By Ralph Walker
It could be of interest to the present inhabitants of the township of Worthington to be informed about their place just a little way back in history.
As an introduction, with a few facts from Nichols History of Leicestershire, we were originally known as WERDITONE and was accounted a member of Tonge and with that, was given to Henry de Ferrers by William the Conqueror. Again from Nichols History of Leicestershire, the church was referred to as the chapel, and dedicated to Saint Matthew. It consisted of a low tower, a south porch, a nave and chancel with five old lancet windows. The seats were old and open.
In 1552, the Commissioners reported that the Chapel of Worthington contained two bells in the steeple and one chalice of silver.
With reference to the inclusion with Tonge, it seems odd to us in the present day that Tonge, being a hamlet with no church, and Worthington, always enjoying the status of parish, could have had such positions. This is with all due respect to Tonge, who did at one time have a chapel, but I am not sure of its denomination (I understand that the chapel was Methodist - Editor).
My history is more recent, of course, going back seventy five years, when I can remember a few activities during the General Strike of 1926 and I am pretty certain it was the year the school opened and I began my school days. Before that time all the children from the village walked to Newbold to attend school there.
There were a number of miners who lived in Worthington. My dad cycled to Coalville to work at the Snibston Colliery, now a popular museum. The work was usually just two shifts a week. These chaps had borrowed a small flat cart from a farmer and with a strong man in the shafts and others pushing, travelled the lanes in the area, pulling down dead branches from trees with wagon ropes. These loads were brought back to 'Big Jim's' yard in the Main street, where two men operated a cross-cut saw and the logs were sold to obtain a few shillings for the men's existence during the strike. It was intended to be a General Strike throughout the country, but this did not materialise and it was just the miners who prolonged the strike. It has been reported that they returned to work for less wage than that before the stoppage.
Just a little incident I remember from this time. A girl of my age of four years, who lived in a cottage down Big Jim's yard, in the very hot summer of 1926 had sunstroke. My Great Aunt Jane lived next door, she was also regarded as Aunt Jane to almost everyone in the village. Because there was no apparent reason for the girl's distress, Great Aunt Jane looked to the heavens as it might have come down from God and no doubt uttered a little prayer for relief. It could seem that, in past times, religious beliefs did create a suspicion of strong powers that might have existed but it was a fact that country folk did not always understand afflictions and their causes.
I might be seeing the light here because about this time electricity came to the village. We used to be snooped at by our neighbours at Breedon on the Hill, referring to Worthington as Paraffin City, because that was the only method of lighting. Our other nom-de-plume was Yawny Box, but we could take this as complimentary as it depicted the peaceful life in the village.
I remember the electric poles being erected in Farmer Brooks' field on the right-hand side going up Bull Hill by the Leicester and Warwickshire Power Company who were providing the service. Not all the houses had the supply as the landlords possibly thought that it was too expensive. Our family lived in a house belonging to the brewery who owned the Malt Shovel Inn, and we had to continue with the paraffin lamp, the kind that stood on the centre of the table. In a higher room a more decorative lamp would be suspended from the ceiling. Most cottages were small, so in other areas of the house you dodged about in dark shadows or could have had a candlestick with a wavering flame from the candle for going up stairs.
The Church and Chapel Sunday School Anniversaries were always well patronised with the number of children 'sitting up' for the sermons and the many villagers attending and when relatives visited and Sunday tea on this day was a special occasion. The children were excited as the girls had new dresses and the boys sometimes with a suit or maybe just a jersey.
At the end of the summer everyone looked forward to the Infirmary Show. One has to understand that these small events were highlighted because no-one went away on holiday. The show was held in the Reading Room and also in a large marquee in the adjacent field, with the usual attractions at a village fete and dancing on grass in the evening to the music of a brass band - I don't think that spin turns were allowed. The proceeds of this event were sent to the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary; this was customary in all villages at that time. It meant that if the local doctor advised that a person should be admitted to the Infirmary, the family would contact the Secretary of the Show Committee for a 'Recommend', a certified form that supported the admission, only two or three each year. Anyone who did not support the Infirmary Show must have just faded away - thank goodness for the National Health Service!
The annual Wakes were always awaited with much pleasure, especially by the children, and I would hope to include these, together with other memories and trust that they may be published later.
Further to the previous article about our village of Worthington I will try to enlighten you on the actual physical set-up of the village. This again is from the mid-1920s when all the farms and houses were the old and ancient types. About this time the first new properties were two new bungalows next to the school and the school itself, of course, using up part of a field and gardens.
