One of Peter Nunn’s articles which appeared in the magazine ‘Old Tractor’ in March 2004 (slightly adapted).
In June 1919 Frank Nunn bought a pair of Class K7 Fowler ploughing engines with a plough and cultivator for £3,500; a little over two years old but scarcely used – apparently they had not been sufficiently strong to cope with the heavier clay soils of Bedfordshire.
A set of steam ploughing tackle demanded a committed team of five men. The foreman had to be able to perform the duties of any one of his team and needed two engine drivers, a cultivator (or plough) man and a young lad – always referred to as the cook boy. Unless the work was near to home, they ate and slept in the living van. They were expected to keep the engines at work through all the hours of daylight usually from the middle of March until late into the autumn.
During the summer of 1936, an unfortunate accident occurred with the ploughing tackle. On a farm at Combs near Stowmarket, a mole drainer became entangled with a stubborn tree root, which dragged the engine over on its side, smashing the chimney, the flywheel and, more importantly, the safety valve on the steam chest. The escaping steam blew a hole in the ground and enveloped the whole scene in an impenetrable cloud of steam and dust. Luckily, the driver had managed to jump off the footplate clear of the engine before it toppled. One of the advantages in operating a pair of engines was that if something untoward happened to one of them there was always the other nearby to render aid. The toppled engine was soon righted and, by a stroke of good fortune, a spare flywheel was available back at base. The other repairs were within the capacity of the staff and work was resumed fairly promptly.
Apart from this distressing incident, the contracting side of the business was running well. It was always an accepted part of the contract that the farmer had to provide coal and water, usually with a horse and cart (a water cart was part of the steam tackle). Any delay in the supplies arriving caused untold irritation to the enginemen because of the effect it might have on their acreage bonus payments. The problem was that many horses were frightened by noisy steam engines and could not be persuaded to get close enough for the transfer of the water and coal. Many stories have been recounted of these incidents, including tales of the steel cable of one of the engines being attached to the horse so that both it and the water cart could be dragged to the thirsty steamer!
Keeping the team going year-round
There was always a period during the winter when the tackle had to be brought back to base. Frank Nunn tried very hard to retain the team during the off- season and the foreman and his two drivers were sufficiently skilled to carry out most of the maintenance before the next arduous season. Few boiler tubes lasted more than two years so some needed replacing each year. The team would also often use one of the Fowler engines to transport timber to the works. After seasoning for four or five years, the wood would be used to make wagons, tumbrels, horse hoes and farm ladders: ash for felloes (pronounced fellies) because of its flexibility and toughness; elm for the nave (or hub) because it would not split; and oak for the spokes because of its strength.
Over the years, the requirement for timber largely diminished and so another activity was needed for the enginemen out of season. Frank Nunn purchased an A Type dredger with a trailer to transport it. The trailer also carried a pump with appropriate hoses in case it was necessary to drain ponds and lakes before dredging could begin. Imagine the farmers’ delight when it was possible to clean out a typical pond in a couple of hours for about £5-£10 a time. The dredger was surprisingly simple and was strongly constructed with two vertically hinged and heavily riveted steel plates. The first engine pulled the hinged end of the contrivance into the pond to a pre-determined distance and then the second took the strain. Critically positioned chains allowed the plates to open by about 90 degrees and scoop out about two or three cubic yards of mud and debris.
Conversion to diesel
An article that had appeared in a farm journal in December 1935 attracted Frank Nunn to the idea of converting his steam engines to diesel power. The conversions were supplied in the form of a kit supplied by J. & H. Mclaren of Leeds, consisting of a four-cylinder diesel engine, a large radiator, a two-cylinder 5 hp petrol engine for starting the diesel, a clutch, a transverse transmission and a pair of strong supporting side-plates. Before work could start, the chimney, steam chest, flywheel and crankshaft-drive assembly were removed from the old engines; the smoke box was renewed; all boiler tubes replaced and the rear water tank cleaned. The heavy diesel engines were lifted into position with pulley blocks hanging from a tripod of strong wooden baulks. The smoke box was conveniently utilised as a toolbox, the boiler became a very effective silencer (one could hardly hear the engine running when idling) and the water tank became the fuel tank holding sufficient for two week’s work. Diesel fuel was ordered and delivered on site in loads of 500 gallons, shared between the two engines, at a cost of £10 per load. Petrol was then 1/6d a gallon. Within the contract price for the conversion (in excess of £2,400), Mclaren provided the services of a qualified engineer, called Jack Smiley, who took lodgings at the local public house. The skills of the enginemen were put to good use in assisting Smiley, but Frank Nunn became increasingly concerned about the time that was being taken over the conversion with orders for work accumulating. In answer to his fervent pleas, Mclarens seconded a second engineer to the job and the engines were ready by the middle of 1938.
Back to steam!
