Accident At St. Mabyn - A serious accident happened on Tuesday afternoon
at St. Mabyn to Mr. John Prout, proprietor of the van which goes daily
from Port Isaac to Bodmin. After passing a basket from the van to Mr.
E. Tabb of St. Mabyn, Mr. Prout was re-arranging the lugage on the top,
and while strapping the same the strap broke, and he fell off backwards,
pulling with him a large hamper, on which he fell, seriously injuring
his chest, and at the same time striking the back part of his head a heavy
blow against the wheel, causing blood to flow freely. Mr. Prout was kindly
attended to by some friends at St. Mabyn, and with the assistance of Mr.
Tabb and Mr. Edmonds, of Treblethick, was brought home to Port Isaac.
Dr. Williams of Port Isaac, was immediately called, and reported the case
to be serious.
FATAL ACCIDENT AT ST. MABYN - A sad accident happened on Monday
at St. Mabyn, near Bodmin, by which Mr. Joseph HAMLEY, an old and respected
inhabitant of the village, met with his death. He, with his son and brother,
was employed at Mr. Tucker's, Trevisquite, in taking down a barn, when
the wall gave way without warning, burying him in debris, and causing
instant death. The others managed to jump out of the way. Deceased had
been a local preacher of the United Methodist Free Church between forty
and fifty years, and was also a class leader and chapel steward.
write about the schoolmaster in the 1935 School photo. The one with the
moustache, standing on the right, well the only man! He is and was aged
28/9 at the time. I cannot tell much about his early life, other than
knowing that he educated at Torquay Grammar School, trained at St Luke's
Exeter and this would have been his second post. His wife was Evelyn (always
Eve) and they had a single child Margaret, born during his time at St
Mabyn. In 1939 he was appointed to St Mewan School as headmaster and remained
there, living in the school house until 1965, when he retired. He died
in 1972 in St Austell. Eve had died in 1958. Margaret lives in Sydney.
He was my uncle but closer than that. My father died aged 47 and after
my aunt's death, my mother and he were married in 1959. (Yes, it's legal!)
The marriage lines show four signatures, three Friendship, the last my
sister! We lived as a family in the School House until we all grew up.
I send you my good wishes as an inhabitant of Leicestershire , who is
still a Cornishman! Hope you may find this of interest.
page on St Mabyn People Past. I recognize Mary Batten as sixth from right
in second to last row, almost behind the vicar. I was an evacuee at Treveglos
Farm in St Mabyn. Mary and her brother Eddie ran the farm with their mother
Ellen. They treated us (my brother and I) like we were family. Eddie married
Jean Warne after his mother died, and Mary moved to Wadebridge to keep
house for a retired policeman. Eddie and Jean had one daughter, Ruth,
who married a "Lobb" (don't remember his first name), and they
had a daughter Grace. I have very fond memories of St Mabyn. I have lived
in New Zealand since 1963, and I have to admit that as far as England
goes it is only Cornwall that I miss.
with identifying farm photo [July 2005]
mother Margaret then Glover was evacuated with her other Ivy to a farm
in St Mabyn but I don't know the name of the farm. My mother is recently
deceased so of course I've left it too late to find out more. I just wondered
if by any chance anyone remembers them. I have a picture of them at the
farm house [click here] My
grandad was a very keen photographer and he coloured it.
Penticton, BC Canada
Shingleton visits St.Mabyn [April 2004]
Monday morning we both woke up at 2:30am wide awake. Must have been the
time change. However, we went back to sleep and when the wake-up call
came at 6:00 I was ready to get up. Pat slept in until 6:30. We taxied
to Paddington station to catch the 7:45 train to Exeter. Things were going
swimmingly until the train ran into technical problems which delayed us
TWO HOURS!!! TWO HOURS!!! EEEEK! We finally, and I do mean finally made
it to Exeter and the rental car was not there yet. Within 15 minutes Avis
had it there. Colin, the Avis man, was quite nice and had Pat sign the
documents. Pat was definite on taking all insurance since he was quite
unsure about how he would fare driving a car with the wheel on the opposite
side of the car and driving on the opposite side of the road. After he
figured out where reverse was, we got on our way. All in all, he did great.