At this time the village had eight farms of which three were in the main street but now reduced to just two, which are at the extreme ends of the village. There is now Aldridge's farm on Occupation Lane, off the main road, then known as the Ashby Turnpike and respectively known as Fields Farm. To see the village as it was at this time, it might be better to envisage the position before some of the old houses were demolished. There were six cottages round the Malt Shovel, a small cottage at the bottom of the yard of Pear Tree Farm and opposite beyond the Farm House were five small cottages owned by 'Big Jim' Smith.
The house with Aunt Nell's Shop as a part, which included the Post Office, was demolished to make provision for the entrance to Chapel Rise. Opposite the Chapel was a field in which the Annual Wakes and also Chapel Sermons were held. The centre of the street remains virtually the same, at the far end, known as 'The Cross', there were six cottages in the Yard. The Pinfold attached to the Roundhouse was used for the entrance to St Matthew's Avenue. In the area near the Church was the Swan Public House, the Lodge, with two cottages on the crossroads at the top of Blanch and three cottages in Dark Lane. We must not overlook the Cloud Hill habitat that existed then - one cottage along Middle Brand, two at the far end, the Holly Bush Inn on the slope of Cloud Wood with a nearby cottage. The Bell House, which was almost in the quarry, and two stone houses, are all now gone. Your village was small with about seventy dwellings and now possibly having more than three times that number. It was all very peaceful in Worthington, not being on a through route. I believe the first motor car belonged to Capt. Shields at the Manor House. There were two small lorries - the first, a model T Ford with solid tyres, operated by Dan Kinsey, whose wife kept the shop opposite the school; he delivered coal in the area. The second lorry was operated by Ernie Chester at Worthington mill for collecting corn and delivering flour after grinding at the Water mill.
With reference to the business of shopping, for the women-folk, this took the least of their time as the basic items - flour, sugar, tea, butter - were obtainable at the village shop. It was customary for all kinds of provisions to be hawked round the village. We had the Coalville Co-op, Bakers, Fishmonger, Butcher, Milkman, all delivering in vans or horse-drawn floats. Fruit and vegetables were mainly produced at home in the cottage gardens. The prudent amount and variation of foodstuffs acquired, depended mainly on the money available. So let us reflect on that aspect.
Employment in the area was quite good for men, youths and young ladies. (It was not the normal custom for married women to go out to work). Those employed, and nearly all on manual work, either cycled or walked to work.
Men and youths worked at the coalmines at Coleorton and Coalville, the quarries at Breedon and Cloud Hill, the Pipe-works at Newbold and Lount and numerous others on the farms. The young ladies worked in factories in Coalville, whilst some were out "At Service" at the Halls and larger houses in the district - they would live-in full time, with the odd half-day off, for just a few shillings pay.
This mention of pay leads me to recollect wages in those days. The usual rate was about one shilling per hour, so for 44 hours it was £2.4s, (£2.20 in today's money). Apart from the coal mining, where the men either knelt or even lay, picking and hewing out coal at the face, one of the hardest occupations was loading stone at the Quarry face. The men loaded 1 Ton 2 CWT and more of stone into a wheeled tub or skip, which was hauled to the Crusher by pony. The rate for this, including climbing the rock face to bring down more stone to hammer, was 6½d which is about 2½p at today's terms. It was hard labour at its worst and these tub-fillers could load 20 tubs and more per day - circa 125 tons per week for a wage of £3. On these wages, some at £2 per week, with rent and either sundry expenses, little was available for food and clothing with average families of five. On the credit side, a man could go into the pub and partake of half a pint of beer for 3d, a packet of Woodbine cigarettes for 2d, and a box of matches for 1d - all for the old sixpence, which is now 2½p.
It might be interesting to start this account with some recorded history from 'Kelly's Directory of the Homestead'. This Directory was published in the early 1900's with reference to the make up of the Parish. The Directory details Newbold as a Liberty and Gelsmoor, Griffydam and Outwoods as places in the Parish. I do not understand 'Liberty' in this sense, its normal definition is of freedom - were the serfs of long ago, released from some form of control - perhaps in connection with land?
We might now continue with Newbold's past, beginning with a little history from the afore-mentioned Directory, bearing in mind that if you had lived in the place before this time, some three centuries before, you might have been the owner of half a dozen mules - will need an explanation later.
