Category Archives: Modern History

A Varnished Past – A Carter, Cattleman & Farm Labourer

Bagnall and England

William Cole Bagnall of the Manor and later Holly Tree Farm and David England (with trilby) Courtesy of Bill Griffin

David England (1866-1945).  David worked on the land all his life, variously as a carter’s boy, a cattleman and an agricultural labourer. He could probably turn his hand to most things, as workers on the land were expected to do.

[A carter was a driver of a horse-drawn vehicles used for transporting goods, they usually drove a light two wheeled carriage]

He had been born in Radway in 1866, into one of the many England families living there. David’s parents moved to Drayton for a decade or so, but by 1911 he was in Horley with his widowed mother, with whom he lived. He supported her until her death in 1929. She had her roots in Gloucestershire.

David England has been mentioned by several people as a ‘character’. Bill Griffin writes:

‘David England worked for grandfather [William Cole Bagnall] at The Manor as also shown by him being in the haymaking photo. I can just remember him working in the garden and on the farm at the little house [Holly Tree Farm]. I thought him rather quaint and old fashioned in that he often wore corduroy trousers which had plenty of material in the legs and he had a piece of binder string tied round the calf of each leg to stop the bottoms getting too dirty. (Binder string was the string used in the binder, the machine that cut the corn and tied it into sheaves. It was used for all purposes on the farm, usually second-hand after being cut from the sheaf at threshing and saved) The string tied round the legs used to be regarded as something done by the labourers and was used in cartoons etc. to denote a country yokel.

It just suited both parties that he came, was told what wanted doing, and just got on with it. It was, of course, a seven day a week job as there would be a couple of cows to milk, a couple of calves, a few pigs and some chickens to feed. But stockmen accepted that the job was a seven day job – they just did not expect days off every week as happens now. Times change but I am sure they are not so satisfied with their lives now as they were then.

I remember he was very good at handling bees. There were three or four hives in the orchard [at Holly Tree Farm] and David used to tend them and deal with the swarms. Grandmother also used to tend the bees. One of my treats of having tea at Horley was to have honey direct from the comb as I was very fond of the wax! I believe David was a bachelor who lived on his own after his mother died (not certain of this). Herbert Rump (a truly great character) took over when David stopped.’

Extract from A Vanished Past Volume 1 £15   Both Volumes and p&p £33. From Clare Marchant, Shaftesbury House, 15 Circus Street, Greenwich, London SE10 8SN or marchantclare@hotmail. Cheques payable to Clare Marchant.

A Vanished Past – Time of Change (2 of 3)

A Vanished Past – Vol.1 –  A Time of Change (2 of 3)

Changes in Health provision –Robert Pearson writes about his sister Joan’s admission from The School House to hospital in the early 1920s with scarlet fever:

‘Even some of the ambulances were still horse driven in those days. A very early, traumatic experience was when Joan was perhaps five or six years of age. She was diagnosed as having scarlet fever, then a much feared disease, passed on by direct contact with somebody who already had it. Presumably, in this case, from another child in my mother’s school. It involved going into an isolation hospital on the outskirts of Banbury. I remember so well this ambulance turning up late one afternoon shortly before it got dark – so it must have been in autumn, a time of the year when this disease was most likely to strike – and Joan being driven away. It was a Dickensian scene. The driver sat outside the cab on a high seat (presumably so that he would not be contaminated), and this made the scene somewhat macabre. Consequently she was all alone for the four-mile journey into hospital. When we went to see her the next day, and on subsequent visits, we were only allowed to see into her ward through a window. It left one with a feeling of great anxiety. However, all was well and she was home again after a few weeks. In those days this infection was considered very serious, and could in the worst cases lead to death. Now one never seems to hear of it – another disease brought fully under control.’

My own early childhood in the first half of the 1940s was free of any vaccinations except a smallpox vaccine as a baby. My sisters and the rest of Horley’s child population suffered spotty bodies, fevers, vomiting, sore throats, pains in the eyes, and headaches that came as a result of measles, German measles (rubella), mumps, chicken pox and whooping cough (pertusis) as they swept round the village. Although unwelcome there were mantras murmured by tired parents that at least the illnesses were over and that the younger the child, the quicker the recovery.

