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Andre' Goldsmith's Memories....

Mattishall 1956

My first sight of Mattishall was in February 1956 when I was 12 years old and we were allocated a new council house on the Parker road/ Weir Avenue estate. This was quite a change for me as we came from a village that did not have electricity or mains water.

On the following Monday I became a pupil at Mattishall School in Mr. Leeder’s class (he was the head master and known to the older boys as Bunny Leeder)

There were at that time four classrooms Mrs. Taylor taught the 5 to seven year olds., then they would move up to Miss Richmond’s class until they were about nine or ten, before moving on to Mr. Liddel finally at 12 moving into the headmasters class where you stayed until you reached 15. There was the option to go on to secondary modern school in Dereham at 11 or 14 for those that wanted to.

Mr Leeder was close to retirement when I arrived he was a very smart man who loved his garden and kept bees at his bungalow along the Dereham road. He was also a lay reader in the church.

(Mr. Leeder retired in July 1957 and we had a supply Teacher Mr. Bennett from the September until Christmas when Mr. Sanderson took over, Then in July 58 we were told the School was to become a primary School so all pupils over 11 had to move on.)

Mrs. Taylor and her Husband ran London House Stores and sold mainly hardware items.

Miss Mabel Richmond lived in a cottage on Cemetery Road (Now Burgh Lane)

Several pupils came from Hockering on bicycles as their school only took pupils up to age eleven and a lot came from East Tuddenham either on the bus or on foot.

Another group came from Welborne after the school in Brandon Parva burned down in about 1957.

Usually on one afternoon a week the classes would be shuffled around so that Mr Leeder would teach the boys gardening and Mrs Taylor would teach the girls needlework or country dancing. Other afternoons Mr Leeder would read to us (Seems incredible now to imagine 12 to 15 year olds sitting listening to someone reading.) I can still remember him reading from a Christmas Carol ”Marley was dead, dead as a doornail” and looking over his glasses. I also remember him reading Kennleworth and several other books .

Names I remember at school from that time include

From Hockering there was Pauline and Michael Lake, Basil and Daphne Collins, Rex and Daphne Newell, Colin and Donald Pardon, Ann Bush, Terry Sapey, Marjorie Whatling, Ursula Thompson, Maureen Robinson, Shirley Buxton, Judith Brighty,

From Mattishall there was Margaret Hawkins, Heather and Brian Beavis, Heather George, Eileen Eke, Norma Harris, Mary Bingham, Janice Baker, Janice Blowers, Dorothy Forder, Stanley Burrell, Stephen Nichols, Roger Whyatt, Mabel Norton, Ann Earl, David Smith. Anne Fulcher, Freddie Garner, Richard Reynolds, Graham Faircloth,

Out of school there was Girl Guides run by Mollie Pearce and held in the infants class of the school, also Mrs. Moy ran St. Johns ambulance cadets in the St. Johns hall next to the swan. There were also many other events in the St. Johns hall I remember one man called Marcus La Touche coming there with his dog called Viscount who understood 1000 words as well as adding and subtracting!

Three pubs were still open The Eight Ringers run by the Mr & Mrs Beckam, the Swan run by Freddie Footer and his wife Marjorie and the White House run by Mr and Mrs Moses. But of course youngsters didn’t go into pubs like they do now.

Mr. And Mrs Woods ran a shop at the end of Welgate Road there was another one where Mattishall news is as well as London house stores opposite the Church, Don Reynolds had a grocers Shop as well as the Fish and chip shop a couple called Sweetman were in Victoria stores and a family called Wright had a shop in Mill street.
Fred and Gerald Hewitt were in the Butchers shop, the door was on the side the and when you ordered what you wanted they cut it up on a large wooden block in the middle of the shop. I remember they were always very polite and called everyone “Mam”

Mrs. Littlemore was the Postmistress, Her first Husband Mr. Greef had built up the Garage next door but after his death it became a separate business and was run by Percy Peck.

There was also a Garage at the end of Welgate Road which I think had been a blacksmiths it was just sheds then and it was later that a brick building was put up.

Dick Norton ran the bakery from Church Plain before moving to the bigger new building at South Green (now Gaskins Garage) Billy Norton sold corn meal and animal foodstuff from his house on Dereham Road.

Dalton & Ralph Turner had a farm where Willow Close is now, Dalton used to deliver milk on his bike to residents.

Mr. Newstead who lived opposite the vicarage used to run a taxi service as well as mend shoes, He later moved to a house at the end of what is now called New Lane it was then known as Drs Lane. Also in Drs Lane was a derelict cottage used by the local Tramp Bob Leeder a real character who used to do odd jobs for people for a meal or some clothes he was always very nice and got on well with everyone.

The fair used to be held on the football field next to the Congregational Chapel in the summer.

The Rev. Gordon Geddes lived in the vicarage opposite the church, and looked after Mattishall Church and North Tuddenham. (Mattishall Burgh was grouped with Hockering and Welborne was with Yaxham)

Rev Geddes had lost his wife by then and brought up his four children on his own but always found time to be involved in all village events. My Mother was a member of the ARP run by Rev Geddes. There were tennis courts in the vicarage gardens and we were always welcome to use them.

There were three brothers called Drew who lived along the Dereham Road. One used to sell second hand furniture he was known to us as “Dickie Drew” he used a horse and cart to move it. The other two brothers were Deaf and Dumb They would often sit in an old shelter Opposite the Eight Ringers.

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