The Journal 

 

By Beryl _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

Lime Tree Cottage, Walcote.   1927

Picture and "The Journal" supplied by Judy Turner

 

In the picture is Minnie Price and her daughter Beryl.     1927.

Also living in the house was her husband Archie

and an older daughter, also called Minnie.

 

The house was situated between Dingle View and Manor Farm and demolished in the 1970's

The picture was found after Beryl had died, by her son. He also found an exercise book that Beryl had used to write on what she had remembered, when living in Walcote.

Minnie in the Beryl story is her sister, who is quite a bit older than her. The washhouse which is mentioned, is still there to this day.

 
 

I was born at Lime Tree Cottage in Walcote, which is a small hamlet near Haselor, on June 28th 1924. There were about ten cottages, 2 farms, a large house and a vicarage. There was also a cider mill, which was very busy until around 1945, I believe, pressing apples for cider and pears for perry. The horse pulled the grinding wheel round and round and the first crushing pressed out the juice leaving thick pulp behind. The juice ran into the barrels and the pulp was shovelled into oblong canvas troughs, these were put on the press, after the second crushing the juice was barrelled. The mill still stands at Walcote. 

Haselor was a little larger with a public house "The Crown Inn", a small post office and shop combined, a small school, a chapel and the church on a very steep hill. 

Mum (top right) and Dad (below) and my sister Minnie came here to live around 1918, they had previously lived in Birmingham. ( I do not have these pictures.)

We had quite a large garden. Dad grew lots of vegetables and herbs and soft fruits. We also kept hens and chickens, sometimes Dad used to breed his own and sometimes he sent away for day old chicks then he would keep them in a incubator for a time until they were strong. Mum used to look after them all when Dad was at work. The chicks were fed on special food, but for the hens they used to cook small potatoes or peelings in a large saucepan on the fire then when they were cool they were mixed up with some mash, which was sort of powdery. This was usually for the afternoon feed. In the morning they had corn and sometimes a little grit to make the eggshells firm. Mum used to sell a large basket of eggs each week to the gentleman who kept the Crown Pub.

Opposite our cottage we had a small orchard with Pershore plums, Magnums and damson trees. If we had a good year Dad would get some crates and we all helped to pick the fruit and it was sent to market. The money we made used to come in handy to buy seeds for the following year.

We had a well for our water. Dad had to lower a bucket on a chain and pull the water up. This was our only means of water except for the rainwater tubs. This water was used for washing clothes.

The washhouse was outside and in it was a large boiler with a fireplace underneath. Mum had to get a good fire going to heat the water and then rub the clothes on a wooden board to get them clean. The whites were then boiled, then rinsed in water that had a bit of blue in it. Some garments then had to be starched then put through the wringer, which had very large rollers. The clothes were eventually hung out to dry.

The ironing was a long job. Mum heated the old fashioned flat irons in front of the fire. She would iron a few garments then the irons had to be put back to be reheated. 

Mum also made all her own jam, all different kinds even marrow jam with ginger. It was delicious. For many years when I was very young she did all the cooking on a very small range, which had to be blackleaded and it only had a very small oven. She did save up and eventually bought an oil stove, which was a big improvement. We also had a cooking range in the front room but I don't think the oven could have been much good because I can remember Dad used to put the sticks, which we gathered out of the fields nearby, in the oven to dry and sometimes when I came downstairs in the morning our old smoky grey cat would be sitting right in the oven, of course then it was only just warm. 

Dad built a small workshop out of old pieces of wood and he spent many hours there. He made small chests of drawers and quite a lot of rustic garden furniture, a bench, table, archways and a container for flowers. He also mended his boots and all our shoes. He bought large pieces of leather then cut out the soles and heels and nailed them on. He had a special iron stand to place the shoe on he was repairing. I believe it had about three different sizes. 

Mum made most of our summer dresses and curtains and chair covers and she made pretty aprons for Minnie to wear at the Crown. They were all decorated with lace. 

