Hainault Forest Website

Social History



Charlotte Harvey

Lottie Harvey 13th December 2005.

Lottie Harvey was born in 1915 in No. 4 Foxburrows Cottages. She was the youngest of six children with Jack, Edward, Bill, Henry and Susie. The toilet was a privy (earth closet) at the bottom of the garden. There was no bathroom. A zinc bath was brought into the living room and filled with water boiled on an open range. Lighting was with oil lamps and candles. The boys sometimes managed to set the curtains on fire!  Water was heated early morning so that her mother could do the weekly wash. Lottie helped put the wet clothes through a mangle to squeeze the water out, and the clothes were hung out to dry. Ironing was done with a solid iron which was kept hot on the range.

With such a large family the laundry took a couple of days hard work. Mother was always baking cakes and pies, and would preserve seasonal fruit by bottling, make chutneys, jams especially blackberry jelly, and make wines. Lottie and her sister would be sent out into the forest to collect the blackberries, elderberries and crab apples.

There were no buses and Lottie had to walk several miles to school and back at Collier Row (opposite the City Limits). Whalebone Lane or the "cement road", as Lottie calls it,   hadn't been built at that time so the walk was twice as far as it is today. The school had 4 classes and catered for infants and juniors. The children were taken for lessons in cookery and laundry to Mawney Road, Romford. A big distraction was the River Rom at Collier Row or the brook as Lottie calls it. The children would often go there to bathe and play. On Ascension Day and other religious days the school would parade to Church in Collier Row. The service started late morning and they would have the rest of the day off. One of her teachers was Mrs Beard. The headmaster was very strict and would often use the cane on the boys and girls. Her eldest brother Jack didn't have so far to walk to school. His school is now the Hainault Forest Golf Club House. Jack later worked as a plumber for Harman's of Chigwell Row who were builders and funeral directors.

Alfred Harvey (left) aged 30 and colleague in their patrol uniforms of velvet jacket and waistcoat, gaiters and bowler hat about 1906. Photo:  C.Harvey.

L.C.C metal uniform button which was held on with a split pin.

Mother Esther with Henry, Susie, Bill and Ted outside 4 Foxburrows Cottages. Photo: C.Harvey

Alongside the outhouse at Hainault Cottages before the outbreak of war. Bill holding Shirley, Susie, Esther, Elsie and Jack Harvey - parents of Shirley, Henry at the back. Photo: C. Harvey.


When not at school, Lottie and her sister Susie would play all day in the forest. They felt very safe there. They would climb trees, pick bluebells and flowers for their mother, make daisy chains, and collect chestnuts. They liked to shuffle through the fallen leaves in the autumn. On Christmas eve they would hang up their stockings for Father Christmas to fill with presents. On Christmas day they would find them full with an orange, apple, nuts, pen, pencil, a home made peg doll, and sometimes a book. The home was decorated with paper chains. The paper was cut into strips and stuck together using a flour and water paste. Holly and mistletoe were placed around the room. Their father collected a Christmas tree from Ilford and it was decorated with tinsel, home made toys, stars and other baubles. Coloured candles were attached to the tree. Lottie remembers a favourite red velvet dress which she liked to show off to everyone. She was disappointed to have to wear a pinafore over it when going to school.


Lottie's father Alfred was one of the first foresters to be employed by Edward North Buxton. His first uniform was made of velvet and the metal buttons were fixed with a split pin. They were removed to be polished. He wore a bowler hat. When he became head forester the family moved to No's 1 and 2 Hainault Cottages by the forest entrance. These cottages were knocked into one to accommodate the growing family. There were stone floors, and the paintwork was always dark green and dark brown.


Although there was no transport, there was the steam train from Fairlop Station which would take you to Ilford for shopping which meant walking to the station with a pram to hold the shopping. Most requirements were delivered by local shops on a daily or weekly basis. Milk in a large churn came by horse and cart and the milkman had half and pint measures and would fill your jugs with milk. Craylings the bakers delivered the bread and Lottie's father particularly liked the cottage loaf. He would pull off the top piece and with a piece of cheese would have sufficient for his lunch. Freebody delivered meat, and the groceries were delivered by Pardy and Johnson of Chigwell Row. The Hokey pokey man delivered ice cream.


In the Foxburrows barns Mr and Mrs Lucas, who lived in one of the cottages, had a teashop. There were long tables covered with white tablecloths. They served set teas, there were slab cakes, jellies, and jam sandwiches, or a high tea could be provided. Tea was poured from large teapots. Wedding receptions were catered for and two of Lottie's brothers had their receptions there. Sweets could be purchased there. Mrs Lucas made Christmas cakes and the Harvey's had one each year. Around the walls were stuffed animals and antlers and outside on a tin roof real monkeys were chained. Under the eaves the swallows made their nests every summer.


When she left school, Lottie did housework until 1941 when she was called up for War service and joined the NAAFI . Following the war she had several jobs in a tea factory and a chocolate factory on the Industrial estate, but remembers her time in Sainsbury's in Barkingside. Here she would weigh sugar from a sack into blue bags which had to be folded correctly so that the sugar would not spill out when it was sold. Chunks of butter were cut, weighed and shaped with two wooden spatulas and wrapped in greaseproof paper. Cheese had to be accurately cut and bacon boned and cut into rashers at a thickness decided by the customer. It could be cold work as the manager would often open all the windows to keep the food fresh.


Lottie and her sister Susie helped at the golf course. They helped with catering, entertaining and cleaning. There were many tournaments and her brother Bill won many trophies. He also played for Essex. The family's local was the Hainault Oak and their father Alfred had his own chair and tankard there. Woe betide anyone who sat in his chair. Darts and dominoes were played there and the publicans were Mr and Mrs. Reeves.


Sadly Lottie died on the 29th April 2009.




Henry Harvey 1st left, back row. Boys would often wear buttonholes to school. Hainault Forest School 1921.

Grades III & IV

Susie with necklace, brother Bill behind her at Hainault Forest School 1921. Grades V & VI.

School photos: Thanks to C. Harvey.

1-2 Hainault Cottages.      Photo: Vic George.

Hainault Forest Golf Course Club Championship Tankard 1951. One of many trophies won by

Bill Harvey.