In the autumn of 1938, Nunns were offered the opportunity to buy another complete set of Fowler steam plough tackle: these were in excellent mechanical condition, a snip at under £500 the pair.for the pair. The tackle included a four-furrow balance plough with subsoiler attachments. A new team of five men was recruited and the steam set was ready for work by the late spring of 1939. However the newly appointed foreman was found to be entertaining a girlfriend in the van during the afternoon and was instantly replaced! With the diesel engines at work, customers were no longer used to having to supply coal and water and were unhappy about having to accept the steam set. This problem was overcome by adapting a 250-gallon water cart to be pulled by a tractor. The chassis was mounted on rubber tyres and had coal bunkers at the front and rear. It incorporated a water pump and cost £21; the cart became an extra responsibility for the ‘cook boy’.
The end of the road (1941)
By early 1941, it was becoming apparent that several of the traction gears and pinions on the diesel set were becoming very badly worn. Replacement with new would have been prohibitively expensive, so it was decided to use the arc welder to build up all the individual teeth on these gears – a long job with the shape of the teeth achieved purely by the length of arc and the amperage employed. Bill Nunn and Fred Rush took it in turns to keep the arc welder in continuous use from as early as six o’clock in the morning until six o’clock in the evening. After these repairs had been completed, the tackle set out from the works for the ensuing 1941 spring season. They had only travelled a couple of miles when a steering chain or pin broke on one of the engines, causing it to slip off the road and leaving it tottering very dangerously on the edge of a deep ditch. The second engine was not sufficient to pull it out and one of the steamers had to be brought from base to complete the recovery. The administrative problems of running two sets of ploughing tackle during the early war years proved to be extremely arduous and imposed a tremendous strain, particularly on Frank himself. The gradual introduction of crawler tractors and the Fowler Gyrotiller, each employing only one man, proved to be too strongly competitive: Nunns decided to wind up this side of the business and sold all the equipment off in August 1941.
Peter H. Nunn
Some Historical Notes on Blackbourne Works
This article appeared in the Elmswell Newsletter in May 1993
One can perhaps imagine a walk along Green Road in the early 1830’s before the industrial revolution and before the Eastern Union railway line invaded its serenity in 1845 on a track wandering through many waterlogged wastes and at varying levels, widths and conditions. There still remain several houses and old thatched cottages along this road that can help one construct what must have been a tranquil rural scene.Set in the middle of this village green (believed to have been known as Buttonhaugh Green) was a blacksmith’s shop. The discovery of a Sale Catalogue dated 1848 in the Public Records’ Office at Bury St. Edmunds lists Lot Number 24 as an ‘exceedingly desirable property consisting of a neat cottage dwelling with blacksmith’s shop, cow-house, garden and orchard in the occupation of Mr. Wm. Spencer as yearly tenant at an annual rental of £11.15s.0d.’ The Sale was of various lots all parts of the estate of Sir. G.H. Smythe, Bart. and took place in the Capital Free Public House then known as The Lion (now the home of Mr. & Mrs. M. Catton) the subject of another Lot Number and the only inn in the village at that time. Both the 1841 Census and the 1846 White’s Directory of Suffolk list Mr. Wm. Spencer as a blacksmith. In 1841 he was 41 but it is not known if he was self-employed running a business or an employee of the Smythe estate.Our cover picture this month shows the original blacksmiths buildings on what is now the site of Thurlow Nunn Standen, Ashfield Road. The stile in the foreground leads to the footpath which now runs between Thurlow’s and the new Fairclough Estate.
It is not known who purchased Lot No. 24 at the sale. Relevant deeds indicate that a certain Nathan Warren (then aged 50) who lived at Wetherden purchased the property in 1876 although he could have previously been a tenant of another owner. The 1881 Census quotes Nathan Warren as employing seven men and a boy so it must have been a busy blacksmith’s enterprise. White’s Directory of 1885 makes the first reference to Blackburn Ironworks (note spelling). The name was no doubt taken from the small river which rises behind the parish church and runs through the early Suffolk County administrative area originally known as the Blackborne Hundred (spelling).
Little factual information can be found about the works until the business was sold to Frank J. Nunn in 1909 following Warren’s death at the age of 82 the previous year. Although Warren did become well known for the manufacture of his well known horse hoes and a range of arable harrows things had then reached a bad state and the locals called the new owner a fool who could not possibly last six months. The foundry had ceased to function because of the difficulties in obtaining suitable moulding clay. One old man who died many years ago claimed that because of jealosy over the affections of a local barmaid there was sabotage in the foundry shed and a roll-ring mould exploded. Apart from the damage to tiles on the roof it brought down so much accumulated dust that the job of clearing up was beyond the inclinations of both staff and management. Frank Nunn was the youngest son of a blacksmith in Drinkstone. He had obviously received training from his father and from an older brother who ran a cycle repair business. He had for a few years chauffered the local doctor and with a young wife, the daughter of a local farmer, had lived above the old surgery in Woolpit. He enjoyed telling the tale that at the age of sixteen he had sought employment at the works, was rejected, but at twenty-six he returned to the establishment. He also said that if he had five pounds in his pocket at the end of the week he had enough to pay the wages of four or five employees and provide housekeeping money for his wife for the next week. The deeds of the sale defined Frank Nunn as an engineer — one had to have more than basic engineering skills to keep a car on the road in those times. He was never a wheelwright as an earlier article in this magazine suggested. However, four of the employees at the time of purchase were named as Bob Leech and Ted Nicholls, who were blacksmiths together with Bob Nunn (no relation) and Edgar Oxborrow who were wheelwrights.
