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Terrington 2020 Project - Second interview with John Goodwill

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

Listen to the recording:


The full transcript of the interview with John follows, running to 20 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)F, type the name you want into the Search box which appears, and click the Down arrow or Next button.

Anderson, Clementson, Estil, Goodrick, Goodwill, Hartas, Holden, Hope, Littlewood, Llewellyn, Rhodes, Robinson, Rodwell


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.

Caukleys Bank, Cliffe hall, Castle Howard, Dewsbury, Ganthorpe, Helmsley, Hull, Keswick, Langton, London, Malton, Norton, Nunningon, Oakdene, Old Chapel, Potticar Bank, Rufforth, Sheriff Hutton, Teesside, Village Hall, Welburn, Wiganthorpe, York

Transcript of interview

Can we start off with your full name and when you were born?

My full name is William John Goodwill and I was born in July 1935 at Oak Dene which is down at the bottom of the village.

What about your parents, your mother and father, what were they called?

My mother’s maiden name was Llewellyn and she came from Dewsbury, she was a domestic servant and she served in/around the village, and my father was a joiner and had a joinery business down at the bottom of the village. The family has lived in the village since 1600.

Whereabouts in Terrington did you grow up? You said it was Oakdene

House at the bottom of the village the last but one on the left-hand side (where Cowdys live).

Can you tell me a little about the house, and what it was like when you lived there?

There was really a 2 up and 2 down, a front room, a sitting room and kitchen and a pantry downstairs, 2 bedrooms, a very small bedroom at the back upstairs, and a box room, but there was no bath, there was no toilet. You got bathed actually in a tin bath in front of the fire on a Friday night. The toilet was up the yard, there was just a bucket in a little shed up the yard.

So, somebody used to have to empty it?

It had to be emptied once a week, yes, and as I got older that became my job.

Who lived in the house with you?

My mother and father and my sister Jean and myself.

Was your sister older or younger than you?

Yes, she was 5 years older than me, but unfortunately she died some years ago.

Did you have any grandparents around?

I just had a grandmother, me father’s mother lived with us for a little while and then she would move between her other daughters. My mother’s father he lived in Dewsbury, I think I saw him about twice we didn’t see much of him. He died during the war.

Did you go over to see him or did he come over to Terrington?

We used to go to see him in Dewsbury.

And your parents met presumably because your mother was in service?

My mother worked up at Wiganthorpe, she worked all over, she worked in Keswick and down in London, and she eventually ended up at Wiganthorpe working for Lord Holden and father would meet her there, you see.

Can you tell me anything about the kind of food and so on you ate when you were a child?

It was seasonal, you had Brussels sprouts sort of from November until about March and you didn’t get lettuce in January, it was all seasonal vegetables and we grew most of them in the garden actually.

Yes, so you had a vegetable garden?

We had cabbages, leeks, parsnips in rotation and you never got vegetables out of season like you do now in the supermarkets, and we had a joint, roast, once a week, we had a beef on a Sunday and a joint once a week and mother used to make pies and pasties and so on. Simple food really.

Was there a shop in the village at that time?

There were 3 shops, a co-operative opposite the pub, the house opposite up the pub, one top of the village, Mrs Rhodes, Rhodes’es and there was one in the middle of the village, where the shop is now – Mrs Goodrick’s, so there was 3 shops.

And did the food come from locally?

We used to buy our, we bought our groceries from Welburn, me father’s sister was married to a man called Rodwell, they had a shop which is now the restaurant place in Welburn, that was Rodwell’s groceries. They used to come with the order book on a Tuesday, used to fill the book in and deliver the groceries on a Thursday on a wagon. Some people would shop in the co-operative in the village you see.

What about your meat and things come from there?

There were 2 butchers in the village, there was Goodwills’ who was no relation to me. They had an abattoir in the square and Estils’ who had a little butcher’s shop opposite the school down a little lane. There was 2 and that was produced in the village.

That was were Lord Harker got his meat? [Holden?]

A good joint of beef was ½ a crown. When it went to 5 shillings, father went potty ….

Quite sort of difference today. What about the clothes that you wore, did your mother make things or did you ….?

