Raglan in living memory, Emma Gilchrist, 1994
HORATIA DURANT MEMORIAL PRIZE ESSAY COMPETITION 1994
RAGLAN IN LIVING MEMORY
BY - EMMA GILCHRIST
Most people know the history of Raglan hundreds of years ago, but does anyone know the history of Raglan 40-60 years ago? I'm sure people would love to know but they probably haven't got the time to find out. Raglan is a beautiful small village and very friendly people live here. I have written about the history of Raglan 40-60 years ago. I hope you will enjoy reading it.
CASTLE AND CHURCH
The Castle and Church are the oldest buildings in Raglan. The Castle was used for a Silver Jubilee pageant in 1935. It was a big event for Raglan; everyone went. When it was snowing, the moat would freeze and the children would skate on the moat, holding candles in their hands.
The Church has had no major repair for a long time. There was once three services a day,one at 8.30 a.m., one at 11.00 a.m. and one at 6.00 p.m. The 6.00 p.m. service was the most popular. They had Choir boys who got payed halfpenny a service and extra for good attendance.
In 1935, in Crown Square, Wilcae Terrace was built. It was the first housing estate in Raglan. Then after the Second World War, West Lea was built. It was the second housing estate in Raglan. The Old Court Restaurant used to be the Police Station. There was always one sergeant and one constable on duty, but not much crime was committed, so the jail cells weren't used so much.One of the reasons why people did go to jail, was because they had too much to drink in the Beaufort Arms, the Crown or the Kings Head (which is James the Butchers now) but people didn't stay long, they were released when they were sober.
There was a Village Hall called Jeffrys Hall where during the Second World War films were shown three times a week. The way they did this was to cut two holes in the wall; use a van to support the projector, so the film could be shown on the screen in the Hall. The reason for this unique way of showing films was because of the demand for seats in the Hall.
Raglan was a very successful Railway Station which was used to collect and deliver the post. Farmers used to transport chicks to places like Yorkshire. It was also used to transport coal from town to town as well as salt and other goods. The Station was well used untill1952 when it closed.
There was a cattle auction which filled the whole of Prince Charles Road and Caestory Avenue. There was a Bottle factory behind Beaufort Gardens. There was also a pop factory opposite the entrance to Station Road. There were two Banks in Raglan, one where James the Butchers is now, and one in the old Police Station, they were only open once, or twice a week.
There was just one school in Raglan, now nicknamed the old school. It was built in 1739. The whole school held 60 children that was including Infants and Juniors. They wrote with scratchy pens, they tried very hard to make as little blots as they could. Children got the cane even if they did something vaguely naughty and a saying people used to say was “Spare the rod and spoil the child”.
In the playground they used to play hopscotch, skipping and marbles. They had sports day. There were lots of fields so the events were sprinting, sack, and egg and spoon.
The children went home for lunch, so there were no school dinners! It took 1hr to walk to school so they left home at 8.00 a.m. And got to school at 9.00 a.m. They finished school around the same time as we do now 3.30 p.m.
The age they started school was 5 and they left at 14! When they left school, the boys went to work on a farm,and the girls went into service. That meant they would go to London or big Cities and work as a maid or a cook in a big house.
The Infants School was only built in 1969 and the Junior School a bit after that in 1977.
There were quite a few shops then, there were four shops in Castle Street. A Post Office where the post went after being delivered by train, a drapers, which is a clothes shop, a sweet shop owned by Mrs. Hook, who sold two-pence lollys and things like that, and a Grocery Shop at the end of Castle Street.
There also was a Butchers next to the Ship Inn where until a short time ago Spar was. There was a Butchers called James it was between the Crown Inn and the Kings Head. James is still there today.
There were two bakers once where Lower Londis is now and one down Primrose Green though it is not open to the public.
Of course you must remember that Raglan did not have electricity or heated water until 1952 - 1954, so they worked by oil-lamps and candles. During the second world war life was hard. I have already told you of the films they used to show. They had blackouts that meant everyone in Raglan put black shutters on their windows to block out any light, so at night the Germans wouldn't see Raglan and bomb us. They also put covers on their head lights they only allowed a small amount of light to drive with.
There was no sports clubs for children but there was hockey and soccer for men, there wasn't any sport for women then.
Clothes got passsed down through generations they were too expensive to waste. The girls wore pinafore dresses with straw hats and the boys wore short trousers and cap the women wore long dresses with straw hats and the men wore long trousers waistcoat and bowler hats. They had a lot of leisure time they used to tell jokes, sing, dance, play games and read.
I have lived in Raglan all my life, it is a very quiet village. I hope it will stay that way. I see myself in 50-60 years time coming into the Junior School and telling the children what it was like when I was a child. I would tell them that in 1994 I did a project on Raglan in “Living Memory” and I really enjoyed it!
I have learnt a lot about Raglan I will never forget it for as long as I live.
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