Transcript: Jacquie Goosetree
Interviewee/s: Jacquie Goosetree
Interview Date: 17 October 2019
Interviewer: Nikki Shaill and Helen Winskill
Q: This is an oral history interview with Jacquie Goosetree. The interviewer is Nikki Shaill. The date is the 17 October 2019, and we're doing this recording at Valence House Museum for the Barking Stink. Also present is Helen Winskill. So first question, Jacquie, what is your full name?
A: Jacqueline Angela Goosetree.
Q: Thank you. And your date of birth?
A: The 14 of the 7 1973.
Q: And where were you born?
A: I was born in Barns House in Barking.
Q: And what are your parents' names?
A: My mum's name is Leslie Foster, but she was Goosetree. And my dad's name is Raymond Goosetree.
Q: And where were they from? Were they from Barking?
A: They was. My mum was from Sunningdale Road – Avenue, in Barking, and my dad was from the Gascoigne Estate before it was the Gascoigne Estate. And Thames View. He was all in Barking as well. So, yeah, they're both from Barking.
Q: And do you know if your grandparents were from Barking?
A: Yes, my great grandparents were from Barking. My grandparents are from Barking. It goes back as far as I can see so far.
Q: Wow, that's, Yeah –
A: I'd like to dig deeper, though.
Q: Quite a Barking heritage. So whereabouts did you grow up in Barking?
A: I grew up in – on the Gascoigne. It was just built and we was one of the first tenants in the block, like. So that flat that we was in, we were the first tenants of that flat. I loved it there, like, but it was a nightmare for all the people that lived there because of the electric. The bills [inaudible 00:01:50]. The electric and the bills, like, what would happen was, the storage heaters in these high rises came under the electric, whereas now it comes under your rent. And what was happening was, people couldn't afford the electric for those heaters in the winter. So everyone got cut off. Everybody got cut off. Most people did. And the Council had to come up with this plan to try and get everyone back on. And that's when they incorporated it in the rent, and they paid it off all year round. So there was that. But, I mean, I liked it because we were all sitting in the dark half the time, I didn't mind [laughs]. It was fun. But, yeah, we was quite – on the tenth floor, I used to love looking out the window. Looking at Gascoigne School, looking at the shops, and saying to my mum, "I want to go out. Can I go that far?" And [laughs], yeah, I did, I liked it here.
Q: And do you have any brothers and sisters?
A: I have two sisters, and we all grew up there. And we didn't move out till I was seven. So that would have meant, Elaine, my oldest, was eight. Karen, my youngest, would have been five. And then we moved to a house in Dagenham. I couldn't get settled at all. So a year later we moved again. It was because we was on a main road, I couldn't go out. I was used to the Gascoigne. I had my freedom, if you like, and I missed it. I couldn't cope with not having it. It was taken away from me, and I was stressing, I suppose. So we moved again, to a Banjo, and I was fine, then. I had my friends there, I could play out, you know. But I missed Barking. And I used to go to Barking every weekend with my sisters, "Come on, let's go Barking." you know how it is, isn't it. We'd go Barking. My gran lived in Barking. We used to visit her all the time. My family lived in Barking. I was there all the time. So, yeah.
Q: And what were your favourite places to play in Barking?
Q: What were your favourite places to play in Barking?
A: Well, when I was a kid, it would have been the Gascoigne. And it was the park downstairs, that was right directly below our block. There was two slides, it was – it was amazing there, I loved it. So we used to like playing down there. But then I liked to venture out a bit and see other kids and play with them, sort of thing. And that's when I'd be out the window, going, "Mum, can I go as far as there?" And if she'd say yeah, I'd be, "Oh, can I go as far as..." I pushed my luck every time [laughs]. But, yeah, no, it was a good time [laughs].
Q: Did you ever play down by the river at all, by the creek?
A: Not at that time, no. I weren’t allowed to stray past the school. I was only young, do you know what I mean? So no, it weren't until I came back, when I was eighteen, that's when I came back. And when I got my flat – you see, I came back when I was seventeen. I didn't come back, I came to Barking when I was seventeen to see if I could rent the hall at the Fishing Smack. And the smell of the area, like I looked at the Banjo and I thought, oh my God, no wonder they called this pub the Fishing Smack. The smell of fish just smacked you on the nose, right, it was so strong. But – and I did – I used to love – I wouldn't like to live here because of that. And then like a couple of years later I got a flat there [laughs]. And I've never looked back. That's the amazing thing. I was there for twenty five years.
Q: So you lived in the Banjo for twenty five years. And, for those who don't know Barking and the area, can you tell us more about what that area was like and where you lived?
A: What, when I was younger or...?
Q: No, when you moved back.