She made certain things, my granny was quite a good seamstress but I think most of the clothes would be bought in York possibly, or Malton.

Can you remember going shopping for things like that?

No, not really

Perhaps your parents, your mother did it and bought them home?

I remember when I went to school in Malton and I remember I had to go through to York and get a uniform, I remember going for that, but after that I can’t remember much.

Can you remember anything about the kind of games you used to play, or things you used to do, for leisure, when you were a child?

There was no toys, you couldn’t buy toys because it was the middle of the War, you couldn’t have toys, so you made toys yourself out of blocks of wood and all kinds of things. We used to make boullers, we called them boullers it was like a round metal hoop, used to have a handle thing, and you used to run down the street with it. Then we used to spend a lot of time making what we called trolleys, if you could get an old pram chassis – you’re really well in then, because we used to convert that into a little trolley and race up and down the street on them.

I suppose the hill helped?

I remember a really good one that I had, there was some ammunitions at the bottom of the village, and some of the ammunition was in wooden crates, and when they were filling the shed up with ammo they created obviously got broken, there were all these bits of wood hanging around and we went and pinched them and made a real good trolley out of it. We also used to mend bicycles, and I was quite good at mending a pushbike, you’d rob bikes to mend bikes, and we used to do a lot of riding round the village on the pushbikes. We used to play football as well, as I got a bit older we played football, there wasn’t a proper football field, but we used to go and play in the farmers’ fields and of course it was quite difficult avoiding all the cow pats!

Was there a football team, because obviously there’s a football team in Terrington now, was there a football team then, or just a group of kids that played football?

When I was young there wasn’t a football team as such, there was a cricket team in the village, quite a good one, but Father, when he was young he was in a football team in the village, so there had been one and my dad had been in that, but there wasn’t a football team when I was there.

Do you think that was because of the War?

I don’t know. And I played in the band, started playing in the village band when I was 8 and I played in the band until I was 20 actually.

What did you play?

I played euphonium actually. They bought it for me for £35 when I was 17 and I sold it the other day for £100.

What about family celebrations and things, can you remember about Christmas and birthdays?

My mother used to make a lot of Christmas, we always had plenty of food, and presents, games and things like that. Because during the War it was very difficult to get toys, you just couldn’t get toys you see. We never saw bananas or oranges, we never saw those. I mean we had good Christmases, my mum always used to put decorations up and things like that.

Did your family, the 4 of you, just have Christmas, or did other people come?

Just the 4 of us, just the 4 of us.

And what about birthdays, can you remember what you used to do for birthdays?

Nothing much really, nothing, might get a cake if you were lucky, you might not, we would get a present, not a lot made of birthdays at all.

Not the kind of birthday parties?

No, no parties, you see there was no money, we never went on holiday, because by the time you’d bought your food and your clothes, there was nothing left, there was nothing left.

Did you have sort of outings, day outings?

After the War we used to go to, there used to be a village trip to Scarborough and that was about it.

Everybody would go for the day, on a coach?

On Hopes’es bus, yes. But you never went I mean going abroad on holiday just wasn’t even considered, couldn’t afford it.

Can you remember in terms of the kind of things that your parents were strict about, or things they were expecting from you, in terms of behaviour?

I was always taught to be polite to people and to give up your seat on a bus, when you went on the bus onto York and there was standing you had to give up your seat, and hold the door for people when you went in to a shop. They were quite strict on that and also when I was at school at Terrington at the time and I’d be, maybe about 8, and I was smoking a few cigarettes a day and the caretaker’s son he went to the village school and he told his mother that John Goodwill was smoking. She promptly told the Headmistress, Miss Anderson, and she got in touch with the policeman and the vicar, they came up the school and I was hauled out in front of the class and I got caned. Then Father found out 2 weeks later and I got another good hiding. They did me a favour really as I never ever smoked after that – did me a favour actually. Me parents didn’t hit me a lot, I wasn’t thrashed at all, occasionally I was. My mother used to get a carpet beater, it was like a big cane, beater on a stick, she used to give me that across me bottom at times. I deserved it and didn’t cause me any problems. I don’t remember me father, only the once for smoking, that was the only time he ever hit me.

