A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A COAL MINERS FAMILY IN THE 1930'S -
by ETHEL LOTE
4am. Dad gets up to go to work, and he will meet all the other miners waiting to get the bus to either 'Dry Bread' or the 'Fair Lady'. All pits had strange names. All the miners would be carrying their 'snap' (food), which consisted of a bottle of water and sandwiches, carried in newspaper to guard against the mice. Sometimes Dad would take something for the pit ponies who lived underground in their stables, often ending their days blind through never seeing daylight.
At 5.am on a Monday morning, Mother would get up and fill the Copper, in the corner of the kitchen, with water ready for the days washing. Then she would light the fire under the Copper to heat the water. Next, out would come the 'Dolly Tub and the Posher'. It was hard work beating the clothes in the tub, no-one needed any more exercise. Afterwards, the clothes would be put through the big old mangle to squeeze out the water. If the weather was good, the washing would then be hung outside to dry. If not, then there would be lines of clothes hanging across the kitchen.
Children would have to get up early because it was a long walk to school. If the children were luck they might have 2d (two old pennies which is equal to less then 1p in today's money) with which to buy a bottle of milk at playtime.
Home from school at lunchtime where there would be just time for a piece of bread and dripping then back to school again. Anyone five minutes late would get the cane and there would be sore hands.
In the meantime , Mother would still be at her back breaking job of doing the washing which would often take all day. There were no washing machines, no central heating or hot water. All cooking and water heating had to be done on the coal fire with an oven at the side.
Coal miners received very poor wages but would receive a load of coal once a month. This was brought by lorry and tipped on the side of the road outside the house. It was then the work of Mother and the children to load the large lumps of coal into a barrow and wheel it up to the coal house, which was some distance from the road.
At 4.00pm the tin bath would be in front of the fire filled with numerous kettles of hot water. Dad would arrive home from the pit exhausted, covered with coal dust from head to toe, just the whites of his eyes showing. Mother would have his clean clothes waiting for after she had scrubbed his back. This was a daily procedure.
There were no pit baths, no machinery or trains down the coal mines in those days. The miners would walk miles under ground to get to the coal face and would use their pick axes in very dangerous conditions to extract the coal. There were also the dangers of gas, flooding and roof falls.
After tea, the children would be outside playing top and whip, skipping, ball games or 'kick the can'. Sometimes, there would be a night watchman who would sit on a stool on the pavement with a fire in a large bin. Children loved to sit around him and he would tell stories.
In almost every street there would be a cobbler and another treat for the children would be to visit his shop, which would be a front room of his house. The room would be almost knee deep in nails and bits of leather and there would always be a roaring fire with the ashes piled up in the grate. There was a wooden bench where the children would sit and watch the cobbler mend shoes. It was a real treat to sit there on a cold night with the smell of leather and his old pipe. He never minded how many children crowded in.
Bedtime was eight o'clock, then mother would begin the ironing. The flat-irons had to be heated on the fire and it was a very tedious job.
There was no television or radio but in the winter the evenings were spent playing darts, cards, sewing or singing as Mother played the piano.
Most people were poor but every one made the best of what they had, |Doors were always open. Neighbours helped each other and on the whole life was happy with just simple things.
STEAM POWERED LORRIES OF THE ALDRIDGE COLLIERY CO.LTD.
As a young boy of nine I was first admitted to the orphanage in 1944 and for a total of just over five years was to spend my time within the confines of Druids Heath School.
Aldridge then was just a quaint and picturesque village with a small population. My first two years spent in the annexe in Stonnall Road (now a private nursing home) bring back so many memories of how life was then, so different from today's hustle and bustle.
Walking across open fields, two of us boys would carry the milk churn to Rowe's farm, passing across Lazy Hill and past a small pond, and along the track down to the farmhouse. Whilst waiting for the milk, we were allowed to climb up in to the barn, and enjoyed a few minutes amusement jumping down into the hay below, before our return journey to the home.
There was a lovely view from most of the dormitory windows at the rear of the big house. Overlooking open fields, one could just view the branch railway line before it crossed over the Chester Road on route to Birmingham, also Swaine's farm and Gould Firm Lane in the distance. In the winter-time the scene was breath taking and would have graced any Christmas card.
I recall summer days down at the main school, playing football on the back yard, and the big slides that we made during the cold and frosty weather.
