collected by Irene Bell 25th July 2005


Nancy Lamb (and her sister Vera)

Nancy Hallam and her sister Vera, were born at the Plough Inn, Main Street. Coddington, which was run by their Grandparents, moving to one of the small cottages in Houghs Yard when they were still babies.

The cottage was just one room with a pantry, and the stairs going up to the two bedrooms. There was a gas cooker in the corner of the room with a curtain pulled across it. It amazes the sisters now that there was not a fire, with 4 small children running around. The washing was boiled on the top in a bucket.

There was a fire grate in the room with a fire burning all year round. One of the jobs the children had was to collect pieces of wood and fallen branches to keep it stocked. When Mother could not afford the chimney sweep, she would set the chimney on fire by putting lighted paper in the grate to bring down the soot!!! One day there was a trifle that had been made for tea, the soot came down in a cloud and covered the trifle!!!

There was no plumbing in the cottage; water had to be fetched from the communal tap in the middle of the yard, shared by all 6 cottages. The women took turns to scrub the stone surround.

The lavatory was at the bottom of the yard and was just a piece of wood across the top of a bucket. The men disposed of its contents once a week, after first going to the plough for several drinks to give them Dutch courage for this horrible task.

At the bottom of the garden they kept a pig and also some rabbits for the table. The children fed and grew fond of the pig and when the man came from the slaughter house to take it away, they cried for a week. Some of the pork was made into meat pies at Knott's the bakers.

There were 6 cottages in Hough's Yard, Mrs Goodman in the first, who had 11 or 12 children, Tommy Tucker who lived on his own and who naughty Nancy tormented without mercy! The Hallam were in the next cottage, and the Fixters next door. There were altogether 21children as well as adults, living in those 6 cottages.

The children all went to the little school and the memory Nancy has of the school is the smelly toilets. They also went to the Sunday School at the chapel. They had to attend Sunday School three times to be allowed to go on the Sunday School Outing once a year to Skegness. Once a year there was an "Anniversary" event in which all the children had to take part, doing a " turn" singing or saying a poem. They wore their best clothes for this, and had to leave off the dress and stay just in their petticoats until the last moment to keep the dresses clean.

There was little money to spare, but there was always food on the table. The local farmers were generous giving them spare vegetables, and Dad also kept chickens. Another of the children's jobs, which they hated more than any other, was to collect broken saucers or bit of pottery from the dump on Beckingham Road, and with bricks and stones smash the pots into grit for the chickens. Mum kept the girls looking nice, and knitted their little dresses and matching bonnets.

Nancy's father told them of the time in the 20's when he was "laid off" work, and had to make some money, he would stand outside the pub offering to hold the horses when the wealthy patrons went in for a drink. He stood all day and made 6d. Mum was "means-tested" and had to account for every penny she spent. She was told that they would take away her relief because she had been frivolous when she gave 1d to the children for sweets.

The girls were once given a doll each for Christmas. Nancy was messing around with the old mangle and broke her doll after one day. Quite a tragedy. Mum said that Vera was to share her doll with Nancy but Vera was not going to do that!

When the children had money to spend on sweets, they went to Knott's shop. Mrs Knott that kept the shop was an old scrooge who pressed down on the scales as she weighed anything. She had a huge block of salt and cut off pieces to be bought. She also kept a big tub of vinegar and people took their own jugs to buy what they needed. Mr Knott was the baker, and was said Nancy always drunk?

Mr and Mrs Parkes, the parents of Farmer Fred Parkes ran the Red Lion and Mrs Parkes sold sweets, "nicer than Mrs Knott's". Mr Parkes had a tall silk hat, and when it was closing time, he would not call out or ring a bell, but simply put on his hat and everyone knew it was time to go home.

At some point the family moved to a cottage on the green. Remembered very fondly, in particular the two lovely big trees growing there. The fish and chip man came there on a Thursday, also the Ice Cream man. The neighbours they remember were Mrs Coddington, Gladys Thornhill who married Jack Blackburn, she was a Sunday School teacher, and there was Mr Thorn (with big sticky out ears!)

The children collected the milk in pails with handles from Hollingworth's farm, swinging the pail higher and higher above their heads to see how high they could get it without loosing the milk.

The men played cricket on the on Drove Lane and Dad was once hit in the eye by a cricket ball and had to go to hospital.

This had the children howling with terror.

They remember once going to the "big house" to collect jumble for the Guides with their old pram. The Thorpes gave them a load of clothes, which probably was expensive stuff.

They both remember the war, and lots of incendiary bombs being dropped on Stapleford Woods where there were soldiers encamped

Their Father was an ARP and a First Aider at Ransom and Marles when there was a bomb dropped there, he came home on his bike to make sure the family was safe and then rode all the way back.

An Aunt had some pieces of silver, pewter and nice pictures; she hid them in the well at the bottom of the garden at Hough's Yard, to save them from the Germans!!! They were never seen again, the well is no longer there, somewhere beneath the bungalow "The Paddocks". The sisters speculate that in years to come they will be found as treasure trove!

Nancy met her husband in Newark, but most of their courting was done in The Red Lion pub. The top step of the stairs in their house squeaked and Nancy would come home late and step over the top step, but her Mother would call out "I know you are just coming in".

Nancy married in 1958 but sadly her husband died at aged 41, they had no children. She worked at Web's Woolies for 17 years (making woolie jumpers). She then came to work at Coddington School for 27 years and moved to Parkes Close in 1968.

She like many others born and brought up in Coddington mourns the changes, all the farms going and houses put in their place. They are not sure about all the outsiders who take no part in the village life, however they do accept that without these incomers the village would probably have died.