Newbold's existence, no doubt, depended on the materials found below ground, namely, coal and clay. At this time in Newbold, James Statham was listed as a Boot Maker, William Crabtree as the Keeper of the Cross Keys Public House, and in residence at the Vicarage was the Rev. Henry Banker Greene, he might have toured the Parish in his pony and tub. Newbold School built with residence for the Master at a cost of £1500 and enlarged in 1899 for 263 children (they were very precise with their numbers then as arithmetic was a desirable subject). The average attendance was 180 pupils controlled by the Master - Reuben Sisson with assistants, one of whom was a daughter of the Boot Maker - a Miss Daisy Statham, who will be remembered now by a few older residents. The attendance is quite surprising but we must remember it included all the pupils from Worthington and many more from out-lying areas. Other tradesmen, with possible connections at the present time, were Joseph Knight - Farmer, Josiah Walker - Farmer, who was followed by his son, delightfully referred to as Noady Walker of Ashby Road Farm. In Gelsmoor was James Leeson - Cowkeeper and Eli White, Publican at the Railway Tavern.
The most important aspect of Newbold's history is the Stephenson Railway. There were huge deposits of coal in the Swannington/Coleorton/Newbold areas and the Leicester to Swannington Railway was constructed by George Stephenson's son - Robert in 1833 with its terminus in Swannington. There were immediate representations, when the Swannington proposals were enigmated, from Sir George Beaumont of Coleorton Hall and the Cloud Hill Lime Works. The railway was quickly extended to Newbold, with the terminus at the Smoile on the western side of the village, towards Lount cross-roads, and this was known as the Coleorton Railway. Its route can be traced from Swannington until it enters the village, opposite the Railway Inn and runs on an embankment to cross the road first below Newbold School. This length was much used in later years as a right of way, because the Coalville bus service did not enter Newbold and most travellers used this way to and from buses, which passed the Railway Inn. It is unfortunate that such an important relic of our heritage was not maintained, as it seems some parts have now been privatised. From Newbold School, the route was through a cutting and then by tunnel under Ashby Road and some land either side the road, I believe the tunnel still exists. The route continues to the Smoile to a point where later, the Derby - Ashby main railway line passed and in recent time the coal trucks from New Lount Colliery in Melbourne Road were hauled to this area and marshalled for transmission to Derby.
There was a tram road of almost two miles from Cloud Hill Quarry and this was quickly modified with the fitting of a rib rail to make the track wide enough to accommodate full width railway wagons, this greatly facilitated the movement of lime from Cloud Hill. The tramline, which came from Ticknall towards the Newbold area, bringing lime, must have continued on the narrow gauge, which required trans-shipment of the lime at the Smoile.
I have previously mentioned the importance of the Stephenson Railway, which is confirmed by the fact that it was constructed about five years after the first railway in the country (Stockton - Darlington) and was in being before any railway at Birmingham. As previously mentioned, such transport was necessary because of the large output of coal in the area and it was originally taken to Leicester, (here come the mules) by mule-pack train and when the construction of roads improved, by horse and cart. In fact the Hinckley to Melbourne turnpike was constructed in 1750, with its length through the village via Melbourne Road to Lount crossroads.
Before this time, Freeman of the Parishes had the right granted, to make use of waste or common lands to dig for coal in the area, where there was plenty of out-cropping of coal seams which emerged at the surface. On the western boundary of Newbold, through the parkland and woods, there was much of this digging on the surface and the use of Bell Pits with a shallow shaft; the coal was excavated at the base in a circular fashion. There was an old mine near the field where the school children played football and games, that particular field is know as the Cylinder, a name maybe coined from a mechanical device that might have used. A much more recent mine was situated down Pipeyard Lane at the bottom left near the railway. It did not last long owing to the poor conditions, it was known as Newbold Glory. As boys, we played in that area but kept away from a small square of fencing because it was said that there might still be a hole in the ground there; some old wheels lay nearby.
The most recent mine was New Lount Colliery which was opened some time before the last pit in the area closed, which was at Coleorton and known as Bug and Wing. I think it closed about 1932, I remember seeing the Pit Ponies that had at last been brought up from the depths of the pit and were able to graze in the green fields nearby.
New Lount Colliery had a large work-force and was reputed to be one of the first collieries to have Baths for washing and changing of clothes, so the miners no longer went home in their 'pit-black'. I believe it was a problem during World War II to damp down the huge waste tip, for before the war there was always a large fire-glow from the bank because some of the residue of coal in the waste was always burning.
