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Horace G Eady

Horace was born in the house next to the Star & Garter (now the dining room of the pub) on 7th December 1937 and has lived in the village ever since. During his lifetime he has worked on the local farms, served in the Royal Navy, worked as a plasterer, run his own building firm and finally run a game farm.

Now 79 and retired, Horace has provided a series of articles on his life in the village from the 1940's onwards.

The War Years

When I look back on life in Chelveston to when I was young, I remember how hard life was during the war years especially. Although at that time we probably didn't think that life was too hard, as it was the only way that we knew. Living in a two bedroom house next to the Star and Garter there was eight of us. Mum and Dad, John, Joan, Margaret and Ted (twins), myself and Gillian.

The Eady Family by the Clubhouse in 1945

Back (L-R) Edward (Ted), Margaret, John and Joan

Front (L-R) Ethel, Horace, holding Gillian and Rod.

Although it was a bit cramped we managed quite well, sometimes three to a bed and sometimes sleeping on the floor after a petrol tanker took out the rear corner of the house and left us with only one bedroom. Food was scarce and so were clothes and we often dressed in 'hand me downs'. Everything was on ration and whenever we bought anything we always had to hand over our ration book so that the shop keeper could cut out the appropriate coupons. Very often we had more month left than coupons, so we just had to go without.

Although food was short mum always made sure that we had at least one good cooked meal each day. Mum was an excellent cook and she could conjure a meal up from almost anything. (she was a dab hand with leftovers) and it was always very tasty. We used to keep rabbits against the farm house wall and also in the small back garden. These weren't just pets, they were there to be eaten when ever we needed one. The same applied to the chickens that we used to have roaming around, they were not there just for the eggs.

Before going up the hill to school of a morning I would always have something warm inside my, if it wasn't porridge then it would probably be a bowl of bread with either hot milk or Cocoa poured over it with a sprinkling of sugar (used to call it "sop").

We always had a cooked meal at about 12.15 during the weekdays and my father and elder brothers and sisters used to cycle home from Higham Ferrers at that time for their dinners. They had to be back at work for 1 pm. We used to get an hour and a half dinner break at school.

The school was one large building that was sectioned off with a large sliding partition and the heating consisted of one small coke fire in each room. Very often in the Winter we could hardly keep warm, so we used to sit with our overcoats and scarves on as the school wouldn't shut for lack of heating. It never closed for ice and snow either, it was up to us to get there, but we did and we used to make some lovely slides in the playground.

After school it was very often my job to go to the bakery for bread and also the pump on the Green for a bucket of drinking water. As I was only small at the time the bucket was too heavy for me to carry all the way home and I would have to stand it on the ground about a dozen time or more before I eventually got it home. I used to hate that job, but never the less I still had to do it.

After tea, a lot of us kids would meet under the Chestnut tree and we would play games like Kick the Can or Hiackee. We would sometimes spend the night playing these games, or we would be climbing the tree to sit on the thick branches.

The Village Kids by the Chestnut Tree.

Back (L-R) Kenny Allan, Keith Hudson, Margaret Chapman & Douglas Saddington.

Middle (L-R) Richard Burton, Horace Eady, George Smith & Bobby Allan.

Front (L-R) Marion Felce, Beryl Salmon & Clifford Saddington.

Most nights during the summer the young lads would play cricket in the pub field and quite often the older boys (18+) would join in, but they didn't give us younger ones any quarter and we were expected to play the fast ball just the same as they did. We had no batting equipment at the time and many a time one of us would be bawling because we had been hit on the shins or hands with the cricket ball, but that was the way it was - no allowances made for age and certainly no "Elf and Safety" to spoil the fun.

Very often on a Winter's night when it real frosty we would play football on the same piece of ground under moonlight, it was cold but we certainly had fun. When we eventually got home our hands and legs would be blue with cold, but we stood in front of the fire and soon warmed up and then hot ache would start and that was quite painful for a while.