From then onwards the business activity centered around shoeing working horses, repairs to farm implements and the continued and successful manufacture of Warren horse hoes, harrows, tumbrils and waggons. The World War I focussed attention on the home production of food and a pair of Fowler Steam Ploughing Engines with the ancillary tillage equipment were purchased in 1919. This system was considered the best in heavy land cultivation and drainage. The late 20’s and 30’s were difficult years although the need for expansion persuaded Nunn to purchase an adjacent property known as ‘The Laurels’ which had been built with Woolpit white bricks in about 1895. Twice he did this only to be forced to re-sell to improve business liquidity. In 1929 he purchased The Laurels for the third time and it soon became the family home. The original thatched house referred to as a ‘neat cottage dwelling’ in the second paragraph of this article and the birth-place of Nunn’s five children was demolished. My birth certificate gives my place of birth as Blackbourn House (spelling). A new building was erected on this site in 1930 which provided a showroom as well as parts’ and office accommodation.
In 1935 several old and dilapidated sheds were replaced by a large steel-framed and asbestos-clad building situated directly behind the showroom to be used as a modern workshop for the repair of farm machinery. In 1937 a second set of Fowler Steam Ploughing Engines was brought into service. By this time tractors were being accepted and sold from the works as an essential and inevitable replacement for the Suffolk Punch horse. The years of World War II heralded a rapid increase in farm mechanisation with the sale of greater numbers of tractors, balers and combine harvesters, many being brought across the Atlantic from America under the Lease Lend Plan. This lead to the demise of the contracting business with the eventual sale of all that equipment in 1941.
The original blacksmith’s shop with its four forges was eventually demolished in 1946 and a new building was erected on that site to contain a specialist spare parts’ department. Frank Nunn died in 1959 failing by only a few months to complete five decades of business activity at Blackbourne Ironworks. No significant structural changes occured until 1970 when the agricultural interests of George Thurlow & Sons Ltd., of Stowmarket were merged with those of Frank J. Nunn & Sons, Ltd. with the creation of Thurlow Nunn and Sons Ltd. This marriage brought together two long established family businesses. So as to accommodate the increased activity a completely new workshop was built over The Laurels garden, the house became a block of offices and the old workshop was taken over for increased parts’ stocks. At the same time, and much to the annoyance of those that adored the typical English country thatched cottage, one adjacent and a long time in the ownership of the company named ‘Homefield’ was demolished. This provided extensive car parking space.
In 1978 an additional office block was built to house staff of a central computerised parts’ stock control system, provide a canteen, a boardroom and more adequate toilet accommodation. At that time more than fifty were employed on the site. In recent years that number has substancially reduced because of the recession in agriculture and the centralisation of certain administrative activities elsewhere in the Thurlow Nunn Standen group of companies. 1990 saw some cosmetic changes to the roadside frontage timed with the introduction of a ‘Groundcare’ division.
The Nunn Story
Fifty Years’ Anniversary Brochure, issued in 1959 by Frank J. Nunn & Sons Ltd., Elmswell and Kennett
The Nunn Story
Fifty Years’ Service to the Farmer
ONE QUESTION I often ask myself is: If I could go back in time to any particular event or place, where would I go? To the signing of Magna Charta ? To the celebrations after Waterloo ? To hear Chopin playing the piano ? Sometimes I think I would go back to the Elmswell of the early nineteenth century, say, about 1830, before any signs of the industrial revolution had come, to walk along Green Road before the Eastern Union railway line had invaded its serenity in 1845. While the road wandered through the many waterlogged wastes. A road of varying levels, widths, and conditions. There are still several houses and old thatched cottages along this road that can help one grope into that delightful scene.
Set in the middle of this village green was the agricultural business called Blackbourne Ironworks. It must have been a blacksmith’s shop for many years before, probably part of an estate. It was established as a business in 1847, and incidentally the same year that Massey and Harris pooled their ideas and united to produce their first Massey-Harris reaper.
Not much factual information can be found about the works until Warrens sold the business to Frank Nunn in 1909. Things had then reached a bad state, and the local people called the new owner a fool who could not possibly last six months. The foundry had ceased to function because of difficulties in obtaining suitable moulding clay. One old man who died many years ago claimed that because of jealousy over the affections of a local barmaid, there was sabotage in the foundry shed and a rollring mould exploded. Apart from the damage to tiles on the roof, it brought down so much accumulated dust that the job of clearing up was beyond the inclinations of the staff or the management.