Was it more common then, for youngsters of your age, to try out smoking? I suppose now it seems very young, I think people did didn’t they?

We had a filling station and we sold cigarettes, the other 4 shops and the pub sold cigarettes, and there was children at each of these establishments, we were all pinching cigarettes from home you see.

I suppose far more people smoked?

At that time I think me father smoked actually. I think there was possibly more children smoking now than there was then, I don’t know.

And you went to the Village School?

I started in the village school and I went one day and they turned me back, they sent me back home, as they said I was too young.

Can you remember how old you were then?

Well me birthday’s in July I think I would go maybe June or July to school, and they sent me away and then I would start again in September I believe, because I would be 5 then you see.

It sounds like you were keen to start school, can you remember how you felt about it?

Quite keen. At the time there was all these evacuees from Teesside there, in the school with their own teacher, so the school was very full actually. I think the big room had all the children from Teesside. I stayed at Terrington School till I was 11, left in 1946 went to Malton Grammar.

How many classes were there in the school then?

In Terrington, two.

So the younger ones and the older ones, almost as it is now?

And the lady that used to teach the younger class, she came from Sheriff Hutton, she was a lady called Miss Wood. She used to cycle every day from Sheriff Hutton to Terrington.

Up Terrington Bank, fit lady.


So the evacuees were taught separately, were they?

Yes, they bought their own teacher, yes they were taught separately.

But there was only the one room then?

Two rooms, the little room which is now the office. The big room, possibly the Teesside ones were at one end of the big room, the village at the other. The windows at the school had all paper taped on for blast, stuck on the window, to stop the glass from flying around.

You weren’t far from the school, you just used to walk there, no doubt?

Yes, everybody walked, even the children from Ganthorpe walked – a mile and a half, and they walked every day.

I guess then nearly all of the children were from Terrington or Ganthorpe or Wiganthorpe, they were all local?

All from the parish, yes.

Were there particular things that you liked doing at school, can you remember, or didn’t like doing?

Not really, I didn’t care for school much at all actually.

Do you know why you didn’t particularly like it?

No, not really I just didn’t care for it a lot. It changed me when I went to Malton, because there was more to do there.

Did you have to wear a school uniform at that time?

Not at Terrington, I did when I went to Malton, but not at Terrington. You just went in anything.

What were the teachers like at Terrington?

Miss Wood the junior teacher, she was very good actually, she was a spinster, but she was very good. The headmistress, Miss Anderson, Miss Sanderson, she was a strange lady actually, we thought she was very old, she maybe wasn’t very old, we thought she was very old. She was a strange lady, she used to dish out the cane quite a lot. She left and we had, just before I sat the exam for the Grammar School, we had 3 teachers in a year, which was not good.

So which school did you go on to?

I went to Malton Grammar.

That was when you were 11?

Yes, that was when I was 11 and I stayed there till I was 16.

And how did you get to Malton?

We went on the service bus, there wasn’t a special school bus, there was a service bus which took us to Malton and it used to dump us near the Cattle Market, and we had to walk up to the Grammar School. The secondary modern wasn’t there in those days, it was just the Grammar School, we used to have to walk up there every morning, of course it made us late. So we were always in bad books.

Where did the children go to that didn’t get into the Grammar School?

They stayed in the village school until they were 15.

So they had quite an age range. Was it very different, the grammar school, you said there was more routine?

Lot more different, there was things when I got to Grammar school I’d never even seen. Algebra and geometry and shapes and things like that. I’d never seen them here, whereas some of the children at the school that came to the Grammar, that came from Norton Boys’ and Norton Girls’, they were very good schools, of course they were conversant with this you see. We hadn’t done any of it so there was a bit of catching up to do.

So which subjects did you like doing best at secondary school or were you still not very enamoured with any of it?

For obvious reasons the best subject that I was good at and really, really good at, was woodwork. I really was, the master used to get me to sharpen all his planes and chisels, and all types of things, that was me best subject.

Presume you learnt that from your father?

It was there, wasn’t it, maybe natural instinct really.

Did you used to help him in his work?

Yes, a lot

Did he have a workshop or anything?