At that time when we were out playing of an evening during the summer you could hear the mothers calling their children to go home Some of their voices could be heard all around the village, but we very often used to suffer from '"selective hearing" then. 'Didn't hear you calling, mum' we used to say when we were late home. When we got hot and thirsty we would not go home for a drink, as we knew we would be kept in, so we used to go to the brook at the bottom of the field and drink from that - would not attempt it today!

During the day time when we were on school holidays some of us used to spend a lot of the time around the fields looking for birds nests and keeping an eye on them whilst they hatched and eventually fledged. We would also walk up the cart tracks to go to the perimeter of the (aero)drome to look at the planes and talk to the Americans.

The nearest plane to the village stood at the top of what we called the "cart ruts'". Instead of going up the '"High Lane" (where the name "Joes' Lane" came from I'll never know) you went straight on through the gate at the bottom opposite George Brittin's rickyard between the high banks and up the side of the hedge to the drome where a lone tree stood and just inside the perimeter was a hard standing where the plane called '"Old Bill" stood. "Old Bill" had come back very badly shot up one day in 1943 and it never flew again. [The events of "Old Bill" on 15th May 1943 are detailed in Billy Donald's book "John Burn One Zero Five" pages 41 - 43].

Myself and a couple of other lads (I can't quite remember who, but I think one of them was David Bettles) went up to the perimeter and saw "Old Bill" in that condition. I also recall another occasion when a plane had crashed in Pasture fields up the Kimbolton road (that's the fields just past the large spinney at top of the hill) and I was taken up to see it by my elder sisters, but because I didn't have any shoes at that time I had to ride in the front of the pram with my younger sister Gill who was only a few months old at the time.

It was also about that time that all of the children attending the school had to walk to Raunds and back for immunisation and I was the only one who could not go because I had no shoes. I can still see them now walking towards the Raunds road, led by the teacher, Mrs. Mason, whilst I was watching from the front room window.

We would very often make our way via the "Hilly Hollows" on our way to play down the stone pits. That used to be an old stone quarry and the stone was brought to the Higham road in railway carriages on a line, that was before my time, but I remember the older boys telling about it.

We also used to play by the ford down Wateryard quite a lot especially in the Summer when we could paddle. Further along near the bridge was a widening of the brook and that is where we used to bathe. There was a ledge to the hedge side and it deepened quite a bit when you stepped off it. As soon a anyone got in the water the bottom all churned up and the water became very dirty, but we didn't take ant notice and just carried on.

Going back along to the ford was the Osier bed, where we used to go to cut our bows and arrows. Most of the boys had them along with a catapult and sometimes a slingshot. We used to fish in the brook for Redthroat and Sticklebacks with a net and when we caught any they would be put in an old jam jar. We also used to catch newts and keep them in the rain water barrels.

Some of the families in the village became quite friendly with some of the Yanks. I remember some of their names. There was John J (Gus) Costello, Michael Beary and a guy called Blackie (they are pictured in John Burn One Zero Five, along with another whose name escapes me, although I remember his features). These were ground crew and Gus Costello came back and stayed a few days with us a couple of years after the war and again during the eighties when mum and dad were living in Sawyers Crescent. There was also Laddie Bell, who was a flier, and Henry Green, an ariel photographer.

Mum used to cook a Sunday dinner for some of the Yanks if they were down the club having a beer, she would send me down to ask dad how many of them there were, sometimes it would only be one, but it could very often be four or five. My elder sisters would carry the plates down and they would eat dinner in the committee room. I used to go down the club some Saturday nights and Sunday lunch times to help with the washing of the glasses, as it would get very busy most weekends.

The Yanks would put on a Christmas party for the kids from all around the surrounding villages and towns. These were wonderful for us all as there was plenty of food to eat and they would also make popcorn, then we would have a photo taken outside the mess hall [picture in John Burn One Zero Five on page 120].

We had a number of evacuees come into the village to stay, but I can't recall any of the names, although some of them became friendly with other children. Some stayed with George Brittin in the farm house next door to us, some with Joe Brittin across the road in Middle farm and there was the odd one or two stayed with other families.

