Page 4 of 19
A Walk Through Hilton in the 1930s, continued
Charlie Tyler was the landlord of The George Public House and lived there with his wife, three sons and two daughters. Next to The George was a small semi detached house, the home of Mr and Mrs Chris Fordham and their lodger, Jimmy Seargant who was the retired verger and grave digger.
The other half of the building was the village shop owned by Mr Oakett, a widower who lived there with his sister Annie, his five daughters and two sons. His eldest son, Joe, used to deliver groceries around the village, he also repaired shoes.
New England was a row of terrace cottages. Living in the cottages was Miss Lovel, Teddy Childs and his wife, Joe Roslyn his wife and family, Emily Childs and Mr and Mrs Groom.
Proceeding from the entrance to New England towards Gravely is Duck Pond Cottage (now Kidmans Farm Cottage), the home of Ernie Carter, his wife and daughter. Ernie was a Game Keeper and one of his many tasks was the control of “vermin”. Stoats, weasels and hedgehogs would be trapped and carrion crows, jays and magpies (egg stealers) would be shot on sight and their carcases would be hung on a tree close to a gate where the shooting parties would pass, so that his employers could see that he was doing a good job. These displays were called “Game Keeper’s Gallows”. He would also organise the beaters and game would be driven towards the guns who would be hidden by butts.
The butts consisted of a piece of hawthorn hedge about four feet long and five feet high grown about forty yards apart along the boundary of a field. On some drives the gunmen would be concealed behind a continuous hedge. The farmers would be paid for the shooting rights over their land, sometimes by a rich person who would invite his friends to a shoot and sometimes by a syndicate.
The shoots always took place in the winter and farmers would usually release some men to act as beaters and any men who were out of work would be employed for a day. The pay for a beater was six shillings a day and a pork pie and a pint of beer for his lunch, this would be consumed outside of the George Pub. The gunmen would dine in the pub.
St John’s College Farm was owned and farmed by Mr Walker who lived there with his wife and son Herbert. Several villages in this area have “college farms” and it is reputed that they were purchased by the Cambridge colleges during the plague. They housed their students there to minimise the chances of them catching the disease.
At the crossroads end of the weir are two cottages, these were the homes of the Crisp and Carter families. In front and on the same side of Potton Road are two semi-detached cottages, one was the home of Charles and Maria King (my grandparents). In the adjoining cottage lived Sam Martin with his wife and son Reg.