Godfrey Jellyman (born 1923)
If there was a coronation or anything like that we always had a big bonfire with hot potatoes and things like that. There were several of those over the years. Of course, there was no rubbish then so people had to bring wood but now you see sheds thrown on and all sorts. There was one celebration when they had bonfires on every hill, but that was later.
We used to have the usual fetes and when it was George V Jubilee along at Chalford Hill School we had a party.
Although I am sure there were more fetes, two stick in my mind. One which was held in the field opposite the Doctor’s surgery (now a housing estate, originally built by the council). Dr. Middleton and his family had just moved into the surgery and at this fete he played the bagpipes whilst his wife and daughter did sword dancing.
The second was held in the Pleasure Ground and on this occasion three members of The Archers (An Everyday Story of Country Folk) came to open the proceedings. Phil & Jull Archer & Walter Gabriel were definitely there. There was a fancy dress parade lead by the Chalford Silver Band.
In the 1940s in the summer a marquee was erected and people gathered for community singing. Sometime in the 1950s a fair came to the pleasure ground with the usual dodgem cars, swing boats and side shows.
The village had its own brass band, Chalford Silver Band. Besides playing at local fetes and fancy dress parades they were hired to play at the different public houses and in the summer travelled to play at Stratford Park and on at least one occasion Bourton on the Water.
George Gleed (born 193))
We always went along to the Women’s Institute at Bussage for festivals (e.g Silver Jubilee, George V) There was games and somebody would do some comedy It was quite good We used to look forward to it as it was pre wireless times for us.
The Easter Fayre at Minchinhampton, but I never ever went – it was too far away.
Accession of George V1 – same sort of thing at the Women’s Institute at Bussage, games out in Bussage Pleasure Ground, races and childlike things.
Christmas: it was very exciting. I used to do quite well as my sisters were seven and nine years older. We always had a chicken for Christmas Dinner – I used to really look forward to that. My mother’s parents lived next door but two so we all got together. We did the best we could for decorations.
Easter: I looked forward to the Easter eggs. I should probably have wrecked the place looking for them if they’d been hidden!
VE Day: Very exciting. I’d just started work then.
The cold winter of 1940 (1947?), absolutely terrible. Huge drifts, up to your neck in places. Absolutely colossal. Never seen a winter like it before or since. Enjoyed it to a certain extent. We made a sledge, had snow ball fights and made slides. Toadsmoor Lake got frozen and there was people down there skating. Fellow that owned it – Carneer was his name, spiteful sort of fellow used to shift us off now and again. He didn’t like people down there.
Cynthia Gleed (born 1933)
I went to Bisley School. The highlight of our year was Ascension Day when we all had to go round to the houses and collect flowers. We used to go out on Monday night and get the moss, Tuesday night we collected the flowers, Wednesday night we put them on the wooden things and Thursday was the actual march down to the wells. Now they have a brass band. We didn’t have that, it was very primitive.
I remember there was always a mug, it was my brother’s for George V Silver Jubilee. He was older than me. I didn’t have one.
VE Day – on Ascension Day they had a big V made in red, white and blue flowers and that took pride of place in the front of the procession. We had to march down to the Wells and put them on . Mr. Banyard was up the top of the Wells. We always thought he’d fall over but he didn’t.
Grace Banyard (born 1930) – Bisley
I got married at the Registry Office in Stroud. We couldn’t afford anything else. My brother and sister in law were witnesses. Then we came to Bisley to live.
Festivals: They had fundraising up at the playing fields, men used to dress as women and vice versa. Me and my friend down the road done the teas for 300 people for the Coronation. We had a street party, a BBQ in the middle of the road by the Stirrup Cup. We used to have a dance committee and when the flower show was on we used to run a dance for the youngsters in the evening, a disco or something. That money either went to the church or for the tent. Then I ran the Ascension for 17 years – with helpers.
We celebrated Christmas here with all the family.
Vesta Rock (born 1934)
I remember the end of the war, that’s what sticks in my mind. The men had obviously gone to the local pub but early evening we all congregated at the Pike on Butterow and there was a local guy who could play the mouth organ and we all danced to ‘Don’t Fence Me In’. That sticks in my mind. Every time I drive up there, I think, ah, I remember that on VE Day.
