Check out the 'Great' Houses for information on their residents through the centuries. Many other pages have information on past residents (e.g. Farms; the Millers; Men who went to War) and the memories of recent residents. But HERE are some memories of or by memorable residents.....
Lily M Randle - a Mulbarton childhood in the 1890s
Lily May Randle (or Randell - later Mrs Hinchley) was born in Mulbarton in 1893, one of a family of 10. Of her 7 older brothers, 5 were men who went to WW1, one of whom (Cecil Jesse) was killed in Flanders. She had 2 younger sisters. In 1975 Lily wrote 'My Life As I Remember It', extracts from which appeared in the EDP on 2 Feb 1976. Here are some of her memories:
'My mother was a hard-working, good living woman and we all respected and loved her. My father [a carpenter] was too fond of beer, and spent money my mother could dearly have done with, but somehow she managed to keep us well fed and tidy.'
'Almost every day we would see a large black boiler hanging over the fire which contained dumplings or suet pudding and rice tied up in a cloth which looked like a giant snowball when cooked and we ate this with treacle and brown sugar.'
'Mother could not afford to give us meat, but used to buy half a bullock's head and stew that with vegetables, which made a nice lot of gravy. Father had what meat there was. If by chance he had a piece of pork we used to craze for a piece of the crackle.'
'All the food we had was home-made, and I remember one Christmas mother bought a jam sandwich from the baker, which was a great treat.'
'My brothers used to go out before school to the various big houses cleaning knives or boots and shoes, or any odd jobs to earn a few pence to give mother, and I ran errands for anyone who needed me. One neighbour used to give me 1/2d [a ha'penny] each day to fetch her milk, and sometimes she gave me a piece of her cake, which I always enjoyed.'
'We used to call at a farm where the man would be grinding swedes, and ask for a piece. We didn't mind if it was a bit soiled. It always tasted sweet. We used to take the wheelbarrow on Saturdays and go and collect sticks for mother to light her fire.'
Lily wrote about picking acorns for the miller - they got a shilling a bushel. And for blackberries they would get 2/6d a stone. Relatives gave them outgrown clothes: 'mother being a good needlewoman would alter them to fit us.' She writes of going to Mulbarton school at age 3, where the master and his wife were very strict; of Sunday School and Church every Sunday, and occasionally attending Chapel with a friend. Of summer treats at the Rectory meadow and a winter treat in the school. Of having Valentines Day off school.... But life was hard:
'My father was out of work sometimes and there was only parish relief in those days, which was bread and flour, so that is when the coppers we were able to earn came in very useful.'
'Mother also used to save the blue paper bags which sugar was packed in, and when she had a dozen one of us would take them to the grocer and he would give us a few sweets in exchange, which were divided between us.'
'When father had been drinking he was always disagreeable and very stingy, and if we were naughty mother said 'I'll tell your father', which was punishment enough....'
'We all had our jobs to do in the home, dusting, cleaning spoons and forks, washing up, which did a lot in preparing us for domestic work after we left school.'
'A pork butcher lived near us and one of my brothers used to do odd jobs for him and he would give us some scraps when he did the lard. We used to love them with bread.'
'I remember we had scarlet fever, all of us except one brother. Mother and father had it first and no-one would come to the door, but would leave goods in a bag hung on the gate. We just had to look after one another. The doctor was a very kind man and never charged very much for his services to us. I think he knew what a trouble mother had to make ends meet.'
Lily left school aged 13 and went into service. She died in East Harling in 1981, aged 87
(Thanks to David Randle in Canada for the full article which you can read here:)
Harriett ('Hettie') Cullum was born at The Wood, Mulbarton (a hamlet reached via Wood Lane, Swardeston) in 1877, daughter of Henry Barber Cullum and Maria nee Larter. Her granddaughter in Sydney, Australia takes up her story:
'My grandmother never told my father - her only child - anything about her life prior to coming to Australia. She changed her name from Harriet to Henrietta and added Eliza when she came to Australia. She was one of 15 altogether. Fortunately she did leave a list of her FEMALE siblings with only her younger brother Frank included, her other brothers were all forgotten. I know one of her brothers was a poacher and in and out of trouble with the law; at one time he was acquitted of manslaughter. Her eldest half brother must have been very attached to their Mum, as he always lived near her. Two of her brothers died in childhood, one she would never have known, the other died when she was 12.
Harriet had left Mulbarton by 1901 when she was working in Bedfordshire as a servant and using the name Hettie - a name she kept her entire life. I can only presume it was what her family had called her. I am presuming she made her way to London where two of her older sisters lived, and there married my grandfather (a true Londoner) in 1910. He was widowed with a 6 year old daughter, my father's half sister. My grandparents and aunt came to Australia in October 1911. My grandmother was the only one of her family to have left England; the remainder stayed, several ended up in London, 3 or 4 of her siblings stayed in Swardeston / Mulbarton.
Harriet/Henrietta/Hettie was hard woman. I think she was a very clever person, who didn't have a great deal of education. She had a thing about education, she lived almost next door to my aunt and cousins and she went to their house every morning to check they had gone to school! She was very Victorian in her manner, didn't believe in drinking or smoking.... she was very religious and had very set ideas on what I should and should not wear, including make-up!
This photo was taken in the mid 1940's - they would have been in their late 60's. It is the backyard of my childhood home in Sydney - oh so different to England. My grandparents always talked about 'home' and how wonderful it was, but 'home' was never in Australia....