Aldbourne Heritage Centre

NK: Well I was born 9th June 1923 Nancy Joyce Stacey at Neals Farm in South Street, the house just before Claridge Close and I was the fifth daughter of Richard and Amy Stacey and the sixth member of a family of eight, also having three brothers, Henry, Geoffrey and Arnold. Arnold was the Methodist Minister here for five years, who died suddenly in 2005. My father, Richard Stacey, was responsible for the housing development in Baydon Hill, from the Chalk Pits at the top end to the bungalows at the bottom. He was also responsible for the development at Windmill Close, building 10 bungalows there. My childhood days were spent at 27 Lottage Road which was then a farm, up to the age of 12 I remember living on the farm there. When he gave up farming he started to build houses, the first one being on what was our garden; four more houses were then built where we had a large barn, cowsheds and pigsties. They were very happy memories on the farm. When the war came, as my father had finished farming, we had to drive Italian prisoners of war from Lambourn Woodlands to the various farms. And more housing built we got Farm Lane on topside, previous army camp this side was squatted but were eventually recognised by the council and paid 5 shillings a week in rent. My father, being a builder, was able to make it quite comfortable. Search Light Camp in the field below Westfield Chase, where I met my husband. The soldiers used to play to the Chapel. The schoolroom was open on Sunday evenings for the soldiers to have somewhere to spend their free time.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about your childhood days, can you tell me where you went to school, primary school?
NK: Well I went to school in Aldbourne.
Q: At what age would you have started?
NK: Five, age of five.
Q: And your teachers would have been?
NK: Miss Hawksworth and Miss Stroud, who was later Mrs Moulding. Mr. Jackson was the Headmaster.
Q: And what age were you when you left the village school and where did you go from there?
NK: 11 and I went to Marlborough Grammar School.
Q: Wasn’t there an 11 plus then?
NK: Well yes and I lodged at Mayfield College, along the London Road.
Q: Who else would have gone with you from here at that time to Marlborough Grammar School?
NK: Pam Pembroke, Pamela Pembroke, we were the only two girls that went from here.
Q: And she lodged at Mayfield as well?
NK: She did yes, well all Aldbourne girls did, the older ones that were there, but they weren’t just from Aldbourne
I. What age did you leave school from Marlborough Grammar School?
NK: I was 15 when I left; I didn’t take any GCE’s because I was needed at home.
Q: So you weren’t allowed to take them?
NK: Well no, I couldn’t take them, my parents needed me home and somehow, with a bit of difficulty, they got me away.
Q: And that would have been?
NK: 1938
Q: Before the war?
NK: Yes, just, ‘37
Q: And what did you do at home then, when you left school?
NK: Just stayed home, helping at home, my mum wasn’t too well
Q: Did you have the farm land?
NK: When I left school, did he have the farm, no I don’t think he did
Q: Your father had already gone into building?
NK: Yes, yes I think he had, course he had, he’d gone into building quite a few years before that.
Q: Was his business separate from Chas Stacey?
NK: Yes, oh yes, two different businesses
Q: Because he actually ended up having the yard, didn’t he?
NK: Yes they were cousins, that’s right.
I . So he was actually in the building trade at the same time as Charles Stacey?
NK: Yes, oh yes.
Q: Which other builders were in the village then?
NK: Jerrams.
Q: What about Church or Chapel?
NK: Well I belonged to the Methodist Chapel, I was married at the Chapel.
Q: Which one was that?
NK: Lottage Road, Lottage Road Chapel, I was married in 1942.
Q: And your husband’s name?
NK: Norman.
Q: Norman Keast?
NK: That’s right, yes.
Q: Tell me a bit about Norman?
NK: Well he was in the searchlight regiment and he was stationed all around this area most of the time and when he did move he was moved to Norfolk and I followed around
Q: A camp follower?
NK: I found a bedsit and had to work on the land, ‘cause I had to do something.
Q: When you say he was in the searchlight regiment, where was he in Aldbourne in the searchlight regiment?
NK: Well up on the Westfield Chase and they were in Ogbourne, bottom of Ogbourne hill, there was a searchlight there, so he was down there a bit. I think he was actually there when we married, yes he was, yes.
Q: Then he left the village and you went with him when he left?
NK: Well yes
Q: And that was during the war?
NK: Yes that was during the war
Q: You came back obviously ?
NK: Well, he didn’t go away until six months before the end of the war, I was sort of around and worked on the land. I wasn’t actually in the land army, but I had to work.