A glimpse of the green HARPERS Brothers buses as they journeyed past the school on their way to the village, or the other way to Brownhills and Cannock, were always a reminder to us boys that there was another world out there.
Inter house cross-country runs took us down the winding lane of Hobs Hole, past bluebell wood and back along Back Lane to the Plough and Harrow pub. The hedge rows were a mass of wild flowers and there was an abundance of foxgloves and poppies. Then the arduous route back up Frank James Hill past the CHURCH into Noddy Park Road and finally Walsall Wood Road, as the old school came back into view. One of the rarer occasions that we would be pleased to have arrived back into our sheltered world.
We enjoyed our visits to the AVION Cinema, which was a big treat, but had to be earned if one was not on detention. We were always made to feel welcome by the manager Mr Harry Russell. The march to matins at St Mary's church every Sunday morning and complete silence observed by us boys during the whole of the service.
There is so much one could write about during the early 50's but I cannot close without a mention of the numerous friends from the Aldridge village folk, who always made us welcome where ever we ventured. Such happy memories.
THE ORPHANAGE ' ( Druids Heath School) WALSALL WOOD ROAD - NOW DEMOLISHED
ORIGINALLY RUN BY RAOB, AND THEN DR. BARNARDO'S HOMES
The Cruck Cottages stood at the top end of Aldridge High Street on the Corner of Rookery Lane. They can be seen in the picture above on the left, being the buildings with the pointed gables and bay window. In 1946 Albert and Ethel Lote moved into the end cottage on the corner of Rookery Lane. Ethel recounts some of the eerie experiences they encountered…………..
" There was no electricity in the cottages, yet at night we could hear what sounded like switches being turned on and off. When Albert was on night duty, he would obviously need to sleep during the daytime. He used to complain to me that I was disturbing him in an afternoon by standing by the bed when he was trying to sleep ! I only stood by the bed when I took him his cup of tea at 5 o'clock .
After Albert had gone to work and I was alone, footsteps could be heard upstairs. I would often sleep downstairs with the front door open so that I could run across the road to Mrs Whitehouse if I got to scared. The old lady next door told me that she had moved out of our cottage years before because of the ghost!
I was expecting my first child on 5th November 1947. The weather was very bad and we had been lighting a fire in the grate in the bedroom. Mrs Lamb told us that the ghost would not let us have a fire in the bedroom. On the night of 4th November the fire in the bedroom was burning brightly. I was pacing around while the midwife sat knitting. She looked up and saw the old lady in a mobcap, sitting on an ottoman up the corner of the room. I explained about the ghost and she wasn't bothered. Suddenly at the stroke of 12 o'clock the room became filled with smoke and the fire went out. It was a very cold night and there was no wind, but Albert could not get the fire going again.
When Chris was born in the early hours of 5th November, there was a complication and Dr. Milne had to be called. When he walked into the bedroom he greeted us all including the Ghost! At first he would not believe us but then thought it was hilarious. When he got up to go he said goodbye to the ghost and we all saw her gradually disappear.
In 1963 when the houses were being demolished, a group of ghost hunters kept vigil for a week. Eventually they saw the ghost leave the cruck cottages and followed it up to the church where the ghost of the old lady the disappeared into the cemetery." ……
Memoirs of Nancy Irene Passmore nee Williams Written in 2009
I was born in Aldridge in 1925 down Whetstone Lane at my Gran’s. I lived in Station Road until I was 5, we then moved to a council house in Tynings Lane.
I went to The Green School until I was 14, from where I was sent to Shannon’s factory in George Street Walsall for 3 weeks. My mother made me leave.
I then went to work at Phillip’s shop and Outdoor in Pool Green doing the cleaning. This was while the war was on. One night we had all been up all night with the air raids and I was late going in, so he stopped me.
I then saw a notice in Aston’s Stores window for an assistant. I started by scrubbing all the shop floors, down on my hands and knees, with a bucket of hot water, a bar of soap, a scrubbing brush and a floor cloth. I also served in the shop, parcelling all the groceries in brown paper and using a ball of string. I made all the grocery bills, priced everything up and added all the prices to the goods. I weighed all the fats, boned the bacon and skinned the cheeses. We had to weigh out all the dried fruit, flour, sugar and tea, as everything had to be weighed and packed into all different bags.