In the farm house opposite the Green, known to us as '"Dads", lived some people from London, they were Beryl and Roger Salmon and their mother and Billy Reid and his mother. I believe their husbands and fathers were away in the forces and they went back to London shortly after the war.

Some of the farmers had the land army girls working for them. George Brittin had a lovely lady known as "Lilly the land girl" and later on Pat Betts worked for him. Joe Brittin had a land girl from Raunds working for him. I think she came from a family named Bettles.

Lilly the land girl

Then there was the Italian PoWs They would be brought in on a daily basis and would be dropped of and picked up on the corner near the Arch. We used to talk to them of an evening and some of them would make us a ring in exchange for a bar of soap.

George Brittin had two Italians living with him and they were called Tom and Gino. They were very friendly people and Tom became quite friendly with my brother Ted. They would deliver the milk ration to the school of a morning in a small churn and it would be measured out to us kids in our mugs. The day they were due to go back home they both came to the school with George Brittin to say goodbye.

After the Italians came the German PoWs and it was the same procedure with them. Once again George Brittin had two living with him, Bill Schmitt and Arno Knappel. Again they were very friendly and after the war Bill went back home to his wife and family, but Arno stayed here and he became pigman and stockman for Alfie Carr after George Brittin died. He eventually married Violet Smith, a woman from the village, and had a couple of children by her.

When Arno was stockman, Robert Tate and myself would often help him muck out the cows and provide clean straw and our reward would be a fag each, one of his own roll–ups of Black Beauty shag. It was quite a strong tobacco.

All the farmers in the village had a small milking herd, except Alfie Carr and his was quite a large herd. People would get their milk mostly from the nearest farmer. Milk was lovely in those days and we would collect it twice daily and it used to have a lovely thick head of cream on top. George Brittin would sometimes churn the farm butter and it tasted lovely. Dad would only have bread and butter for his tea when that was available.

There were many grass fields around the village then and there would be cows and horses grazing in them during the Summer days and nights. Horses still played a major role in farming in those days, as most farmers only had one tractor -

  • George Brittin had about 4 horses and an old Fordson tractor.
  • Joe Brittin had 4 or 5 horses, but no tractor.
  • Fred Knight had a couple of horses and an old Fordson tractor.
  • Mr Miller had a couple of horses and a Fowler tractor.
  • Alfie Carr had a few horses and about 8 tractors — three John Deere and three Case, an old Fordson and a Massey Harris.

Alfie Carr was the only farmer in the village who kept sheep and he had a large flock. He had about a thousand lambing ewes in all, as he also had farms at Hargrave and Hamerton. When I left school I worked on Carr's farm for 18 months before I joined the Navy and I spent a whole lambing season working with Joe Tate, who was the shepherd at the time, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of a lambing season.

We would sometimes drive a flock of sheep to Hargrave along the road when we worked for Alfie Carr. It was a common sight back then to see sheep and cattle being driven along the roads.

I recall the Home Guard, and sometimes the Army, would come into the village and carry out exercises of an evening. There would also be a newsreel lorry come to the village about once a fortnight and it would park near where the 305th memorial is and would show us the news of what was happening in the war. Quite a lot of people, adults as well as kids, would stand around and watch the film.

I recall that during the Summer of 1944 the late King George VI and Queen Elizabeth along with princess Elizabeth visited the Drome. We were all given the afternoon off school and we all stood in the field at Wise End corner and waited for them to pass by.

I didn't know what was happening at the time, but looking back it was just before the Normandy landing when the whole of Path Lands (field on the left going up school hill) was full of tents and hundreds of soldiers were camped there.

When the German PoWs were here there was an incident in Shelton Road when one of them chopped the guard's head off and escaped. The Home Guard were called into action and after a couple of days he was discovered in someone's house and was shot while he was trying to hide.

Everyone in the village had a gas mask and these would have to be checked every so often by the ARP warden (George Brittin). The kids were issued with Mickey Mouse looking masks, probably to help us wear them if they were needed.

