Rectory Road in 1919

A postcard from Robert Nichols' Hadleigh Postcard Memories

This card, postmarked HADLEIGH 7pm Tuesday 23 December 1919, is from the wonderfully evocative book HADLEIGH POSTCARD MEMORIES by Robert Nichols, published by H&TCA and available for just £12 at H&TCA events and from Essex 100,  Hadleigh Library and Dans News.

The card was posted over 102 years ago, a few weeks after Lady Nancy Astor was sworn-in as the first female member of British Parliament. There are still a few folk around the town who can remember when Rectory Road looked like this. Hadleigh Hall can be seen in the distance and there is a clear view (before the bypass – now called The Kingsway –  was built) of St James the Less Church. The Hadleigh Men’s Institute is on the left, where the Choice store now stands, but the two weatherboard cottages on the right are, miraculously, still there (enjoying a very arbitrary and slight protection on the Council’s almost meaningless list of Locally Notable Buildings).

If you expand the picture, you may spot the Hadleigh Fourpennies in the distance and, in the foreground, the horse-poo in the road. The card was penned hastily to catch the last post – by a certain “Dorrie” – to her friend, Miss Queenie Schooling, in Sidney Cottages, Church Road. She makes her arrangements for Boxing Day, for a good old fashioned singalong around the piano. She says, don’t send your “motah” [sic] round for me – but, as this was only the year when car-manufacturer Bentley was inaugurated, she probably meant it ironically – and she signs off, “g-g-good byee!” (Perhaps in anticipation of singing the then currently popular Weston and Lee song? See bottom of page…)

Quite obviously, but surprisingly to us a century later, Dorrie expected the card to be delivered the following day – Christmas Eve – and it was worth a penny to her, to save the walk on a cold, dark, wintery night with no street lamps.

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Rectory Road looking South
The Robert Nichols Collection
From Dorrie to Queenie
Courtland And Jeffries - Good Bye-ee
"Good Bye-ee" from Courtland And Jeffries. Genre: Other.

Reproduced below are the lyrics to the popular wartime song, Good-bye-ee, composed by R. P. Weston and Bert Lee in 1915.

Brother Bertie went away
To do his bit the other day
With a smile on his lips
and his Lieutenant’s pips
upon his shoulder bright and gay
As the train moved out he said, ‘Remember me to all the birds.’
Then he wagged his paw
and went away to war
Shouting out these pathetic words:

Goodbye-ee, goodbye-ee,
Wipe the tear, baby dear,
from your eye-ee,
Tho’ it’s hard to part I know,
I’ll be tickled to death to go.
Don’t cry-ee, don’t sigh-ee,
there’s a silver lining in the sky-ee,
Bonsoir, old thing, cheer-i-o, chin,
chin, Nah-poo, toodle-oo,
Goodbye-ee.

At the hospital at Kew,
The convalescents, dressed in blue,
Had to hear Lady Lee,
who had turned 83,
Sing all the old, old songs she knew.
Then she made a speech and said,
“I look on you boys with pride,
And to thank you all
I’m going to kiss each one”,
Then they all grabbed a stick and cried,

Goodbye-ee, goodbye-ee,
Wipe the tear, baby dear, from your eye-ee,
Tho’ it’s hard to part I know,
I’ll be tickled to death to go.
Don’t cry-ee, don’t sigh-ee,
there’s a silver lining in the sky-ee,
Bonsoir, old thing,
cheer-i-o, chin, chin,
Nah-poo, toodle-oo,
Goodbye-ee.

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