And he was in those days, even Crewkerne and Bridport, were foreign countries to Beaminster so you can imagine what this wild Irishman was……….. I mean there were a lot of people in Beaminster, old people, who would prefer to die under my grandfather than live under my father.  And did, too, I think.

He came as an assistant to my grandfather Daniel, my mother’s father, and with, I’m sure, a view to partnership and he made sure of the partnership by marrying one of the daughters, that’s what I always say.  He was soon into partnership and he married my mother February 6th, 1896, 99 years ago.  Now this, you might be interested in, they married on £250 a year and, in those days, doctors had to pay for the drugs until the Health Service came in you see, they had to pay for the drugs and keep up some sort of style.  They had to give dinner parties and things like that.  Well then my mother employed one maid-of-all-work and paid her £15 per year and all the other ladies in Beaminster said she was spoiling the market.  

1  That was before you were born

KP  Before I was born.  That was between 1896 and 1903 because they lived in a different house then.  I don’t know when they went up to Farrs but I was born, they were married nearly eight years before I was born.  Well then we must have been better off when I was born because they then employed seven people.  Four indoor servants and three outdoor servants and my father had to do all his work on horseback or trap.  He kept five horses.  

1  That was down in the house going down towards Bridport was it?

KP  Farrs, where the Trotman’s now live.  That house up there.  Where the Trotman’s now live.  Do you know East Street?  Well as you go up East Street, it’s a lovely house on the left, stands back from the road with new hedges all around it.  It was a big house, there were some big houses in Beaminster.  

1  It had its own  stabling and………

KP  Oh yes, good gracious yes. Stabling and a great big orchard we had with a stream running through the middle and made our own cider I think.  It was an apple orchard, made our own cider we did, and a huge garden.  Well they…………….. it’s all ploughed up now because they’re doing drains.  Well, as I say, they employed a groom/gardener and a stableboy.  

1  Where did you go to school initially?  And what age were you when you went to school?


KP  I went to a Dame School, four…………. I and Roger Kitson and two cousins – Fiennes and Mary Trotman and Roger Kitson was a cousin of theirs but not of mine.  We went to a Dame School in Shortmoor beyond Holy Trinity Church from the time I was six until I was eight.  Then……… my sister didn’t go she was too young…….. when I was eight my sister and I had a governess until I was nearly fifteen and then the two of us went to boarding school.  I left boarding school when I was nearly eighteen and my sister stayed two years longer.  Well then I was ill for a year after I left school and after that I went to Gloucester Domestic Training College.    (? unclear text)

1  Boarding school.  Was that local?

KP  Boarding school in Bristol.  Clifton, Bristol.  It’s gone now.

1  It’s a long way away from Beaminster isn’t it?

KP  Well in those days it was.  You had to go by – the first term we went mother took us to school in the middle of the….. there was a railway strike at the end of the first war.  September 1918, there was a rail strike.   And poor mother had an awful time.  Well we went to school  – I mean by train Bristol isn’t all that far nowadays – but we went by train and we always came home by train and went back to school by train in those days.  Because Bristol was a long way off as you say.

1  Do you know which station you went from?

KP  We went……… (laughter) well that was another thing.  There was no taking us to the station, well I can’t remember how we got to the station.  Because by then my father had a car.  He had the first motorcar ever in Beaminster in May 1909 and, well, we’ll go into the car presently.  But anyway, when we came from the school we used to have to come to various stations, the station that my father was nearest when he was doing his rounds.  We came sometimes to Evershot, Maiden Newton, Powerstock, at least those three and he would pick us up with the car but he was on his rounds you see.  They didn’t make a special journey.  Well, Bridport we came to be picked up.  

So I left school in 1921 and was at home a year and, in 1922, I went to Gloucester Domestic Training College for two years.  I left in ’24, I was at home a year again, and then I………….. the then Headmaster of Beaminster Grammar School got me a job as a teacher of Domestc Science in Beaminster.  Well that….. if you want a description of the centre where I taught well that’s got to be seen to be believed.  But I think perhaps we’ve digressed a bit haven’t we?


1  I remember you telling me about how your father was quite far thinking in his view about daughters, rather than sons, and how they should be able to earn their own living.

KP  Yes, well I told you that, that he thought daughters should be able to earn their living and so my sister and I both were further educated after school.   I went to Gloucester, my sister went to Bedford Physical Training College, well she had a job at (? unclear) but she got ill and had to leave.  

But, now what else do you want?

1  Could you tell me some more about that because although you’ve told me about your father’s views on women, and women’s ability to work, it wasn’t on the tape Miss Pim and I’d like to get it on the tape if I may.  Your father’s views on sons ………….

KP  Well he was disappointed he didn’t have a son.  They were very disappointed my sister wasn’t a boy certainly.  

But my father was very far advanced for his time because he considered that girls ought to be able to earn their living whether they married or not.  And in those days girls of our class (well I don’t know whether you want to put that in) were expected to get married otherwise they, well they just stayed at home, did the flowers and looked after mother and that, and they had a terrible time really, poor things.  

He was unique. My father was unique and I can’t think of any other family of our class, in Beaminster, or any of my relations who thought that the daughters ought to be able to earn their living and so were educated so that they could earn their living.  Well then the fees, the school fees, were so small.  The fees were £40 a term – well that’s £120 a year isn’t it?  That was food and tuition.  Well the food was awful.  We went to school at the end of the first war when things were very, very short and we had…… margarine came in, I think, during the first war.  You either had bread and marge or bread and jam.  You didn’t have the two together.  You didn’t have real eggs, you had some powdered stuff, awful it was. And I’m sure that we had horse meat not real …………. horse flesh I think.  I’d never tasted anything like it before.  But it was, I mean everyone was short of food in those days.  We actually had butter.  Father got butter from the farms, we had butter.  We two.  But other people didn’t.  So we were better off in a way.

1  So there were some advantages to living in a rural area?

KP  Definitely and when……………………… your father went up to Liverpool – one of his sisters lived in Liverpool didn’t she?

