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Terrington 2020 Project - Second Interview with Edwin Cooke

Date of interview: 2014
Interviewer: Helen Ashdown
Transcribed by: Susie Wildey

Listen to the recording:


The full transcript of the interview with Edwin follows, running to 30 or so printed pages. You can select below one of a number of topics if you would like to pick out discussion of that particular topic. Also below are lists of names and places which occur in the transcript so you can search for any you are interested in.


Click on a Topic to show all Q&As in that topic in blue, with the rest of the text grey. Then click on any blue Q&A to move to the next one in that topic. Click Restore document to restore the original document.


The following names occur one or more times. To find occurrences of one of them, press Ctrl+F (Windows)/Command+F (Mac), type the name you want into the Search box which appears, and click the Down arrow or Next button.

Anderson, Britten, Carr, Clark, Coates, Cope, Craven, Edwards, Ellerby, Goodrick, Goodwill, Green, Hammond, Hartas, Hope, Hornsey, Johnson, Marcie, Lister, Mutimer, Southam, Steel, Wilson, Wood


The following places occur one or more times. To find occurrences of one of them, press Ctrl+F (Windows)/Command+F (Mac), type the place name you want into the Search box which appears, and click Down arrow or Next button.

Brandsby, Bulmer, Coneysthorpe, Deep Dene Cottage, Eaglescliffe, Easingwold, Eden Camp, Grosmont, Hartlepool, Hovingham, Little Terrington, Malton, Manchester, Norton, Scarborough, Sheriff Hutton, Scackleton, Slingsby, Stonegrave, Sutton on Forest, Wass, Welburn, Whenby, Wombleton

Transcript of interview

Can you tell me your full name?

John Edwin Cooke.

When and where were you born?

Well, we lived in Deep Dene Cottage here, and I was born in a nursing home in York, I’ve always lived here.

What were your father and mother’s names?

Me father’s name was William Goodwill Cooke and me mother’s name was Alice Maude Cooke. And her maiden name was Southam and she came from Sheriff Hutton, originally, well she was born there.

It’s curious that your father’s middle name was Goodwill, was that to do with the ….

Well, yes because now then, his father, now let me get it right, his mother’s … was a Goodwill before she married his father. He was John Cooke and he came down from Eaglescliffe, other side of Yarm, Middlesborough way, to work in the what is now the private school as a gardener or something, he came down and he married Anne Elizabeth Goodwill. And her name changed to Cooke of course.

So he had Goodwill as his name?

And the Goodwill he was related to was a relation of Goodwill farmers, Robert Goodwill now. I don’t know, but I think, I aren’t sure, that his grandfather would be a cobbler, I’m not really sure about this, but in records there is a Goodwill cobbler, and I think it relates to my father. And his mother, no his grandmother was a Lister and there’s loads of Listers in the churchyard and it’s funnily enough that she is buried in the churchyard right against 3 or 4 Listers’ graves, but which Listers, I think there was more than one family of Listers I’m not really sure about that. I haven’t got a big history of them

No it’s certainly a name that appears. So what did your father do, what was his job?

Well he was a builder cum stone mason, he served his ……. His mother died when he was born, or 2 or 3 weeks after, she caught scarlet fever off somebody in hospital and died, and his grandmother, Grandmother Goodwill, brought him up. And then she would die, because she was in a wheelchair by then, but he worked at Goodwills builders in the village. He served his time at Goodwill builders and then he went on to work for all sorts of different, mainly doing big halls and churches and stone work, he nearly always was on stone work.

So essentially he was a stone mason.

And me mother, do you want me mother..?

Yes, did she work outside the home?

She came here to teach at the school. And she taught at the school, well there is some photographs of the school and it’s A M Southam and then there’s some later ones, Mrs Cooke you see, so

And was she still working at the school when you were a child, or did she stop?

When she retired she was teaching in Malton school, what’s Malton up Peasey Hill now, that school.

So did she work all through your childhood that you remember?

Well, most of it, yes. She must have finished at Terrington because she came from teaching at Slingsby to Terrington and that’s how she met me father ‘cos I think she lodged at what was the Post Office in them days, Greens, they called them, where Pam Reston lives now, well she’s got another name she got re-married didn’t she? The big one opposite, well just down the other side of the road from the pub.

Oh I know yes.

Next to Manor Farm, where Marnie lives.

Old Wells is that?

Yes, Old Wells, well that was the Post Office and the family called Greens lived there. And they were a lodging house in the village and I think me father, when his grandmother died, and he was very young he went and lived there. Because his grandfather must have died before and his grandmother was left, she died, and his mother had died, and his father went away to work to Manchester and that was

And that was probably where your parents met?

Well yes, me mother would come and lodge ‘cos she lodged at Slingsby I think and taught down there, before she came here. And then she would maybe finish here when I was born, I don’t know.

So were you their first child?

Only one. In March 37

Were there any other people living in your household or was it just your parents and yourself?

Just us three, yes. Until the War and then just for a short while, a few months 9 months maybe, maybe a bit more, we had 2 evacuees with us from Hartlepool – Hannah and Ethel – can’t remember their surnames, could have been Harle. They were from Hartlepool, and they didn’t stay long.

Can you tell me a little bit about the house you lived in, what it was like, can you describe it?