The deposits of clay in the area provided the materials for both Newbold and Lount Pipeyards, where good quality glazed pipeware was manufactured, providing good employment for the village and surrounding districts. The Newbold Brick Company started in the early 1930's, with its huge chimney remaining to say - "We were here." The clay was readily available from near the end of Stardingdale Lane, where the deep pit is now water-filled.
Newbold had to import labour because it was a very sparsely populated village. I remember, on the approach from Worthington, there was one stone house on the right, which is still there, the Vicarage on the left and three cottages at the top of Pipe-yard Lane. Those five properties have been increased since 1933, with the building of the first council houses, known as Forest Terrace and other houses opposite with Cloud Hill View, Vicarage Close and a current development, to a total of about 110 -- quite a suburb. There were half a dozen houses beyond the Cross Keys down as far as the Ashby Road/School Lane junction, which had a triangular grassed area with a well in the centre that supplied water to nearby houses, mainly along Ashby Road where on the right-hand side, there were about a dozen properties. There were no houses on the left of Ashby Road nor on the right down School Lane, where on the left side the houses were not part of old Newbold. There were a few out-lying cottages in Melbourne Road, at the end of Ashby Road and at Newbold Gate. In approximate figures from the late 1920's to the present day the number of properties has increased from about 50 to over 200 - you must be getting important.
I recently met up with an old Worthington boy, Stan Whyman, who had to emigrate to Whitwick, but was still able to get our church magazine. He was disappointed not to have read anything about the Home Guard. He also wondered why the motorist who was stopped, replied that he had a sister in the W.A.A.F. Well, Stan, the answer might be that we had just arrived on the Top Brand to begin a patrol when we stopped a car; unusual because little traffic was out at night. Perhaps we thought we might catch a Fifth Column infiltrator. There was first the driver who said he was going to Hinckley, he was very English and everything seemed alright. One of our lads behind shouted out "Have you got a German in the boot?" To which the driver quickly replied "O No, - but I have a sister in the W.A.A.F." This was a common quip in wartime, a bit of a silly retort in reply to what might have been thought as a somewhat nonsensical question and perhaps meant to be the end of further chat.
On a later patrol when the position had been moved to Newbold Lane, just round the corner from the top of Wardle's Lane, a lady cyclist was stopped at around midnight. Could we have a lady spy roaming the lanes at such a late hour? I don't think so. She said she had been to a dance at Melbourne. We had to see her identity card, for which she rummaged in her shoulder bag amongst papers and photos. We asked her to come into the Guard Hut to search, where the light was little better, being a farm hurricane lamp. The card was found. She was from Coalville and as tea was being brewed, she was given a cup before setting off. She quickly returned to the door of the hut as she could not find her bike. We quickly guessed our mates on patrol were playing about but had then marched off towards Newbold. We searched around and looked in hedge bottoms and eventually found it; it had been lifted over a gate to a small field that used to be at the corner of Standingdale Lane. At last the young lady cyclist, not the least upset, set off for Coalville and we told her to run straight into the two blokes, marching back from Newbold.
Going back to its formation, the Home Guard was originally known as the Land Defence Force and we wore an armband around the jacket sleeve, which was marked L.D.V. - Land Defence Volunteer. After Dunkirk, the country was left with depleted numbers in the Army and few tanks and artillery. The Government was pretty certain that the country would be invaded, possibly by parachutists; these had been very successful in Europe. It was thought necessary to establish a force in order to keep careful look-out for any such invasion throughout the country. This force came into being in almost a matter of days and every town and village quickly organised such a force. Worthington soon had a platoon of about thirty volunteers, which formed part of a Company made up of several villages, with the Company Commander being Major John Shields of Breedon Hall. Our Platoon Officer was Charlie Platts, a genial character who served as an infantryman in the First War. Night patrols on the Top Brand were quickly arranged from 10.00 pm until 6.00 am. After a short time a few rifles were made available with ammunition kept at the Platoon H.Q. at the Malt Shovel. Army denim overalls were issued as a battledress and practice on rifle ranges was undertaken. It was difficult at the start trying to become a kind of reserve army unit but as time passed and more training was given and various exercises carried out, the platoon became more efficient.
I had better recount some of the lighter moments because in the early days it all seemed a bit trivial to have grown men going out with sticks and playing boy-scouts again, but quickly an undercurrent with a more serious attitude developed.
