A trip down my memory lane.
My memories of Priding comes from the period of the late 1940’s when the whole of the River Bank from Lower Framilode corner to Priding House was totally unobstructed by any fences, boundaries or impediment of any kind. No road existed but a clinker track which was renewed periodically with fresh clinker from Cadbury’s at Frampton. There being only one car owned in Priding which was a Morris 10 of Cuthbert Blakelock at Riverside. Delivery vans would also disturb the tranquility but only a few times a week. Majestic elms stood between Rosemead and The Homestead with a high level path behind above tide height. A Post Office Telephone route trundled down the middle of the River Bank but with only three subscribers. Mr & Mrs Blakelock, Major Graham at Priding House and Wick Court Farm. Be aware that there was no electric supply to the area until the mid 1950’s.
Going Westward from Lower Framilode were two large fields with a pond between them which was originally owned by the Mill but subsequently sold to Harry Purcell for us children this was play area number one. Large enough for football in Winter, Cricket in the Summer, Kite flying in the March winds and blocking the ditch to make waterfalls in the Autumn.
The Homestead was the home to Charles and Clifton Camm and was an Aladdins cave of all things interesting, clay pipes, ancient coins, foreign china and antiquities from another age. Charlie was an acquirer rather than the polite term of Dealer, whatever he could acquire he would do so and sell them on to visitors to the riverside on a Sunday Afternoon. To help promote this the River bank was mowed to perfection and the front two rooms of the house were laid out as a showroom. Clifton would run trip boats from the water’s edge for a few pence or convey people over to the sands opposite in an elegant skiff which he competed with the licenced ferry at the Darell Arms a source of much animosity. The orchard had fruit trees of every denomination with plums, greengages, eating and perry pears and apples for every occasion. There were three van bodies around the orchard for hens to nest in and another pond for moorhen’s nests. It also had a large wooden black tarred shed which was a holiday home to Charlies family from Bristol who seemed to spend every weekend there.
Rosemead was next and really a modern bungalow having been built a decade before. Water from the well drawn by a rotary pump in the kitchen and a septic tank for toilet waste. This was a major luxury as most homes had either an earth toilet or and Elsan. With the River nearby “Bucket and Chucket” has its true meaning. Lighting was by paraffin lamps as was the most of Priding. My parents had bought Rosemead as a new house for £400.00 payable on a twenty five year mortgage.
The Aviary was where the Wren’s lived, Mrs Wren was Bedridden and slept downstairs by the double french windows. She would call persistently for her son Ivor who was very good in looking after her but occasionally his patience would wear thin and the worse utterance he could make was “Oh! Ivor’s Leg”. In the garden was a “Man” lurking behind a mass of brambles, it was a large carving of a “man”, only years later did anyone discover this was a ships figurehead from the wreck of the Prince Victor.
Three Riverside Cottages followed each with magnificent carved porches and for the period large sash windows. Miss Dorothy Clyde lived at Number One who kept a cow called “Julie” the produce from which she made into massive soft cheeses with the taste of Stilton.
Mrs Smith at Number Two. I was told that Mr Smith had died but he live separately at Number One anyway but BUT all of the Riverside Cottages had interconnecting doors and Riverside One shared a kitchen with The Aviary. There was one well for everybody and at the back were three earth toilets between all the cottages which was probably enough for everyone.
At Number Tree Riverside Cottage it was a different scene completely Cuthbert Blakelock was a retired solicitor and was much better off than the whole of the rest of the hamlet and he and his wife Kitty socialised with people from far afield, went to Opera, Theatre and places the others only read about. There was a very large garage and a greenhouse above, an air raid shelter and a swimming pool. The house had carpets in every room and electricity driven off a Lister engine at the rear of the garage. The Lister also drove a belt pulley which had a shoe polisher, a knife polisher/sharpener and an ash riddler called “Diogenes”. Cuthbert had also built himself an electric mower which was four pram wheels supporting a wooden frame onto which was mounted an electric motor directly connected to a steel blade which rotated to cut the grass. The story goes that a pike was put into the swimming pool for revenge. Everybody knew who did it.
Up the Alley and firstly Sunflower Cottage Bill and Jean Goodman, Bill was part of the Bakery at Lower Framilode and delivered bread and cakes over the local area. A lifetime later I have no recollection of every paying for anything I ate in abundance but as I have been good friends with all the family for a lifetime I am sure they would have asked.
The Leach Family, Redvers, Norah Leach and their daughter Irene lived in the bungalow named “The Burrow” compete with labradors Guinea and Pansy. When accommodation became short they built a “Daughter Pad” in the garden beautifully self contained with stove, bed and fittings for Irene.
Two more cottages followed up the Alley with Priding Villa for Danny and Doreen Cordrey and Harts Cottage for Charlie Hart, his wife and daughter, her husband George Green who had come from London a place as far away from Priding as Kurdistan.
Finally Priding Farm which was really two properties with “The Dunns” at the front whom I do not think were ever there and had their furniture stored in the tea rooms. Fred and Lucy Cox lived at the back with their daughter Kathleen and her son Richard who from that day became a lifelong friend. Our playground were the magnificent tea rooms with their painted murals and scrubbed floor filled with apples in the autumn and a Hornby clockwork train set in the Winter.
Priding was a settlement not connected to anywhere it was in Arlingham but never went there because no real road existed beyond Priding farm. The postal address was Saul but that was a City which it might belong to far away and Framilode, even Lower Framilode was somewhere else.
Hart's Cottage just prior to it being demolished to build Shefdon House