A Bottesford Childhood
Memories of Bottesford in the 1940s and 50s
By Brenda Turier (nee Sellers)
I am the daughter of Frank & Ingrid (née Culpin) Sellers and was born on the 11 April, 1941, (Good Friday that year) in a Nursing Home in Sherwood Rise Nottingham. My mother tells me that she travelled on the train from Bottesford Station with my Grandmother (Granny Culpin) with whom we lived in Church Street, to Nottingham. Because of my mother’s condition they were allowed to travel in the Guard’s Van just in case my mother gave birth en route! In those days, because it was war time, one had to reserve an ambulance and, in the circumstances of a pregnancy, this was not possible because one was never sure when the baby would arrive! Apparently as my Granny and Mother boarded the train my Auntie Elsie from London (Mum’s older sister) alighted from it!
My Grandad Culpin unfortunately got killed in an accident before I was born. He, together with my Uncle Edgar (Culpin), was leading a Shire Horse pulling a cart of manure up to `The Ramper’ on Grantham Road as it was called – my cousins Betty and Barbara Culpin, who lived on Market Street, the daughters of Rhoda and Edgar Culpin, were riding behind the horse. Something startled the horse and the cart over-turned killing my granddad. Apparently Betty was tossed into Mrs Calcraft’s garden, and Barbara was seriously injured but thankfully, after many years of treatment to her leg, she recovered, as did Betty.
My childhood was spent in Bottesford until 1952 when the family, my Father and Mother, and my Brother, Richard, who is 2 years younger than myself, moved to West Bridgford in Nottingham.
I have lots of happy memories growing up in the village, and all the stories which are now mentioned on the Bottesford History website I can relate to, especially the ones mentioned by Michael Bradshaw and his Sister and Brother. In fact, I often used to play with them, especially Angela, in the Police Station Yard. My Auntie Rhoda and Uncle Edgar Culpin used to live in Market Street and their garden backed on to the rear of the Police Station!
I vividly remember also playing with June Mumby on Queen Street and regularly going to the Co-op with the Ration Book. Close to the Co-op used to be an old hall where I was taught to do tap dancing! This may have been the same building Michael referred to when he said the School Dinners were served in the old Chapel. Being so close to school I used to go home every day for my lunch.
We had an idyllic cottage which was beautifully maintained by my Mum and Granny and Uncle Edgar (mother’s Brother) who used to do all the gardening for us as my Father was away serving in the War. To a small child we had a huge garden with lots of areas to hide and play, nothing like it looks to-day. Round about the time we left Bottesford in 1952, the Red Lion Pub next door wanted to purchase a large piece of our land. And this is what they did, much reducing it to the size it is to-day. In fact, neither the cottage nor the gardens look anything like they did when we lived there: everywhere looked so neat and tidy! The top half of the garden was like an allotment absolutely full of delicious vegetables. We had endless apple trees and grew raspberries and other fruit. There was a fence around this part of the garden over which I could talk with Richard and Robert Bond. We lived next door to Mrs Bateson and her daughter Ada Bond and family (The Six Bells). I used to love going round to their house as they had a Magpie in the garden which could talk and say anything! Incidentally I vividly remember the Bonds being one of the first people to have a television and my brother, Richard, and I spent many hours at their house watching Muffin the Mule and other children’s programmes. Back to the garden again (I have digressed somewhat), to the rear of the cottage we had a lovely lawn and flower beds. In those days we had no flush toilet and the wooden toilet with a pan underneath was situated at the top of the garden! This had to be emptied on a weekly basis when the van came round! A long way to walk up the garden on a cold winter’s night with a torch but we just accepted it as normal! Nor did we have any running water and this was fetched from the pump in the back garden, just a little walk from the back door of the cottage. To the right of the garden at the rear were more apple trees and a beautiful flower garden where we grew beautiful peonies, lily of the valley, and different coloured carnations just to name a few. The big wooden doors at the bottom of the driveway we used to call `The Boarden Doors’ – I don’t know why, maybe because they were made of wood. On the right hand side there was a huge area where we kept fowls/chickens and there was a chicken hutch. In this area was the most magnificent tree – an Acacia tree – which had the most wonderful blooms which spilled out over the wall into Church Street but always kept tidy and never allowed to be low enough to touch people’s heads! Everyone who passed by used to say what a wonderful tree it was. Sadly to-day it is no longer there. If at any time we didn’t have any chickens I was allowed to use the chicken shed as a play house and I had curtains up at the window and my own little bits of `furniture’ – it was wonderful. The front garden had two small lawns with beautiful flowers on either side. I have also omitted to mention that the Wash House was just outside the back door of the cottage. My Mum and Granny always used to have washdays on a Monday and it would take all day. They would fill up the copper and wash the clothes. I can remember so well the dolly tub and the scrubbing board and the mangle. When the clothes were put on the line they often used to freeze in winter but smelt so beautifully fresh. We did not have any electricity or gas and in my first years we had paraffin lamps and then went on to the gas mantles! But we had a beautiful black leaded fire place and range where the most delicious meals were cooked and the most scrumptious toast that you could imagine done with a toasting fork! When we were very young we were bathed in a tin bath in front of the fire but as we got older we had to have a bath in a large tin bath in the wash house sharing the same water!