The most dreaded infection was polio where there were high rates of permanent disability or death. We saw the effect on Modesta Collar who from her teenage years had to walk with a stick. In the early 1950s Peggy Ann, the little daughter of Minnie Shawyer, died of infantile paralysis as it was also known. Epidemics of the other illnesses sometimes left tragedy in their wake too, and slightly before our time a young girl in Hornton had died of diphtheria – so there was always some anxiety about the outcome.

So we stoically endured these childhood illnesses as if they were rites of passage. Strictly speaking they were not childhood illnesses. Adults were not immune from them and the impact could be far more severe. My parents’ generation could only be protected from Smallpox. My mother had two wheals on her upper arm: large oval imprints with about six needle marks in each to commemorate her inoculation as a child against this deadly disease, now almost forgotten.

However, remarkable improvements in preventive medicine were afoot – something that made life much safer for all of us. A diphtheria, tetanus and measles vaccination was introduced in the late 1940s while I was in Horley School and was administered to us by the school doctor, Dr Ann Davies and Nurse Prescott. The needles were large and extremely painful and we nursed swollen arms for a week or more. By the late 1950s BCG for Tuberculosis (TB) was introduced – administered on a cube of sugar. Shân and Honor my younger sisters both had this advantage, but teenagers of my age and older were excluded from the programme. Shân further benefitted from advances in medical knowledge and experimental surgery, saving her from the life-threatening condition myasthenia gravis.

Untitled_22590132204_lEntertaining  – In the 1940s Horley’s polite society invited each other to tea. This could be modest: Barry Dunwoody remembers going with his grandmother Mrs Jelfs to have tea with Mrs Chapman and Miss Chapman at Park House where they always had tea and arrowroot biscuits.

The rules of Afternoon Tea were ritualistic. Arrival at 3.30pm in best clothes, gentle non-controversial conversation, the best (sometimes hand-embroidered) white linen tablecloth with sharply ironed fold marks and a crocheted edge, with the best china. Then either biscuits, or in affluent homes a plate of buttered bread cut extremely thinly from a loaf that had to be several days old to acquire the right refined thinness, jam in a special glass pot with its own jam spoon, and a single layer of Victoria sponge cake cut through and smeared with raspberry jam, and occasionally jam tarts.

Everyone sat upright hands in laps, no elbows on the table, small napkin on lap, bread and cake cut into small morsels and not bitten off in chunks. Children generally waited to be spoken to, and everybody waited to be offered food. It was not polite to complain about discomfort, so when Barry Dunwoody wearing short trousers had to sit on Mrs Chapman’s chair which had a seat stuffed with horse hair, he had to suffer the prickliness on his legs in silence.

One of the social niceties I found difficult to acquire was when to decline invitations to another piece of cake, when I would have liked it, and what words to use. It was at odds with the principle of always telling the truth in life. My mother also asked us not to use the words ‘I’m full up’, nor the grandiloquent ‘I have had an adequate/elegant sufficiency’. I learned to say ‘No, thank you very much’, which was a lie. It was all very difficult for a child.

The mid 1950s saw the last days of the afternoon tea ritual. Coffee and homemade cake at eleven in the morning took over – it was informal, quicker, could be fitted in after cleaning and before lunch, required less preparation, and the complications of tablecloths and napkins and sitting round a table were abandoned.

The other joy was the introduction of alcohol into our lives: sherry parties on Boxing Day, and soon sherry parties to celebrate anything. Then in the late 50s we graduated to something approaching the cocktail parties we read about in the magazines – well, not quite, not the cocktails themselves, but these were the hey-days of pearl onions, and tinned pineapple chunks with cubes of cheddar cheese speared on cocktail sticks and stuck into a grapefruit. It was all new, exciting and terribly sophisticated!