All the houses had to have blackout blinds at the windows and doors so no light could show out. A large heavy curtain was fixed inside the external doors and we had to close it after us before we opened the door to go outside and when we came in the door had to be closed before we went through the curtain. George Brittin would patrol at night and occasionally the cry "put that light out" would be heard because someone hadn't drawn their curtains properly.

There was only one street light in the village and it was situated at the end of the garden by the fence on the corner of Raunds road, opposite the Chestnut tree. It was a paraffin and wick lamp and it would be lit of an evening by Reg Hudson who lived in the house. This is where all the kids of the village would congregate during the dark nights.

There was another lamp at the gate of the Chapel and it would only be lit when something was happening in the Chapel. Again this would be lit by Reg Hudson as he was the Lay Reader at the Chapel.

Post-War

Bobby Johnson, who lived in the corner house of Georges Row with his parents, contacted T.B. (used to call it consumption) when he was in the Army. He spent some time in hospital in London and when he come home he died of his illness. Bobby was in his early twenties I believe when he died. I remember him well as his family were quite friendly with our family at the time.

I remember the great snows of 1947 and I recall vividly my brother Ted (who worked for Bill Allan, the baker) had to wait to bring one of the Allan boys home from Raunds school. They couldn't get into the village from the Raunds road, so they had to take a detour via Chowns Mill. Ted got stuck in the snow and another traveller helped him out. Further along the road Ted came across the same traveller and he was himself stuck , so Ted returned the favour. It was very late at night when they eventually got home safe and sound and somewhat cold as they didn't have heaters in cars in those days.

The next morning when Ted went to work he was told by Mr. Allan that there was nothing for him to do. He went back to the bakehouse a couple of times and got the same answer. When my father came home for dinner he went to see Mr. Allan and he informed him that Ted was sacked. That was Ted's thanks for getting his son home safe, he should have got home earlier!

I go back to when most people of the village had to carry drinking water from the pump or from a well. There were several wells in the village, although not all were used for drinking water. There was one in Water Yard in the bank near the hedge near to where Sunburrow has a gate, another was in Georges Row on Sawyers Crescent side of the road. Another was at the side of the barn at the entrance to Duchy Farm, where a man named Bob Kennel drowned himself one night — this was just before my time but it was common knowledge in the village. There was also a well outside Top Farm in the grass and at one time the steam traction engines used it for topping up with water.

Steam traction engines would pass through the village when it was time for threshing, these belonged to Kimbells of Kimbolton and the engine would be towing an elevator and a threshing drum and they used to go around and do the threshing for those who had no equipment themselves. There was also another company from Riseley that did the same, but I can't remember what they were called. Alfie Carr had his own threshing equipment.

The village pound stood at the bottom of school hill in the corner of Path Land and the brook. The walls were built of stone and it had a big strong gate at the entrance.

We used to keep a few hens in the back yard in the body of an old car and they would roam around scratching about. Sometimes we would find a nest under the bushes with about two dozen eggs. They would be picked up and eaten just the same as the others, but quite often if someone belched a taste of rotten eggs would be repeated. This was called a "rotten egg" belch and the taste was awful, but it never done us any harm (no "sell by" dates in those days).

We reared two pigs in a stable back of the White House that we rented from George Brittin. Mum and Dad's friends Eddie and Lucy Cave from Rushden bought the pigs and we fed them for a share of the animal when it was eventually slaughtered. When they were ready for slaughter Maynard Baxter did the job for us, as he was a butcher and slaughterman and this was done in the slaughter house at the rear of the White House. I believe this was probably the last time that any slaughtering took place there.

Once a week, after the war, a fish and chip van from St Neots would come to the village early evening so people could have fish and chips for tea. They were cooked while we waited and the fat was heated by a coal fire with the chimney coming through the roof of the van. The people who provided this service were called Wrenn.

At the side of the village green were four Alms houses, where three old ladies lived. They had only two rooms, a living room and a bedroom and the coal barns and toilets ran alongside the brook. The one nearest the brook was occupied by Granny Parker, the next one by Granny Smith (the oldest inhabitant of the village), the next one was used as a store and the top one next to the field gate lived Granny Coles. We would often run a little errand for them.

