We found them interesting, varied, humorous and often moving. The storytellers were nostalgic, amusing and both proud of and at their own recollections. Never complaining or bitter, but all with a sense of a task that had to be done and a deep sense of community spirit.
In their childhood they knew fear, loss, shortages and hard work. However, on the other hand they could roam their beautiful countryside freely, in comparative safety, exploring and finding out about life. They grew up at their own pace, which is the right of all children.
Memories of their early home life are obviously very clear. For many people the difficulties they shared produced a close family unit.
"As children we were not allowed out in the street to play, my mother was quite strict really, we played in the garden or we were taken out. There were no buildings, it was a beautiful view, there was bogwortle, the big white daisies, all kinds of plants. We could look out onto the Lytchett Bay then because there were no houses then at the bottom, Sandy Lane was a sandy lane full of springs."
"Our first home in Upton was at 14 Palmerston Road which, coming from a town as a child, it seemed heaven... empty fields, loads of trees... really heaven."
"I came to live in Upton in October 1938 with my parents and younger sister, Shirley aged 5, brother, Fred aged 3 and I was 6 years old. I have lasting memories of a very happy childhood, full of laughter, jokes and a certain amount of teasing each other.
My father gave my brother, when he was 4 years old, a large steering wheel from an old lorry. When he saw it, his face was radiant with pleasure. A favourite game was 'playing buses'. Fred would sit on the floor, wheel between his knees, brrrm brrrrm brrrming and turning the wheel this way and that pretending to drive a bus. Shirley and I would put out an arm to stop the bus, then sit on the sofa. My brother then materialised into the conductor, his voice low and gruff "Fares please".
We had to take turns in washing up and making the bedtime cocoa. We called my brother 'the mud maker' because he made the cocoa so strong and thick. One evening I could not drink it, it tasted so vile - my mother took a sip and immediately spat it back in the cup. She went into the kitchen and found that he had made it from Bisto Gravy Mix, which she kept in an old cocoa tin! Gravy mix with milk and sugar? No wonder it tasted so awful!
Another of our tasks was to take turns to fetch odd items from the grocer's shop at Upton, near the hotel. Every week the main groceries were delivered, it was quite an occasion - we would draw up chairs to the kitchen table and watch eagerly as mother unpacked the box. A bag of dried fruit, mostly apple rings, arrived weekly. This was a source of amusement to us, as soon as mother took them out of the box we would start sniggering as dried fruit did not have a nice smell and we all knew what the grocer called it and mother would say "here's the bag of farts"!
There was no hot water system, we had to heat buckets of water on the gas stove for a bath. One day father said "I've bought a gas copper to put in the bathroom for the hot water". The bathroom was very small, as we bent down to dry our legs and feet there would be a horrible psst, psst, sound as our wet backsides met the hot copper side. All of us had various burn marks on our rears!"
"Mum used to make dripping, get marrow bones and make soup, she fed us well using vegetables out of the garden."
"The house may still appear as original but has been brought up to modern standards throughout by the present owner. There was a piano over there -I used to play the piano and my brother played the violin."
"Another walk was through the lane that led past the large craters left from the War and filled with water, my brother and friends often went swimming there but it was very dangerous. On up to the top of Beacon Hill where we would collect fir cones and pieces of wood for the fires in winter. When the days were warm and damp, we would collect the many plate sized mushrooms that grew in the fields nearby. We had them fried for tea. We would race one another to try and obtain the largest, often mistaking a large white stone for one much to our annoyance. I particularly liked the long hours we spent down in the woods of Pony Drive, we played hide and seek and had a picnic by the little stream at the bottom."
"Upton Hotel, before they built it, there was a lovely little wood there and you used to see lots and lots of red squirrels running around there, it was a common sight to see them in the wood."
"Ferrets were kept in cages for when Dad went shooting (a regular event). We ate everything he shot including pheasant, duck, woodcock, pigeons, rabbits and even deer on special occasions, all of which was prepared by us children ready for the pot! Of note, there was no TV at the time, no street lights (only torches) and the local policeman went round on a bicycle."
"At Christmas time we always had something, not much an orange or an apple and a few sweets or something like that, a few nuts in the stocking but still we were happy, we had something to eat like a chicken. We had no money but we didn't know anything different, 6d doll on the Christmas tree and a spinning top and that was your lot."
"The bakers Palmers of Organford used to deliver bread. I used to go home and find the baker on one side of the fire and the milkman on the other side of the fire. My mum used to give them a cup of tea and biscuits, she was like that. Very kind, I used to say "the café is open!" Best was the baker's delivery man.
He had a horse and cart at first."
Animals featured strongly in family life whether as pets, for food or transport.
"We lived with my aunt and my uncle in Pony Drive, now then there was only 2 houses there set right back and at the front from the road right back there was allotments, which the village used to use. I had a very happy childhood with my aunt and she had a big orchard full of apple trees and pear trees and plum trees and a big fruit cage and we used to have some real good times there. She had goats and geese and chickens and we used to keep rabbits and we had a really happy childhood."