Q: Whereabouts would you have had to work?
NK: On the land, sort of doing fruit picking.
Q: Oh, where?
NK: Wherever, I was in Norfolk at the time, Oh, in lodgings there. And then, when he was moved, I came back to Aldbourne, worked upon Bland’s Farm, with the poultry for about six months.
Q: At Aldbourne Warren?
NK: Yes, up at Aldbourne Warren, and then I suppose he was demobbed in September I presume, I think in was about September 1945, ’cause my father then, he sort of got him out on class B to help with the painting and decorating in the building
Q: In the trade?
NK: Yes that’s why they got him out, but then after we’d been back here, well not hardly a year, his father wanted him back down in Cornwall to go back down to the quarry.
Q: Because he was not a painter and decorator by trade?
NK: No not really.
Q: He was a stonemason by trade?
NK: Yes, he was a stonemason really, so we went back down to Cornwall for three or four years and we lived in a very outlandish little cottage, with candles, lamplight, a toilet all across the yard and we had to go across the yard where the cows were. Not very pleasant. Eventually I came back here I think to Aldbourne, my Dad wanted us back, ’cause he didn’t like us going away particularly and he knew I wasn’t all that happy there and I think we came back and lived in Castle Street opposite those three houses now, where Miriam lives now. We moved in there first and then eventually the three cottages were built.
Q: What was there before then?
NK: Well Pizzie lived in one.
Q: No not there, the ones opposite, I remember Pizzie You lived next door to Pizzie didn’t you, of course you did?
NK: Thatched cottages, they were three thatched cottages I think he had a few problems with them when he was pulling them down, with the council, a lot of red tape.
Q: So you moved across the road then?
NK: Yes, when our house was ready
Q: Your father built those?
NK: Yes, he did all those cottages there, his intention was for all his family to have a house, that was his idea, we eventually ended up, then of course he got Windmill, he bought the two cottages at Windmill.
Q: Windmill Cottages?
NK: Yes, Windmill Cottages, he bought those. We had one and my sister had the other, my sister Mary, and we lived there for the time being.
Q: And then he built Windmill Close?
NK: Windmill Close, he developed that from there on.
Q: He lived in the end one, didn’t he, the first one as you went in?
NK: Yes, he built himself a bungalow first.
Q: Can you tell me about Chapel, because I know you have been involved with the Chapel?
NK: Oh he was yes
Q: Yes, your parents were, weren’t they?
NK: Yes, I played the organ in the Chapel for about 40 years. 16 I was, I was thrown into it cause the war was on and they didn’t have anyone hardly to play, the soldiers used to play to Chapel and they didn’t have anybody to play, I got pushed into it, I never learnt music.
I . I was going to say where did you learn music?
NK: I didn’t
Q: Oh, you picked it up?
NK: I still play to this day one handed, a little bit, but not like. I never profess to be a musician, but I can play hymns. I could do it now if there was no body else.
Q: And you were obviously very involved in the Chapel life, what were the highlights of your remembering Chapel life?
NK: Well, Sunday School Anniversaries and things like that; every year we used to all have new clothes.
Q: Oh right, what did you do?
NK: Well sing and say recitations, which we hated doing. We had to learn these recitations. Yes, long ones, some of them.
Q: What about outings?
NK: Yes, well we had a Sunday School outing once a year, yes we went out in the old charabanc as we called it. You know
Q: And where did you go?
NK: Weymouth, Bournemouth, Bognor yes. Yes, we went quite a long way, it was a long day, yes we used to go off about 6 o’clock in the morning, back about 10 o’clock at night.
Q: What’s your memory of village shops when you were young?
NK: Well we had Palmers shop of course, that was the main one. Wally Palmers shop, I think that was where we used to get our groceries and things from; then there was Richard Hale’s, wasn’t there?
Q: Alice Wilson?
NK: Alice was a cousin of ours, that was a relation of ours.
Q: Stacey?
NK: Stacey, yes, her father was my father’s brother.
Q: Joe Wilkins, what was then Joe Wilkins?
NK: Oh yes Joe Wilkins shop, then there was Barnes, one of Charlie Barnes, yes Charles Barnes. I don’t know much about the pubs, I can’t tell you anything about them.
Q: What about petrol sites, the petrol pumps?
NK: Well there was Mr Lunn and Mr. Allsop.
Q: Did they have a shop as well?
NK: Yes, they did have a shop, Tommy Lunn.
Q: And what did they sell?
NK: All sorts, well.
