“EFFINGHAM BEFORE THE WAR”
Anne Patricia (née) Read
The late Anne Patricia (“Pat”) (née) Read was born in 1913 in Bookham. Her mother’s maiden surname was Henderson. She did not marry and she died in mid-June 2012.
Interviewed on March 28th 2011 by Yvonne Shaw and Christopher Hogger ; recorded and transcribed by Yvonne Shaw
Themes : The shops before the War ; Church fetes and Christmas pageants ; Lower Road nurseries ; Effingham characters
You can listen to the recording here.
Effingham before the War
We came to Effingham in 1930 and lived on the Common down Lower Farm Road in what’s called now Wren’s Hill where the Pages live. But now the garden’s been built on and they’ve got a house in the garden. There were only four houses in Lower Farm Road when we came. You go down Lower Farm Road and on the left hand side was the big red one, which Miss Bright lived in and then our house and that was the last house down there; and opposite, the Burns lived there – Colonel and Mrs Burn – and the next house was Moorcroft I think and the lovely Salvation Army people lived there, the Pyms – you know, Pyms of Guildford, the shop that was – and he was a captain in the Salvation Army and she was a captain too I think and wore a lovely bonnet, and then the road just petered out. It was really a sort of farm road and then you could right across to Bookham, with lovely fields and hawthorn hedges and orchids and cowslips and all sorts.
My mother, my sister and I lived in Wren’s Hill, we moved when my father died. In the war time we had one scare. I remember one plane bombed and hit the Rectory. We had night raids came over and blackout but we were working in London my sister and I so we didn’t have much to do with the village in the war.
Before the war, we used Bookham for all our shopping. We used to use Mrs Bridger’s shop, a general store. And we also used the shop known as Stanton’s on the corner opposite the church, up Chapel Lane. They were a general store. It’s the red house on the corner which is a private house now. We went to Madge’s the butchers in Bookham. We went to Bookham by car if we took my mother, although I did used to walk into Bookham as well. I was born in Bookham.
This house [Stocks] is built on the kitchen garden of Miss Ross’ house opposite. It was built in the 1950s I think. The road was very narrow and you just walked across the road. The family came from Grove House, and my mother used to go to parties there. I remember when the golf club was started but we were living in Bookham then. The people who lived there were the Lamberts and they were friends of my mother.
There was of course a little butcher’s shop, but it had given up when we came to Effingham. Mr Madge used to drive into Bookham and they had their shop there and their slaughterhouse. When we came of course there was still the cobbler and the blacksmith. Winnie Hall ( the cobbler’s daughter) used to come down on a bicycle and work for us with her dog.
Miss Ross ran the church and the village, she was really top notch. And then we had another vicar, Parker, and he died when he was here – he was only here about six months or something and Sally was his daughter. I may be romancing here, but Moorcroft, the last house just before the Post Office, was built for Sally Parker and her mother by the village. Or so I believe. Then Mr and Mrs Floud came down from Yorkshire. She was very musical and ran lovely Christmas pageants of the Christmas story and all the village took part, and that was a great thing. It was held in the church. I think we had Church fetes. We used to have church socials in those days in the WI hut. You know, just at the beginning of Beech Avenue, where the pub used to be, it’s called Crosslands now, just behind that house was what I remember as a tin shack, I don’t think it was really, but we used to have church socials there. You used to come and have socials and parties there about twice a year, probably, and they had games and things; and everyone used to come to that, and Barnes Wallis and everyone used to come.
And then there was of course Covey Corner where Sibley’s is. There was a bakers (Geesons) there. They had a café there where you could get coffee and that. Mrs Jobson [formerly Dorothy M (nee) Eade] in Rose Cottage would know all about that.
My sister and I moved [back] here in 1963. My mother had died and we stayed up there for a while but we wanted to get into the village and so we moved here.
In the twenties, I remember the glass houses on Lower Road. The family were called Almond but I don’t know how you spell it, whether you spell it like the nut; and I’ve always understood he was Belgian or French and they moved again and there was a daughter who moved to East Horsley in the end. And they had the most beautiful hot house grapes where I imagine the nursery is now. It was lovely and you used to go and he would cut the most lovely bunches of Muscat grapes, dark and lovely, and put them on soft bits of tissue paper, purple and crimson; and you walked in and he would cut them as you wanted them and then. I think he grew chrysanthemums and maybe tomatoes. He made his living just from the grapes. I used to be pushed over in my pushchair from Bookham just to get the grapes, especially to hang on the pulpit of Bookham church for harvest festival. He gave up long before we came to Effingham I think.
We used to go down to Wisley to skate on the lake down there; there were very hard winters. They all went down there, I never did, I was too young and I didn’t like ice very much.
It’s all central heating now, but we used to get lovely patterns on the windows.