A Personal Account

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A personal account


Mrs Mothersdale, a former resident, tells this story in 2000. (1918 - 2010)


"I was born at Eastfields farm on October 7th 1918.  My parents farmed the land which belonged to Scobies of Hob Ground House. It was 84 acres and rented.  I had a brother, Eddie older than me.  Fred and Mary were born later.


On being 5 years old I started Normanby School.  I joined several others from our way who walked 2 or 3 miles every day down what is called the long lane, It was lined with trees but every big gale brought another one down.  Children from Barugh walked via our fields to Normanby School as well.  Two of the Houlstons from north field came, also 4 from Normanby grange.  Miss Dodds, our teacher, lived at Normanby Lodge but she cycled.  The Flintofts, 6 or 7 of them, came from Normanby Manor and 4 Martons from the Rise.  What a walk they had every day wet or fine.


The school was heated by a tortoise stove.  Mrs Ward lit this, she was the caretaker.  She had an awful job getting it to go.  Miss Foxton was the infants' teacher.  Miss Dodds put a heater on at lunch time to make cocoa.  The loo was outside and to wash our hands we bent to the bowl on the floor in the corner of the porch.  The bowl had about 2 inches of water in and a shiny piece of carbolic soap with a thin wet towel to dry on.  The teachers were strict but good and taught all the different subjects for 5 to 14 year olds, when we left.  Miss Dodds had a cane but I never got it.  At play times we played in the school yard with the boys but were not allowed to go out.  I can't remember all the games - rounders, in and out, windows, team games as well.


Our head teacher operated a penny bank and on Monday mornings we brought our bank books.  It was a church school and Mr Norman Jackson the vicar used to come and teach the catechism on a Thursday morning for perhaps half an hour.  The school schedule was on the wall and was followed all the way.  I took my eleven plus but my dad would not let me go to Grammar school.  'Education's no use', he said.  You never want work if you go to school was his story.  We moved to Salton Grange in 1928 but still came to Normanby School.  Mr Crosswell from Hutton-le-Hole used to show slides some evenings in the school on old local buildings.  We all came if we could.


Mrs Tweedie from Riseborough Hall started a club.  We used to go straight from school on a Friday and walk all the way to the meetings at Riseborough.  We sometimes rehearsed in this lovely old house with big fires and lovely furniture.  Mainly we met in the ballroom, had games and instruction, went trekking in summer and team games in the gardens.  They went camping.  The years went by, we left school, I had to stay home.  Eddie worked on the land.  I helped indoors and out, especially at harvest and hay time.


Mrs Tolmoore formed a cricket team for girls and we all loved this.  We played on the men's pitch when there was no fixture in Rivis field at Westfield over the Beck.  It was far down Malton road over the bridge.  We cycled to away matches mostly.  Mr Swalwell, the vicar, had a car and he took some of the team with him, he also umpired for us.


We had always gone to Sunday school twice on a Sunday and then chapel at night with our parents.  Some people called Lees were at Bridge farm.  They used to come to Eastfields on a Sunday night and have a sing-song round the organ.


Our groceries were ordered from Kirby.  A man came for the order and delivered in a day or two with a free packet of sweets.  Mrs Boyes had a shop in the village and we all spent our pennies there.  Mum made butter and had customers in the village.  I often had to deliver the orders and got a penny for doing it.  We enjoyed looking in the Blacksmith's shop to see them stoking the fire up.  If they were hooping wheels they did this outside and threw water on the red hot hoop as they hammered it in place.


The Sleightholmes had 2 sets of threshing machines and came to each farm to thresh when the farmer was ready.


All the pies were cooked in the coal fire.  There was no electricity or running water.  The corn was bagged and carried to the granary.  The barley was taken to Sinnington mill to grind to feed pigs and flour was brought from here.  We had a flour bin in the kitchen that held 10 stones of flour.


We hardly ever saw a car.  I started school but was always warned not to take a ride.  Later we had whist drives in the school that we all supported.  When we got bicycles we got about more and started cycling to school.  If we wanted yeast for bread we could get it at Normanby shop.


When the war came most of the boys were called up.  I joined the land army and went to work at Normanby Hill.  Lockwood's had built a new dairy near the barn at Normanby bridge and started a Jersey herd.  Several different herdsmen came and went.  A Mr. Talbot had one cow that broke the milk record for producing the most milk in one day.  Most of the future cows in the herd bred from this line.  Any surplus cows, heifers or even bulls in the herd were taken to Reading for a collective sale and made good prices down there.  The local farmers did not like the Jersey cow as it was worth nothing as beef.


During the war we had Gala days when money was raised for the Red Cross.  I know I chased a cockerel on the river bank and caught it.  I enjoyed being in the land army just working on the land in all weathers, no combines but spade lug tractors and after a while I married the herdsman at Normanby church.


Normanby has changed as families come and go.  Early days it was Foxtons, Sleightholmes and Hornbys.  Work was mainly local.  The blacksmith and the tailor were Foxtons; the threshing machine man was a Sleightholme.  After we had floods several were employed by the river board and cleared the rivers.  Some earlier were employed as farm men or even a lengthman on the roads and kept the verges mown and gulleys cleaned.


When the glider factory came to Kirby that was another opening for the young ones.


We used to have to go for a doctor if one was needed until the telephone came.  The district nurse was at Sinnington and I think we paid 10/- a year in case we needed her.  We cycled to Pickering to see the dentist.  Sometimes on a Saturday we went to Malton by pony and trap setting off about 10 in the morning.  A huckster came round each week to collect your eggs and butter or old hens.  Later a bus started to run to Malton and Pickering.  On a Saturday they were packed, it cost 9d return.


Not many new houses were built before the 1980s.  Lockwood's built 2 down Salton Lane for their men and when Albert Sleightholme's house was sold it was pulled down and a new bungalow built.  The council houses looked awful when they were first built but since then a lot of things have been altered.  I like to see some of the old ones still there and also to know there are still one or two born in Normanby and still there.


Rose Dobson (Mrs Mothersdale) c.1935



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