The village bobby from 1950 to 1954 was PC Douglas Boddington. On Wednesday his daughter Mary paid a visit to Chitterne and brought her memories and some photographs taken here during those years. I find that people who have stayed in Chitterne for a short time often have clearer memories of that slice of their lives than those of us who have lived here a lot longer. Mary was no exception, she was 9 years old when the family left in 1954, so still a child, but with a good memory.
Douglas Boddington, his wife Annie and their two daughters lived in the Police House, 46 Chitterne, (now one half of Woodbine Cottage). Their neighbours were the Poldens in The Poplars and the Windsors (Bill’s parents) in 45.
“Everything looks so small,” she said, “I remember my father had a car and spent most of his time patrolling the Plain villages along with PC Beeves, he was from Wylye I think. The car was kept at the White Hart and we had to make sure we had filled up with petrol before leaving the village (the petrol pumps were at the Bridge Cafe B&B). We had a telephone and villagers came to use it sometimes. We pumped water from the old well for use in the house, (the pump is still outside number 46), and the toilet was an earth closet outside. My sister and I loved it here but I don’t think my mother did.”
“The Post Office was up the Lane at number 65. We were allowed to go there from the top of our garden across Back Road and through the bullock field (Back Path) to the back door of the Post Office. We used the shop at 25 Townsend too. My grandmother stayed at the Bridge Cafe bed and breakfast when she came to see us. There was a military vehicle that looked like a tank parked up in the Chalk Pit.”
“At school my teachers were Miss Hiscock and Mrs Veale and my best friend was Pamela Feltham. I can remember Lyn Polden, Jean Wain, Clifford Mould and Vera Miles too.Vera Miles broke an arm or a leg sledging in the snow on the field behind our house. I think she went to Salisbury Grammar School. My mother played the harmonium in the church and gave piano lessons to some village children. She also stood in for Miss Hiscock at school sometimes and was told not to worry too much about it because most of the children were destined for farm work.”
Mary was interested to see The Round House again because she remembered going there with her mother and sister to a sewing circle for village women run by a lady who worked at the Vicarage.
“The Round House is so small compared to how I remember it. To us it seemed a like a big tower overlooked by tall dark trees. We found it quite scary. The sewing circle was held in the sitting room. There was a big table in the middle of the room surrounded by straight-backed chairs. There were no armchairs or sofas. The women embroidered things like tray cloths using transfer designs given away with women’s magazines and ironed onto the fabric. Meanwhile my sister and I played hide and seek behind the long curtains.”
In a twist of fate Mary told me that as an adult teaching in Warminster she met Ray Feltham, who was supply teaching at the same school. They had many discussions about Chitterne. At first I thought Mary’s friend Pamela Feltham was Ray’s sister, but later realised Ray’s sister Pamela was born in 1923 and couldn’t possibly be the same person. So if anyone knows of Pamela Feltham the younger, and to which Feltham family she belonged, I would love to know as I have no record of her at all.*see below
Thanks to Mary for these great photos of 1950s Chitterne. If anyone can identify more of the schoolchildren please let me know by leaving a comment.
Added 12 June 2016: Pamela J Feltham is the daughter of Herbert Feltham (1892-1968) & Dorothy Lucas (1906-1960) who lived at 7 Abdon Close. Thanks to my intrepid research gurus J & R R, aka Holmes and Watson, for this new information.