During World War Two we - my Mum and older brother, Tom, and sister, Pam - lived at number 8 Duvard’s Place in Borden. We were there from when I was just 5 (1940) and left one month before my 12th birthday. We struggled along
manfully during the war, as did so many others. One day on the way to school we saw that one house had been hit and the front of the house wasn’t there. But the cupboard on the landing had a Union Jack in and the flag had unrolled as it fell out and fluttered there.
My Uncle was in the fire service in London and when he managed to get down to visit he brought boxes of sweets with him. Gran (Mrs. Lilian Pollington) used to put a table outside the front door and sell them. At other times my Aunt Mary (only in her early teens then) used to go round the villages selling the sweets from a tray around her neck. The bus only came up to the Maypole and when Mary went round with the sweets at the weekend she had to go all the way up to Oad St. That was quite a walk along the road directly opposite Gran’s cottage.
There was a pub up there - and still is, I believe.
When Mary was working age (14 probably) she went to work in the hospital at Keycol Hill. I think she had to scrub (on her hands and knees) a long corridor, clean the nurses’ home and Matron’s sitting room.
I don’t remember much about my Grandad (Edward Pollington) and he died in December 1940 at 1 North Street, Milton (not sure what the address was but maybe a nursing home or hospital) and was buried in the churchyard. When Gran died in 1966 a small number of the family took her ashes to the churchyard and scattered them on Grandad’s grave although he didn’t have a headstone – Gran couldn’t afford one.
Gran and Grandad and my Aunt Mary lived at number 2 Wents Cottages which was the middle one of three. Entering the cottage by the front door there were stairs to the left. On the right was a sitting room which was used, at some time, as a bedroom for an old lady who was probably Gran’s mother. Directly opposite the front door was a door to the living room and facing that door was Grandad’s armchair – wooden, like a farmhouse carver chair. The chair had a wooden railed back which was his ‘itching post’ and he would twist his back to itch his back - or maybe relieve pain. There was a large table to the left which seemed to take up most of the room and there may have been a form-type bench at the back. Facing into the room from the hall the kitchen or scullery was on the right, the door being next to Grandad’s chair. I don’t know how many bedrooms there were but probably only one for Gran and Grandad and another
When the war finished, in 1945, Gran must have gone back to London, leaving us to await Dad’s discharge from the Army. We left Borden because my brother, Tom, was coming up to school leaving age and it was decided that we needed to return to London as a family to give us all a better chance of finding work. So, in March 1948 we went back to London.
I think Duvard’s Place was probably a farm worker’s cottage and we had two wells: one for drinking and one for washing and we had a rain butt. The mangle was outside the kitchen window. The row of cottages was ‘tunnel back’ and we lived at the end cottages. The people next door were called Tilbey. The front room was the best room and only used for special events. The war was in full swing when we moved to Borden and so we were the proud owners of a table shelter. This was a large steel table with mesh wire sides to keep out the flack when bombs fell. We all slept under that table until the war ended.
One day we three children were in the garden and an enemy plane came over very low; we could see all the markings on the plane. I do recall that a plane came down near us and the pilot was buried in the churchyard. If you were in the village it was a must to go round the back of the church to look at the grave.
While we were at Borden we seem to have fared very well. Of course, we had fruit and Mum made jam. We also had an allotment and grew vegetables. Our cottage was about a mile outside the village and although there was a bus to the village we had to walk the mile to catch it. The school was another mile on from there. My best memories of school are that we had cold toast for our lunch wrapped in newspaper and we took an Oxo cube for a hot drink to go with the
cold toast. One teacher was called Begby, known to us as ‘Buggerbee’.
Sometimes, we had ice cream and we had little round circles of ice cream two inches across and one inch deep.
There was a time when Mum, along with other Mums, kept us off school in protest that there was no provision for us at lunchtime. I expect that was when the Oxo drink was provided.
In the village, Barrow House was the one next to the forge and sometimes used as a library. Looking from the village to the church the Post Office was on the left before the forge and it was also a small general store. On the right before the pub was the 'rec' and each year we had a fete and fancy dress parade. To get to school we had to walk the mile to the church turn left just before the church and walk another three quarters of a mile to the school. The school was built of flint and had four classrooms. At Christmas a local farmer sent nuts and fruit to the school for the children. I remember the boys having stained hands from peeling the nuts so perhaps they were walnuts.
The Vicarage is now next to the Church but it used to be down the main street towards Harman’s Corner and I think the Vicar’s name was Brown. Sometimes a dance was organised in the Village Hall opposite the Church.
There used to be a man who did hedging and ditches on the roads around the village and we knew him as 'Man Friday'.
(Thomas, Pamela and Joyce Pollington appear in the school register for 1941 with their address as Duvard’s Place and Tom and Pam appear in a school photo on the website.)