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Vic Woodward

Vic Woodward called Corner Green home.

Here is Vics memory of Corner Green in taken in 2024

My Dad, a Collyweston man met my Mum after the war in 1945 in Ikast Denmark.  He returned to Denmark and married Mum in June 1946 in Ikast returning to England shortly after.

Like many young couples they couldn’t get a house of their own so, it was rent a room in a friends house.  My Dad had friends Mr & Mrs York who lived at 9 Drift Gardens, Stamford, they rented out one of the bedrooms to Mum and Dad, which is where I was born on 27th April 1947.

Like many young couples they were getting desperate to have a house to themselves once they had a child.

The following paragraph is as told to me by Violet Baxter, she and her husband Peter were friends of my Mum and Dad, Clary and Lilly Richards and probably many more which I am not aware of.

Clary Richards was, I believe, a Shop Steward/Works Convenor for the AUEW Union (Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers) at Blackstones on Ryhall Road, who wasn’t scared of standing out front and saying his piece!

Clary, on behalf of many young couples approached the Council re obtaining Council Housing for the many families desperate for housing, only to be told nothing was available.

He also contacted the Stamford Mercury explaining the plight of these young families.  I’m not sure if they published his story on it but, I believe it was mentioned that the couples concerned would have to look for somewhere to squat!

Voilet’s husband Peter, who was an electrician and working for EMEB, East Midlands Electricity Board, had been working on/knew of the properties on the Camp, as did many more.

As nothing was on offer from the Council the decision was taken to break into some of the properties on the Camp and squat.  I would suspect that Peter ‘jumped’ the electric meters (he had all the kit and the seals) so power was available.

I have no idea when this was but, I suspect, it was just after I was born as I have a receipt dated 13th May 1947 in my Dad’s name for the purchase of 1 oak sideboard £11 9s 3d, 1 dining table £7 4s, 4 dining chairs £7 6s total £25 19s 3d from J Dean Upholsterers, Cabinet Makers and General House Furnishers of 1 Red Lion Street, Stamford.  Don’t think he would have bought them if we were still living in one room in Drift Gardens.

I have it in my mind that we squatted just inside the Camp before moving further down to No 23.

My Vision of the Camp

Standing at the gate, looking into the Camp.

Immediately on the left a wooden house – Mr & Mrs Bee

Housing in front Roycrofts.

Mr & Mrs Woodman - originally lived at No 21 then moved to No 7 (SDJ)

Over to right the Gaughans

Looking straight down the road the landmark large fir tree.

The large black water tower over to the left on the edge of the woods.

Beyond the Woodmans, Mr & Mrs Herbert

Us at No 23 a flat roofed building we were this end, Mr & Mrs Winkle in the middle Mr & Mrs Blades at the end.  Then the fir tree.

At the fir tree the road continued on up a slight hill to a right turn where Mr & Mrs Stringer and their son Eric lived, unable to remember who else lived up there probably 4/5 dwellings.

Back to the fir tree if we turned right before going up the hill there was a block of 3 houses I think, Fred and Florrie Barwell with their 3 sons John, Tony and Peter.  Can’t remember who lived in the middle but on the opposite end was Mr & Mrs Townsend, George and Bella.

In front of the Barwells, front and left a bit, was a Nissen Hut where the Barwell’s lodger John Bull (I think) parked his Jaguar saloon car and used it as a garage.  Parked alongside it was John Bull’s lorry initially an ex army truck and latterly a Ford Thames Trader, which was owned and operated by a guy named Ted Burkett from Apethorpe/King’s Cliffe way.  It was on contract to Ketton Cement and I remember Peter Barwell and I travelling down to Ketton Cement on a Saturday morning to load ready for Monday delivery.  This Thames Trader was something else, brand spanking new!

In those days all cement was bagged 1 cwt (phew!) the lorry was reversed up to a chute where red hot bags of cement would slide down to a loader men on the back of the lorry who would cross stack the bags shouting forward as the lorry filled up.  Think there were two loaders, one of the loaders was a Collyweston man Reg Couzens I think, because the bags were so hot the loaders would have pieces of lorry tyre inner tube (which was pretty thick) with a slot in to put their fingers through to protect the palms of their hands from the heat.

If you carried along the road in front of the Barwells you came to Harry Cunnington’s bit of a woodyard.  He had an ex army lorry with a jib on which he would pull trees out of the wood, I seem to remember. Harry Cunnington was married to Martha, and they had three children Robbie Vivian and Pat.  Martha’s parents were French, Mr & Mrs Gallett, Mr Gallett being a painter and decorator.

I don’t recall how I got to Collyweston School and back probably walked.  I used to go to my Aunt Dora’s before and after school, she lived down The Yard which ran parallel to Bell Yard, left of Bell Yard looking from the top.

Remember going to Mr Hemphrey’s shop just up from here for sweets. (NB Mr Hemphrey’s shop was at 18 High Street, now a private house opposite the Community Shop, I think the shop in Bell Yard was run by Mr Grundy SDJ)

The Engine Pub (on High Street) at the weekend, walking down a long flagstone floor corridor to a room on the right which was where all the children were, waiting for your bottle of Vimto and a packet of crisps with a little blue bag of salt!

