From The Parish Box
Register of voters (c1891 - 1911) FORM “B”
I, the undersigned, being resident in the Parish of Kirk Hallam in the County of Derby and Diocese of Southwell, apply to have my name placed upon the Register of Voters for the Election of Parochial Representatives on the Ruridecanal Conference, and I declare that I have the status of a Communicant Lay Member of the Church of England.
By Bob Smith
I remember Kirk Hallam during the Second World War very well, and have pleasure in recording some memories of my service in the Kirk Hallam Home Guard. Les Hurst, a member of the Kirk Hallam Home Guard during World War II, marched into the Village Hall, with his rifle over his shoulder and couldn’t understand why everyone was laughing. When it was pointed out to him that he had a piece of washing swinging from his rifle, he said “that’s our Lil’s cardigan”! I remember that the members had to man the church tower as look-outs, two hours before sunset and two hours before sunrise.
When the Home Guard was on manoeuvres to Dale, members Les Hurst, Eric Clampitt, Jim Carrier, Bill Richardson, and myself, had a break at the Carpenters Arms, “to have a pot or two”. We came back across the fields to Kirk Hallam, on a very dark, foggy night. “Where’s Eric”, the cry went up. No answer and he was nowhere to be seen. A search was made and he was discovered wandering around a field, unable to find the exit gate because of the thick fog. There was a searchlight site in Kirk Hallam, during World War II, which was situated opposite the present petrol station on Ladywood Road. The first regiment in charge was the Northants, then the Leicester regiment. My mother, who lived at 140 Ladywood Road, had a tobacco licence and sold cigarettes to the soldiers.
I remember the Chadwick family, of 131 Ladywood Road, having a sweet shop before and during the War. My wife and I both fondly remember the local bus going under a branch near Ladywood and bursting its wartime gas bag, necessitating a wait for a replacement bus. My other memories of Kirk Hallam before and during the War include my recollection of local policeman, PC Jess, who lived on Crompton Street, saying to me as I returned home at 11 pm, “I can lock the village up now, Bob, you’re the last one in.” There was also PC Vicars, who lived at Stanton Village, another village ‘bobby’ at Kirk Hallam.
Can anyone remember the old Monks Causeway, a stone path, with stones approx. 3ft long x 18” wide, going along the present Kenilworth Drive area? This path stretched from Cossall, through the Tormentle Fields (named after a herb) at Larklands, through Kirk Hallam and on towards Dale Abbey. It was destroyed when the Council Estate was built, although my father rescued a couple of stones and put them in his garden, but I believe they are now probably lost. Locko Hunt used to hunt in the area and once the fox raced across a local railway line and some hounds where killed by a train. There was a fox mound in Ladywood and it was looked after by Geoff Barker of Foxholes Farm, to ensure there were plenty of foxes to hunt. I remember having the last drink in The Flourish Public House, Spondon Road, which closed 1939/40. Has anyone seen the Ladywood Ghost recently? There were reports of Rev Blurton, who was Vicar from 1891-1911, travelling on his pony and trap, reporting a “headless lady” overtaking him in the vicinity of Ladywood. There was so much more wildlife during those days in the Kirk Hallam area. I remember seeing snipe, ‘scribbling’ larks, hearing corncrakes and foxes barking.
Bunker’s Hill Cottages
By Dorothy Smith
I went to live in Bunker’s Hill Cottages over 45 years ago. There were four cottages and I lived in the last one with my first husband and his mother Mrs May Parkin. Mr and Mrs Frank Parkin lived next door, then it was Mr and Mrs Wesson and then Mr Wood and his son George. I remember when Frank Parkin got a chimney sweeping brush stuck in the chimney (just before the houses were demolished) and his next door neighbour shot the pot off with his gun. Bunker’s Hill cottages were built as farm cottages and they were owned by Mr Sam Wilkinson who lived at Poplar Farm which was situated opposite Kirk Hallam Church. Electricity and water had been laid on just before I went to live there but the house did not have a flush toilet. Previously the water was drawn from a well opposite the cottages known as the well yard.
