Please go to the page “Articles of Local Interest” to see the full story which will be 83 pages when I have added them all! Thankyou so much Barbara.
Cherrypicking with Annie Lorry.
A Family living in Flackwell Heath in the 1930’s 1940’s 1950’s 1960’s and a tiny bit of the 1970’s.
” Hello, my name is Barbara Annie Murﬁn. The year is 2018. I live in the north of Staffordshire within the Market Town of Leek. The town of Leek nestles at the bottom of the Pennine Chain. Over the tops, local speak, on the other side of the hill is the Victorian Spa Town of Buxton. Just beyond Leek are the wild heather clad Staffordshire Moorlands, rugged ﬁelds, bleak in winter full of wild life in summer. There was a time wallabies, escaped ones, roamed the moorlands but sadly no sightings have been seen for years. Leek like most towns grew as a staging post, for changing horses. Leek being between Manchester and Derby. Most of the older, larger pubs had stabling attached. The Potteries, Stoke on Trent just 10 miles south on the A53, famous throughout the world for it household pottery items. Down the same road, and another great transport invention the Trent and Mersey Canal. Thanks to Josiah Wedgwood and friends. Josiah needed a safe bump free way of transporting his fragile pottery, in the days of pot holes and turn pikes. Stoke on Trent is built on red clay and coal. A “ pothole” was made by an artisan potter just digging up available clay from outside his door.
Leek has the River Churnet running around it’s outskirts. The Churnet eventually joining the River Trent. In Victorian times till within recent memory, silk was spun and dyed in Leek. The waters of the River Churnet dying silk Raven Black. Not blue / black or nearly black, Raven Black. When Queen Victoria’s Husband Prince Albert died, Victoria declared full morning dress. Leek was at full stretch to dye all the silk the Royal Court required.
I have lived in Leek since 1973 and think it’s a pretty good place to be. In 2015 I came down to Flackwell Heath to walk around the village with Sally Scargill, from the History Group. There were so many changes since 1973 I asked would it be ok if I wrote my memories down. The answer was yes. So here they are.
At school I had a dreadful problem with writing anything down. So I tried writing very quickly, getting to the end of a piece as soon as possible. Spellings were hopeless, and many words were missed out. The teachers could not read it very well, but I could, and saw no problem. It was not until I taught my self how to use a computer that I realized I am dyslexic. Thank you, thank you Bill Gates, and now as this is written on an iPad Steve Jobs and spell check. So the only way I can record my 60 + years of remembering is to chat to you. Please don’t expect any fancy grammatically correct sentences or clever words, they are beyond me. As I was considered intelligent but thick (!) at school I was channeled towards cooking. It sounds a bit like Downton Abby days, if you were a little slow or thick then you were sent to work in the big kitchens. Of course by the time you became cook your mathematical skills, working out quantities, portion control, and time schedules, writing (ordering), timing, hand eye coordination, and delegation skills were second to none. So as you can see I am, as they say now, way, way out of my comfort zone. Ask me to put on a sumptuous buffet for 300 people, that would be no trouble at all.”
Here we go.
Going south on the A 40 Oxford to London Road turn right at Loudwater. To narrow it down a little, after High Wycombe and it’s way before Beaconsﬁeld. Follow your nose for about half a mile. When the road goes a hard left and follows the river Wye and on to Wooburn, you need to take the lane to the right, going up the hill. Between the Church, St. Peter’s Loudwater, and The Happy Union Pub. Treadaway Hill. Past the station yard over the railway line up the winding, dark steep hill to Flackwell Heath. Near the top by the pond the hill branches into two. Left to the group of cottages called The Common, on the right the main road leading to the main T junction at the village school, and Methodist Chapel. The Centre of the village, Chapel Lane eventually became large enough to make it a cross-road, now I believe it’s a roundabout.