Broughton Astley Pre 1950 - a Memory of Broughton Astley.

This is my second entry about Broughton Astley and may contain some references to items in my first reminisces.
As a person 'born and bred' in Broughton Astley, I have fond memories of the village as it was 'in the old days'. In the days before the 'Jelson Estate'; the 'Bruce Fletcher Estate'; the 'Deeley Estate', and the various other estates that sprang up all over the village. Seemingly growing overnight in the 1950's and 1960's, more rapidly than growing mushrooms.
Memories of the village before it lost its old primary school in Primethorpe, its brick and tile works, its hosiery factory, its old rectory with its moat, and its old Water Mill and Mill Dam. Most of its farms have gone, as has the most important thing; its character!
Children can no longer take a Sunday morning walk up Cottage Lane (Scotty Lane as we called it), and pick a bunch of wild violets to take home to Mum. Nor indeed spend an hour or more in what was always known simply as 'the meadow', the field just inside Cosby Road, opposite the 'Bulls Head' public house, where one could gather literally arms-full of wild flowers. Daisys, some with pink-tipped petals, some just white; Buttercups and Celendine which we would press between the pages of a drawing book. And Lady-Smock, a delicate flower of which many a vase full, brought a delightful fragrance to our front room.
The same field had a small stream running alongside the boundary hedge, between it and the field upon which was built the Thomas Estley College. Building a 'waterfall' into that stream was a way in which many a boy entertained himself on a Saturday
Before being 'developed', Broughton Astley was quite a pleasant village to live in, with a not unreasonable amount of social amenities; possibly better than it has nowadays.
There was a gents hairdresser, a Mr Osborne, not what one might describe as a 'stylist', but one could get a 'short back and sides', and a good 'cut-throat' shave in his 'salon' (the small room behind the shop from which he sold cigarettes and pipe tobacco and matches).
There were five small shops in the village, two in Station Road, a Mr Adnitt's who sold confectionery, cigarettes, tobacco and oddments such as Beechams Powders, razor blades, and other such inexpensive items, and a Mrs Jones who sold sweets, cigarettes, knitting wools, cotton,silks and buttons.
Lower down in the village, the bungalow opposite Thomas Estley College, which is now the parish council office, used to be a shop named 'The Chocolate Box'. From there one could obtain such a huge variety. Cigarettes, tobacco, sweets, chocolate, knitting wools and silks and cottons. A small lending library (the first in the village) was also run from the Chocolate Box.
In the middle of the village, Primethorpe, was 'Willow Cottage', another shop which sold a huge variety of goods - from pins and needles and knitting patterns, to paraffin, bicycle puncture repair outfit and newspapers. Here too, one could buy their sweets, chocolate and cigarettes. So handy too, for the children on their way to or from the school only a few yards away.
This shop was owned in the days I refer to by a Mr Sam Wilson and his wife - May/ Rose/Mary? There was quite a number of Wilsons' in the village at that time and I cannot think now of which one was married to Sam.
The 'lean-to' building seen at the side of the shop in the Francis Frith photograph of 'Willow Cottage',was from where Sam would sell the paraffin and other goods which it was not appropriate to have in the main shop alongside confectionery and fabrics. From the same premises Sam also operated a one-man haulage business. Adjacent to Willow Cottage he had a very large garage where his sole lorry would be parked. He operated under what was then a 'B' licence, under which he was restricted to a 25 mile radius of his base, and only allowed to carry materials which could be said to be associated with the building trade.
Between the Bulls Head public house and Willow Cottage there used to be first, Mr Osborne the hairdresser/barber, then a small workshop where a Mr Alfred Copson carried out cycle repairs. Next was a small factory we used to call 'the glove factory' (later this became a box-making factory), now I believe it is a company who deal with three piece suites. A small house was next, and this was followed by a wooden building from which a Mrs Coleman sold fish and chips. These were fried in a coal-fired fryer. From time to time Mrs Coleman would take her small coal shovel and add a few more lumps to the fire as to ensure the bubbling fat was kept at the right temperature.
Lower down in Primethorpe was another shop, the proprietor a Mrs Gibson. This was in the main, haberdashery. Later this shop became Primethorpe Sub-Post Office, run by a Mr and Mrs Arnold, who maintained the haberdashery side of the business as well as doing the post office bit.
A small Co-op, before the present one, provided grocery and provisions much along the lines of the present one, but definitely not self-service.
Sutton-in-the-Elms had its own little shop, owned and run by a Ms Annie York. Only a few yards away from the Baptist Chapel, it served the local community which was away from the main hub of Broughton Astley and Primethorpe.
This is just a small precis of what the village was like, when I was a boy, but for anyone interested there are publications around still which would be found to be much more informative than this short narrative of mine.
Reuben B.Reynolds.

A memory shared by Reuben Reynolds on Apr 15th, 2012. Send Reuben Reynolds a message

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