The original village school was on the grass verge just past the field gate. It actually stood in front of what is now number two Sawyers Crescent and it wasn't demolished until the 1960s. It only had two rooms with one window is each room but they only looked out into the field. This had quite a few different occupants in the last decade before it was demolished.

We used to build camps for ourselves to play in. We had one at the side of the brook in Path Lands and another in the middle of a big bush in the field at the back of the church that runs down Bidwell. We would light fires and had some great times in the camps.

David Bettles and me would go ferreting on a Sunday morning during the winter, so we could sell the rabbits that we caught for a bit of pocket money. He had a wonderful Labrador bitch called Judy. She never once told us a lie when she was asked to sniff out a hole, if she showed interest then we would net it and always had a result.

Although the majority of people had a garden or an allotment which they grew their own vegetables a man named Freddy Mayes from Kimbolton would come into the village of a Saturday morning and park outside the pub with a van full of fresh vegetables and fruit. The women of the village would be waiting for him to buy whatever it was they required .

I can recall the time when he said that he would be getting some bananas but he was waiting for them to be delivered. They eventually came in the summer of 1946. This was the first time that us kids in the village had tasted or even seen a banana. I was eight and a half years old at the time. I must say that the imported fruit was much better in those days than what it is today. Oranges would be wrapped in tissue paper and it was kept and used as toilet paper as it was much softer than the newspapers that we would cut up and hang in the toilet. Toilet rolls to us were unheard of in those days.

Another service that came to the village regularly was a butchers van driven by Maynard Baxter and I would often ride around with him on his deliveries. If he had a faggot left over at the end of his rounds he would often let me have to eat. I used to love them then and still do today. Also the Co-op did a delivery service for groceries.

People would write out their order and it was collected on a Tuesday and delivered on Thursday by a man named Den Webb from Raunds. (I suppose this was a earlier version of what later became 'on-line' shopping). Den was a friendly guy and obviously knew a lot of people. He eventually came to live in the village when he married Penny Odell's mother Bet.

Another service that came to the village on a weekly basis was a delivery of Paraffin, this was brought in by Mr. Austin, who I believe came from Ringstead. He had a small lorry with a large tank on the back in which he carried the Paraffin. Most households needed this service as most of the table lamps used Paraffin.

Coal was delivered on a regular basis on a small Scammel lorry direct from the railway sidings at Higham Ferrers. The lorry was one of those with a flat back and a three wheeled cab and it could turn around in its own length. Sometimes I was allowed to go to the siding with them when they needed to go and refill the sacks. The coal was loose in the railway trucks and the men would put the sacks on the scales and weigh out 1cwt. of coal.

When everything was on ration we didn't get much of anything, especially sweets, but we were quite lucky on that score as the Yanks that were friendly with our family. Quite often they would give us a tin of candy.

The kids of the village whenever they saw a Yank riding his bike would stand at the side of the road and shout 'got any gum chum?' and sometimes they would throw a stick of gum out to us and sometimes we would get a whole packet, but whatever we got it was always shared out between whoever was about. When we shouted 'got any gum chum?', some of the Yanks would reply 'got a sister, mister?'

After the war the bus service we had was quite good. A single decked bus would run five time a day (six on Saturdays) from Rushden to the drome main gate at 08:15, 11:15, 17:15, 19:15, 22:15 and 23:15 on Saturdays.

There was also buses running through to Raunds and from Raunds to Rushden. I believe one was on Wednesdays around 14:00, then Saturdays around 14:00 to Raunds and also to Rushden. At around 21:00 also. On Saturday evening the bus would come to the village at 17:00 instead of the drome, turn around and wait for 20 mins before going back to Rushden.

Sundays were just after noon and evening buses to Raunds and Rushden. There was also a bus every Thursday afternoon at 13.15 from Rushden to St. Neots for the market, returning about 17.30pm.