However, he did hit the left curb at least 30 times along the way. It
was quite an experience and much of the drive the road was like driving
through a maze with oncoming traffic at high rates of speed. He was brave
to say the least. This adventure turned into a LONG adventure. The road
to Bodmin (A30) wasn’t really well marked and we kept turning off
accidently. We probably add an extra hour due to it. Pat stopped at least
at 7 or 8 places to ask directions within just a few minutes. He was so
frustrated. They kept telling us to go around the small “roundabout”
then the large “roundabout” then right at the tower with the
clock. My oh my it truly wasn’t that easy. We were actually heading
down the correct road when Pat got frustrated and saw a hospital and thought
they could verify directions so he pulled off. It was an insane asylum.
We would spend another 30 minutes driving around before we would figure
out that that was the right road in the first place!!! Finally we found
St. Mabyn. The road there was wide enough for one of our American Cars.
It was barely wide enough for the little car we rented. I took a picture
of it. It is a quaint little village with a history to it. When we arrived,
children were just arriving home from school. I wanted to see the lavender
cottage where the man who creates their website resides but he wasn’t
home. I think I saw his computer in the window. We went to the pub and
chatted with a few locals but were feeling quite rushed at this part of
the day due to our unfortunate time constraints at this point. We visited
the church and made a donation and snapped a few shots. However, it was
too late for food since our day had been so delayed and we were afraid
with our limited time that we would miss the train back if we didn’t
leave… so we did. We missed the 5:35 by 5 minutes… It’s
no wonder because we got lost on our way into Exeter. However, we made
it back! Hurray!!! I way actually looking forward to eating on the train
since this was the only food we had today which I forgot to mention. Earlier
in the day, Pat and I had split a baguette. (thank goodness) However,
since they had so many technical difficulties they had let their chef
off (GO FIGURE) and there was no food. We slept on the train instead.
Once again, we ate at the hotel. You have to laugh. It was a nice day.
Time for a bath.
of a war time evacuee
had just recovered from chicken pox and I, along with about four hundred
other children and teachers, were loaded onto a train one morning at Stoneleigh
railway station. We all had little brown paper parcels with a few clothes
and labels with our names on tied to the lapels of our jackets. Throughout
that day we continued to travel. No one knew where we going, rumour circulated
that we were being sent to Canada as many children had been. By evening
we had stopped at a little country station,and all were told to leave
the train and were herded into a hall. I subsequently learnt that this
was Wadebridge town hall. That night we all slept on the floor.
following morning we were loaded onto little old country buses, in groups
of twenty five or thirty and driven out to all the outlying villages.
Our bus arrived in a small village called St. Mabyn. Here we were paraded
in the village memorial hall and the local village ladies inspected us
and chose the ones that they fancied, saying "I'll av ee, an' I'll
av ee". I was very lucky and was chosen along with Alan Walker (who
lived four houses along from me in the same road) by a Mrs. Eric Best.
