Memories of Ecton by Jean Axeford (nee Buswell)

I was born on April 4th 1950 in Ecton in my Grandmothers house, which is now the hairdresser Jayne Wiggins home (not the shop) and where funnily enough I went to work many years later in 1988. Mrs Sioue Rands delivered me as, according to my mother the midwife who had to come on her bike from Billing, did not get there on time!
My first memory is of going to school when I was 4 ½ and the teacher was Mrs. Salter, who I am afraid I did not like very much. Mrs Schofield (who lived in Franklins Close) was also a teacher in the infants and she was lovely and very good at crafts. When I went up to the
“Juniors” which really meant going into the “big room”, Miss Green was my teacher and I liked her very much. There was a big solid fuel fire and my uncle, Mr Sid Dartnell used to stoke it up. I remember my mother knitting all the time for us and she knitted me a bottle green jacket with wooden toggles, which I loved and wore all through the winter, with short white socks. Miss Green obviously didn’t think I was warm enough, as she asked me if I had any long socks!
We would go into her house and watch the school programmes on her T.V.
Mr. Gardiner was the headmaster before Miss Green came and he left just as I went up into the Juniors. He had a son Richard, - who would have thought that 30 years later, in the mid-1980’s, Richard would be teaching my daughter Rachel at Earls Barton Junior School.
We used to do Maypole dancing at school and once I was the May Queen. We had tests at the end of the year, and one year I came top by just half a point! The following year Jennifer Hull beat me to first place!
When I was about 9 years old, a new boy came to the school called Mark Aveyard and we sat together for that year. His father took over the running of the shop in Blacksmiths Yard from Mr Short, and later the Post Office moved there after Miss Johnson retired. Funnily enough, I met up with Mark and his wife Mary a few years ago when they came to live in Earls Barton - he didn’t recognise me! - well it had been about 30 years since I had seen him. We spent ages reminiscing about our childhood.
I now see him regularly as he has joined the badminton club I belong to and funnily enough another Ecton lad, John Fulker has started to come too.
I went to Sunday School every Sunday morning and then I joined the church choir. I remember Mr. Percy Baker looking very sternly at us if we chatted during the Rector’s sermon! and Mr Line was the organist. I was married in Ecton church in March 1971.
In 1953 when I was 3, we had our first television to watch the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
It had just BBC 1, and did not show many programmes. It had a light brown plastic screen to put over it when it was a sunny day so we could see the picture better. When ITV was launched my Dad wouldn’t get a TV with that channel on as he said “There’s nothing wrong with the one we have”, so my friends were talking about “adverts” and programmes I had never seen. Even when we did get a TV with ITV programmes, we weren’t allowed to watch all of them - one being “Till death us do part” - I think because Alf Garnett called his wife a “silly old moo”!
In the winters (which seemed to be always snowy) we used to go sledging in the field behind my house in West Street, and we would see just how many people we could get on top of each other on one sledge. Once there were quite a few of us and we went so fast we ended up in the stream which ran along the bottom of the field! We would go home for our meal at lunchtime, put our gloves to dry on the Rayburn, then go back out again until it got too dark.
We also went “ice skating” on the pond in the field next to Barton Fields. We would throw stones on to the ice to make sure it was safe to hold our weight! - my Mum never knew that - she does now!