Extracts from the Leamington Courier (HM1374)

Lucky escape –  October 2nd  1886

On Friday last week a young man called Alfred Verney volunteered to go down a well to fetch some buckets which had accidentally fallen in. When he was halfway down the rope, with the aid of which, together with a ladder, he was making his descent, broke, and he and the ladder fell to the bottom, a distance of twenty feet…but fortunately there was only two foot of water in the well.  By means of another rope he was extricated from his perilous position, and it was found that he had only sustained a slight injury to one leg.

Terrible Accident to Farm Bailiff – November 2nd 1889

On Wednesday morning, Mr. George Wall, the bailiff at the Greenhill Farm, met with a terrible accident which, yesterday evening, resulted in his death. Shortly before 11 o’clock, he took a little girl, daughter of his sister-in-law into the cow house to see a Hereford bull … he placed the child on the animal’s back and permitted her to stroke it.  He then lifted her off, placing her outside the stall. He then expressed his intention of turning the bull round in order that she might get a better look at it. He went up to the animal’s head, and it butted him in the bowels, causing him severe internal injury.  Assistance was quickly forthcoming and the injured man was conveyed to his residence on the farm. Dr. Lattey of Southam attended him as soon as possible, and on Thursday he was seen by Dr. Thursfield.  Everything possible was done for his recovery but internal haemorrhage had set in and could not be stopped in time to save his life. The bull referred to is a splendid animal and took a prize at the recent agricultural show in Coventry.

Inquest – November 9th 1889

…even tempered bull .. Mr. Wall had been accustomed to approaching it at all times without it manifesting the slightest concern.  It is possible that the handling it received at the recent agricultural society show ruffled its temper. The jury returned its verdict to the effect that the deceased was killed by being butted by a bull and that no blame could be attached to anyone

