A Grand Spell of Sunshine - The Life and Legacy of Francis FrithA Grand Spell of Sunshine - The Life and Legacy of Francis Frith

Wedding Day

A Memory of Eastry.

We moved to Eastry when I was 2...now 60 years ago ....We lived in the house on the Premiere Garage High Street which was over the road from the newsagents called Bickers. As kids we played in the wood of Boystown behind the garage. Premiere garage was a weird set-up. In the forecourt there were 2 petrol pumps.Behind then was a big building .The first part of the building was like a parts and accessories shop with a massive big window in the front. Then if you went further down the building you came to the workshop. Another largish building which had 2 lifts in it and various workbenches. An MOT testing machine .Then a bit further down there was a gap in the wall. This lead to the house, that was never used, next to it. From the outside looking down into the yard the house at the bottom of the yard looked fairly normal, but I think it was yet more storage space for the garage. The house was on the left hand side of the accessories shop. Then various cars parked waiting to be picked up by customers. There was an old shed there which was called The Ponderosa, no idea why but it had lots of tins of used paint in it. The down the bottom of the side were a lot of old lean to garages. They used to be rented out to people but one night the was an almighty crash and it all caved in damaging 2 customers cars. Behind that was Boystown Place where we used to go and play there .
We climbed walls, trees was great fun. When we got a bit bored then we would cycle to Sandwich Bay and go for a paddle. There was also the Chalk Pit in Eastry where we could climb rock faces and the infamous' don't go in there' hole because it was so deep. Paddling in The Brooks. Sledging in the Lynch. We had a go cart made and we done some pretty silly things like coming down the steepest hill we could find.
Not many shops in Eastry. So there was the Newsagents then a little up the road The Co-op. Further up the road a parade of 4 shops.In the first one Mr. Deverson had his bakery and we had many a fine birthday cake and bread from there.Ken Jones ran a butcher shop next to him. Went to school with his kids. Cannot remember the other shop by him. The 4th became a bank.
Going further up the high street there was the Post Office on the right run by Margaret Bullock and her husband. Another dingey little shop next to that. Another Butchers. Bit further up The Plough Inn and Orams the garage. There was also a restaurant called The Galleon where we had many a Sunday lunch there. There was also a stone water trough outside the bus stop where many a horse must of quenched his thirst. Opposite Orams was the Bull Inn , then a pharmacy and next door to that another antique shop. There was Haddens which was a haberdashery shop that even sold sweets so very popular with us kids. Over the road from there The 5 Bells pub and then where Church Street met the top of Brook Street was a hairdressers. Carry on down Brook Street for a mile or so then you came to The Blazing Donkey where we spent many a Boxing Day there for drink before going home and having dinner Towards Dover on the right hand side of the Highstreet was another pub The Coach and Horses.

Our school was St Mary the Virgin just across the road from the church. We used to have lessons in The Rec which was a small piece of land next to the school. The Boy Scouts hut was there too.
Sports Day was held at the then Infant School up in the Gun Park. We also had to walk up to the Infants school for dinner as well and then back again. There was a antique shop at the bottom of the path we had to use where Old Mrs May used to sit come rain come shine.
PE was in the Village Hall.
Christmas celebration for the school was held in the church every year. In which we sang carols, and played in our recorder group. It was absolutely freezing in there.
The then Vicar Mr Fred Cooper used to give us lessons but not of the biblical sort, but the history of the village and surrounding areas. You could always see him coming as he puffed his cigarette as he came up the path.
He told us of the caves. What Church Street used to be .Stories of Princes being murdered in Eastry Court which was next door to the church. He took us for a tour around the graveyard too pointing out various people that were buried there. Also tales of viking settlers in the area too.
Then we all grew up and went our separate ways to Secondary School and Grammar School never to see each other again.
In the early 70's our family built a chalet bungalow at the top end of Gore Lane next to Butchers the coal yard. So much quieter then living down by the garage on a main road with TIR's thundering thought from Dover to where ever they were destined

I was looking for a church to get married in as I no longer lived in Eastry from about 21 years of age. My then fiance suggested Eastry. We had to go and ask the Vicar there .Can't remember his name David something or other and he said it was ok to have it there. So we eventually got married there and i t was just as cold then as it had been back when we where kids ! Beautiful church .So many memories there
I haven't been to Eastry for well over 40 years but it now has a bypass which was what we needed back when we were at school.All the old council estate going up Mill Lane was demolished and rebuilt. Windmill to the right of it.
Butchers the coal yard now has a load of new houses built on the land.
Hammill Brick where I used to work ,the sheds where the bricks were made have all been demolished and very expensive housing in its place
What used to be the office there is still there but not used for coal enquiries !!!

With thanks to Julie for this memory of Eastry

Added 12 March 2021


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