I also worked in the office writing the grocery orders in big ledgers. I reckoned all the bread books up too when the 5 rounds of delivery men came in. I stayed until 10 O’clock on a Friday night to bring all the bread books forward for the following week. In between times I had to serve in the outdoor, serving beer and spirits and I had to remember all the prices. I went on the bread rounds delivering bread, cakes and groceries. To do this I went on horses and carts and in vans. I also went out on my bike collecting grocery orders around Aldridge, Little Aston, Footherley, Shenstone and up to Muckley Corner, as well as Pinfold Lane by the Beacon , Foley Road up to the Banners Gate and then back to the shop. That was for 3 days each week.
I worked in the Bake House weighing the dough and putting it in the tins. Then when cooked I had to take out the loaves and put them on a rack to cool. I used to count the coupons out of the ration books and take them to the Food Office. I also took the shop takings to the Bank in the old cruck cottages in the High Street. The old Post Office was In one of the cottages too . It was opened by the Wheeler Sisters and was taken over by Mrs Long who was a teacher in the Infants School.
At the Infant school there was also Miss Bircher, Miss Merson, Miss Brown, who were teachers. Then in the Girl’s school was Miss Cox, Miss Arrowsmith, Mrs Mustard, and Mrs Orme the Headteacher. I remember we used to use the Church Hall to learn cooking.
I was married in Aldridge Church in 1949 after being engaged in July 1948. Then I had my first son in January 1951, my second son December 1951 , my next son in 1953, my daughter in 1955 and my other daughter in 1957. After having each child I had to go to be ‘Churched’ before I could go into other people’s houses, they don’t do this today.
I recall they started altering Aldridge by getting rid of the Council House in Anchor Road, followed by the cottages in the village. Next to Aston’s store was Mr Davies the Chemist, Mr Swann the Greengrocer, The Paper shop then the old Elms.
The other side was the Anchor Public House, a Bric a Brac shop kept by 2 sisters, the Swan Public House, a Hairdresser’s house owned by the Pullmans, Hilditches store, Sheldon’s meat shop and the abattoir for killing the animals.
Then Bakers Lane with Mr Loverock and his donkeys (he also kept Astons horses), then there was Buckleys the bakers on the corner, Marjorie Cope shoe shop, the Marshalls family lived next door, Barnsley cake and bread shop, Harvey’s the butchers was next door and a grocery shop, Whitehouses the menswear shop, a small sweet shop and finally the British Legion.
I joined the over 60 club when I was 60 and played Bowls. I was Treasurer for them. I played darts, dominoes and cribbage and won a few trophies. I still go to the club where I play bingo and still play Cribbage with my son Keith. I do wordsearch. I have dressed 40 dolls and given them all away and I knitted toilet roll covers.
An Interview with Florrie Pendry Nee Roberts Written in 2004
Florrie was born in the old cottage in Forge Lane . This was a small-holding and her Mom and Dad kept pigs, nanny goats, pigeons, chickens, and bantams. They had a horse and cart which they used to travel on into Aldridge. She belonged to a large family consisting of 3 brothers and 4 sisters. The cottage only had 2 bedrooms which the children used to sleep in and Mom and Dad slept downstairs. There was a Blacksmith’s on the corner, then there was a gulley and then a row of terraced houses called Diamond Row. When Florrie was 4 they moved to a cottage in Station Road as their original cottage was demolished.
Florrie’s Dad was away a lot as he was a soldier in the First World War and Florrie was born after he had returned home. He was quite well known in Aldridge and his nickname was ‘Monty Roberts’. He was a character and loved to play tricks on people. He attended Cooper and Jordan School as did most people in Aldridge.
When her Dad came back from the war part of the cottages in the gulley were derelict but the wash-house with its copper boiler was still standing. Her Dad decided to start a Fish and Chip shop in the wash house and his first venture was to see the chips around the pubs in Aldridge. These wonderful Fish and Chips became quite famous and people used to come from as far away as Shelfield to try them.
Florrie and her Dad used to go on the 6 O’clock train to Birmingham fish market to fetch the fish back home to cook. Florrie used to ask if she could have a crab’s claw to suck as she went around the market with her Dad. He finally gave the business to his cousin ‘Tic Garbett’ , who took over selling the fish and chips in his front room.
As Florrie got older she attended Cooper and Jordan School. She met and became friends with Vi Wood (nee Judson known as Dolly) who is also a’ home grown’ Aldridge lady. At the time they used to play on the cricket fields or in their respective back yards. Mostly they played rounders , skipping, hopscotch and with the top and whip.