1  Aunty Olive.

KP  Well, during the war while I was at the factory, he went up to Liverpool to stay with his sister.  Well they were getting bombed all the time too and he was absolutely horrified because they had half a pint of milk a week and here, at the factory, we were having great things every day.  They filled up a thing for us every day.  I always remember Frank saying to me ‘If only I’d known we’d have taken some milk’ you see.  I mean you didn’t know what towns were like in those days.  There were advantages in living in the country especially in the first war because we got butter and I’m sure we got more eggs.  Not in the second war – we didn’t get butter or eggs in the second war.  Well we didn’t but I think we got it in the first war because father was in practice then, the farmers used to give it to him.  Well I expect he paid you see.  But that was an advantage.  That was in the first war and the rationing was much worse in the first war.  They got it far better………….. well they’d had practice getting it right in the first war hadn’t they.  

1  Do you remember the occupations of other members of your extended family.  Beyond your father who was a doctor?

KP  Yes, you mean like ………… uncles and aunts.  Mother………..oh well, one of her brothers was a dwarf, he was a consumptive dwarf, he didn’t have a job.  The other brother didn’t have a……….  he was what they call no good.  He went to America in the end and died there.  He had various jobs but they didn’t have any particular job.  But my mother’s…… now then the Russells were her cousins, one of them was a solicitor, one was in the army and then Mr. Trotman (he wasn’t really a relation) one of her cousins married a solicitor, that was Mr. Trotman, and mother’s sister, Aunt Edith she married – above herself too really  – someone who eventually became Medical Officer of Health for the City of London which is the highest health appointment in the world I think.  Well it was then my father always said.  

But otherwise I can’t think………… close relations…………… well father’s brother was no good so we wont dwell on him.  But he got mixed up with Sinn Fein and he wrote a book, The Red Hand of Ulster.  He was a bad hat so we wont dwell on him.  I think we’d better not go into that.  Better stick with my other relations.  Well then I’d no brothers you see so there was nothing for them to do.

1  So, on a day to day basis I guess your father must have gone many miles on his horse or in his trap?

KP  Well yes, he did.  He had to do all  his work on horseback but when he got the car, in 1909, well I don’t suppose he did a terrific mileage then, but at one time, I think it was immediately after the first war, he only still had one car so he was completely dependent on it.  And the car broke down and there was one person in Beaminster who hired cars.  So father hired from this man and he did such a terrific mileage, he did between 60 & 70 miles a day sometimes in the winter, and this man gave up in the middle of a day. Wouldn’t go on doing it.  So after that father got two cars then.  He had to, he couldn’t be dependent on the one car.  Well that was when his children learnt to drive.  Because we couldn’t learn to drive until father had two cars you see.  He couldn’t spare one car for us to learn to drive on so we learnt to drive in 1924, that’s when he had the second car.  And we, I never had to pass a test, I’ve told you that haven’t I?   People of my age never had to pass a test.

1  Within your family, did relatives play an important part ……………. (question repeated)

KP  Yes, terrific.  Beaminster was very cliquey in those days and I remember my father saying to Dr. Legge who came as his partner after the first war (you know Dr. Kitson his partner died in the ‘flu epidemic, well you’ve heard of it haven’t you at the end of the first war)

1  No I hadn’t heard of it.

KP  Hadn’t you?  Well, towards the end ………….. it started in about the Autumn Term 1918, and it went on into 1919.  This ‘flu epidemic, I think it was world-wide, it killed more people than were killed in the war and there were a terrific lot of people killed in the war.  Well, my father said he never saw anything like this.  It was called ‘flu but it was something that went straight to people’s hearts.  They were ill in the morning and dead in the evening.  Mr. Pine, who lived next door here, he was one of the people who died of it and Dr. Kitson, my father’s partner, who was only fifty-six, he……….. father said he was ill in the morning, dead in the evening.  Well then my grandfather was very old, not as old as I am, he was well over 80 then I think and he couldn’t do anything about it, and my father had to refuse to go out at night because he couldn’t possibly have done the work and mother had to put up what they called Influenza Mixture – people took it more by faith than anything else I think – and father reckoned it put ten years on to his life.  Well I think it did really because they had to work so hard and it was quite a big district and luckily for Beaminster, in those days you see, well I don’t know who it was, the powers that be said who of the doctors had to go into the army.  And luckily they left Dr. Kitson and my father here, otherwise Beaminster would have been with no doctors at all except my grandfather you see.  But then father was the age when he could have had to be called up.  He was born in 1870 so when the war started he was 44.  Well in the end you see they were calling up people well over forty.  But he was exempt.  The medical people just simply said………..’You Go’ and ‘You Stay’.  


1  Your grandfather lived with you then in the latter part of his life?

KP  Well, where we were born, at Farrs, we lived there until I was six, all but two days, actually.   Well my father had the surgery at my grandfather’s house so in 1909 father built on to the house where my grandfather lived, quite a big house, and we went up there to live and grandfather lived with us until he died.  But, as I say, he had his own rooms you see in his own part of the house we had our own rooms.  Well my sister still lives there, eighteen rooms there ……. (? unclear text)…….. I need hardly tell you.  But people were able to do that in those days and all this building that he built on, there in that picture, only cost £1500 I think.  You can’t believe it can you?  

1  No, not by today’s standards.  Is it generalisation Miss Pim……….. in Beaminster, it would be fair to say that you lived in the upper middle class, yes?  In Beaminster.  What was it like for other people, for working class people?

KP  Well see, we didn’t know….. although now I know quite a lot……….. well I think they were very poor.  Now then, they used to have District Visitors in those days and they divided the town – this was to do with the church you see – they divided the town into districts and mother had, well at one time she had North Street and then she had The Green and they used to go round every week collecting very little money – people paid into a Clothing Club, a Sunday School Club I think and a Coal Club.  And then my mother, herself, had just a private club for these – this is working class people you see – and these people paid in and all it was was a method of saving in my mother’s private club.  She took the money for them and then, at Christmas, she’d give it back to them but no interest or anything.  It was simply a means of saving.  Well then the Clothing Club, the Sunday School club and the Coal Club they paid into that and they did get a little interest on that and then at the end of the year they would get, I think I’m right in saying, either the money or something in kind.  But they did get a bit of advantage out of that but mother’s private club they didn’t.  