There were no shops in Kirk Hallam. Mr Les Williams used to come once a week with his van selling paraffin, soap and saucepans and such like. The Co-op butcher came twice a week and Mrs Camp came from Ockbrook in her pony and trap to deliver milk daily. There was no proper bus service - only buses running to British Celanese at shift times. Kirk Hallam was a lovely village. I remember the duck ponds at the bottom of Goole Avenue and another just past the cottages and the three farms - Vine Farm, Poplar Farm and Spring Farm. A tramp, named Tiny Dale, used to live in a hollow in the area where the Cat and Fiddle Public House now stands, and used to come to local houses for food. He died during the Second World War. Bunker’s Hill cottages were eventually pulled down in 1953 and we were re-housed on the estate. We came back to live on Ladywood Road when a house was available - a promise made by the council. That is where I now live with my husband Bob. This house stands in the same position as the old cottages but a bit further back. We call the house Bunker’s Hill Cottage, as a reminder of where the old ones used to stand and have a plaque stating this in case people are interested in the old Kirk Hallam in the years to come.
By A Long-Standing Resident
I remember collecting watercress that grew in a stream, which is now no longer in existence but used to run through the fields of Kirk Hallam. I also remember a Co-operative Society outing to Beauty Spot, and people dancing around the bandstand, and using the alpine slide.
This poem, supplied by Mrs Eaton of 274 Godfrey Drive, was written in Canada in the 1930’s by Margaret Elsom and is dedicated to her grandmother, Mrs M Eaton.
Grandma may I ask of you a question if you will,
Does the church bell at Kirk Hallam still repeat in tones so sweet
I remember fields of daisies, that just seemed to have no end,
O there are many memories, among my golden store,
Kirk Hallam Memories
By Alan Boswell
I went to the old school on the hill in Kirk Hallam until 1942. There were two classes; the youngest in one taught by Miss Challoner and the rest in the other with Mrs Shorthose. The only window we could see out of was a big window in the end wall. All we could see out of that was Mrs Lings passing by to reach her house at the back of the school. Heating was by a large railed-off stove on one wall. At the end of a lesson we had to be quiet before being let out for playtime. I remember this only because of the time when the silence was broken by a trickling sound from a girl who couldn’t wait any longer. In the late 1920’s, before the mains were laid, my father told how he fetched water from a spring down Dark Lane; it is now covered over somewhere down along Eliot Drive. We got our milk from Mrs Parkin at Vine Farm and it was my job to go and fetch it every day at about 5 pm. One Sunday in wartime, I saw a plane over Stanton Ironworks and a black blob fall out of it. I was told later that I’d seen a bomb. I used to help Mr Holland at the Beauty Spot. In the summer there were boats to bale out and in the winter the snow had to be cleared from the ice so that skaters could use it.
Mr Holland was a character and told me many tales. One was about seeing German incendiary bombs being dropped into the water during the war. He thought the lake had been mistaken for a wet factory roof in the moonlight as it was next to the railway track (now the Nutbrook Trail). We used to play football on Ladywood Road. There was not much traffic and we could hear anything coming long before it reached us. An Army Camp was built in Kirk Hallam during the war. The entrance was opposite the present petrol station. There was a searchlight there with a beam so intense that it looked strong enough to climb up. The crew of the searchlight challenged a local to climb up and called him a coward when he refused. The local replied that he was not scared to climb but he was too smart for them because they would switch the light off while he was up there! After the war, we played in the compounds dug for the searchlights and found used carbon rod electrodes. We also played over a wide area of countryside. I learned to swim in Dale fishpond (Furnace Pond), skated on the Pioneer Pond, dropped stones down the old shaft of Kirk Hallam colliery, and built dams in the canal to make paddling pools where the Comprehensive School now is. We always kept clear of the Little Hallam Lane gang who had a reputation for being unbeatable although I never once saw them.