Well it was two up, two down, virtually, a bit built on back what we used as a kitchen and everything. The toilet and that was outside of course, it was just a toilet, a bucket. We had wash house outside with a boiler and a mangle and stuff, the old fashioned ways you know.

Did your parents keep any animals, or grow vegetables?

Well we all had, most of the houses, not this one, but most of the others up the field at the top of Little Terrington was in allotments. And there was most of the houses here had an allotment, plus 2 or 3 out of the village had big pieces of land in it, and they grew, well whatever they grew you know.

Did you parents keep any animals, pigs or

Me father was building on his own by then in the 30s and we had a big wooden shed at the back and at the bottom in the war-time we made it into two areas down below, and we had us and next door had pigs in each half – we had 2 pigs and they had 2 pigs.

But that was during the War?

Yeah, we used to kill them, you had to have a permit to get ‘em killed, and we never went short of food, because we had our own ham and bacon and pork, everything. We killed ‘em to eat.

Did you smoke them and things like that?

No, no we just salted them down, you know, we did the hams and the bacon and then pork we ate as quick as you could because we’d no fridges or nothing like that. Most of it went to bacon and ham, because it would keep, you salted it down and when it were cured you hung it up and cut bits off when you wanted it. All the pork bits you either give to your neighbours and made scraps because stuff didn’t keep long, a week or two and it was off, you know, depending on what time of year it was. So that’s what you did.

Do you remember much else about the kind of food you ate when you were growing up?

When I were little, well it was all on ration, by the time I can remember much. War had started and top house, Eddie Ellerby, lived in the top house, and Alice and they had a few geese, ducks, hens, they had an odd pig as well you see. We always had eggs and at Christmas we just have an old hen, a broiler, which had been laying and had gone off, buy it off him, you sort of boiled them first for a while and then you put ‘em in oven and roasted them afterwards, they were palatable to eat. But we always had….

What about vegetables?

Well you got ‘em out of your garden.

They were largely from there were they?

Yeah well we used to, in the shed we had we’d put, one end was concreted and based and so we used to put a big pile of sand in and the carrots and beetroot and stuff like that, we just shoved under the sand. To preserve them and also it kept the frost off, because it was in a shed anyway, and we used to get keener winters in them days. Food for ’pigs anything we got out of the garden, vegetables anything we didn’t eat, cabbage stuff we used to go round when ’potato pickers had finished potato picking at local farmers we used to go picking the harrowings, what they call when they finish potato picking they used to go over with harrows in the fields and get all the little ’tatoes that were left and we used to go and pick ‘em up, put ‘em in the back of me Dad’s car with a little trailer, bring ‘em here and we had a boiler outside and we used to boil ‘em and give ‘em to the pigs. They were lovely, we used to eat ‘em as well.

So in your memory was food fairly plentiful then?

Well, I wouldn’t say it was plentiful but you managed but better than you would in a town, because I mean we used to get rabbits, catch rabbits, we used to have crow pie at odd time in the year when young crows were hatching off, we used to go and shoot ‘em as kids with air rifles and things. We used to get a few and just cut the breasts out and then eat the breasts in a pie. Maybe two lots in a year, because they were soon gone and flown, it was only the young bird breast that you ate, you didn’t eat the old ones like. And then butter, well some of ’farmers had milk cows and they used to milk off and make their own butter and you bought butter off ’farmers, and that’s how you went on, you know. You never did too bad, I mean you were short of beef and things like that maybe and if you’d a couple of tins of corned beef you thought you had the earth you know. I never really liked corned beef too much, but I don’t mind it now, but I think if it was a special day this tin of corned beef would be uncut and I was never ever pushed with it, and they used to feed you dumplings and things like that to fill you up, well you eat more things like that. And we used to pick brambles for fruit and we had a few gooseberries up in ’top and a few rasp canes, and apples, you know that’s what you did. We was never starved or anything like that.

Can you remember anything about the clothes that you wore or where they came from, did your mother make them or did you buy them?

Well no, I don’t know, we did buy ‘em but again they were on ration, and of course with being young you were growing and so she had to save coupons up. Always altered things, things were always getting altered, you know, same as boots and we nearly always used to wear boots rather than shoes, and we used to put studs on and you could buy plates to put on ’fronts and heels and stuff, or we used to cut, when tyres were worn off a bike used to cut the rubber down and put the tread bit and tack it on to bottom of your boots like.

To give them a bit more grip?

Well, it saved the sole, didn’t it?

Was there anybody in the village that did, was there a shoe-maker. I mean there were shoemakers, but that’s probably way before, was there anybody in the village that made shoes? You went somewhere else presumably?

Well you could get shoes mended, but Mr Green, that lived at where me Dad lodged, he was a cobbler but he was also a postman, a traveller, he was everything was Mr Green but he went in ’War you see, so he wasn’t around. He did a bit after he came out of ’War, but yes he was one of them, he was a nice little fellow, he’d been in every war there was I think. I don’t know they always said he was in ’Boer War,’14 War, and last War, so how he got in all three, well he lied about his age in ’last War or summat to get in. He survived all three if he was in 3. But I don’t know.

Can you remember what you used to do as a child, sort of games, and playing and other children?

