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Terrington 2020 Project - Interview with Neville Hornsey

Date of interview: 2014
Interviewer: John Goodwill
Transcribed by: Susie Wildey

Listen to the recording:


The full transcript of the interview with Neville follows, running to about 10 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.


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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.

Armitage, Brecon, Carr, Craven, Frank, Goodrick, Goodwill, Rhodes, 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.

The Cliffe, Hornsey Cottage, Little Terrington, New Road, Norfolk, North Back Lane, Sheriff Hutton, Village Hall, York Tech College

Transcript of interview

Could you give your full name please?

Neville Hornsey.

And where were you born Neville?

I was born at Little Terrington.

And your father and mother’s name?

Sydney and May Hornsey.

What was your mother’s maiden name?

Her maiden name was Frank.

And where in Terrington did you grow up?

I grew up at Little Terrington for 4 or 5 years and we moved into the village when I was about 4 and I more or less grew up in the village.

Whereabouts in the village did you live?

At top of the village and then we moved down nearly to the bottom of the village.

Can you describe the house that you moved into when you came to Terrington? Did it have electricity and water and toilets and bathroom?

There was no water, no electric, no bathroom, no toilet, there was no water laid on. We had paraffin lamps and a tilly lamp for light and candles.

And what did you do for bathing?

We had a tin bath out in the shed, and used to boil water in a boiler and cleanest one used to get in first, and then the dirtiest one got in last

And what about the toilet arrangements?

Toilet arrangements wasn’t very good, it was an earth toilet in the shed and when it got filled up we used to have to carry it up the road, up into the allotment and dig a hole and bury it.

Good heavens! And who lived there, in the house with you?

I lived with mother and father and I had a brother, and 3 sisters.

When you were at home what sort of food did you eat?

We had plenty of food, we had bread, we had milk and me mother used to bake cakes. We always had plenty to eat and for the meat we used to get bits off the butcher, but then some days we had to go down to fields and I used to catch rabbits and we used catch rabbits to make up the meat side of the meal.

What about vegetables?

Vegetables we had an allotment, at top of the village.

Whereabouts was that?

Just on the crossroads at the top before you go down to New Road, where there’s houses built now, and there was all allotments there and we had a large allotment there and we grew vegetables and potatoes and whatever you put in ’garden.

Did you keep a pig or anything like that?

No, we never had a pig.

How many shops were there in the village?

As far as I can remember there would be 2 I think, 2 and a Post Office. As far as I can remember, there was one right at the top, top of the village I think it was …. I can remember it was Rhodes’s shop – a lady we used to call her Granny Rhodes – had it. That was some distant relation to me mother, and we used to get stuff from the shop from there and then there was a co-operative in the village and a chap used to come round and take your orders on a Monday, and then they used to come delivering before the end of the week, and we had co-operative stamps and things if you bought so much you got a stamp or, is it a certificate you get or ….?


Yes it was like a divvy yes.

How many other trades and professions were there in the village, can you remember?

There was 2, there could have been 3 joiners, a builders.

Can you remember the names of the joiners?

The joiners was Goodrick & Son, and when I was old enough, well I was 17, nearly 17, I was I joined to be an apprentice joiner at Ron Armitage, so that was 2, and I think there was Goodwill Sons & Craven’s – builders – that’s all I can remember. And I think there was one at bottom of the street, there was W J Goodwill, he was a joiner as well and he had a joiner’s shop. That’s all that were.

When you were young what sort of clothes did you wear, did you buy them locally or did you … can you remember?

I can’t remember really where me mother bought them, but they used to go, I can’t remember going shopping with her anyway, so we used to get, but we always had plenty good clothes, we were always clean and tidy, tried to be! Although we had no water laid on, we used to get our water to boil on a kettle on a paraffin stove or a pan from the tap outside in the village.

I think that’s still there isn’t it, well the tap isn’t there, but there’s a pipe there?

I think there’s a pipe still there, where we used to collect water from. We used to carry it in in a bucket and we used to take it out of the bucket and put it in the pan or kettle.

What sort of games did you play as a child, can you remember that?

Can’t remember much about games, we used to play errr …. Cowboys and Indians, we used to go down fields into woods, into bushes, that was Cowboys and Indians, and then that was about it, as far as I can remember. Can’t remember much else, anything else.

Did your family celebrate Christmas and birthdays?

Yeah we always celebrated birthdays, we always had a little party and at Christmas we had a little party and we used to sit round tree opening our little presents, oranges and chocolates etc in them days. Everybody seemed to, we always had a party at somebody’s birthday, we had a party, we managed to have a party in my household that was.

Did you go away on holiday at all?

We went away when we got a bit older, I was the eldest of the family and me mother used to take us, we used to go on a bus, we used to get on a train and we used to go down to Norfolk, how she managed I do not know with 4 kids, I’ve no idea how she managed, but we used to go down there to Norfolk to see me auntie who lived down there.

What was discipline like, were your parents very strict?

Not really, I just did what I liked.

