Memories of Minnie Rachel Logan (mainly in the vernacular!)

Dictated in 1984 her story in her words.
Born 20 March 1889 at 5 Osborne Cottages, Little Heath

Extract 1891 census

Extract 1901 census

Married Sunday 31 August 1916 at Little Heath Church to William Logan – born in England on 10th March 1882. Parents Scottish. Army people.

Minnie's marriage entry

Minnie's wedding photo Courtesy of David Shram.


Always lived in the Parish. Husband in Army. Father Thomas Harris from Oxford. Overseer on farm in Darkes Lane
Died in Wesleyan Chapel in Quakers Lne one Sunday morning. Now housing next to Potters Bar telephone exchange.

Mother Elizabeth Thompson (seventh child). Died 1916 a week before Minnie’s wedding

Extract from North Mymms burial records

Buried in Baptist Chapel, Barnet Road, Potters Bar.
Lived 6 years at 5 Osborne Cottages
Father married three times

Harris family

William - Gardener
Frank Arthur - Decorator
Kate Emily
Annie (married Mr Jennings, 5 Heath Cottages)
Thirza Elizabeth
Minnie (seventh child)
Hilda Mercy (died aged 14 from scarlet fever)
Daisy Martha

Very happy family. Parents strict Baptists – very religious.
Not much money but easier times in her memory as eldest were by then out at work. Big gardens, lived off produce. Plain food but plenty of it – probably why they were so healthy.

Minnie and William's family

James Arthur b 28 October 1920.
Philip William b 12 May 1924.
Joyce Helen b 28 April 1927.


Where did you go to school?
Little Heath, Mission Hall, Thornton Road. Mr Appleyard. Learned to read and write and liked history.

What do you remember?
One thing I always remember as a child – I was about 9. My mother was housekeeper to three missionaries – two ladies and a gentleman. Elderly, very religious people. She sent me round there. They asked me into the dining room. I stood on a stool and I had to say ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want’. After I had said it they gave me sixpence. I came out and ran ‘ome to give it to my mother. ‘Cos sixpence then …….. I never forgot that.

You didn’t have any jobs?
Not when I was at school. I had to fetch coal for me mother. We never sent out ‘til I left school and had to work.

What was your first job?
Do you remember Little Heath Wood, opposite the Church? The big ‘ouse. Nathan it was at the time, then it got to Latham and I used to go there to work once a week to help in the kitchens. You ‘ad to work when you left school. The first job I went away from ‘ome I cried so much they ‘ad to come and get me back. That was goin’ down Stag Hill. I was only there a week. Then I was three years at Lochinvar as kitchenmaid. Lewin ‘ad that ‘ouse, the Jew people. I got £1.3s.4d a month, that went farther than it does not, £2 goes nowhere now, does it?

Extract 1911 census. Not mentioned in the text, Minnie is working as a servant at Willenhall in Potters Bar.

From there I went to Liverpool as cook. I was engaged to be married then, courtin’ at that time. I was there a year then I ‘ad a message to say my mother was very ill so I came ‘ome and I nursed her for two years and she died when that Zeppelin came over. I watched that before they lit it up, lit it up like a train because Boltons Park ‘ad got the lights and behind the club for boys in Hawkshead Road was a big gun and I was in the roadway. That was a week before I was married. Then when my ‘usband came out of the Army I lived in 6 Heath Cottages for 53 years. My children were born there. And then my grandson bought it and got married. They used to quarrel so I said I can’t stop ‘ere, so I applied for a flat and I got it within a fortnight. They put me in Dellfield for 9 months, then they put me ‘ere and I’ve been ‘ere since 1977.

How did you meet your husband?
I met ‘im – he was wounded – at the hospital at Little Heath Wood that was where they used to take all the wounded men, I met him there, well, I met ‘im outside. I married ‘im before he want abroad to Ireland. Then he came ‘ome and it was four years before my first child was born. And I ‘ad two sons and a daughter and took a foster child. I brought her up and she’s abroad in Australia. My second son’s in Canada.