But they were very poor I think and I remember, well at one time, must have been when they first went up to The Walnuts I expect, on a Sunday if there was someone ill in mother’s district, one of the family would come with a pudding basin, a great big pudding basin, which would be brought up to us in the dining room and mother would cut off a Sunday dinner.  They’d have the meat, vegetables and everything and the bowl would be covered (we hope kept hot) and taken back to the invalid but I expect some of the other people had some of it as well.  They did that you see.

1  And you did that as a matter of routine?

KP  Yes, if there were people ill in mother’s district.  I can’t remember if they just gave it……….. well they couldn’t really could they because they were huge families and the Bullocks (you’ve heard of them haven’t you) there were ten of them I think, they were in mother’s district.  It was if there was someone ill they would send this basin and then mother would fill it up and they’d take it back but I’m sure the family had some of it but we don’t know that.  Supposed to be for the invalid you see but people were very badly off.

Well (Noel ? unclear) Stone, the last person who worked for my grandfather and father and then for us, he lived with us fifty years and in my father’s time he was chauffeur/gardener and we kept two cars.  And those cars never went into a garage, he did all the repairs, he’d work on them until all hours of the night and he never got more than 35s. a week.  There was no overtime in those days.  You can’t believe it can you?  I think it’s terrible now but there just wasn’t overtime.  He took a great pride in the cars I must say and they were, both the cars were, cleaned and polished by 10 o’clock in the morning ready for father to go out on his rounds.  But that was because, partly I think, because Stone – there were other chauffeurs you see about in the place – and he wouldn’t like his cars to look worse than other people’s did.  He took a great pride in his work.  He was a funny character.  He was fond of us in a funny way too but he never got more than 35s. a week.  Well then, after this war he stayed on with us for two days a week and he then got 32s. for the two days so shows the difference in money even then you see.  But now, well now I mean people get…………..I don’t know what they get …………. well I pay £5 an hour I think it is, £6 sometimes.  You can’t believe it can you, the difference.

1  Certainly prices have changed haven’t they.


KP  Well money went so much further didn’t it.  We children only got 2d. a week pocket money and we had to earn it.  Father used to ask us – he was very interested in the Old Testament, not the New, and he used to read from the Old Testament to us one Sunday evening and the next Sunday, at dinner time, we had to answer questions on it.  And we got 2d.  I’m bound to say we got the 2d. whether we answered or not.  But that’s all we got.  2d. a week.

1  Did religion figure strongly in your life Miss Pim?  As a child, because as a grown up……………….

KP  Well my father was born a Quaker so it didn’t…………. yes you went to church.  I mean everyone went to church on Sunday.  Sunday morning.  The sort of upper class went on Sunday morning and (? unclear) went in the evening.  Sunday evening.  And then you automatically went to church.  Everyone.  And had their own pews too.  They definitely had their own pews.  We sat in the …………. as you go in the north door, the first pew, and the Trotmans sat in the next pew and the Pinners in the next I think, then further down the Rowdes (? unclear), he was a farmer at Langdon, and the Lees were down there.  But they had ……………. when I was young actually in this church they had their own pews.  Literally.  They weren’t free.  

1  So somebody bought the pews?

KP  You’ve seen that I expect.  They wrote ‘Free’ on the outside of the pew and, if it was, like my grandfather had a pew of his own and he had a little box in it, he had the key of it, and he kept his bible and prayer book and things there.  Well then, other people couldn’t go into that because it hadn’t got ‘Free’ on it you see.  Well now that’s all done away with but a lot of places did have their own private pews.  Well you’ve seen in some chuches you’ve been into there are these great big pews belonging to the ‘Lord of the Manor’ – have you seen them?  They were like little boxes, with curtains so they could go to sleep in the sermon if they wanted………..  (Laughter)  

But, willy nilly, we were taken to church on Sunday morning well until we were quite……….. we used to come out before the sermon but when we were older we had to stay the whole time.  And I always used to faint in the Litany.  I think it was because I …….. children, little girls, wore stays – you’ve heard of them?  Not boned things and I think I’d got these (? unclear) stays which were a bit too tight.  I used to faint.  I always fainted in the Litany so the result is I hate the Litany now.  And no-one ever thought of saying ‘Take her out before the Litany!’  You had to stay and faint.  (Laughter)  It did put me off.  But people definitely went to church.  All the families went to church and, before my time, the servants used to go as well.  Presumably the cook stayed at home to cook the dinner but all the other servants went to church.  The master and mistress at the front and the servants sitting behind them.  I don’t really remember that, a bit before my time, but they did definitely.  

And the poor girls, the maidservants, had to wear black.  One maid we had afterwards, her mother was a maid at the ……………. we had the only bathroom in Beaminster where I was born……………. where Dr. Horner now lives, and this girl put a red rose in her black hat.  And after church, the mistress had her up, absolutely on the mat, ‘How dare she wear a red rose’.  You know, why on earth there wasn’t a revolution in England long…………. when there was in France………… I can’t think because they were badly treated.  Well, on the whole I think servants were well treated and you see they got their food and laundry.  Very poor wages they got.  I can’t remember what the wages were for a maid but I think about, not more than £1 a month I shouldn’t think.  Well the parents couldn’t have afforded to pay it you see.  But it was a good thing to get a girl into good service then she’d get kept. But they had to provide their uniform.  I don’t know how they did it.  Had to provide their uniform.

1  And that was the route for most young women Miss Pim, was it not?  That they went into service.  What happened to men?


