I think my Mum found it hardest of all. The water supply would disappear without
warning whenever the farmer needed it to wash out the cow sheds. As she had two babies
to look after this was a continuing problem. However, her biggest worry was probably
any emergency involving us kids. If Dad was at work then Mum had to deal with it
by herself. We had no telephone so the only way to call the doctor was to get Mr
Carter or the Hullys to do it for us. In the meantime she had to give whatever first
aid she could.
Despite all this, both my parents enjoyed their time at Henford Marsh. But, as Mum’s
health was starting to suffer, our family doctor managed to get us a council house.
By about 1955 we were living at number 54 Queensway. It had electricity, gas, hot
and cold running water, and luxury of luxuries.........an inside toilet!
Mum & Dad were married on 8th July 1950 at the Salvation Army hall in Chapel Street,
Warminster. When I was born 16 months later we were living at 40 Chapel Street, just
down the road.
Nine months after my birth we moved to 6 Henford Marsh. Today the house is a very
desirable residence known as the Shepherds Cottage, but when we lived there it had
no water supply, no gas, no electricity, and no telephone. Our sole water supply
was from a long hose pipe, connected to a standpipe in the farm yard at Eastliegh
Farm, on top of the hill.
The house was surrounded on three sides by fields, and on the fourth side by a lane.
Our nearest neighbours were Mr Carter, who lived next door (the house was semi-detached
then), and the Hully family who lived in the farm on the other side of the river
Wylye. Our only access to the farm and Warminster was via a ford and footbridge that
ran side by side. The ford is now un-passable, but the footbridge is still in use..
Some people think that living in such a situation would be idyllic, and for me and
my brother Dean (born 10th March 1953) it was. But for my parents it was probably
hard work. A black leaded cooking range supplied our cooking and heating needs, with
a small oil fired stove as a back up. Lighting came from candles or oil lamps and
entertainment was from a wind-up gramophone and a battery powered wireless. The battery,
or accumulator, for the wireless had to be taken into town to be re-charged on a
regular basis. Our toilet was a little hut at the bottom of the garden.
When not at work as a postman, Dad kept a sizeable garden which supplied us with
fresh vegetables and some fruit. Inside the house the kitchen range regularly required
black leading. Its fire needed cleaning out and rebuilding every morning before he
set off to work at about five o’clock. Dad cycled to work as he didn’t have a car,
which makes me wonder how they did the shopping - the shops were miles away.