A: When I moved back, Abbey Road was full of factories. All of one side was just factories. Garages, car garages, mechanics, all of that. The caff down Abbey Road, that's been there forever and ever and ever. And it's about the only thing that's been there for ever and ever and ever, because everything's been taken away and gone. But that's still a caff there. Then they build around it, that's still a caff. Then they knock them out, that's still a caff. And it don't go anywhere. So that caff is really, really something, I don't know why they don't get rid of that. And I'm glad they ain't. But why they haven't done that, if you know what I mean, is it ‘cause they can't, I don't know what their reasoning for that. But, yeah, it was full of factories. And every morning, I may not have heard the vehicles, the lorries, but I'd feel them. Thump, thump, thump, thump, going down the road. And at first it was a bit like, "Oh my God, what was that?" Do you know what I mean? But then I realised it was the lorries. Because they'd be empty. They'd be parking down the road, we'd have lorries down our road every night. Parked up, with their doors open, just letting everyone know there's nothing in it, nothing to nick. And they'd be waiting for the next day, because they wouldn't be allowed to work that night, you know, in the night time it was quiet time.
Q: And do you know what sort of factories they were? Do you know what they made?
A: They was a sail – they made sails. I can't remember what that company was called, I can't remember. But they made sails. And the one behind it made – was Michael Linnell’s. And they made postbags for postmen. And that's where I worked. And there was also a printer's there, underneath that. It was – there was loads of factories down there. You had the rubber factory down the other end. I'm not so sure if that was – I could smell the rubber, don't get me wrong, it was awful when they were burning it and things. But when that went, I'm not sure about. That would have been right at the end.
Q: When the factory closed, William Warne?
A: Yeah, yeah.
A: Oh right, blimey.
Q: That was – yeah, so quite late on.
A: Oh right. So that's why I – yeah, I did smell that, then. It was awful [laughs]. Some of the smells down there, yeah. Sometimes it smelt like – you know the brewery in Romford, did you ever get that smell there?
A: I hated that smell, but it used to smell like that in Abbey Road, at times. I never knew why. And at times it smelt like soap powder. And at times, when the tide's out, definitely it would absolutely reek. It would be really like ‘monging’ and, oh, it would be horrible, it would be rancid. But you'd get used to it all. You'd get to know what sort of smells you're going to get at certain times of year. But, yeah, the factory ones, you never knew what you were going to get. The soap powder one I didn't mind. The hoppy, brewery one I didn't like at all. Yeah. No, it was crazy, all the smells. And the mechanics, the oils and – it's all that, it's all, yeah.
Q: Were there any other nice smells you can remember?
A: Yeah, the soap powder one I didn't mind, I liked that one. That's about the only one that, really, I liked [laughs]. All of them was – you see, the thing is Barking has such a lot of smells around, you had to be in different parts of it, and you smelt different parts of it. But I did quite often go to the river. When I moved in I didn't go there so often because you couldn't get across, it was all muddy banks and everything else. But then as the time went on they built and developed it, put fences up, put a bridge across. So I started going across it and everything. And, before they built that warehouse thing they built on it, and it ruined it. Why did they do that? We used to go round there, and that's the nature reserve, isn't it. And we used to pick hazelnuts, apples, you'd get all sorts over there. And it was lovely. I'd take my son there every time, all the time. And he'd be giving it, "Come on, let's go to the river." Do you know what I mean? But before, you couldn't imagine it the way it was before because there weren't no – it wasn't – it looked awful [laughs]. And like you wouldn't want to walk along it, you know. They've done it up and they've made it look nice and, yeah, it's quite nice now. But then they put that warehouse on it. I'm sure that was the Victorian dump.
Q: Ah, interesting, yeah.
A: Once upon a time.
Q: And when – can you think what year or what time it would have been when this big change happened or when the warehouse...?
A: Right, that happened, that must have been in the ‘90s, end of the ‘90s, beginning of 2000, like the 2000s, round about then. I think it was, anyway. Maybe sooner. But it wasn't – it must have been the ‘90s, late ‘90s, I'd say, round about then. But I didn't really know much about it. I got letters, we all got letters saying about the whole of the river, right up to [inaudible 00:10:02], no, right up to, oh, [inaudible 00:10:04]. And they've done all that, and I didn't even notice. And I've walked along it all now, I didn't realise you could, but I've walked along it all now. And even from the Shell garage – have you ever tried walking from the Shell garage to the [inaudible 00:10:16]?
A: Because you couldn't do it this way before, right. You used to have to walk along the road. And then you had a little bit of a slip road. But now, they've done the whole river up, the whole lot, all the way along. And you can walk all the way down, right down to the back of Mersey House, one of the blocks. And then you've got this metal bridge you can walk across. Even that's been done up, like, even that's new. You couldn't do that before, there weren't no bridge. That's what I mean. They have done some things along there, yeah. And you've got the wildlife there, haven't you, the ducks and the baby ones [laughs]. I love looking at them.
Q: Do you think that there’s people who live around Abbey Road now who don't realise that there's the river there?
A: I do think that. I'll tell you what else I think. A few years ago, it was actually worrying because the river – someone – it was obvious that someone was dumping something in the river. And all the fishes, every time you went down it, would be floating, loads of them floating on the water. I don't know what that was, but we reported it. I don't know what happened out of it, but it kept on happening over a period of months. And I was like, this is not on, like all the fishes were just floating, like that's not normal, you never see that. It's obviously that they were being polluted. But that's not happened since then, so maybe they've sorted it out, I don't know, I don't know what that was. And that was a few years – about ten years ago, something like that. It wasn't that long ago, yeah.
