Oral History collected by Irene Bell 28th February 2006

Peggy Campion

    Miss Peggy Campion was born at 39 Main Street, the second child and first daughter of Charles Campion and his wife. Peter was the first child, then Peggy, then Tom and the baby of the family, Mary.

    The house was owned by Peggy's Grandparents, mother and father of Charles, and they lived there all their lives, moving briefly to Farndon and then back to Coddington.

    Sadly, Peggy's mother died of breast cancer when Peggy was only about 8 or 9years old. There were no social services in those days and life was hard. Grandma had moved to a cottage at the end of Balderton Lane after the death of Grandfather, but called frequently to make a meal for the children. One of the jost hated meals was rabbit brains on toast.

    The house had no indoor plumbing, there was a lavatory at the bottom of the garden. There was an outhouse, called the scullery with a copper where the water was boiled and poured into the tin bath for the weekly bath night , scruffiest children in last. This was fine during the summer but in the winter the bath had to be brought indoors and other members of the family had to make themselves scarce!!!

    Peggy's best friend was Mary Lamb, they played together and had many giggles! One very frosty day, walking up "Ducky Hill" (Chapel Lane) they saw a sixpence which had been frozen into the pavement. They were trying to pry it up from the frost when another friend Sylvia Burgess asked what they were doing. She announced that she had dropped a sixpence there the day before, but they said that they had just dropped it.

    In 1937 there was a party for the village children to celebrate the coronation of King George the VI on Geeson's field. The children were asked that those born between certain years to step forward, others born in earlier years to step back. Peggy and Mary who could not stop giggling stepped the wrong way and were given a baby doll, far too young for them!

    When Peggy was 12, Charles, who had had a succession of housekeepers to help with his motherless young children, employed Winnie, and then married her and they had two further children. Peggy loved her stepmother, who was loving and kind lady, she always called her Mum.
    Charles was a foreman joiner and wheelwright at Ransome and Marles and obviously was very handy. He made a lavatory which although it was still outside, was joined to the house by the back door. Later he took a piece off the largest bedroom and made it into a bathroom, just a bath and hand basin. Later still he took another slice off the same room and put in their first inside toilet.

    Grandmother was a remarkable old lady. She lived until the age of 86 when she had a stroke. When she was young she travelled all around the world and had a passport dated 1889, which was in her maiden name of Eliza Cashley, signed by the Marquess of Salisbury. Nothing like our present day passports, it is a huge single sheet of flimsy paper.

    The Campions had connections with the Thorpe family. Peggy thought that the house was originally owned by the Thorpes. Peggy's Aunt Annie, who was sister to her Grandfather, worked for the Thorpe's as a governess. She went to their estate in Scotland and to their London home. She lived with them for the rest of her life and died in the London house.

    39 Main Street had candles in jost of the rooms, electric light in the main bedroom and the living room. The Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Electric Power Company put up a pole in the corner of the road, taking a small corner of their garden, a letter dated 28th Novenber 1935 offers the generous sum of 1 shilling.

    The house had a large garden, there were no houses between the garden and Hall Farm. The eldest son Peter and his wife had emigrated to Australia and Charles decided to sell part of the land, where the two house now stand, to enable him to go to Australia to visit. The land sold in 1973 for the sum of £3000, but sadly Charles died some time later and never did get to Australia.

    Peggy remembers going to the school in the present Scout Hall where she attended until she was 14. There were three teachers. Mr Fordham the head, Miss Gomer, who lived at Almond Cottage and Miss Backer the infant teacher. They were very nice and kind teachers, but Mr Fordham had to occasionally get out the slipper to the older naughty boys.

    Opposite the church yard was a large field, which was the animal pound, There were no houses there. Peggy says the land belonged to the village but after Mr Taylor had all the old cottage knocked down, a house was built there now called the Pound House.

    After Peggy left school, she went to Newark Technical College where she studied home economics, dressmaking and tailoring for two years. She worked for a bespoke Military Tailors in Newark, owned by Mr Richardson who lived on Beckingham Road. Often sewing the Gold Braid on to uniforms. She then moved to Moss Bros. in Nottingham.

    She did not enter very much into the village activities, going regularly to church, and was a member of the youth club, which was run by Rev. Dight and his wife. They lived at "The Gables". She was a member of the Guides run by Rene Daybell. Her sister Mary was a Sunday School teacher. She does remember the Youth Club putting on plays in the hall on the camp.

    When the other children married and moved away, Peggy remained at home and looked after her father until he died, and now lives happily at "The Ropewalk in Newark, but regularly attends All Saints Church Coddington.