The range of food expanded beyond our dreams. Not only did bananas enter our diet after the war, but stranger things – in the early 1960s Shân Morgan, my sister bought one very expensive avocado from The Greengrocer in Warwick Road. It was hard but we were determined to like it. At the end of the 1950s it was noised abroad that a Chinese restaurant had opened in Stratford, and not long afterwards there was one in Banbury, and we self-consciously tried chopsticks. My first struggle with real spaghetti bolognese was in Oxford about the same time; and my first curry in Tiger Bay in the early 1960s. I and the rest of the UK have never looked back.

Walks –  Sunday afternoons after Sunday School was a time when families who had not fallen asleep after the Sunday roast would take a walk along the roads out of the village, joining up with each other and taking time to have leisurely conversations. In urban or seaside places it might have been called promenading. It was more strolling than power-walking: parents chatting and children and dogs dashing off into the hedgerows and fields.

Until the early 1960s there was still a tradition that Sunday was a day of rest, and so Jim Eadon of Chapel Cottage who never darkened the doorway of either church or chapel, was deeply offended that his neighbour Theo Peake of Hillside Farm had a modern suburban habit of motor-mowing his lawn on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday night was by custom bath night. On Sunday people discarded their work clothes, cleaned their shoes, and wore their best clothes to go to services.

For a number of families the day was ordered by the times of the church and chapel services, and this was signalled by the church bells so the whole village knew. On a still day this was reiterated by the sound of Drayton’s bells drifting across the fields. Although there were always animals that needed attention, farmers did not plough or even harvest on Sunday unless it was urgent – partly because the labour was not available.

But this was a time of change: young bellringers left the village and the bells ceased to ring. The seven-day imperatives of the food market and the efficient use of expensive farm machines prevailed. As more people bought motorbikes and cars, Sunday the day of rest was spent away from the village.

On weekday afternoons mothers with prams or push chairs might take a brisk walk before other children came home from school. No parents ever walked to the school to meet their child – there was not the time to do so, and it was not the custom.

Coming up in the 3rd and final part:

  • The decline of the village
  • The Impact of the two World Wars
  • The Evacuees and other Strangers
  • Agricultural mechanisation
  • Thatched roofs
  • A Better Britain – Regenerating Horley
  • Secondary Education –
  • Abandoned Untidiness to Village pride
  • The New Council Houses

Clare Marchant, June 2015

Clare MarchantThe is an extract from A Vanished Past Volume 1, each Volume is £15 +P&P  or you can buy both for £33 incl. p&p.

They are available directly from Clare , Shaftesbury House, 15 Circus Street, Greenwich, London SE10 8SN or marchantclare@hotmail or call on 020 8858 8529. Cheques payable to Clare Marchant.

Clare Marchant was born in Horley Vicarage, Oxfordshire in 1941 and spent her formative years there until 1965. She now lives in Greenwich, London

First published in 2015. All rights reserved. The rights of Clare Marchant to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of © Clare Marchant.  Copyright for each image rests with the contributor.

 

 

Now & Then – The Red Lion

The Red Lion – Publican

Mr Allen Wright with his son Ron

Mr Allen Wright with his son Ron,      Courtesy of Roy Bayliss

Allen Wright, his wife and their son Ron lived at The Red Lion. It had the reputation of being one of the most cheerless pubs in north Oxfordshire. If there was ever a fire it had only a few coals, and more probably sticks. Mr and Mrs Wright were to be seen most afternoons with their wooden push cart/trolley walking up the Hornton Road or in Hadsham ‘sticking’. Of course many people in Horley had been born and brought up in very difficult times when there was poverty, insufficient food, and no safety net of welfare benefits to cope with unemployment or ill health. Even when the state began to provide basic levels of welfare for its citizens some people continued to live in the way they were accustomed to.

People said wryly that there was a 5 watt bulb in the pub. But during the depressed economic conditions prevalent in the countryside in the 1940s/50s there were not many rich pickings to be had in running a local pub. In some ways it is surprising that the pub survived.

In the 1920s and 1930s there had been better days and the pub had pork pies for sale on a Friday. Florrie Dunwoody remembered that she and her mother Mrs Jelfs would sometimes buy one as a treat for tea.

