Memories of Naphill

There were eight in my family, four boys and four girls, and we lived in a tiny cottage at Naphill. There was no piped water and if it was a dry summer and the water failed, we had to fetch it with a yoke and buckets from the farm.

My father was a brick-maker and was often up day and night firing and baking the bricks. When this happened, we children took his meals to him and sometimes he built a little brick oven out in the open where we cooked potatoes, sitting around eating them with him. My uncle 'Pudgy' Parslow kept the Black Lion, a sawdust and spittoon local pub. Another uncle and aunt had a farm at Walter's Ash where the whole Parslow family gathered at Christmas and anything up to forty people could be present.

We went to a Church of England school which is still there but now used as a church. We went to church three times on Sundays, changing out of our best clothes in between services. On Empire Day, our school competed with Cryer's Hill school for a shield. On Prize Day, Mrs Coningsby-Disraeli always gave the needlework prize, a lovely sewing basket. I never won it.

The big event of the year was the Naphill Flower Show in August and it is still the big thing in the village.

Daisy Aldridge, Sands

My father was a chair-maker and cycled each day to Wycombe to work. He was the drummer in Naphill band. I helped him carry the drum while the band was marching and not playing. The band played for concerts and children's Sunday School treats. On practice nights during the summer, they all sat round in a ring in my grandparents' garden and played—such a lovely sound that often attracted nightingales.

My mother had lived at Vincent Farm, next to the blacksmiths. The farm was owned by the Disraeli family who used to visit my grandmother.

Our lavatory was outside. It had a wooden seat, with squares of newspaper and a bucket underneath which was emptied once a week.

In our home we had no electricity but oil lamps for downstairs and candles to go to bed. The bed was an iron frame with brass knobs and a feather bed to lay on. We had a bedroom each, but in my father's time there were only two rooms for mother, father and seven children.
My mother used to wind my hair around long pieces of white rag and I slept in these and in the morning I had long curls.

My mother could make pillow lace, and each year most mothers made cherry pies. These were really lovely.

Naphill was famous for its bricks. The men dug for clay during winter, making very big holes. Very big sand-stones were also dug out and these were split and used for curb stones. In the summer, bricks were made from the red clay. They were stacked to dry and then put in the kilns.

Gladys Woodrow, Sands



Extracted from 'A Pattern Hundreds' (1975) and reproduced with the kind permission of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes

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