Pocock's Reminiscences


Laurie and Tom Pocock
Laurie and Tom Pocock
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

In 1973 Tom Pocock, from the local carrier's and removal firm of Ewell, completed a memoir of life in the village which had been begun a few years earlier by his father William. Revisions were made in 1978, shortly before Tom died, and the notes were transcribed by the Nonsuch Antiquarian Society (now Epsom & Ewell History & Archaeology Society).

Pocock's Reminiscences.

Gordon Ralph, who was blacksmith at the Kingston Road forge, knew the Pococks well and wrote: 'Tom worked for his father, who ran a contractor's business with heavy horses. They had more than a dozen horses at one time. They traded as T. Pocock, so presumably the business was started by the grandfather. It was based in Chessington Road, opposite to the Health Centre. Next to the stables and yard was a pair of houses, in one of which Tom lived. Later he moved to a house he had built in Walnut Fields nearby on a plot of land owned by the business. Tom was born around 1908 and died in the 1980s. He went to the CofE school in West Street, Ewell. I remember him as being tall, well-built and rugged-looking, with brown hair. He had two younger brothers. Tom and his brother Albert eventually ran the business between them. They gave up the horses and ran a furniture removal firm with lorries until some time in the 1970s'.

Pocock's haulage team
Pocock's haulage team
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

The village of Ewell as described in these reminiscences is something of a composite over time, since the family memory of the Pococks, father and son, extended back to the Boer War or even earlier, and Tom went on to describe the way things were up to the arrival of the bypass in 1932 and the beginnings of suburbanisation. Sometimes he comments on the difference, or continuity, with the way things are now, but as his 'now' was the 1970s many things have changed since then and these comments have been singled out in the transcript as additions to the main story.

Tom Pocock had an eye for detail and a retentive memory; his reminiscences of the village are the most vivid and detailed of their kind. No doubt it was because of their haulage work that the Pococks seem to have known everyone and everywhere, and to have heard all the gossip. Wherever you are in the village, there is a local detail whether it is Congy Batchelor and his hoard of sovereigns, the demand for khaki babies, Lord Lonsdale stuck in the ford, or Dr. Raynor's views on his patients.

Jeremy Harte



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