Q: They called it Universal Stores didn’t they?
NK: Well yes, I think so, odds and ends anyway, ’cause Allsops sold more things for household things I thought, can you remember that?
Q: Yes, ‘course I can?
NK: Of course you can, you remember Allsops.
Q: Harold cutting my hair, did he cut Peter’s hair, Harold?
NK: Pardon.
Q: Did he cut Peter’s hair, Harold?
NK: I don’t know that he did or not, can’t remember that, he had a lot of curls I know that. He hadn’t got much now, he keeps it all short.
Q: Then there was the butchers, two butchers?
NK: Yes there was a butchers, there was Liddiards the butcher and who was that butcher, Waites at one time wasn’t there? Then there was a butcher Humphries. Of course Humphries was there you know
Q: Which one are you talking about, which building are you talking about?
NK: Well Humphries was where the one is now.
Q: Where the old shop was, is the new shop now?
NK: Yes that was Humphries.
Q: You’ve got the two places, you have the shop and the house on the right of it?
NK: Oh yes, that’s right, there was, they lived there in the house, Jack Humphries. Oh I remember going up shopping from the Butts to the butchers shop
Q: And across where Smithfield House is, that was who?
NK: Who was that, where?
Q: Smithfield House, where Chris has the new houses now?
NK: Smithfield House?
Q: Yes, where the butchers was?
NK: Oh the other butchers, oh that was Liddiard wasn’t it
Q: Liddiards, yes?
NK: I think It was a fox’s name
Q: I know in the war?
NK: It was a Liddiard and then was several people, there was Mayo
Q: Vic Gilbert afterwards?
NK: Didn’t Francis? Francis was there as well, wasn’t he?
Q: Well yes, sometime after that. What’s your memories of the pond because the pond was filled in wasn’t it for Coronation?
NK: Yes, I know my Dad used to say they had to ride round the pond or something didn’t they, ducked them in or something years ago.
Q: I know my mother used to say don’t you go near that pond, filthy dirty place?
NK: I know, well it was.
Q: ‘Cause Liddiards would bring their cows down to drink out of it didn’t they?
NK: Oh yes, yes they would, well we all would, we used to have cows at one time and walk them right through the village to go up Marlborough Road, all those years ago.
Q: Where were your fields when you had the farm?
NK: Well we had one, one was the old Rectory Meadow, behind Neals Farm, where all the Rectory Wood, that was a meadow up there, we used to have a farm up there. Used to have a fete there sometimes, in Rectory Meadow.
Q: And that was before the Rectory was bought by the?
NK: The Miss Foxes, they lived there
Q: Did they buy that land then?
NK: Well I suppose they did. As I say me father had a meadow up there, I know we used to go up there, that was his meadow, that’s where the cows were and of course we had the cowsheds down Lottage Road see so we had to fetch the cows from there to be milked and everything, coming through the street.
Q: Going back to the Chapel, can you tell me about the camp meetings?
NK: Well of course that was more the Primitive Chapel,
Q: What was that?
NK: We used to go to that usually, we liked that play, belonged to the primitive Methodists
Q: Yours was Wesleyan?
NK: Ours was Wesleyan, yes.
Q: Yours was West Street?
NK: West Street was Primitive.
Q: Oh West Street was Primitive, that’s right?
NK: You know where that was.
Q: But you went to the camp meetings?
NK: Oh yes, we had to.
Q: You don’t know when they originated, before your time?
NK: Must have, I can always seem to remember camp meetings and Feast Sunday. It was Feast Sunday, Feast, it was not allowed in till 6 o’clock, after 6 o’clock, as children we used to go along the road and listen to the engines coming, it was quite exciting, Aldbourne Feast
Q: The camp meeting, tell me what you did, tell me how it took place and what?
NK: Well we’d sit around on the grass.
Q: Whereabouts?
NK: Up on Mr. Hale’s field, Fred Hale it was, up behind the Memorial Hall, where Tom, Mr. Wilkins lived, that field, that was where the camp meetings were.
Q: Did you actually go there and meet there or did you?
NK: Well we could go up there, or sometimes they would stop down the street and play the band and then walk up. I think we just went up there and sit around, we used to find it very boring.
Q: Not the Aldbourne Band was it?
NK: No Ramsbury.
Q: Ramsbury Methodist Band?
NK: No, I used to find that very boring, used to have to listen to people with long winded speeches.
Q: So that heralded the Feast then, which would have been the fair, which is what we know the Feast as today. So what happened with the Feast, they came in 6 o’clock Sunday evening?
