Reflections: by Arthur Jarvis Reproduced lithographically, November 1990
The first work I ever done for money was for Mr Mitchell of Burge End Lane, turning hay to dry in the meadow on the Right Hand Side going down the Lane. It was during the Summer School Holiday. I also done odd jobs on the farm. I well remember my brother taking me to get the money due to me for the work I had done, as I was to shy to ask for it myself. I was ten years old, a Miss Curry was Mr Mitchell’s housekeeper, and she used to give me odd times a piece of Bread and Cheese. The next Summer with other boys, I went Charlock pulling for Mr E R Davis at Rectory Farm. A man named Jim Smith who lived up Bradales Farm was in charge of me, there was about nine of us, and we used to work in fields called, Grove-shot, Beggers Bush, Duckreddy,
Stephen Day who lived in Royal Oak Lane hired 2 Horses and Carts to the Road Board at the Aerodrome, I drove one of the Horses, Ernest Cooper drove the other. Stan Carter drove one for his father, Ted and Reg Walker drove for their father and Harry Baines for Harry Buckett. There were also ????? Horses and Carts from Meppershall and these were driven by two Brothers Horace and Renie Dilley. Also two brothers drove for an elder Brother Maurice from Arlesey.
All the material which was used on the Aerodrome to make the Roads was Carted with these Horses and Carts from Henlow Station. This work went on for about a year. After the Road making was finished our job came to an end, after a few weeks being out of work several of us Boys obtained jobs sweeping the Road, we were payed 8d an hour which very good pay indeed in those days. After doing this job for a time, the work was put out to Contract with the Result that we were all dismissed. I was out of work again for a time, my next job was working for Bob Cannon at West Mill Farm. I worked for him for over a year. I got on very well with him. I was sorry when I left him for a job on the Buildings. Dick Burton from Pirton who was a Bricklayer came with several other men to repair and alter the farm Buildings after they had finished the job, their next job they were ?????? to do was to Build some Houses at Codicote. He offered me a chance to go and work with him. I remember giving Mr Cannon notice to leave, he didn’t take it very well we got on very well together working on the small holding. He had a Son Roy, a boy, a thought a lot of, also a daughter Olive she was born while I worked for him. Roy was killed in the 1939-45 War in the Far East. After the job was finished at Codicote I went with the same firm to Graveley where they built a rather big house. That lasted a few months then on to the Half Moon Pub in Queen Street, Hitchin that job done I was out of work again for quite a while. The next job I got was on the Railway. I started in the Goods Shed at Letchworth in November 1927. How very ??????? I was getting this job.
I was there only a few weeks, I was transferred to Baldock in December the 26th as a Passenger Porter. I was there until the end of February. I then was offered a job at Kings X in the Commercial Advertising Department a night job. There was five of us in this gang, our job was go around to all the Goods Depots in the East End and Marylebone posting Advertisements on the Horse Drawn Vans (no motors in those days) after a few months I was put in a day gang in the Kings X district which included Hitchin. War broke out and in 1940 I obtained a District Relief Porter’s job at Hitchin. In 1946 I was made a Passenger Guard at Hitchin. I was in this job right up to the time I retired in 1968 (October).
In the following March Mr Vernon Jennings who was in Business as an Undertaker at Ickleford, asked me I would care for a spare time job with him attending to his Garden and doing odd jobs on the firm. I agreed to accept his offer and it lasted for 6 very happy years there. Unfortunately, he died in Sept 1974 which I think was a very great loss, to his Brother and Sister, also to his employees and indeed to the District, especially in the villages where he was held in high esteem. I remained
During my lifetime there has been doubts I cannot answer, and I shall not attempt to do so. In the nature of things I cannot look forward now to many more years of life, and I should be ungrateful if I did not express at the end, of my profound gratitude for all the blessings I have received. The Christian religion which I profess would be nothing were it not for its belief that death is not the end. But if I were to be wrong, if my separate existence were to turn out after all to be concluded with my decease as I once certainly believed, I would have no cause whatever to complain. I could not feel cheated, I have all or most of the real pleasures of body and soul. I have seen and enjoyed the beauty of nature, in the countryside, and in the gentleness of a closely cropped and cultivated landscape. I have known the love of parents and wife and children and friends of all kinds. I have had the privilege of working for an authority almost all of my life in various positions. I have never lost my zeast for living, and I do not now wish to leave the scene of so much beauty and so much enthralling interest. But if my existence were to be terminated tomorrow I could not say htat I have been cheated I have always had sufficient although never as much as I could have liked.
Many a man with more wealth that ever I possessed has lived a life no more satisfying than mine. I cannot in honour claim more for myself than I have received, for in truth I have received happiness in good measure far beyond any belief.
A G Jarvis