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Letter in The Evening Telegraph (date unknown)
From the archive of Moyra Simmons
Transcribed by Greville Watson
Village Memories

The articles and photographs appearing in the ET under the heading of “Nostalgia” are always very interesting and clearly popular with your readers.  It would seem to be that there is an ample supply of such material land one is left to wonder as to how much more of interest has slipped through the net unrecorded by photographs or the written word.

Two features of village life in the very early years of the century and likely to disappear into the mists of time are to be found in the village of Chelveston-cum-Caldecott.  One is the blacksmith’s forge standing in Caldecott.  This forge, together with a similar one long since vanished and which stood on a green in Chelveston, were open for business on alternate weeks and worked by a Mr Gambrell, of Raunds.

The forge had a dual role, for in a wall of the building was a GPO letter box.  A postman from Higham Ferrers, usually Postman White*, would cycle to the village to collect the mail and, before clearing the box at the appointed time, he would give a loud blast on his whistle to hurry along any late comers.  Not a bad postal service one might think, at the cost of one halfpenny for a postcard and one penny for a letter.

The second feature is the cattle pound situated at the foot of School Hill which has almost disappeared behind thick undergrowth.  Few may now be able to recall the days when the pound was in regular use.

Sadly, after having served its original purpose, the cattle pound was, with or without approval, downgraded to become the village rubbish dump.  Who knows what vintage bottles, tins or other long since discarded household items would be the reward of anyone who might think it worthwhile to undertake the restoration of such a simple and yet so essential feature of village life in those now far off days?

Ralph Thompson†
Westfield Avenue, Raunds

* Postman White was Moyra’s grandfather.
† Mr Thompson’s mother was the Schoolmistress at Chelveston.

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