Reminiscences of an Ivinghoe Lady

I was born in Wellcroft in Ivinghoe, the daughter of Herbert & Ethel Bierton.
My first memory is of me being in a pushchair going down past what is now the Youth Hostel. At that time it was the home of Mr Robert's Family. The Brewery was still working, I cannot remember much. There was a chimney near the churchyard with all the sheds and Buildings.
I also remember a little piglet running around they must have bowled for the pig. There was also a band playing.


I started school when I was four (1928) I was not very good. My mother used to yank me up the road. The teacher Miss Stream used to meet us at the big school door, grab hold of me and bang the door shut. Once I was there I loved it.
I was given a tray of sand, and used to make my letters in it. Moving on from that I was given a slate board to write, Soon after I was given paper & pencil. (Before I went to school my mother taught me to write on paper with a pencil.)
We had to wear a pinafore to keep our clothes clean: I also had pigtails and often lost the ribbon in my hair.
We played in different playgrounds boys at front girls at the back.
We moved on to Miss Frost’s class where we were taught joined up writing and used a pen.
After school anyone going to Pitstone carried her books to her home and carried them back in the morning; you just did it there was no arguing back. We moved on to Miss Delamont's class, she taught drawing and painting she also carried on with English and Arithmetic and all the general subjects. We all got a good general education.
We had to behave ourselves and we had respect for our teachers. No one answered back. If you were told off it was no good going home complaining to your mother. You would get another telling off.
We eventually moved on to Mr Saunders who taught Class 5 and 5+, which was for the elite. I left school at age 14 years.

We had Playtime on the lawn. Mr Saunders took older boys for football in winter and cricket in the summer; the girls had Netball in winter and Stall ball in summer. The middle class played Rounders one afternoon a week.
Mr Saunders took the boys gardening in the garden where the Scout Hut is now.
The girls had needlework with Miss Frost; thanks to her I can still thread a needle.
I remember making a boy’s shirt Miss Frost helped me with some of it and it was entered in a competition in Aylesbury, I was not told about it till afterwards

Before I leave school days behind I remember about 1930 we had a diphtheria outbreak in the school and it was closed for 3 months.
It was very bad Joyce Halsey died and all the family were in the fever Hospital at Linslade. We all marched up to church for her funeral.
It was sad because her mother and father could not be there. Every day children were taken away to hospital.
Bill my brother and I escaped. My mother made us gargle every night with condes- fluid or some such name it was mauve and horrible. I think it saved us.
Our family moved into Station Road and was good friends with a neighbour Olive Cox. We used to watch Ivinghoe & Pitstone Football Team play in the field opposite our home.

In the evenings we played ball games in the street. There were no cars around and only about four lorries would come by going to Leighton Buzzard Marley Tile Factory.
I can remember the road being made; Mr Cox was night watchman. We used to gather round his fire and roast potatoes and eat them under a beech tree, which sadly is no longer there anymore

We went to church Sunday Morning and afternoon Sunday School and Church in the evening, My father and Bill sang in the Choir my father was in the choir for fifty years his family did a lot of work for the church.
Rev Hulbert the vicar used to have “ Kings Messengers” every week it was like a club but it was held at the vicarage. He was a good vicar he tried to organise and help people. He took my confirmation at Wendover.
I took my first communion at Ivinghoe and I was married by him in 1943.

While still at school we had concerts in the Town Hall, In one of which I played Mrs Crochet in “Christmas Carol” the proceeds were used to take us on a day trip to Clacton, a favourite place of ours
A Sunday School Party was a trip up to Whipsnade once or twice and having tea there if funds permitted. At other times a picnic was held in the vicarage gardens which stretched down the left of Vicarage Lane past Wellcroft that was good fun and we were easily pleased.

I remember Mr Lightfoot the Caretaker of the Town Hall; selling sweets after the shops closed on Saturday night. Home made Humbugs Coconut Icing boiled sweets and chocolate. Dad bought mum a bar of chocolate an old aunt and us sweets about 6d a week a big spender!

The penny man Mr Farquar of Aldbury used to come Saturday at 1pm all dressed up in Riding Scarlet. He would drive into the Kings Head and then came out to give the children a penny if you had clean hands and face.
A Hetty King and Mr Barrack would also be there they gave two penny’s also for clean hands & face if you were not so clean you got a penny. I think that they enjoyed seeing the children’s faces light up.

Mrs Williamson shop next to the Kings Head did a roaring trade, everyone went straight in there, it would be a whole 5/- trade she would do.
Everyone worked on farms and then the cement works came and roads were made up. In those days people in the village helped each other.

The last Friday of the month a Court Day was held in the Town Hall Ivinghoe. It was also a Police station. There was a Police Sergeant a Mr King a rotund man living there who moved to Linslade and became an Inspector,
The Court also moved there. A P C Goldiman came here as replacement.

There were a few milkmen in the village. I can remember Ted Simmons coming round with cans of milk. Bert, Roger and Kiffy were another lot they would carry cans on their handlebars of the bikes. Mr Harrowell had a horse and Cart with a big milk crate on the back of the cart.
At 8am and 4pm we could get milk from the Kings Head after the milk stood for a day they would skim of the cream for the hotel and sold the rest, we got a pint for a penny. If Mrs Seabrook served us we got a pint & half for a penny but if Tommy the Cowman served it was a bare pint.

The Bakers used to come around with the bread Mr Turney’s of Manor Cottage and Mr Horwood up Grooms Yard in Vicarage Lane,
Turneys used to sell flour Maize all the animal foods, I can smell it now!
At weekends Mrs Horwood would cook cakes and dinners in the oven for villagers, after Mr Horwood had gone to Ivinghoe Aston delivering bread and cakes he had made.
Mrs Dollimore living next door to us would shout on me to take her cake, her meat and Yorkshire pudding to be cooked for a penny; it always cooked perfectly and sometimes I got a penny for myself. There was Howlett’s Bakery in Pitstone and he had a small delivery Van.

Another job I used to do for Mrs Dollimore was on Monday mornings go up to Mrs Rogers Tea Room next to the Town Hall collect the washing then on Tuesday lunchtime take it back freshly washed and ironed by Mrs Dollimore and my mother.
Mrs Dollimore used to make plait she had a roller in her barn and she used to wet the straw and put it through the rollers. I used to split the straw thick or thin which ever was required. My aunt who lived with us used do plaiting and it was rolled up loosely in 4yard lengths.
She also did beautiful crochet work she made a lovely Altar Cloth for the Church, it had drawn thread work on the cloth and edged it with lace.

When the war came we used to watch the son of the owners of the Bell pub who was a pilot in the RAF he would come over the field and loop the loop for his mum and dad. Everyone turned out to watch.
I was away as a nurse quite a lot only getting home on my days off.
In 1943 the Irish Guards were stationed in the Youth Hostel Grounds and Officers were in the Hostel. There were Tanks, gun carriers, lorries and all sorts of machines.
They all lined up by the Kings Head and Jane’s shop ready for manoeuvres on the Beacon.
George Pickering son of the Owner of the Kings Head was killed that day on a Bren Gun Carrier coming down the front of The Beacon. (What was he doing on it? he was an RAF test pilot.)
After the war I moved to Scotland with my husband and had my family there.
I later returned to the village with my family.

As recalled by Mrs Gwen Craigie nee Bierton to Les Laing.