Q: And, yeah, so it's interesting to hear the sort of different, yeah, smells of the river or the changes around the river you've experienced. But, like you say, as a child, yeah, you wouldn't have been able to go down there. I want to go back a bit, and just ask about your school days.
A: My school days, yeah, well –
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: Gascoigne School was my early school days. Um, before I started there, though, I was at Blake's Avenue Nursery. My sister went to Gascoigne and then I went to Gascoigne. I wasn't there for that long, it was only until I was about seven, anyway. And, to be fair, my main memory, and it shouldn't even be this, my mum will kill me for this, right, but it was of me having to wait for her to pick me up, right. And then giving it, "Come on, we've got to wait over here." And I'd be sitting there, "Oh, great." [Laughs, “It’s lovely. Let’s play.” So I must have enjoyed it at school, I don't know. I think there was an issue because of my deafness as well, so that sort of came into effect. But it's just – the Gascoigne, it was – it was my favourite place. And when we moved, I didn't want to move from there, I wanted to go back. And it sounds mad to think that now. I wouldn't want to be like that, about the way Gascoigne ended up being, do you know what I mean? Because it did end up – like when I went – when I did move back there it was terrible over there. There was needles everywhere, on the floors, there was – like none of that fencing was there. You know all the fencing there, none of that was there, it was all open. And you'd hear guns every weekend. You'd see needles all over the place, it was terrible. And, yeah, if you was to say to me, "Oh, I loved it there, I wouldn't want to move." I'd be like, "Oh, my God [laughs] we've got to sort this out." But, yeah, and then when we moved – I moved to Dagenham as a kid. And I spent most of my time just getting on with things. But of a weekend it would be like, "Right, are we going to go Barking and see my gran or something.” Because my great gran lived in Barking. She lived at – well, she used to live in Waverley Gardens, do you know, Craven Gardens, the old part of Thames View, there. And she lived there from like early – she must have been one of the first ones, I don't know. But I used to love seeing her, she was lovely.
Q: Were there any smells you associate with visiting your nan, your Gran?
A: What's that?
Q: Were there any particular smells that you associate with visits to see your gran?
A: My gran – the only one – I'll tell you what – the only one is – right, Thames View. You know when you come to Movers Lane and then you go across that bridge, well, that underpass thing, and you get onto River Road, yeah. And that's where the bus stops, right. Now, you've got that water. It used to be called Barking Groe. Groe as in G_R_O_E or H. It wasn't spelt as in grow. And that's what it was called, I don't know what it stood for. And it used to reek, it was awful. And I used to hate going there, and I used to say to my sisters, "Right, come on, let's get across the road and get down there." You know, but it was Barking Groe. Does that ring any bells?
Q: The smells, people saying it smells? Yeah, I've interviewed some people from Thames View, and they do talk about a particular smell. But they didn't know what it was, they didn't know what it was, so...
A: Barking Groe was like the company from the corner. And it's not called that now, I don't know what it is now, but, yeah, I don't know what that would be. But that was smelly, that was, that was terrible, do you know that? And that was at Thames View. But this was – where she lived, my gran, you'd come under River Road and then she's at the houses bit, do you know what I mean, the old part. And then you've got Bastable Avenue and that weren’t built till ’54. So that's pretty new, you know, yeah. You had the farms there as well, do you know, that might – and my dad did mention to me, and I don't know where he could have been talking about, but he said there was a reservoir at Thames View. But where?
Q: Yeah, we'd have to look into that to see.
A: Because he said that he played a joke on his mate once. And there was – you know them polystyrene foamy things? Well, he said to his mate, "I bet you couldn't get on that and paddle across the water." And his mate went, "Yeah, I can." And dad went, "Well, go on, then." Right, so he gets on it, and he got his catapult out and started shooting holes in it, right. And they went, "Well, you didn't do it, did you?" [Laughs].
Q: [Laughs] So you think that was on the reservoir, that – yeah, that must have been the bit of water that [both talking at once].
A: Yeah, and that's where he was talking about, he's done it there. But I don't know where that was, I just don't. I didn't know there was a reservoir or – I know there's a river at Thames View, like that algae bit. Whether that's anything to do with it or not, I don't know.
Q: What did you do after school? When did you leave school?
A: When did I leave school?