When half of the platoon attacked the rest from the Cloud Hill direction at the bottom of the fields at the end of Manor Drive, little Kay Hinsley (who was a gnome-like figure of about five feet tall) told Big Jim Smith (a giant of a man almost seven feet tall but not too quick with his mental reflexes) that he had been shot and was dead. Big Jim did not quickly comprehend such a death and, to show he was fully alive and well, proceeded to jump the brook. His foot slipped on the bank and he landed in the middle. Little Kay quickly disappeared, as he knew if Big Jim could lad his hands on him, he would be pushed under the water.
Again on another exercise when the Breedon Home Guard attacked Worthington, there was another who would not accept that he was dead when they were attacking the Worthington Station area. There was an argument and blows were struck - a real fight, eh! All for your country.
When Worthington Platoon was detailed to capture Breedon Church, defended by a real Army Unit, their plans were not too well laid as most of them were captured at the base of the hill.
On a very horrible night on the Top Brand when the fog was too bad for the Company Commander to journey round and inspect, we patrolled until midnight and then returned to the hut, which was in the corner of a field on the Cloud Wood side of Bull Hill. We were well equipped, having a spare mattress on the old iron bedstead, so all the quite young patrol got their heads down. Some time in the night we were awakened with the hut full of smoke. Where the heated stovepipe went through the wooden side of the hut, it must have been smouldering for sometime, then as flames appeared they were extinguished with some sand that we had there. After making the stove safe we retired again but overslept because we were knocked up by two patrolling policemen who had noticed that out fence had not been put back. Why this memory is so distinct is because they told us that Hess, Germany's Deputy Leader had landed in the country. We quickly got home. Mother was up with the usual breakfast fare on the hob at the Malt Shovel - country fresh eggs and bacon. Some food wasn't too scarce in villages, with a pig-sty and fowls in the garden. From the kitchen window I saw Tom Smith from Town End Farm walking across the lane. "What's up Tom?" I shouted. He replied "As we came off guard I brought the cows home from Davis' field first inside Middle Brand and after tying them up in the shed, I'm one missing." He was on a retrieving mission, not very military I add, but what a night although the rain had come and cleared the fog away.
When half of the platoon attacked the HQ, which was the Malt Shovel, the defenders left Joe, the publican, together with a runner to observe from the bedroom and clubroom windows any likely approach by the attackers. Two of the attackers went to Brook's Rear-tree farm and got then to tackle a horse and cart. The two were then concealed under a small pile of hay in the cart, which turned the corner down Bull Hill Lane, where there used to be four small cottages with an entry up to the back of the Malt Shovel premises. As the cart passed they slid out quickly and dashed up the entry, through the back door and captured the HQ. Joe was pretty furious having been taken out by raiders out of the blue so soon after the exercise had begun.
Another episode was the chase after the parachutist. It was time for parade one evening when an object was noticed floating across the sky beyond Cloud Wood. A gang quickly commandeered a small lorry in the street and set off, thinking it could be glory this time. They reached top of Bull Hill and the thing was still visible. Yelling instructions to the driver, they sped along the lanes until eventually on the way to Loughborough, the object could been seen descending, but disappointment on arrival as it turned out to be a partly deflated barrage balloon which had broken loose from its moorings near Derby. The clever one with the scarf said "I told 'em it wouldn't drift along like that". Still that's how the Home Guard behaved. As in "Dad's Army", they didn't always conform to reality.
These lighter stories of the Home Guard are related as many of you would have watched the programme "Dad's Army" on TV and possibly thought that some of the incidents were quite silly and a bit stupid, but all this happened throughout the country. Perhaps Worthington like Dad's Army did enjoy good ratings.
We have had memories of the Twenty's mainly, apart from the special on the Home Guard, so let's try and recount some brief recollections of the Thirty's, when there was some improvement in standards from the more primitive kind of the last decade.
There seemed to be a slight increase in employment, there always was work for school leavers although it was mainly manual. The wages remained about the same when a man's take-home pay might only be about £2 per week and I can use a few personal details to illustrate these wage rates. I was fortunate enough to pass the exam known as the Scholarship for eleven-year-olds, which allowed entry to a Grammar School. The bus fare from Worthington to Ashby was 2½p (6d) return and for six days, as attendance was then, would be 15p per week. This fare in old terms was 3 shillings so it could be said that that amount should have been affordable, but it was impossible to spare 3 shillings from a wage of about 40 shillings, which had to keep a family of six for a week. A bit personal all this bit I think it illustrates ideally the financial state that families had to manage. There was a happy conclusion as a local councillor managed to obtain a grant from the County Council for the bus fare, although this was not customary then.