The village Institute or 'The Stute' as it was called stood on what is now part of JST Forklifts. It ran down the side of the wall that separated it from what is now called Foot Lane opposite the Working Men's Club. It was a wooden building set on brick piers because the ground sloped. The hall had a small stage at the bottom end, with a dressing room off either side and quite a good size dance floor.

Dances were very often held on a Saturday night and quite a few people from the village would attend. It was obviously 'old time' dancing and all of the kids would dance and very often if there was no one to dance with the boys would dance together. The music was provided by Reg Sanders of Raunds. He called himself 'Sandersound' and it consisted of a gramophone player and records.

We would have film shows from time to time and also the Court Estate players would put on some performances, these were quite popular. At the end of the war the kids of the village put on Sleeping Beauty and it ran for three nights. We used to go to rehearsal in the School at nights and the play was directed by Jimmy James and his wife from Corkud. The school would also put our Christmas Nativity play on in 'the stute'.

After the war what we called the 'Tanner Hops' were held on Wednesday nights. They were called this because it would cost 6d (2.5p) to get in. Sid See, who lived up the Arch, would scrape tallow all over the floor beforehand so as to make the floor better for dancing. At the front of 'the stute' stood an Almond tree and it would be loaded with nuts and they were very hard to open, also they were very sticky if they were still in the outer casing.

Gas, Electricity and Water didn't come into the village until after the war. Gas came before electricity, as the oil lamps were replaced by gas lights in the houses. There were a lot better than oil lamps, but when the mantle got a hole in it then the light would get dimmer and it would make a roaring noise and a flame would come out of the hole. Having said that, the Working Men's club produced its own electricity, as it had a generator housed in a shed at the side, but that changed to gas when it came into the village.

Home Life

In the summer of 1948 I started working for Alfie Carr during the school holidays along with David Bettles and, later on, Robert Tate. We would lead the horses and then we were taught to drive the tractors and stack the sheaths of corn on the trailers. We would also help along with the men to stook the sheaths behind the reaper binders so they could dry before being moved to the rickyards to be stacked . We were the only boys in the village as I can recall to work on a regular basis during our school holidays and weekends, apart from Michael Parsler who worked for Mr. Miller.

I remember we had two large hams hanging from hooks on the living room wall with a muslin cloth hanging over them and a sheet of greaseproof paper between it and the wall to stop any grease from staining the wall. Mum would slice of a few rashers and fry them up and they smelled and tasted lovely. (no water injected into the bacon in those days). A newspaper was kept on the floor beneath the hams and occasionally we would hear a 'plop' and this would be a maggot dropping down. The paper was there specifically for that reason.

We never had the luxury of carpets on the floor in those days, only a Lino with mats placed here and there. Some of the mats we had made ourselves as we would sit of a Winter's night and peg the mats with old pieces of cloth cut from old coats. It didn't matter about the colour, everything went in. The coats would be cut into thin strips and then fixed to a piece of sacking with an awl.

The awl was pushed through the sacking from the under side, then pressed to open up and the cloth was then inserted and held while it was pulled partly through so as the two ends were left sticking out. It would take hours of sitting and doing this chore, but in the end we had another mat. It was a luxury to have a mat beside the bed as of a Winter's morning as the Lino would be very cold . We didn't hang around long before we got dressed either as the house would be very cold with very often ice covering the inside of the windows.

When it was bath nights, a tin bath would be placed in front of the fire and would be filled with hot water boiled in saucepans and kettles from the water butt. My sister Gill and I would bath first and then put to bed, then the older ones would have their baths.

The toilet was a bucket in in a small brick shed at the top of the yard and this would have to be emptied out into a hole that was dug in the garden (you had to be careful where you trod back then as there were plenty of "gold watches" to be found if you sank in). If the battery in the torch was flat then we would light our way of a dark night with a candle in a jam jar. Many a time it would blow out in the wind and it would mean going back to light it again.