Oh well we never went to the village, we went to ’village a bit and I knew one or two, but you see over here then there was Carrs lived over here, John Carr, who’s the only survivor now, used to come to Cynthia’s, lives in Scotland John. Their family, there was 3 of them and there was me and Neville, Neville Hornsey, and they lived next door to us initially, but in ’40s they went to live in Terrington and then Carrs, when the council houses in the North Back Lane, the 2 brick ones were built in 40/41, Carrs left here and went in to one of council houses, so there was only me …. Well Woods came here when the Carrs left, Arthur Wood and his wife and Anne, and there was just Anne Wood and me, the children then at Little Terrington, there was no more, you know !

So did you used to play around here rather than going into the village?

Well very young you played around here, but once you started school at 5 that was it you were always up at playing to Terrington, but we always played cricket and stuff in summer of course. We used to all come over from ’village and play over here, in ’field at back and we used to fall out nearly every night, chucking wickets and bat at each other, I wasn’t out, yes you were and things like that, but next night we’re all there again playing cricket. And there used to be Richard Johnson from Flatt Top and this is when we’re all at school of course, right up to leaving school and we used to do that and we used to have other games that we play, some played a bit of tennis, we hadn’t a football team in ’village or anything, we played a bit of football at school and we kicked about on a night, in a field just before you get to Terrington on left.

Were there tennis courts then?

One tennis court down the North Back Lane, yeah. They had a tennis team in ’Hovingham League.

What did you do in the winters?

Well in them days there was, down the Back Lane which is opposite, just below where the doctor’s is, it’s John Goodrick’s one of his houses he rents off now, well where he was living before he moved in to front, you know the one in the front [Brindle Court ed.]. Well that was the Village Hall and there was a Reading Room, well the Reading Room belonged to the Village Hall and it had a snooker table, ¾ size, well it was a billiards table actually, pockets were tighter, and then you could play cards, darts or snooker or billiards. And that was all the young blokes, even the ones that were working on the farms and whatever, all congregated there on a night, whenever. And if there was a dance or anything on they covered the table up with something and they did the refreshments in that room. So that wasn’t on that night but everybody went to things anyway. I mean dances aren’t what they’re like now when they used to have do’s, somebody played a drums, Bill Fadden used to play drums, Wat Cope who worked at Co-op, when it was here, me mother and Gertie - Mrs Hammond – Gertrude Hammond – played piano one half and other played other half, you know. And that was about what you called a dance. And that’s how it was you know, and when we were young they used to have, it was later on though, they had films used to come to the Village Hall once a fortnight, or once a month, there was a film on, you know, somebody came up and just put a screen up with a van and they used to go and watch them, but that was a bit later. And also down at ’bottom of ’street there was a camp built, at beginning of ’War for ’Land Army and the Land Army were here quite a few years and then they left and then it was Italian prisoners for a while, they weren’t here too long, and then towards the end of the War there were German prisoners. Well when the Germans were there they used to, the films used to go down there, so right to end of War, or just after in the War and just after, when they were there we used to go down to the film shows down there. We used to sit up, all the kids were sat at front and prisoners were sat behind you, watching war films while Britain was winning in some cases. We used to cheer you know! Just now and again, I don’t know if everybody went, but there was a lot of us, there used to be a couple of rows of kids on ’front, sat on benches and things. And we used to play games called foxoff and rialio in the summer time.

And what did that involve?

Well it was like 2 teams, all mixed boys and girls, all mixed, clear off and you had to tig ‘em or something to be, find them, they were supposed to be in a certain area within so many fields or something, but they used to do all sorts. And then later on when everybody got bikes they used to ride about on bikes, you see, riding about all over the place. You were sort of always out, I mean we always collected for bonfires off houses, off businesses, built big bonfire and we did all sorts of things.

And so did you always do something on November 5th?

Oh yes, we always had a big bonfire. I mean early days you never had much fireworks because you couldn’t buy ‘em, but there was you know, we used to do that, and then Saturday night when you were older we often used to go to Malton on a Saturday on ’bus and go to pictures, threepenny rush we called it, think it was threepence on an afternoon, 3 old pence eh, can’t believe it can you? to go to ’pictures.

And there was a bus that went into Malton?

A relatively good service, oh yeah there was a bus in a morning, one at 10 o’clock, one at 1 o’clock and one at 5 o’clock I think, went to Malton on a Saturday and then back again of course. So you had, well we went to ’pictures, and then you were older of course, you went to ’pictures at night and came back on ’half past ten bus, or 11 o’clock bus or whatever it was.

I suppose when you were a child, because it was mostly during the War years, you wouldn’t have gone on holiday?

No we didn’t, well we did go … me Grandad was still living, he died in the late 40’s, 46 I think, can’t remember now, but he was at Manchester and we did go to Manchester an odd time to see him, to visit him in Manchester, because he hadn’t a car or anything and we went there, we had a car. It was Moss Side, Manchester, it’s a rough area now isn’t it Moss Side, there were great big houses about 3 storeys high and a cellar, 2 steps up into ’house onto’ footpath, but they were big houses, big big Victorian houses you know, that’s where he lived Moss Side.

What did you do for if it was somebody’s birthday, family birthday, did you do anything to celebrate?