From 1909 the business centred round the forging shop and the carpenters shop, farm repairs being the main work. Other time was occupied by developing the manufacture of harrows, tumbrils, wagons, and an excellent Horse Hoe known through the Eastem Counties. The first World War focussed attention on home food production, and as a result this business became much more active after l9l7 in the distribution of farm implements such as self-binders, mowers, ploughs and drills.
In 1919 another sideline was introduced. A set of Fowler Steam Cable Ploughing Tackle was purchased. This system was considered the best in heavy land cultivation and draining. The quiet countryside accepted these giant engines, jangling their way through narrow village roads, with most of the population coming out to watch with awe the passage of the two monsters, with their polished brass-capped chimneys proudly belching smoke, and their train of shining ploughs, gleaming tines, and wheeled living quarters. Imagine this noisy procession going through Stowmarket on market day in 1961.
In an attempt to advance with the times, Frank Nunn spent a lot of money in converting these heavy steam engines over to diesel engine drive, thus eliminating the tiresome job of continuously carting coal and water to the engines in the fields. Using one of the water tanks as a fuel tank, the engines were able to run for a fortnight without refuelling. This conversion, completed in 1937, was comparatively short lived, for the introduction of heavy crawler tractors operated by one man outmoded the cable engine principle.
The 1920 to 30 decade was difficult for all businesses connected with agriculture, and this was no exception. Frank Nunn worked hard and long with very little progress. The marvel at that time was for anyone in the industry to keep paying twenty shillings to the pound. Many farmers were in the bankruptcy courts. Many left the land. Only those who really felt they belonged to the land stayed on through these precarious years with a hope for deserved improvement. One thing which illustrates those uncertain times was the changes in the ownership of the residence ” The Laurels “, adjacent to Blackbourne ironworks. Frank Nunn could see that ideal expansion would involve demolition of the old homestead to make way for a roadside showroom, and a pre-requisite was of course the purchase of ” The Laurels “. Twice he managed to buy this house, but twice he failed to move in before capital was urgently needed for another purpose, and ” The Laurels ” had to be sold again. However, third time lucky, and in 1929 the proprietor of Blackbourne moved into ” The Laurels “, the homestead was pulled down, and the present showroom built in 1930.
More demolition of several old buildings was directed by Frank Nunn in 1933, and then the locals wondered if an aeroplane hangar was being erected. But this large roof was to cover the future tractor workshop. A few Massey-Harris tractors had been sold from here, do you remember the old l2-20’s ?
At this time the sole proprietor was joined by two sons, in 1934 and 1937. Needless to say, a youthful outlook and new enthusiasm on the changing scene was a suitable recipe for the future. There was a quickening of life in British farming, the wheat subsidy, and the ploughing grant were two notable events. Combine Harvesters in 1938 came from America at a price the average farmer could afford. Nunns were offered a distributorship for the American ” M.M. ” range, and subsequently sold a large number of tractors and combines into Suffolk. In fact, Nunns became known as ” The Combine People”.
The second half of the nineteen-forties saw a rapidly expanding turnover in sales of farm machinery. There were seasons of fantastic records. Four-wheel trailers, stacking elevators, hammer mills, poultry houses, small petrol engines, and others.
This time also saw the formation of a special spares department. There was a big expansion in the need for spares, and this required scientific stores control. A new stores building was erected in 1947 on the site of the four forges and old roadside warehouse. This two-storeyed building was soon filled with spares, and a new stores staff came into being. Stock control systems were installed at this time, and at present there are records showing the history of more than 30,000 different spare parts.
The early fifties had very important events. Seeing a future need for Massey-Harris sales and service in the West of Suffolk, land was bought at Kennett, and a derelict site was transformed. A branch was opened there in 1950, and a very pleasing display of machinery has since been seen, day and night, by motorists passing along the A45 trunk road.
A private company was formed in 1951 including as director the third son, Peter, who came from military service and university to take charge of the Kennett branch.
Peak combine sales figures were reached about 1953, and rapid expansion in the range and quantity production of Massey- Harris machinery caused a corresponding increase in the business handled by Nunns. Ferguson Tractors were taken over the same year by Massey-Harris, and since then many hundreds of Ferguson Tractors have gone out from Elmswell and Kennett. Frank J. Nunn, the early proprietor and senior director, failed by four months to complete fifty years at Elmswell. He died suddenly in 1959, and a light went out in Elmswell. All during this time it was his quiet strength and integrity that gave an invaluable character to the whole business, and a reputation for fairness that it is hoped will always prevail.
Many customers and friends wonder at the close harmony achieved by the three Nunn brothers. Although very different in temperament and talents, they find it easy to work together, and the best ideas from the three are pooled. An advantage is that most farmers find that even if they can’t put up with one, they can get down to business happily with another.
