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Donna Aitken & Kay Collins, 2007

The bungalow was named 'Chalkwell' in 1936 by the owners and the name continues today.
It had sometime previously been used as the rectory house.

In 1930 the bungalow was bought by Audrey & Bernard Clark, but they only stayed for a short time before they returned to live in Rushden.

The Name Chalkwell

The bungalow was named "Chalkwell" by Alfred and Olive Wakefield who moved into the bungalow in about 1936 along with their son Richard, having previously lived in Leigh-on-Sea opposite to the Chalkwell Park.

Alfred and Olive both went to work at Daniels' factory in Wentworth Road, Rushden. Harriet Mole (Olive's mother) went to live at "Chalkwell" in her old age. She died there aged 90 in about 1958. Various other people lived with Alf and Olive over the years. They were both involved in the Methodist Church and Alf was a lay preacher. The couple also ran a church youth group from their home. Olive later became a very active member of the local elderly peoples club "The Housemartins".

Their son Richard was also very religious. In 1939 he studied and did Missionary training and was a conscientious objector during the war. He worked as a fireman in the London Blitz and was in a lot of danger. He later became a missionary and went to Brazil. He married and had a large family, but never returned to England to live.

During retirement Alfred and Olive moved from "Chalkwell" to a cottage in Riseley, Beds. They died in the late 1970's or early 1980's.

Olive Wakefield (nee Mole) was actually born and grew up in Thrift Cottages, Wellingborough Road, Rushden, Northants. She attended Alfred Street School. The family attended Chapel at the Methodist in Park Road, Rushden.

Olive and her sister Rhoda Annie Mole were members of the Girls League for the chapel. They also joined in with the amateur dramatics within the chapel.

The Methodist Girls' League in the early 1900's
Methodist Concert - Rhoda Annie back row second from right

Upon leaving school Olive went to work at Ashford and Campion's shoe factory in Rushden, where she later became forewoman. She then went to help Alfred Wakefield, a widower, to look after his young son in London, and she and Alfred married in 1926.

Memories of Olive and Alfred Wakefield By Donna Aitken (nee Hunt) Great-niece

When I was a child, Great Auntie Olive and Uncle Alf lived at "Chalkwell" Newton Bromswold, Northants. Aunt Olive was sister to my maternal grandmother.

"Chalkwell" was only a couple of miles from my home in Bedford Road, Rushden. We used to cycle there to visit. We were always made very welcome. My mother used to take us, but as we got older my brother Kevin and I would sometimes go on our own in the school holidays. We had to pass a farm, which often had a bull tethered on the grass verge. I was rather nervous of it and Kevin would speed ahead, just to tease me.

The bungalow always seemed quite large to me. It had a sitting room crammed with furniture, including a large square table and chairs and a sofa. There were sideboards, with ornaments and photographs from Brazil and America. Dick, Uncle Alf's son was a missionary out there. He was married and had a large family. I remember pretty butterflies that had been preserved and set in picture frames and trays.

Uncle Alf had retired, and he spent a lot of his time knitting! He had always done so aparently. My mother recalls him making her things when she was a child. Both my brother and I had cot blankets. He would unpick jumpers etc that he had bought from jumble sales and knit them up into squares. Often we would have to step over a trail of wool, which was stretched between table legs etc. Uncle Alf would be sat in a chair at the end of it knitting away!

I also remember that there was a large old metal hand pump in the kitchen. Kevin enjoyed pumping the lever. It was the only water supply the bungalow had. Then he and I would be rewarded with afternoon tea and cakes. It seemed there was always a large tea-cosied teapot on the table.

Aunt Olive had a rose garden that she was very proud of. She had also made a small garden in an old metal bowl for children to play with. I loved to go and discover it. There were various toy people and a bridge etc. Over the years Aunt Olive gave me various ornaments she had about, some of which I still have.

I can also remember going with my mother to various events at the local elderly people's club. Aunt Olive was an active member. She would treat us to tickets to the Strawberry Tea and Fish and Chip supper. I really enjoyed these social events. We would sometimes join in with old time dancing etc. One gentleman used to give monologues.

When Aunt Olive and Uncle Alf moved to Riseley in Bedfordshire, we would visit them there. It was not too far away and by that time my father had a car. I once went to stay for a few days. I think it was a small terraced cottage. I remember that my room was an attic room and had pretty wallpaper with little red flowers on it. Even the door was papered, I felt I was in a hidden room.

Uncle Alf was a lay preacher and I went to some of his services. He was quite tall and thin and very expressive during his preaching. I was always afraid he was going to fall out of the pulpit!

Both Aunt and Uncle were very kind to me. I felt Aunt Olive was special as I had never known my grandmother and of course she was her sister. Apparently they were very different people in character, but nevertheless she was a link. Aunt Olive was a very determined lady and liked to influence people. She certainly knew how to get things done both at the church and the "Housemartin's Club". This sometimes caused a few ripples with people around her. However, I was very fond of her and will always think of her with affection.

Chalkwell today also has the adjoining field and is a thriving business providing kennels for cats and dogs whilst owners take their holidays.
In the 1970's Chalkwell was bought by Sylvia Allebone and her husband. They made many alterations to the property and built up a kennels business there and eventually bought the adjoining field to expand their business. Sylvia won many rosettes for dog training and obedience, which were on display on the wall inside the entrance, and she also ran classes to teach owners how to train their dogs. When they retired in about 2004 they sold the business to Brian & Ria McGovern.

Present Day - Brian McGovern lectures on dog training and runs the kennels and cattery with his Dutch wife Ria, who trained and qualified in Holland for Boarding Kennel Management. They have won the Dutch national obedience championships three times.

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