Mr Fletcher was Headmaster, his wife was also a teacher along with Mrs Love (she lived at the first white bungalow on the right between Colly and Easton).  (She used to bring her dog, Laddie to school with her (SDJ)).

I was a weather monitor and each day we would cross the main road over to the School House (where the Fletchers lived) rear garden where there was a basic weather station, i.e. rainfall collector glass, wind direction, thermometer and a barometer. (The house was demolished, rebuilt and is now called Welland View).  We also had small square garden plots at school which we cultivated and grew veg, radish, lettuce, greens etc to sell for school funds.

Mr & Mrs Fletcher had a touring caravan and travelled extensively all over Europe and Scandinavia, I have a post card which was sent to me from Sweden after travelling through Denmark.



Other Memories

Potato picking at Benefield and Collyweston, all the ladies had a large shopping bag with their flasks and food in, which were filled with potatoes on the way home.

Pea stacking, stacking triangular pea vines over 3 or 4 poles to dry (Marrowfat peas) .

Pink Paraffin for the cooking stoves and heaters, my Dad wouldn’t use the blue stuff, think Pink Paraffin came from Mr Close on High Street?

As I suffered with Asthma quite bad in the winter months, I remember Dad lighting the paraffin cooking stove just inside the bedroom and placing a long spouted steam kettle on it filling the room with steam to help with my breathing at the same time causing condensation on each wall and window in the process, not too sure if you could smell the paraffin fumes?

Going into Beavers field (in front of Mr & Mrs Townsend’s house) a large grass field, picking mushrooms, collecting the soil from the mole hills to mix with leaf mould from the woods to pot up plants and fill seed trays.  When the field had sheep in it, we would walk around with a bamboo cane with a nail in the end picking up sheep poo which was stored in a large barrel which was half full of water and used as fertilizer for the garden.

A coal shed made from sheets of corrugated steel with the largest hammer imaginable to break up the lumps of coal. 

I remember large tins of peaches etc. Well we had one in the corner of the coal shed with about ½ inch of paraffin in it filled with sticks on end ready to light the fire, forgot a large bill hook for chopping sticks and a bow saw, every man had a bow saw.

Dr Mackie doing his rounds on his horse, which was frightened by a dog barking and subsequently pulled our fence down, which it was tied up to.

Most people had chickens, so nothing went to waste, greens, food, potato peelings etc.  We would all go into Stamford on the bus on most Saturdays, Mum and Sonja would take the grocery order book into Parkers Worthmore Stores (before Scotties van).  Dad and I would end up in Proctors Seed Merchants in Station Road to buy a bag of sweepings up, corn, maise etc to add to chicken food/scraps.

Eggs were in plentiful supply for most of the year.  I can remember my mum saying this one hasn’t laid for weeks, it became Sunday lunch!

Fred Barwell had many snares set out to catch rabbits, and my uncle Frank, Fiddler, who worked for Jack Shelton always had his 12 bore shotgun on the tractor so again, hares, rabbits and the odd pheasant were supplied.  These would be hung in Aunt Dora’s coal shed until it was deemed ready to eat.  Pigeons too, just the breast was used to make a pie and as us lads got older we all had either an air pistol or air rifle, progressing to a shot gun by the age of 8/9.

I remember the older lads pigeon shooting for Burbidges and letting us younger ones have a go, think they were paid threepence a pigeon for a cartridge for each one shot.

The house block (no 23) we lived in was a flat roofed building and pretty damp, I recall contractors applying rolls of hessian on top of tar, all over, roof, walls etc to try and suppress the damp, and then painting it camouflage green!  We had a ‘H’ shaped chimney coming up through the roof which was fine until Sonja lit the fire leaving the damper out too long setting the chimney on fire.  Because of the H shape design of the chimney, moulten tar and soot fell from the vertical tubes of the chimney and set the roof on fire, a fire brigade job and a telling off for us, this prompted Dad to sweep the verticals and the pot as well as the main chimney, bear in mind most of us burnt wet wood and coal.

Mr  Winkle and his brother, Stan and Warren I think kept greyhounds in a shed and run somewhere near Harry’s woodyard and would regularly train them in Beaver’s field.  They had a device called a sheep shearing machine which they modified.  This was geared up to slow turn, then fast retraction of the cord.

They replaced the cutting gear with cord which was wrapped around the inner wheel.  They would pace out 50/60 yards or whatever, pull the cord out and put a lure on the end.  One would walk the dogs up to line and the other would start winding the handle which pulled the cord back in, they let the dogs off to chase the lure.  The one which let the dogs would also time them and decide whether it was worth racing them that weekend or whatever – Peterborough Fengate?

Going in Mr Winkles lorry (ex army) to load up sugar beet, taking it to the factory on Oundle Road    Peterborough, having it washed off the lorry with high pressure water jets.  In the roof of the cab were two postholes which both leaked!!!  Coming home soaking wet!

We had a Bush Radio which mum could tune in to listen to the Danish news and weather every weekend.  We listened to the Ovaltinies every Sunday.

No TV but Mr & Mrs Townsend had one, black and white.  They kept the aerial unplugged just in case there was a thunder storm and it got struck by lightening!  This TV was covered by a pristine tablecloth and took forever to warm up.  I was allowed once a week to sit by myself and watch the Lone Ranger!

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