In the many years they have been doing business, they and their staff have built up traditions, standards, and habits of which they are proud, and their competitors envious. They have staff who are spending a lifetime with them. They are like a large family, and the farmers whom they serve are another part of it. It is with this attitude of mind that they endeavour to give of their best. People say very often that there is no sentiment in business. That is not true yet, for here is a firm that believes there can be no pleasure in business where financial profit is the only motive. How refreshing to find this atmosphere in these 1960’s, when mergers and take-overs spread their crushing conformities into our daily lives.
The firm of Nunns looks forward to a long and happy future with their farmer friends and customers. Just as the farmers dedicate themselves to tend their acres, so Nunns dedicate themselves in the service of the farmers.
Best wishes to you Nunn Brothers, and your staff. May you long continue to serve agriculture. Keep the flag of your privately-owned business flying, and stick to your high standard of business principles.
FRANK J. NUNN was born in 1883, son of the village blacksmith at Drinkstone, Suffolk. After running a bicycle shop, at the same time professionally driving and servicing some of the first cars that came into the district, he turned his attention to the mechanising of agriculture. In 1909, he was able to buy a business at Elmswell that was by no means flourishing, but which had been going for just over sixty years, offering forging, horse shoeing, and wheelwrighting to local farmers. By enterprise, and much enthusiastic hard work, his business expanded. Time was found for considerable public work, and service in local Methodism. Family life was also a great part of his life, and his three sons followed him into the business. His golden wedding was celebrated in 1957, but he died in his fiftieth year at Elmswell.
After academic education, followed by further training of a more technical nature, the three sons of Frank J. Nunn each joined the business and later became directors. Between them, they have amassed upwards of 60 years’ experience of mechanised agriculture.
Most of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire is covered by a team of salesmen who have been deeply rooted in agriculture since their very early days. It has always been a policy with the firm- never to sell a machine for which they cannot offer adequate service facilities, also-never to sell to a farm that is geographically situated in such a way that service would be uneconomic to the farmer. It is not uncommon for a sales representative to refuse an order for a machine that he knows his firm cannot support with appropriate ” after sales service “.
A main objective of our company has been always to give a competent and efficient repair service. During the years that have gone by, a tremendous reputation has been built up for honest and genuine service that is the envy of all the other agricultural engineers in the area. Most of the service men started their training in the firm’s workshops on leaving school, working under a fully qualified mechanic and gaining field experience right from the start. Their technical training is constantly being refreshed and advanced by courses held by the manufacturers of merchandise handled. The directors and administrators are convinced that by this method they are getting the very best type of mechanic, for during the long probationary period, the mechanics are being watched and guided, and adjustments made to ensure that they are being positioned correctly. At the same time he is getting to know the management, and their methods and standards, getting to know the customers, and what is more, getting to know the products and capabilities.
Many thousands of pounds have been invested in many thousands of spare parts for the tremendously wide range of im- plements sold and serviced. A very modern and cornprehensive system has been installed for the control of stocks, and to facilitate the immediate location of any one part. The firm’s executives are fully aware of the fact that many farmers year by year lose hun- dreds of pounds (unknowingly) in waiting for the supply of spare parts, and their efforts are geared for the removal of this vast ex- pense from the pockets of their regular customers.
|The combination of the Sales, Technical, and Stores staffs, all recognising the value of a true team spirit, create an extremely strong force that can be called on at almost any time, and that can be relied upon to give of its best, with the interest of the customer in the forefront.|
These notes by Mo and Peter Dow appeared in the Newsletter of February 2003, just before the demolition of the bridge.
The bridge was built by the Eastern Union Railway Company which opened its line through Elmswell in 1846. The new railway line cut through 3 fields -White Tops, Rush Bottom and Prettyman’s Pightle – belonging to Mr Walter Lord. His son, William, lived at Street Farm – still be be seen on Ashfield Road – with his wife Louisa and their young family. Walter himself, according to the census in 1841 was 55 years old and lived in Hawk End Lane with his wife Mary, their 30 year old son James, Sarah, possibly James’ wife, aged 20 and 8 month old Eliza, probably a grandchild.
Farmer Lord’s fields then, were divided by the railway. A bridge was obviously needed over the railway. Hence Lord’s Bridge. Unfortunately, fields were not the only thing to go when the Permanent Way was laid. Several properties in Hawk End Lane were bought and demolished, including Walter Lord’s house.
The 1851 census shows Walter living somewhere near to what is now The Grange, farming 7 acres with the help of 1 labourer and a 17 year old servant, Patience Armstrong. Presumably he has left Street Farm to his son who is, by 1881, farming 166 acres at Street Farm employing 5 men and 1 boy. A significant member of the community, William served as a juror at local inquests and, for many years, on the Vestry Committee, the forerunner of the Parish Council. His own son, however, was less upstanding. Alfred Lord, aged just 16 in 1861, was imprisoned for 4 years for ‘wilfully and maliciously placing a piece of wood across and upon the railway, in the parish of Wetherden, with intent to obstruct, upset and injure the engine and carriages, and to endanger the lives of persons travelling on the said railway.’ He did it, he said, “for a lark, to see how far the piece of wood would fly.” The same lad received 2 year’s hard labour in 1866 for stealing a lamb from Moses Wakeling of Ashfield.