KP  Well you see there was very little unemployment.  The girls went into service, practically all of them.  Well they didn’t…………. not at the beginning of my life I think, even in like shops they were all men in shops.  But towards, well when I was a schoolgirl I think, they did have women in the shops a bit, but not much.   Not anything like they do now.  It was nearly all men.  And the men either went on the land or went as gardeners, grooms or gardeners, but there was practically no unemployment.  I can’t remember any unemployment really.  It was a much smaller population wasn’t it?   But that’s it.   They went into………….. well telling you about the errand boy that we had.  He only came when he was at school.  When they left school they left us but they got 6d. a week, probably got less I expect when they worked for father, I don’t know, and what those boys didn’t do for that!  At one time they came before………. on their way to school in the morning and they came when they came out of school at 12 in case there were errands.  I think they……….. because (? unclear) used to take  up the coal……….. whether they cleaned the knives and shoes I don’t know.  Then at one time they came when they came out of school at 4 o’clock but they didn’t do that for very long.  Then they came in the evening and they had to wait until my father had a dispenser, from 1912 on he had a dispenser, and these boys had to wait until the surgery was over which, it was supposed to be 6 – 7 p.m. but it often went on until 7.30 p.m.  then he had to wait for the dispenser to put up the medicine.  Then he had to take it round Beaminster, to the post office and to various houses.  Some went to the milk factory because the milk factory lorries delivered a lot of the medicines.  So the poor boy often didn’t get home until after 8 o’clock.  Well then, on Saturday, they came all the morning and cleaned the sinks outside the kitchen…….well it’s still there and there was a little stone paved yard.  They did that and I think when they came on their way to school they were given a cup of tea and a bit of bread.  On Saturday morning they had a cup of cocoa and some bread and jam.  But that’s all they got and 6d. a week.  We were never without a boy.   When one was leaving school a mother, or two mothers, were queuing up for one of her boys to come.  So we were never without a boy.  It was good pay.

1  I was going to say, that 6d. the boy earnt Miss Pim.  Where do you think it went?  

KP  Well I think most of it went to his mother.  He probably was allowed to keep 1d. but then, I’ve told you this, to show you about the value of money.  We employed a boy, Cecil Beavis (he’s dead now) I was talking to his niece, I think it was, the other day.  Anyway, Cecil Beavis was our errand boy at 6d. a week.  In 1916 I got a tame rabbit from Mosterton.  I paid Cecil a half-penny to ride over to Mosterton on his own bike, in his own time, to fetch the rabbit.  He took a sack to fetch the rabbit.  I can see us now.  My sister, me and the two Trotmans, Fiennes and Mary Trotman standing outside the house at the Walnuts watching for this boy to come down the Square.  And I can see him now riding down the Square and the rabbit’s nose sticking out of the sack.  That was 1916 and he got a half-penny and he was perfectly happy with it.  This was in his own time and on his own bike.  You imagine………… but he kept the half-penny presumably.  He kept the half-penny.  Well it’s the sort of thing children – well I don’t expect my parents knew probably – I think they wouldn’t have let me do it, but they might have.  Children would do that sort of thing wouldn’t they?  Get value for money.


1  To go back to your grandfather for a moment.  In his later years of life, did your mother nurse him in any way.  Was he ill or ………  ?

KP  No.  He was ill but he had a nurse.  I mean he could afford to pay a nurse and my father had a nurse for the last years of his life.  Grandfather had a nurse…….. well now, he died in 1925 and I left college in ’24.  He was ill when I was at college I know because he had………… mother wanted me to come home but they wouldn’t let me come.  He had, if you’ve ever heard of it, Cheyne-Stokes breathing.  And no-one in those days ever lived when they had this Cheyne Stokes breathing.   Well, he had, and he did live about another 18 months but he had a nurse.  She lived in but she only got paid about £150 a year I think and her keep.  She got her keep.  But a living in nurse.  So mother did…………. I mean she helped to look after him of course, but he – I can’t really remember, he wasn’t in bed all the time I don’t think, he wasn’t I’m sure.


1  What would happen to, say, the grandparents of …. you talked of the people who looked after my father, the Husseys up there.   Their folks?

KP  A lot of the grandparents, they ended up in the workhouse.  You see, if your family couldn’t look after you, they hadn’t room to look after you probably, so the poor things ended up in the workhouse. And they were so badly treated.  Well I, you know, in the war, I was a VAD.  (Voluntary Aid Detachment) The first three years of the war I was a VAD at the workhouse.  At Stokewater House which……….. why they had VADs there, they had troops there to begin with.  At the beginning of the war until, only for a short time I think, less than a year.  So that was why we VADs went down there to work.  The army took over well, one or two wards I think it was, and they didn’t have serious cases there they moved them on to Sherborne.  We were only supposed to keep them about three days.  We did have a case of pneumonia I know but you shouldn’t move them.  

But then they took all the troops away and we stayed on looking after these old people and they were, I think they were, grandparents of people living around. But that’s what happened to the old people of the other classes you see.  If they were, say, our class well we would have to look after them.  Our people did but the ……………. even the tradespeople class, one of them I definitely looked after one of them at Stokewater.  But that’s what happened to old people you see.  I mean there was nothing like, well I don’t think there was, Port Bredy.  I don’t really know but that is a public assistance place I think.  You either were able to be looked after by your own family or you went into the public assistance.  There was nothing between it as far as I know.  

You see there were no …………… when my father came I think there might have been a hospital in Dorchester but not Bridport and he had to do all his own………… he did end up by………… he was a surgeon in the end.  He took his FRCS, I think I’ve told you this haven’t I, in 1902 he worked for his FRCS.  He worked here in Beaminster still doing all his work – he used to work until two or three in the morning and hope he wasn’t called out and the last three months he went up to Edinburgh and crammed.  And he got 90% and over in all his exams.  So he was a surgeon you see.  He was able to do operations.  But on the whole they were only physicians the doctors here.  He was the best qualified.  Otherwise there was one at Weymouth well qualified, should have been in Harley Street, but he, you see, didn’t I say to you, if I had fractured this femur in my father’s time I should not have gone into hospital, well not when he first came anyway, and I shouldn’t have had it pinned – an operation.  Didn’t I tell  you, he used to put a, well he’d put a rope or something on to the leg, I’m not quite sure how…….. have  you ever seen any of these iron bedsteads?  I’ve got one up in the attic.  You know, it had iron rails over the bottom.  You’ve seen them I expect.  Well, he’d extend the leg so that the bones didn’t overlap you see, with a pulley and then he’d have say a cotton reel and a bucket of water and put the rope over the end of the bed with the bucket on the end of the rope and the cotton reel acting as a pulley and it would stretch the leg out.  

How on earth anyone nursed these people I simply can’t imagine.  Because this was all done at home and he prided himself he never had a shortening.  He never did have a shortening, father didn’t.  Anyone who broke their leg.   Well that was all they did you see.  I mean you couldn’t have……….. if I’d broken a leg in those days I couldn’t have been got to hospital – how are you going to get them to hospital?  Horse and cart.  I mean you couldn’t do it could you?  And it would be Dorchester, it was the nearest one.  

