Lambourn 1930's - 40's
With the kind permission of George Bodman.
Newbury Street (South)
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.
Coming down the South side of Newbury Street from the Market Square we first pass the "George" Hotel. This was run by George Day, ably assisted by his housekeeper "Tweedle" Rodbourne. Mr Day would tolerate no foolish behaviour or swearing in the hotel, offenders were promptly ejected!
Next door remain EJ Wicks, saddlers to the village, to the surrounding district and to various members of the Royal family. Then came a boot and shoe repair shop kept by "Daddy" George Pavier and his wife (Jessie). Daddy could tackle anything around a house and garden.
About two cottages further down lived the Mahoney and Highnett families. A draper's shop stood several yards back from the road. Where the telephone exchange now stands was once gardens. Next door formed the residence of Mr Barnes- a solicitor.
Then came Tubbs Farm House where farmer Eddie Bracey lived. Mr Bracey was instrumental in founding Lambourn Sports Club by donating the requisite land. He also used to hire out corn threshing tackle to many local farmers and farmed until his death in 1940.
Joe Rodbourne lived in adjoining Paddock Cottage. He looked very impressive in his Fire Brigade uniform as he pedalled his bicycle furiously to the station to attend fires! A couple of cottages further down lived Harold and Jim Goddard, plus "Gert" Sherman. Jim worked for Fred Templeman, the famous trainer and sadly was killed in the War. Gert was plagued by a "gammy" leg but nevertheless remained perpetually cheerful!
The neighbouring thatched cottage, occupied by Mrs Herring, was often targeted by various village lads, who gained much amusement by sounding her doorknocker and making whistling noises. This would cause Mrs Herring to race out after youngsters fleeing up and down the street!
We would then encounter the boot and shoe sales and repair shop run by Frank and Mrs Peters, with their daughter, Eileen, who provided piano lessons to many local youngsters. The instrument sat at an end-room adjoining the road, so that a passing high-sided lorry meant we could neither see nor hear what we were supposed to be playing! In later years, Eileen acquired a Grand Piano, but we never got to play it! She also gave a little private tuition and was organist to Lambourn Parish Church for many years.
Next-door was Fontley House, occupied by Daniel and Mrs Ball. They bought it from Mr Clarke, the headmaster of the Big School, when he retired in 1943. Mr Clarke was a remote figure to me as he took the top class, I was taught to read by Miss Kennedy in Class 1. I can still feel her hands gently guiding mine.
We then reach the Castle family home, with a green front door approached from the road by three steps. Jack Castle built himself a bungalow to replace this dwelling. He married Mary Bates, daughter of East Garston coal merchant, Jack Bates. Mrs Bates played the organ at Eastbury and East Garston Methodist Chapels.
Across Station Road was the "Bottom Yard" of trainer Fred Templeman. The corner dwelling housed Johnny Wickham, his wife and daughter Rosemary. Next door remains the Fish Shop. This used to be owned by Mrs Kerwood, but run by Charlie and Mrs Marshall. Seven customers would fill the shop, but one could eat a plate of fish and chips in comfort off a large scrubbed table in an adjoining room. Two pennies would buy fish and one penny the chips, with as much crackling as you wanted.
A neighbouring thatched cottage housed Will Tabor and his wife. Will bagged coal for my Dad until he was well into his "80's". The coal business was bought by Dad from a Mr Reynolds and was run in its early days mainly from the railway station. He gradually passed it on the my brother Louis and me when I came out of the army in 1955 and spent more time on bowls and billiards. Next door to our house is the Fire Station. There used to be a huge chestnut tree behind the station that gave us much enjoyment through our playing conkers. In those days a coke stove heated the station and I remember how wonderfully every bit of equipment shone. The Fire Station was rebuilt further from the road in 1974 and the conker tree was felled to make room.