 

A Vanished Past – Time of Change (1 of 3)

A Vanished Past – Vol.1 –  A Time of Change (1 of 3)

 The 1920s and 1930s Robert Pearson wrote elegantly about his childhood for his children:

‘My boyhood years, in the 1920s and 1930s, were not all that far removed from the late 19th century, extraordinary as that seems now that we are in the 21st century, and village life then reflected this in many ways. The importance of the church and the Vicar in village life; the squire (country gentleman and major landowner); people of independent means; local tradespeople, and what could be classified loosely as ‘working people’. It was a society set in aspic – how things had been for hundreds of years, little affected by the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries when centres of manufacture had, with mechanisation, been transformed. In the towns so affected, the links with the past had been largely severed, so there was this dichotomy between these places and rural areas which has taken many decades to develop some kind of equilibrium. But not for much longer would rural areas remain unaffected. Generally speaking, rural areas nowadays, except the most remote, enjoy most of the facilities available to town and city dwellers – and certainly essential ones.’

A Time of Change By Honor Berry and Clare Marchant

When we were young the oldest people in our village could remember back as far as the 1880s. They recalled how they had coped with the difficulties of wars (always fought far away), varying weather conditions, and epidemics. During their childhoods change had come to the village slowly. The old men and women had seen the drift of people away from the village into the towns with the improvements in the efficiency of farm implements. They had witnessed a revolution in transport and felt the influences of a number of new inventions, but even if their generation had all received compulsory schooling, which their forebears had not, the way of life of many people, although improving, was not so very different from a hundred years before.

Traditionally the working-men of Horley laboured on the farms. Some were in domestic service along with the women. All were beholden to the handful of middle-class families in the village, the landowners who employed them, and they worked long arduous hours in poor conditions for low wages.

Bagnall and EnglandAfter a life-time working on the land in all weathers, the men looked old once they had reached their sixties. The leather gaiters that they wore marked them out as belonging to a different age from ours. The women fared rather worse. If they had not adopted the modern ways with ‘perms’ and hair-colouring, their hair became grey and wispy and was normally twisted back into a bun. But the most telling sign of age was the loss of teeth: older people were toothless though they had an immaculate set of false teeth recognisable by their whiteness and regularity, which were often so uncomfortable they were only worn on special occasions. Restricted diets in the past had not made strong bones and elderly people in our village suffered a good deal of lumbago, arthritis, rheumatism and chest complaints. Nonetheless they had learned to be hardy and lived stoically with illness and disease.

To us as children in the 1940s the village and its people seemed as though it had been like that forever. Changes seemed very few and very slow, but we did not understand that we were a generation with different expectations and we did expect things would get better after the war. However, we could never have envisaged in our wildest dreams quite how far our lives would change and how comfortable we would become.

horley-the-village-c1955_h234002_large copy right @the francis frith collectionBy 1950 Horley along with all the other villages in the country was beginning to feel the influence of social and economic change and development that would finally see the end of the working village. The change while it brought undoubted benefits that made everyday living more comfortable, was quicker than any previously experienced. The elderly remarked on it constantly and told us that the alteration was so complete that nothing remained the same. We found this hard to understand. The village looked to us as if it had not changed for decades. There were no new buildings other than the six Old Council Houses that had been built between the wars, and the four Manor Cottages that replaced the thatched cottages destroyed by fire. Most houses still had no electricity, no running water and no sewerage system. But it was not that which they were talking about. The loss they felt was of the village society, for they had witnessed the almost total disintegration of a thriving agricultural community, and had we understood the significance of the evidence available to us, we could have seen that there was plenty to support their claims.

The Old Mill & Mrs Highham use collection of Maureen Banks

Mrs Higham of 5 The Old Council Houses fetching milk with The Mill (in the background)

The main period of this book, 1940-65, was the end of an era.The Second World War delayed progress for a while. In the 1940s our milk still came warm from the cows, unpasteurised, in a churn or bucket and at the door was ladled out into the jugs or cans housewives provided. Horses were still used in the fields. At harvest time men came home from work in Banbury or on the Ironstone, had their dinner/tea and then went to help harvesting until, even with double summer-time[1], the dusk settled over the countryside. I remember waking up as the harvesters went past The Vicarage singing. Older women still went gleaning at harvest time, families went sticking (gathering firewood), and men went ferreting to catch rabbits for family consumption.