There was a joiners shop, where Mr & Mrs Cowdy live now, that was the joiners shop actually. He fell on hard times did me father, he was 10 years out of work before the War and then after the War he was a state joiner at Castle Howard for quite a few years, and then he went to work for a builder in Malton, he wasn’t self-employed. But he used to do a lot of undertaking in the village, I used to help him with that.

What was your uniform at Malton?

Just a blazer and grey flannels with a cap, and you had to wear the cap otherwise you were in big trouble. If you were caught down town without the cap on, you really were in big trouble.

What was the discipline like at Malton, was it the same thing?

Quite strict actually, I mean I never got slipper, but some of the students did get slippered from time to time with the Headmaster. It was quite strict. It was good, I mean, that didn’t worry you, discipline was fair.

Did you do any sport at school?

Used to play football, I would have liked to have played rugby but there wasn’t a rugby club at Malton in those days. When the rugby club was formed I couldn’t get in there to play, I didn’t have transport of my own. I didn’t play a lot of sport.

When did you leave school, how old were you?

I left when I was 16.

What did you go on to do?

I went to serve me time as an electrician in Malton and I served an apprenticeship for 5 years. That was a firm in Malton, electrical contractors. Then after that when I’d served me apprenticeship, and at 21½ I went into the Army to do my National Service.

Did you carry on living at home?

I lived at home until I was married in ‘63.

That was at Oakdene, you didn’t move from there?

Oh no.

Did you have a sort of group of friends, either through school or in the village? I presume your friends were probably here in Terrington?

They were really. It was strange actually because when you passed the 11 plus and you went to the Grammar School the lads and lasses in the village didn’t really want to know anything about you.

So how many, say for example, when you went to the Grammar School, were you the only one that went to the Grammar School?

No, there would be in those days, well I was the only one in our form from Terrington, but that went to the Grammar School in total there would be 5 or 6 from the parish in total, that’s all. So there wasn’t many really.

And you were thought as slightly superior or something?

Well, they didn’t care for us, I used to meet up and we used to play football at night and weekends, and kick around in a field. But as I got older I had friends because we used to team up and go dancing together, you see, we were older then it was a bit different.

So once you left school it didn’t matter as much that you’d been to the Grammar School

Yes, we were accepted then.

What kind of things did you do socially when you were a teenager, was it sport?

There was a youth club we used to go there once a week.

Where was that?

It started in the village hall down opposite the surgery, then it went up to the old village hall, at top of the village, which was the Cliffe, and then it moved into the house which used to be the co-operative, opposite the pub there, the big house that stands back, it was in there for a few years and then it fizzled out because nobody would take it. And then as I say we used to go dancing quite a bit when I got old enough.

Where were the dances, were they in Terrington?

Slingbsy, Hovingham, we used to go out to Malton quite a lot, as I got older, used to be very good, lot of dances in Terrington, they used to have really good dances here, really good ones. So the local villages really.

Were there kind of local teenagers though to be well behaved, or was there problems in the village?

No, not really. No, no problems, I mean no doubt there was the odd incident, there was no vandalism and things like that.

So your parents were quite happy with your group of friends, they didn’t feel you were mixing with the wrong type?

No, mind you just kept clear of the wrong ones, you didn’t mix with them.

So there were some that were thought to be in the village?

Well there was one or two ladies that were thought to be of ill-repute, you kept clear of those. Because I mean if anything had happened you would have been in really big trouble if you got somebody pregnant, it just didn’t happen in those days. You would have been drummed out, you’d have had to get married.

And being in a small community everybody would have known about it, it would be hard to keep secrets?

Oh yes.

Obviously you were growing up in the village during the War years, how old were you when the War started?

In ‘39, so I was 4½ when it started.

And do you remember much about how the War affected Terrington, you mentioned about the ammunitions?

I remember the armoured columns, the tanks going down through the village, they’d start going down through the village early morning, sort of 9 o’clock when we were going to school, they’d be trundling through the whole of the day, wagons, tanks you name it.

Where were they going to and from, do you know?

