Collected by Irene Bell 2003


   Nancy Slack was born in Drove Cottage, the house from where Bernard Allen now farms. Her father was not a farmer but ran the 26 acres as a smallholding, growing sugar beet. He was also groundsman at Newark Golf Club and even had a job at one time as a rat catcher.

   Nancy was their third child, born when her brother was 14 years old and her sister was 10, so felt rather like an only child as her siblings being so much older had their own interests when she was growing up. She attended the local school in the present Scout Hut. Children started at 5 years old and went on until they were 14. There were just 3 classrooms and 3 teachers.

   She left school at 14 and helped her father on the smallholding for a while before getting a job at Webb Woollies, who made knitted baby clothes. The firm was over the Midland Railway Hotel and she rode every day on her bike.

   Ralph Sleight lived in Beckingham and was in the Navy. They met on the bus going to Newark when Ralph was on leave. Both families knew each other and the mothers were very keen for them to get together and did a bit of matchmaking, persuading them to write to each other. They were married on December 30th in 1950 at Coddington church, and as Ralph was still in the navy they lived at Drove Cottage with Nancy's parents.

   Nancy vividly remembers Manor Dairy Farm; they did the bottling of the milk there. Fred Hollingworth lived in the white house, Jim Hollingworth on the corner of where Morgans Close is now, and father Hollingworth in the big house.

   She remembers the war when not very much happened until the two German planes flew over and dropped bombs on the Ransome and Marle's factory which was making munitions. The children saw the planes from the school and were more excited than afraid.

   She remembers the two evacuees who stayed in the village, Kathleen and Diane. Kathleen loved it so much here she refused to go back to Norfolk at the end of the war, but eventually married a Coddington boy.

   Her memories of the village are of the many small cottages and the shop owned by John Knott. The shop sold everything, groceries but also shoelaces, buttons, more or less everything. The bakery was behind the shop which you got to down the passage next to the Plough Pub and through the yard.

   The post office was run by a mother and daughter, Mrs Sharpe who was a tiny lady and Miss Milly Sharpe a huge fat lady. It was just a post office, nothing else sold there apart from perhaps a few greeting cards but all the mail was sorted there. When they gave up the post office Bernard Mastin and his wife took it on in the bungalow opposite the "Inn on the Green" 1975.

   They had three children, John, Ann and Peter who all live locally. They moved from Drove Cottage into Valley View in 1958, which was a council house estate. The first council houses built in Coddington were the six in Balderton Lane, then those on Brownlow Hill and finally the Valley View Estate, built in 1956.

   Unlike jost of the people I have spoken to, Nancy thinks that village life is much better now, with quite a lot of activities going on; she does not remember there being much going on in the village in the good old days!