A: Right, I left school in ‘89, I think, and I was a print finisher. I went to college, at Barking College, and then I was a print finisher for a printing factory, printing firm thing. I had a child pretty young as well. So as a result of that I needed to find somewhere to live. And I was homeless for – so I ended up getting my flat. And I had a child when I moved in it. And he died shortly after, about two years and a half years later, he actually died. So I had to try and get over that. That was awful. That was the worst thing ever. And the worst thing about it was that he was actually killed. He wasn't – it wasn't – it wasn't an illness or nothing. The doctor made an absolute mistake with him and killed him. A fatal accident, that's what they called it. So that took me a long time to get over. I sued them. I won. But, yeah, so I spent a lot of time wasting my life trying to get over that. That's what it feels like. But it weren’t a waste, but I did get over it. And I have moved on from that [laughs], amazingly so. So I did have to deal with that. That was awful. But after that – so I didn't really notice much of what was going on around me when I was going through that. And that's the problem, I can't say, "Oh, yeah, I remember..." because of that. That was a dark time for me. And I stayed in my flat purely because it was his flat as well. I couldn't give that up. My dad did ask me. I was struggling to survive, living there, I was traumatised, and he said to me, he said, "Come live with me for £3 a week. You've got to worry about nothing." And I was like, "I can't do it." I couldn't give my flat up, I couldn't do it. That was my flat, that was my home, and I'm keeping it, I'm staying there, I can't, I don't care [laughs]. I'd rather go under, I don't want to, you know what I mean? So he knew that I'd say that, he knew me. And so I didn't move in. I'm glad I never. I wouldn't have been able to cope with him as well. I'm not being funny, but it's just a bit much. You have to be on your own to get through it properly. And I did. So, yeah, then I started going out and things, sorting my life out. And I became a traffic warden, right [laughs]. Which was great, I was good at it. And I was very fair, I was, don't get me wrong, I was, you know. But my hearing loss meant that they couldn't keep me. Because if anything went to court I'd be classed as an unreliable witness because I have – they could just say, "I never heard them right." They could use it against me. So I couldn't even do that in the end. I had to leave that job. And it's been really difficult because since – it just gets worse, my hearing. And it's got to a stage where I really can't hear. I know I'm wearing my hearing aid, but it's more for show than anything else, for other people to know that I am actually deaf [laughs]. But – so, yeah, I haven't really done that much, to be fair. But I've got another child. I met a partner, I met my partner. We can't get no [inaudible 00:20:15] do you know that, I'm [inaudible 00:20:18] [laughs]. I've been so difficult with him, I'm so independent, right, I have made it difficult for him to be my partner. And he persevered and persevered. We had Jack. He's still my partner. But...
Q: And how old's Jack now, your son?
A: He's eleven, my son is, he's eleven years old, he'll be twelve next year. He sees all these books that I've got and my postcards and he's like, "Why are you fascinated with it?" "Well, because it's Barking and Dagenham. I love it."
Q: Why are you fascinated with history, is that, yeah?
A: Yeah, it's not just any history, it has to be Barking and Dagenham, because it's fascinating. The things I've found out. Like the Dagenham idol. Have you ever heard of that? That was found in the building of Ford’s. If they didn't build Ford’s, they would never have found it, do you know what I mean? And that was where it was found in Ford’s, where Ford’s is. And things like that. The hall, the Saxon burial in Barking, did you hear about that? Or the Roman one, I'm not sure. But it was – you know that food and wine shop, it's all on its own by Upney, by Sebastian, where Sebastian Court used to be. Well, there's a shop, before they built that, that where they found it. And it's not far from the cemetery, but it's not quite part of the cemetery, sort of off of Tudor Road. Do you know where Eastbury House is?
Q: Yeah, yeah.
A: It was just – I don't know why, I like it all, I do. And my family have been here forever as well. And I really want to find out their past because I don't know much about them. And so that would be interesting, if I could find anything out about that. My gran told me about everything as well. She used to sit there and tell me about Back Lane, East Street, all these places, the Post Office in East Street. And I used to sit there thinking, the Post Office was in East Street, no way, you know what I mean, whereabouts? "Well, it's where that Nat West bank is." [Laughs].
Q: Would you say – do you think you're unusual in your interest in local –
Q: Do you think you're unusual in your interest in local history?
A: Probably, because not a lot of people would go to the extreme that I've gone to to find it all out. I mean, I started off going to libraries. What started me off was finding out that Abbey Road was originally called Fisher Street. As soon as I found that out it amazed me, to be honest, and I wanted to know more. And then the more I found, it just seemed like it was never ending. There was all this stuff and I didn't know about this. And it's like – so I've kept on going back to the library to get the books and that. And the woman that actually helped me – and I was, I can't remember her name, but she used to – her husband used to be the caretaker in one of the blocks on the Gascoigne. Pete and Val, does that ring any bells? And their daughter, I can't remember her name now. But, yeah, she used to help me, she worked in Barking library, and she always knew what I was there for. And she'd be like, "You're after them books, like, we've got some more here." [Laughs]. And then I started buying them myself. And like I'm now trying to find them, whatever ones I ain't got, and it's really getting hard now. But I got one today. I just, I don't know, I like it all, I'm just fascinated with it. And I try and imagine what it was like for people back then, like the whole of Dagenham was a farm, basically. Barking was the only bit that was – like the town centre was Abbey Road. Like to think that that part of it, where the Abbey is, was actually the town centre, it's like, oh my God, we lived in the important bit. And the shops down Abbey Road, that's another thing. Right, in the pictures I've got there's shops in Abbey Road, right. Now, there's something I've noticed about these shops, that I don't know about. But they've got the Jewish symbols on the whole block, right, the whole lot of it. Yeah, it was a row of shops and you've got three Jewish symbols on it and you've got all the shops. And I'm thinking, where's that? That is the bit that I don't understand, the Jewish symbols. So I'd like to look into that as well, because I don't know nothing about that. But I know that there was Jewish symbols on the shops, and that was in Abbey Road. So that's something I need to find out about. So I'm always finding stuff, but it's just trying to find it all out, I'm not very good at that sometimes.
