Florence Radley

Florence Radley, the daughter of Mary and James High, recorded her memoirs in her old age. Here she gives a brief picture of how poor they were, and how hungry her father was as a boy in Salthouse.


Florence's father James High

"Grandmother High was very poor. Grandfather died when he was fifty, he had cancer on the lip. He walked to Norwich Hospital and he was operated on, but in doing it they broke his jaw by mistake. That wouldn’t happen now.  Oh, they were poor! My father never went to school. Well, he went one day, and Johnson [the Squire] went there and got him out of school to go and keep some hens in a field up on the heath. He was six, and he was terrified, and he came and sat on the stile at the top there, so he could see the houses.

"My grandfather earned eight shillings a week and Uncle Harry earned four. Flour was four shillings a stone, and all my mother could make was bread. They used to give the bullocks molasses to treat them, and the boys used to come up and get some of that to eat with their bread. There was an old chap kept a shop up Cross Street, an old man called Dew, and when Father was going up the road, he used to say ‘Come here, boy, and let’s see what your mother bring you for your dinner,’ and he’d put a bit of cheese in for him. And they’d get a turnip, and scoop that out and put blackberries in when the blackberries were ripe and they’d eat that with the bread. My father never did forget the first taste he had of goose! He worked for Johnsons in the Manor House and they had maids and one of them gave him the drum stick of a goose. He got in the stable and ate it and ooh!—he said he never tasted anything like it. "


Val Fiddian 2005