A lifelong villager – 1

Memories of Gresham from a lady who has lived here all her life:

My earliest memories are going to Gresham County Primary School as I lived next door….in a Council house. If I was late, sometimes I went over the wall at the bell! There used to be a wall down the middle of the playground, separating boys and girls. Sports mad Head Master, Mr Mingay provided a range of games, netball, rounders, football, and cricket. When I met the present Head Teacher, on his appointment, my question was: ”Will you stay?” as the previous four Head Teachers had lasted no more than 10 years- Mr Goodliffe has indeed stayed.
Socially, families looked forward to the weekly visits of a man from Aldborough, on a Wednesday evening; he used to put on a picture show in the old Assembly House (green tin hut on Chequers Road). He brought westerns, cartoons and so on, which whole families could enjoy. It cost a shilling (5p) to go in. Bingo nights were also popular. I attended various youth clubs, run by people perhaps in their twenties and we had a few dances, say at Valentines or Hallowe’en. We would decorate the hall, just play records and have a tuck shop.
My father used to go to the Chequers pub early evening on a Saturday and bring us children back some crisps or pop. The landlady Mrs Lawes, used to rent out the clubroom at the back for functions, doing soup and so on for the shoot for instance. Sometimes she used to let us youngsters use the clubroom when it was cold in the Hall during the winter. The Brewery owned the Hall but wouldn’t spend money maintaining it.
We met other villagers too in the three shops, one including a post office, that there were in the village in my youth: one in Lower Gresham, one opposite the Chequers Road turn, and one further up the Holt Road.
I went to Chapel but we did join with the church Sunday School for parties given by Major and Mrs Batt at Gresham Hall. An Easter Egg hunt was also organised annually there. I think All Saints church is a main village building; even if people don’t go, they look for it to be there. In the past the church was always used for Christenings, Weddings and Funerals, but now there are other places to hold these events, so the church is not used as much. All Saints church had a reputation for being a High church and better off people went there, but the workers generally went to chapel. This reflected the divide in the village between employers- landowners and tenant farmers, and the farm workers. The workers often depended on their employer not only for their wage but also access to their cottages.

Please leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.