Nevertheless, the Lord family has a monument at the east end of St John’s churchyard. Their bridge, too is to not to be forgotten. Its demolition forms part of the upgrading of the line so as to allow the passage of larger freight containers from the Continent via Felixstowe. However, at the insistence of the current owner, farmer Herbert Godbold, who no longer lives in the village but retains a true feeling for the community, it is to be replaced with a metal footbridge. This will allow the informal (permissive) footpath which has used the bridge for many years to continue. Further, it will allow the new Parish Council in May to revive the scheme, sadly lapsed under the current administration which has paid no regard to footpaths. This entailed the dedication of a permanent Right of Way over the bridge to link in with the existing footbridge network leading to Blackbourne and beyond and allowing access from Eastern Way via a strip of land bought by the previous Parish Council for the purpose. Informal discussions have already indicated Network Rail’s willingness to consider the scheme which enjoys the support and co-operation of the Ramblers’ association and many local walkers.
Lord’s Bridge will not, therefore be forgotten. However, one unique feature will go. Many who use the bridge comment on the peculiar indentations on certain of the stone blocks which form the coping at the top of the brickwork – as if worn away by constant rubbing. Which was, in fact, exactly what caused them. In the 1930’s and 40’s two well known village characters, Joe Meakings and ‘Spud’ Baker were frequenters of the bridge from which they could spot the various forms of game to which they were partial … rabbit, pheasant etc., and also spy on any lurking gamekeeper or landowner who might take issue with the two gentlemen regarding ownership of their quarry. As they watched and waited they would sharpen their knives on the coping stones of the bridge, week in and week out for many years. Hence the peculiar indentations, soon to disappear.
The Railway Map
It is noted at the foot of this map that Yew Tree Cottage was spared: an interesting snippet concerning this has been furnished by Ian and Sarah Hill.
Elmswell Cemetery Photographs
Taken by Norman Kenyon in Spring/Summer 2002. There are three main groupings: to the north and to the south of the driveway of the Old Field, and the New Field.
North side of driveway, Sections A-I
South side of driveway, Sections K-T
New Field, Section J
Elmswell Parish Cemetery
|Surname||Name 1||Died||Age||Name 2||Died||Age||Name 3||Died||Age||Grave||1991 plot|
|Armstrong||Herbert John (Jack)||1998||77||J205|
|Baker||Sidney George||1986||87||Hilda Evelyn||1986||83||K33||V||141|
|Bennett||Ernest William||1980||77||Ellen Gertrude||1982||77||I02||IV||39|
|Berry||Malcolm (Mick)||2000||Eva May (Jean)||2001||J416|
|Binden||John G T||1963||60||L07||V||18|
|Bloomfield||James Sydney||1976||78||Hilda Emmeline||1979||84||H22||IV||67|
|Bloomfield||Dorothy May||1976||61||Reginald Alaric||1994||79||K03||V||28|
|Brand||Ethel Jane||no dates||T04||III||2|
|Brinkley||Miss||1976||Mr V G||1981||V||107|
|Bruce||George A||1978||62||Mildred E||1981||64||H11||IV||32|
|Burgess||Emily Rose||1981||2d||Elizabeth Alice||1981||1d||O13||II||20|
|Cardy||Mavis Vera||1984||59||Gordon Stanley||1985||64||H38||IV||119|
|Carter||Victor Albert||1977||89||Nellie Elizabeth||1978||87||H23||IV||66|
|Chaplin||Dorothy Muriel Harman||1978||52||I01||IV||34|
|Clarke||William Edward||1946||45||Agnes Amelia||1979||78||T10||III||57|
|Collen||Daniel Walter||1920||59||Louisa Mary||1944||81||Eva Grace||1928||40||E01||I||40|
|Collett||Walter Herbert||1935||33||Ephraim George||1953||83||Alice Louisa||1968||92||B12||I||171|
|Cook||Betty Mary||1992||71||Wilfred Herbert||1996||81||J109|
|Cooper||Ernest Maurice||1989||80||Marjorie Julia||1991||82||H44||IV||152|
|Cooper||John William||1954||76||Mary Jane||1962||82||G02||IVa||54|
