Charles & Rachael Harwood. Penny Licks, Cherry picking and Walford House.


Jeanette Gilby, (Nee Andrews), edited by R.Dixon.

    My Great Grandfather Charles Harwood and my Great Grandmother Rachael were resident at "Walford House" (the Georgian House set back from the High Street opposite Millers Lane, ed) during the l900 - 1920`s, where they ran a small business selling dairy products including home made Ice Cream which could be bought in "Penny licks". (They were an elaborate trick, and were a glass vase type vessel made with very thick walls and gave a false impression of how much they contained, you paid your money, licked the glass clean and handed it back for further use). The house had a large garden with many fruit trees, the family children were told to pick the cherries, and were promised a halfpenny if they did not eat any, but as this was difficult to prove, little was paid out.

    Charles was born at the railway cottage next to the Buntingford railway line in Hollycross Road (referred to by some as 'Mickey Harwoods Hill') in 1868. (The cottage burnt down in the late1950's and subsequently rebuilt. ed). He was the son of Henry, a plate layer for the Great Eastern Railway and married Rachael Hills in 1887. They lived first at Willow Walk in Ware where he worked as a Maltster, later moving to Stanstead Abbots in 1897 to a house in South Street moving to Walford House just after. Twelve children were born, but only 9 survived, 3 having died in infancy. It was their father's wish that they all had a basic education, which was at a cost of 1 penny per child per week, although in today's terms it seems very little but it was quite a hardship for the family. Two sons Jack and George were soldiers in the Great war in 1914-18, along with Frank Andrews who married their sister Elizabeth, she became my Grandmother. Rachael died during 1944, Charles lived until 1950.

Jeanette Gilby

Rachael Harwood

Charles Harwood

Penny Lick Glasses