“Happy” Joe Court was one of a number of Campden characters around at the turn of the 20th century. He lived in a cottage next to The Volunteer in Lower High Street and was a regular member and caretaker at the Baptist Church where his daughter Lily was Sunday School teacher. With his horse and dray he was carrier with local produce to the neighbouring markets and at one time conveyed the mails for the G.P.O. to and from the railway station. He also carried the local refuse for the Council to a dump on an old quarry on Westington Hill and used local lads to help him – particularly to help the horse to push the cart up Conduit Hill!!
At blackberry picking time, local schoolchildren could earn a few pence by picking and taking them to Joe who supplied the jam factories in Evesham. Rabbit skins were also accepted by him – another source of pocket money for local “poachers”!!
At the outbreak of W.W.I. he was in the Campden Volunteers and eventually served with the “Glorious Gloucesters” until l918. He was also a Campden bandsman.
It was Campden’s loss when “Happy” died in 1941 at the age of 68.
Death of Mr. J. Court
The death took place on Sunday of Mr Joseph Court at the home of his sister Mrs. Mary Ann Cooper at 6, Aston Road, Campden. Mr Court who is (sic) in his 70th year, was the second son of the late Mr and Mrs James Court, an old Campden family. From boyhood he was a regular attendant at the Baptist Church, of which he was a Trustee up to the time of his death. Formerly he was a Deacon of the Church and was also Caretaker there for many years and a Chorister. He was for several years engaged by the GPO to convey mails to and from the Post Office to the local railway station and also had a contract with the former Campden District Council to collect and convey the town refuse to the refuse dump. He was well known in the town and was always of a cheery disposition being locally known as “Happy Joe”. His wife pre-deceased him ten years ago and his only daughter kept house for him until her death three years ago. Since then his health began to fail and for two years he had lived with his sister at 6 Aston Road. Evesham Journal 29th Nov. 1941
Joe Court’s younger brother, James Edward, died just a fortnight after his brother. The Evesham Journal reported this on 13th December 1941:
We regret to report the death of Mr James Edward Court of High Street, Campden, which occurred on Tuesday morning at Evesham Hospital, whither he was taken on Saturday afternoon last. He was the only surviving son of the late Mr and Mrs James Court of Campden, and up till Thursday last appeared to be in his usual health. On Thursday he was rather ill, and on Saturday, under medical advice, he was conveyed to Evesham Hospital, where it was found necessary to perform an operation. On Tuesday morning he collapsed and died in his 68th year. A fortnight ago he lost his only brother, Joseph. Apart from a period of service in the army, Mr Court had lived in Campden all his life. As a young man he was a member of the Campden Band and was for many years in the Campden Volunteers. On the outbreak of the 1924-18 war he enlisted in the Gloucestershire Regiment and served until March 1918 when he was invalided as unfit for further military service. His wife pre-deceased him four years ago and he lost his only son a year ago. Two sisters survive him.
Joseph James Court, baptised 30th June 1872; James Edward Court baptised 28th June 1874.