|Corker||Donald F (Capt)||1968||P109||IIa||10|
|Corner||Jemima||1907||George Quinton||1917||Sarah Ann||1945||C05||I||31|
|Cross||Philip||1930||Mary Mildred Jane||1933||71||E17||I||200|
|Dawson||Lilian Adeline (Wigs)||1987||68||K20||V||48|
|Daykin||Ettie Phillippa||1981||62||William H||1984||71||K07||V||33|
|Durrant||Harriet Laura||1966||83||Olive Mabel||1969||76||C20||I||217|
|Eke||Percy F (Pat)||1985||77||Florence Eva||1994||85||H41||IV||124|
|Farrow||Martha Olive||1976||70||William George||2000||95||H21||IV||69|
|Farrow||Albert Edward||1985||72||Ellen Maud||1975||59||K08||V||34|
|Ford||Dorothy Agnes||1996||80||Levinus Knudsen||1996||80||J114|
|Frost||Herbert Geoffrey||1971||77||Beatrice Mabel||1975||80||1997||66||G22||IV||99|
|Gowing||Frederick William John||1999||93||Doris Mabel||1990||84||J304|
|Goymer||Frederick George||1955||46||Dorothy Winifred||1994||85||G19||IV||93|
|Hart||Edward Ronald||1998||50||Vivian Janet||2000||67||J315|
|Hitchcock||Raymond Cooper||1975||###||Olive Ivy||H20||IV||70|
|Horgan||Edward Joseph||1983||67||May Jeanette||1991||67||K23||V||112|
|Hurst||Hugh William||1973||73||Daisy Ruth||1999||96||H09||IV||26|
|Hurst||Eva Adeline||1986||81||Daniel Robert Charles||1987||85||K19||V||50|
|Jewers||Oliver Clover||1959||87||Eva Mary||1971?||M02||V||3|
|Kerry||Ethel May||1955||71||Frederick William||1964||84||G03||IV||1|
|Kidd||Esther Frances||1983||77||Frederick William||1988||K22||V||111|
|King||C J||Mrs C J||III||3|
|King||Sarah Violet May||1974||74||H10||IV||27|
|Kinsey||Henry Cotterell||1949||(83)||Ermyntrude Gordon||1963||(78)||C03||I||21|
|Kneller||Walter S||1949||63||Ellen R||1955||65||T09||III||60|
|Lambourne||Olive Grace||1997||81||Charles George||1999||84||J207|
|Le Grys||Jessie Beatrice Violet||1956||C04.||I||25|
|Leeks||William Alfred||1972||65||Evelyn Elizabeth May||1996||85||H29||IV||108|
|Lord||Matilda Maria||1931?||Ethel Annie||1954||E18||I||199|
|Manning||Rose Emma||1963||80||Thomas Henry||1970||85||Marjorie Ellen||1982||67||L11||V||76|
|Matthews||Gertrude B.||1955||66||Arthur Charles||1959||75||G25||IVa||52|
|Meakings||Arthur (Joe) Joseph||2001||79||J404|
|Miller||Albert||1948||67?||Susanna Beatrice||1949||Harold Albert||1950||S03||III||10|
|Miller||Albert V||1951||52||Florence Albina||1986||86||T03||III||1|
|Mockford||Angela (née Dolman)||1998||66||R15.||III||84|
|Morris||Florence Martha||1981||70||William John||1985||75||P107||IIa||08|
|Mulley||Florence E||1940||Sidney Herbert||1946||67||R14||III||80|
|Mulley||H Edgar||1946?||75||R E||R H||S05||III||13|
|Mulley||Miss S||B W||IV||14|
|Naunton||John Reginald Edwin||1972||76||Laura||1974||72||H27||IV||105|
|Nunn||Herbert George||1977||75||Hilda Violet||1992||77||H24||IV||64|
|Palmer||Gerald Charles||1970||71||Florence Rose||1985||93||K01||V||26|
|Parsk||Dora Maud||1983||80||Philip Eric||1988||89||L33||V||109|
|Pearson||Mabel Kathleen||1977||74||Henry Charles||1978||76||H33||IV||114|
|Person||Elizabeth Watson||1971||74||Henry Louis||1973||68||H08||IV||23|
|Phillips||Sydney James||1947||63||Frank Victor||1946||25||T08||III||61A|
|Phillips||Caroline Matilda||1964||84||Sydney Frank||1987||80||T08.||III||61A|
|Phillips||Alice May Lucy||2001||101||J414|
|Piper||Florence May||1975||75||Archibald Cyril||1997||92||H19||IV||71|
|Pleasance||Percy Edward||1999||81||Amy Maud||2001||80||J305|
|Pye||Robert Stephen||1983||79||Gwendoline may||1991||81||H35||IV||116|
|Read||? D H||1942||26||S22||III||72|
|Rice||Rosalie Maria||1978||80||Frederick Arthur||1989||96||K04||V||29|
|Riseley||Martha Annie||1940||83||Arthur Edwin||William Henry||R06||III||26|
|Rookard||Edwin Charles (Ted)||1986||67||H42||IV||125|
|Roper||Frank Gowers||1968||74||Maud Edith||1992||94||T01||IIIA||3|
|Rose||John Brian||1992||62||Doreen Margaret||1996||61||J107|
|Rush||Charles R||1922||58||Syble Mary||1942||75||B02||I||13|
|Sage||Phyllis Eva||1991||77||Bertram Alfred||1996||86||H43||IV||158|
|Salmon||Frederick William||1935||73||Elisa Jane||1937||77||Edythe Blanche||1975||77||Q01||III||28|