During my time in Bottesford we had very cold winters. We regularly used to make slides in the playground and in the street – thinking about it now how dangerous it must have been. I remember going round one day with the other children to Palmer’s Field where a pond or some water there used to freeze over but, on this occasion, when I was sliding along I fell in and I hardly dare go home as I was in such a mess!
Talking of Palmer’s Field we used to walk from the cottage, over Fleming Bridge, along the path round the Churchyard, through Palmer’s Field to ‘The Gate House’ where my Grandma & Grandad Sellers lived before they moved to `The Green’. My Grandad used to man the gates on the level crossing. In those days it was so safe to play in all the fields as there never appeared to be any crime like there is to-day. I also remember going to visit the Tilsons who used to live at the Station House, and sometimes played with the Whysall children, Robin and Jennifer. I can vividly remember the Carters who used to live close to the Whysalls. Mr Carter used to play the organ at the Church.
I am sure you will have heard of an Estate Agent, called Richard Watkinson. Well, although Richard no doubt doesn’t know this, and probably doesn’t want to know it, his Mother (Pat Goodson I believe her name was) used to allow me to take Richard for walks in his pushchair when he was approx. 2 years old! When I first took him out he was just recovering from Whooping Cough and to see him cough so much really worried me! At that time his parents lived on the Grantham Road just before what we called `The Ramper’. My Uncle Edgar also had an allotment on `The Ramper’ and I remember once he showed me a Bird’s Nest amongst his Brussels Sprout plants! I thought it was fascinating. Michael Bradshaw made reference to Mr Bains at the Mill up the Grantham Road. I frequently went to the Mill I believe to collect flour. At that time a girl named Marigold Dean used to live there and I used to go to parties at that `big’ house.
My best friend used to be Wendy Topps and we had lots of fun together. In fact, we met up again for the first time just a year ago when sadly we attended Robert Bond’s funeral. It was lovely to see her again although on a very sad occasion. We both recognised each other! As mentioned earlier in my notes I played a lot with Richard and Robert Bond as did my own brother Richard. Wendy and I used to love cats and when Wendy lived in one of the cottages near Mrs Calcraft I remember there were always lots of cats around there. We used to dress them up (when the cats allowed us!) and we would parade them around in our dolls’ prams!
I used to fetch the milk in a tin can from Daybells Farm where it was ladled into the can from a large milk chum. If the milk wasn’t ready they often would say I could get it myself from the cow! It wasn’t pasteurised in those days! The milk always used to be warm and steaming!
I have spent many happy hours up at Easthorpe playing with Judy Ireland as I did with the Goodwin children who lived on the High Street. I can also remember Jennifer Parr and all the children on the 1949 photograph of Miss Walker’s class but unfortunately not all their names. My brother, Richard is on the front row of that picture on the far right hand side. There is also another photograph on the website headed `What Year is this?’ I appear in this picture (the fifth one in from the right on the front row – with the plaits and striped jumper), and I think it was either 1948 or 1949.
On the 1940 picture my cousins Betty Culpin and Sheila Richards (nee Tarring) appear. Sheila is on the front row on the far right hand side, and Betty is more in the centre of the photograph. My cousin Sheila was an evacuee from London during the war and came to live with us at Church Street. She was the daughter of my Auntie Elsie mentioned at the beginning of these notes, who (Auntie Elsie) has sadly since died.
Because I had such blonde hair as a child the servicemen used to call me Blondie and would give us American chewing gum which we loved.
The planes used to fly so low over our cottage you felt you could almost touch them and they made such a noise. We could often see into the cockpit.