There was a lot of army at Helmsley and I think the Guards Armour Division was based up at Langton and they used to go up on the Yorkshire Wolds to do manoeuvres. So I would have thought they were going from Helmsley to over onto the Wolds, or to Langton, moving around. But I remember old aircraft, I remember the 1000 Bomber raids, when they used to set off, cos you’d see them grouping up at night, the sky would be just absolutely covered in aircraft, just absolutely covered in aircraft and then suddenly they’d all gone, just gone. And then you’d hear them limping, coming back in the next morning.

Because there were quite a few airfields around here?

There was a lot, there was a lot. My father actually, I remember this, he worked for the MoD up at Wombleton airfield, and he used to bike there every day, in winter, and bike back. He used to bike there, up Potticar Bank, Caulkleys Bank at Nunnington, do a day’s work on the airfield and then bike back at night and we were always concerned. Me mother was always, you know you got the feeling that she was concerned about him coming back late at night. Then he was in the Home Guard he had to do duty for that, and eventually he went to work at Rufforth airfield at York and Hope’s bus used to pick men up from Malton, me dad used to go with Hope’s bus and that was a lot better. But I also remember the ammunitions hut down the road, there was all this ammunition stored in these tin sheds on either side of the road, there was no locks, or no ends on. Some were open at the ends and they were like a Nissen hut, they were open at the ends, some had a sheet on, some didn’t, and it was stacked inside with ammunition and they were right away either side of the road right to Malton and all in those woods at Castle Howard all in the top of there. They were just at the side of the road, a Nissen hut, it wouldn’t be as big as this room, just a shed, zinc, corrugated zinc. There was a special camp built at Welburn crossroads to service the ammunition and there was another smaller camp at Coneysthorpe crossroads and they used to service the ammo. And I remember at the bottom of the village on the right there was a hostel built to house German prisoners, so they were paddling about in the village, you know.

So they just wandered around in the village?

Yes, they weren’t locked in. We used to go sledging down Cliffe Hill and they used to go, I always remember, some of them used to knock you off your sledge as you were going down the hill, most of them were pretty good, but there was one or two that were not very nice persons. There were no toys. I know you were worried about, because you heard your parents talking and you were worried about the Germans coming because they thought they would come across at one stage, because I was very young then you see, I would only be about 5. But I can remember them discussing it and I would worry about it, and what was going to happen to us.

You mentioned the Home Guard, was there a Home Guard unit in Terrington?

Yes, there was quite a good one, yes.

Presumably the men that weren’t off fighting?

Those that were too old to join the army they were in the Home Guard you see, or some of them had reserved occupations, some of the farmers you see, so they were in.

Did you get any women in the Land Army?

Yes, they went, the Germans moved out and the land army moved in, or the other way round. Anyway the Land Army they moved into the village and caused quite a stir among all the young men, I believe. They were there for several years and then they moved out and we got displaced persons.

This was at the bottom of the village?

Yes, at the bottom of the village on the right hand side. The Land Army used to work on the farms round here, they used to work them very hard actually. The farmers used to give them some quite difficult jobs to do, so they didn’t give them an easy time. And one other lady who was down there married a chap in the village, she lived above Jean Garbutt, Louie Hartas they called her, Anne Hartas’s sister in law, she was by marriage.

But she was the only one to stay, as far as you remember?

She was the only one who stayed in the village.

Did you mix with the evacuated children from Teesside that were presumably living with various families in the village?

They were billeted into houses but we didn’t mix with them, and they went back to Teesside and then there was some more came from Hull. They were a queer lot they used to go raiding people’s dustbins and things like that, I think they came from a part of Hull that was a bit, you know, one of the sort of, not so good areas as it were. But they weren’t here all that long they went back.

Once you told me about this incident with this aeroplane that crashed that you saw, didn’t you?

