Gladys Brockenshire nee Taylor

Memories of Ullenhall – by Gladys Brockenshire nee Taylor

The first public telephone in Ullenhall was in the post office which was also the newsagent and general stores, later years was moved to a kiosk outside, the papers were collected on bicycle from Danzey Station, and telegrams were frequently sent as there were not many telephones in the Village.

Children walked to School, some from Morton Bagot some two to three miles away, the school had two rooms, a small one for infants and larger for juniors, the only means of heating was a fire place, the heat not reaching the far corners of the room, sometimes ones hands were so cold it was difficult to hold a pen, the desks were made for two, with a seat that made a noisy clang, everytime the pupils stood up or sat down.

I attended this school from 1925 to 1935. 1935 was the Silver Jubilee year of King George V and Queen Mary, a horsedrawn wagon with the Queen and attendants started from Crowleys Farm down the Village to a field at Brook House where such sports as races, barrel boxing and pillow fighting sat on a pole, followed by tea in a marquee, children were presented with commemoration mugs by Mrs Barratt from Heath Farm. The celebrations finished with a bonfire being lit on the allotment field, during the day. There was also country dancing, the girls wearing dresses made from material provided by Mr Friend of Crowleys Farm, the sun shone and all together it was a very happy day.

The 1937 Coronation was more spectacular, organised by Mrs Peace who lived at Rose Cottage, there were four horse drawn wagons, on the first was Britannia with attendants, the other wagons were people of the Empire, Eastern wagons etc. Refreshments were served in the new Village Hall, which was opened in 1936, the weather was not very kind.

Before the hall was built, due to the effort of a small committee of people, Whist Drives and Dances were held at the Coffee House, entrance fee was 6d for 24 hands of whist, followed by a dance, pianist getting2/6, refreshments were served in the small room, with big kettles bolied in front of the fire. The W.I organised a Whist Drive and Dance in the School on New Years Eve, the desks had to taken out and covered to the playground, then table chairs and crocks with the big kettles were transported from the Coffee House, the lighting was oil lamps, afterwards men would carry the desks back into the School. At that time it all seemed worth the effort.

Farming was hard work, although more peaceful without the machinery haymaking was done by hand, turning the hay, which had to be done many times if it was a wet season, then raked into rows, to be pitched up by hand onto the cart, then unloaded to the rick builder, which later would be thatched. Farmers wives in those days always kept and dressed chickens, and made butter, which was often taken to the Wednesday market at Henley. Cattle were driven to the Market, sometimes easier to walk, than load a cow which hadn’t left the premises since being born there, into a transport.

The 1953 Coronation was celebrated in the Village, between watching television, the usual wagon with Queen and attendants now pulled by a tractor, followed by decorated bicycles and fancy dress, and a display of country dancing in the centre of the Village, tea was provided in the Village Hall, not many people went to watch the sports in a downpour of rain.

One of the special events in Ullenhall during the 20s was visit of the mop who we called Rocky Herberts, in the small field on the corner of Church Hill. There was roundabouts, swings, shooting, and coconut shies, also their homemade bolied sweets. It was a family concern, father, mother, daughter and husband, with two small boys, it is difficult to picture now.

Hope this will be of some help, have done this to the best of my ability and memory.