Decay seemed to lie all around us. There was not much building in the years after the war for there were not the materials or the money – indeed building was forbidden without a licence. After the prisoners of war had left Horley House, and the sad, Displaced Persons found a job, Horley House which had once been the main house in the village, lay unoccupied and increasingly dilapidated, the drive closed in by overgrown laurels. Bought at a knock-down price (no-one could afford the cost of keeping large houses), the lead tanks in the attics were removed by the Banbury building company that had bought it and sold for scrap.

Horley Mill Race John Saunders courtesy Patching TrusteesIt was during the immediate post-war period that the unused mill was reduced to one storey and the stone used for a house in Alkerton. A crowd gathered one sunny afternoon to see the upper storeys being taken down. At this time Horley was very poor. It was a period when some people were forced to mend holes in windows with sacking stuffed with straw; when thatch was patched and paint peeled from windows and front doors, and paint, if available, was black, dark green or brown, giving the village a severe and sombre aspect.

The nearby Oxfordshire Ironstone Company offered welcome alternatives to farm labouring and thrived during the Second World War and 1950s, then declined and suddenly closed in the late 60s. As a consequence more men had to look outside the village to seek work in Banbury or become self-employed.

Socially it was a different time with different values and ways of doing things. Although there were fewer and fewer people working on the land, the vast majority of people came from agricultural families either in Horley or in other villages. So we saw ourselves as an agricultural village. Culturally we inherited all sorts of assumed rights. There was an unspoken and unchallenged belief that farmers managed the land, but the countryside belonged to everyone. For our part we shut gates, walked around the edge of fields with hay or other crops, and did not allow dogs to chase cattle or sheep. I never appreciated the great freedom I had wandering over the fields, playing in the ponds and spinneys. It was my world. No mobile telephones for my parents to keep tabs on me. I never considered it would ever be otherwise.

Living in a small community could be intense and feelings could run high leading to hurt pride and angry disagreements that were never resolved. But there were also deep friendships which stood the test of time.

The village was also divided by those who went to Chapel or to Church – some people went to both at different times, and some went to neither.

Coming up in part 2 and 3:

  • Changes in Health provision
  • Entertaining
  • Walks
  •  The decline of the village
  • The Impact of the two World Wars
  •  The Evacuees and other Strangers
  • Agricultural mechanisation
  • Thatched roofs
  • The Arrival of Electricity, Water and The Main Drain
  • A Better Britain – Regenerating Horley
  • Secondary Education
  • Abandoned Untidiness to Village pride
  • Vestiges of a Feudal Society
  • The New Council Houses

Clare Marchant, June 2015

Clare MarchantThe is an extract from A Vanished Past Volume 1, each Volume is £15 +P&P  or you can buy both for £33 incl. p&p.

They are available directly from Clare , Shaftesbury House, 15 Circus Street, Greenwich, London SE10 8SN or marchantclare@hotmail or call on 020 8858 8529. Cheques payable to Clare Marchant.

Clare Marchant was born in Horley Vicarage, Oxfordshire in 1941 and spent her formative years there until 1965. She now lives in Greenwich, London

First published in 2015. All rights reserved. The rights of Clare Marchant to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of © Clare Marchant.  Copyright for each image rests with the contributor.

[1] Clocks were two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, so darkness fell after 10pm

 

A Vanished Past – The Cowman

Mr and Mrs Gardner

Red LionNext door to The Red Lion pub was a tall thin building which was strangely out of place amongst the lower thatched houses of the village. It looked as though it had been squeezed onto a small patch of land.

However this is where the friendly elderly Mr and Mrs Gardner lived in the 1940s.

I remember Mr Gardner as cowman at Manor Farm. He milked all the cows by hand in the cowsheds at the side of The Vicarage kitchen garden, where he allowed us to watch him, at a distance. He sat on a small three-legged stool.