They lived in a large house behind a long flint wall in the village, but
rented a farm half a mile away called Tredinnick.( I have vivid memories
the farmers wife, Mrs. Best riding side saddle with the local hunt.) All
the other children off our bus were distributed around the other farms
and village houses. Watergate House was one of the larger houses in the
village. It boasted a huge traditional farmhouse kitchen with a long wood
fired cooking range along one side. On the range sat a black cast iron
lidded water container with a brass tap, heating water. This was filled
by hand. The beamed ceiling had hooks set into it for hanging sides of
pork, A door led through into a scullery, the centre piece being our lever-operated
water pump. The curved spout of the pump had a small hole drilled in the
top, and by putting one hand over the main outlet and pumping with the
other hand one could drink straight from the little hole. This supplied
all our fresh water needs from a deep well beneath the floor. There was
a brick built ,wood-fired copper usually lighted on a Monday for the weekly
wash. We were lucky to have our own well. At the end of this room was
a stone wall on the far side of which was a small room with one open side
leading onto a narrow lane. This also had a pump and supplied water to
half a dozen cottages. The garden had many stone outbuildings, some with
open lofts above. One of these housed the peat WC. There was a long chicken
run with about twenty chickens, many fruit trees, lots of vegetables,
and strawberry beds. Of course paraffin lamps provided the lighting, and
when we went to bed at night we took a lighted candle in a candlestick
In those days there were no main services, no electricity, no gas, no
sewerage, and no piped water in the village. At the cross roads stood
a bright red telephone box. We had a small village general store and a
little sweet shop in the front room of one of the cottages. There was
also a one manual pump garage, where we would take the glass accumulator
once a week to be charged on their generator. This was used to provide
power for the wireless set, which was only switched on to hear the news
programmes and find out how the war was going
We had a little workshop in the road leading out of the village where
the Jewish boot maker worked from Sunday to Friday, producing leather
boots for the local farm workers. It was my ambition to have him make
me a pair. Saving my pennies from potato picking and other jobs around
the farm I eventually collected my nice new boots from him. Outside the
farm house kitchen door was a tray full of used engine oil and a yard
broom. This we used for brushing off our boots when we came in from the
fields - the oil helped to keep them waterproof. We all had old Wellington
boot tops, the bottoms being cut off. These we would slide on our legs
before putting on our boots, and they would help to keep our legs dry
when walking through long grass or mucking out the cow sheds. Boots and
shoes had leather soles and heels so would wear out and have to be repaired
every six or eight weeks, we used to fit metal studs called Blakeys to
make them last a bit longer.
With no entertainment in the village other than the pub, which I was too
young to enter, and the occasional Beetle Drive, the highlight of the
week was the Sunday visits to the Church and Chapel. Often we would attend
Church in the morning , Chapel in the afternoon (all the nicest girls
went to Chapel) and after teatime back to the Church for Evensong. As
a member of the choir I was sometimes picked for bell ringing or to pump
the bellows to operate the Church organ.
I used to be sent with a can to buy one shillings worth of petrol, this
was used to start the tractor. Once warm we would switch over to paraffin.
At eleven years of age I was helping out working on the farm, often driving
the tractor, sometimes on the roads around the village towing a farm wagon
behind, loaded with hay straw , manure, or kale as feed for the cattle.
Our tractor had two sets of drive wheels, spikes for off road and ribbed
rubber tyres for use on the roads. We should not have used spikes on public
roads but as it was a lot of trouble to change them over we often did
not bother. This made interesting driving as we had one spike missing
on the right hand wheel so we would lurch along in a rather undignified
fashion. These old tractors would be started first thing in the morning,
put into gear and would remain in gear the rest of the day. To stop, one
pressed down the clutch and pulled a bit of binder cord attached to a
large loose ring clipped to the floor, this in turn slipped over the pedal
and held it down so disconnecting the drive. Very wide mudguards covered
the big driving wheels and often the children would ride on these, but
after some nasty accidents with children sliding forward and going under
the wheels these were outlawed. The throttle control was a ring pulling
a serrated metal strip through the bulkhead, rather like a hacksaw blade,
the teeth catching to control the engine speed. This in turn was set at
the start of the day and rarely altered.
In the summer long days were spent cutting corn using a reaper and binder,
moving the bound stooks of corn with horse and wagon to the corner of
the field and building them into a stack. This would be roughly thatched.