Q: It sounds to me like you know a lot [laughs] you’ve found out quite a lot about the area. What would you say is the biggest change you've seen in the Abbey Road area?
A: The biggest change would be – well, the flats going up, right. But it started at the end of Abbey Road. The blue, yellow and red ones. Right, before they built them I got a letter from the Council with a little drawing of a plan. And if you wanted to know more you can go to your town hall and enquire. And I did. And when they showed me the plans, there were tons of them like that, right. And then they showed me the top ones, and then he went, "Right, I've got to go to a meeting, but I'll be back in ten minutes." I was like, "Oh, okay." So off he went and I went through the lot, right, I'm going through them thinking, right. And I noticed my flat weren't there. So I waited for him to come back, and I said to him, "Right, I've looked at these, and somewhere down there my flat's not there, right. And there's a building in its place. So what's that all about?" And he said to me, "Well, they're so far ahead, you won't even be here." Right. And I went, "But you don't know that." I said, "So what is that?" And he wouldn't tell me what it was, what it was planned for. He just presumed I wouldn't be there. And I was there, do you know what I mean? Because they built a school there, you know. And that was planned years ago. That was planned when I first moved in my flat. Everything they'd done, in Abbey Road was planned when I first moved in. But they didn’t do it for years. And I told my neighbours, and I said to them, "Listen, I've been down the Council." And I told them what I saw with the plans. I said, "Our blocks are going, our Banjo is gone." Like the rest of it was there, it was just my block that was gone. And they just laughed at me, right. And I said, "Listen, they're going to build the first lot of blocks at the end of the road." I said, "It's going to be the red, yellow and blue." I said, "I know it sounds unbelievable, but when you see them you'll know I'm telling you the truth." As soon as they started it, they were like, "Oh my God." Right. I went, "We're next." And we all knew, for a long time, they were going to pull them down before they said anything to us. And, you know, so we were prepared for it and we'd been waiting for it, you know. But no one knew. But it's only because I looked at the plans that we wouldn't have known. And they had no intention of telling us. I mean, the Council pulled a stroke as well with the houses as well. Because as –at the time they told us they wanted to build these flats there, someone – a woman died in the Banjo, Hilda, and she was there since I've lived there. A lovely woman she was, but she died, suddenly and all. But the Council let someone buy it. Someone bought the house. And they didn't tell them, they had plans to knock it down, didn't say a word to them, right. So the owners that moved in, when we got the letter, I said to them, I’m a lousy neighbour, aren’t I? [Laughs] I went, "Listen, did you know they're knocking these down?" He went, "No." I said, "Well, you'd better tell the Council that you didn't know that, because they're not allowed to knock it down if you don't know about it. You have to have a ten year check, you know what I mean?" And they failed to tell him. So the houses got stopped for that reason, do you know what I mean? But they turned round, and said, "We're carrying on with the flats, the side block, but the houses, we'll keep them there." But that's only because of that. So in ten years they're legally allowed to knock them houses down. And I'll tell you now, that'll be in ten years [laughs] or eight now, do you know what I mean? Because he only moved in two years ago. So eight years' time them houses will be gone. I'll guarantee it. They've not told anyone this, but I'm telling you now. So, when it does happen it's not a surprise, you know. And there's an old woman that lives there as well, and they can't move her. She's too old and frail. And her name's Maud and her son's Gary. He's a history buff. He knows everything. He's lived there all his life, all his life, he was born there, in Abbey Road, yeah. Because I talk to him about it all. I used to show him all my – I showed him all my pictures and that. And he was like, "Oh my God, I don't know that one." And the windmill, that used to be another Shell garage, in London Road it is. But that used to be a windmill. There used to be a windmill there, do you know what I mean? Near the granary and then, yeah. But he says he remembers it. And I showed him the picture, and he was like, "Where was that?" [Laughs].
Q: So it sounds like, was there a good sense of community, you knew your neighbours in that area?
A: Yeah, it was, yeah. If anything went – if anything – if there was a problem, we all consulted each other. And we did have problems with certain neighbours and we did get together and solve that problem, do you know what I mean? You know. It was a community, and if you was alright there, you treated everyone with respect you're fine. And that's the way it should be, really. But since I've moved I've not had that. It's just been – everyone's out for themselves and no one likes each other. I don't know why they are like that, I just get on with it, I don't mingle with them. Because they don't like each other where I live, they really don't [laughs].
Q: Do you have a sense of pride of being born in Barking and growing up in Barking?
A: Did I...?
Q: Do you have a sense of pride?