I started school when I was five years old. At Haselor there were only about fifteen pupils. Miss Rachel Smith was our teacher. When we had our religious lesson she used to have a sort of scroll and she unravelled it and it depicted a picture of a bible story, for instance the good Samaritan, and she would explain all about the parable. Another thing I can remember, she had a large hand bell she rang each day when it was time to start lessons and when playtime was ended. 

I liked Christmas time because we always acted in a play and all girls wore tinsel in their hair, then we had a tea party and Father Christmas was there to give each of us a present. All the children who attended Sunday school at the chapel also had a party and prizes, we usually had a book, one year we had a Bible. 

We used to play whip and top or……. as we were on our way to school. There was no traffic about in those days, only perhaps one of the farmers with a horse and float, which was a sort of cart with seats. My friend Geoff lived on a farm and sometimes his Mum used to give us a lift home in her float. 

We used to go to Stratford on rare occasions. We walked to Great Alne station to get the train to Bearley then changed trains to eventually arrive in Stratford. The shops were very small compared with today. Smiths the drapery shop, where Debenhams is now, was the largest. Mum sometimes bought a dress there. They usually had a row of them all the same design, perhaps in different colours. 

At Christmas time a group of us used to go carol singing around the village, some kind people would invite us in for a mince pie or a warm drink, others perhaps would not answer the door. We got to know our "good customers". We usually ended up at our house then we counted all the money and shared it out. Those were really happy days. 

Sometimes when I was at Haselor school I walked home to dinner but more often I used to go to the Crown Inn to see Minnie. She was the barmaid there. She lived in so we did not see her very often at home - she did not have much time off. 

The landlady used to make butter. She used to keep turning the churn for a long long time. I'm sure it must have been very tiring but the butter had a lovely taste and a beautiful golden colour. Mum always bought our butter from her. 

We had celebrations for the Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary in 1935. I was dressed as a wasp complete with wings in the fancy dress parade. We had games in one of Mr Goulbourne's fields. The sack race, egg and spoon race and three-legged race were the ones I liked.

Afterwards we had tea in the school, parents included. 

Our first wireless was quite a novelty. I believe Dad bought it off a friend, and then later on we had a pushbutton model that had a very good sound. It had a large battery and an accumulator, which had to be recharged every few weeks. 

The oil lamps had to be filled every day. It was a very poor light although we did not realise it at the time. In the evening we used to play board games, and quite often Dad used to make rugs and I helped him. We cut up any old materials like coats or skirts into strips and then into small pieces then we pegged them, onto "canvas" which was a clean sack bag cut down the side to make into the size of a rug. 

The service from the shops in Alcester and surrounding area was very good. The Co-Op sold most things. A van came all round the villages from the butchery department, another with bread and orders were taken for all our grocery, then delivered the following week. We paid into a clothing club and another one to pay for coal. 

There was also a van which came round with groceries and hardware and paraffin. One was Fosters from Studley, Harman's from Henley Street, Alcester was another, Crows from Studley and another from Badsey but I can't recall their name. 

On Saturday evenings a large van called selling fish and chips. The driver used to ring a bell to let us know he had arrived. I used to rush out to get in the queue. Mr Eric Bunting also used to take orders for grocery. 

When I was about eleven years old Mum gave me her bicycle. Minnie used to take me out in the evening, when she had time off, to teach me to ride. I believe it took me quite a time to get my balance but anyway I did learn in time to start school at Aston Cantlow. 

Miss Lacy was the head teacher and Miss Joan Smith was the infant teacher. I was very happy at this school and we all tried very hard for our exams, I always wanted to be top of the class, although there were only approximately 10 in my class but one boy named Philip always won the top prize, which was usually a book.

However, I did manage to win the top prize when Philip left school, I also won a book for champion girl in sport.

One of my favourite lessons was needlework. I made a linen guest towel with drawn thread work and embroidery and I also made a summer dress all by hand. 