I think there’s more difference in the practice of medicine now, and a hundred years, ago than in anything else.  Well I know everything’s changed, farming and banking and everything, but in medicine, you think of all the discoveries.  A child died here, there was no cure for diabetes.  They simply died.  I know………….. well you know I think Bob Travers?   I sent you up to him didn’t I?  He died the other day.  Well, one of his brothers had diabetes and Bob has often said to me that my father said to Mrs. Travers ‘Let the little boy have what he wants’ because there was no cure.  And he did, he died of diabetes.  I think he was about twelve.  Well now you see you don’t die.  You go on working don’t you?

1  Can I take you back to Stokewater and the workhouse and your memories of that place.  If you had to paint a picture in words of that place for me how would you describe it?


KP  Well it was terrible.  I think it was awful.  You’ve got it in Hine’s book actually.  I didn’t know an awful lot about it.  Mother used to visit there I think.  But I think they were, even in my time, they were rather badly treated really.  But in the old days the poor things were kept on bread and water.  Someone tried to escape and they got him back and he was kept on bread and water.  But that was before my time . 

But in my time well, I don’t think they were very well……….. I suppose they were fed but not really very well treated.  But really and truly I don’t know much about it only when I was nursing there.  And they were quite well looked after, very well fed.  They had too much food actually because they had to give them, a certain, even in the war, a certain amount of food and they used to heap their plates up.  I mean they left………….. the waste, the food, that went on at Stokewater absolutely horrified me because here were we, rationed, and they used to throw this stuff away.  I only hope someone’s pigs got it.  But they’d got enough food certainly and they were quite well ………………. well it was good nursing there (not because I was there – in spite of me being there!) but they had a very good Matron and her sister was a Sister.  She was a trained nurse.  All the other nurses were assistant nurses, not fully trained you see.  And we weren’t fully trained.  

Well then my father was Medical Officer for the Beaminster Rural District from after Dr. Kitson died, from 1919.  Well the Beaminster Rural District comprised twenty-eight parishes I think and it included having to attend the people at Stokewater, go whenever he was required to go, and supply all the drugs and the medicine and he got paid £30 a year the same as the Chaplain who only had to give one service on a Sunday and visit one day in the week.  And they both got the same pay.  That’s all father got.  But I don’t know much about the …………………… I didn’t often go to Stokewater until I worked there you see so I can’t tell you more about it than that.  They used to have a good Christmas Dinner because father always went down to see them at Christmas Dinner I know.  But I can’t tell you much more about it.  But it was almost a punishment to go there, certainly before my time it was.  But you know, poor old things, they had to go there.  There was nowhere else, no-one to look after them.  They had to, hadn’t they?

1  Do you have any memories of life outside of Beaminster on the farms……………….?

KP  Well I only know about, I’ve told you, I’ve given you an example of the employment.  How much employment there was.  We employed seven people and we were not, no-one was well off.  None of my relations were well off.  We were the best off.   The only ones that had a car I think.  But the other example was Mr. Robert Hine who farmed at Storridge Farm, on the way to Dorchester, it’s about a mile out of Beaminster, well in the first war he employed six men and himself on the farm, well his son, his younger son, the farm …………… he had two sons………. the farm couldn’t provide enough for the two boys to go on the farm so the older one, Jim, who’s still alive and lives here in Beaminster, and John.  John stayed on the farm and when John died in, well must be getting on for thirty years ago, John was doing the work that these six men and his father had done.  He and the boy were doing all the work because of all the farm machinery that they had.  In the old days it was all done with horse and cart of course.  But that was the difference.  The farm was about 130 acres and they employed six men in the first war and after the second war it was being done by one man and a boy.  That’s the exact difference.  And those men, well I think they only got about 10s. a week.  Well old (? unclear) you do know who I mean, Paul, lived just round the corner here, he lived to be over 90 I think and he had worked for Robert Hine.  And his father, they were carters, his father was a carter over at Mangerton.  Well past Dr. (? unclear) they brought up ten children on 10s. a week.  The Pauls did.  But that was before my time you see.  But the farm labourers’ wages, I think until, well probably after this war, were only 30s. a week.  Well, it’s good pay.  Well I tell you, our Stone only got 35s and he did all that work.  So the wages were here very, very poor.  (? unclear) me, I told you, I only got £2 10s a week for a 48 hour week at the milk factory.  And I only got 1s. 4d. an hour when I taught cookery and my father had paid for my training.  Nowdays the state pays for your training doesn’t it.  But that was the difference.  But I don’t think I’m telling you really what you want to know am I now?

1  Discussion about having a break, etc. and tape turned off.


Complete change of subject

KP  1866.  They went on their honeymoon in a post-chaise with postillion outriders.  They only went from Charmouth to Seaton which was quite a long way in those days.  And he, the uncle, who was the sixth child, he wasn’t the first child, just lived to know that men had landed on the moon.  And that was just over a hundred years.  He was deaf and blind, like I am, but I told him that they landed on the moon July 12th, or 13th, 1969 and he died on the 29th August, 1969 so that in those, just over a hundred years, look at the difference, you see.  But there were no……. when I was born, there were no cars in Beaminster.  Not until I was nine years old was there a car in Beaminster and that was my father’s car.  

Now, you say what else you want, if  you want anything else, do you?

1  Oh no, that was lovely.  This idea that the change that’s taken place in the last, during your lifetime, is so great compared to the previous…………

KP  Well the previous hundred years you see, obviously in the hundred years before everything was horse drawn wasn’t, it and there weren’t the aeroplanes or telephone, or anything like that.  And even when my father came I think he said (that’s a hundred years ago) the quickest way  – I can’t quite understand it because I think telegraph had come in by then – the quickest way of getting the result of the………… Beaminster was the capital of West Dorset when I was born and for quite a long time afterwards – the quickest way of getting the result of the elections to Bridport was a boy on a pushbike.  But I can’t think that that’s right.  You’d think there’d be a quicker way of communication wouldn’t you?  But I remember, the poll being declared here.  I can’t think when it ceased to be the capital of West Dorset, not until after this war I think, no between the wars.  

