EVACUATION TO THRAPSTON
I was three years old when, in the 1940's my family were evacuated from Coventry.
They lived in various housing in Northamptonshire until we finally ended up in the old workhouse at Thrapston.This building is now the offices of the East Northamptonshire council.At that time there were prefabs down both sides of the drive. Cedar House as it was called, then was at the top of the drive with views of the river Nene which at that time we never took much notice of (what people do for river views these days?!).
There were several families of evacuees:Ours from Coventry with 5 children;two families from London with several kids among them and a Scottish family with 3 kids. We all lived in separate parts of the building. The rooms which I suppose were dormitories when it was a workhouse seemed very large when we were kids.
Gradually as each family moved back to their homes we had more room allotted to us. Our family was the last to move out. We had a little 3 bedroom council house and it seemed like heaven because to us it was a proper house. There was lots of fun and fighting and kids getting into minor troubles. The other kids in Thrapston were unkind to us for a while, running after us and shouting evacuees you got fleas. We can laugh now but it was a bit upsetting especially for the little kids.
There was an old stone quarry where we all used to go and play. A few little buggies remained on the tracks and the bigger kids had great fun riding up and down until finally all the buggies ran off the rails and they couldn't play on them again.We would be away all day playing in that quarry.Other times we would go blackberrying with mum and dad.
There was also the gravel pits where we used to spend a lot of time. The big kids swimming in the river near the old mill and diving off the top of the locks. They had no fear then. How sad it is that kids can't do those things and not have the parents frantic because they are away a few hours.
I worked in the shoe factory in Halford Street and then moved to Rushden when I worked at CW Horrels in Fitzwilliam Hill. This building has now been converted into apartments for single people I believe. I met and married my husband and moved to Australia 9 months later. I have lived here now for 29 years. Last year when I was back home for a holiday two of my sisters and I were able to go and look around the old workhouse. It has changed completely, much too modern for my liking. They have retained a few of the dark brown tiles which were on the wall in the old toilet.This was quite a surprise to my younger sister who remembered them being on the wall. I had forgotten.
These are just a few memories of Thrapston I have many more most of them good some not so good. Another memory was the Plaza cinema where we used to go for the tuppenny rush on a Saturday afternoon and get to see two films too. It burned down in recent years I believe though I think the facade is still there. In those days I was Mary Irons I am now Mary Reynolds. Oh, one coincidence when I married, my mother-in-law told me she was born in the old workhouse as her mum was an unmarried mum. How times have changed since then.