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A Walk Through Hilton in the 1930s, continued

Towards the end of the war, Dr Peters was converting the Coach House at his home, Hilton House, into a ballroom and when it was completed he allowed dances to be held there. This was a much better venue with oak panelling and hardwood polished floor.

Every year, usually before Christmas, a concert would be held in the school similar to the current Feast Week talent show. Several people in the village played various instruments and would give a recital. Others would sing a song. My father was a good singer and used to sing the old ballads: “Bless This House”, “Danny Boy” etc also the old comic songs. There would be monologues and sketches. The school children would recite, sing and perform short sketches. I remember being one of the ten little nigger boys. The entire entertainment would last about two hours.

The house nearest The Grove, now called Grove House, was a general store. It was owned by Mr Bob Hardy and his wife and son lived with him. There were very few private telephones at this time and if you wanted to make a telephone call, the public telephone was in a small cubicle inside the shop. You would go into the shop and tell Bob the number that you wanted. He would then ring the exchange by turning a handle on the telephone rest and when he got through to the number you required, he would hand you the phone.

The first of the three terraced houses was the home of Tom Smith (an agricultural engineer) his wife, three sons and a daughter. Jack Beck and his wife lived in the centre house and Mr and Mrs Childs and their son Stanley lived in the house nearest Maze Road.

The first four houses in Maze Road were built in the early nineteen twenties, others were built later. Jimmy Key lived in the first house with his wife three sons and one daughter. Jimmy earned a living by running a taxi service, he was also the village handyman; he repaired motors and bicycles and farm carts. Jimmy also had an ice-cream stall by the pavilion when cricket matches were played.

There was no mains water in the village until the nineteen fifties and all of the water had to be drawn up from wells. Some you had to just throw a bucket in attached to a rope and haul it out by hand, others had a simple hand operated winch. A few of the larger houses used semi-rotary pumps which were designed to push the water up to tanks in the roof, the most popular pump was the feed pump and Jimmy would be called upon to maintain and repair these pumps. He would make and fit new clack valves and plungers. Of course these pumps had to be sited above or very close to wells and they in turn had to be above a spring.

(Those unfortunate enough not to have any underground water would have to fetch their water from a parish pump. There were several of these located around the village, though some villagers had to walk up to a quarter of a mile to fetch their water. While the women would collect their water in cans and small buckets their men folk would fetch water in two large buckets which would be suspended either side of a yoke worn across the shoulders.)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 July 2009 23:39