HAPPY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES. In the summer of 1952 (I was 7 years old) my grandmother took me on a 'Farm Holiday' in Bedford to stay with friends. At this time I lived as a child in 'industrial Newcastle upon Tyne'. We alighted from a steam train at a small station in Bedford, I think it had crossing gates, where I met 'Uncle Sam'. He arrived in a red coloured lorry with 'pig bins' on the back (he used to visit various farms in the area to pick up and drop off pig bins) and I eagerly climbed into the cab with my grandmother. Uncle Sam and family lived in a cottage-type annex of an old diptheria hospital. The hospital was composed of a small number of separate 'Army looking' wooden buildings looking onto open fields and farmland. I remember cornfields in particular. Uncle Sam was a part-time caretaker at this hospital, it was then disused with metal bunk beds inside. There were apple and plum trees at the back where other buildings were as described. Uncle Sam's surname was Day, his wife was called Florence and they had an invalid daughter called Ivy (who attended the Howard Congregational Church in the 1960s, called the Starlight Club). Ivy suffered from 'water on the brain' and was confined to a wheelchair, she was lovely and collected cigarette cards (some vary rare in those days). Ivy had a lovely Southern England accent and used to call out to me 'Divid' (David). She died in her early thirties in the 1960s. I still have one photograph of the family. There were lots of cats and dogs at the hospital cottage-annex. I remember Auntie Florrie in the kitchen making home-made jam and Uncle Sam caught rabbits (via ferrets hidden down his trouser legs) and we all had rabbit pie. (Uncle Sam had a cousin, a Charles Burton, who was killed on the famous 101 Airship disaster). Apparently most of the extended family lived at 576 or 8? Goldington Road. Unfortunately the then address of the isolation hospital was lost over the years, it could well have been in the general vicinity of Barkers Lane, not far south of the railway line. There is an 'isolation hospital' clearly marked on a old 1940s map, opposite side of a line south-south-east of a Pumping Station. The location was about 20 minutes walk from Newnham Outdoor Pool and a Cricket Club was not too far away which gives clues to location of old isolation hospital buildings. I distinctly remember an old house, by itself with a thatched roof en route to Goldington Road. I remember walking to a big pond type place with another boy and was told off my Uncle Sam because it was getting dark. I visited the house in Goldington Road which kept hens in the back and I remember collecting eggs out of the wooden hatches. The house later became a hotel (a chap from Hull bought it in the 1980s?). Back in the isolation hospital annex, I just remember lying in bed and could see empty' metal bunk beds in another room. My favorite dog was a black labrador which was blind. My grandmother was called Ellen Beaumont and her husband was David, they had met in the days during the First World War. I also have a good photograph of Auntie Florence who was in the Bedford Land Army, during the First World War. She married Samuel Lewis Day in Goldington, Bedford. I will never forget my happy childhood holiday, as I had never seen 'at that age' cornfields or experienced the excitement of living in countryside on holiday. The old Iiolation hospital has long gone. Uncle Sam was recorded in Kellys Bedford Directory in the early 1950s as living in 3 Newnham Cottages, was this the location of the 'annex-cottage of the isolation hospital when I visted whilst on childhood holiday? The only other possible location of any other isolation hospital was near London Road, Mile Road junction on the now modern-day Willow Road area. I may be wrong but I reckon Uncle Sam's residence was possibly situated off Barkers Lane, not too far, south of railway line (Mill Farm area) north of 'lock'. My grandmother and I walked a few times to Goldington Road, I cannot remember but apparently it was no more than 20 minutes walk. I last saw Uncle Sam when he visited me in Newcastle in the very late 1960s. My Bedford countryside childhood holiday is a holiday I will never forget. Perhaps there are relatives of the Day family living in the Goldington, Bedford area? I would welcome any contact information.
A memory shared byon Jul 1st, 2011.
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