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Received by email from Geoff Partridge, 2008

Memories of Rushden – By Geoff Partridge

I am a native of Rushden, having been born at 26 Denmark Road in 1934.  My mother died after giving birth and I went to live with my paternal grandparents in Crabb Street.  They were happy days, everyones’ door was open to me and I was quite spoilt.

I started school at South End School but unfortunately I cannot remember much about this time, except for trying to do acrobatics on the bars at the bottom of the hill on “The High Causey”!

My father remarried to Bess Clark from Cromwell Road and they bought a house in Queens Terrace as it was opposite Grensons factory.  Mother worked in the closing room there and Dad in John White's clicking room.  I had to transfer to Newton Road School where I had a lot of happy memories.

I can’t remember the first teacher’s name but she was small and dark haired and a favourite with the children.  Other teachers that come back to me are Miss Baker, a real disciplinarian and I think everyone was scared of her.  There was Mrs Edge and of course Mr. Sherwood the head. [Newton Road School]

During the war we had air raid practice and we went into the air raid shelters which were dark, cold and damp.  We sang songs like 10 green bottles etc.

The night Robert Street was bombed we were all in the shelter in the living room (Anderson I think!)  We heard the bombs come down and hit with a loud crump.  We waited for Dad to come home as he was on duty with the Red Cross I think.

In the morning  we went off to school, not realising that the school had been damaged as well.  In the following weeks we had to meet at the school in the morning and then walk to Tennyson Road School for our lessons until lunchtime, when we had to walk home again.  From our point of view it was a great adventure.

I am not sure how long this situation lasted, my memory is playing up a litte now.  I don’t think it was too long before were back to normal.  I remember having to sing patriotic songs during music lessons and one that has always stuck in my mind is the words to Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance No 4.

There was a German aircraft shot down on or just past the allotments and the boys were there trying to find souvenirs, shrapnel and pieces of perspex, which we tried making into rings.

After the war things got back to normal and I passed to go to Wellingborough Grammar School.  I also started playing football for Higham St. Mary’s in a field behind the library.  Two of the team I remember were Ian Wills who lived in Wharf Road and the other was Ron Holmes from Irchester. Those were the days when we played against Irthlingborough Diamonds.  Who would have thought they would go on to “Big League?”

During the summer I started to play tennis and cricket at the Park Road Baptist playing field at the top of Allen Road. My father and his brother-in-law Syd Matthews used to play bowls there and also at John Whites up the Bedford Road. I remember the groundsman, an old man in my eyes, but he kept the green and pitches in immaculate condition.  I had many happy hours there.

I started work at the Co-op Bank and I remember collecting the rents from the homes in Co-op Row.  Can you imagine 16 year olds being allowed to do that now?

I enjoyed life there until Mr. Griffths the Asistant Manager called me in one morning and told me I wasn’t suitable anymore and explained that I had been entering deposits in red ink!  This was the first that I knew I was colour blind!

I started work in the office of John Cave in College Street.  Mr Capon was the Manager, a real little gentleman.  I used to love to go round the different rooms in the factory watching the men making the shoes.  One room I avoided was the closing room, although I knew some of the workers, they tormented the life out of me, all in good fun or course. 

I finished in 1951 and left Rushden for the Army.


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