Tenants at No 45

From Clifford Chambers
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Photo:Village Family:Radbourne Family: Vic Radbourne and friends, Radbourne Golden Wedding Anniversary.

This cottage was a delightful thatched cottage at the beginning of last century, but when Mrs. Rees-Mogg – probably when she was still Mrs. Douty – found out from Mrs. Cockbill (who then lived at No. 16,) that from the bedroom window of No. 16, every detail of the bedrooms of No. 45 could be seen easily, beds and those in them and all, she, the Landlord took action!

The thatch of No. 45 was in a very bad condition, so the matter of bedroom privacy for the tenants of No. 45 was dealt with by removing the old thatch, replacing it with tiles, and the bedroom windows were made considerably higher into the dormer windows that exist today.

And this was when Mr. and Mrs. Jack Radbourne and family - squashed together opposite at No. 17 - were moved into No. 45, Ruth, the Radbourne's daughter, with her lovely auburn hair, was very ill. She, her brother Bill and Derek Giles had contracted a serious illness – it is thought either scarlet fever or diphtheria. They were taken to the Isolation Hospital in Birmingham Road, and a big black van arrived at the Radbourne's and the Giles' houses to fumigate them. The two boys recovered fully, but Ruth was weakened from the illness, and sugar diabetes set in. For many years, she suffered and, at the age of 16, she died. The Parish Magazine for July 1925 stated:-

“Much sympathy is felt for Mr. and Mrs. J. Radbourne and their family in the great sorrow they have sustained through the death of their daughter Ruth who had been ill for some years, and suffered at times very much. She bore her long illness both patiently and cheerfully, carrying out most faithfully, the orders of her doctor and exercising much self-restraint and self-denial.”

Jack , before his marriage, was a wagoner at The Mill. But as a married man with a family, he rented from Mrs. Rees-Mogg, Rectory Farm, and somehow acquired a thrashing machine. There, he hired himself out to thrash the corn. Jack had no horses of his own, so farmers had to send their own horses to bring him and the machinery to their farms. A lot of horses were needed! Two were needed to pull the steam engine; three the drum (the actual thrashing machine) and one pulled the trusser which bound the boultings of straw. (I had all this information from Vic, his son, and as I've never heard the expression 'trusser' and 'boulting', I am not quite sure how the words are spelt.)

Jack eventually sold his thrashing machinery and, with a horse and cart, worked for the Council, collecting truckfuls of stones from Clifford Siding. These stones he piled in heaps on lay-bys, ready for road-mending. He also collected the charity coal from Clifford Siding (which incidentally is the siding on the Shipston Road as you leave the Campden Road and make your way to Stratford.) Mr. Pickles Salmon originally collected the coal money; then Jack took it over.

People came to the school regularly,(there being no village hall in those days) I think once a month, to pay their shillings or half-crowns towards the Coal Fund. Round about Mop Day, the coal was brought to the Siding, and Jack had the job of collecting it and distributing it amongst the villagers. The Charity paid Jack five shillings a ton for transporting it.

When the Manor was rebuilt after the fire, Jack was paid 3/6d (three shillings and sixpence) to take his cart to Stratford Brick Yard, load up his wagon and bring the bricks to the Manor.

Jack was very well respected in the Parish, and was encouraged by Mrs. Rees-Mogg to become a Councillor on the Parish Council. In fact, he later became District Councillor – the District Council then having its base at Marston Sicca. He also sang for most of his life, in the Church Choir every Sunday morning and evening.

When his parents died, Vic stayed on at the cottage, the only bachelor in his family – until he met Ivy and married her, and brought her into the cottage to share their life together there.

Vic and his brothers carried on working at Rectory Farm – even starting a milk business there. My memory of Vic is seeing him leaving his cottage in the morning on his bike with his dog, attached with a cord to his bike, trotting along beside him, eager to be working with his master.