I can remember the men used to go out to the flat bit of road by Parnham’s and the MP would be coming in on a wagonette drawn by horses and they took the horses out of the shafts and the men used to pull the man in the wagonette into the town and they’d turn up the hill past our house.  Well then this is  …………… (? unclear) we were, well my father was – he spoke for the Tories, he used to go round speaking for them, so we were Tories – and when we were children I was always dressed in pink and my sister in blue.  And one election – we had……………….in those days children had bars at the nursery window so you shouldn’t fall out, you know, grill, like I’ve got on the back door. Thick bars.  Well, this particular election day I tied my pink sash on to the bar in one window and Cissie tied the blue sash on to the other.  And mother came in, made me take my pink sash off because it was…………….. and Cissie was allowed to keep her blue one because it was the right colour.  Well then they pulled them in and the poll was declared – you know, I think it’s still there, the balcony at the White Hart – it isn’t called the White Hart now, it’s the Hine Bar.  You know there’s a balcony over the archway and it had a white hart on it, well it’s made of I don’t know what – and the poll was declared there.  I remember seeing them come out on the balcony and the poll declared.  But that was until between the wars.  The capital of West Dorset now is Dorchester.  There was great rivalry between Bridport and Beaminster too.  They hated each other.  Don’t think there’s much love lost between them now.  That’s by the way.

1  Going back to your mother Miss Pim.  Were you expected to help her?  Did she have a list of things she expected you to do?

KP  Yes, in spite of having servants.  Well mother was no cook in spite of starting housekeeping at school, she was no cook I’m certain.  We always had, until the beginning of this war, the second war, we always had two maids – that’s right, until father died – we had a cook and house parlourmaid.  When my father died we only kept the one maid.  In the end we only had one daily, she only came in the mornings I think.  But in spite of having a cook and a house parlourmaid, yes I was expected to do……. well I helped mother clean the bath sometimes, do quite a few…………. and dusting and that, but no cooking.  I didn’t do any cooking until I went to college and there I learnt cooking you see.  Mother herself was no cook.  I think if she or I did the cooking we would have been poisoned.  So we always had a cook.

And then, the maids, at Christmas, the poor cook………………….. The maids used to go home to their own Christmas Dinner in the middle of the day on Christmas Day and then they had to come back and we had our Christmas Dinner in the evening.  The cook had to come down about 3 o’clock to cook the dinner and then the parlourmaid had to come and wait on us.  I  mean no-one thought there was any hardship in it.  I don’t suppose there was.  And the Christmas present they got was about Half-a-Crown (2s. 6d.) Father and mother gave the maids Half-a-Crown.  Well that was a good present at Christmas.  You can’t believe it can you?  And we children I think gave them 6d. and that was a wrench for us because……………… 

Another thing, when I was…………. I say, girls were expected to marry you see, not to be able to earn their living, and the girls were given a dress allowance by their fathers until they married – and I think sometimes after they married – and we were given a dress allowance of £30 a year.  Well I think father did pay, if we went away, he would pay for the train journey.  but you had to dress yourself and give presents out of that so you can imagine the presents weren’t very……………. So the result was you had to make your own clothes.  Even though clothes were very cheap.  I made a dress for 1s. 6d.  You could get nice stuff at 6d. a yard and I did make a dress for 1s. 6d.and I was sitting on the lawn when I first had the first puppy I ever had and it was lying down.  I thought ‘This puppy’s very good and quiet,’ looked down and it had eaten a hole in my dress!  My 1s. 6d. dress.  That didn’t go down well I can tell you.  Now, you ask me what you want to know.


(Tape turned off.  Talk about the time.)

1  It’s really your memories of being a young child.  I’ve got a list….. which ones apply to you really?  Children should be seen and not heard.

KP  No, that didn’t apply to us.

1  You seldom saw your mother?

KP  We saw our nanny much more than the mother.   You were fonder of your nanny than your mother because you saw her much more.

1  You seldom saw  your father?

KP No, because he was at work.  We didn’t see him very much.  We were afraid of him actually.

1  So those two statements are really quite true?  You seldom saw your mother or your father

KP  Yes they are true.

1  You had a great deal of attention and, in brackets, whether welcome or not, from your mother.

KP  No we didn’t, because………….. much more from the nanny.

1  You had a good deal of attention………………

KP  From the nanny.  If a family had a nanny she had much more to do with the children than the mother did.  There’s no doubt about that I think.  

1  You had a good deal of attention whether welcome or not from your father?

KP  Well, no, not really because we didn’t see him an awful lot.  He was a very good father.  We had a happy childhood, they were very good parents.  Especially father, he had had a very unhappy childhood and he was determined his children would have a happy childhood.  And we did in a very, sort of, mild way.  Not what children now…………. but we were happy.  We were very happy.  We loved coming home.  And very homesick when we went to school.  We were broken hearted.

1  Did you feel emotionally close to your mother?

KP  No, I don’t think so.  No.

1  A similar question for your father.  Did you feel emotionally close to your father?

KP  No, I think we were very fond of them but not…… We were not demonstrative at all so I can’t tell you…………….

1  Now, again, I have a list of things about employment in the loosest possible sense of the word.  Then it says………… what I’ll do is I’ll identify…………………..(? unclear and gap in tape)  

Which one of these descriptions mostly relates to your mother?

In regular full time paid employment?         ( Answer ‘No’)

In part-time paid employment?                    (       ”        ”  )

Self employed?

KP  Well, she was just the wife and mother.  that’s all.

1  Was she an employer?  Did she employ your staff or did your father do that?

KP  She engaged the maids and father the ……………………  Well I think mother……. well Stone was there you see, there was no engaging him, he was there and the boy was there.  But mother, no, mother did engage them all, the maids and the errand boy because I remember one of the errand  boys gave me notice.  Mother was away.  

1  Did your mum have her own investments?  Pension, that sort of thing?

KP  No I can’t say……………  she was very badly off because she herself had £9 a year.  Well they were very badly ………..my mother but you, that’s not really the………., my grandfather, Daniel, mother’s father, they were so badly off that they, when the grown-ups had bacon for breakfast, the children didn’t have bacon.   They dipped their bread in the bacon fat, in the grown-ups  bacon fat they were so badly off.  So mother was always very very badly off and she was the younger child so she always had the cast-off clothes of the Leighs and Russells and sister.  She came off very badly.