Like most men working with animals he wore leather gaiters, and like most countrymen who worked on the land he moved at a steady, even pace all day long.

The house was later pulled down.

Extract from A Vanished Past Volume 1 £15   Both Volumes and p&p £33. From Clare Marchant, Shaftesbury House, 15 Circus Street, Greenwich, London SE10 8SN or marchantclare@hotmail. Cheques payable to Clare Marchant.

 

A Vanished Past – The Oil Man

Mr Warren E Warren (1884-1971) and his wife Ida (died 1967)

Mr Warren


Photo by John Saunders,                            Courtesy Alice Bowmaker

It was widely reported that Mr Warren Ernest Warren had been born in Canada although he showed no signs of even the slightest Canadian accent. He and his wife first lived in The Nutshell next to Phlox Cottage, and then bought and refurbished the house where Mr and Mrs Hicks Senior had lived – Jasmine Cottage, which had cascades of jasmine falling down the front of the house.

John Saunders took this photograph (Mr Warren) to illustrate countryside deliveries. The Shop at your Door oilman delivered to the many households still using paraffin for lighting, cooking and heating. This is one of the few pictures of Mrs Ida Warren, who worked for several families in the village including the Pratts at Essex House and the Saunders next door at Phlox Cottage and then Horley School House.

They had two daughters Maudie and Margie (Margaret) who were born in Canada. Mrs Warren regaled us with the tale of how she had been driven to hospital on a sleigh through a winter snowstorm for the birth of one of her daughters. It sounded both romantic and jolly to us, but it could have been neither at the time. Both Maudie and Margie left the area in the late 1940s or early 1950s and rarely returned. Mr Warren was a commercial traveller in the late 1930s, but was also reckoned to have been a book-keeper/accountant at some time in the past. He died in 1971 in the Brackley area.

Warren E. Warren was actually born in Hammersmith, London, one of a family of eight children. He worked for a period in Winnipeg Canada in the first decade of the 20th century. It is possible he acquired Canadian citizenship and so it may have been true he was Canadian though not born there. They had hopes of becoming farmers, but either that failed or they tired of the idea.

Mr Warren was a pale, small and gaunt man and a prolific smoker. He lived to be 87. There is a good photograph of him in the chapter on the cricket club in a later volume.

Extract from A Vanished Past Volume 2 £15   Both Volumes and p&p £33. From Clare Marchant, Shaftesbury House, 15 Circus Street, Greenwich, London SE10 8SN or marchantclare@hotmail. Cheques payable to Clare Marchant.

A Vanished Past – Grocers

“History rarely repeats itself, but it often rhymes. …” Mark Twain.

Interesting to compare and contrast our “grocery shopping” experience now with then:

  • Home Deliveries:  First the shopkeeper had to visit all his customers to take down their orders (hardly anyone had a telephone in those days); then make his way to the town, buy whatever commodities were ordered, and then come back and make the individual deliveries. For all of this he made a modest charge. But to even think of him keeping all those orders separate in his head, in combination, of course, with some kind of record in the notebook he also carried, makes the mind boggle! All mental arithmetic; no pocket calculators.”
  • Village Shop: “At the same time the small grocery shops, whether in Banbury or the villages found themselves in competition with new large food outlets like Keymarket.”

Grocers

Alice Saunders and Maureen Eeles buy sweets from Mrs Oliver

Alice Saunders and Maureen Eeles buy sweets from Mrs Oliver, Photographs by John Saunders

During the war there was no village shop in Horley. Most people did best if they committed themselves to one grocer or another, and became a regular customer. Dossetts the Banbury’s ‘High Class’ grocers made pre-ordered deliveries to large households in the area.

Shortly after the war the elderly Mrs Roylance ran a little shop for a short while from her front room in Hillary Cottage. It was hard to keep going. Mrs Jack Oliver took it over when she left as cook of The Manor.