Florrie met her husband Ernest at a Castle Bromwich factory in the 1930s and they married in December 1939, the year war broke out. They moved into the cottage next door to Florrie’s Mom and Dad. Ernest was exempt from fighting so he joined the Home Guard and Florrie carried on at the factory making plastic for the war effort. Her son Robert was born in 1943 and moved to Southport.
Early history unclear but Walsall Wood Institute Temperance Band known to have existed at this time.
Reference to Walsall Wood Olde Brass Band
Aldridge Colliery Silver Prize band formed when the Walsall Wood Temperance band went bankrupt.
Recollections of Mr. T Broadhurst of Castlefort Road Walsall Wood
"The Band was known as the Aldridge Colliery Silver Prize Band. They practised in a large garage in Brookland road. Mr tom Smith was the conductor in the 1920's . he left the Band in 1960. Arthur Reeves was the band secretary and also played the trombone. Other players were J Breeze, B Snape, Bradford, J Welsh, and E Westwood. I believe that they performed in a short radio concert on BBC radio in the 1930's
Recollections of Mrs. Ivy Llewellyn of Bloxwich
"Aldridge Silver Prize Band joined with The Bloxwich British Legion Band and The Bescot Band during the war to form the Walsall Home Guard Band. This was disbanded after the war.
My Husband Arthur Llewellyn played side drum in the Bloxwich Band when I first met him in March 1937. He was also learning the Cornet. He was 17 then and more interested in the bands than the girls! We were going out together for 3 years and were then engaged for 3 years 9 months so we got about to see plenty of Brass Bands mostly by cycling. Our son also has an interest in music and became a drummer but of course the 60's music is his era. He has his dad's cornet, his Grandad's trombone and his other Grandads violin. At the beginning of the War there were 6 Llewellyns in the Band.
Aldridge Colliery Band Ceases
The Aldridge Town Band is formed with the support from councilor A Owen and are promised uniforms and instruments.
The Band wins 1st prize at the Leicester Band Festival - 22 Bands competing
The Band takes 5th place at the National Brass Band championships of GB held at the Albert Hall Nottingham. 50 supporters attend and the youngest player is John Winsford of Walsall Road (cornet)
The council reneges on its promise of instruments and uniforms after its application to the government for a loan is declined. Councilor crisp stated that the band was proceeding well and that by not having the instruments promised the band was playing its part in the present economic squeeze. (Times do not change!)
The Aldridge cenotaph is rededicated following its removal from within the churchyard to its present site. Aldridge town Band plays at the service which is lead by the Rev. Cartmell
There is friction between the Band and the Horticultural Society following the bands request of a fee of £25.00 to play at the August flower show
Aldridge ratepayer's association object to the announcement that the council finance committee has agreed to finance instruments for the band at a cost of £1500. Uniforms had been provided by the bandsmen out of their own funds.
Problems with the Horticultural Society again. Aldridge Town Band has now earned a good reputation. Many of the regular bandsmen however are on holiday in August when the flower show is held and the band fears that to play at that event with depleted numbers could damage their hard won reputation. The band agrees to explore the possibility of borrowing bondsmen from other bands to make up the numbers.
A concert is held at the BRD when the chairman of the council presents new instruments
A young man drops in at the practice session of Aldridge Town Band and says he can play the double base. He is issued with the instrument and uniform. The man Robert Littleford attends two functions but then cannot be traced at the address he gave. He is traced to Whittington Barracks and it is established that he was "on the run " from the North Staffs Regiment where he was a bandsman. He pleaded guilty to theft of a double base and uniform and was sent to prison for 3 months
The band is practicing 3 times a week at the Swan Inn, but is without a drummer.
The Band now practices at the clinic in Leighswood Road
The Band makes national press headlines when the council allocates an ex police house earmarked for demolition to the band for the storage of instruments. This is at a time when there are 958 people on the local housing waiting list
The band wins 1st prize in a section contest held by Birmingham and District Brass Band Association - Isaac Perrin Memorial trophy
The name of the Band changes to Aldridge Brownhills Brass Band when the two Authorities amalgamate.
New practice rooms to be sited at the playing fields Rushall
Aldridge Brownhills council purchases a full set of new instruments for the band at a cost of £5000 which were officially handed over at a concert at Tynings Lane School.
