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Oral History Summary – Ruby Wood


INTERVIEW SUMMARY  

Ref. No.    KH081223 Ruby Wood


Interviewees’ surname(s)  Wood (nee Goodwin then Wingfield then Wood)  

Title:                                 Mrs

Interviewee’s forenames: Ruby

Gender:                             Female

Occupation:                      Retired                

Date of Birth:                   24 Jan 1921  

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Date(s) of recording and tracks (from – to):  23 Dec 2008

Location of interview(s):                                Kingsley Hall Dagenham

Name of interviewer:                                      John Saville

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Interviewee’s background: Ruby grew up in Dagenham from childhood. She was at KH Dag from day 1. She continued attending through Sunday Schools, youth work, marriage until 1980s. Met Gandhi at Dagenham in 1931

Highlight: Eye witness account of arrival of Lesters in their caravan and start of the work in Dagenham.

Comment: References to “Emmy” and “Bill” refer to the interviewer’s parents Emily and William Saville. Les Wood was her (2nd) husband.

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Summary: (00:00) Ruby described her family background and early Life. (05:20) She was walking her dog when the Lester’s caravan arrived on the field. Described those in caravan who arrived from Bow (Muriel & Doris Lester, Mr Sillitoe, Emlyn Vaughan, Miss Parker Gray). (15:00) Detailed description of first day activities with children and start of on-going work. Described early buildings and some opposition. (17:00) Described early activities of Sunday Schools and adults [known as Parent Teachers Association!] with Winifred Barnard and Peggy James. (20:17) Start of Nursery School. (21:00) Joined St John’s ambulance service. (22:40) Start of the 1938 “New Hall”.  (23:30) Social events including Greek dancing an camps at Ongar & Chesterfield. (28:00) Camp Fire Girls. (31:24) Met Gandhi at KH Dagenham. (35:00) She attended socials which involved parents of Children) and (36:00) Sunday Services. (37:00) Arrival of Sydney Russell {SJR}at Dagenham). (39:45) wartime experiences. (44:00) Development of “Young Marrieds” for those married at KH Dag. (48:45) She and husband Les stood in for Sydney Russell whilst he was on holiday. Trouble with football players! (59:00) Characterisation of Muriel & Doris Lester and their roles. (61:21) Fetes. (65:51) What difference did KH make to Ruby’s life? (67:05) Links to KH Bow (including early socials and Laing era), principles of KH – no drinking or gambling and to Lester’s home in Loughton. (75:16) Wartime experiences (79:48) Interview closed and consent form.

 

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INTERVIEW SUMMARY  

Ref. No.    KH090428 Ruby Wood


Interviewees’ surname(s)  Wood (nee Goodwin then Wingfield)  

Title:                                 Mrs

Interviewee’s forenames: Ruby

Gender:                             Female

Occupation:                      Retired                

Date of Birth:                   21 Jun 1921  

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Date(s) of recording and tracks (from – to):  28 Apr 2009

Location of interview(s):                                Kingsley Hall Dagenham

Name of interviewer:                                      John Saville

Interviewee’s background: Ruby grew up in Dagenham from childhood and was a long term member of Kingsley Hall Dagenham from Day 1.

Highlight: Wartime experiences as an ambulance driver.

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Comment: References to “Emmy” and “Bill” refer to the interviewer’s parents Emily and William Saville. Les Wood was her (2nd) husband.

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Summary:  (1:00) Parents background in Suffolk/Romford; move to Dagenham; siblings. (7:30) Schools South Wood Lane & Halbert (8:22) Early work life typing; office in London; travel to London on workmen’s train; joined St John’s ambulance; (13:09) Wartime work initially giving out ration books; then joined civil defence as ambulance driver; experience of air raids; (22:00) First marriage and children; failed marriage failed and  left husband; return to work in an office in Woolwich; (28:03) Returned to Kingsley Hall, Dagenham; divorce process; (34:00) second marriage to Les; moved to Aveley; Les worked in Ford;  moved to Somerset in 1975; (37:50) More memories of wartime with ambulance made from meat van; (40:49) KH memories; visits to KH Bow at end of Laing period; earlier visits to Bow [Sunday School/keep fit] tea on the roof; influence of Muriel Lester; visits to Ongar, Chesterfield, Abersoch;(48:30) Camp Fire Girls led by Winfried Barnard,  Peggy James & Nell Allen; typical day at camp; last night shows; (54:00) Uniqueness of KH; worked in nursery school after nursery children were evacuated to Surrey;  (58:20) Wrap up including links between KH and famous people; (65:20) Alice Weeks (?) who looked after Doris Lester.