My maternal grandfather was the Rev Henry Hugh Bourne Potter, the Minister of Wickford Congregational Church between 1903 and 1943. He was also the Chaplain at the Runwell Hospital.
His wife, Fanny, was the church organist and was very involved in the life of the Church. They had four daughters (the third – Gladys – was my mother).
My grandfather died in November 1943 and my grandmother in September 1957 and they are both buried in the Congregational Church Cemetery.
My grandparents lived in the Manse in Swan Lane but they also bought a bungalow, also in Swan Lane, for their retirement. Whilst this bungalow suffered bomb damage in the war it was repaired with funds from the Government and my Grandmother moved into this property when my Grandfather died.
The bungalow was already occupied by their youngest daughter, Christine and her daughter Mavis, who had been bombed out of their house in London. Their second daughter, Kath, also moved into the bungalow at the time of my Grandfathers death. She subsequently married Cecil Cork, a widower who owned a garden nursey in Wickford, and they all lived in the bungalow until Christine’s husband returned from fighting in the war and they later moved into their own home.
The eldest child, Gwen, lived in London but returned to Wickford for weekends.
During the war, Kath had a petrol ration and she drove my grandfather to his Church and Hospital meetings. She was the ‘stay at home’ daughter who did the cooking and housework as my grandmother was very involved with Church work.
My mother and father were married in the Congregational church on the 11 June 1930 and they moved to their new home in Gidea Park. A newspaper report of the wedding and a wedding photograph are attached. Rev Potter and his wife are sitting on the right.
As a young child I always looked forward to visiting my grandparents in Wickford; getting off the train and walking up the hill to the manse; seeing the chickens and ducks my Aunt Kath kept; and playing in the field next to the manse. The only objection my older brother had to visiting was ‘being kissed by all those Aunts’!
Of course, the Church and Manse are now gone but the memories of that time still remain.