NK: Yes, after 6 o’clock, after the service, not before that.
Q: And how long was the Feast here for, can you give me a few memories of the Feast of those days?
NK: Well Monday and Tuesday, that’s all, Monday and Tuesday.
Q: What sort of amusements did they have?
NK: Well roundabouts, chair ‘o planes, not much else, swing boats.
Q: How much did the rides cost?
NK: Six pence I think; my Grandparents would come down, they lived at Wickham Heath, and he’d give us six pence, you know, for something, Many of our relations would come back for Aldbourne Feast and if they saw us they would give us about six pence, one fare. And Miss Foster would give us free rides.
Q: She was giving free rides then?
NK: Yes.
Q: When you were a child, she was when I was a child, until she died?
NK: Yes, I mean I was quite young, it must have been when I was a child, yes it must have been I think. It’s a job to remember, I can’t remember what year, but I can remember them having free rides.
Q: What about Carnival, what are your memories of Carnival?
NK: Well we used to do a lorry every year
Q: That was your father’s lorry?
NK: Yes, we always did a family affair, year after year, we did some great lorries for Carnival. Used to get all the family together you know, used to enjoy it.
Q: The funfair didn’t come then did it?
NK: No, no it didn’t, we didn’t have the funfair, just had the Carnival.
Q: That’s quite modern isn’t it?
NK: There’d be a Carnival dance as a rule.
Q: How did they choose Carnival Queen then?
NK: Ah well, we did it once when we had to sell tickets and I was maid of honour, 1939.
Q: Didn’t sell quite enough tickets?
NK: No, I think Rose Little, Mrs Little, Rose Crook, she belonged to the Crook family, she was the oldest, she was the Queen that year.
Q: When you were small, what would have been a treat for you, a real treat, or did you think of the Chapel outings as your main treat of the year?
NK: I suppose we did really, we used to like the fetes, the Chapel fete, we used to quite enjoy that.
Q: The Chapel had its own fete then?
NK: Well, yes, we used to.
Q: What did you do to amuse yourself?
NK: Good question
Q: There wasn’t anything around to do, what did you do with your time? You were working, I suppose?
NK: After I left school, I don’t know.
Q: What about before you were married, the period just before the war because that interrupted everything. Did you have dances in the village?
NK: We were never allowed to go to them, I think we were brought up a bit too strictly really.
Q: Youth Club or?
NK: Well they didn’t start until after, when I was in my teens, I was in the youth club then I remember.
Q: That was attached to the church then?
NK: Yes that belonged to the church, we used to go to different things, that was quite nice.
Q: I can remember juniors with Mrs Wootton and Mrs Barnes, they did it for years. What was the employment in the village at that time? What did people do mostly? People didn’t go out of the village much?
NK: I suppose they were farmers.
Q: How many did your father employ for example?
NK: What, when he was in the building?, Oh, quite a few, at least 12 I should think.
Q: So building was quite a major trade wasn’t it?
NK: Oh yes, I think it was.
Q: I suppose farming, there were a lot of people on farms weren’t there?
NK: I’d say there were more on farms, definitely. Farming and the building I suppose, I can’t think what else.
Q: There are not many what you call big houses in Aldbourne, there’s the Rectory or Manor House, did they employ people below stairs?
C. Mrs Brown used to have someone look after the children, Ruth Fairbrother ? she looked after the Brown children.
Q: Tim’s mother?
NK: Yes she looked after the Brown’s children; yes, we had quite a bit to do with them cause she used to walk up to Windmill with them, ’cause my girls were growing up with them. And your Vanessa used to plod up there with Joy.
Q: What about medical care, what were the provisions for Doctors?.
NK: Well they had a surgery at Neals, they had a little room down at Neals for the Lambourn Doctors who came twice a week.
Q: Was that while you were living there?
NK: No, no it always belonged to the Lambourn Doctor for some reason or other, that’s why I’m still under the Lambourn Doctor. The doctor had to come from Lambourn to see me once when I was about 15, I remember when I had tonsillitis. That’s all, we didn’t have much to do cause we had to pay for Doctors years ago and I don’t suppose we could afford it. We were a pretty healthy family. We were very fortunate that way I suppose.
Q: And if you had to go to hospital, you would go where then?
NK: Savernake, yes, it would be Savernake. Yes, ’cause Peter was born at Savernake. June’s a Dabchick she was born at home and Alison was born at home.
