Kingscott, Judith (1 of 12). Oral History of Oral History
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2010-03-15, 2010-04-19, 2010-05-17, 2010-06-21, 2010-07-26, 2010-09-13
Kingscott, Judith, 1939- (speaker, female)
Wilkinson, Robert (speaker, male)
Part 1: [Session one: 15 March 2010] Born in Sawley, 1/7/1939 in a wooden bungalow called Windy Nook on Oakland Avenue. This was a home delivery, Mother had four children, only the last of four was born in hospital due to complications. This was common; Judy had her three at home too. There was a shortage of midwives. [01:05] Was born two months and two days before the War. It had repercussions for parents . Father was exempt from military service as he was a cable maker, worked night duty as a fireman. He was worried about leaving his family in the wooden bungalow so moved into the house opposite to where Judy still lives. [02:20] Armarduct made cables; these were in big demand during the war years. Right up until war father had a German apprentice. Remembers seeing dad at work and visiting the factory on Saturday mornings after ballet.[03:12] Father was Albert Smith, mother was Edna. They were married in 1933 (It was a second marriage for Fathers parents, and both had grown up children). Father was born in Stoke on Trent; he was orphaned at the age of 11 after mothers death (dad died at two). He had one full brother, Horace. Alberts father already had three boys, Judy didnt hear of them until after he died, Horace told her. Horace had gone to stay with these brothers while Albert stayed with maternal grandparents. They couldnt cope and hed gone into an orphanage. He never talked about it. Judy would visit various relatives with father in Stoke on Trent on Sundays. He only mentioned the orphanage once, briefly. [05:26] The orphanage put him to work at a smallholding for a policeman and his wife. He was badly treated and ran away. He left his post office savings book with a relative in case they traced him. He ended up at Sandiacre, the next village up the road. Some boys were throwing stones at him, a farmer took him in and he was again badly treated. He would help with the milk round and some people he met from it took him in. Thinks he was about 17/18. Is unsure why he came this way, he had no relatives here and got the impression he walked all the way. He kept in touch with relatives, mainly cousins and an older half sister Lily (mothers daughter) as well as a cousin from Manchester. When Alberts mother died, they sold the house, older brother Horace was 15 but father was just 11.[08:46] Talked to her uncle Horace after her father died, he would only give his perspective. It turned out that he was jealous of father. Father was a softer character whilst Horace was rough and ready, felt pushed out. Horace said the half brothers were no good. [10:00] Father was sent to the local council school. He was not very well educated but was clever and good at maths (used a slide rule). Mum passed the grammar school exam but parents couldnt afford the uniform. She was in the top class at age 11 (this was based on ability not age). [11:08] Mum was born in Long Eaton. There were 10 children in her family, one died. They were spread out over 20 years. Eldest daughter was having children at same time as mum. Judys brother has researched mothers family (the Wheldons). They were scattered all over Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire in small villages working on farms. Some had set up small dairies and were supplying milk, ice cream and things. Grandfather Wheldon was in charge of catching the horse for the local fire brigade in Long Eaton. [13:02] Parents met at a dance hall, both were very good dancers. As a teenager dad would take Judy dancing, he would manoeuvre her into dance steps. [14:05] There was a lace factory in Long Eaton which was converted to make cables. The boss was from the family that built the factory, Joe Austin. It was built when they had problems making lace in Nottingham so came out to Long Eaton. Joe Austins mill was built on spec and others put looms in and rented space. People could be called a lacemaker with just one machine. This is beyond living memory. Long Eaton moved into the finishing trade as well, several process of treating the lace. Lots of this was done by outworkers, largely in Nottingham. Describes finishing process. Lots of finishing work would go to women, describes this work. They would be paid by the yard. First job when married was working for one of these lace agencies.[17:15] Albert got a job at the factory before there were children. At first he did the milk round, and then went to work at Stanton Ironworks. He found it too hard, was offered a job as a railway fireman but didnt want to be away from home. Regretted turning this down later. Ended up at the Armarduct cable works and stayed for quite a long time. Fire duty was a big part of his life; he used a moped to get to the fire station when summoned. He was knocked off it one day and damaged his back leaving him unable to do the job; he was about 50 at the time. It affected his working life too, he tried a scrap yard but found it too hard. He ended up as a school caretaker for the last 10 years. Mum worked as a dinner lady towards the end. After a school party he collapsed and had a heart attack. He was upset as his 65th birthday came whilst he was in hospital, this upset his pride. When he died it was discovered that he had a congenital disorder in a heart valve. In the 30s he was very keen on health, worked swinging clubs, he used to move muscles on his back. They cycled everywhere, including their honeymoon. They did gymnastics. Mothers younger brother cycled up to Derbyshire to join them on their camping honeymoon. [22:35] Mum started a keep fit class at the secondary school, every Wednesday until she was about 60. This was part of the health and beauty movement of the 1930s. There was an interesting family life; they didnt have television until after the Coronation. [24:15] Has an elder brother, two and a half years older. There was a gap for the war years, younger brother came in 1944, and sister was 1947. Father stayed on as auxiliary fireman after the war, eventually they did get paid on callouts. There was a bell in the house, they got used to it. The car accident was quite late on, He was still at the wireworks at this point. He had previously damaged his back falling on a callout, at Cromford Rocks.