Shirley Bushell (born 1943)
I do remember when it was the Coronation in 1953, we did a lot of work for that. I remember all these scrapbooks we had to do for weeks beforehand and the church was floodlit for about a week around that time and I can still see that now. For us as children it was absolutely marvellous. The day of the Coronation, we went up to Brownshill. One of my older cousin’s husband, Cyril Pond, was an electrician and had this grainy black and white TV that we all crowded round and watched it on. To watch something from London on the TV was something. Then with cousins of mine we all ran back down the hill, walked up the other hill to Chalford Hill School because there was a coronation tea for school children and we were all given a mug, then there was games. That was quite something.
Margaret Mills (born 1934)
For birthdays, nothing very special, a little party with your friends. Christmas, a lot of our family lived in the village you see so we all got together and went from one house on Christmas Day to an auntie’s on Boxing Day. We really celebrated Christmas. We went out carol singing quite freely in the dark, round the doors.
We had bonfire night down in the alley along by the Red Lion. We used to all help build up this big bonfire. We did have some fireworks – we had a good time. The bonfire was the main attraction.
Coronation time we had a really good time – a big parade down the village. My father was the chairman of the committee that organised the Coronation things – dressing up and parading all through the village. We made quite a big thing of it. We had our first television at Tankard Spring, black and white obviously – a little tiny thing. Into the ‘50s probably. We didn’t have it for the Coronation. Bu Mike has always been into radio and he had a small television and we saw the Coronation on that in his shed!
John Hemmings (born 1934)
We used to have Chalford Feast – everyone drank too much. The Smart family were by then teetotal. When they were coming up for Chalford Feast he would hire a private train to the area to take all the local children to Weston for the day.
Beryl Freebury (born 1941)
For Ascension we used to go to Bisley by coach for dressing the wells. We had a day off from school then. We would go to the church service, take our flowers and go to the wells, then have tea at the WI hall and then up to the Recreation Ground and have sports. We weren’t made over welcome by the Bisley children so it stopped! We used to call it a bun fight!
It was a happy time and everyone got on so well this is why we’ve had such good celebrations: Millennium; Golden Jubilees’ Carnivals. A lot have stopped now. We used to have lorries like Stroud Show but Health and Safety has spoilt a lot of that. It was great dressing up and going along.
It must have been 1987 when the new (Beavers’) HQ was built and we had a big ceremony at Thomas Keble. We had the Chief Scout and they all had to make cakes and Freddie (son of Princess Michael of Kent) came with his box of cakes. He was invested down at Bussage Village Hall when we were using that. Princess Michael of Kent sat there and entered into the games. She was lovely. It was at a time she was getting a lot of publicity. It was when she was known as Princess Pushy. I found her very pleasant. Freddie used to come running in and give me a hug. He won’t remember now.
Bob Messenger (born 195)
Used to have a fete in the valley. Didn’t have none on the Hill. We used to go and watch the carnival at Stroud Show. Had floats down the centre. They used to have the Carol Bus up here, used to stand on corner and watch it. Started in Stroud. At Christmas we just did normal things, chickens, turkeys, Christmas tree.
Nancy Gardiner (born 1924
Another thing we used to do which was quite nice, I started them with Stroud Show. We had the lorry in the field and dressed it up the night before. We won first and second once. I had to take the children on the float with the driver, sometimes I’d dress them up. One day we had a washing day theme – a big old mangle and a washing line with funny washing on and the driver went down Toadsmoor at a rate of knots! We were hanging on to everything and the washing was flapping! We did have some fun. Another time we did a British thing, ‘Britain’s Best’ that sort of thing – they thought we were sort of advertising some odd group but we got second that year. I think I was Churchill.
Judith Newman (born 1943)
My father was on the Parish Council right from a very early stage when we moved here, and he was quite active in getting things going in Chalford.; and I remember, there used to be a fete – how often it occurred I don’t remember, but I know there was a fete once, and a fair, up on the recreation field at the top of Dr. Middleton’s Road, and there used to be a wooden parish hall there as well once, which fell down eventually. And they didn’t used to mow the field but I think they must have mowed a bit to have that fete going on; we used to have that fete and a fair, they must have done something; and I know the Archers, Jill and Phil Archer, opened the fete, I think it was 1955 or ’57 or ’56, I know I was a young teen then.
There was a Chalford Show which used to be down in the valley playground. Other than that, no, but I used to go to a lot of things. I remember going to a Harvest Festival and where the auction took off afterwards. (A friend) would take me to a show at the Baptist school room here, a sort of variety show by local people. Other than that, no.
