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Showing posts from 2014


Isaac William Wright - 1914 and all that! A Proletarian Protest. Anyway, all of this talk of the future is purely bye the bye and I use it only as a preamble to unlock the memory of a long forgotten narrative of events which took place in the town a century ago, in an era when socially aware terms such as ' core strategy', 'nimbyism' and 'credit crunch' had not yet filtered through to the lexicons of local planners.  In 1914, the never to be forgotten year that was to generate 'The war to end all wars', a proletarian battle of great personal intensity and pent-up public feeling was coming to the boil in the hallowed hall's of the local government of the small market town of Melton Mowbray, in Leicestershire in which an impecunious young father of a large and hungry family and supported by a growing number of angry residents, were endeavouring to loosen the grip on shackles steadfastly maintained by local landlords.  As a backdr


Who Walked Around in my House? I recently had reason to peruse the Conveyance Deeds of my family home over a small social and boundary issue which had cropped up in the neighbourhood.  In a quiet moment and with my deeds so infrequently exposed to day light, I chose to read again through the legalese of the pompously worded document. Little of much interest arrested my attention, but one astonishing fact did jump from the document to catch my attention was the price paid for the house, a standard three bedroom, pebble-dashed dwelling which had changed hands for the princely sum of 270 English pounds when it was first purchased on the 22nd day of September 1927 - more than the cost of buying a new front door today! to buy a new front door for the house would cost me twice that today!  I do know that today I would get around £200,000 This fact was to lead me to become curious as to who, just a few years after the end of the Great War, had paid out this then princely sum of £270


AUTUMN In one moment of my breath I am extolling the arrival of yet another summer and seemingly in the next, I am discovering that the combine harvesters are tearing through the fields of ripe golden corn which surround my town and rushing the current crop off to market.  Summer this year has been kind to the farmers and gardeners alike with plenty of rain to get things going, followed by more than our average allocation of warm and sunny days to ripen the crop. Everything is early once more, with reports of large amounts of fruit on the trees and the blackberry brambles growing wild and uncontrolled in the hedgerows are promising heavy stems to draw the blood from our fingers once more.  The only thing around here which has not been producing, is my blog, but I always use the outside pleasures which summer usually provides as an excuse - or reason - to vacate my computer in the pecking order of domestic priorities. Anyway, let me get on with things. ________________ UNREQUITE


Scrapings of Discontent Burton Road in quieter days - outside Craven Lodge circa 1930 (With thanks to the Francis Frith Collection) I presently reside in Burton Road, Melton Mowbray, sometimes referred to as ‘Burton Hill’, which is actually the area centred abutting Craven and Victoria Streets.  After the establishment of Craven Lodge as the first residence to be built across the River Eye in Burton Road, dwellings of lesser proportions began to appear at the turn of the last century.  But these were not much ‘lesser’ in cost or design, as many fine houses began to appear on both sides of that road to Oakham during those first two decades of the 20th century, most of which were taken up by wealthy or prestigious people, many of them incomers to the town.  But like most newly developing neighbourhoods, a little acrimony mixed with petty jealousies occasionally bubbled to the surface, especially when matters of status needed to be settled. It was with some amusement


The Long Journey. Ollie is our cat and he celebrated his tenth birthday this month when no doubt a few tantalising treats were once again placed before him to honour the momentous occasion.  Born in Peckham, S. E. London at some time during the third week of April in 2004, our much loved, chubby British Black with the 'cream' around his lips, is believed to have originated in that borough amongst a litter of five siblings. My daughter Mimi who has maintained a lifelong fascination for  'Felis cactus'   was resident in Peckham when she was offered first choice of a friend's unwanted and apparently increasingly intrusive litter. As we old folk here in the wilds of the English East Midlands had recently bid a fond last farewell to ' Archie ' - a very large and loveable tabby - and were still mourning his passing, Mimi carefully made the decision that we would just love a replacement. Having made her choice of the litter on offer, the chosen one was sub


FOREWORD     Tucked away in the grounds of St Peters C of E church at Kirby Bellars in Leicestershire stands a headstone which is a memorial to the tragic passing of three young men all from the same family some 85 years ago; each was in his youthful twenties and all three had apparently died within a matter of weeks of one another: The now-fading inscription poignantly records the sad testimony of what must have been an awful period in the life of their family: IN LOVING MEMORY OF THREE DEAR SONS OF  CHARLES AND ELIZABETH LITTLEWOOD OF THIS PARISH. HORACE, DIED AUGUST 9, 1927, AGED 29 YEARS. SIDNEY THOMAS , DEARLY LOVED HUSBAND OF  BEATRICE MAY LITTLEWOOD,  DIED OCTOBER 28, 1927 AGED 26 YEARS. CHARLES BERTRAM , DIED OCTOBER 28, 1927 AGED 21 YEARS. _________ ‘IN THE MIDST OF LIFE WE ARE IN DEATH’ _________ ‘God knows the way he holds the key He guides us with unerring hand. Sometime with tireless eyes we’ll see:  Yes, there


An Olympian Ordeal During my frequent browsing of the old newspapers which were once local to my home area, it is the occasional ' eureka ' moment, like the excitement of finding an elusive 'bargain' at a church fĂȘte jumble sale or Sunday street market, that so seems to make this whole thing of research so worthwhile. Such was the case recently when I stumbled across the following little gem, almost hidden at the bottom of column 2, page 8 of the Grantham Journal, a fastidious and serious broadsheet which served to cover its neighbouring market town of Melton Mowbray in some detail. My personal joy of the piece almost certainly relates to the fact that I was myself once a police officer and that I know that the astonishing accomplishment of village bobby, P.C Watson, of 100 years ago would certainly be recognised as an heroic feat by any serving officer of today's police service.  But there is also an irony, seemingly missed by the writer as he explains the


That's Life. The Grim Reaper continues to silently plough his lonely furrow through all of our lives and Jim was just yet another one of the town's characters chosen to move on to pastures new, but the size of the congregation on a bitter-cold day spoke volumes of a warm - hearted testament to the popularity of a very proud man: In his life, James Frank Middleton was loved, respected and much admired by the many who knew him, simply as 'Jim'. My earliest connection with Jim a few years back was only marginal, someone who warranted a once-in-a-while nodding of heads across a busy Market Place on a Saturday morning or on the occasional encounter in a local inn.  About three or four years ago I came across him Jim on the upstairs deck of a converted Leicester Corporation cream and maroon double-decker bus which was then being utilised by the National Heath Service as a mobile unit to provide free 'man matters' clinics around the County.  In the moments in which