[27:21] Mum became keen on temperance. When they were about 10 they went to meetings and signed the pledge. They had regalia, a chaplain; it was a formal setting for young kids. Several girl friends went as well, one year four entered an examination and got the highest marks in the country. There were singing and recitation competitions (regional and national). They had the annual Temperance Queen event, won one year. Had a retinue of about 12 people. The May Queens came from the chapels which were separate but similar to the temperance movement. This was in the early 1950s. Younger brother stayed with it till he was about 11. Tried the Brownies once at Old Sawley. New Sawley people were not friendly with Old Sawley at the time, they looked down on Old Sawley as they tended to be poor. [31:26] There were some bombs nearby in 1941, some people were killed. Earliest memory is waking up in a bomb shelter. A few neighbours got together and built a shelter in the garden of this house (23) .Grace? and Judys husband lived across the road. Husbands father worked nights on the railways so the mothers would put them to sleep in the shelter. Has known husband since was 5 months old, he was friends with older brother.[33:30] During the war mum helped with school meals, they used to come in a van with big canisters. Was three or four then. Started school aged five, war was still on but things were getting back to normal a bit. Went on holiday to north Wales, describes clothing. They had a long wait at Crewe railway station and loads of Yanks saw her, they thought she was a boy and threw candy and chewing gum, they collected quite a stock. Had never seen chewing gum before, didnt like it. This would have been May/June 1944. [37:44] The primary school was Mikado Road, later gentrified to Lakeside, there was a ballast hole where they had excavated for the railway embankments. . They changed names of schools named after roads; next school was Tamworth Rd which was changed to Brooklands. The school which has replaced Lakeside is just called Sawley School. The change came in the sixties/seventies. It was an infant school; there were four air raid shelters in the grounds. It closed a couple of years ago, children have to go to Old Sawley or Tamworth Rd, both a mile away. [40:11] Had some evacuees at school cant remember them but husband does. Officials came to parents house and allocated them an evacuee; dad had to make a new bed to fit the small room. Mum was horrified but they never got one. Some came to the area in two waves, one lot from Derby and one lot after the V bombing, from London, they never got on.[42:25] Remembers school, the reading schemes, where 6-8 sat around and took turns. There were 40 odd in a class with three classrooms in the school. The classrooms were partitioned to be adjustable. There were three teachers and a headteacher. Is not sure how they fed the children pre war, until the small kitchen was built. Later a canteen doubled as a classroom as well, there were more classes then. [44:40] Primary school was enjoyable. Tamworth Rd was a junior school, walked all the way to Long Eaton, half an hour. They had a separate infants and Mikado Rd would join in. The seniors were in temporary accommodation down the road. The boys playground was on the other side of the road. It was an old elementary school, Judys mum went there. The grammar school was opposite, built about 1910, it was started as a teacher training school by Samuel Clegg, a brilliant educationalist. He was the grandfather of the Attenborough brothers; Clegg, the architects are his grandsons too. Is on a committee organising a 100 year celebration, the architect Clegg is coming.[49:05] Richard Attenborough came after the war to open Sawley memorial hall. Father in law had been at school with Richard Attenboroughs mother Mary. The Attenboroughs father was a teacher at the school; Richard came to the carnival and the following year he brought his wife Shelia Simm to open the carnival and for the opening in 1953. David Attenborough favours Stapleford. Richard Attenborough had tea in this house. Husband got into trouble as a boy over an incident involving giving flowers to Shelia Simm. They had carnivals in the 30s to raise money for the hospitals. Was the only girl on the street, played with boys. Mum was very keen on fancy dress, found a farm at Sutton on Sea, describes arrangements to get there. Stopped there for the next 12 years. They became firm friends with the Willies, they had six children. Is not in touch anymore, last saw them when Sally was a baby, end of the sixties. Took youngest children once, husband didnt arrive on time so went on alone. Spoke to the Willies, then took the children down to the sea. Went to change Sallys nappy and Roger went missing, went to lost children. The village policeman spent the afternoon looking. At about half past 6 the relief policeman arrived for changeover, Roger had been at the police house all day.
Life story interview with Judith Kingscott, former oral history lead at Nottinghamshire Libraries.