The in-house entertainment, apart from board games like Snakes and Ladders, Draughts and Ludo, was a wireless and this was run by a battery and an accumulator and as long as they were both charged then it was okay. But if one was flat then it wouldn't work. Our accumulators were charged by Eddie and Lucy Cave from Rushden as they had a radio and electrical shop. Some of the favourite programmes were the comedy programme ITMA and Dick Barton special agent. My sisters would be home early on a Sunday evening to listen to Jack Jackson's record round up.

One evening after the war during the summer holidays I was in the kitchen having a wash, when there was a tremendous bang outside the back door and I saw the water butt rolling up the back yard. A petrol tanker driven by an RAF chap had knocked the rear corner of the house out.

There were two men in the tanker and it turned out that they were both drunk and were trying to hide the lorry in the pub yard (they were supposed to be on duty) whilst they had another drink. There was a lot of fuss about that event and it dragged on for months with many people paying visits to our house (including the two culprits ) before it was eventually sorted. I suppose it was something to do with the insurance.

Games & Sport

A few of us kids would have a trolley made up from old pram wheels and a small plank of wood. The steering mechanism was a piece of string nailed or tied to the front axle. We used to have races down School Hill and down by the bakehouse. A few of use had bikes that we mackled up from anything that we could get from Stanwick dump. We didn't have much money in those days but we certainly had imagination and a lot of fun.

I can never remember kids saying that they were bored back then, as we were always doing or making something that we could play with. An old bike tyre and a small stick was another thing that kept us amused as we bowled it along the road. French cricket and Cat and Dickie were other games that we would play.

Just after the war the men of Chelson decided that they would get a football team together. They called themselves Chelson Stars and I remember the first game that they played was against Higham Town on a pitch up the drome. Chelson kicked off and scored a goal within thirty seconds and Higham players never touched the ball. The final score was Chelveston Stars 1 Higham Town 16. A great laugh. Later on they used to play in the field behind the Blacksmiths cottage. The team didn't last too long, I think they got fed up with losing!

When I was about 11 years old the kids of the village decided that we would get a football team together and we played in the pub field and the pitch had a telegraph pole about 10 yards in from the touch line, this would cause a problem from time to time.

One day we played Court Estate Rovers and we were always trailing by at least one goal. Robert Tate was the only one with a watch and we kept telling him to put the hands back. This caused a few arguments and when we eventually got level at 12 all we blew for time. We started at 1.30pm and finished around 6pm. Great fun as it didn't matter about time just as long as we had a game.

Sawyers Crescent 1949-51

The long awaited new houses were built in 1949 in Sawyers Crescent. Numbers 3 to 8 were erected first, as these were prefabricated. We moved into number three on 24th February 1950 (the day before mum's birthday) and this was the first time that we experienced the luxury of a flush toilet and a bathroom with hot and cold running water and electric lighting. My eldest brother John still resides there today. We also had a toilets outside along with a coal barn and a wash house.

Numbers 1, 2, 9 and 10 were built later on in 1950/51 by Potters Builders from Stanwick.

The very first occupants of Sawyers Crescent were:-

No. 1. Bob Ward and his daughter Rose they moved down from Spoin Kop.

No. 2. Cliff Sykes and his wife and daughter. They came from outside of the village.

No. 3. Walter (Rod) & Ethel Eady and family. (Brother John is still in residence)

No. 4. Jim & Lizzie Boyce and family.

No. 5 Reg & Elsie Hudson and family.

No. 6 Art & Win See and family.

No. 7 Willie Chamberlain, wife and family.

No. 8 Bill & Joyce Parsler and family.

No. 9 Percy & Lucy Felce and family.

No.10 Sid Gatward and his aunt and uncle

1997 School Reunion

In 1997 we had a school reunion of the year of 1947. There was quite a few much older ex-pupils turned up and it made for a good evening. The amazing thing about year 1947 was that everyone on the photo was still alive, and all but two turned up

We had our photo taken again with each pupil standing in the same position it was wonderful to see them all again. They came from all over, even America and Australia. As far as I am aware all save three of us are still alive. It must have been all that stodge food that we ate and drinking all that water from the wells. We certainly built up our immune systems, not like today when everything has to be sterilised. I sometimes think that today we are over protected against everything.

