Memories of Normanton on Soar



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Normanton on Soar




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Memories of Normanton on Soar



We lived at 12 Moor Lane, next door to Emmeline Peberdy and husband at number 11, and further down the

road at Number 2 live Bella Peberdy and family and I went to school with her daughter Margaret. I also

remember 'Lol' her brother who was a bit older and went to school with my 2 elder brothers - I do have

pictures taken at the VE day Street Party that show the Peberdys and all residents in Moor Lane.   (Here)


I remember the Blacksmiths shop up the village and visited it several times as a very small child - my dads

brother Robert Swarbrooke (Uncle Bob) was also a church Sextant in the 1930's and 1940 until he was killed

on a railway crossing in the village.


My family did not move in to the village at Normanton until about 1924, but relatives lived in Stamford on 

Soar (Green) and Sutton Bonington (Hardy, Webster, ) prior to that date.  We were the first family to move

into Moor Lane about 1935 and we also kept the first village shop in the front room of our house until me dad

died in 1954 when we sold the shop lock stock and barrel to the Ferry House.

These are part of my mums memoirs, written whilst in hospital recovering from an operation - she is

now 83 years old.  It tells about life at the manor house in Normanton.



Aged 16 years.

We now lived in Normanton on Soar at Charnwood House next door to the Chapel in Main Street, we later

moved to the Old Chapel in Far Lane before they built the new council houses in Moor Lane and where we

eventually went to live at No 7. Went to work at the Manor House at Normanton on Soar for the Right

Honourable and the Lady Wilson. I shared an Attic Room with the Parlour Maid as I was the Kitchen maid

come Nursery Maid and I lived in.


My duties were:

Rise at 6.0am and the first job was down to the kitchen to see to all the fires, Boilers etc.

First I had to rake out the ash from the all night water heater which was an old Fashioned Black Iron Stove,

then I had to top it up for the day with Coke from a Cone shaped Coal hod with a handle at the front -1 just

picked it up and poured it into the stove where it lasted all day;

I had to do the same again before I went to bed which was usually 10 or 11 o'clock.  The Gardener brought

the coke in every day.  I had to do the same with the Aga Cooker, empty ash and stoke up with Anthracite.

Then it was through to the nursery to clean the grate and light the fire for Nanny and the 3 small children,

then to the Parlour to do that fire and last of all I had to clean the Front Porch and steps, mop and wipe,

then clean the Brass Door Knocker & Bell and Letter Box, by which time it was usually 8. o'clock.  Then it

was back to the Servants hall to do that fire.  I had a rectangular shaped basket with a dustpan and brush

in it for the Ashes, a tray fitted on the top which had all my cleaning materials, Black lead and brushes,

Brasso and Dusters, Furniture Polish and Dusters for Nursery Floor after breakfast.


By this time the Cook had arrived, she lived in the Village, her name was Mrs Woods. She later took over

the Village Post Office when Mr Barrowcliffe retired and went to live at Sutton Bonington Post Office.

Cook got the breakfast for the Dining Room while the Parlour Maid was serving their Cereals & Toast which

she did in the Parlour Maids & Butlers Pantry where all the Silver Cutlery and Dishes, Glasses etc. Table

Linen, Coffee Percolators were kept - she looked after those.Then I laid our Table for Breakfast while Cook

was preparing it and washing the Pans etc for her.


After breakfast it was back to the nursery to polish the Oak Floor that had to be washed and repolishd once

a week. Then it was clean the front Cloakroom and Toilet, then upstairs to clean the front Bathroom &

Toilet and last of all the Servants.  Then the children's bedrooms had to be hovered and the main staircase,

which was Oak, had to be polished.


Back to the kitchen to mop the hallway and outside steps and scullery after which I would get on with

preparing the Vegetables for the day.  There was also a laundry woman who came 2 or 3 times a week to

do the Laundry, washing and Ironing - it was my mother Mrs Annie May Wilson.There was also a groom to

look after the cars and the horses as the Lady of the house went riding.


A Gardener looked after the Vegetable garden and mowed the Lawns, chopped the firewood and kept the

Coal Hods filled for the house. My eldest brother Arthur helped both the Gardener and the Groom.


After lunch it was upstairs to get changed into a different uniform, as I was nursery Maid in the Afternoon.

I had a Maroon dress with Lace Apron and Lace detachable collars & cuffs, which could be taken off for

the washing; also I wore a Lace and Velvet headband.

I had to set the table and occasionally I had to take the 3 children out. The youngest one who was 2yrs old

had an Old Fashioned Coach built Pram.  It had to be cleaned and polished each time we went out.  After

tea I had to work in the kitchen again getting food etc ready for the next day and cleaning Cupboards etc.


Outside the Servants Hall there was a row of Bells on the wall above the door each with a room name

underneath it and if we heard a bell go, we knew where it was and who was wanted as there were rope

pulls in each room.


If I had a few minutes to spare I had to clean our bedroom and landing and scrub the back stairs, clean

the Parlour Maids Pantry, which was on the landing where all the Bed Linen was kept.     I finally got to

bed about 10 or 11 o'clock.


If it was Cooks afternoon off, she used to prepare the meat dishes, sweets, etc for the Gentry and leave

me to cook everything else such as Vegetables, Gravy, Custard, etc.  I never got any complaints but one

day when they were entertaining, the Parlour Maid came back to the kitchen with the dishes and

compliments to the Chef for the lovely Gravy (Big Head)


We also had a telephone, which you had to turn the handle. There was also an underground cellar next

to the Kitchen where all the wine and meat was kept. The master used to go shooting and all the game

that he brought home was stored. Braces of Pheasants, Partridges, Rabbits etc.  They were all cleaned

and hung till required which was usually when they had maggots.


February 2005

Chris Swarbrooke

1066 Genealogy   Website

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