Page 3 of 19
A Walk Through Hilton in the 1930s, continued
Johnny White still had use of the bake house; he employed one man, Reg Martin who used to deliver bread round the village on his trade bicycle, which had a side-car attached. Besides being a baker, Johnny also reared ducks and geese. He hired the field behind the cricket pavilion and kept a few sheep. There were no buildings in this field. (The Vicarage that stood at the end of the field nearest to the maze was burned down one hot Sunday afternoon in 1928)
Mr Tyler lived in the Manor House with his invalid wife; he was a retired hotelier having run a hotel in Newmarket for many years. There were no buildings where Pecks Coppice now stands; it was the Manor House gardens.
There were no houses in the field facing Reeve’s Ditch. It was a long meadow used for grazing and the field beyond this meadow was an orchard. The small cottage at the end at the end of Reeve’s Ditch was once the village Post Office. Between this cottage and Reeve’s Ditch was a hand pump mounted on a platform; it was erected this way so that the water carts could be filled directly from it.
Winters in the thirties were much colder than now and most years there would be skating on Reeves Ditch.
The pipes under the road at Brands Pit used to be dammed in early winter causing the water to rise and flow down the small ditch that runs into Reeves Ditch. When Reeves Ditch was full, the small ditch would be blocked. There was no mains water in the village at this time, so this large volume of water was most useful in case of fire and in summer the metal wheel rims of harvest carts would become loose, so the carts would be taken through the pond. The wooden wheels would expand, thus tightening the rims.
Mrs Yates (an elderly lady) lived in the small cottage at the end of Reeves Ditch. She was at onetime the landlady of the Red Cow Public House. She kept a few hens in coops on the piece of green at the front of the house (many cottages kept hens at this time).
Mr Garnet lived in Hilton Hall with his wife and two sons. The thatched dwelling next to Hilton Hall was two semi detached cottages; the one closest to Hilton Hall was the largest and was the home of David Harradine (the village roadman) and his niece Phyllis West lived with him. In the adjoining cottage lived a retired gentleman Mr Jim Cook. The small house in front of these cottages was the home of the Melbourn family.
Cross Roads Farm was owned by Hugh Leicester, a gentleman farmer. His farm manager was Sam Lane, who lived with his wife and daughter in the farmhouse.
Sidney Peters MP for Huntingdonshire lived with his wife, son and daughter in Hilton House.