Lambourn 1930's - 40's
With the kind permission of George Bodman.
A description of Lambourn and local characters, based on the memories of George, who for many years, until his retirement supplied coal and other fuels to Lambourn residents.
High Street ( East Side )
Entering the High Street from the Market Place, we first encounter "The George". Next door was another pub called "The Sawyer's Arms" run by Mr & Mrs Millard and their daughter. A second daughter married Reg Bracey, brother of Eddie who farmed at Weatherdown Farm, near Seven Barrows. A third daughter married a horsebox driver named Sam Athawes. In 1974 a former jockey called Sammy Millbanks owned the pub and changed its name to "The Paddock Inn" **
Francis Farm next door was the grocery shop run by Mr and Mrs Ricketts. Mr Ricketts served with the ARP during the War. Then came "The Old School" in which many of the Older Generation were educated. At the start of the War we all went there to be fitted with gas masks. Next was the butchery shop of Alf Doggett, who later retired to Newbury Street.
The lovely "College House", halfway up the High Street was occupied by Major McNee, whose famous son, Patrick, became the successful character "Steed" in the TV series "The Avengers". Baydon House next door was where Frank Thatcher lived. He was instrumental in founding and running the Lambourn Engineering Group owned by Sir Hugh Nugent. Mervyn Scot, the manager of LRT also lived there pre-war.
Next to Baydon House was the cottage of David Packer, who was a bowls enthusiast alongside my father. He also lived up Hungerford Hill at one time and was a skilled carpenter. I still use a wooden wheelbarrow made by him in the early 40's. It shows no sign of wearing out! The house next door with two attractive bay windows was run as a fish shop by Mr & Mrs Dawson, who went out of business when the fryer went up in flames!
** later burnt down
The playing of a melodeon by a little old lady in the neighbouring house gave me much pleasure. Then came yet another pub - "The Hind's Head" - run by Mr and Mrs Wall and their son Gilbert. Next-door was the butchery shop of Mr Hewlett. Jim Turner (pre-war) and
Cecil Pike (post-war) used to deliver their meat on Saturdays using a traditional trade bicycle.
The occupant of the neighbouring house would today be referred to as "the man from the Pru!" Actually, Bill Pottinger was a very smart, straight and upright gentleman, who worked for Compton Pilgrims, although his main job was village postman. Before that he had been school caretaker and a butler at Stork House! His neighbour was Tom Smith, a length man for the Council engaged to keep verges tidy. I believe he was the sole rider of a three-wheeled cycle in the Valley.
"Downs House" at the top of the High Street was the home of Captain Cramsie, who trained racehorses until 1939 and who was also Fire Brigade Captain.
After Mr Packer's house up Hungerford Hill, we would find Ford's black smithy. This was bought in 1948 by George and Tony Hailstone who became well known throughout the local racing industry and trained many of today's farriers. Mrs Hailstone was a very jolly lady who worked hard for the local Girl Guides' movement.