Arley Cheshire In The 1940s

A Memory of Arley

Some time ago I read with great interest in a local paper that the pool at Arley had been restored.  

My formative years were happily spent at Green Lodge on the green were I was born in 1932.  My father lived there for over 40 years, he made a garden from the lodge down to the Pool and boat house now sadly no longer there.    The boat house had two areas for the water with the landing stages and a room above with old punt.  There was a large flat bottomed boat which was used to fish and row before the time the pool was drained off.  The boat was sent to Rostherne Lake.  

My father had a handle to work the water sluice on the bridge to keep the water level up to help the miller at the water mill on the bottom pool.  A Mr Davies to grind the corn, this was electrified.

I remember the new stream being cut out through the grove alongside the pool.  My mother made tea for the man who cut the stream, he would give me rides on the crane he used.  He was worried that he may be drafted into the army in those days.  A hole was cut in the waterfall to allow the water to run away.  My father took me to see the stranded fish which were left to die when the pool had drained.  The boathouse remained dry for many years afterwards we used it to keep chickens and I had an apiary of beehives.  The brook of course still ran past the garden and boathouse.  

About this time there were changes on the green because of the war.  I recall a friend of my father digging my hand a drain to take the water from the air raid shelter for the school to the new brook on the green.  However the air raid shelter was deemed to be too damp and noisy so my father was told to put a fireplace and chimney in the ice house.  During the blitz it was dry and warm and felt safe.  All the neighbours from the green and the ashes used this.

Soldiers used to come and train on the green and I used to collect shrapnel and fins of incendiary bombs on the grove and surrounding areas.  These were usually handed in and melted down for the war effort.  

Small evacuee children came through the grove past the lodge with their nurses for walks.  Later on wounded soldiers with blue uniforms from the Hall.

As a young boy the pool played a large part in my life, I remember one particular incident where I observed several foxhounds in pursuit of a fox swimming across the pool, a rare sight.  From the house there was always the sound of running water and the reels of the fishermen at the bottom of the garden.  In summer the quiet sounds of cricket being played.  These are all treasured memories for me I hope this will be of interest to anyone.

Brian. L. Astles

A memory shared by Peter Astles , on Apr 28th, 2008.

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