Q: Going back to your school days, when you went to grammar school and you boarded at Mayfield, did you get involved with anything outside the school, but connected with it?
NK: No, we didn’t, we used to go there; they had a tennis court and we were able to play tennis there, the court round the house at Mayfield, just a singles court. We used to play that was the most of our limit. Go home from school, have our tea, then we’d have prep, we had to prepare our homework from 6.00 to 8.30. We younger ones had to go to bed and the older ones a bit later. So that was that.
Q: How did you get to Marlborough?
NK: On the bus.
Q: On a Monday morning and?
NK: On a Monday morning.
Q: And came back on the Friday evening bus?
NK: On a Friday evening bus, yes. I used to hate it, Sunday’s I used to think; Monday I got to go to school, be away the week; when it got to Thursday, I was just settling down.
Q: What are your memories of war time in the village?
NK: Well it was very exciting at first, seeing all the soldiers coming to the village you know, it was quite good.
Q: This is the British soldiers?
NK: Oh yes.
Q: They were billeted in the village?
NK: Yes, we had some billeted in the houses just above, in one of those houses, in one of Dad’s houses. Some of the soldiers were billeted up there. When they first came, they were in Mr. Liddiard’s barn. He had some soldiers there
Q: Glebe Barn.
NK: And there must have been some, oh they were in Powell’s, in the stables, yes that’s right, there were a lot of them round there.
Q: Did you have any prisoners of war in the village?
NK: Not actually in the village, they were up at Membury, although my Dad used to drive them the Italian prisoners of war to work somewhere.
Q: How did he get on with them, how did they get on with him?
NK: They liked him, they got on fine with him I think, got on fine with my Dad. He thought they were all quite alright you know.
Q: You met your husband in the war of course, he was with the searchlight, how often did you see him, where was he lodged?
NK: Well, he was in the searchlight camp and he had to stay in the camp first of all and they used to parade to the Chapel and we used to meet him and then. He said I was playing the organ when he met me, to tell you the truth and that was it, as far as he was concerned. Then we did go to the dance a bit you know.
Q: Tell me about dances in the war then, cause I knew there were dances?
NK: Oh yes.
Q: How regular were they?
NK: Every Saturday, we had a dance.
Q: In the hall?
NK: In the hall, yes, we had to come home about 11.00, I think sometimes they went on a bit longer, I don’t think too late because my brother Henry, before he went in the air force, as long as he went, I went. We were there at the dance together as far as my parents were concerned, I was allowed to go.
Q: Chaperoned?
NK: Oh, yes, in a way; I danced with my husband a bit there and it just went on like that. Of course we had pictures in the village once a week, in the hall, we did that. We used to go to the pictures sometimes.
Q: And the hall was the other way round then wasn’t it?
NK: It was, yes.
Q: How did they show the films?
NK: Well they had the projector on the stage.
Q: But they built a sort of box, didn’t they?
NK: Oh well they must have done, I didn’t really take much notice to tell you the truth.
Q: Giving away secrets now. So your first child was Peter?
NK: Yes.
Q: And he was born, when was Peter born?
NK: 1946.
Q: Was that here?
NK: Yes, it was at Savernake; he’s not actually a Dabchick, well he is
Q: Conceived and carried?
NK: Yes that’s right in Aldbourne, he was; so I reckon he’s a Dabchick really. Just that they made us go to hospital in those days. Then when he was a year old we went down to Cornwall. Then Richard was born – he only lasted 11 months and then June was born and we came back when she was 11 months old.
Q: Have you any early stories of Peter?
NK: Only you and him chasing after the fox hounds. He went to the pictures one night, we didn’t know where he was, with Robert King. We had to go and fetch him out. He was a bit of a rascal then – yes, he was.
Q: You didn’t have to worry then;
NK: You would go for walks then; June, after school would go off up to Westfield Chase with Dorothy Barnes and we didn’t know where she was and we got a bit worried but nowadays we have got to know exactly where they are.
Q: Did you have a car?
NK: Yes, Dad had a car, we were one of the lucky ones and he would take us for rides. It was an old Austin – a biggish one.
Q: Did you have a bicycle? Did you go out for bicycle rides?
NK: Well, I liked a bike. I had a bike after I got married. I didn’t have one as a child. I use to have to cycle to work when I lived at Norfolk. When I worked up at Bland’s I had to cycle up there and shut the chickens up about 11 o’clock at night especially when we had Double Summer Time. And Nellie Barnes used to work up there with me as well.