A: Yeah, I do, yeah, I love Barking, and I always have done. I didn't realise how much I liked it. When I was eighteen I was desperate to get back there, because I missed Barking. It was my life. I don't know why that is, but it is. I've always preferred Barking. I love Barking. I've missed Barking since not being there. Just to walk through the abbey, like going to the abbey, I used to love doing that. Like on the odd occasion you wouldn't just get the squirrels there, do you know what I mean? You'd get this jay bird, right, big brown thing. And I only noticed it once, because I'm feeding the squirrels their nuts, yeah, and getting the pigeons trying their luck. And then this bird comes flying out of a tree, nicked a nut and flew up in another tree. And I'm thinking, what was that? Like I couldn't believe my eyes, it was massive, right. And it come – I thought, right, I got to know it, it got to know me. And I throw a nut out for it. But then one year, it was so funny, I never saw where it was, it was always in the same tree normally, but it wasn't there, and I don't know why, right. And I'm thinking, "Come on Jack, let's go and look for this bird." Right. So we tried the other side of the abbey. And then I found it, I was like, "Ah, you're hiding in this tree." So I threw a nut, right, not looking behind me, I threw a nut. And the bird wouldn't go down for it, and I'm like, "Is that too close for you? Right, I'll throw one up, there you go. You can have that one." And then it swooped down, got the nut and went back in the tree, right. I was like, "Come on Jack, let's go." Well, this bloke's standing there, right, he was like, "Oh my God, what was that?" He couldn't believe what he'd just seen. I was like, "Oh, it's a jay bird." And I had to tell him all about it. He was like, "How did you know that that bird was going to go for that nut?" I said, "It always does. I just got it for the squirrels, it was nicking the squirrels' nuts." I said, “So I give him nuts.” Yeah, the things that you find. And the abbey's the best place. The river's the best. I love it all, I don't know why, I just do, I just do. It's all free as well, you just walk along, you haven't got to pay for nothing, and it's lovely there, it is.
Q: Just wondering, so are there any other stories you can tell us about Abbey Road or memories about Abbey Road?
A: The chemical leak. That was a shock, to be honest, because I was waiting for my sister to come round and visit me. I looked out my window and there's all these men in white suits, like from ET. And they're stopping everyone from getting in the Banjo or leaving the Banjo. My sister was on the other side of the Banjo, and I'm looking at her and I'm going, "What's going on?" Sort of thing. And she's like, "They're not letting me in." They told her to go all the way round. And it turns out that the chemical factory, I presume it's the paint factory, next to the pub had had a chemical leak of some sort. And it went in the cellar of the pub. And it filled up the actual cellar, that's how bad it was. So they had to get rid of all that chemical and make sure it was all safe. I don't know what chemicals it was. It took them a while to do that. And the pub was shut, definitely. I was worried about my cat at the time, but she was fine [laughs].
Q: When was this, can you remember, about...?
A: Cor, this was – this was, again, this was in the ‘90s. I'm just trying to remember if I had my son at the time, because I'm not sure if it was after. I can't remember, it was the ‘90s, it must have been. Because I had Daniel. I had him in ‘93, he died in ‘95. I don't think I had him that time, I'm not sure. It was in the ‘90s.
Q: Yeah, no, that's fine, it's good to know, yeah, in the ‘90s and, yeah, we'll look into that and find out more. Did you notice, when there was the factories and things like that at that time, what was the air like, was – in – around Abbey Road?
A: The air? Alright, the air was terrible. Yeah, it was terrible, right. I'll tell you [laughs] it was awful. Right, the reason being is, you'd need fresh air, you'd [inaudible 00:34:33] your windows and things. But God help you if you didn't. Because you could get a day, and you've got a square patch on the curtain where whatever dust or pollution that's coming through is actually getting trapped on the curtain when you've got your window open. And it was awful, you'd get – it was just dusty. It's not dust, it was like grit and it was just really bad, it was bad. But it still is bad there now. Not as bad because they've finished with the building work, but when they were doing that, that was terrible. And I thought my flat was going to fall down when they started doing the – they were thumping the floor and everything was shaking. It was awful, it was scary. But, yeah, the grit and that, everything was coming through. In fact I actually felt like complaining. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I did, I felt like complaining to the Council, and saying, "Look, I'm living with this. What the hell, like, I should be not living with this, but I am." And, yeah, it was terrible, it was damp, it was, yeah, it was pretty bad. But them trees that are there now, yeah, they wasn't there when I moved in, there was no trees. And my neighbour replanted them, Pat and Dave, when I first moved in, Pat and Dave lived downstairs. And Rose, Dave's mum, right, Pat and Dave were – Dave was in his 50s, Pat was in her 30s, 40s, I was about nineteen, right, his mum lived in that flat all her life. So that was their family's flat, do you know what I mean? So they've been there all that time. Her ashes are actually in the garden. I've forgotten what I was getting at now. Oh, they planted them trees. I said to them, "Listen, are they the little ones, they're not them ones that get massive are they?" And he's like, "No, no, no, they're the little ones." No, they weren't the little ones [laughs]. But them trees are terrible because they just block the light. But the Council shouldn't allow that, I don't think they should, because they’re just ruining the ground and everything. But they're all going, everything's going, it's all going to change. I mean, the shops went. When the shops went they put these new shops in. And the flat, no one can afford them. And it's alright them saying, "Oh yeah...." I know you don't – this is not part of it, is it.
Q: You can say, yeah, you can say what you want to, I mean, we can always edit it out or...
A: Well, it's just – I wouldn't be able to afford to live in them flats, if I asked to. They tried to put me in one of them, and I was like, "No, no, no, I can't be doing that because I can't afford it." If I was to get a job, I wouldn't be able to afford the rent. And that is the problem. And the shop that they built there, their prices are ridiculous. And it's because they've got to pay so much rent to rent that shop. And it's just stupid, it's alright doing all this, but I feel like they've pushed us out. That's what I feel like they've done, to be honest.