I acted in a play "The Merchant of Venice". I was Portia so I had to learn a very long speech but I really enjoyed it. I felt very important. Miss Lacy invited me and my friend Joyce to see this play at the theatre in Stratford and we stayed at her house over night. 

Sometimes while cycling to school I used to see Dad at work. He worked for the Warwickshire Council and his job was to cut the grass along the roadside, which was known as a "length". He cut all around Aston Cantlow, part of Wilmcote and Billesley. He did all this work with a scythe. 

We celebrated the coronation of King George VI 1937. There was a fancy dress parade in Haselor. I entered as "Nippy" a waitress and I won second prize which I believe was one shilling, although Mum advised me to share the money with my friend Molloy as he had lent me the outfit. 

I left school when I was 14 years old. There were not many jobs around at that time, but our teacher knew of a lady in the village who wanted help in the house, so Mum went with me to discuss exactly what I had to do and decide on wages. It was agreed that I would be paid seven shillings a week, starting at 8 o'clock each morning until 6 o'clock on five days but finishing a little earlier on Wednesdays and Sundays. It was quite a large house and also there was a smaller house next door, eleven rooms in all plus the bathroom. 

I had to do all the cleaning and polishing and washing up for the five people in the families but I did have good times when the lady had visitors for tea. She used to give me some of the goodies, including lovely Kunzle cakes. 

One Christmas she gave me a beautiful green handbag, which toned perfectly with my outfit I had bought for Minnie's wedding. 

The second world war started in September 1939. At that time my employer let the cottage to another family so I was then paid more money, eleven shillings in all. 

I left this job when I was sixteen, quite a few of my friends told me about the jobs they had in a factory at Studley. I was very interested so off I went to the labour exchange in Alcester to see if there was a vacancy at Needle Industries at Studley. I was informed there was not, so I cycled to Studley and called at the factory to enquire and I was offered a job at once. My hours were 8 o'clock until 7 o'clock with one hour for dinner and I finished at 12 o'clock on Saturday. Very often during the summer I used to cycle all the way to work which was about 7 miles, but usually in the bad weather I rode into Alcester, left my bicycle at a friends house and caught the 7.30 bus into Studley. Although the work was repetitive I enjoyed being with all the girls in the inspection shop. 

We always had fun in our dinner time break. Some days we went to the canteen to buy a plate of vegetables and a pudding. If we took sandwiches we would stay in our work place to eat them, then call at the cake shop for afters, although we were only allowed to buy one cake - the shopkeeper was very strict about that so we had to decide which cake to choose while waiting in the queue. Would it be a cream slice, a cream bun or perhaps a chocolate cake. On Friday we always bought fish and chips, once again we had to wait in a queue but it was worth it, they were always really good from Dysons. 

The Studley girls used to have a dance in the canteen during the week, but of course me and my friends from out in the country were not able to go so they used to teach us a few steps at dinner time so that was good fun. 

I worked in the assembly shop for a short time. There were about four of us doing inspection work. One girl called Betty and myself used to write out the words of the latest songs (when we were supposed to be working). Sometimes the foreman would suddenly appear then we knew we had to get on, but he was a really nice gentleman - I can't ever remember him telling us off, just giving us a few quiet words. 

When I was about 19, I started work at Royal Victoria Works in the Birmingham Road, still part of Needle Industries. This was one very large shop, everyone making needles. I worked on the combines. There were seven machines, on our section there were two of us girls and the man who set the machines. The machines worked automatically, first they stamped the wire then eyed them. We had to collect them up after inspecting them, then wrap them up into parcels. We had to keep a close eye on the machines because if they went wrong, for instance not stamping them correctly, we would soon have a lot of scrap, then we were in trouble. But I really enjoyed the work. When the setter was in a good mood he used to sometimes try to teach us how to set the machines. 

