Mothers' Union

Bottesford Branch 90th - 1991

By Sue Middleton

Mrs Wharmby Remembers

Mrs. Ada Bond kindly provided a copy of this article celebrating the 90th birthday of the Mothers’ Union. From its content we can work out that it must have been written in 1991. It gives fascinating details of Bottesford village life during the early 1900’s.

We do not know where this article was published and would be grateful for any information so that we can provide full acknowledgement.

If anyone has any details of the 100th birthday of the Mothers’ Union please do leave a comment.

Below is a transcription of the article. Mrs Bond says that there is a printing error in the original article and it should read ‘Mrs. Waudby’.

“Mrs Wharmby Remembers

Bottesford Branch, in the Framland Deanery, celebrates its 90th birthday this year, and a member who can recall much of its history is 94-year-old Mrs. Wharmby. The vicar’s wife established the first branch in 1901 after a drawing room meeting where the object of the Mothers’ Union was explained. A service of enrolment was held and the branch met quarterly. The vicar’s wife approached Mrs. Wharmby after the birth of her twins (70 years ago). She was told to bring the babies. ‘I can have the little girl’ said the vicar’s wife who had three boys, ‘and the nanny can have the boys’. So the little girl was kept beside the vicar’s wife in a clothes basket, to be picked up for a cuddle if she cried.

Times were hard, and social concern consisted of the villagers caring for each other in a form of fellowship largely lost to us now. There was a loan service for first-size baby clothes, a local medical club where 3d a week would entitle you to the services of the local doctor. Basic operations were carried out in the home – on the kitchen table. If hospital treatment was needed, the sufferer’s family had to run round the village to find someone who contributed to the hospital to give them a ‘recommendation’ before the patient was admitted. Wages were £1 per week, with early nights to save the oil lamps. Instead of toys there were games of make-believe and hobbies then were sewing, embroidery, etc. Often considered hard work today! There was two hours work to do before school – and no pocket money of course! You left school at 12 and began a life of hard work. Clothing came mainly from rummage sales, purchases were unpicked and altered, vests were knitted, rugs were made from left over cloth. Nothing could be wasted. When the family pig was slaughtered, even the fat was jealously hoarded for pastry.

But there was fun and excitement – like the first car going through the village, or the visit of a dancing bear or performing monkey. When it was goose-fair time in Nottingham, elephants and giraffes walked through Bottesford, but the hippopotamus travelled in style in a covered wagon!. There was a library in Bottesford, with books donated by the Duke of Rutland. But the high spot of village life was the Sunday School outing to Blackberry Hill in the Vale of Belvoir. Farmers decked out their horses in brasses, school benches lined the wagons and the men that led them dressed in their best. First there was a church service to bless the outing, and the whole village turned out to see  them off. Picnics were provided by the Sunday School in laundry hampers and there was a bag of butterscotch and a packet of nuts for each child as they set off. There were games, sports and singing.

Mrs. Wharmby’s recipe for happiness is to remember the good times. The love of good parents and being content with what they had. She feels the Mothers’ Union has not changed a lot, and is thankful for it.”

This page was added on 12/09/2007.

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