Maybe friends in, a few in, and summat to eat. Found a jelly or something, bit of gelatine, jellies and things. That’s only when you were young kids you know. Like at Christmas and your birthday you didn’t get a pile of toys like they get now, you’d get one toy and there’d be an orange if somebody had one, I mean oranges and bananas were, bananas were nearly unseen! Things like that, but they were a treat. We had a school trip to Scarborough every year, you got was it 2 shillings or half a crown to spend and you went on the bus to Scarborough. School trip 2 or 3 buses maybe went and people and parents, and all other people.

So other people from the village went with the children as well?

I think they did sometimes, the younger ones. Never seemed to go anywhere else, just once a year to Scarborough, that was one of your highlights of the school. We didn’t go on trips from school, I never went anywhere, you know like they do now they go all over don’t they.

But that was the only trip that school to Scarbrough?

When I was 11 you see I joined ’Scouts, we had a Scout Troup here and there was 2 patrols and from 11 to 15 I was in ’Scouts you see.

And did you go camping?

Well, we went camping, we used to go to Grosmont nearly every year, near Whitby yes. We did camp in one or two places, but mainly there. I was in it a few years and then when I left school I got away and you stop everything don’t you? We had a band, I used to play in ’brass band.

Was that a Terrington band?

Yeah, yeah Terrington Brass Band, we had Swinton Band Master used to teach us, he used to come up and teach us. We did a few concerts round ’villages on ’winter time and we used to go out playing Christmas playing out Hopes’es – well Stan Hopes.

Was that a kind of all age band, or was it just specific it wasn’t just for children?

Oh yes, yes, just a brass band. We used to go with Hopes’es bus, we used to go to Brandsby and Scackleton and Hovingham, Terrington, Welburn Bulmer, and Coneysthorpe all playing in ’Brass Band. We went out for a week or two on 2 or 3 nights, we used to always go with Hopes’es bus, well Stan used to drive ’bus, he played ’tenor horn and his brother Wilf Hope played ’big bass so there was 2 of Hopes’es who owned the buses was in the business you see, so I suppose it didn’t cost us a lot, I don’t know what we paid but what we collected so much would have to go out towards cost of bus and rest went into Bank funds and whatever you know. But it always cold and freezing I don’t know, but some people at big halls took you in and give you a drink and all this, but it was always freezing I know.

Did your parents go to Church at all?

Me mother always went to Church.

Did she go to the Church of England Church or was there a Methodist Church?

Well there was a Methodist Chapel down ’lane, which is now a Music Room isn’t it? She went to Church every week, she always went to Church.

Did she used to take you?

I was forced to go when I was at school.

When you were at school you had to go?

Well we went with school but there was a Sunday school and she always made me go, but as soon as she stopped making me I didn’t go!

So can you tell me about school, you started school when you were 5?

Yeah 5, I used to walk over from here with me little tin of pack up and just go.

Did you walk on your own?

Yeah, yeah I walked on my own. Me mother was teaching at Scackleton then, she used to teach at Scackleton, so she went to school and I went that way, and she went that way. So, yeah yeah, I used to walk over to school. And then later on when you got a bit older and got a second hand bike or something I used to go on the bike I used to leave it at John Carr’s, just nearly opposite, well just, just higher up you see, who used to live here, I used to leave me bike there and that was it we went to school. As I say that’s when Lois would give me the cane for cutting scissors with me left hand. But she was a good teacher like, she was very good teacher, she was a nice person, but I always felt a bit miffed by being caned for cutting paper with me left hand with a pair of scissors, but I suppose that’s what they did. They used to change the boys and not the girls, funnily enough. But now I’m mostly right-handed, I write right-handed, and a cricketer I was right-handed, football I was left foot. I used screwdrivers and things either hand, but I use hammers and spades and snooker and billiards all left-handed and everything else is mainly right-handed. I write right-handed.

How many classes were there at the school?

Oh well there was only 2 rooms and they used to put you into sections that’s all.

And was there one teacher in each room?

Just one originally, yeah and she taught all the ages

One teacher in each room, or one teacher for the whole school?

No, no one in each room, there was always two, at least two. And when there was a few more we got three. There was one in the little room, what we call the little room, up to 7 years old and you were streamed you know into like that row of kids was doing up to a certain level and that row, that row and that row, you know that was how they taught you.

Was that more about where you got to as a child in terms of your learning or was it age streaming? Can you remember?

Well it was age and how good you were as well, bit of both I think. If you were a real dumbo you maybe stayed in ’bottom.

And generally did you, can you remember liking going to school?

Never really liked it no, I don’t know why. Some things were all right, later on it was, we didn’t do much, but that was because of lack of teachers and temporaries and all sorts of things later on. We nearly didn’t do owt much really in school work, probably thick weren’t we when we left, but I don’t know. I mean we, as I say, when we went to school we did up to 7 you were in the little room, and with Lois Wood and then it was, when I moved through it was Gracie Coates who’d been Mrs Anderson before that, you know she’d got married and her husband was in the Army, but when the War finished while I’d have still been in the big room you see, he would come out of the War in 45, 46 wouldn’t he? So how old would I be then …. 38, 39… I’d be 9 years old you see. Well after me being about 9 there was no, she left and there was temporaries, there had been another teacher in the school before, there was 2 in the big room when there was a lot of pupils there, with all evacuees, and when Whenby came they brought another teacher in, Miss Steel, a little woman – she was Miss Steel she was – she had a cane, she had them proper canes, you could bend them like that and they wouldn’t break. First morning she stood in front, "my name is Steel, steel by name and steel by nature" and she was bending this stick. She used to give little ones once a week at playtime and big ones used to lay the stick on them if they misbehaved

Why did the children from Whenby come to ….

