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Wymington Development

Paul Wright

New Houses in Wymington 

Not too much building development takes place in Wymington, in fact the previous work must have been about 20 years ago.

So come the spring of 2016 we saw some plant machinery move on to what used to be known in the village as Mick Mitchell's farm. This new bunch of dwellings was built just to the left of Oxford Street as you are looking from Rushden Road.

Florence & Silas
Florence & Silas Wright
I was born and bred in Wymington, as was my late father; he was born less than 50 yards from this housing development in the 1920's at 109 Rushden Road, Wymington to Silas Herbert Hornsby Wright and Florence Wright. I have included a shot of them at their wedding anniversary party at the Wesleyan Chapel in the village.

They had the fairly standard sized large family of seven children back then, three boys and four girls, the females were called Mabel, Cis, Evelyn and Edna.

Cis, Mabel and Evelyn all worked in the shoe trade as "closers", sometimes in various factories, and as was the norm as outworkers working in the back bedroom at home at times.

Edna met an American GI stationed up at the aerodrome at Podington (now Santa Pod raceway), and went off to the states as a GI bride. This turned out well with her and her husband Chick Crowe raising a family of four girls, and they were happily married for many years until Chic died, followed by Edna's passing.

The lads were named Ron (Ockin), Jack and Herbert; the first two served in the army. My father (Jack) volunteered and served in the 2nd division of the Royal Artillery in Burma fighting the Japanese.

Herbert Wright in his uniform
Herbert was a navy man, and he was sadly killed on board the light cruiser "HMS Arethusa" along with over 150 other men.

This was caused by a torpedo that was launched from an Italian aircraft in November 1942, and happened at 18.00 off Derna, Libya. She underwent repairs in Alexandria harbour and made it back home to the UK.

On my father's safe return from the far east he went back on the farm for a few years, before going to work as a clicker at Wilkins and Denton, who made army boots and safety footwear, later called ‘Totectors’.

My parents Jack and Grace Wright were one of the first families to move in to the first phase of building at South Grove in the village. This was at the start of the fabulous 50's, and I was a home birth at number 8, and was brought into this world by Dr Clark. He was based at the surgery in Park Road in Rushden along with Dr Paine, located next to door to what is now ‘The Linnets’, where Dr Paine then lived.

In 1968 that practice moved to Adnitt Road when all of the individual surgeries went under a combined roof.

This arrangement was to last until what was the ‘Green practice’ of Dr Lancastle-Smith etc. moving to Harborough Field surgery.

I remember Dr Lancastle-Smith coming to work in Rushden and the Irchester surgery that they ran at the time, and he is about to take his retirement in the summer of 2017.

Getting back to my formative years, as a very young lad in the 1950's I do remember going with my dad to Mick Mitchell's farm. It was harvest time, and they were using a threshing machine, as they did not seem to have a modern combine harvester.

l-r: ?, Jack Wright, Albie Lewis?, Royston "Pud" Ford,
Joe Boddington
And us kids were happy working on top of the machine throwing in the sheaves to help the men. In fact I managed to locate a black and white photo that must have been taken in the 1940's.The five young men in the shot are my father Jack Wright second in from the left, the next man might have been Albie Lewis, then Royston "Pud" Ford and Joe Boddington, (not sure who the man on the left is). 

Dad used to be employed on the farm driving the cattle truck when needed, and cutting the grass verges of the roadside of Bedfordshire, as Mitchell's had the contract to keep things ship shape.

In many ways the village has lost many of it's former amenities; we had at least four shops when I was growing up, and of course not forgetting the two public houses, the "New Inn" and the now departed "White Horse." The latter was turned into a private dwelling and was up for sale for a six figure sum. Before all this the beer was supplied by Greene King, and before that it was brewed and delivered by "Wells and Winch".

The White Horse was always referred to as the "top house", and was a favourite port of call for the chaps who worked for "Chettles" up at Goosey Lodge. It was a bit of a divide as to which pub you went in to, as the White Horse tended to have men in clothes that had the distinct aroma of working at the "knackers yard."

Meanwhile you could play on one of the best skittles tables around down at the "New Inn", and for many years they also sported one the best skittle teams around these parts.

So moving back to 2017, and the estate was completed in roughly 12 months and takes the name of "Lancaster Fields."

On some of the final shots that we took, looking up from within the estate you can see what used to be one of the former four or five shops in "New and Old Wymington".

This was called Coley's, then Howes and more or less to towards the closure Spicks. As I wrote this article in late May 2017, Nick Coley, his wife and daughter were visiting from Australia, and made a visit to Mr and Mrs Adrian Short at their bungalow at Goosey Lodge.

Coley and Short families dining together in 2017

Adrian was born at number 110 Rushden Road, Wymington and is vice-chair on the parish council. He kindly supplied me with a photo of them dining at he and Hilary's house with friends.

Meanwhile down in what we called "Old Wymington" was the corner shop at the bottom of South Grove, this eventually closed as the Co-op, but was formerly run by the Foulkes family.

There were some garages situated at the back of the shop, one of these was used by a very kind and popular man called Cyril Harbour, who lived with his wife Mary and son John at 19 High Street, Wymington. 

He proudly used to keep his BSA "Goldflash 650" combination in one of them which he bought from Cutmores cycles in Church Street, Rushden.

When Cyril decided to have the comfort of four wheels he had an Austin A35, and then a VW Beetle in a duck egg blue colour.

A small group houses was built on this land, and is now called  the "Brambles"

But to me it will always be in my mind as "Mick Mitchell's" farm, happy days!

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