Childhood

Barbara Brown

Photo:Barbara Brown nee Bagstaff at about six years of age

Barbara Brown nee Bagstaff at about six years of age

“As a child in the 1920’s I lived in one of a pair of cottages between The Chequers and Manor Farm Just over the fence was a stable where Elias Pearce kept his horses. The stables encouraged rats and sometimes they got into our house. I think we always had traps set in the kitchen and pantry, and I’ve heard the rats squealing as I lay in bed at night.

My Memories?

Riding down to Field Barn on the horses and walking back in a thunder storm, drenched to the skin. Helping to stand the sheaves into stooks in the field, or helping with Mr Sid Flack’s threshing tackle. Old Mrs Jude taking us to Cambridge in her old ‘tin Lizzie’ a shilling return, and the thrill of being allowed to sit with her in the front.

Playing in the garden at the shop (Miller’s Stores) and using balls of whitening to make ’milk’ this got us into trouble.

Photo:William Miller at the door of his shop, Millers Stores. Town Green Road, Orwell, 1923-27

William Miller at the door of his shop, Millers Stores. Town Green Road, Orwell, 1923-27

 Mr Miller’s lovely ice-cream, available Saturdays only in the summer. Buying 1d worth of broken biscuits - what a lot you got! It took a great deal of thought to spend your 3d pocket money, there were halfpenny sherbet dabs and sherbet fountains, gob stoppers, liquorice shoe laces, halfpenny bars of chocolate, raspberry drops and toffee  bars.

Storing pears in a hollow tree along the brook so that we could eat them later, and paddling in the brook and wiping our feet in the long grass so our mothers wouldn’t know what we’d been up to.

Playing in the Clunch Pit and sliding down the paths from the kissing gate to the bottom of the Pit. It was a lot more open then and I remember all the lovely grasses and flowers and dozens of larks singing in the sky.

Running up and down the roads with our hoops, some were wooden, others iron  with a hook in our hand, called a skimmer. Dozens of us with whips and tops, called Peggies and Fatties: we used to colour the top with chalks so that they looked better when spinning. We played games across the road outside the Rectory.

We had school parties at the Rectory, and once Revd. White took us for a picnic tea by the river at Bedford, followed by a trip to the cinema. What an event! Chapel Sunday School parties were good,  if you went to church you couldn’t go to the tea, but you could go to the races and games when Mr Huddlestone would throw sweets and all of us would scramble for them in the grass.

Photo:Charabanc outing from Orwell 1910-30

Charabanc outing from Orwell 1910-30

Charabanc outings to the seaside and all of us being given 6d for our tea. Concerts held in Mr Peter’s barn, when you took your own chair or sat on straw bales. Pumping the church organ, then letting the wind nearly run out and having to pump like mad to fill it up again.This was good fun to us because it made the organ sound funny.

Children who had a trike or a bicycle before they left school at fourteen were very few, I remember one girl who had a trike and everyone was after a ride on it. I remember riding on the step at the back and going full tilt down the road from the church steps and Rosie losing control and both of us landing in a ditch by the big tree.”

This page was added by Pat Grigor on 24/09/2012.
Comments about this page

What lovely memories. Takes us all back to those wonderful days as children when almost everything seemed to be fun

By Gavin Head
On 23/09/2013

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