Aldbourne Heritage Centre

MB: Well years ago there was no public servicesas such, you had no where to get rid of anything, you used to burn all your rubbish or bury it and big things what you couldn’t bury, tins and bits of metal all that, we used to take out to a tin pit, just past North Field, used to be in Farmer Brown’s field just before Water Acre, just opposite Coronel Bungalow there was a big pit there, and everybody used to take their tins out there. Throw it in there and it was just one way to get rid of ‘em, because you could only get rid of so much stuff on the plot of land where you lived, you know, there was no organised collection of the rubbish in those days.

Q: So you took it out on whatever means?….

MB: On some old pram wheels or something like that or sack trucks. Years later when I had been at work I mentioned to blokes at work about it and they wanted to know where this tin pit is, so they could come back digging for pots and pans.

Q: Waltz out with a pram and come back with old wood?

MB: You always did. Whenever Mother used to meet us from school she always used to have a pram, and if she took us for a walk she would always used to load up the pramwhich had high sides and little wheels, always used to come back with wood in there.

We used to go to Sunday School and that so that you could have one holiday a year, they always used to go down to the seaside.  If you went to Sunday School for so long you was eligible for it, and then we used to go to Sunday School, not  solely for that, but we also used to go to the Methodist as well for so long.  If you had so many weeks there you was eligible for their summer outing to the seaside.

Q: How did you get to the seaside then?

MB: Barnes buses, yes. The old shake bones ones.

Q: So that was a treat then.

MB: It was, yes. Because in those days you never used to hardly go out of the village other than on our push bikes and that, we never used to.  That was the highlight of your year, ‘cos you never used to go on holidays and that. Holidays were virtually none existent. It just wasn’t done in those days, well not in our standard of life, not in the circle that we used to live in.  It was like a working class village so everyone was virtually the same.    Bertie Liddiard always used to bring his cows down from Four Barrows, bring em down, they used to have a drink at the pond before they went milking.

Q: When the pond was a pond?

MB: When the pond was a pond yeah they used to go milking; they used to have a drink in the pond, wait until they were all there and then wander back up Four Barrows.

Q: What was the traffic like then?

MB: I would say non existent, there was a bit about, I suppose there was about seven cars in the village and they always used to get collared to take people to the doctors, running here there and everywhere, it was like an unpaid taxi service, but he was getting paid you know.

Q: This policeman then, Mr Waite. I can remember him. There was someone else before him….. Blake. His police house was where?

MB: Um, down Lottage just before where you go into where Wally Palmer lives, Goddards Lane that’s the one, its not the bungalow, then the house, then the next house along, next door to ….. that used to be the Police House before the one was built down Farm Lane, down there.

Q: Where did the horsesgo out to train from here?

MB: Where did they go to train? They used to go up Four Barrows, as you get up to Four Barrows just before you get to Four Barrows there used to be a gate on the right they used to go through there, straight ahead and their stables from there went all the way up to the top of Chandlers Walk, as you go out to Chandlers Walk to the Farm come out on the Swindon Road all up there you see the stables, stables with jumps and that, we used to be able to jump all along bar two, then there was some gallops in the end up Peaks track, but the main ones were at Four Barrows.  When they were about you were forever getting a runaway horse, there was always one that would lose his jockey and they’d go galloping all around the village.  I can remember we was going up from school once and all of a sudden started shouting “a horse has lost his jockey, its round at Crooked Corner”.  He come down Crooked Corner the horse, he couldn’t get round the corner, he went up on his haunches tried to stop and slid.  He went up, hit the bank opposite where the Hunts lives now and if you go up there now, you still see the drain pipes coming out and the drain is full up.  This horse went up on there and he ripped all along the side of them.  He carried on galloping then they caught him down at Hodders Bridge, down there, yeah, I don’t know what happened to him whether they sewed him up or not.  But there was always…..   Some of the old people who  used to live here in those days, one of them was Stutterer Bill, we used to call him Stutterer Bill, Bill Palmer; he used to live at the bottom of Castle Street and he used to be a shoe repairer.  I always used to love going into his place ‘cos when you opened the door you always had a smell of all the lovely leather you know.  He was called Stutterer Bill for obvious reason, poor chap; always had a cigarette on the end of his lip; he was a real character, who else was there?  There was Mayo the butcher. He was handy during the War, just a bit of black market.  He used to live down Lottage Road in Spragnells.  One of his garages down there always had a – ……  it was there till a few years ago – like a trap door in the actual garage and it’s where he used to come along and he used to get some of his meat .. some of his meat used to put through there. He had the butchers, yeah, the one actually in the Square, next door to the seat, by the corner of the pond there, yeah.  Also down there just round the corner from where we used to live, Myrtle Cottage … there used to be a … another shoe repairer…  um… he was Carter…. He was deaf and dumb wasn’t he.  Yeah,  Eilleen Turpie’s father, yeah, when you stop and think about it, yeah, he didn’t seem to be busy but he used to repair shoes,  I know Eilleen Turpie didn’t … that was her childhood home…  Also there is another one just near Mayo’s, Teagle, he used to make um door mats, not rush, wicker, coconut fibre mats, he used to make those there.  You forget all about these things until you stop and think about it, don’t you?  What made it more interesting is that he was blind, so there was one round the corner who was deaf and dumb, but they was still making a living another along the main road there and he was blind and was still making a living, so showed a bit of initiative didn’t they?

Then there was uh…I remember a big bonfire round the pond, the seat side of the pond; looking over to the pub, the pond wasn’t like it is now; they had a big old bonfire going there and some 40 gallon drums of oil and that, they was burning and someone tried to get them rolling; then Lenny Liddiard come down  and got it rolling, as he was pushes it his hands went straight up the top of the barrel and he rolled headfirst into the fire. Two or three chaps rushed and dragged him out, but was all on fire. His clothes were and then they got him on the bank, obviously, burnt his arms, yeah, they just rolled him over and over there and that put the fires out. But I was so young I don’t really know what happened and how they treated him or anything. But that stuck in my mind.

Q: This was Lenny Liddiard, not Lenny Liddiardthe blacksmith’s son?

MB: No the character Len Liddiard, he always used to sit on the village seat and conduct Parish Council, always used to be half a dozen of them sat on there, Jackie Pearce and a few others, always used to put the world to right see, criticize the Council.

Q: But you are talking about later on.

MB: Yes that’s later on.  Yes, he was virtually in his prime then.

Q: Can you remember the old chap sitting on the seat then at that time or just after the War or before Coronation or whatever? Do you remember the old chaps and who they might be?

MB: I know Len I can remember him well, and I remember Jackie Pearce, and um, must have been Tommy Coles, there was always five or six there. Those are the ones who stick in my mind.