As mentioned there were some slight improvements; local councils started to have council houses built in all the villages. For Worthington Parish, there were 20 houses built in Worthington Lane, Newbold in 1933. These were known as Forest Terrace, and housed larger families removed from some very small and poor houses. There was still no piped water supply so these new houses had three wells, from which the water was pumped by hand-pump.
Towards the end of the decade there was that fateful announcement by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in September 1939 - "We are at war with Germany"
It might be appropriate now to recall Worthington at War. This is not so easy because, along with other lads from the village who served in the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, I spent 3 years of war-time in North Africa and one year in the London area where the V1's and V2's (flying bombs known as Doodle Bugs and Rockets) were being sent over from Europe. The Rockets caused more alarm because the explosion occurred almost before a warning could be given. Anyway, here are the memories, greatly assisted over the years with information from my family.
The village remained pretty quiet throughout the duration although the constant drone of enemy aircraft going over during the night was always somewhat alarming, but the sound of the anti-aircraft guns from the Derby area made you feel a bit more resolute.
Most small towns and villages had their little air-raid, perhaps more by luck than judgement. In a neighbouring parish and on entering into Wilson, two bombs straddled the road and made huge craters in the fields on either side. Mum said you had better cycle from work at lunch-time to see your Gran who lived just going into the village. Poor Gran was still shaking but not quite as much as later on, when during an air-raid on Derby with the anti-aircraft guns firing numerous salvos, someone noticed smoke coming from the centre of Gran's large garden. The A.R.P Warden who lived near, quickly evacuated about 2 dozen people from Bull's Head Row. (He was a bit like the Warden in Dad's Army). They spent the night at the other end of the village, at Wilson Hall farm, Dow's Shop and Wilson Chapel. Next morning, an investigation revealed that a large piece of shell casing, very hot after the explosion, had penetrated the ground and caused emission of moisture and steam from the damp earth. During day-time, two of our Fighter Aircraft collided and crashed over Newbold, where debris was spread over a large area from Newbold down the fields towards Griffydam and the other wreckage fell in the woods towards Lount.
When at Breedon a Fete was being held in the Berry Field (they were known as 'Holidays at Home') a large bomber aircraft, operating from the Donington Airfield, crashed in the fields before Breedon Hedge Farm. A number of people rushed from the fete to the area, but it was just and inferno with the loss of all the crew.
It was upsetting for the locals when war-time casualties occurred so near to home. The war was brought a little nearer to the village with the installation of a searchlight unit in the field at the top of Bull Hill. It was not greatly used and must have been in a reserve echelon. The soldiers there were very well treated by the villagers. A most tragic incident occurred at Melbourne, when a German plane dropped bombs at about 8 o'clock one morning. A large house on the main road near the Church was demolished killing seven soldiers who were billeted there and injuring others. It brought the war to the doorstep in the district. The old folks said "They (the Germans) with their spies knew there were soldiers there."
As mentioned previously, the village, well named Yawny Box always a peaceful place years ago, remained the same during war-time, coping with the black-out, food-rationing, long working hours and all the government instructions. Just a sample one was - Walls have ears - which meant that you had to be careful what you said and where you said it; loose talk could get back to enemy agents.
I have just thought - the dialect that was generally used in Worthington would never have been understood. For instance, "where have you been" would be said as "weer en yo bin" or, "are you going to school today" would have been "are ya goo-ing t'skewl t'dee." Even the name of the Village was not shown respect, it is difficult to spell the word as it was said, but it was something like Wath (the 'a' as in 'was', the 'i' as in 'it'), making the whole something like Wath-i-un.
I hope you have enjoyed these stories of your village because it's most surprising how only a generation ago that existence was so primitive. I trust that they may have served the intended purpose of making the younger persons and newcomers aware of how their village used to be.
The festive season will soon be with us and I think you will now be able to imagine that the festivities would have been very frugal in the past. Just one memory - not a large Christmas Tree in the corner of the room illuminated by electricity, but a few small branches of holly tied together and suspended from the ceiling and decorated with a few baubles. And one thing was always admired longingly by the children, waiting for the day it was removed for a little shared feast - a sugar Pig.
The illumination then was a Paraffin Lamp on the centre of the table.