Well it closed for some reason or other, whether the teachers retired or not, then of course when they finished there they went to …. they made more accommodation at Sheriff and they went to Sheriff Hutton permanent and now Whenby area goes to Sheriff Hutton and then they go on to Easingwold school. So, I don’t know, but there was quite a lot of big lads, well, there were 10 or 12 or 13 upwards came to Terrington.

How long did you stay at Terrington school, when did you leave?

All me term,

‘Til you were 14?

Unless you passed for Grammar school which I didn’t. Well Grammar school was a funny thing in them days I used to think, because there was only so many places, the places at the Grammar school never altered, there maybe was 50 places for all the Yorkshire area, for Malton, Malton catchment area maybe 50 places. But so many of them places were allocated to Norton area, they sat a different exam to us. I always disagreed with that but it was a different exam and there were so many places allocated to them, so you didn’t get 50 places. Well one year when you look at the 11+ one year, there might be 5 or 600 fighting for maybe 40 places, and the following year there might only be 300, so some kids one year that were quite clever never got in and other kids another year that were quite dumb, well not dumb but you know, would get in. It was a funny situation I used to think, but then when you’re young, I mean me mother used to try and teach me and I used to go to bed with no supper and because I wouldn’t learn, I think she forced me too much and I just took ‘hig’ and wouldn’t do it, I was a bit like that. I’m a bit unorthodox, but I’ve always been a bit like that you know, if somebody pushes me too much I’d just stand back and wouldn’t do it, you know what I mean?

Yes, and you felt when you were older at school, 10/11/12 and so on you didn’t get very much out of it by the sounds of it?

We went to, see a lot of my mates were a bit older than me that I knocked about with, some of them had left school they were still working in the village and I knocked about with them when I was still at school, so all I wanted was to be out of school.

You wanted to be out of school and working?

I didn’t really want to go to Malton Grammar school, it meant getting up early, it meant catching a bus, it meant, you know and I thought well …. all me mates were here so they’d failed, most of them. There was a few got through, like John Goodwill he went to Grammar school. Marcie…. Marcie went to Grammar school, quite clever was Marcie. Well quite a few, Hammonds’ twins went to Grammar school, there was quite a few passed. But I did go, when Gracie Coates left and we were on temporary teachers for quite a while we, we hadn’t any proper teachers at Terrington school and things went downhill, you know. So me mother made me go to Scackleton which was Scackleton school, which was a very little school and she taught in the little room and Mrs Clark taught in the big room. Different thing altogether.

Can you remember how old you were when you went to Scackleton?

Well I must have been …. if Gracie Coates I’d be maybe just 9, when Gracie Coates left here and I would go, I only went for a year/18 months, so

And then you went back to Terrington?

Yes, but it was just a different regime. Never used the cane, never used anything didn’t Mrs Clark. She seemed to … she was a very good teacher, and she had a system for everything, you know.

So was she your kind of best teacher, do you think looking back on it?

Well I don’t know about that, I don’t know because Lois Wood was good at Terrington, her that caned me for cutting with, you know you were quite up with it when you went into big room, but you were only 7 you’ve got to remember. So, but I think when the teachers had kids from, like from 7 to 15 and teaching 3 or 4 lots, you know, maybe only half a dozen kids each time, 4 and 5 different levels it was hard work for them, and she used to get a bit ratted did Gracie and start swinging ’stick and cane and getting upset, you know. And some of them would just play on it like.

Why did you move back from Scackleton to Terrington, can you remember?

I don’t really know maybe shouldn’t have done, but Scackleton always got, Mrs Clark, always got a big percentage of her class, ‘cos they were smaller classes, it was a smaller school, and she always got a bigger percentage through to Grammar school. If there was 6 or 7 sitting for Grammar school she’d get 5 through, well Terrington there might be 10 sitting or 12 or 13 and she’d get 3 through maybe. And I mean Richard Wilson he ended up as a Professor at Norwich University, Richard, and his parents well they paid the vicar I think, to give him tuition on a night and things like that, that’s the way he got through. Well he was clever enough, don’t get me wrong, Richard, he was a good rum lad, he was mates with us ‘n’ all, he was always a bit eccentric really, but he was all right. He might be a couple of year younger than me but he was all right, aye he was a rum one. Yeah he went to Grammar school but I don’t know Mrs Clark had a system, like, for spelling and English. I was always bad at spelling, I still am, and English but she used to give us 5 spellings a day and you had to learn ‘em, and at end of ’week each person stood up and spelt every word he was supposed to have learnt. Well it was surprising when I first did it I was getting about 7 or 8 out of 20, what I was supposed to have learnt. You had to write it, or spell ‘em out, you had to stand up and say how do you spell so and so, you hadn’t to look at how it was written, because you could maybe tell whether it was right or wrong, but when you just have to reel the words out it was different. Anyway, as I say in a year I was getting 17, 18 or 19, don’t know if I ever got 20, but you know what I mean

She obviously had an effect?

So I could spell quite good, and then when I went back to Terrington like I just dropped off again! Well when I went back to Terrington Robert Goodwill’s mother, Joan Britten, as she was then, Robert Goodwill’s mother she was teaching

So did you have a more settled teachers then?