It came across the top, Edwin Cooke knows a lot about that as well, it came from Full Sutton, Sutton on Forest rather, and it had a Canadian crew on and it came across the top of the village and there were some large trees down in, we call them The Groves, Wiganthorpe, it hit a tree top and it crashed at one of Lou Howard’s fields, but she wasn’t there then, and all the crew were killed. It was a Saturday when it happened, I remember that. There was a German aircraft came down in the wood as you go towards, we call it Freer Moor, came to the top of the bank there, there’s some gates into the wood, some big gates, if you go to there and go right through the back there was a Dornier shot down in there and again it was a Saturday and me dad said we’ll go and have a look and see and we went up I think it was a Sunday morning, I think we walked actually, the plane had been on fire and maybe was still burning and the German hung his revolver on a tree, and the crew were walked and one of them was wounded and they walked to the crossroads at Coneysthorpe because there was a searchlight unit there and they gave themselves up, so that was another one that crashed.

So what did the searchlight do, was it just looking for planes?

Looking for German planes were coming over, see, there was another one down at Drurys’ farm, another searchlight unit down at Drurys’ farm, and of course the idea was that when the German planes came over they’d light them, would pick them out and then the fighters would go for the attack. I also remember actually, maybe shouldn’t say about this, but the RAF had a boat, a yacht on Castle Howard lake and in the boathouse, which is now a café, there were some big 15 seater rubber dinghys in there, and they used to do training for rescue work on the lake. When the War was over they were going to have a bonfire party down on the Hall school, Mr Clementson was the Headmaster, and we said we’ll go and have a look at this boathouse, because there might be something there, so we biked to Castle Howard, we got into the boathouse, we paddled out into the lake and paddled back in, got in through a door, and there was all these Very lights, distress signals, green and red, so we packed them in our coats, and our pockets. Coming back up the wood, once you get to the bottom of Shaw Wood, near where the wall is there, right opposite that gate, there was a shed, and it had flash bombs in, you know, the ones they used to use for mock battles, so we stacked our pockets full of those as well, and we came to Bonfire Night, I mean it was a wonderful show! Fancy going in ammunitions and taking..

Or being able to, it wasn’t obviously secure?

We’d had to do a scouting job to find out where these were, we didn’t just drop on them. We had a good Bonfire party I tell you that

Was Terrington Hall School going then when you were young. Was that largely boarders then?

Yes, it was, they were all boarders, and Clementson was the headmaster and owner and Robinson was his partner and there was a man called Mr Littlewood had it before the war and they fell on hard times, because of the economy and the numbers in the school dropped and then Littlewood sold it, handed it over to Clementson and then the war came along and a lot of the students came from towns and cities. Clementson would not have 100 pupils, he would never have 100, he got up to 90 odd, but he would never ever have 100, but they were all boarders.

So presumably they didn’t necessarily mix, you didn’t see much of them?

No, they didn’t mix at all. Completely separate. I mean there’s more integration now than there was then. Kept very much separate.

So generally when you look back on your childhood in Terrington, was it a good experience, do you think?

It was safe, nothing really happened much, no sort of, no pressures on you really. Like there is nowadays, there wasn’t an awful lot to do actually, it was pretty boring. But you see, the thing was, I spent a lot of time working at home, I’d help me father with the gardening, helped him joining, used to go with him to work at times, when he went to work at Castle Howard I used to go with him, play around, not do anything.

Was that more in the school holidays?

Yes, that’s right. We had cows you see, we had at home we had our own pigs, we had our own cows, we had poultry, geese.

Where did you keep those?

The pigs were kept in sheds outside, the cows was in part of the garden, two pig sties, and then there was the cows were kept in the cow byre, part of the outbuildings now, part of Cowdys’ house, the chickens were down the road on the right hand side, the first field on the right hand side the hens were in there. So we were almost self supporting you see.

Did you have responsibilities for the animals, feeding?

Oh yes, I had to muck the cows out, clean the pigs out on a Saturday morning, I mean I was a teenager then you see, I left Terrington School but I also remember feeding the hens I had to go down and lock them up, I used to hate it, because I used to have to go down there when it was getting dark and the German prisoners were down there and I used to have to go and fasten the hens up. We used to kill a pig or two pigs once a year, in the yard, down at Oak Dene, kill a pig, put it in a tub, we’d called it a scalding tub, like a big bath, put the copper on and heat the water and put it in this bath, scald it and shave all the hair off and then the butcher, Mr Estil, used to come down and haul it up in one of the sheds and come down and dress it, and then he used to come and cut it up and joint it. We used to hang the hams up in the living room, in fact the hooks might still be in the joists, we used to hang the hams and the sides of the bacon in the living room, to dry it out you see. And then we never ate the hams, we sold the hams, we couldn’t afford to eat the hams, we sold them on the black market.