Did you continue working after you were married?
I’ve always ‘ad to work. I’ve done everything. I’ve ‘ad a hard life because my husband was shell-shocked and he was either in ‘ospital or he was at work and he worked the dole out, ‘cos it came in, didn’t it, and I’ve never had any help. I had good health, I’ve always ‘ad good health and I was the breadwinner.

In Little Heath there was some very good families and they were all well-to-do and all the poor people round there they either worked in the gardens or they worked in the ‘ouse. And I’ve done everything you could think of. I’ve even laid people out – but I got on. I never owed no rent.

And the first ‘ouse I lived, you know Lady Trenchard, the Cottages. I was there for a few months and couldn’t bear livin’ in ‘em. I didn’t like the place so I want up to Little Heath, you know, near the public house. Then they brought me ‘ere. I love this place ‘ere. I’m more ‘appy ‘ere than I’ve been anywhere.

Did you have a nice wedding?

Yes, I did. I could show you a big photograph of my marriage and it was very quiet of course and I stayed at ‘ome for a little while and he came ‘ome from the war and we got a house. You could get a house then. You can’t get one now can you, not without a struggle.

Did your parents help you?
No, we furnished it bit by bit. Of course I’d been brought up very nicely, you know. Although they were poor, my mother was very proud and I could do anything. I used to do me own gardenin’, I’ve done all me own garden. I used to do all the place up. My ‘usband was an only child and he never took no responsibility, never, that’s what made it so ‘ard for me. I had some lovely children.

How did you manage the housekeeping?
I put bits away and I never owed anything to anybody. And now I know where every penny goes. Well you see, we were made like that, we ‘ad to save. Not today they don’t, do they! Had no help in the ‘ome. People you knew came in if anyone was sick. You couldn’t afford it those days. I know once I applied for help because my ‘usband used to wander. He’d wander off a week and I never knew where he was. But I was workin’. I worked at everything I could think of, laundry work, I took on a hall, I done that. I took on cookin’, all sorts of things and I worked for a lot of people, good people that ‘ad got money, you know. I was able to keep goin’. I could mend, I could stitch and make things.

I tell you one thing, about once a year there was a very good rummage sale and they ‘ad god stuff and if I saw anything I’d pick it up, take it ‘ome and make them clothes. Well, you ‘ad to them days. I sat for 8 years babysittin’ for DeVal (?), the gear people and they’ve never forgotten me and that must be 50 years and every year I have a cheque from them, a small one like. And Barratts the sweet people, I went there, waited at table there. And different people I’ve worked for and I’d work all hours for ‘alf-a-crown, do the ‘ouse down for that. Then I used to go down the station to buy the food. Anyway, I got on. I was too independent I think, I was very careful. I am now.

Were there any savings clubs, coal etc?
Yes, coal club, a doctor’s club. That was more in my mother’s time, where they used to go for mothers meetin’. And they used to run this club and at the end of the year they’d ‘ave ‘alf a ton o’ coal. So much was on it, with a hundred o’ coal a week. My father used to buy the tops of trees, that was winter. When you saw the snow ad frost up to the back door you ‘ad to do something. And we had to prepare the summer for the winter but they got over it, they was never in debt.

My father had a big horse and a great big block and his axe, and he used to mend saws and all that. And we used to ‘ave to go and chop that wood – I could axe with anybody. We were taught all that to do.
We were kept warm – fires! – my father was a lad for an open grate. Couldn’t read or write but he could count – could he count! We ‘ad no ‘lectricity, no gas, no bathroom, but my mother used to bring this big bath in front o’ this big fire and she’d get us washed of a Saturday, that’s they way they was brought up. No toys, never had a toy. Used to go to Sunday School treats and that sort of thing. Take our mugs with us.

And I was in the choir. Used to sing! Oh yes, had to go to chapel oh, my word, three times a Sunday. Best clothes and you ‘ad to behave yourself too. Had to walk. Then of a Sunday evenin’ when we all got in we’d sing. When we got on a bit more in life we ‘ad an organ and I kept that organ for years and the fly got into it and it had to be taken to pieces. And my mother would never ‘ave a swear word in the ‘ouse – she was very particular in that way.

21st October 2015

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