Mapperley Village

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The Brenda Parker Section

Introduction - St Wilfrid's Church - General Photographs - General items - School Photographs

People Photographs - Building Photographs - Scene Photographs - Newspaper Cuttings - Comments


Introduction and Brenda's Memories

West Hallam in the 1940s

The Lodge can be seen facing up the Village at the side of the joint entrance to the Rectory and Glebe Farm, home of the Walker family.  The war memorial stands at the side of the Church Gates followed by the Infant School.  The Village Post Office is next and the old sloping path that led up to the shop door can be seen with the telephone box set below. At one point when walking up this path, you would be standing taller than the telephone box. The cottages next to the Post Office were built at right angles to the road. Apparently most of the old rows of houses were built in this way according to old maps and plans.  Lastly, the corner of School Square can be seen on the extreme right.



The Church was very much a part of village life for us all. How strange it was to see the men of the village, many of them coal miners, without their usual daytime hats or caps and blackened faces, looking spruce and tidy with boots highly polished like conkers. The organ at that time had to be pumped by hand. Strong boys were selected for this task and often two had to do the job. Mr. Bingham was the organist and the choir consisted only of boys and men only. Inside the church there were long pews where we used to play shove ha’ penny while waiting for Sunday School to start. Sunday school and Bible Class was held on Sunday afternoons for older children in the church and it was a frequent event to hold caterpillar races along the pews until we brought in furry caterpillars which gave us all a rash, caterpillar racing was suspended rapidly.

There was a fine wrought iron gate at the Chancel steps which was removed during the war, as were many iron railings and gates around the village.

The Rectory was a large white square building taken over by the ATS in the war. Behind the Rectory in the fields was Glebe Farm where the Walker family lived and worked. The Lodge stood at the end of the Rectory gates and the village laundry stood on the bank at the side of the lodge where two bungalows stand now.

The Laundry

The laundry became the home of the Burrows family. Mrs Burrows lived to the grand old age of 100 and her two daughters lived with there. Evelyn was a pianist and Katie played the violin. Music could often be heard coming from their house. There was a brick path and a pretty flower covered archway leading visitors through the cottage garden to the cottage door.

The Institute was a grey gaunt building which stood until the late 1960s and was used for parish council meetings and any other meetings by organisations or groups.  The tall roof, chimney and house attached to the Institute may be seen in the picture below.  The Institute was opposite Cottage Farm owned by the Edge family.  There were some picturesque farm labourer’s cottages in front of the farm.  

On the corner of Cinder Lane was a cottage where the other village doctor lived.  Dr Myers used to come to school to examine children, he was more serious than Dr Meade and we were very much in awe of him.

Down Cinder Lane lay a house called the Spinney where Mrs. Phillips lived. She had a famous niece, Moira Shearer the ballerina - who was evacuated to West Hallam during the war. How beautiful and glamorous she seemed to us, and what a charming personality.  How proud we were of her when we watched the film the Red Shoes. She was one of our own and she had taken the lead part!

Down St Wilfrid’s Road there were not many houses at all.  Next to Edge’s farm were several fields and then a track led up to Southern’s farm which was roughly where Scargill Road goes up today.  Stenson’s Cottage was next door at the bottom of the hill and is still there.  The next houses on the left were right up at the top of the hill where Derbyshire Avenue was built later.  On the opposite side of the road there was a bungalow which has been pulled down and a pair of semi detached houses and then there were only three other houses between Dr Myers cottage and the little row of semi detached houses at the crossroad end of the lane in front of Tinkler's Wood.  Trees grew into a green tunnel across the road for the length of St Wilfrid’s Road and it was very peaceful and pretty.

West Hallam then was much more rural and everyone knew everyone else.  People tended to work locally and women stayed at home to care for the family when the children were young. There was no street lighting for several years after the war ended and buses took us to Ilkeston to the pictures for special treats.  Felix and later Trent buses ran regularly between Ilkeston and Derby then and Barton’s ran a service to Mapperley.  Newspapers, bread and meat were delivered by errand boys on bicycles.  Horse and carts delivered milk and greengroceries.  Groceries were delivered in boxes to our home each Thursday from Stanley in exchange for coupons and little red order books which listed what was required the next week.  The post was delivered by Mrs. Outram, a kindly lady from Stanley - who walked each day between the two villages.  West Hallam post was sorted at Stanley post office which stood opposite Stanley White Hart then. 