Sticks would be cut from the hedgerows and driven into the stack linked
together with binder cord to keep the thatch in place
At the start of the winter a steam driven traction engine towing a large
threshing machine would come to the village, slowly climbing the hill
from St. Kew. Many of the village children would go to the bottom of the
hill to spread sand on the icy road to help the wheels get a grip. This
engine was a huge device with smoke pouring from its tall chimney and
an enormous fly wheel driving a long wide flat leather belt, that clacked
as it drove the outside pulley on the side of the threshing machine. We
took a lorry down to help and in driving it off the road to make room
for the engine to pass in the narrow lane caught and bent the track rod,
toeing the steering wheels in and making it undriveable A balk of timber
and some muscles bent it back to shape,
Mr. Hoskins' threshing machine travelled from farm to farm and a lot of
the children followed it round helping out with the work and maybe getting
paid a few coppers for their efforts. Those were enjoyable days, working
hard throwing stooks of corn up onto the thresher. As the pile reduced,
the rats hiding in the middle would make a run for it, and the farm hands
would pitchfork them into the air for the farm dogs to catch
At an exhibition of old farm machinery at Yarmouth I.O.W. in 20011 met
a man who knew Mr. Hoskins and remembered the old steam traction engine
Mrs. Best ,the farmer's wife, would come out at lunch time with hot Cornish
pasties and cider for the workers. During wartime with the pressure on
to produce as much food as possible everyone worked from dawn to dusk,
the farmers were encouraged to plough close up to the hedgerows and into
the corners of the fields
As a towny I found the countryside fascinating, and grew to love the country
and the way of life, the work patterns changing with the seasons. This
is a love that has never left me, and now living in a one hundred and
fifty year old country cottage built of flint on the outskirts of the
village of Emsworth, in Hampshire, in the year 2002, I feel that I have
returned to my roots
There was always a good reason for not attending school. There was harvesting
in the summer with long days spent in the fields, then there would be
cutting sticks from the hedgerows for pinning down the thatch on stacks
of hay, hoeing sugarbeet, driving the tractor towing a wagon loaded with
manure slowly up and down a field with the farmer standing on it (muck
spreading). Then there would be potato picking, lines of children following
the horse drawn spinner collecting the potatoes in a bucket often with
a sack with one corner tucked inside the other and worn on the head to
keep off the rain. At the end of the day I would ride on the back of Prince,
one of our working horses. After being cold and wet all day it would be
nice to feel his warmth coming up through the seat of your trousers. We
would be paid a penny halfpenny an hour for this and again would travel
from one farm to another. If we were lucky we might be chosen to work
at Trevisquite Farm, one mile out of the village. This was owned by a
Mr. Short, one of the Short brothers of the aircraft manufacturers who
built the Short Sunderland flying boat. He paid twopence an hour, riches
Alan Walker, who was billeted with me had a brother called Donald. Donald
and another boy were billeted at Trevisquite farm and Alan and I were
invited to tea one afternoon . Mr. Short showed us a microscope that he
had for research. This he told us was the third most powerful in the country.
He showed slides of sections through a blade of grass with the most amazing
colours and the incredible patterns of a magnified snowflake.
Also there were evacuees from Chiswick staying in the village, so we had
three groups of children attending the village school, the groups from
Chiswick, those from Surrey, and the children borri in the village, about
90 in all. This created competition. There were daily tasks that had to
be undertaken by the children. Two boys would be sent to a farm on the
edge of the village to collect the churn with the school milk for the
day; two more boys would be detailed to pump water from the well by hand
up into the tank in the roof of the headmaster (Mr. Trevorow's) house.
Many of the local children had never travelled very far from the village,
and on a show of hands most had never been on a train. The prospect for
village children leaving school was that the girls would go into service
as kitchen maids and servants tied to the wealthy landowners for a pittance,
and the boys would become farm labourers often working all the daylight
Alan Walker and I were taken by Farmer Eric Best, in a rickety old Austin
Seven ,over to the village of St. Minver, to help out on another farm
for a days harvesting. At the end of the day between Alan and I we had
caught 26 rabbits. Some of these we sent home to our families in Surrey,
and these were greatly appreciated as a supplement to the meagre meat
ration. That winter was a very severe one and for a period the village
was cut off by deep snow drifts. At Christmas I was taken out across the
moors shooting snipe. As the weather improved we would go out with ferrets
and guns after rabbits for the pot.