1  So being  a younger child then was actually a disadvantage?

KP  Yes.  Definitely.  Not my sister, that didn’t matter she being the younger child.  But mother, but then that’s going back a generation isn’t it.  There was a definite disadvantage.  She kept, poor mother, she never had her own clothes until she married.  Then she didn’t have many I shouldn’t think becuse we didn’t have much to have them on.  No she never had her own clothes.

1  And then the next question is, to relate that list to your father.  Well, he was in regular full paid employment wasn’t he?

KP  No, he earned it.  He wasn’t paid, he earned it..

1  So there’s a difference then is there Miss Pim?  You say that he earned it so………………

KP  Yes, he earned it.  But when you said paid employment he would be employed by someone else wouldn’t he.

1  This is what I’m trying to tease out that it’s…………… so that he actually wasn’t paid by anybody, he took his fees…………

KP  Yes because there was no health service then you see.  He simply earned………… people paid him what they could afford.  Well he, how he ever had the heart to charge some people…………….. When the Lloyd George 1911 Insurance came in well that was a bit different.  When father first came you see there was no insurance at all and he can’t have had the heart to take money from people who were so badly off so he simply got what he could.  Well, then, when the insurance came in they paid so much per head didn’t they towards ……………….(?unclear) so they had what called Panel Patients, they were paid so much a head for them so the doctors were better off then, but then they had Private Patients.  They either had Panel Patients and the State paid for them, insurance, didn’t they, or they had Private Patients who paid………………… Say if I would be a private now, I’d simply pay you see.  So that was the difference.

1  Can you remember how much private patients paid?

KP  Yes, I can tell you that a visit to the two big houses, Mapperton and Parnham, were 10s. 6d. a time.  I can’t tell you the others but presumably were in a scale going down.  That was the most expensive because…………….. when I was a child a Mr. Robinson lived at Parnham and he was an invalid for the last, I don’t know how many years, well he lived there from 1902 to 1910 he died I think.  I’m the only person still living who ever saw him I think.  Anyway, he was an invalid for the last few years of his life and he wished my father to come out to attend him every morning at  8 o’clock.  Well a visit to Parnham was 10s. 6d. a time.  Presumably if father had some urgent thing he couldn’t go, wasn’t there at 8, but when Mr. Robinson died the bill came in.  The Executors disputed it.  But they did pay in the end.  We didn’t know, father never told us anything about his practice, he never took us unless I imagine by request, he never took his family into his patients’ houses.  He strongly disapporived of it.  the only……………… I was once taken to see Mr. Robinson, I can’t think why, because he was an old bachelor, he was a merchant in Chinese goods (I’ve still got a bowl up on the window sill up there which he left to my father.  It’s worth……….. I don’t know what it isn’t worth now.  Anyway, he must have asked to see this little girl because he died when I was, well, under seven I think, but I can quite well remember seeing him, what he looked like and he had a resident, trained nurse, and I can remember seeing her in her starched  clothes and things.  Well that was before 1910.  Well anyway I was once, I used to be taken to play with a little girl at Rampisham who’s………….  she was Dorrie (? unclear) Groves, and her nephew John Groves now works in Kitson and Trotman.  Why on earth I was taken into that house to play with a little girl while father attended her mother, or someone I think.  But otherwise we were never taken into a patient’s house.  Father strongly disapproved.  Well you can see the point can’t you.  I think it was because, in those days, if he had a very serious case and wanted a second opinion, he’d get one of the doctors from around to come and see the patient.  And they very often came on a Saturday and they often brought their families with them and the Pim family had to put up with the wife or children, or whatever it was.  So that put father off taking his family to other people’s houses.  Well, it’s quite right.  You shouldn’t take your family into the houses should you?


1  No, it’s not very professional is it.

KP  Well have you asked all you wanted to ask now?

1  Just one thing that was triggered in my mind Miss Pim, if I can go back to your early memories of Beaminster, it must be something like……………. there must have been sort of a very small group of people at the very top and then there would have been a slightly larger group of people the next layer down.  And as you come down through you’d eventually get through to what you might call the ‘working class’, ‘labourers’……………………..  

KP  You’re talking about the classes aren’t you?

1  Can you remember how many people there would be at the very top.  Who do you remember as being there.  Did  you have the man at Parnham?  I mean was the man  at Parnham very active in Beaminster life or were they………………..

KP  Well not Mr. Robinson wasn’t, no.  And Mapperton, the Compton’s, no they weren’t.  They didn’t take…..no they didn’t, not the Parnham and Mapperton people didn’t.  But the top people in Beaminster, well I’ve always said  that we, that is us and our relations and there were a lot of our relations.  See, when I was a child there were Pims, the Trotmans, the Leighs, the Russells (two lots of Russells), ? (unclear) she’d been a Leigh.  There were at least six different lots of my own relations there.  Well I always used to say we thought we were the Kings and Queens of Beaminster and we were too.  We were thought of as the tip-top people you see.  You can’t understand it really because you can’t understand all this class distinction.  Can you?

1  Well, I’ve got some idea. that’s why I’d like to elaborate on it.

KP  We, the relations, we were, I honestly think we were looked upon as the top people you see.  Well then there were other people like, presumably, the Lakes but I tell you there were these cliques, you know what a clique is?  When Dr. Legge first came I think father said to Dr. Legge, ‘Beaminster’s very cliquey, isn’t it’ and Dr. Legge said yes and the first clique is the relations. And that stopped father rather!  No then there were, like, doctors, the parson and solicitor, well they were, Kitson, they were…………….. the doctors the parsons, the solicitors.  Well then, any retired people, retired gentry people, they were the top people you see.  But I think we, the family, thought we were the top dogs.  We were equal with the others.  

Well then you came to the tradespeople, they were next.  But they didn’t mix you see.  They didn’t mix with us and they didn’t mix with the working class.  Well then below that was the working class people.  You can’t visualise it can you?

