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
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
Soar (Green) and Sutton Bonington (Hardy,
Webster, ) prior to that date. We were the first family
into Moor Lane about 1935 and we also kept the
first village shop in the front room of our house until
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
years old. It tells about life at the manor house in
Aged 16 years.
We now lived in Normanton on Soar at Charnwood House
next door to the Chapel in Main Street, we later
to the Old Chapel in Far Lane before they built the new
council houses in Moor Lane and where we
to live at No 7. Went to work at the Manor House at Normanton on Soar for
Honourable and the Lady Wilson. I shared an
Attic Room with the Parlour Maid as I was the Kitchen
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,
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.
was back to the Servants hall to do that fire.
I had a rectangular shaped basket with a dustpan and
in it for the Ashes, a tray fitted on the top
which had all my cleaning materials, Black lead and
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
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
did in the Parlour Maids & Butlers Pantry where all the
Silver Cutlery and Dishes, Glasses etc. Table
Coffee Percolators were kept - she looked after those.Then I laid our Table for Breakfast while Cook
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
week. Then it was clean the front Cloakroom and Toilet,
then upstairs to clean the front Bathroom &
last of all the Servants.
Then the children's bedrooms had to be
hovered and the
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
the Vegetables for the day.
There was also a laundry woman who came 2 or 3 times a
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
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
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.
tea I had to work in the kitchen again getting
food etc ready for the next day and cleaning Cupboards
Outside the Servants Hall there was a row of Bells on
the wall above the door each with a room name
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
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
cook everything else such as Vegetables, Gravy, Custard,
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
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.