St. Mabyn was situated on rising ground 6 miles from Bodmin with one bus
there and back on
Wednesday and the same on Saturday. Wadebridge was 5 miles in the opposite
direction with no public
transport connection. If we wished to go to the Saturday morning cinema
in Wadebridge it meant a five mile
walk each way along country lanes with no traffic. In the summer there
were wild strawberries growing in the
hedgerows and lizards sunning themselves on the dry stone walls On the
high ground in windy weather where
telephone lines ran alongside the road you could press your ear against
the telegraph pole and hear the sound of the wind amplified coming down
through the post. If we were lucky we might get a lift in on the back
of the coal lorry.
From Wadebridge it was possible to get a train into Padstow, and to walk
a little way along beside the river Camel to a little cove with a sandy
beach. Wadebridge had a wonderful narrow packhorse bridge with little
side pockets as passing places. On the seaward side of the bridge was
a grain store and I have a vague image in my mind of large sailing ships
tied up alongside to unload, drying out in the mud as the tide ebbed away.
Mrs. E Best had relations who had been bombed out in the midlands and
had nowhere to live, so they came to stay at Watergate House with the
result that I had to be moved .By this time Alan had returned to Surrey,
my brothers had been evacuated to Southport and my mother had gone up
there to be with them, and my father was in the Royal Air Force in Germany
. The local Billeting Officer located a place for me at Trethick Farm,
with Mr. and Mrs. Bill Jewel.
Trethick Farm was situated about one mile by foot from St. Mabyn, across
several fields over a little stone bridge and up the long drive from the
Rectory where we could shelter from the rain under the huge gunnera leaves.
By vehicle it was much further along unmade tracks crossing several fields
opening and closing five-barred gates on the way then maybe two miles
round by road.
It was a mixed farm with crops of barley, wheat, sugarbeet, potatoes,
and kale. There was a flock of sheep, a dozen milking cows, four hundred
chickens, turkeys, ducks, guinea fowl, a flock of geese, and many cats,
one of which had lost a front leg in a gin trap. The other front leg was
also damaged and withered . This cat used to stomp around the house tapping
the stump on the ground so that you could always hear it coming. There
were several working dogs and three working horses, a pig,(we were allowed
to kill two pigs a year for food . We would give half to another farmer,
and when he killed his pig he would in turn give us half in return, no
refrigeration in those days On the day of the pig's dispatch, the slaughter
man would arrive in the morning, the pig would be dragged squealing from
the sty across the farmyard to the tractor house where it would be stunned
with a humane killer, would then be hoisted up by its back legs, its throat
cut and allowed to bleed . This ensured good white meat The blood would
run in a meandering stream down across the yard . A large cauldron of
boiling water would be at hand and would be trickled on to the carcass
to be scrubbed with an implement rather like an old fashioned candle stick
to remove the hair. In retrospect this all sounds pretty gory, but farming
was quite harsh , docking lambs tails, castrating bullocks, dipping sheep
and killing poultry for the kitchen table. On one occasion I was told
to take one of the farm dogs, this one was old and blind, out into the
orchard , give it a piece of meat to distract it so that the farm labourer
could kill it with a double barrel 12 bore shot gun, this really upset
me as a 12 bore blew half it's head off. I then had to dig a hole to bury
it. Even nowadays town people do not realise what goes on in the country
to bring them their Sunday lunch.
It was a place of high adventure for a twelve year old, with a mill pond,
a slate lined mill stream, and a huge water wheel driving machinery through
overhead shafting within an L shaped two storey barn. We had a hopper
fed machine used for crushing oats for cattle feed belt driven off the
water wheel. The upper level was the hay loft
sloping cobbled farmyard was surrounded on three sides with buildings
- stables, cowsheds, pigsty, and a large farmhouse, again with a solid
fuel cooking range. Often there would be low cardboard boxes holding day
old chicks, or little turkey chicks, near to the fire to keep them warm,
and maybe a little lamb that had lost its mother and was being bottle
fed. Off to one side of the kitchen was a dairy. Each day several gallons
of milk would be heated on the range to be skimmed off for cream , the
skimmed milk remaining being fed to the pig. Most of the food was produced
in the farm garden of about one acre. Mr Jewel would bring Prince, one
of the heavy horses, in to the garden with a one furrow plough to prepare
the ground for sowing
The farm employed one hand - a Mr. Chapman from the village. He was not
very friendly to young lads. We also had an Italian prisoner of war kept
on the farm. Emilio Ciccorelli was a lovely man ,always willing. A good
worker, he was only allowed off the farm with an escort and wore a khaki
uniform with triangular patch on the knees and back. Often I would escort
him into the village for supplies. He hand-made the dart flights for the
village darts team using goose feathers carefully glued onto hand wittled
stems .He also hand carved me a little wooden boat that I would sail on
the mill pond.