Did you get smacked bottom or …?

No, I can’t remember getting one

Where did you first go to school, which school did you go to?

I went to Terrington C of E school.

How old were you then?

I was started about ….. I would be 5 year old. It was just before 5 year old, it would be Easter time when I started and I kept at that school until I was 15, 14 and ¾ or 15, and then from then I went, I had about 2 or 3 months I was working on a pig farm and then I was working, I was doing bits of dry walling, I used to do a bit of dry walling and gardening, I do a lot of gardening and then I went to school at York, at York Tech College for one year. How did I get there?


I got, I had to cycle from Terrington to Sheriff Hutton, catch a ten to 8 bus on a morning and travel into York, to the Railway Station, and then I used to have change buses and get on another one and go up Tadcaster Road to where the old College was. Then that happened on a night as well, and I got back home, ten past 4 bus out of York and got back to Sheriff Hutton, got on me pushbike and biked home.

And you got home at what time?

I would be at home about half past 5 maybe, six o’clock time.

At Terrington school can you remember how many children went to school when you were there?

As far as I can remember there was only 2 rooms – a big room and a little room. And I think there would be maybe 15 in each, maybe 30 pupils, but I’ll be corrected about that I’m not quite sure.

And who were the teachers?

We had 2 teachers, what I can remember when I was there. One was Miss Brecon, she was the Headteacher and the other one was Miss Wood, Lois Wood, and she used to bike from, she was a little room teacher we called her 'little room teacher' and she used to bike from Sheriff Hutton every day, and she used to leave her bike in our shed, where we lived at the top of the village and they were pretty good. I enjoyed ‘em, they were pretty good teachers.

Were they strict at school, did they punish people?

They were very strict, but as we got older Headteacher seemed to get younger, and the lot of older boys used to take a bit of mickey out of her, so she used to shout for Miss Wood out of the other room, who was a bit older, she used to come in and she was left-handed and she used to give you the cane. The Headteacher, she was a bit younger than Miss Wood, some boys used to put their hands out and then they used to pull ‘em away, then Headteacher used to maybe swing it and hit her own knee and then some boys, I remember, they used to just put their hand out and shake her hand and that made her mad, so she had to go and get Lois Wood, Miss Wood again. But she used to come out and she was a bit vicious and she used to cane everybody properly.

And was the school warm, what sort of heating was there at the school?

There was 2 big stoves – one in the big room, one in the little room and they were fairly big ones, and I can remember they were, I think they were run by coke and there was a caretaker came and she used to, I think she used to light them on a morning and they called her Mrs Carr, she lived just across the road from the school, and she used to light ‘em on a morning and I think that’s all I can remember, that was only heating they had. And I can remember ‘em bringing pans of milk and we used to have that at our 10 o’clocks and everybody used to drink this hot milk at 10 o’clock.

Did you get into trouble at school at all?

No, I never did get into trouble, I was a goodie goodie. But I did, I was a goodie goodie in some things but we used to do little mischievous acts as well. I can remember playing football one day and we used to kick the ball in front of the desks, we hadn’t tables then, we all had desks and it used to rebound, well there was a certain person called me kicked it one day and it missed the desk and went soaring straight up through the window and the glass went halfway down the garden, that was a school teacher’s garden who used to live there in the olden days, and she came back and said 'Oh, what’s happened?' and we said 'it was somebody from outside!' had bust this window. But we didn’t realise there was glass all outside to start with, so we had to be careful and we broke some bits of glass off and put ‘em inside, to look as though somebody had broken it inside. And there was another little thing that we used to do, before they altered all the school over the years, years back, we used to throw pens up into the roof, we used to have them quill pens, and they were to write with, and we used to see if we could throw them up, but there was one certain person threw a compass up and that stuck and it was there till all time!

Really, what about meals at school, did you get lunches provided or did you take a packed lunch, or what did you do for lunch?

When I first started I think we used to, didn’t we used to go home at lunchtime …? And then I can remember going down, there was an old Village Hall down the lane, and we used to all go down there for our lunch, there was a cook, they used to cook lunches and we used to all go down there, as far as I can remember.

Where was the old Village Hall?

The old Village Hall was the bottom of the Back Lane, the North Back Lane, same lane as this school, but at the bottom, nearly at the Church, be about 50 yards from the Church, that was the old Village Hall. They built a canteen on the back and there was a cook came and she used to cook all the meals there, and we used to have all meals there.

What sort of games did you play at school? Can you remember?

Well we were allowed to play tennis, there was a tennis court down at Back Lane, North Back Lane, and I think we played cricket as well, football as well, I think we played a bit of football, kick it about and that was about it. We sort of, we played, well our teacher Lois Wood, the little room teacher, she was a games teacher she used to take us and learn us how to play cricket and football and tennis. And it was her that learnt me because I carried on playing cricket later on, she was very good.

So what was your, when you left school, what was your first job? First proper job?

