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All Good Things Started At Boxford

A Memory of Boxford

I have very early memories of Boxford Primary School. The school teachers were Mr and Mrs Alderman, Mr taught the older children and Mrs the young infants. I attended both, I started in the infants and sat next to a Jennifer Fox, then moved on to the juniors, We had good times playing in the play ground. People who I remember are: Gerald and Andrew Schmidt (sadly Gerald was murdered, God bless him, he was a great guy), Raymond Childs, Chris, Treavor and Richard Cannings, Kevin, Chris, Russell, Ashley and Anita Knape, Kevin Tarbox, Fatty Sharp, Robert Kemp, Tim, Anne Blunt, and lots more.
I remember doing country dancing, in a strange way I really enjoyed it.
I also remember leaving school in the afternoon and running like mad down to Mr and Mrs Stancliff's who owned the mill, they used to leave a message to say if we could use their swimming pool, it was fantastic fun in those days. Mrs Stancliff would bring out orange squash for us to drink. Every day seemed to be boiling hot in those days.
All the boys used to play football up the rec in all the spare time we had. My family used to live at 24 Southfields (Joyce and Arthur). Many a day was used walking from Boxford to Leckhamstead, Winterbourne, Welford USAF air base, along the railway line in both directions, the common (swimming in the gravel pits), walking through Well Wood, a gang of us in many cases. At 16 I played for the village football team, and loved every game in victory or defeat. Myself and Robert Phillips and many others fished down at the locks, looking out for the farmer Mr Pocock or his worker Tarzan - although he never told us to pack up and hop it, like Mr Pocock did. Funny thing was we used to ride in Mr Pocock's corn trailer during the harvest and Mr Pocock never moaned about that, but fishing at the locks was another thing.
My happy childhood moving to a young adult was great. I spent great days walking over every field and down every river bank, picking holly and mistletoe and selling it to all the people in the village. As I got older the local pub came into play. The Bell was a great pub, the older generation drank in the main bar and we used to play bar billiards in the small room. Discos were held in the lounge when Mr and Mrs Shaw used to own it. Before them Mrs Sullivan ran the pub for years, I remember going up to the hatch for crisps and bottles of drink. And on Grand National day we would take our parents' bets to the hatch for Mrs Sullivan to place the bets on.
Another big family was the Mongers, Jean and Adrian, Stuart, Nicholas,Francis and Duncan (twins), Vincent, Bridgett and Judy.
One great memory was when Mr Ray Tarbox brought loads and loads of large wooden boxes  with cardboard sides down to the field at the bottom of Southfields ready for Bonfire Night. All us kids made the most fantastic den in it ever. Then it turned into the most fantastic bonfire.
When I was small and in the infants I used to have 3 old pence a day for sweets. On the corner by the school Mr and Mrs Sweeting had a very small shop in a thatched cottage full of the most scrumptious sweets ever. As we all got older Mr and Mrs Bosswell first and then Mr and Mrs Mitchell owned the bigger shop in the middle of the village, a grocery and all sorts shop.
People who owned large houses in Boxford were Westbrook House - Mr Cummins, Boxford House - Mr Cooper (he used to draw the little sugar cartoon people for Tate & Lyle, also the cartoon strip "JANE" For a leading news paper),
The Mill House - as I mentioned above. Over the main river bridge opposite the mill River Cottage  - Mr Jullian Pettifer.
I remember scrumping apples from Pump Cottage and we all sat on the high bank opposite, eating them. When we ran out we went back for more.
Lots of us walked along the railway line towards Welford and stopped at Black Bridge for some stone throwing in the river before going to the two cottages in the middle of Easton Meadows, or going on to Easton to meet up with Terry, Trevor and Alec Stephens or Sandra and Jackie Uzzell and the Kempster boys.
When the M4 motorway was being built above Westbrook we had great fun, too many things to mention or naughty things to tell. Behind the M4 there was and still is a huge metal barn, during the harvest it was filled with straw bales - we had fab times in the barn, I can tell you.
Walking up High Street Lane to the wood on the right hand side at the top and playing in the wood down by the lake and moving deeper into the wood to the old sand mines was a all day affair.
That's all for now, if anyone out there remembers any of the above and would like to e-mail me feel free:  jamtropical@live.co.uk

A memory shared by Michael Lipscombe , on Sep 1st, 2009.

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