Here I used to help Mrs. Jewel hand milk several cows before school in
the morning and again in the evening, going out to call them in from the
field at the end of a little lane. Sometimes the farmer would say to me
"Come along lad, tis market day", and we would drive a flock
of forty sheep with a couple of working dogs along the lanes into Wadebridge
to be sold at the market. I would wait for him while he had a glass of
cider, before we would begin the five mile long walk home. There was always
work to do around the farm and I learnt how to chain harrow with a horse,
and would work the horse and cart when we were spreading lime. At the
end of the day, horse, cart, the fanner, and me, would be white with lime
from head to foot. There was a big water tank collecting water from the
farmhouse roof with a tap high up in the orchard where we could stand
and wash ourselves off, no hot water I'm afraid.
The chickens and turkeys all used to roost in the trees in the orchard.to
keep them safe from foxes. Each day we would collect fresh eggs from where
they had been laid in the hedgerows, getting out early before the crows
stole them . The crow would pierce the egg with its beak, open its beak
and fly off with the egg impaled.
When the lambing season started the farmer would call me out to help ,
holding the tilly lamp, or kneeling over the ewe's neck to hold her down,
while he rolled up his sleeve to help her with the delivery. Then when
the lambs were a couple of weeks old we would cut off their tails to keep
them clean, holding the lamb between your knees and a swift cut with a
very sharp knife. Most of our cattle had horns so shortly after the males
were born they had to be castrated. This involved the local vet visiting
the farm with his chrome plated double jointed pinchers to do the deed.
However one bullock had been missed and now it was almost fully grown
it was becoming a danger round the farm and we had to keep a wary eye
out for it. So it was decided that one Sunday morning it would have to
be done . We cornered it in the farm yard and it bolted into the horses
stables. With about six of us hanging on to it the vet did his bit but
the bullock exploded covering him from head to foot in disgusting evil
smelling mess. Who would want to be a vet!!!!!
Some four miles from St. Mabyn was the village of St. Tudy. This was the
nearest Blacksmiths, so when
Prince needed shoeing I would walk along the narrow lane, not much more
than a cart track, with grass growing down the middle with Prince walking
beside me, his head sometimes resting on my shoulder. The blacksmiths
shop was in the centre of the village green shaded by an enormous chestnut
tree. Here I would wait, as he was shod before walking him back to the
Emilio developed a large abscess on his cheek and had to be returned to
the prison of war camp, and we did not see him again. They sent us another
Italian, but he said "Me no work for bloody English", so he
was sent back. Then we got a seventeen-year-old German called Hans. He
settled in well and I believe did not return to Germany when the war ended,
married a Cornish maid and still farms in Cornwall.
Mrs. Jewel, apart from running all the domestic side of the farm and all
the poultry and milking ran a taxi service taking villagers to visit relatives
in hospital in Truro. As there was no other way of getting there she was
allowed a small ration of petrol. However as tyres were unobtainable she
frequently got punctures, but when the tyre was flat the jack was too
tall to go under the axle. So being a resourceful lady she always carried
a club hammer and chisel with her in the car. She would proceed to dig
a hole in the road deep enough to stand the jack in so that the car could
be backed over it. There were many holes in the roads around St. Mabyn.
