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My Memories - By Aubrey Marsden
Mapperley village
October 2012

(Interview notes taken by Elaine Sarson)



Aubrey was born in Mapperley village on 29th June 1943 and apart from a brief spell when he first married he has lived in Mapperley all his life.

He began his life at 22 Mapperley Village. This is a cottage off Main Street, up the Twitchell and running parallel to Main Street. At that time Les Harper and family lived next door, living there now is Linda and Andy Parkes and their family. On the other side lived Les and Gladys Webster and family.

Aubrey’s father was Frank Marsden and his mother Florence Marsden. His brother was Raymond.

When the new council houses were built in 1949 called The Coachways the family moved into one of the new houses, number 9. The house remained the family home until the death of Florence in 2001.  I remember the gardens being a picture of colour, Frank being an avid and very experienced gardener who gave a lot of his time to helping others less green fingered. Frank was also a long standing member of the church and Aubrey recalls going to three services every Sunday. Frank was such a lovely man and held a special place in people’s hearts.

Aubrey attended Mapperley School and well remembers
Mr ‘Gaffa; Johnson, the head. Gaffa was a very stern disciplinarian and Aubrey remembers his selection of canes hanging in the cupboard with one generally hanging over his arm for easy access! It wasn’t uncommon for a few children to be lined up together, bent over forms to receive six of the best.
Gaffa used to go for a cigarette down in the coke hole and apparently he would use this time to ‘spend a penny’ as it was much warmer down there that in the cold outside toilets.

Gaffa Johnson
The proof of this came through the smell of urine which would circulate via the heating pipes!!

The infant teacher at that time was Mrs Challands.

When he left Mapperley following the 11+ Aubrey went to Hallcroft Technical School in Ilkeston.

As a child spare time was spent playing in the streets and surrounding fields. Playing football on the roads (not so many cars then). He even recalls walking as far afield as Dale Abbey with David and Tony Martin and his bottle of water and jam sandwiches. Parents couldn’t let their children do that nowadays, such a shame.

He would enjoy fishing down at the pond with nothing more that a cane, a bent pin and some cotton.

In winter the children would make winter warmers, a can with holes in, holding some wood and coal. These would be spun round in circles without the contents spilling out…hopefully.

Dens would be made in woods and hours spent in them. Alan Davis was apparently an expert in building them.

As we all know, children can be quite imaginative and naughty sometimes (I certainly was!) Aubrey tells me about the rolled up balls of newspaper that he and his friends would place up drain pipes and then set fire to them. Well, you can imagine the reaction of householders to that! I can only assume that Aubrey and the gang were very quick runners.

The other thing that Aubrey remembers well is that he and his friends once blew up Amy Morgan’s greenhouse!!  (This was the house on the small crossroads in the village, Church Farm)  This was on or around November 5th. They bundled together 4 Little Imps (bangers) tied them up like dynamite, lit them and threw them over the wall. There was a tinkle of glass followed by an explosion. One can only imagine how fast they ran away from that one!

It didn’t take long for him to be found out though and had to go to Amy Morgan the next day and apologise. Fortunately she was very nice about it and just pointed out the error of his ways.

It doesn’t however end there. Either that same November or the following he did a similar thing with the 1d chewing machine which was on the wall outside the top shop. The front fell off and pennies and chewing gum fell all over the floor. However, out of the dark appeared the local bobby P.C Twight, nicknamed Bobby Twilight.  Aubrey made a very hasty retreat with Derek Udall to Manor Farm where Derek lived and they jumped straight into the silage pit!  P C Twight found him however and gave him a clip round the ear Aubrey’s dad did the same when he found out too.

Hills farm was also a good place for scrumping but we were always caught and shot at (above the head thankfully)

It doesn’t end there…the lads would congregate under a gas lamp which was by Luther Martins house in the centre of the village. Luther worked nights so the noise would often disturb him. His solution to getting the lads to move on was to throw out the contents of the gazunder (chamber pot). It worked.

Aubrey attended the church regularly and was a member of the choir. The vicar then was Rev Spencer who would regularly clip the boys round the ear if they misbehaved. In the choir at the same time was Frank (his dad) Gordon Durow, David Moss and Barbara and Beryl Peacock.

When his voice broke Aubrey went on to pump the organ for the organist. This was in the old church. There was a lead weight on a string which Aubrey had to maintain the weight on an even keel.

Sunday school outings were usually to Trentham Gardens but Aubrey also recalls going to Alton Towers (this was before it was a theme park). They would travel by Felix cherabanc driven by Norman Frost.

Aubrey recalls the Mapperley Miners Welfare Football Club. The home matches being played on Mapperley recreation ground. His brother Raymond was a team member along with Jeff Hartshorne, Norman Grainger, Frank Marshall, Cyril Hartshorne, Brian Buxton and Billy Booth.  Aubrey currently plays bowls with Billy and Brian.

We also had a  village institute which was very well used for beetle drives, parties, dances, women’s institute etc such a shame it was sold.

Aubrey has happy memories of his time at The Black Horse when my mum and dad Ron and Joyce Richardson were landlord and landlady. He recalls what Ron would say when encouraging his customers to leave at closing time. "How about landlords supper" was one and saying he would have a circus dinner was another (3 rings round it!)

On leaving school Aubrey was offered 3 interviews. Leaderflush Doors, Keith hall hairdressers and Robinsons Solicitors. Leaderflush wages were low; he did not like washing hair so Robinsons was the only real choice for him.  He started in the Heanor offices which were above Barclays Bank on Heanor Market Place. He earned £3. 10 shilling a week with £2. 10 shillings going to his mother for board. Aubrey realised how fortunate he was as generally you would have to pay to join a company like Robinsons.

He obviously made a wise choice as he remained at Robinsons for a total of 52 years…amazing.

He retired in May 2011.

In the early years Aubrey also worked for our local builder at weekends, Ken Birkin.

In 1964 Aubrey Married Jean Bown

Jean lived in West Hallam; her family owned the house and forge which were by The Punchbowl. They married at St Wilfrids on 11 July 1964.

The reception was held at Scargill School and The Storms played.

The group hadn’t been together long but they went down a storm!  Although the older guests did ask for them to be turned down!

Their honeymoon was at the Derby Hotel in Llandudno.

They later went on to have two children, Ann-Marie and Andrew. Ann-Marie has three children, Alexandra, Esther and Tom, Andrew has a daughter Katie so the 4 grandchildren keep them very busy.

My thanks to Aubrey for his memories.

Mr Frank Marsden, Mrs Florence Marsden (Aubrey Marsden, Jean Bown) Mr Les Bown and Mrs Joyce Bown


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