I was born in Ovingdean village, in one of the farm cottages in 1911. Father came to live in Ovingdean because he got a job at the farm driving the engine for the threshing on the farm. The family was my mother and father, my brother Percy, my sister Vera, and I had a little brother who died with paralysis. We lived in the cottages on the corner by the farm but of course they were knocked down. Our cottage was the one right on the corner, and if people wanted to go up the road they would say ‘At Hollands’ corner’.
Wearing our Sunday best
We used to go to St Wulfran’s church every Sunday when we were small; Mother used to say, ‘You must be good and you must be quiet’. We used to wear our best clothes for church, but sometimes we used to put our best things on in the week but Father couldn’t bear it – he used to like us to keep them special for going out anywhere, or if we were asked out to a party. The rector then was Mr. Anderson, he was a stout chap. I remember going up for the Sunday school treat we used to have in the field in the summer. At Christmas we used to have a party in the big dining room at the Rectory. It was the same down at Grange Farm, they always used to give the children a Christmas party with games like ‘Postman’s Knock’.
On Mother’s knee with a bun
The church had a ‘Mother’s Union’ – I remember going with Mother and sitting on her knee. It was run by Mrs. Field, the widow of a clergyman who lived in what was the Vienna hut. Of course it wasn’t called the Vienna then but it had been the teacher’s house. It was built for the village teacher but there weren’t enough children to go there and so the school closed. So Mrs. Field and her daughter came to live there, she was a widow. I remember one of her songs was ‘Tell me the old old story’ and I remember sitting on Mother’s knee and eating a bun and having a cup of tea. She also used to take us for Sunday school tea and I always remember at Harvestime she loved us to sing ‘Fair wave the golden corn’.