Me first proper job when I left York, I would leave York about summer time and then I was working, again on this pig farm, a bit and then I used to do some gardening and then I got a job as a joiner, apprentice joiner.

Who was that with?

That was with Ron Armitage, in the village. And I carried on, I worked for him, we did 6 years apprenticeship and we also did painting and decorating.

And what about friends, did you have a group of friends that you knocked about with?

Yeah, we seemed to be all boys together seemed to knock about together, and then there was a few girls and then when finished with boys it was just a girl and that was my friendships. But we did actually, I can remember joining, there was a drama group in the village then. And I remember joining that and then we used to have, there was a group of friends there and we used to go up into the old Village Hall, that was where The Cliffe, they converted that into a Village Hall and we used to do plays up there. While I was involved in them, I was just a member of the cast.

And you’ve been doing that since, as you got older as well?

We did it then, and I would only be in me 20’s then when we started, then we carried on later on in life, then they started out again with a Drama Group in the new Village Hall which went down very well actually, but unfortunately now, it’s packed up now. But they were good times, I enjoyed all that you know, they were good people.

Can you remember any particular incidents about the War? Can you remember the War at all?

I can’t, no I can’t really remember anything. I remember sitting behind a wall when we lived up at top of street, be about ’43 maybe or ’44, I remember sitting behind a wall and there was a, I don’t know if it was tanks or army wagons came past, and that was about all I can remember about it. Can’t remember any bombing or banging or fighting or aeroplanes.

You can’t?

No I can’t remember that. I can’t remember any of that, no. I can remember going back to when I was maybe 5 or 6, they’d put a bag on me back and me dinner, and they’d taken me out when we had potato picking time in October, used to be on holiday. I remember going out from 5 or 6, down to Mr Estil’s farm and we used to pick potatoes.

And how much did you get paid for that?

It was a pittance, maybe a few pence a week, but I can’t remember exactly, it wasn’t very much.

And that was special holiday from school?

We had a special holiday from school in October, and it was called a 'tatie picking holiday' and it used to be really cold and frosty and, when proper weather used to be there.


And I did that right through all me school years.

Finally Neville do you think that life in Terrington has changed much over the years? Oh just before you answer that you said you’d moved, you lived originally, to start with, at the top of the village and then you moved down to the bottom somewhere…

We moved to a little cottage and everybody christened it Hornsey Cottage.


And when we moved down there there was only one cold water tap in that spot as well, there was electric down there actually, there was electric, but the toilet was outside – up the garden and the funny thing about this toilet was it was a two seater, you could take somebody and have a talk, you know. Pass the newspapers to each other, and that was another episode, you had to take the back out and when it got.., there were the pans, or buckets underneath you had to take them up and dig a hole and bury ‘em. We did our own sewerage works,

So can you remember when sewage came to Terrington?

Not really, ’56, ’58.


Yes 1963 but I can’t remember it coming.

No, no.

But then you see when we left down ’street, what they call it Hornsey Cottage, when I left, me family was still living there, ‘cos I left when I was 20 and got married, so the family still was living there and then they all left home and I remember me mother and father went into some flats, there were some flats in Terrington, in the bottom of the South Back Lane, and they moved into them. Useless information.

So do you think Terrington has changed much over the years?

I think it’s changed a lot.

Do you think it’s better?

I think it’s a lot better in some ways, but, when we were young we only knew what there was then, we managed without electric, we managed without water, you had to do, but today it must be better in them ways, there’s sewerage, there’s water, there’s electric on, there’s everything anybody could wish for. But everybody seemed to be happy in them days, because nobody moved far. And everybody seemed to be in a little happy community of their own, in my opinion, today’s life in villages, is like a dormitory village, is Terrington, people come and they sleep and they go to work, and then they come home at night, go to bed, get up next morning, go to work and then come home, and you might see ‘em at weekend, I mean for instance this last Christmas – 2013 – I think I’ve seen one person in a month up our lane and normally years back all ’neighbours used to come in, we used to go into their houses but everybody’s different now, everybody’s gone, gone to another world or died, and now you don’t see anybody.

What about children do you think they have a better time of it now, than you had?

Well I think children, I think, I can’t explain it really ‘cos I’m not a child anymore. If I’d been a child now I think it would have been better, because there’s more things for ‘em to do. There’s a thing called a television sits in ’corner of a room, young people have I-pods and everything seems to be, goes round that, nobody seems to go out, and go to walks, and play tricks and football and tennis like what we used to do on a night, we used to play on a night ‘cos there was nothing else to do. But there’s different things to do nowadays, everybody’s a different generation or different two generations since I was a little ‘un.

Right well we’ve been through all the, is there anything you’d like to mention Neville that I haven’t asked about?

Well, no, not really I think I’ve answered as much as I could, what I can remember, errr and to me personally I’ve just been lucky. I’ve lived here most of me life in Terrington, nearly all me life, apart from a few trips down to Norfolk where I used to go and stay and do some work.

Yeh. Thank you very much. That’s the end of it, this recording.

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

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