Charles William Esam-Carter (b.1899) Autobiographical Entry – Writing Lives

Charles William Esam-Carter (b.1899) Autobiographical Entry

Born 1899 in Thorton-Heath, Surrey. Account covers 1899 – 1903 and the birth of his sister.

Had difficult relationship with his mother and father. Parents had unhappy marriage, and argued. Father drank too much. An older brother had died as a baby.
Early memories – ie. clothes; being photographed; his grandfathers.

Moved to Ewhurst, Surrey. Then to old house called “Perrins”, Hawkhurst, Kent.

Reading material – religious tracts, books, “Home Chat”; father read “Pickwick Papers” aloud in the evenings. Narrator taught handwriting – starting with “pot hooks” – and arithmetic by father.

Descriptions of Perrins. Living in an old house – baking oven leaded lights in windows, garden, well outside boundary. Traffic on road outside, ie. gipsies, fair, traction engines. Little local railways. Horse drawn vehicles; bakers van horse bit narrators arm. Walks in countryside with father.

Narrator an isolated child. The maid, Clara, was very good to him. Had cats as pets.

Parents had arguments. One very serious row. Implication is that mother had become to friendly with another man, a water diviner.

The family was unhappy. Mother became pregnant, but was very ill. Doctor came to attend her. Narrator heard father saying to doctor “You are asking me to consent to the murder of my child.”

New baby was a girl and severely disabled. This was extremely destructive to the family. Narrator says his childhood ended when he was 4 years old due to her birth.

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