|Salmon||Edward A (Ted)||1985||74||Edith (Jessie)||1985||80||R04||III||23|
|Scase||John Edward||1971||73||Pansy Eileen||1995||84||H07||IV||22|
|Shallcross||Charles F||1977||69||Bertha Elizabeth||1996||88||K13||V||57|
|Sherwood||Mary Ethel||1997||Reginald Allen (Rex)||2001||J211|
|Smith||Charlotte Ellen Robertson||1960||89||H06||IV||20|
|Snell||Mary Edith Gladys||1985||64||K32||V||142|
|Snell (née Nunn)||Mary||1980||96||P105||IIa||06|
|Southgate||Emma Elizabeth||1939||James Robert||1954||Q04||III||32|
|Sparrow||George Frederick||1971||66||Lavinia Alice||1973||90||G23||IV||103|
|Squirrell||Oliver George||1991||84||Vera Gertrude||2000||90||I09||IV||49|
|Sturgeon||Marie||1942||81||Herbert John||1950||85||Herbert Joseph||1957||64||S09||III||17|
|Turner||Walter George Sydney||1975||90||Winifred Amy||1976||92||S20||III||73|
|Turner||Albert Victor||1978||83||Ada May||1986||92||H34||IV||115|
|Wallace||Kayleigh Ann Marie||1999||14m||J313|
|Warren||Eleanor Louisa Maud||1960||C04.||I||25|
|Welborn (Holborn?)||John||1941||79||Ruth Ellen||85?||R18||III||88|
|Woodhouse||Grace Lily||1983||61||Lewis Sidney||1989||84||H37||IV||118|
Plan and Photographs of the Parish Cemetery
I started from the plan made by the Council in 1980, but there have to be changes…
- some of the mounds shown then have all but disappeared, and some of the stones
- there must have been some errors, as I can see stones which must have been there then but which are not shown
- many interments have taken place since that date
I divided the area into sections, and numbered the graves in each, and coded what there is to see, so if you have the number and the plan you should be able to find the grave (unless Mother Nature has done her thing!).
If you start at the entrance, you’ll pass sections A to I on your left, the graves being numbered from west to east, first the front row then the second, third, fourth; section J is on its own in the new field, then K to T are on the south side as you make your way back to the entrance.
The plan is in three parts (so that they can be printed on A4 paper):
Elmswell School, c.1928
|Rosée Francis||Violet Nickolls||Dolly Clarke||Grace Scutcher||Ruby Bruce||Edith Baker||Marjorie Manning||Olive Goymer||Grace Jermyn||Edith Garnham||Mrs Goodchild (teacher)|
|?||Stanley Periman||?||Cecil Crosse||Ernie Rosier||? Redit||Charlie Lambourne||Cyril Farrow||George Jacob||Ralfe Buckle||Dick Manning|
|Mabel King||Doris Atkins||Lily Manning||Gladys Boult||Nora Henderson||Cissie Rush||Sybil Scase||Dorothy Scase||? Salmon||Doris Salmon|
|George Bruce||?||Douglas Read|
Dot Redit says: Violet married Dot’s brother, says ‘Evelyn Bruce’; ‘Olly’ Goymer her sister.
Nellie Goodchild married Mr Roper.
John Redit says: Uncle Charlie (Lambourne) was always getting the cane
? Salmon could be Betty Mulley
Mabel King would be Percy’s sister; Percy worked at the bacon, now in Bury, not related to the other Kings
Elmswell Church Choir, Easter 1925
Elmswell Church Choir, Easter 1925
Names from left to right
Front Row: Stanley Clarke, George Russell, Jack Goymer, Stanley Kisbee, Revd. J D Sayer, M.A. (Rector), Charles Lambourne, Edward Bruce, Ronald (Joe) Russell, Walter Miller, Edward (Ted) Nicholls
Middle Row: James Mulley (Organ Blower), Septimus Rawlinson, Dan King, Victor Manning, Evan Rawlinson, Mary George (Organist), Basil Barnes, Victor Robinson, George Mulley
Back Row: Herbert Redit, William Manning, George Brand, William Redit, Dan Hurst, William Bloomfield, Cecil Cooper, Walter Gould, Joe Bloomfield
There are five sets of brothers on the photograph: Herbert and William Redit, George and Joe Russell, George and James Mulley, Septimus and Evan Rawlinson. William and Joe Bloomfield
Comments from Fred & Cicely Buckle: Walter Miller was Douggie’s brother; Jim Mulley was the one with the hair lip, who ‘ended up doing the funeral service’; Vic Robinson became a signalman.