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West Hallam

West Hallam by Ray and Ann Wathey


Information on the photograph from Ray Wathey of St Wilfrid’s Road.

There are two men sitting on the wall of 19 The Village, with the man on the right being Rays father Mr George William Wathey who was born in 1906. The man on the left is unknown but appears to have a monkey on his back?! We have no idea whether it is real or not but someone out there may know? Ray lived at No 19 and his Grandmother Lizzie Wathey lived at No 17.

Scargill School

Click Photo for Names - Double Click for Photo

Click Photo for Names - Double Click for Photo

WHM 1984


RA-ProfileOur personality this month is Mr Ray Wathey of St Wilfrid’s Road. For the past year be bas been the President of the Midlands and South West Region of the British Decorator’s Association, and so be and bis wife Ann have bad a busy year attending meetings and functions throughout the region, which extends from Chesterfield to Plymouth, and includes South Wales.

As always, we asked Ray to tell us something of bis childhood, and to choose a favourite holiday, books, music, and a luxury item.

Ray was born in New St, Stanley, but the family moved to 19 The Village, when he was two years old. In 1956, his parents brought the house on St Wilfrid’s Road, where Ray and Ann still live. Ray’s mother died a few years ago.

He attended the village schools - West Hallam Infants - now the Village Hall, Junior School - now the home of the Gregorys, and Scargill School. At Scargill, Ray was keen on running and indeed ran for the school. He also became School Captain.

At 15, he became apprenticed as a decorator to Ilkeston Co-operative Society. At that time, twenty-two people were employed in the decorating department, and they had a separate paint shop on South St - now Stacey’s bakery. However, Ray decided to become self-employed in 1971, and has been advertising in this magazine since 1972.

Although he comes from a Methodist family, there was no Methodist Church in the village during Ray’s childhood, and so he attended St Wilfrid’s Church, later joining the Church Youth Club, which met on Friday evenings in the village hall.

From the age of eight, he made a little extra pocket money by delivering meat for Bosworths the butcher, and also by helping on local farms with hay making, threshing and potato picking.

The military came to West Hallam during the war years (39 - 45) and the Rectory was used by the officers. The Rector, the Rev’d Jones, had to move out to High Lane West. Ray remembers that the ATS had temporary huts in what is now Hall Court. Midland Storage Depot was built around 1942 as a subsidiary of Chilwell Ordinance Depot, for the storage and servicing of military vehicles.

The fields around Scargill School were turned into allotments, and the children did their share of the gardening. Many of the vegetables which they produced were served with the school meals.

In the 1950’s all young men had to do two years military service, and Ray trained as a field engineer serving with the Royal Engineers in 1959 and I960. He spent 17 months in Cyprus, then a British Possession, though it achieved independence in I960.

Although Ray was called a “shipping and order clerk”, and indeed dealt with bills of lading for shipping, he was also attached to the Map Store in Cyprus. This held several million military maps in 7 large sheds, for use by the army, navy, and air force. Ray remembers that Muscat and Oman were being remapped at the time.

After leaving the army, Ray married Ann in 1961, and they have one daughter. Paula was christened and married in St Wilfrid’s Church, and her son James, now aged 3, was also christened at St Wilfrid’s.

A favourite holiday would be a couple of weeks in Jersey with Ann, though they both like Scottish holidays as well.

Country and Western is their favourite type of music, and they have attended many festivals to hear their favourite singers. They also enjoy Country Gospel and Cajun music.

Travel and geography books are favourite reading for Ray, though he also enjoys reading about steam railways. A luxury item to take on holiday would be a good portable radio.

Painting and decorating has brought Ray into contact with a variety of people and personalities, and he has made many friends through his job.

However, his “all time” favourite piece of music is Don Williams singing 'You're my best friend' - and he would dedicate this to his wife, Ann.

West Hallam - Mrs. Weston Memories

West Hallam in the 1900's

Taken from an old copy of the West Hallam and Mapperley Church and Community Magazine

As narrated by Mrs. Weston, formerly of 120 High Lane West - later living in Chesterfield.

Mr. Hedley Weston called to see me one evening and we spent a fascinating couple of hours, Mr. Weston giving me some first hand glimpses of West Hallam at the turn of the century. His mother, now living in Chesterfield, had read in the Church Magazine of the interest in Old West Hallam and passed on this information by word of mouth.

Mrs. Weston's father was the landlord of the Punch Bowl in those days. At this time the stream, which flows under Cat and Fiddle Lane near the Midland Storage and then on and through Stanton, was a fine trout fishing stream and the fishermen more often than not, finished up at the Punch Bowl to quench their thirst - this is how Mrs. Weston (the landlord's daughter) met her husband.

Imagine West Hallam in those days - St. Wilfrid's Road an avenue of trees leading to the Hall, the branches meeting overhead, the lime trees in Cock Orchard growing to hide the Stanley Mine from the windows of the Hall. The Hall and the Squire dominating village life and everyone expected to bow or curtsey to the Squire. Hens pecking in the village street and the only drinking water was from the village pumps. The villagers had to queue for water. The Punch Bowl had its own pump, there was a pump near Millfield House, a pump next to Mrs. Pearson's house and one in School Square, and drinking water down the mine.

West Hallam was truly rural at the turn of the century, and on Derby Market Days herds of cows and flocks of sheep were driven through the village and then on to Derby - occasionally they were taken by train. Mr. Weston, as a boy, earned a shilling to take a cow to market - ON FOOT. On the way home, the animals were turned into the Punch Bowl yard whilst the drivers quenched their thirst.

I understand that in the days of Squire Newdigate nobody in the village paid more than 2/6d rent. The Squire did not live at the Hall, but visited the village every fortnight and stayed at the Institute.

The Hall stables were in St. Wilfred’s Road, where Mrs. Fletcher lives in her bungalow and the coach stables were opposite. The Rook family turned the coach stables into a theatre. The Home Croft was the field behind the Punch Bowl, the Punch Bowl kept their cows in Wilson Croft (where Mr. and Mrs. Horton now live) and the site of Mr. and Mrs. Bosworth's present home was the laundry. The present Post Office was the village bakery, and by order of the Squire nobody else in the village was allowed to sell bread in West Hallam. Mrs. Weston did work for a time at the Rectory - where there was a staff of seven and she also delivered telegrams in the village.

The Punch Bowl, at this time, played quite an important part in village life, and there are two things in particular about which I should be very interested to have further information. These are the "Cabbage Club" which had a big "do" on Whit Sunday, and the biggest "do" - the "Sick Club" - as everyone was paid on Saturday night.

Dinners in the Punch Bowl were very popular, especially with the farmers, and all the village was involved. There were various cooks who cooked their share of the food in their own homes and then took it to the Punch Bowl, which incidentally had a six day licence. The Church choir and bell-ringers were given breakfast in the Punch Bowl Club Room on New Year's Day. There were billiard tables in the Punch Bowl Club Room, but they were moved to the Institute - closing time 9.30 p.m.

Thank you Mrs. Weston most sincerely from all of us, those who have had their memories refreshed and those who have learned a lot.  It was a joy to recount your experiences.

WH Gladys-Turton

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