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.
NEWBURY STREET: (North side)
Next to the farmyard was (and still is) Carter's Cottage where Blondin, the chimney sweep and later Harry Westall lived before the war. After the War, Jack Shepherd lived there with his wife and daughters (Joyce and Jean). Jack used to look after Eddie Bracey's carthorses and keep all the brasses shining! A retired Army Officer, Major Dunn, lived next door at Deacon Cottage.
At the corner of Newbury Street and the Market Place is the Red Lion hotel, where Ken Mullins, a well-known jockey and farmer, held his wedding reception. Next-door was Leslie Gosling's farmyard. I remember putting many sacks of corn into his sheds. Three houses have now replaced this yard.
Next was a cottage where "Barber" Lane used to live. Later, Mr Doggett retired there after running a butcher's business in the High Street. I can still see him standing outside his front door, looking up and down the street.
Then there was a small paddock where Bert Bracey kept his horse. Bert delivered parcels from the Railway Station around the village. We lads loved to ride on his cart. Eddie Ponsford also kept his grey mare here. Eddie delivered soap, brushes and paraffin etc and lived with his wife at the foot of Gasworks Hill in a white cottage. (The paddock was donated to the Church of England in 1956 for construction of new vicarage)
Just past the paddock was a cottage occupied by G Kett and W Rolph in the 1930's and later by Harry Spanswick, a local sweep and St Johns Ambulance man. Then came the "Bracey's" - Bert and "Brub". Brub used to run a lorry collection manure from various stables in the village, helped by "Scottie! Rosier. Brub never washed the exterior of his car because he reckoned the dirt preserved the paintwork"! Next came a butcher's shop started by Aubrey Collins and run subsequently by Ron Benson, who later emigrated to Australia. Mr Collins also had a grocery business until about 1941.
Opposite Mr Collin's shop were building occupied by "Taffy" John and George Pottinger. From here were operated a taxi (Pottinger minibus services remain available today) and (after the war) a television business. In those days, all the televisions supplied and maintained in Lambourn were made by GEC and cost just £100! George was a character and very clever at radio and TV. Whenever ours broke down we would 'phone him and he would say, "I am on my way"! Possibly two or three days later, he would arrive, put his hands into the back of the set and fix it within ten minutes.
George would accept an offer of a drink from my Dad (LJ Bodman) and watch a television programme for an hour or more before proceeding, suitably refreshed to his next customer!
Next door, after the War, was a bookmaker's office, run by Bill Flexton, who lived at Greenways. Then came Eddie Bracey's farmyard where he kept his steam engine, threshing tackle, tractors and farm implements. In those days, Billy Bracey used to herd cows from this yard across a little bridge over the River Lambourn, through what is now Lambourn Court and on out to the fields in Mill Lane for pasture.
A little further down Newbury Street, two cottages housed Jack Puffett (who had around eight children) and Alf Hunter (who worked on the farm for Eddie Bracey). Next door, an acre of ground, now occupied by Tubbs Farm Close, was owned by Berkshire County Council and had cart sheds and a stable. My Dad rented this ground to grow potatoes, which provided a pretty picture when in flower. There was a dewpond in one corner.
Then came a sweet shop run by Wilfred Gosling and his wife, who used to serve the sweets out of lovely large jars. A sixpenny piece went a long way in those days! Next door was a grocery shop owned by Mr Brown of Eastbury, but managed and run by Wilfred and Elsie Drewitt. Wilfred played bowls for both Lambourn and Berkshire. Two doors down was Harry Busby's carrier business: this collected and delivered a variety of goods between Lambourn, Newbury and villages along the way. Just below Mr Busby's garden were four cottages in a row. These were occupied by "Friday" Rosier, Joe and "Cycle" Pettifer (who worked at Baylis's Farm at Easbury) Arthur Brown and Bert Harris.
At the end of Newbury Street on the North side is "The Lamb" public house. This used to be run by Jim and Mrs Stadden and their daughters. Alongside was a blacksmith's shop occupied by a well-built man (Mr Tanner) who used to fascinate us youngsters when operating his forge. Seeing the sparks fly when he made horseshoes was a sight to behold.