Monday, 27 July 2009

A Diamond Wedding Anniversary

I’m sure most Summervale kids will remember Fred Wren, he always lit our annual bonfire which took us weeks & weeks to build and just a few hours to burn.It was an excuse for making camps and also getting rid of any rubbish which had accumulated over the year.

Alan as Guy Fawkes 1949

In the photo above you can see Allan Dixon at the top but the only others I can identify are Christine Jolly on the left at the back and Tony Satchell on the left in the foreground.image

Do you recognise these little fellas?


The diamond wedding anniversary I attended recently was that of Lily Wren and Dennis Crockett.

They were married sixty years ago in the Minster ,on 16th April 1949, and I was the youngest bridesmaid.


It has been lovely reminiscing and talking over old times which has prompted me to start this blog.

Here is an up to date picture of Lily & Dennis who look ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC FOR 80+

Lillian & Dennis

And Me & Mike (WHO DON’T)!

me & Mike


four four forty-four

Yes, 4/4/44 was the momentous day I entered this world.

Here was where I was born – 27 Summervale.

27 summervale

Born under weight and blue I was put in a drawer, covered with a blanket and left to see if I survived.

I was blue as my Mum was rhesus negative and Dad was positive which meant that both me & my brother were”blue” babies.

Obviously I did survive as I’m still her 65 years later.

I remember my Mum saying that it was a beautiful April with loads of daffodils and primroses in the garden. Nowadays most daffodils have flowered and died by April – another sign of global warming?

The STC houses at Eltham were  damaged when a house across the road was hit by a bomb, and a lot of papers got sucked out into the road. The police were aware that secret work was in progress and, not daring to even look at the papers, blocked off that section of the road until the STC staff arrived to pick them up. This prompted STC to look for alternative premises, and in November 1940 the whole valve division moved to Ilminster in Somerset. My father was one of those employees.

Initially, my parents lodged on a farm in Chard along with Mr & Mrs Fred Wren and their daughter Lillian.

STC had 50 prefabs built for their employees and all the families moved in sometime between 1940 and 1944 when I was born.

Those prefabs were amazing; we had three good sized bedrooms, separate bathroom and toilet, a kitchen big enough to house a kitchen table under which our dog Joe  slept in his basket. It was his domain & no one dare put their hand under the table.

There was a large black range on the wall adjoining the sitting room and,on the other side of the wall, was a big open fire. I can remember my dad and several other men going off to Herne Hill to cut down trees for firewood. Once a heavily wooded area it is now a rather sad sight.

Off the kitchen was a scullery/ lean-to where various bits and pieces were kept including a willow cane which was used frequently by my volatile mother.

Here, from a very poor memory, is the layout drawn totally without any scale whatsoever and some dodgy right-angles!




We rather pretentiously called the prefabs

  “ bungalows” and I never knew until many years later what a real bungalow was.


Sunday, 26 July 2009


It has just dawned on me that it was fifty odd years ago – 1957 that I, along with many others, relocated with our families to Torbay from Ilminster.
How lucky we were to be relocated to this beautiful part of the country – it could have been anywhere – Blackpool, Leicester, Manchester. Yes, how lucky we were. Not that I felt it at the time – I missed
The prefabs
The willows
The Rec
The close-knit community
Herne Hill
My friends.. So very many things and, fifty years later I still regard Ilminster as my HOME.
Where have those fifty years gone?
Where are all those Summervale kids who would now be in their 60’s & 70’s?

Jean Boyce