Well I don’t know if it was more settled or not really, but she taught for so long, for quite a few years, then she got married to Robert Goodwill you see, this Robert’s father, and she left and then we had temporaries again. Well for long enough we had temporaries so we didn’t do a lot. We had one bloke, he was a nice bloke but he had a motorbike and he used to say "go and fill ’motorbike up", so John Goodwill lived at the bottom of the street and his parents had petrol pumps and things like that, and we used to go down with motorbike and ride it up. We used to get it started up and we were only about 13 or 14, and drive this motorbike back up street. Nobody ever said ‘owt, fill her up with fuel for him and they were just temporary teachers you know but some of them were there for 6 months, you know, and then eventually we got a teacher called Miss Mutimer and she came lived in school house and she was permanent then, you see. We cleared her garden, that was one of the first jobs she wanted, it was all overgrown between the school and her house and we flattened all the bushes and we dug it all out, there’s a photograph somewhere of us digging it all out. But we were all about 14, you know we were only a year off, maybe less, some would be 13, some were about 15, but ready for leaving you know. Well Miss Mutimer she was an art teacher really and that’s when they did the Midsummer’s Night’s Dream down at the Old Rectory, down at the bottom.

And that was the school did that?

Yeah, yeah, that what the tapestry thing in the Village Hall at the end with bells in it. I wasn’t in it but I remember I was still at school when it was done, so it must have been done before 1952, ‘cos I left at beginning of ‘52, I left at Easter, when I was 15.

And the play was done in garden?

It would have been ‘51, cos it wouldn’t be done in ‘52, ‘cos I left at beginning of ‘52, it was either ‘50 or ‘51 that that play, I think it could have been ’51, just before I left school, but we didn’t do a lot of work, she was very good at art stuff, but we never did a lot of work us lot at school. We had an allotment, we used to grow vegetables, ‘cos they had a canteen later on, in the Village Hall, and at school, but there was one in the old Village Hall, they made a school canteen, they built a school canteen and we used to grow all ’vegetables, we had little allotments, half a dozen of us had a little allotment apiece and others used to help you. And then we used to grow ‘em and give ‘em to canteen for our dinners and stuff, vegetables that we grew. So we were either playing football, cricket, tennis in summer or in ’garden. And sometimes when she was looking for us at ’school we’d be down in ’Reading Room playing stuff, in winter we did a bit of that but as long as you didn’t cause any trouble nobody sort of bothered you.

What happened when you left school, what did you do? Did you go straight into a job?

Yeah, yeah. I was applying all over for jobs, but

So you were keen to get a job?

Oh yeah, but there wasn’t that many jobs about in ’50’s, I mean industry was hadn’t really started getting, wanting staff, because all ’Army came back didn’t they from ’Wars and they came back in ‘45/ ‘46 before a lot of them came back and they were all wanting jobs and industry was not doing for military, everything was getting run down.

What did you want to do?

Well I was trying to get electrical if I could or something, but there was, I did get offered a job at Malton with Electric Board, but I had to get to Malton for half past 7! John Goodwill started with a firm there in Malton, I know he went to Electric Board later, but he started with Yates and Unwin and Wood [?] but his Dad worked in Malton as a joiner, so he could get in with him you see, to work, whereas my father was working for Anelays at York and he was lodging away or always this way, Selby and all that. Anyway and I had no transport and it meant biking to Malton for half past 7 on a morning, to be there for half past 7, well summer and winter here biking to Malton for half past 7 it was ridiculous, and then biking back at night. I mean weather we used to have then, winters were winters, you know what I mean. So it was really a no, no, so I turned it down but I’d been all over and couldn’t get one anyway, so I ended up at Rowntrees in warehouses. I got a job at Rowntrees and then we used to work 4 days and then 5th day we had a day continuation school, went to school there.

So it was bit like an apprenticeship, almost?

Well, we were just in warehouses sewing bags up and things, tidying up and cleaning up.

But there was some education and training?

Oh yeah. We did PE, we did woodwork, metalwork, maths, not much English. And then we used to have a bit of film some afternoons, it was on a Friday and of course when I was there I used to bike to York on a Sunday night, if me Dad wasn’t working I used to bike to York on a Sunday night, and then I would bike back on a Friday night from Rowntrees, ‘cos they worked 5 days

So you stayed in York?

We had a 44 hour week, but you was always half past 7 start and half past 5 finish, so you got your 44 hours in in 5 days. Very good firm to work for were Rowntrees, you know they were

They had a good reputation?

Oh, they had yeah, yeah. Then I got an apprenticeship the year after, well just over a year, I was at Rowntrees, then I got an apprenticeship at Naylors in York, and then went on from there.

Can you tell me a bit about of what memories you have, I mean you’ve talked a bit about it, but your memories of the War impact in Terrington?

The War?


Well, as I say, at ’bottom of ’street there was the Land Army, then the Italians and then the Germans and then after that there was Ukrainians, would you believe, displaced persons, up to into ’middle early ‘50’s before it closed.

Were you aware about the Land Army? The Land Army was women presumably that were working on the farms?

Yes, the farms, then the Italians worked on the farms, then the Germans did.

Right, so the prisoners went out to work?

