Discovering the history of Barrow Upon Soar......

The 1960's

I left school as soon as I could and got a job as a punch card operator (an early form of data processing) at Herbert Morris's. My father worked there. I hated it. It was boring.
The main entertainment was the Saturday Night Dance at the Town Hall. We got some big names there in those days. Screaming Lord Sutch was a regular. There was no alcohol at the dance so people would leave half way through and go to the Old Boot Hotel next door. You got a 'pass-out' (a stamp on the back of your hand) to show you had paid so could be let back in for the end of the dance. I met John at a dance. Things were looking up I thought. I've met someone with money (so I thought!) He has a job and his parents have a car and a caravan. The girl from `Shellie' makes good!

Sue Wilford (then 18 years old)

I passed the 11+ exam and went to Loughborough Grammar School. I should have gone to the Catholic School in Nottingham but they didn't serve hot dinners so my mother wouldn't let me go! I did not shine academically but loved all sport and the CCF. I left school at 17 and started at the Brush as a Student Apprentice - a technician in the laboratories. I was seconded to the chemical quality control labs to test bought-in items (steel, resins, paints). By the time I finished my Apprenticeship I was a paint technologist.
On 16 August 1968 I left the Brush. On 17 August I got married. We had 2 weeks holiday and then moved into a new house in Beaumont Road. On 2 Sept. I started a new job as a Sales engineer for the son of Lancelot Wykes (who'd lived in Cliffe House in Barrow). He owned a company selling air tools (e.g. compressed air machines and spray guns). I was paid £1000 a year and given a company car. I felt sure I had made a very good transition. My father wasn't so sure. The Brush gave a job for life - or so we thought in those days. "Are you sure you're doing the right thing?" he said. I had no such doubts.
One distinctive thing about the 60's was people's attitude to drinking and driving. We'd go out on a Saturday night, have 6 pints of Double Diamond and then drive home. Not even against the law. We thought nothing about it.

Geoff King (then aged 22)

In 1966 my parents and the rest of the family emigrated to Australia to live in a drier climate for my father's health. It took 3 weeks on the boat. Now it takes 24 hours by plane. I never thought I'd see them again when they left.
In 1963, after Jenny was born, we started fostering children. We moved to Ribble Drive in Barrow - a detached house! - with our two children and two black Nigerian children of Methodist students. These were not a common sight in Barrow. Quite an eye opener.
I went back to nursing in 1969 as the Practice Nurse - I happened to be one of the first in the country. The idea was new. The surgery was run by Drs Shirreffs, Shirreffs and Earl in what is Dr Earl's house in Beveridge St. We didn't have a Health Visitor only a District Nurse who was also a midwife and did home confinements. There was a telephone and 3 GP's. There were no fridge's to keep things in those days. Injections were given in the kitchen. Mothers with prams queued up in the street waiting for their injections.

Barbara Mitchell (then aged 34)

Cars in the 60's needed a lot of servicing - every 1000 or 3000 miles. Lots of grease and decokes of the engines were needed because of the poor quality fuel then in use. We had two petrol pumps in the front of the shop and a paraffin pump. Paraffin heaters were used widely in those days. I remember the cattle being driven up the High St to be milked. In 1966 my mother had a heart attack so we swapped houses to make life easier for her.

Don Mitchell

I went to Loughborough High School and, after O-levels, left and went to Loughborough College to do Business Studies (typing, accounts and the like). After completing my course a friend who worked in Loughborough Hospital asked me to stand-in as a medical secretary until they got someone else. On the first day they showed me around the Hospital including the mortuary. I remember the feet sticking-out with tags on the toes. Ugh! I was paid £5 per week. I went round with the Consultants who dictated the medical notes for me to take down. It was a nightmare. I didn't understand most of it. I had a nurses dictionary at home and spent the evenings trying to work out what they'd said. I don't know how many people got the wrong diseases due to me. I left there and started at Moss's solicitors as a legal secretary. It wasn't a lot easier to begin with.

Jean King (then aged 18 years)

I went out with a friend one evening and we met 2 boys. Geoff asked my friend out, not me, but I persuaded her to make him ask me if she couldn't go. We got married in 1968. Couldn't afford to get married earlier. 21 was the normal age then. We travelled everywhere on a scooter. We were looking for a new house and a friend said Jelson's were building a new estate at Barrow. I'd never been there. We paid a £25 deposit for a detached house which cost £3300. We had 8 electric sockets. There was no central heating in those days. We got a colour Television in 1969.

Jean King (then aged 22 years)

Les and his brother had a hardware shop and painting and decorating business in Sileby. Les had always had his eye on Bishop Beveridge House in Barrow and finally bought it. He moved in the day our daughter Helen was born! It was in a terrible state but Les and his brother could see the potential. He had the vision. I

Bishop House

didn't want to buy it. Everyone thinks I'm the dominant one - just like my mother - but Les usually gets his way. He was right about this one.
I went back to work, 6 weeks after Helen was born, on a 6-10 pm service. Les came home early to look after her so I could go to work. For daytime duty I'd get on the train with Helen in a pram. I lifted it out at Sileby station and my sister looked after her till I'd finished. We swapped again on my way back.

Lilian Middleton

In 1967 we got married. We lived with Sue's dad in Shelthorpe for a few months then bought a house in South St, Barrow for £1,100. It was a 2 up 2 down with kitchen and bathroom added on. There was 1 electric socket in each room downstairs and none upstairs. That was normal.

Sue and John Wilford

My father retired and moved to Rushington in Sussex. Peter got a Lecturing job in Aberystwyth and we moved there. He worked in cancer research. He got cancer. There was no link but the papers made much of it. His illness was misdiagnosed so the operation was too late. He was ill for 2 years. It was a horrible time.

Pat Wainright (then aged 40)

We were very busy with the Church and Scouts during the 60s. Sometimes we felt we had no time to ourselves. We used to book Saturdays off for ourselves! Eventually we gave up the Cubs and Scouts. When you can't keep up with them running, it's time to give up.

Dorothy Hudson (then in her 40s)

In 1964 I left the Brush and started as a self-employed Plumber in Barrow working from home and my Dad's garage. I was still playing football. I eventually became player/manager at Sileby. I built up a good team but you can't make amateurs do as they are told and I'm a disciplinarian so there were problems. My father was very strict and so was I. I stayed about 6 years.

Ralph Lockwood (then in mid to late 30s)


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Last Updated. 15-April-2019 By admin