Q: So people that you used to live with, so most of them, do you think, live in Barking still or they moved to Dagenham or different areas?
A: Everybody has moved, everybody has. I'm the only one – right, my sister – there's only one, there's my sister, she lives in Dagenham. She's up the road to me now, I've just moved up the road to her. But other than that, every single one of my family has left Barking and Dagenham, every one of them. No one lives there now. In fact most of them moved to New Zealand [laughs].
Q: [Laughs] Very different, yeah, very far.
A: Yeah, you couldn't get no further. But, yeah, because like a lot of my family, my aunt and that, I see her still, she's back in this country now. But she grew up on Thames View, and she asked me about Thames View, and I said, "Listen, it weren't even built till ‘54, did you even know that?" She was like, "No." I went, "So when you lived here, moved here, it was brand new. You know what I mean, you got the best of it." [Laughs]. She was like, "Wow!" But they used to live on the Gascoigne as well and it's just – I remember all their memories, they were telling me about it. I mean, my dad – the naughty times were, I tell you, the naughty times were when the Gascoigne was all the rows of houses. No Morley Road and Boundary Road and all that, it went right across, from one side to the other, right up to Abbey Road. And when they were pulling them houses down, my dad's dad, he was so naughty, right. He used to say, "Right, come on then, son. We're going to nick all the lead off the roofs." [Laughs]. And he'd make him go out nicking all the lead and everything, and I'm [laughs]... It's terrible, but they're from Barking, what do you expect [laughs]?
Q: You've seen a lot of changes, haven't you, a lot of changes.
A: Yeah, I have, yeah. Like, Vicarage Field weren't there, was it, obviously. I remember when they built that, the field. I used to have fireworks – we used to have a firework display over there. I used to go over there for the firework display, and everyone said, "You're mad, there weren't." And I went, "There was, I remember it." And there were, there were. Yeah, fireworks displays used to be on the football ground. And we used to go there from Barns House like to see the fireworks display. And, yeah, that was – I remember that, that's memorable, that's one of my earlier memories, fun ones, you know what I mean? We went out and we did a firework display at that place, and it was in the football ground, before Vicarage Field, yeah. And we had them bollards, the balls were on top, the concrete balls. And that used to scare me [laughs] I was only little but, oh, them balls are going to fall off [laughs].
Q: [Laughs]. I think that's all my questions, really.
A: Have I actually...
Q: Yeah, you’ve shared loads of fantastic memories and, I think, yeah, really vividly, really vividly described a lot of changes. And I think, yeah, you've got quite a unique position, seeing these changes in the area.
A: Does it actually help, though?
Q: Yeah, no, and I think the way you've described smell as well, you've described so many different smells. Oh, one more question that I ask everyone, do you have a favourite smell, Jacquie?
A: What, of Barking?
Q: Just in general, do you have a favourite smell, just something you really like.
A: I do have a favourite smell, yeah.
Q: What is it?
A: Well, believe it or not, it's a soap that I use called Wide Awake. It's a Radox smell, it's just a Radox, Wide Awake smell thing, I love that, that's my favourite smell.
Q: What does it smell like?
A: Oh, I can't even tell you what it smells like, that's the reason, I can't pinpoint it. It keeps you away. I don't know, it smells so nice that I just love it, it's my favourite smell, it really is. And I just – I can't describe what it smells like. It's not a flower smell, it's not a – it's like a fresh... I don't know.
Q: Describing smells is hard [laughs].
A: It wakes you up, it does, it's a refreshing – I can't describe it.
Q1: It's probably a blend of different herbs, maybe. I think I have the same [laughs] bath oil.
A: Yeah, well it's Radox.
Q1: Yeah, I think it's like maybe eucalyptus and rosemary. And I think it's a couple of different herbs, you know, that are like combined together. Yeah, I have the same [laughs].
A: Wide Awake it's called, or Stay Awake or Keep Awake or something like that, yeah.
Q: It sounds nice. Do you have any questions to add in?
Q1: Yeah, I just wondered, Jacquie about your – you talk about your parents and your grandparents and, before that as well, maybe your great great grandparents living in the area. I wondered if they were associated with any of the different industries in the area, if you have any stories about what, you know, how they – if they had a profession.
A: Right, well my gran – my great grandparent lived round the corner from Bobby Moor, the footballer. He lived round the corner to him. They were from – well, they were Geordies, right, my great grandparents were on my mum's side. And they came down – right, they saw an advert for Becontree, the LCC done an advert, saying, "Come and live down here. There's trains..." They advertised all this, "Trains that take you all the way to London. You can get work, you can – and you've got reasonable houses." And they looked at this advert, and thought, yeah, we'll give that a go. So they bought a house at Thames View, Craven Gardens, which is off of Waverley. And then my granddad worked, like the Cutty Sark, when that was a tea clipper, when they decided to change that from a tea clipper to a museum thing, he was the refurbisher. And he refurbished – he done all the carpentry and everything, he was brilliant at it, he was. So that's another thing that kept them here, is him working on the Cutty Sark. So, and my gran worked at R Whites in Barking.
