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Reminiscences 

Joseph Arch 

 

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A personal reminiscence of Barford by Rita Harrison (née Hemmings)
Cheltenham

As I spent my first eighteen years in the village prior to going to college in 1974 and I remember a very different Barford to that of today.

Much of the community revolved or were employed in the agricultural industry. The farms are still there but most of businesses have gone.

To give you some idea, as one entered Barford from the Wellesbourne end , on the lefthand side you would come to Oldhams with Farm Services situated in front of it (on the land which became a petrol station prior to selling vehicles). Next door was Reg Bembridge's machinery repair shop. Moving down the road there was and still is The Granville, a Police House behind the telephone box, Brian Steed's garage, Hemmings animal foods up Mill Lane ( a family business over three generations which started as a water mill on the Avon behind the top end of Verdon Place). The Joseph Arch pub hasn't apparently changed much externally at least (I was always too young to go inside!). Still going towards the bridge there was Bernard Foster's builders yard.

As for the other side of the road there was Inson's, a bakery (which became a general store and a hairdressers in its time). Singleton's still survive. Crossing Church Street was the Working Men's Club (now flats) on the corner, then Ed Hadley's - the butcher. If you look up the wall face you can still see that when Barford had loads of pubs, this was 'The George'. I think that there was a private house next but then there was a bank and then a general shop which doubled up as a Post Office in the 70's run by Dennis Taylor and his wife. Prior to this there used to be a Post Office just beyond Carter's farm and also a doctor's surgery.

Church Street and High Street had its fair share of businesses. Pete Coles removals/furniture/ bric-a-brac shed, a sweet shop where Paul Hunt now lives and ran/runs his electrical contracting business. The Glebe didn't have its conservatory ( I never went in there either!) and lastly not forgetting George Worrall's blacksmithy further on.

It is obvious that Barford of the 60's/70's was a thriving village in its own right but as with most English villages the 'magic' was ruined by motor cars and the big supermarkets / facilities of local towns.

Most of the facilities are gone but not forgotten.

I am aware that memories fail so rather than take this as gospel perhaps someone should find a long time resident of the village to verify the contents or if not read Arthur Twigger's (ex headmaster of the School) pamphlet on the history of the village.

Despite not living in Barford for 28 years I still refer to it as "home" (after all I was married in St.Peter's and my two boys were Christened there) and therefore still interested in its present and future.

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