The name changes again to keep pace with local government boundary changes and becomes known as the Walsall Metropolitan Band. It is one of the few Bands in the country to enjoy the support of their local council
The band meets Coleshill Silver Band in round 2 of Birmingham Brass77, a BBC competition. The contest was transmitted on 14th May
The Band wins Championship of Great Britain third section
Reception is held at the Town Hall in honour of the Band s success. Councillor Leadbetter praised the \band for their achievements and the honour they had brought to Walsall
The Band has now been promoted to the Championship section of the Nation Brass Band Championships. This calls for additional funding and sponsorship is sought. Service Domestic Appliances of Darlaston provide funding for three years and the name of the Band changes to Walsall Service Band
1983 The new sponsors of the |Band are Highgate Breweries and the name now becomes the Walsall Highgate Band in July 1983
The Band head quarters are damaged by car joy riders causing £400 worth of damage.
Musical director Ralph Hall leaves to take up a teaching post in Iceland. The Band playing standard had improved dramatically under his direction with a first prize won in a Dudley contest; his successor is Michael West.
The band wins 2nd place in the London Brass Band contest
May 1987 the Band wins 1st place in the City of Leicester Band concert
September 1987 The band is a member of the West Midlands and Anglia Brass Band Association As a result of its success in competitions it is promoted to the Champion section of the 1st division of the Brass Band World.
The Band scoops 4 major prizes in Leamington Spa area Band Contest
August 1988 sees the sponsorship change again. For the next three years the band is to be known as the CI Band following the gaining of support from the Wolverhampton engineering group. The band continues to enjoy success under it s new name
December 1990The Band steels the show at the 21st City of Leicester Annual Brass Band festival and takes 1st place in the champion section
The Band wins a place in National Finals to be held at the Albert Hall London in the autumn
Appointment of Richard Evans musical Director and the announcement that the Staffordshire Building Society will be the new sponsors of the Band from January 1993
My first recollections of Aldridge was in 1963 when I worked for British Rail in the Electrification department during the electrification of the Stafford to Rugby section via Birmingham and its relevant branches.
The steel yard was based in Aldridge alongside the Aldridge to Brownhills branch close to the Aldridge brickworks. British Insulated Calender Company (BICC) had their steelyard based here and I used to visit this yard to maintain our rail cranes which were used to erect the steelwork.
As we were usually on site most of the day we required sustenance and made use of the Transport Cafe in the High Street and the super fish and chip shop by the Avion. If we had fish and chips we sat on the banks of the nearby marle hole in Brickyard Road which had a large fish in it (we thought it may have been a pike).
On one visit one of our workers visited Bullocks in Northgate and we were allowed to use their canteen before their official dinner time where we had a three course meal for a princely sum of three shillings and sixpence (3s/6d).
I also remember passing the Crisp factory just by the road junction.
Whist working for British Rail I had many occasions to visit Aldridge signal box when I delivered the train supervisors who came from the Electrification Depot in Wednesbury. I got to know the signal men and woman (known as bobbies) in that box and a number of memories come to light.
The lady signal woman was very strict as the floor and equipment in the signal box were kept immaculate and one had to take one’s shoes off before crossing the highly polished brown lino floor. This lady was able to operate this box and matched the men at the task. Especially as one signal which was well beyond Dumblederry Lane bridge had some half a mile of cable operating it and this lady had the knack of pulling it.
Early one Sunday morning in one of the worst thunderstorms I have ever known I was at the signal box with the inspectors waiting for the train to depart . We watched the guard take every step down the track in the sheet lighening. Suddenly the lightening hit the signal box and all of the instruments and bells went haywire. The poor old signalman who was on the phone at that moment got a shock through his ear from the brass hook on the phone. He phoned up the boxes on either side of his and said that he was shutting the box out after the trains had gone out of his section. I followed him down Walsall Road as he pedalled his push bike like mad , I’ve never seen anyone pedal so fast. I did not escape either because as I was approaching the canal bridge a thunderbolt hit a tree at the side of the road. Stunned and blinded by the flash I swerved off the road and finished up on the footpath unhurt. I haven’t got a clue what happened to the signal man!!!
I was born on 28th July 1941 and named Mary, Elizabeth Chandler. Like many other members of our family I have always been called by my second name. My father was Tom, ALAN Chandler and my mother Ziporah, Elizabeth ENA nee Elkington. They were married on 1st February 1936 in Northampton.