The Coronation was a big event. We had a television, my father bought a television specially for it, and my grannies came up to watch and my aunties. It was a miserable day so I just wanted to spend the day watching the television, but we all had to go out after lunch to go to a Coronation Tea at the school. I had to go to Chalford Bottom School because the Ecclesiastic Parish boundary was Coppice Hill and I lived on that side, and my friend who lived opposite me was on this side, so she went to Chalford Hill School with everybody I knew, I ended up going where I didn’t want to go. And I got a different (souvenir) mug from everybody else as well, but that’s all I remember. I remember mostly about that year, I was I suppose 9, and my friend Jo who lived opposite me, in a place called Coppice Ridge then, we spent all our time together, we were great friends, still friends now. And they had a small farm in the field just behind their house, and we had a pet goose that year and we gave it a coronation. It was a gosling, and when it was still a bit yellow and fluffy and amenable, we did it up in a purple robe, put a crown on its head and wheeled it round the garden in a wheelbarrow. We used to spend a lot of time, and my sister, collecting stuff to do with the coronation – scrap books, photographs, everything with coronation things on them, you know, pencils, pencil sharpeners, pencil boxes, ribbons, I was just enamoured of the whole thing.
Peter Clissold (born 1931)
The (Bussage) village hall in those days (during WW2) was called the Women’s Institute – it was not the Village Hall then at all; they put on all sorts of plays and things all through the war to raise money and we all had to be fitted with gas masks in the hall – the stage there was used well, for all sorts of things – there were even travelling play people who would come and do things there, and we had dances there to raise money for the war effort.
Hayden Hunt (born 1941)
Coronation: I had my first half pint of beer at the coronation. I can remember the sports bit because I was quite sporty, you know – running and all that sort of thing, high jumping, long jumping – more athletics. It was the same over at Oakridge, I used to go over there to the shows… There was a big party, there was all sorts, outside on the Pleasure Ground. Everything was all right (weather) when we was there anyway, as far as I can remember. I know the dancing was at night and then Eric said ‘I’ll get you half a pint’.
Keith Weaver (born 1932)
In 1937, for the coronation of King George V1 there was a fancy dress procession led by Chalford Band, and they left Chalford Church, along the High Street, up Coppice Hill to the Pleasure Ground. Mrs. Griffiths had a high pram which she decorated to look like a carriage. She sat me in it and pushed me all the way. We did win a prize.
D Day arrived and everyone seemed to find a flag somewhere. We had a parade from Chalford Hill School to the Pleasure Ground with band and fancy dress. VJ Day, I was in London for that. I stayed with my friend in Shepherds Bush…They went mad up there, making bonfires just wherever they thought they would.
Ross Forsyth (born 1940)
1953, the Coronation: We had one of the first televisions in the village. He (grandfather?) was a gadget man so we had this tiny little screen in a great big wooden cabinet, but half of the village were here all day watching it!. Mid morning, it took ages. My grandmother was out in the kitchen making sandwiches. There was a celebration in the pleasure ground because the YMCA hut was still there then, and a tea for the kids, and races with tiny little cash prizes, and I think we did a demonstration (in the scouts) of tent pitching. It was horrible weather and we were supposed to build this tower and send a message by semaphore and we had to take the whole thing indoors into the YMCA hut, but by the time we got the tower built, the person on top was in the rafters, and I was supposed to receive this message and send it on – I knew what the message was anyway! We didn’t have much of an audience.
Monica Ridge (born 1943)
I can remember when the Church used to do a fete and they used to start with a procession from the station, Chalford Station, and walk all the way down and then walk all the way up past the Church, and we’d be at the back of the vicarage (the parsonage), there’s a field.
I remember back here again, every Xmas, on Xmas Eve, the Chalford Silver Band used to always come to Springfield House and come into the hallway here, and I used to sit about here when they arrived (look at photo – stairs and hallway). They came every Xmas.
Alan Mayo (born 1943)
We always had a valley fete. Shirley Bushell mentioned another fete at the Vicarage. That was the Church Fete. Chalford Valley Fete, carnival and band, and it was all down in the playing field; and someone had a horse that was very tame and kids could have a ride on it, and there was a tug of war and, going way back, the next field along where the bulrushes are, that’s where the Fete used to be; and our Mum used to say about a greasy pole here and there was one chap called Tubby Franklyn who was the only one who could do it. ( Rosie Franklyn no relation).
The (Silver) Band used to march up the High Street with Percy Stratford in the lead and they used to come round on Christmas Eve. One of them was my Mum’s cousin, and he used to come round with a box and always came in and had a glass of sherry.