Thinking back to when we first started going to school, of an afternoon all the infants were given a Raffia type mat which we would have to place on the floor and lay on it for half an hour so we could all have a sleep or at least we were resting. When we started to learn to write we were given a small slate board in a wooden frame and a piece of chalk to practice our alphabet. When the lesson was over we would then rub it off with a duster. We would sit at our small wooden desks and face the front and learn everything parrot fashion from the blackboard.

Although we were all 'country bumpkins' there were no real thickos in the school and everyone of us could all read and write when we left to go to Secondary Modern schools. Mrs. Doreen Mason was our teacher and she was very patient and very good with us all and she had a way of teaching that it used to sink in and stay in.

There were a couple of kids that went to Grammer School, but the rest of us went to Secondary Moderns, but that didn't hold us back as four or five of us went on to run our own businesses. (Not bad for a product from a little old school on a hill, or, 'Chelson High School') It also proves that you don't have to be a top scholar to get on in life, just the desire to succeed and be willing to work for it.

All in all, although most things were rationed and times were hard I think that I can speak for most of the 'Chelson' kids we had a happy childhood. We made the best of what little we had and along the way we certainly had fun.

Adult Life

In 1949 I left Chelson 'High School' and went to Raunds Secondary Modern school as did most of the children of the same age. We did have a choice of between Raunds or Higham Ferrers schools, but I suppose we went there because our mates decided to go there. I represented the school at football, cricket and athletics and became Rushden and District hurdles champion.

On leaving school I worked for Alfie Carr for almost two years, but after about twelve months working on the farm I started to get fed up and needed to do something different especially as there wasn't much to do of an evening, even when we went to town it was just the same old thing week in week out, so I decided I would join the Royal Navy for a bit of adventure.

I joined up on the 12th Oct 1954 (I was the only kid from the village who didn't wait to get called up) as a junior signalman. After serving just over 8 years I left the Navy as a Leading Signalman. While I was in the Navy I met my wife Doreen after returning home from 18 months service in the Far East in 1958 and we married in 1960.

As I had no specific trade when I was demobbed, I was offered a chance to learn plastering by a man who was living with my mother in law.( I would sometimes help him while I was on leave) and I jumped at the chance to learn a trade. I eventually branched out on my own and had my own plastering business before going into partnership with another man. Unfortunately he had to retire with a heart condition, so I carried on by myself and later taught my eldest son Roy plastering.

Once again though, I needed another challenge in my life and I eventually started my own building company. Doreen and I sold our first house to buy a plot of land and we lived in a caravan until it was completed. It was a cold winter that year, -17 degrees. We eventually built four houses in Chelveston — Wildacre in the Raunds road, where Doreen ran a B&B whilst still working in a shoe factory, Barnbrook in Water Lane and two in Kimbolton road, although one of them was for a specific customer.

After a few more years of building houses once again I needed another challenge, so at the age of 58 we closed down the building company and set up "Chelson Game Farm" rearing pheasants and partridges until 2008 when we decided to retire.

During the time when I was plastering, I also had a quite successful hobby of training and racing Greyhounds and this was another enjoyable experience, but it meant to do it properly I would be out on the road with my dogs at six in the morning to give them at least three miles exercise before going to work, another mile in the evening and, when either trials or racing, travelling many miles of an evening, sometimes not getting home until nearly midnight.

Our first house when we were married was number five Red Row, Chelveston. Ten bob a week was the rent (50p in today's money). We then rented a three bedroom council house in Rushden until we eventually bought our own house. We now live at No.1 Foot Lane and it stands on the same piece of land that No.5 Red Row did.

I now spend my time walking, gardening and helping two of my boys look after Dean cricket ground. I also still enjoy going back to the house I was born in, as it is now the dining room of the "Star and Garter" and I still enjoy a few beers (real ale, of course).

By the way, Doreen and I had three sons, we also have four grandchildren and we are expecting to be great grandparents later this year.

In writing down my memoirs, I haven't really bothered about putting anything down in any specific order, it has all been just as it came to mind.