We used to love the Garden Fetes held in the Rectory Grounds and I used to play with Poppy and Jumbo (Canon Blackmore’s grandchildren) when they were over from Mexico. There was a tree swing in the Rectory Grounds close to the river which we all loved and, as Michael said, we fished (for minnows) in all the rivers. When Grandma and Grandad Sellers moved to `The Green’ we used to love to play in the Ford there.
We regularly attended St Mary’s Church – I often went three times on a Sunday
– to Matins, then to Sunday School in the afternoon, and Evensong at night! I used to love to hear the bells ringing on a Sunday and for special occasions. Someone took me once to let me ring a bell myself and, when I did, it completely lifted me off the ground! I can vividly remember Mr Tommy Robinson the Verger.
I used to go for piano lessons at Miss James’s house – Nellie. She had a sister who I believe was called Beatrice. My piano practicing was done at my Auntie Rhoda & Uncle Edgar’s house on Market Street as the piano really belonged to Betty and Barbara.
I had an Aunt Harriett and Uncle Perce (Percy), and also an Aunt Sarah, who lived up at Normanton – Aunt Harriett and Aunt Sarah were Granny Emily Culpin’s sisters, and I would frequently cycle up to Normanton with my mother to visit them. Incidentally, one of my bikes used to belong to Pat Barnes. It was sold to us. In later years, after I had married, my Uncle Perce allowed my husband Eric and I to purchase a piece of his land. We in fact had planning permission to build a bungalow and in fact built the garage and fencing ourselves! We fully intended to complete the bungalow but, at the time, a Builder visited my father who was the Deputy Manager at the Woolwich Building Society in Nottingham and asked him, because there was a building strike on at that time, if he knew of any land he could purchase to keep his men in business! My father related this to us and, to cut a long story short, we agreed to sell it to the builder and, to this day, we frequently look at the bungalow that has since been built down the lane leading to Uncle Perce’s house at Normanton and, would you believe, our garage and fencing is still standing to-day exactly as it was!!
I must mention the old Chapel on The Green as every Wednesday, I believe, we went to watch the Old Mother Riley, Hopalong Cassidy, and Laurel & Hardy Films! The benches we sat on were so hard but we loved all the films and we always knew what was coming on as in the Post Office window on the High Street would be a poster telling us what film it would be!
I remember I also used to play with the Norris girls – Jennifer, Yolande, and Carol. There’s so much I can relate to in Bottesford, too much really to put into writing and I am sure I have missed so many important things and names. Please therefore forgive me if I have missed anyone important out! However, as I mentioned at the beginning most of my own memories are covered in Michael’s stories plus the icons in Bottesford History on the Village Shops and Bridges. I vividly remember all the shops and the names. They were very happy days.
For anyone interested in knowing what happened when I left Bottesford I will try to be as brief as possible.
We, the family, moved to West Bridgford just prior to the Queen’s Coronation in 1952 when we had our first television which we thought was wonderful. My Brother and I attended The South County Primary School in West Bridgford. I was only there a short time before going to Muster’s Road Secondary School where I stayed until I was 15. In 1955 my sister Elizabeth (whom we call Biv) was born. On leaving Muster’s Road I attended Miller’s Business College in Nottingham for a year studying Shorthand and Typing and Bookkeeping. From there I joined the Trustee Department of the National Provincial Bank in Exchange Walk and was secretary to the then Manager, Mr Venables, deceased many years ago. The National Provincial Bank later became National Westminster Bank (NatWest) which eventually was taken over by The Royal Bank of Scotland. I served 40 years with the Bank and have now been a Bank Pensioner for the past 11 years! Each year I attend the Bank’s Annual Reunion Lunch at The Royal Lancaster Hotel, London.
I married my husband Bryan Eric Stuart Turier at St Giles Church in West Bridgford on 16 September 1961 and we have been married for nearly 46 years. Unfortunately we have no children. We now live on Killerton Park Drive in West Bridgford. My parents, Ingrid and Frank, still live in West Bridgford, as does my Sister, Biv, and her family. My Brother Richard lives in Shipley, Nr Bradford, Yorks.
My wonderful parents Frank and Ingrid are now aged respectively 94 (father will be 95 in November `07) and 90 (mother will be 91 in August `07). My father used to deal with the maintenance of the Bottesford Friendly Society Books for many years and, in fact, handed them over to Neil Fortey when my parents were taken by my cousin Barbara (nee Culpin) and her husband Terry Parkes to the Exhibition recently held in the old school.
Brenda Turier (nee Sellers)