Q1: Oh, the lemonade factory, is it, yeah?
A: Yeah, that was another factory, yeah, that was at the end of Abbey Road, R Whites, yeah. And she used to work there. And my granddad loved his R Whites, so she'd have to get him a bottle every day. And like, yeah, some of the things that she used to tell me. He was the carpenter. Like my great uncle, my gran and granddad’s son, my mum's dad and his brother, my great uncle, they used to tell me – well, not so much my mum's dad, but my uncle did. He used to tell me about like all the dances he used to go to in Barking and all the things he used to get up, "I used to be a right mover, I was." Do you know what I mean? And I'd be like, "Yeah, alright, old man." [Laughs]. And it was just hearing all their stories, the way they – and there’s the fact that they went to Eastbury School. And my mum, today, I said to her, "Listen, I've found a photo" Of her mum in one of my books, right. I said, "She was only seventeen in this picture." I said, and it was in Valence Library. I said, but she lived in Barking, right, I said, "Whereabouts did she live?" And she told me, yeah. And I went, "What school did she go to?" And she told me Eastbury. And I'm thinking, wow, I never knew that, do you know what I mean? So quite a lot of my family – and my dad went to Eastbury. I don't know where his parents came from, that is the one thing I don't know. My mum's side, I know them, but my dad's side – dad's mum and dad, I'm not sure where they're from, if they've always been in Barking or what. I just know that his dad was well known in Barking. I didn't really grow up with a lot of them. But that was such a long time ago. Now, we don't know each other, but we're on Facebook. So I don't know if they know the stories or not, it don't matter. But there's a lot of Goosetrees out there, hundreds of them, and we're all related. But, yeah, it's like everyone’s been to Eastbury, I never went to Eastbury, obviously it wasn’t a school when I was a kid, that was just a centre thing. But I went to Mayesbrook. That's not even there now, that's gone. And, yeah, what was I – I'm forgetting.
Q1: I was just asking about the profession, yeah, of your ancestors, so that was really interesting to hear about the Cutty Sark.
A: Yeah, then my gran worked in R Whites.
Q1: Yeah, oh right, Thank you.
A: Yeah, she worked, she was a baker as well. She done bakery at one time. I don't know when she done that, she was brilliant at baking. They've done everything themselves, didn't they. Grew their own veg. And she used to get her tomatoes – she told me, you get your tomatoes in, right, you put them in a towel, you put them in a drawer, in a dark room, a dark place, and they will ripen. And my boyfriend said to me, "No, that's not how you do it, you put them on the window sill, in the sun." And I went, "Alright then, you do your one your way, I'll do my one my way and we'll see which one ripens first." And, lo and behold, it was actually my one. My gran was right [laughs].
Q1: Oh, that's right. The older generation have such great knowledge, don't they?
Q1: Of the natural world and, you know.
A: Yeah, because, I mean, I wouldn't have thought that would have made a difference. I would have thought doing it on the window sill is the normal way, but...
Q1: Yeah, you would have thought the opposite, not the dark.
A: Yeah, so she actually – I was like ha, ha, ha [laughs]. And runner beans, I do, I grow my own veg. I'm terrible for that, it's just – that's my son's fault, that is. He come home with a runner bean plant, and that's it, we've done it ever since, do everything.
Q: That's brilliant.
Q1: That's great, yeah.
Q: And did you say, did you remember R Whites factory, was it still there?
A: No, no, I don't, no.
Q: It’s gone. Yeah, I think closed.
A: No, not really, because I didn't really know Abbey Road at all till I was seventeen. I didn't even – when I got my flat, right, I still didn't know that it was Abbey Road, where the pub was. And I'm thinking, where the hell is Abbey Road? I was going round in circles looking for it, thinking, I can't find my flat [laughs]. I just, "I've got the key." I phoned people, "Where's Abbey Road?" No one knew where it was, it was so out the way. And I used to think it's out the way, but tucked away – the Gascoigne, it's sort of got its back to the Gascoigne, hasn't it. That's what it was like, and you had the Gascoigne behind you. "No, this is not the Gascoigne, the Gascoigne's over there." [Laughs] That's what I used to tell people. "You live on the Gascoigne?” "No, I do not." [Laughs].
Q: I guess unless you're working on Abbey Road at that time, why would – yeah, why would you go there? It was industrial, it wasn't residential like it is now.
A: Oh no, it was terrible. You wouldn't have thought – to be fair, when it was all factories the only access, the only place you could access any properties was our Banjo. That's it. You couldn't get to no other properties down my road because they all cordoned it all off with fences and everything. But, yeah, it's just – the fences, I think that made it a bit dangerous for people to get up to stuff. Because the amount of times we had old bill in our garden looking for people [laughs]. I see a torch, thinking, oh my God, what's going on? There were always people with torches in my garden looking for someone.
Q: Any other questions?
Q1: No, I don't think so, no.
Q: Anything else you want to say?
A: Erm... I was just – I don't know, I just hope I've given you anything that's useful.
Q: Yeah, thank you, it's been fantastic. I'm going to finish the interview now.
[END OF RECORDING – 00:48:46]