Do you know how would they sell?

Me dad knew a man in the West Riding, me mother, I think it was maybe through me mother, they had a contact in the West Riding, and he used to come over on a Sunday afternoon and pick these hams up.

So your mother presumably used to cook with all the remains of the pigs?

All the fat was rendered down into big bowls, then there was scraps you see, there were no deep freezes, no fridges, so what she used to do, you couldn’t eat all the pork, cuttings and trimming, so used to make them into pig fries, there’d be a bit of liver, bit of pork, bit of kidney and whatever, so you’d give your friends a pig fry, and when they’d kill a pig they’d give you one back.

So that way you’d spread it through the year?

Yes, that’s right, quite a good way, but the bacon in the pigs themselves, we didn’t do it, but it had been done, they used to salt bacon in the pantries and salt is still in the walls of some of these old houses, it’s still in the wall down at Oak Dene, and you cannot get it out and the only way to get it out is to knock the wall down and rebuild it, and you used to dry salt the bacon in the pantries you see, to take the moisture out and then you used to hang it up on the ceiling to dry out. It would keep for long enough, but the salt, a lot of the pantries is still affected by this salt, it’s got into the walls, doesn’t matter what you do, it was just damp, just blow the paint off.

And the cows were kept for milk, rather than beef?

There were dairy cattle, and me dad used to milk them before went to work on a morning, get up at 5, milk the cows and I used to take them down to the field, and then sometimes I’d bring them back at night to milk, and he’d milk them when he came home, but I also remember I was 10 at the time, I was still at Terrington School actually and it was the last year of the Terrington School and me mother and father and me sister all got ‘flu and they were all in bed together, they were poorly for about a fortnight, I actually, at 10 I milked a cow twice a day when I was 10 and then I went to school. And I also remember I lived actually, I lived on onion sandwiches would you believe, I can remember it, I did.

Because your Mum wasn’t cooking?

She couldn’t cook, because she was poorly, and I liked onions and they remarked about it at school. But we always said that because I was on onions that I never got ‘flu.

The milk presumably was collected by somebody, was it, what was it used for?

No, the milk, what we did we skimmed the milk with a skimmer, it was a like a big steel saucer with holes in, and you let it drain, let the milk settle, and the cream came to the top, you skimmed the cream off, put it in another bowl and then you made it into butter.

Your mother did that?

Me mother made the butter, then we purchased a second hand separator, where you turned a handle, and you put the milk in a vessel at the top and it went through, and the cream came out of one spout and the skimmed milk came out of another spout and the skimmed milk me mother used to make curd out of it, and she used to send buckets of curd to Malton market on a Saturday, there was a stall there to sell it.

Everything got used and you were processing it. And the eggs presumably were for you mostly?

Yes for us, we didn’t sell them. A lot of the houses in the village did have pig sties.

It was quite usual for somebody to keep pigs?

Nearly every house had a pig sty, you can still see some of them around. And in fact during the War, there was, which is the Old Chapel just at the bottom of Mowthorpe Lane, on the crossroads there, where Charlie Hartas lives, that was an old chapel and they used to run the Pig Club out of there, they used to purchase meal from BATA in Malton, and you join the Pig Club and you could buy the bags of meal cheaper there. There must have been quite a few pigs on the go to run a Pig Club?

It was sort of self- sufficiency really wasn’t it?

It was actually, yes it was.

Anyway you enjoyed your childhood?


Do you have a view about how it compares to growing up in Terrington now?

It’s different isn’t it there’s more pressure on children nowadays isn’t there? They’ve got much more opportunity at school, they’re doing things at school that I never even saw, you know. They’re doing French and things like that. Music and all kinds of things, well we didn’t do that. We never had the chance, it was difficult. I don’t know I think we had the best times really, when I look back. More free and easy, there was no drugs, there was no problem with alcohol.

Less pressure really….

Well, that’s it, we’ve got to the end of the questions.

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

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