Interview with Ruby Cooper-Keeble, 16 February 2009
Level: Category
Sound Archive
Level: Fonds
Level: Sub-Fonds
Oral History Recordings
Level: Sub-Series
Memories Exchange interviews
Scope and Content:
Interview with Ruby Cooper-Keeble about growing up through the Second World War and the 1953 flood, and about working in the Co-op in Dovercourt and Harwich. Ruby's husband is present for some of the interview and occasionally speaks.

[Track 1:] Memories of going into the air raid shelter during the Second World War with her extended family living at 2 Albert Street; saw a bomb land (2 minutes 20 seconds).
[Track 2:] Started at Bathside School at age four; disliked school, the milk, and school dinners; playing in the Bathside area; friendly neighbourhood; childhood games (2 minutes 44 seconds).
[Track 3:] Shops and pubs in Bathside: included grocers’, post office, The Anchor, abattoir, gas works; swimming, skating, and punting in the area; scrumping from allotments; delivered coke to neighbours for pocket money (6 minutes 9 seconds).
[Track 4:] 1953 Flood: Had gone to London the day before; grandmother woke them up because front door had crashed in with the water (then living at 35 Albert Street); water rose to the second floor; saw her dog and some pigs get caught in a whirlpool outside the house (6 minutes 12 seconds).
[Track 5:] Rescued by boat around 12pm the next day; taken to the drill hall; then went to stay with an acquaintance for about six months; attending Hill School by then; pupils did not go back to school immediately (7 minutes 36 seconds).
[Track 6:] Grandmother ill after the flood, family went to stay with aunt in Bishop’s Stortford [Hertfordshire]; had to return to Harwich to go back to school (55 seconds).
[Track 7:] Lost all their possessions from the house; visited the house as it was being repaired; smell and salt in the walls stayed for years (1 minute 44 seconds).
[Track 8:] Stayed in a caravan on the green with a hut for her and her brother to sleep in; moved back to Albert Street over a year later; sense of community among the other people who had been flooded out, other Bathside residents; saw it as an adventure at the time (3 minutes 12 seconds).
[Track 9:] First job after leaving school was working in the Co-op grocery store in Dovercourt; serving customers, weighing up and packaging food; took cheque to cashier’s desk to pay (3 minutes 2 seconds).
[Track 10:] Moved to Harwich store (Church Street) because Dovercourt store was changing to self-service; started collecting orders from customers to take to dispatch; collected money from previous week’s orders; delivered money to cashier (Pam Lacey); worked there until she had first child (4 minutes 29 seconds).
[Track 11:] Had to telephone to ask for time off for wedding and honeymoon, initially refused because cashier had already booked time off but finally agreed (1 minute 56 seconds).
[Track 12:] Uniform for work; other staff working at the shop; other duties (4 minutes 13 seconds).
[Track 13:] Employees on Trinity light ships ordered and collected food from shop (1 minute 44 seconds).

A male voice speaks occasionally during the interview.
Dates of Creation:
16 February 2009
46 minutes 24 seconds
Creator Name:
David Whittle
Admin History:
Ruby Cooper-Keeble was born circa 1941 in Albert Street. She spent most of her life in Harwich and Dovercourt, apart from when she had to move away after her house was damaged by the 1953 flood. She worked at the Co-op grocery stores in Dovercourt and Harwich.
Copyright of interviewee transferred to Harwich Society; copyright of recording transferred to ESVA but contact Harwich Society prior to use for broadcasting on radio, television, or non-ERO website.
Physical Characteristics:
Digital MP3 files converted from original wma recording.
Originals Location:
Harwich Society
Related Unit of Description:
Digital photograph of Ruby Cooper-Keeble catalogued as SA 49/1/2/9/4.

The interview with Pam Lacey is catalogued as SA 49/1/2/10/1.
Not Available:
Essex Sound and Video Archive: use digital copy available on Soundcloud

Key terms

TypeKey termsDescription
Subjects Second World War Interview with Ruby Cooper-Keeble
Personal Names Ruby
Interview with Ruby Cooper-Keeble
Document Types Sound recording Interview with Ruby Cooper-Keeble
Institutions Co-Operative Society Interview with Ruby Cooper-Keeble