By the late 1930s they were living at The Nene, [this is the river which runs through Northamptonshire] 1, Harborough Drive, Aldridge, Staffordshire. I have an older sister Jenny, and our younger sister is Judith is three and half years younger than me.
I remember our home as a very cosy two bedroomed bungalow. The back garden was full of soft fruit bushes, vegetables and a hen-coop. I cannot remember ever going without vegetables, fruit or eggs. My mother made jam or bottled all the extra fruit, which were made into pies and crumbles throughout the year. Extra eggs were put into a bucket, which contained isinglass. The front garden was lawn and flowers. In addition there was a farmer who sold Mum rabbit every now and then.
Our next-door neighbours on one side were an elderly couple, called Mr and Mrs Arden, who also lived in a bungalow. On the other side lived Mr and Mrs Prince, their son, Lewis, and the baby, Pamela. There were a few other houses along this unmade-up road, but I cannot remember who lived there now. If we turned right out of our garden gate we walked to a big road. This is where we sometimes caught a bus into Walsall, or walked on to the railway station where we could catch a train to Sutton Coldfield.
When we turned left out of the gate after a few steps we could turn right into what I now know to be Whetstone Lane, and walk passed our friend Kathleen’s house and to the ‘mad’ horse’s field. In retrospect I don’t think he was mad at all, but he always galloped over as soon as we climbed the gate, probably because he was pleased to see us. A lane ran alongside the field, which took us to the woods.
If we turned left at the T-junction we walked along Whetstone Lane towards the railway bridge. Here we had to stop. Should a train be coming we had to wait to see what colour the smoke was. If it was white, we could run through, because it was good luck, but if it was black smoke we couldn’t move until the train had gone! Then we were at a crossroads with the Croft diagonally off to the right. We walked across this towards the Church, and up a slight hill to our school. The school consisted of four classes and there were removable screens between each classroom. I remember when we performed a school play all the screens were pushed to one side and the audience sat on chairs at one end. I can’t remember what the play was called, but I know my sister, Jenny, was Golden-wings, and the reception class were all Snowflakes. As I was a member of that group I made my acting debut! We [the reception class] had to sing and flutter about. Our teacher told us to open our mouths and sing very loudly so that the visitors could hear the words. So I did. My mother told the story that the parent she was sitting next to started laughing and nudged her and said ‘Oh my goodness look at that girl’s face’ Mum did, and there she beheld her second daughter pulling all sorts of faces in a effort to get her to hear me. She didn’t tell her companion that I was anything to do with her. [But she must have known because it wasn’t a big village]
I remember on a very warm summer’s day Grandpa Tom [my Dad’s Dad] taking me round a field just down the road. It was full of Rosebay Willow Herb and we hunted for lizards. I can’t remember if we found any, but I do know it was great fun. Grandpa was a great countryman who could name all the trees, flowers, birds and insects. Mind you my parents were pretty good on that score too.
Mum’s sister Phyl came from Northampton to stay a couple of times. I vividly remember picking blackberries in the fields with Mum, Dad, Jenny and Auntie Phyl and hearing guns go off. I asked if the war had come to us. Everyone laughed and explained that it was just people shooting rabbits. Sometimes we went to the cinema. I do remember seeing Bambi there. On another occasion Jenny, our friend Kathleen and I were taken to the pictures by Dad. He paid for us to go in, and then went home. I think the excitement overcame us as we all three decided to sit on the floor. And then ran home.
On V.E. day there was a big parade of villagers when we walked up the hill from the railway station to the Croft. We waved flags, and everyone was smiling and laughing. Dad eventually put me on his shoulders, Mum was pushing Judith in her pram and Jenny was rushing around chatting to all our friends.
The snow in 1947 was amazing and all these years later I can still remember seeing it out of the kitchen window. The front of our home was completely blocked by the snow. The front door was piled high with it and it came over and above the window- sills. Someone must have cleared the road early because we donned on our woolly clothes, thick socks and wellington boots and went to school. Mum came at lunch-time with lovely egg sandwiches and warm orange juice to save us from having to make the journey home. The snow went on for weeks, and one day as we walked across the Croft on our way home I lost my boot in the snow. Neither Jenny nor I could get it out. Poor Dad had to go off to search for it in the dark when he got home. At the week-end we made wonderful dens in the snowdrifts. I think we even had a picnic in our snow cave.
I perhaps the really bad winter persuaded our parents to move back to Northampton because we left Aldridge in 1948. We still have lovely memories of the village and people.