HM223 Millicent A Stock

HARBURY 1917-26

In 1917 my father, mother, four sisters, two brothers and I moved from Leamington to live at Kintyre House, Harbury – I was one year old The stone built house was opposite the Crown Inn in Pump Street. The front door was black oak and there were black shutters to all the ground floor beams. A wide oak mantelpiece hung over the main sitting room fireplace. There were two black iron hobs over the ovens and a spit hung down over the hearth. We burnt coal, logs or sticks collected on our country walks. Black lead polish was used to clean the cooking range; lighting was by paraffin lamps hanging from the ceilings, and a brass table lamp provided extra light. My mother trimmed the lamp wicks frequently. We bought paraffin in a gallon can from Mr Mole the village grocer in Church Street. An open oak staircase led from the main sitting room to three bedrooms. A smaller staircase led from the square landing to three attic rooms, with windows overlooking the long back garden and fields towards Bishops Itchington. Candles were needed to light all the bedrooms. A very cold, draughty kitchen with stone floor brick copper and stone sink, led from the sitting room. One step down from the kitchen was a pantry with window and door facing the main road. This room later became our sweet shop. At the side of the house a driveway led to stables, piggeries, garden and walled orchard bounded by The Pound and Dovecote Lane. The garden had a lawn, greenhouse with a grapevine, vegetable plot and fruit trees. Under the branches of an old pear tree there was brick built coal house and a closet with a bare wooden seat and galvanised bucket under. Every Friday night, just about midnight, men with a special cart and carrying lanterns emptied the buckets from every garden closet in the village. This in turn was emptied on to Mr Gurden’s field in Ufton Road. Most houses in the village had a drinking water well or pump. Our garden pump water was unfit for drinking, so we had to fetch every drop of water from the village pump on the green near the Wagstaffe School. It was a tiring and difficult job, especially in the winter, when there was frost or snow on the ground. In the hot summer of 1922 the water well began to dry up. A water cart was brought round the village and a bucket of water cost one penny. My father died in 1919 and was buried in Harbury cemetery. During the following year my mother decided to open the pantry as a small sweet shop. Mrs Beardworth (the Vicar’s wife), Mrs Bland and several friends helped mother to organise the wholesale part of the business and Mr Meredith from Regent Street, Leamington delivered the goods to be sold in our shop. His Ford van often had difficulty on the uneven hill outside our shop. A large white board with the word “TEAS” in black was hung outside the shop. In the summer my sisters and I helped to serve afternoon teas on the lawn. Visitors were invited to walk round the garden and house. We also helped mother to make ice cream. In the evening mother mixed a special yellow powder with two gallons of milk into a custard-like cream in large enamel bowls. Early on the following morning the mixture was poured into a large metal container which stood inside a barrel on the kitchen doorstep. Between the container andbarrel, we packed ice sprinkled with “freezing salt” – (The huge iceblocks were brought on a dray from Colebrooks, the fish mongers on the Parade at Leamington. They were wrapped in thick sacking and stored in the stables) A metal spindle and propeller were placed into the ice cream mixture. A lid was fixed over the barrel and a wooden handle attached. Then our hard work began – we took turns to turn the handle until it would no longer move. The ice cream was made! It was sold in the shop for 1d a cornet or 2d a wafer. Children queued outside the shop to spend their pocket money. Boiled sweets and toffees were sold for 2d to 6d a quarter, Cadburys chocolate bars were 1d or 2d. Bags of sherbet with a liquorice stick were 1d. Woodbines were 2d a packet and tobacco was sold in ounce blocks or tins. The shop made good profit for a few years until Mr Messer opened his sweet shop and Bank opposite the Dog Inn. My mother closed our shop because the villagers found it more convenient to use the shop nearer the village centre. My four sisters and brother, Reg, went away to boarding school in Middlesex in 1920 leaving my brother, Chris and me to attend the Wagstaffe Infants School across the road. Miss Johnston was Head Mistress, helped by Miss Bird and a student teacher. We sat on tiny chairs – when we had learnt to write our names in the sand, we progressed to using a pencil and paper, doing sums and reading books – we had a brightly coloured maypole round which we danced on May Day. I had pneumonia, followed by a chest complaint for about three years. During that time I had a private tuition at home and didn’t start at “The Big” school” in High Street until I was nine years old. I went away to boarding school when I was ten. Mr Dickens was headmaster of the High Street School helped by Miss Bustin. Mrs Dickens played the piano during morning assembly. The three attics at Kintyre House made ideal play rooms for us. There we kept our toys and books. We had a large doll’s pram and wicker pushchair. Our dolls were made of china and were jointed; they had eyes which opened and shut and hair which we combed. We had a lovely dolls’ house complete with furniture. Our most treasured possession was a beautiful rocking horse which seated four of us. One sat on the leather saddle, one on each end of the rocker and one on the platform under the body, we spent many hours brushing and combing the horse’s mane and tail and tied it up with ribbon. My brothers had clockwork trains and cars and wooden building bricks. We had fun watching a magic lantern with glass slides, and tuning into our crystal wireless set. During the winter evenings we amused ourselves reading, doing needlework, embroidery, knitting scarves and jumpers, helping to make hearth rugs with strips of rags pushed into hessian backing and mending our clothes.     My brothers liked drawing and painting and doing fretwork with albums and scrap books – we made sticky paste with flour and water. Our old wind-up gramophone had a large red horn and scratchy needles. We each had our own jobs to do around the house. My older sisters would help mother cook our meals. I cleaned the brass dinner gong and the silver cruet set and cutlery. My brothers cleaned and cared for our bicycles. We had four bikes between the family. Mr Blackford in Ivy Lane, would mend a puncture quickly for a few pence. In the summer we went on bicycle rides and walked to Ufton or Chesterton woods for picnics. Occasionally we went to Leamington on the train – there was no passenger bridge at Harbury Station – we had to walk on sleepers set between the railway lines. After a man was killed by a train, a bridge was built. Both Harbury and Ufton Villages had roads where there were frogs and toads; Chesterton mill pool had coots There were windmills at Harbury and Chesterton which were both worked by the Haines families. We often watched corn being unloaded from waggons and taken into Harbury Mill to be ground into flour. This was lifted in sacks on to waggons or lorries to be transported to neighbouring villages. We often walked to Bishops Itchington to watch the lime workers – lime was dug by machines out of the ground and taken by special small trains and tunnels to a heap to be bagged and transported to many parts of England. The workers’ clothes were covered with grey lime. Mr Hodgets was one of the two village road men. They wore string tied at the knees of their trousers. They walked round the roads with very large shovels and barrows clearing horses’ mess or any debris away Mr Cowley kept the butchers shop in Chapel Street. He had pigs in the fields at the corner of Church Lane and Dovehouse Lane. Sometimes he chose a pig from the field and drove it along Church Street to his slaughter house next to the shop. It was frightening to hear the pig squeal and see blood running under the door into the gutters. Mr & Mrs Cooper kept the post office at the corner of Mill Street and Mill Lane. Postman Biddle who lived in Dovehouse Lane, delivered the letters. Sometimes we walked to Binswood End to watch the Blacksmith at work, but mother didn’t like us to go there, because there had been a murder in one of the houses. Gipsies camped along the gated Fosse Way at Chesterton and on Rabbit Hill. They collected pennies from cyclists for opening the gates. The gipsies collected wood from the hedges and ditches for fires, on which they cooked rabbits and chickens, sometimes stolen from villagers. The men cut hazelwood which they made into dolly pegs, by binding two strips of wood at the top with a piece of tin. In the mornings gipsy women walked round the village with large baskets of peg s and lace which they sold. Pegs were 2d a dozen. In the summer a fair came on the Pound for a week. There were caravans, steam engine, roundabouts, helter skelter, dodgem cars, fortune tellers, rock stalls and coconut shies. On Bank holidays the Southam Brass Band headed a long procession round the streets. Children’s sports were held on the field owned by Mr Bert Haines, by the pond, near Farm Street. On Sundays the church bells rang before the services – my mother went to the 8.00 a.m. service and we all went to matins at 11.00 a.m. My sisters and I wore white dresses, white socks and black or brown shoes. My brothers wore sailor suits. In the winter we wore coats which my mother made on her sewing machine. We had black or brown thick stockings and boots. The services seemed long   The Vicar, the Revd Beardworth or church wardens read the lessons. The vicar and his wife were very kind to us – we played tennis and croquet and had bath chair races on his lawn. On Sunday evenings my sister, Edith, played the piano in our lounge while we gathered round to sing hymns. Mother normally said prayers before kissing us “good night”. Mr Wincott from Deppers Bridge Farm delivered our milk by horse and cart. If we ran short of milk mother would send us to Mr Wyatt’s Farm in Church Lane, with large jugs. Sometimes we had to wait until Mr Wyatt had finished milking his cows and he served the hot milk into our jugs. Mr Thornicroft kept the village bakery. We would watch him putting large trays of bread into huge ovens. Bob Thornicroft helped his Father deliver bread by horse and cart or bicycles. Mr Taylor lived in Wissett Lodge, nearly opposite the Church. He kept three goats in a field opposite the Pound. Twice a day he drove the goats to his house to milk them. In 1926 we moved from Kintyre House to live in Leicester House near Chesterton . We spent the summer there before I went away to boarding school with my sisters. When we returned home for our month’s Christmas holidays it was to Leam Terrace, Leamington. Later we lived at Willes Road and Avenue Road in Leamington, before we moved again in 1935 to 20, Lillington Road, Leamington. My sister, Gwen and brother, Reg still live at that address. My mother died at the age of 99 years in November 1983 – she was buried in my Father’s grave in Harbury Cemetery. Millicient A Stock Names I remember:

