Harlow is 70: Why I Came Here: Josephine and William Cabburn: 1959

Harlow is 70: Why I Came Here / Tue 17th Jan 2017 at 11:21am


Although, the majority of our interviews are and will be on film, we do welcome written submissions.

Here is a submission from Josephine Cabburn

Our introduction to Harlow was in 1959. We were living in a flat in Elstree. I had just had my first baby and I was not working of course. We had been trying to save up to buy a house but we knew it would be impossible in Elstree because of the prices. My husband heard of houses being built in Harlow where you could get a 100% mortgage if you qualified.

On a Saturday morning we piled into a little Morris car (very old) my father had given us. We drove to Great Parndon to a place called Cock Green. We found these 6 semi detached houses over half built opposite a lovely old village pub. Lucky timing as the builder was there, a Mr Chiswell. He showed us the plans and explained that two had already been sold. He told us to contact the Council as they were in charge of the mortgage. We were so excited.

My husband, Bill, went to meet the Council where he met a Mr Doug Williams also applying for a 100% mortgage. We bought number 13 Cock Green and Mr Williams bought No 14 Cock Green. (We were asked if we minded being No 13, we could be 12A, but we refused. We felt so lucky already.)

In December 1959 (roughly) the houses were finished and we moved in January 1960 for the price of £2750. We would struggle to pay but we knew we could. It was a lovely house with 3 bedrooms, 2 toilets, a garage and a manageable garden. A small shop 3 doors away “Caudells” run by an old (we thought) man. No 15 was taken by a Mr and Mrs Knight, newly married they moved in after their honeymoon in January 1960. All lovely people (I might add The Knights and The Williams are all still good friends 56 years later).

We all set about making the back gardens. Luckily they knew how and we copied. It was a long walk to the town centre, but with prams and friends it didn’t matter.

“I had two more daughters and we stayed there 11 years. We only moved when my husband began working in Southend-on-Sea and got fed up with driving. We all cried as we left, although it was so different by then so many more houses around, a bus route as well and more local shops.

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