History > Reminiscences > #3



Joseph Arch 


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The Village of Barford some 70 years ago, in the 1930's
by Frances Harvey

Barford was a small, pretty and very friendly village. About 650 people lived here. You knew every one and every one knew you. There were twelve large houses and most of them had servants; some of the people from the village worked for them. There were ten farms, a bridge, a church, a blacksmith's shop, a chapel, a school, two public houses, one coach inn, a working men's club and reading room, one mill which ground the corn to flour worked from the river, eight shops, a bank, a post office, a bakery, a newsagent, two butchers, a general stores, a saddlers, a wool shop and a small shop which sold sweets, cigarettes, ice cream etc.

Barford had its own football team and cricket team, also a bowling club and a rifle range. There is a house in Church Lane, which was brought on a lorry, where the district nurse lived. The largest house was Barford Hill, which belonged to the squire. They owned quite a few of the cottages in the village, some of which were for the workers. They had a fire engine belonging to their house which was used for the village and a pony and trap used for shopping in Warwick. Most of the people did not need to go out of the village. They kept pigs and hens and grew their own fruit and vegetables.

Barford was used a lot in the war. Children came from Coventry and London and some families took more than one evacuee into their homes. One of them became a film star - her name was Billy Whitelaw. Barford Hill (the Squire's house) was used as a hostel for The Women's Land Army and a farm in Wasperton Lane was used for an army camp. Also in Wasperton Lane there is still an Observer Post which was used for spotting planes. Westham House at the time of writing is an Adult College, but in the war it was used for a ladies' college. The children came from Seaford in Sussex with their teachers. Some children from the village went there.

There was great excitement one day as Field Marshal Montgomery (Monty) came to lunch with friends at Avonside. People were waiting to cheer him as a large car and police escort came. But he was brought in a small car from Warwick the top way. I know because I served him lunch!

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Frances Harvey, who wrote this reminiscence, is the child in arms in the photograph above!

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