Happy Childhood 1950 Onwards - a Memory of Godstone.

I lived in Hillbrow Cottages on the Eastbourne Road from 1950 to 1970s.
My father, George Mison, worked in the sand quarry in Bletchingley and mum, Elsie, was a housewife. There are only 12 cottages at Hillbrow and so there were about 7 children around the same age. David, Susan, Michael, Wendy, Ian, David and me. We used to play up on the common or paddle in Diana's Fountain. If you went further along you could swim in the river, it wasn't unusual to see a snake or rat swim past. It used to be full of all the village children if it was hot. Some times we would take a sandwich and go up White Hill for the day.
There was Hillbrow Guest House on the corner of Hickman's Close. You could go to the back door and buy ice lollies. They were lovely people, it was sad when it was knocked down and new houses were built.
No one ever locked their doors and if anyone needed help it was always freely given. My great gran Matilda lived with us and she had a lovely garden at the front, you would see her out there weeding, pull out a snake and throw it into the road (A22). She said the cars would run it over but we only saw a few cars a day during the week.
We used to play up Bull Beggars Lane. I tried to learn to ride a bike there, dad would take me to the top and let me go. I still have the scars today and still can't ride a bike! We would dig camps out of the sandy ground and race our go carts down the lane and try to turn the corner without falling off.
Through Love Lane and we were at what is now Godstone Farm. Mr Almond was the farm manager and we used to play there alot. Now we would have to pay!
We had a big old tortoise, Oswald, he lived on the front lawn in a little house, then Esmeralda, another big tortoise, that had literally fallen off the back of a lorry going up Tilburstow Hill, was brought to live with us.
Dad taught Sylvia Barnard, from the village shop, to drive, apparently it was a bit hair raising coming down Tilburstow Hill. The Brooker Brothers ran the village shop and I actually worked in there when it was owned by Finlays. The Barnard Brothers delivered the coal. Mr Stacey delivered logs and Mr Dowling came once a week with a station wagon loaded with everything from dusters to candles and vinegar sold by the pint. Mum would send my brother, David, off to get a pint of vinegar and he would drink most of it before he got home.
We went to school at St Nicholas School at the top of Church Lane and walked up 'the bay', with the bay pond on one side and The Alders on the other. I remember running along the side of The Barn one day following a little path, slipped and rolled down through the stinging nettles. Ouch! Mr Harding was the Head Teacher, Miss Cannon was a teacher, I think she lived in Tandridge. There was also 'Dynamite'. I can't remember what her real name was, Miss Howard maybe, but if you upset her she went off like dynamite.
At 11 we went off to St Catherines Secondary in Bletchingley. Mr Shepherd who had been a teacher at Godstone switched over to St Catherines. He was a nice man, he taught us to play stool ball.
We used to play in Fairalls sand pit on the Eastbourne Road, looking for lizards. We never hurt them, just looked at them and released them. My best friend Ian Mcpheat and I went down there after we had had a lot of rain. Big mistake! We kept getting stuck in the gooey sand and losing our wellingtons. No one knew where we were and it seemed to take hours to get out. We finally managed to get out and a really kind lady in one of the houses in Eastbourne Road took us in and warmed us up. We got into a lot of trouble and I think our parents had called the police so it was really serious. I was so glad that Ian didn't leave me.
Gran used to go to visit Mr. Sparrow in North Park Lane to buy apples. She had a shopping trolley that dad made for her. A little wooden box on wheels with a long curved handle to pull it with. She always had a little crochet bag with her. She was born in 1867, with her long white hair up in a bun, a black coat and dresses that went neck to ankle with long sleeves.
Gran's daughter, Grace (Sadler) lived with Carol next to the Undertakers in Needles Bank. It never bothered her but it was a bit creepy. She had gas lighting downstairs only and an outside toilet that was a long wooden seat over a hole. I never asked any details but it was great if you needed to use it!
The Village stores were wonderful. Mum worked part time for a while. The brown sugar was weighed out into strong bags, in fact everything was weighed out. Upstairs was a treasure trove for me. I was allowed to go up there and wait for mum. Cupboards, door and drawers all in brown wood, I'm not sure if it was stained or painted. I think the owner was Colin Hall.
There was a breakdown garage for cars at the top of the high street. Sparks, I think.
I was given a cannon ball by the workmen that dug it up from outside the Bell around 1958, I still have it.
Emily Catlin ran the St Johns Ambulance Brigade. Such a lovely lady. How she put up with us I will never know.
I always think of Godstone as my home. Good memories.

A memory shared by Ruth Bradbury Nee Mison on May 19th, 2012. Send Ruth Bradbury Nee Mison a message

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