Well yeah it was in the War you had an armed guard on a coach or a bus used to take ‘em, or wagons, and bring ‘em back and there was an armed guard that used to just stand there with a rifle doing nowt when they were picking ‘tatoes or whatever they were doing, and then when soon as ’War was about finished they just didn’t bother going, they just went on their own! They wandered about ’village, well some of ‘em were here quite a while and they were all fighting to not go back, a lot of ‘em went back to ’Russian zone though and they fought tooth and nail not to go back, so there was a lot of legal stuff going on and a lot of ‘em stayed quite a while after ’War finished. Ended up most of ‘em went back, some stayed, some stayed.

Can you remember any sort of particular incidents during the War years?

Yeah there was incidents, well there was an Army camp at Welburn crossroads, that was built and occupied, I don’t know what they were, and then there was …. is it The Hollies they call it, opposite what used to be the blacksmith’s shop, Army took that house over and there were some Army based in there and the siren, the air-raid siren was on top of the blacksmith’s shop.

This was actually in Terrington?

Yeah, yes, yes. And now and again you had Army coming through in convoys or they used to come and do so many soldiers would come from somewhere in vehicles and park up in ’back lanes and defend the village and another lot would come through and pretend to attack,

Was this the Home Guard or regular soldiers generally?

Well no, Army as well, ‘cos they used to have them thunder flashes and things and things shaped like hand grenades but they just went bang, you know, came through village. I can remember plane crashing over here at back of Rose Cottage.

Can you tell me about that?

Oh yes, that was on a…… we were up in this field at ’back, me Dad was shooting ducks, well some ducks would come over, and this plane came over on fire and it crashed just above Rose Cottage, house there and caught the trees, it just touched the tree tops and pulled it down into a wall. There were all killed like. That was in 1944, so I was 8 or 9 then.

Where did the plane come from?

Well it had come from Wombleton and I always argued it didn’t come from Wombleton it came from East Moor. Sutton on Forest was called East Moor Aerodrome. "Oh no it didn’t it came from Wombleton" they said, well we were both right. It was a Wombleton aeroplane and Wombleton was a training station, it wasn’t a live station, they didn’t fly out of Wombleton to drop bombs, they practised at Wombleton, and then they got split up into other ’aerodromes and then they bombed from there. So it was going round all these different airfields doing circuits and bumps for practice, landing at different airfields and taking off again and then landing again and it took off from Sutton on Forest, about half four ‘ish, or just before, and it came across and it was on fire when it came. Why he never turned back and landed I’ll never know, he maybe thought he’d get to Wombleton – that’s where he’d be heading, but he didn’t make it did he? I always thought the tail was on fire but in hindsight when you’re a kid and you see these things, it wasn’t very high up you see, but the flames were that big they were coming from ’wing and going out by ’tail, the flames were coming out behind the flame. The fire was on the other side to what I was on, it came across us like we were down ’field and it came from that way like that on an angle and fire was at that side, but I could see flames out at ’back, but it weren’t out at ’back. And it crashed down into ’wall with a big thump and fired, well it burnt out. One of ’first people there was Ted Hartas, Geoff Hartas and Charlie Hartas’s brother, elder brother. They were waiting at ’top here, Horace Hope was doing the bus that day and he used to park the bus up at home, where he lived, where Hills live now, at ’top of ’street, and they were waiting up there for the bus, was it 5 o’clock, quarter past or summat, whatever. It was November time and it was darkish, dusk, dusk it was when it crashed. They all ran down you see, well he was one of ’first there, and ’policeman he found out, or seen it, and he drove down on his pushbike, which they had – Johnson. And him and Johnson pulled out some of ’bodies out of ’plane, like, apparently while it was on fire and blowing ….. and there was bullets going off. See they were armed and with shotguns and armoured up, no bombs on, there was just flares on things on plane, no actual bombs on it. They did get one bloke, but he died on ’way to hospital I think, all rest were killed but they always, there was another rumour that went round that there was that the rear gunner must have been dropped in the lake because he wasn’t … you know, there was only 6 bodies. And anyway at ’end of ’day he wasn’t even there, was he, when they did these circuits and bumps there always the man who got killed most was the rear gunners. He always got killed before anybody else because when they were flying at night and bombing planes came in from ’back to try and blow them up, shoot them down, the rear gunner was nearly always, you know, the first to be killed, so they were short of rear gunners. So when they did these practice in circuits in ops the rear gunner was never there! Are you with me?

Yes, right.

So there was only ever 6, so that rumour was ….

Were there any other air raids or anything, you said there was an air raid siren?

Oh yes, when I was little, when they raided York, I can remember seeing them out of ’window, bombs going off and that, well you could see York. But next morning there was people walking down these fields, like maybe some of ’home guard, and other people or soldiers, and other local people, local policeman were looking for bombs, ‘cos they dropped some bombs round here you see, the house next door to Marcie’s and it bounced off that roof and it were only a fire bomb, it set fire to her roof, well me Dad put it out with ’stirrup pump, you know one of them things, there was a tap outside, well we only had taps for water, nobody had water. And he got it put out you see, and about 3 days later a fire engine came to ’fire at Little Terrington would you believe. He were a bit late! Anyway they were looking for bombs and picking ‘em up and that where they’d dropped. I used to have some when I was a kid, fire bombs, used to take ‘em to bits, screw ’bottom off. They were all made of white alloy metal and they were all made in 1936 the ones I had. Me Dad was in Home Guard although there isn’t any really pictures I’ve seen, I think there was one once when he was on, but some he was never on ‘em, he definitely was in ’Home Guard, co first of all they hadn’t any rifles, then they had 303 rifle, you know, the Endfield (?)rifle and then they got Sten guns later on, which was a dangerous thing.