A man on a ‘stop me and buy one’ three wheeled bicycle would ride from Ilkeston on Saturdays selling home made ice cream made from Billy Capewell’s nanny goat milk and condensed milk which sounds awful now but we thought it was a treat.  There was the Black Market which provided extras to those in the know.  There were spivs, men in demob suits, soldiers, sailors and airmen in uniform walking around.  Ladies covered their legs with brown sand and drew seams with eyebrow pencils because stockings were hard to get hold of.  Lord Haw Haw spouted propaganda on our radio with its rising sun fretwork front.  Food was in short supply as were sweets.  Both were rationed.  Toys were not readily available, transport was restricted so we had to walk but we enjoyed life by making our own entertainment.

Two of my uncles were taken prisoners of war and I well remember their homecomings and feeling shy of these relatives who I’d never seen before.  Saturday afternoons were spent at my grandparents, usually hiding under the table with cousins or sitting threading squares of carefully cut newspaper onto string for use in the outside loo the following week.  We all collected our newspapers and took them with us on Saturdays.  My Mum and Dad were considered a little bit ‘posh’ by some because we had Izal at our house.  How lucky we are today with softer makes of toilet paper!

Life was simpler; school days were spent with a small group of children.  The year I took my eleven plus exam there was a record number of pupils sat the exam, 14 of us in total and 7 of us got through to the local grammar school in Ilkeston.  

West Hallam had a solidity and feeling of security which we all thrived on.  It was our home and we loved it then.

About my uncle and Godfather, Denis Lloyd.

He married my Mum's cousin Dorothy Flint, who was my Godmother, just before the start of World War II.

He was born and brought up in Heanor before he joined the RAF to serve in World War 2.

During the war he parachuted out of an aircraft that had been shot down by enemy fire and he landed in a farmer’s field in France.

The French farmer and his men beat him up, before handing him over to the Germans who transported him to Stalag Luft III  at Sagen in Lower Silesia, 100 miles SE of Berlin.

A model of this POW camp was used to make up the set for the film the Great Escape.

The camp housed captured British airmen, included I believe, Group Captain Douglas Baden, but I have no written evidence of this.

The camp had a substantial library with school facilities where many of the POWs earned degrees.  Exam papers were supplied by the Red Cross and the studies were supervised by an academic from Kings College who was a fellow POW.

The prisoners built a theatre where they put on shows bi-weekly, featuring all the current West End shows.  Uncle Denis featured in these shows as he was a gifted pianist who could "play by ear".

Fellow prisoners there, included the actors Peter Butterworth and also Rupert Davies of Maigret fame.

Uncle Denis was a member of the Caterpillar Club which was a group of air men, who had successfully parachuted from disabled aircraft during enemy fire. The manufacturers of his particular parachute, awarded each man a certificate and a lapel pin in the shape of a caterpillar which he wore with great pride as not many of them were issued.

A pin from a parachute company, possibly Switlik or Standard Parachute.
This style is common in catalogues and auctions of military memorabilia.

Click Photo For Names - Double Click for Photo

After his release from the RAF, he had to do a year's practical teaching at the John Flamsteed School at Denby and then he worked at Scargill School as a woodwork and gardening teacher for many years.

He lived on St Wilfrid's Road, almost opposite Mr Bacon who was the head master of Scargill School. Uncle Denis introduced beekeeping into their curriculum. At that time, my father was a beekeeper, so he let Uncle Denis have a hive and a swarm of bees, to work with.

He later went to work at the Bishop Lonsdale College in Derby and finally he taught overseas in Africa, before returning to England when he retired.

He died in 2006 aged 91.

Further Memories

As a pupil at West Hallam C of E voluntarily aided Infants and Junior mixed schools, I used to walk down St Wilfrid's Road to school.

When it was the skipping season, the girls who walked that way to school, used to bring a clothes line, which we stretched over the road and we all skipped along St Wilfrid's Road to the village, underneath the archway of trees that lined the road on both sides and met overhead. It was a lovely green tunnel to walk through.

There were the girls from High Lane Central, High Lane East and the lower end of High Lane West, plus the girls from Mapperley who were going to Scargill who joined in. I remember one of the Peacock girls being among them, I think her name was Pauline. Joan Gould was just finishing her teacher training and she took the top class for our last term at that school in 1953. She obviously did not join in with us, but she may remember seeing us all happily skipping to school, quite literally.

I still have my Coronation book that we made when Joan took us. She encouraged us to take newspaper cuttings; photos etc to make our own scrap books.

There weren't many vehicles going down that road apart from the double decker Trent bus and Mr Bacon and Uncle Denis who both rode bikes to get to the secondary school. As they approached, we used to let the rope fall to the ground and they went over it, then we resumed our skipping games.

Happy memories of school days

Brenda Parker 2016.

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