Opposite us was another section doing similar work. I made friends with a girl named Geraldine. We sometimes went to dances on Saturday nights in the Entaco canteen or sometimes Redditch, then I used to stay overnight at her parents home in Watts Road. 

We went on holiday together to the Isle of Wight. We had a great time sunbathing, going to most places on the island and dancing in the evening. We went for one week but enjoyed ourselves so much we decided to stay over the weekend. When we came home it was announced the war was over.

 

The Wedding

28th November 1948

 I had arranged to meet Frank during that weekend (my first date with him) but I sent him a letter apologising. I saw him later at the Throckmorton Arms where we met in the first place. Then he came to Walcote to meet Mum and Dad. He used to work quite late at the factory so it was sometimes about 9 o'clock when he came to see me. 

We used to go to the pictures at the cinema in Alcester or have a drink at the Kings Head at Aston Cantlow or the Huff Cap at Great Alne. One evening we were at the Huff Cap and Frank was playing his one man band which was playing the harmonica and banging on the door (for the base). We thought it was a good sound but the landlord did not think so, so he asked him to stop playing. 

Frank started work in a pop factory when he was 14 years old just for the summer months. Then he had a job as messenger boy at the Post Office delivering telegrams. When he was 15 years old he started working for Guillaume and Sons, a needle making firm in Alcester. He did various jobs including working the stamping and eyeing machines and in the plating shop. Later on he was Mr Guillaume Senior's chauffeur. He wore a dark green uniform with a peak cap. 

Wedding Book 

We went to see Father Brierykie and asked for dispensation, and he said that it would take a week. I went to see Father on the 8th October. 

We went to Redditch to order the furniture on 9th October from Cranmore Simmons, bedroom suite, dining room suite, three piece suite and bed linen £156. 

Went to Father for another lesson October 12th and dispensation came through the next day. 

I went with Minnie to get our dresses on October 16th. I had figured brocade with a small train and orange blossom head-dress, and Minnie had a blue dress with a feathered head-dress. I borrowed my veil and shoes.

 Frank and I did colour washing and painting at the bungalow. We had our furniture on November 18th. I had my hair set on November 19th and took my cake and cards to the Holly Bush. 

Alice came home Saturday morning, 3rd November. She dressed Minnie and I. We had Ave Maria played while we were signing the register. Mr Treadgold took our photos, then we went to the Holly Bush where we had 56 guests and it cost £22/19/10. I had two horseshoes, one from "The Gang" and one from David. The reception went on until 3.00pm and then we went to the bungalow in a car to show Mum and Dad. Then we went home for an hour and caught the 4.00pm train to Cheltenham, arriving about 8.30pm. We stayed at Coutts hotel, a very nice place. We had quite a good time, staying until Tuesday, arriving back at 3.30pm to start work on Saturday 27th. I started on Monday 29th November. Father came to see us.