Where was the Home Guard based here, was it Malton or something?

Well they used to ….there was a bloke, was he a farmer or something from Sheriff Hutton, not Sheriff Hutton, Scackleton, was sort of Commander and then the vicar was here, Edwards, and a lot more and there’s Eddie Ellerby was in Home Guard here, and they were relations of Ann Hartas’s were Eddie Ellerby and John Ellerby and all them. And they went, he was in Home Guard, me Dad, they were always late going over there and me Dad was always late, so if they were doing photo shoots he probably wouldn’t/hadn’t arrived! It was a bit like that, they used to do training down at back of what was the walled garden at the private school, where the sports fields are

Oh I know

They went round the wall end, you know where the old Chapel is


, well down that lane, turn right round the big wall and go right down to ’bottom and there was some rough land and they had dug outs and all sorts and they did training down there and things like that. So they used to do Guard at top of ’Pinfold, there was a little tin hut and they used to stand guard or summat, and two trenches across the road there was, across the bank defence, they were only about that deep, waste of time. Anyway they stood there and did that, we had Home Guard, a lot of older people were in ’Home Guard. Me father was put on piece work, him and John Carr, Felix Carr his father he worked for me Dad, well he was a painter and decorator really, but he used to labour for building and they were put on piece work, they were felling trees for long enough and then they put ‘em into ’quarries and they were building stone house, a building for to put the engine to drive a stone cracker or a filter thing for stone, to get small stone, big stone, they used to sort it out with these machines and they were all belt driven you see, they had an engine in a shed and they used to build ’shed and put steelwork up for ‘em, and they did that you see when they were on piecework and I used to go with ‘em you see.

Was that when you were still at school?

And Saturdays, they used to work Saturdays you see, and I used to go with them. There was 3 people who drove buses, there was Eddie Ellerby at top had a wagon for Cravens. Cravens had wagons in the village and most of them, apart from leading sugar beet and ‘tatoes and taking cattle to market, they were always on war work, building aerodromes at Eden Camp. I remember going to Eden Camp in a wagon and the Italian prisoners were building it, they were putting stone. We used to go and tip the stone and I never used to get out of ’cab, used to think they would get you, but they wouldn’t. Anyway, and then we used to, when they were building airfields we used to go with wagons, sometimes you were in among planes and they were taking off, at night at dusk going off, half past 4/5 o’clock, they were setting off.

So that’s what the stone was for, for building things like that?

Yes, well there was 3 drivers here with wagons. Will Clark they called him, next door and Arthur Wood and Eddie Ellerby and they all drove for Cravens wagons.

Where did the stone come from?

Oh quarries all over

Round here

Yes, Hovingham Quarries, Wath Quarries, North Grimston there was a quarry, Watts’s Quarry now up Norton, they’re arguing about making a tarmac plant aren’t they. They’re arguing about that, people don’t want it. There was a sand pit and tarmac plant at Slingsby, where there’s caravan site now, used to make tarmac down there, we used to have to go to near Middlesborough and there used to be some things come over ’Moors on big wires and buckets and drop ‘em in hoppers and you used to back under hopper and fill your wagon and you used to come back with chippings to make tarmac.

But they didn’t use any of the old quarries round Terrington?

Well not in Terrington itself, no, no

It was further afield?

There was one at Wass, halfway up the bank we used to go to, there was one up back of Coneysthorpe Wall, a little one, they just boarded it up, halfway up they put some boards up, that tall wall just through Coneysthorpe. You went but it was only the little wagons could get in, they tried a lot of little quarries like that but they didn’t last long. But you went up Potticar, halfway up ’hill there’s a bit of rock you can see, it’s all grown up with trees, but they used to get little wagons in there and try but they didn’t do it long, and there was one just through Stonegrave on the right, there was 2 actually, quarries there. There was a big one at side of road but there was another one on a hilltop, ‘cos me Dad and Felix worked in that and the stone was often loaded onto trains there, ‘cos the railway line came across there. That dip before you go …. go through Stonegrave towards Helmsley and there’s a dip, in bottom of dip there was a bridge over, you can see where ’railway line bit of flat, there was another quarry on top of there but it didn’t last many years, they shut it and they had the one at ’side of ’road, but there was quarries all over the place. Wath Quarries, there was the old Wath, and there was one at Hovingham as well, that’s been closed for years. They used that Hovingham Quarry, North Grimston and the one at Norton what’s still there, they went in a different way to what they went in now, but we used to go with them and I used to ride with ’other blokes in ’wagons whilst I was there. There was some right characters ….

Well I think probably we’d better, we’d better stop there.

That was only the War years you know, as I say I left school here at 15 and went to live with me auntie in York and got a job in York and used to come home on a weekend. And I got an apprenticeship, stayed at Naylors where I was for, think it was 12 or 13 years, 12 ½, 13 years, before I left, went to different places, like yer do.

©Terrington Arts
This page last updated: 21st December 2021

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