Revd & Mrs Beardsworth
Revd Dampré Later
Captain Thwaites Manor House
Captain Farley Manor House – later
Col Huggins The Hall
Col Geddes Temple House
Mrs Sabin Smith Harbury House
Mr & Mrs Dunn Station Road
Dr Pirie G.P. Ashton House
Dr Sutcliffe Farm Street
The Waltons
Mr Launchbury
Mrs Brooks
Mr Burgess
Nellie Rainbow
Doris Cleaver Orchard House
Mrs Lynes (Lines)
Mr Hulme
Mrs Wells Crown Inn
Mrs Owen Crown Inn
Stanley smith
Freda Jennings
Fred Overton
Mrs Thacker Hall Lane
Alec Cleaver
Miss Blick (2)
Nurse Bowyer
Olive Wilson
Olive Seaney
Oliver Burbridge
Audrey Louch Binswood End
Betty Wrighton Deppers Bridge
Margaret Wincott Deppers Bridge
Miss Harper The Yew’s
Mrs Townsend Crown Cottage
The Manns Shakespeare Inn
Mr & Mrs Cooper Post Office
Mr Thorneycroft Baker
Mr Cowley Butcher
Mr Messer Bank
Mr Wyatt Milkman Church Lane
Mr Wyncott Milkman Deppers Bridge
Mr Moore Grocer – Church Street
Mr & Mrs Dickens
Miss Johnston
Miss Bird
Mr Wesett Taylor Church Street
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