 

Mrs Jack Oliver serves Ann Saunders of The School House

Mrs Jack Oliver serves Ann Saunders of The School House

Mr Jack Oliver in the shop

Mr Jack Oliver serving in the shop and post office in The Square

In the 1950s the Gibsons of The Manor provided the village with a purpose-built Shop and Post Office in The Square which Mr and Mrs Jack Oliver ran and eventually owned, and which supplied all the basic non-perishable provisions that people needed. At the same time the small grocery shops, whether in Banbury or the villages found themselves in competition with new large food outlets like Keymarket.

Mr Jack Hobbs

The extended shop – below is a picture of Mr  Jack Hobbs of one of Varney’s Yard cottages, now Ivy Cottage, leaving the village shop. By 1965 the shop had closed and a Co-op van was delivering groceries on a Tuesday

Courtesy of Mrs E M Blakiston-Houston (previously Coles) & Mrs Margaret Coles of SheningtonCarriers to and from Banbury were very important well into the 1930s, bringing food and goods to many households. As late as the 1950s the Sumner family still provided a residual service for those unable to get to Banbury. Robert Pearson writes in more detail about the 1920s and 1930s: ‘….. there were other sectors of country life where horses still provided an essential service. The village had its own motorised bus service into the local town twice a week (on market day, which was on Thursdays, and on Saturdays), but the carrier service was still operated by a covered horse-drawn wagon, which was fitted up with shelving…This service also operated on the same two days, and in retrospect must have been a nightmare to organise. First the shopkeeper had to visit all his customers to take down their orders (hardly anyone had a telephone in those days); then make his way to the town, buy whatever commodities were ordered, and then come back and make the individual deliveries. For all of this he made a modest charge. But to even think of him keeping all those orders separate in his head, in combination, of course, with some kind of record in the notebook he also carried, makes the mind boggle! All mental arithmetic; no pocket calculators.’

Mr Philip Coles, the grocer, was a constant figure in the village on Tuesdays. He, his brother Ernest and his sister, Mrs E.M. Blakiston-Houston owned the village grocers shop in Shenington, and took their van round several villages collecting orders from each house and then after searching through the shelves stacked with groceries and boxes full of goods on the floor of the van, returning with a wicker basket full of the food. During and in the years following the war the Coles’ business thrived, but suffered with the arrival of supermarkets and their lower prices.

PS Since posting this one of the photo’s has been shared 2.7k times, you should be able to it

How many people remember when the local grocery shop looked like this?

Posted by Dave Matthews on Monday, 14 December 2015

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What’s Next From Inside A Vanished Past ….

Red LionHope you’re enjoying these glimpses into Horley’s past? Some aspects have really changed and yet there is something enduring about our village community that still prevails today.

I have worked with Clare Marchant to “look inside” her book and share an overview of the contents, contributors and the stories of life in Horley earlier in the last century.  Posts so far:

Water tap outside Chapel Cottage 1930s cWm Gunn 2013What’s next?

A view on the changes during this period, like grocery shopping, the decline and regeneration, and a “now and then” view, such as this picture of the water tap taken outside Chapel Cottage.

We will take a look at some of the work Horley such as a Cowman, a Oilman and a Farm Labourer.

There will be a story by Clare’s sister that she wrote for her children about her life growing up here, it includes a story of a couple who lived in Chapel Cottage, and our very own actor of West End and movie fame.

Remember these are just glimpses, that we thought might interest you but there is so much more. It would make a wonderful Christmas present ……….. now you can get your copy right here in Horley from Mike and Sue Patching or at Horley’s Christmas Market this Saturday 28th.

Here are the ways to buy your copies of Volume 1 & 2 : 

1. Currently sets are available to be picked up from Mike and Sue Patching at 2 Gullivers Close (cheques should be made payable to Clare Marchant for £30);  Remaining sets will be on sale at the Christmas Market 5-7pm 28th November
2. Sets are available from Clare Marchant direct (£33 inc p&p.delivery to UK addresses – particularly useful if you would like them delivered elsewhere in the country). Contact Clare if you prefer to make a bank transfer.
Clare’s  address: Shaftesbury House, 15 Circus Street, Greenwich, London SE10 8SN
email   marchantclare@hotmail.com 
tel   020 8858 8529