Wedding Presents

Mum and Dad - chiming clock; Frank's Mum and Dad - wireless and electric kettle; Minnie and Joe - bedspread; Mrs Steels - saucepan; Miss Alders - 6 eggcups on stand; Mrs Wharrad - two towels; Miss Ada Steele - half a tea service; Pauline Holmes - set of jugs; Mrs Boyce and Violet - meat dish; Dorothy and Gladys - four pyrex dishes; Phylis Clisser - tea pot and embroidered cosy; Auntie May - preserving pans; work pals "Shop" - electric iron, bread bin, and aluminium kettle; Auntie Hilda - cream jug and sugar basin; Aunt Lizzie Blundell - half a dozen dinner plates; Mrs Holmes and Kathleen - white tablecloth; Uzzie Young - fruit set; Auntie Winnie - two door mats; Mrs C Guillaume - basket of groceries; Mrs H Guillaume - basket of groceries; Mrs Haine - half a dozen desert and half a dozen teaspoons; Evelyn, Muriel, Hilda and Hazel -companion set; Lillie Hodgetts - one pair of pillow cases; Mrs Right - half a dozen tumblers and wine glasses; Mrs Skinner -casserole and fruit plate; Mrs Warwick - electric fire; Mrs Perks -two jam dishes, Mrs Jameson - half a dozen dinner forks and teapot stand, flowerbin; Annie and Albert - bread and butter plate and glass jam dish; Golda - six wine glasses; Joyce Gisbourne -lemonade set; Margery - set of tins for tea etc; Ethel - large casserole; Fred and Hazel - reading lamp; John Haine - jam dish -Mary Steele - half a tea service; Nigel - bread and butter plate; Albert (Best Man) electric iron; Miss Gale - two wine glasses; Mrs Barley - two wine glasses; Miss Isons - egg cups and pair of candle sticks; Auntie Ivy - bread board and butter dish; Mrs Smith - jam dish; The Bakers - two towels; Lil and Cecil - tea strainer and stand; Mrs Begent - cake tin; Frank Course - half a dozen tea plates; Auntie Lillie - one blanket; Laura - clothes brush; Mrs Whiting - set of shoe brushes; Mrs Lake - cheque for three guineas; Mr Guillaume - cheque for three guineas; Mrs Richards - tea cosy; Bill - half a dozen dinner knives; Mr Parks - one pound; Miss Hemming - two chair backs.

The Baptism

2nd July 1950

 Money for baby. Mr G £2; Mrs HG 10/-; Miss Thomas £1; Mrs

Shepard 1/-; Miss Gale 1/-; Mrs Boyce 1/-; Mrs Walton 2/-; Mum 2/-

+      10/-; Minnie 5/-; Frank and Albert 2/6; Mrs Begent 2/6; Mum 2/6;

Auntie Win 10/-; Her mother 2/-; Mother 2/-; Brought forward +

Min 1/- to make up = £7/10/-; Postal order September 15th Min and

Joe 4/6; Mum 2/6; Mum 2/6; Miss White 1/-; Mother (Xmas) 10/-;

Frank's Dad 10/-; Joe 2/6; Min 7/6 Equals £2/0/6; Easter Min and Joe

2/6; Mum 2/- equals £2/5/-. All together in box: £2/9/- plus Mary 2/-.

Birthday money: Mum and Dad 10/-; Frank's Mum and Dad £1; Mr

G £1; Mrs G 5/-; Auntie Win 10/-; Min and Joe 8/-; Us 10/-; In box

£6/14/-.

Baby's clothes

 9oz white wool 13/1; 2 oz white wool 3/4; material for bed jacket

14/6; quilt and blankets £1; two white towels, two nighties, three vests, shawl, 3oz wool for coat 5/-; one baby's nightie 5/6; 15 nappies £1/10/-; sheets and blankets £1/10/-; pillow cases 3/9 and 6/11; one dozen nappies £1/6/-; two night dresses £1/9/-; half a dozen nappies 12/-; one nightie os 17/11; material for two gowns 11/- and material for two gowns 4/-.

 Baby's weight

 June 2nd (at birth) 7lb 13oz

April 4th (next year) 2st 1 ¾lb

 

Other items of interest

 Notes on National Service and Certificate of Registration 1924.

Clothing book for 4 1947 - 48. Coronation programme for Alcester and Oversley 2nd June 1953. School report from Miss Lacy, head of Aston Cantlow School for Beryl - "Excellent work", nothing under 70%, house craft and needle work: 99%, "Beryl is a nice mannered girl, keen and careful with her work, I shall be sorry to see her go". Wireless licence for 1950 20/-. Frank was a dispatch rider for the LDU, School Road. Worked for 30 years for Guillaume Engineering. Details of employment: 44 hour week at 4/11 per hour; 10 days holiday. Beryl worked at the Needle Industries earning 7/11 per week. National Insurance card for Beryl, identity cards for Father Archibald. 1895 small book details of army record and soldiers wills etc. Rent book 1948-55 12/6 per week and various birth, marriage and death certificates for the family.