1  Am I right in thinking you’re describing three distinct layers.

KP  Three distinct layers.  Well I tell you how you can……………………. (? unclear text) I think the last time it happened was at my mother’s funeral.  Funerals were absolutely amazing in those days.  They buried them at Trinity Churchyard, you know where I mean?   Well, the last time it happened was at my mother’s funeral.  With our sort of people, and the tradespeople, if anyone died the men would come and wait outside. Our people and the tradespeople.  The men of the families would come and wait outside the house and when the coffin was brought out these men would walk two and two in front of the coffin all the way up Fleet Street and the blinds were drawn, and the shops put up shutters, and then the family would walk behind the coffin.  And the last time that happened was at mother’s funeral.  And when you got to….. you know where the plastic factory is just before you get to Trinity Church, these men formed two lines each side and the coffin and the mourners went through.  And they did that at mother’s funeral.  It was the very last time they did it.  Of course now, on the whole, people are cremated aren’t they.  Well and (? unclear text)  ………… at this church.  Well Trinity’s a private house now.  But that showed the class distinction because our people, the gentry and the tradespeople came.  The working class didn’t because the poor things were at work.  I mean they couldn’t have come.  They couldn’t break off in an afternoon, on a weekday afternoon, to come to a funeral, could they?

1  So when would the working class have their funerals?

KP  Well they had their funerals, and went to their funerals, but they wouldn’t have had these men walking in front.  They’d just have the funeral, the hearse, the hand-hearse you see.  They were all walking funerals in those days.  My grandfather’s was, they all were.  There was no driving.  Well I think in the old days, before my time, our sort of people would have had carriages.  Well in father’s time, in Ireland, they (I don’t know if they did it in England), if they couldn’t (if our people couldn’t go to a funeral) they would send their carriage.  And father remembers when he was a small boy being taken to one of his great-uncles’ funeral with his father.  And father now can hear the butler of this, whoever, Uncle Willie I think it was, Uncle Willie’s butler coming down the line of carriages and when he got to Grandpa Pim and father, the butler said ‘Seventy-two carriages, Mr. Robert’.  The people had sent their carriages you see.  They didn’t come themselves.

1  So you’d had all these empty carriages?

KP  Represented by their carriages.  But that was Ireland.  I don’t think they did that in England.  That was in Belfast.  But that did show the…………… in those days.  Well I tell you I think it was dreadful, this class distinction, but that was so.  But our sort of people, funerals, they’d have the men walking in front but the other people they just walked, they followed the coffin on you see.   And my grandfather’s funeral, they went out of the street door, because that was his door, not out of our door, the front door and I can remember, Beaminster had a Superintendent of Police then in those days.  He was standing by The Greyhound and he saluted as we went past.  There were crowds of us you see.  Well, there was my father and mother and Aunt Edith and her husband, and all the nephews and nieces, that was Russells, Leighs and people, and us the …………….. it was the first funeral I ever went to.  Me and my cousin who was a grandson, and my sister, we were the three grandchildren.  Yes, 1925, the first funeral I ever went to.  I always said my relations loved funerals and their only regret was that their own funeral they could only go to as a corpse!  They loved them.  They really did.  (Laughter)

1  So your grandfather you referred to, that was your maternal grandfather?

KP  Yes, mother’s father, the one who lived with us.

1  So the Pim that came here came from Northern Ireland?


KP  Yes, my paternal……………. Grandpa Pim, now Grandma Pim never came.  We never saw either of our grandmothers because mother’s mother died two months before mother was married and that wouldn’t have ben approved of because people in those days, they went into mourning for two years for a parent.  The must have been in mourning all the time I think.  But anyway, mother was married two months after her mother died which must have been disapproved of.  But my father wouldn’t wait. That was Grandma Daniels.  She died before mother married and Grandma Pim we never saw because, I’m sorry to say, my father and she didn’t get on very well and I don’t think it was a very happy marriage anyway,  Grandpa Pim and his…………..  

They were all Quakers you see, she wasn’t a Quaker I think.  I think Grandpa Pim had been engaged to a Quaker (? unclear) and rather took Grandma Pim on the hop.  Well it wasn’t a very happy marriage.  Anyway, we never saw her.  Grandpa Pim loved coming to stay here and the last time he came was in 1914.  Then came the war you see and he couldn’t come really.  And (Pomeroy? unclear) said soon as he got back from holiday here he’d start looking up the trains.  And two of his brothers were in the Belfast Steamship Company so they got free tickets you see Belfast to Liverpool.  I think Grandpa, he did too but they never ………… it was very sad really, he didn’t come again after 1914 (? unclear text) and then he went senile in the end.  He lived to be 90 and we went over in 1930, the whole family went, and we used to take him out but he didn’t even know who we were.  I remember sitting in the back of a car with him and father was driving and he kept saying to me ‘Who’s that man there, driving?’ and I’d say ‘That’s your son.  That’s Arthur, that’s your son.’  But he was, well……….. very said it was .  And then father had one sister.  She went absolutely mental I think, so it was a sad story, the Pims really.  She died in ’37 (? unclear text).  But we didn’t see much of the Pims you see.  It was all Daniels.

1  So there was a strong Irish side to your family then?

KP  Oh yes, terrific.  It was just that we didn’t see them.  We never went to Ireland until 1930, that was the first time we went and I went to my Aunt Eva’s funeral, that’s one that I took myself to in ’37 to represent my father because father was an invalid by then.  He couldn’t go.  And then I never went again….. we had (? unclear) father Fred Moor, that was on my mother’s side.   Father’s mother and this Fred’s mother were sisters I think.  He used to come and stay with us before and after the war and in ’45, that was when your father married…….

1  Peggy

KP  Doris

1  Oh, Doris.

KP I was over there.  No not Peggy, they were married in ’45 weren’t they?   I was in Ireland then.  He was married the 24th September I think.  I know I was staying in Ireland.  I went to stay with Eve’s cousins, (Johnson ? unclear) their name was in ’45.  I think I went again in ’46.  And I haven’t been to Belfast since,  I went to Ireland (? unclear) in 1970 but really we hadn’t a great connection with the Pim part of the family.  Much more (? unclear)………………… they didn’t care you see.  There was no escape, even if we wanted to.  (Laughter). 

I’ll put the kettle on.

1  Thank you Miss Pim.