The car was I think an old Austin sixteen and was usually started with
a starting handle or by towing with the tractor, but sometimes by Prince.
Sometimes when she was transporting villagers out, if there was room in
the car I would be allowed to go along. Once we visited the slate mining
village of Delabole on the north Cornish coast, another time Rock and
Polzeath on the mouth of the river Camel.
I had developed a ringworm on my forehead resulting from resting my head
against a cow's flank whilst milking. It had grown to the size of a half
crown. Playing in the school play ground one morning I was approached
by a village lady who asked me if I wanted to be rid of it. She told me
to go to the third house on the left in the little lane behind the school,
to knock on the door and tell the lady who came to the door that I wanted
her to help me. On no account was I to say please or thank you or offer
any gift. Having lived in the village for some time I thought that I knew
everyone, but the lady who answered the door I had never seen
before or indeed since. The Cornish believe in Charming and what ever
you may think it worked for me as three days later my ringworm had gone.
During my stay in Cornwall I did have other experiences of the power of
the spells cast by witches called Charming and saw water diviners at work.
They could locate the place to sink a well in the middle of a field.
Each day the newspaper would have a little map in the top right-hand corner
showing the progress of the Allied Armies advancing across Europe and
giving the distance to Berlin ,comparing this, for instance, with the
distance from London to Birmingham .
Eventually the war in Europe came to an end, but by this time I had got
so used to the Cornish way of life that I had no desire to return to my
family in Surrey. It had been a long time since I had seen them and apart
from an occasional letter I had had no other contact with them. All my
friends were Cornish. Family and Surrey seemed remote and alien to me.
I felt that I had become Cornish.
Year 1945 I did return to Oaks Avenue, and went back briefly to Stoneleigh
East Senior School, now to be known as the Secondary Modern School. During
my last term I organised a cycle ride for pupils in my class out to Leith
Hill. This was an adventure, as none of us had been that far before. I
think there were about a dozen of us,the only name I can remember now
was Jenkins . I last saw him working at Langley Motors, Cheam in the sixties.
Leith Hill fascinated me as it was just under 1000 feet high so the owner
built a tower on top which raised it up enough to qualify as a mountain.
One of my School friends in my class at that time was Noel Myers who I
last met in 1953 in the Harrow Public House in Cheam village, he was very
popular because his mother worked in the Granada cinema at North Cheam
(where Sainsburys is now) and could could get us free tickets. He appeared
on Television in a documentry a few years ago as Mr fix it working for
Lord Leichfield the photographer when they were producing the Pirrelli
I recall travelling up to London to see the Victory celebrations in Trafalgar
Square when Japan was finally defeated with my mother, and being carried
along in the crush of people towards Buckingham Palace. In the evening
seeing the phosphorescence pouring into the river Thames off one of the
bridges. Having become used to the wide open fields and freedom of life
in the country, I felt very confined living in the suburbs of London and
found it very difficult to settle down. I had lost contact with people
I had been at school with.
Soon I had my fourteenth birthday and left school to start working for
a shipping agents, H. Maclaine & Co. in Leadenhall St. in the City
of London, next door but one to Cunard White Star. My wages were one pound
a week, out of which I had to pay my daily travelling expenses, buy clothes,
and give a contribution at home. It meant taking a 93 or 156 bus to Morden
then the underground to the Bank station and walking along Cornhill to
Leadenhall St. Sometimes I would get off at London Bridge station and
walk over the bridge, stopping on the bridge looking down river, to see
the ships unloading in the Port of London, never imagining that in a few
short years it would all be gone .
Many of the underground stations still had the tiers of wooden bunks on
the platforms from the Blitz when people would spend the nights down there
safe from the bombing. After the last train had finished the electric
currant would be switched off and people would take their bedding down
and sleep between the lines.
I have many happy memories of my time spent in your lovely village.and
would love to hear from anyone who might remember me.
Leaving School at 14 years old my first holiday from work I cycled from
Surrey back to St. Mabyn to see the people that I knew in the village.
anyone would like to contact John please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and I will forward any messages to him.