The Forge,Uncle Ted and life at the school and as caretaker

Photograph shows Mr and Mrs George Sherlock with their daughter Marjorie at Chestnut Street.

Life at the Forge:

I was born in 1919, in Chestnut Street and moved into Forge House in The Street Borden in 1922. My Dad (the blacksmith George Sherlock) used to renew the worn tyres on the wagon wheels, in order to do this he had to remove the big round iron cover which wa we moveds and still is in front of the Forge, then he had to take off and fix the wheel in the space where the cover was then heat the new tyre on the forge fire. He used to get a bit of help – Uncle Ted Miller, Mr. Payne the shoe mender and anyone in the pub at the time who could stand by with a bucket of water because once the tyre was on it had to be cooled down quickly because the wheel could be set alight by the tyre. My dad made the four arms for the lights in the church when electricity arrived, the old ones had candles which Uncle Ted used to pull up and down on a rope to light, and those same frames are still there.

Ted Miller:

My Uncle Ted was married to my Dad’s twin sister Aunt Vi, Ted was the odd job man around the village, he helped with anything, he swept chimneys,entertained children, dug graves and every day he climbed the church tower to wind the clock. He was churchwarden and on Sunday mornings he rang the bells for services and played hymns on the bells.

My School days:

I started school at Borden in 1924. There was a spike fence which divided the girl’s playground from the boys all the way round. At one time I used to fill the teachers kettle at the house at playtime, one day I came out and stood up on a form which was against the fence I fell and was left hanging on a spike in my arm. I didn’t feel anything; someone lifted me down and went to fill the kettle. Mrs. Parker’s mother saw blood running down my arm they sent for our neighbour at the Post Office, Ivy Mitchell, and she pushed me home in a pushchair; mum sent for Dr Inn and I had several stitches in the wound. My dad had the job of filing all the spikes down on all the fences. While at the school in later years Mrs. Parker had an order from Borden Grammar School to make some socks for the boys. I used to sit, with another girl, at the back of the class knitting the socks; they were black with white tops.

When I was about 9 or 10 years old I fell in the pond, my friend dared me to walk along the top of the wall, which I did, and fell in on a corner into a pile of stinging nettles where the drains from the houses overflowed into the pond. My dad got a ladder to get me out (the air was blue!)I was stung all over and my Mum put me in a bath of cold water.

When I was still at school we had a club called the ‘Girls Friendly Society’ we used to meet at the Vicarage on Saturday afternoons with Miss Peary she was Mrs. de Spailer’s daughter by her first marriage. We knitted dish cloths, egg coseys and other small items for the church fete; sometimes we played rounders on the Vicarage lawn. The Rev. A. de Spailer was the vicar.

My Life at School House:

With my husband and two small children we moved into the School House in 1948. The house was not needed for the new headmaster Mr. Costen as he was living nearby at Key Street. We were on the list for a Council House but because we had two rooms at Forge House with my parents we did not qualify immediately. School House was very dilapidated and damp, with a family of mice living in the walls. There was no gas or electricity, there was an old black coal range, when the wind was the wrong way it blew smoke back in the kitchen. We had a primas stove to boil a kettle and oil lamps and candles for lighting. We made the best of things and tided the place up as comfortable as possible. There was a bathroom and flush toilet but not hot water. It was 1953 when electricity came (bliss) I think the church and the parish partly had to pay for it. Mrs. Godfrey was caretaker and walked from Wises Lane twice a day, we took over when she wasn’t well and took the job when she retired. It was hard work in the school, coal fires to be cleaned out and lit every day and wood floors which had to be scrubbed in the holidays. I was dinner lady for some of the time. We were there for twenty six years when news came that we had been allocated a council house in Newington. We were there for nine years when my son who was living with us decided to buy a property and we moved to back to Borden. I have been in the school recently and did not recognise anywhere, the house has been cut in half and it is now turned into classrooms. 

Ted Miller.  Odd Job man,  grave digger and entertainer. Borden School 1928. Photograph shows Marjorie Sherlock bottom right

Marjorie Barrett nee Sherlock March 2011

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