"When we were children just at the end of the war, we used to go up Upton to Llewellins Estate and play and in one of the fields the farmer kept 50 chicken houses on wheels which he could move around obviously not to kill the grass. As children we were not allowed to go into this field, what used to happen was we used to approach the field and the farmer would be sitting in his house with a 12 bore shotgun. If we dared to enter this field, he would fire this shotgun in the air as a warning that we were not to come into his field because his eggs were a cash crop. It means he gets paid money for his eggs. So he protected it. Our dad used to sell his eggs. This is where we met the Upton boys."
"We used to have our own ponies, did quite a lot of pony riding and one day we went down the woods in Upton and there was a common at the back of the Coffee Tavern Club and we had two ponies turned out there for keeping. They came up to the gate and I was down with my friend who had never ridden a pony before. The ponies come up to the gate to us and so I jumped on one, no reins, no saddles, no bridles and just the ponies as they were. The pony ran away with me and ran under some trees and a branch caught me across the eye and knocked me out, I had proper black eyes and it was hard to see."
"When peace again returned, we could enjoy long days enjoying the simple pleasures that the village gave. One of my first recollections was the click of the horses' hooves as they brought the milkman with our 'pinta'. The horse was never tied up, he just ambled along knowing just when to stop and wait."
"We have always had poultry here and in the early years, one of my favourite outings was to the local poultry farm to choose the day old chicks for rearing. Some were 'grown on' and supplied to customers as far as Sandbanks. Some were kept ourselves for laying and we had people walk almost from Poole for the eggs. Cock birds were reared too, these were for Christmas for it was only a yearly treat then but I hated that part and there were always tears."
"I would spend' many hours up on the Heath where there were hundreds of brown hairy caterpillars living on the heather. I would bring them home and keep them in a large galvanised bath. All was well until I developed a rash all over. The doctor was baffled until it was found that the tiny hairs were in the skin, so they all had to be taken back."
"Rearing tadpoles was another favourite pastime, these were collected in jars from the local ponds and brought home. We watched them develop and when they were almost frogs, we returned them to the ponds."
"Going back again to childhood (we never see a threshing machine now), they used to cut the corn, rick it all up, put it in ricks and then at a certain time of the year they come along with a threshing machine and thresh all the corn out. We would all be there with big nobby sticks and bales of straw all round waiting for the rats to come out at the bottom so you could catch them. Rats were taking over weren't they? Where we had to get our milk, there were big banks. The bank itself was all riddled with holes. You'd see all the rats running out where they'd be in the farm"
"My father had the farm and he used to go down Poole Quay with boat waggons, 2 horses to pull each one, when I was a nipper about 7 or 8 years old. He used to bring the horses down and there were 4 or 5 waggons and we used to go down to get the sprats off Poole Quay. He used to buy sprats 3d a bushel, get loads of them. A bushel was a basket load, it was a big basket, and there were all sorts of fish in there, flatfish, whiting, everything all mixed in. When we were kids we used to drive these horses and waggons up from Hamworthy and all the housewives used to come out with their basins in their aprons and pull the sprats off and by the time we got back, half of that was gone."
"Things were a lot different then to what they are today, we had to make our own fun in them days, our own amusements, we had no televisions or nothing like that so we had to make our own fun. When we were young we were all busy, we all had to work. On Saturdays one of us had to go on the milk round with my father and the other one stayed at home to clean out the pigs, because we had a lot of pigs in sties in fields. We had no idle times, we never had much time for play because we had too much work to do."
"My father used to have a churn where he used to make butter - I can just remember that. When I was about 5 or 6 years old, I used to walk down from the Coffee Tavern when he used to bring the cows up, and he used to put one on a halter and lead it, and the others used to follow; and I always used to ride on the one my father used to lead. He used to sit me up on the cow and I used to ride up the road."
Healthcare was a problem in rural areas and it was obviously poor compared with today.
"I was born in 1908 and lived in Sea View Road, Upton. We lived in an army hut then, until it was bombed when my father, mother, some evacuees and I were out sheltering in the garden toilet during a raid. I had poor health as a child, spending 6 months in a sanatorium with tuberculosis in South Devon. I was about 6 or 10 years old and did not go back to school."
"I had my tonsils out in the Cornelia Hospital; this was during the First World War and my mother had to beg a lift on a horse and cart to take me home, it was awful. We had no doctor in Upton, the nearest doctor was in Poole. We had no nursing care in Upton. My grandmother was a midwife, not qualified.
There was no driven transport available and no water laid on in houses."
"I was always a bit chesty, a puny little kid, not like I am now, mother would put me some thermagin, do you remember that? She used to pin it to the inside of my vest, which we don't bother about. Just a plain old cotton vest and possibly I expect a knitted one from time to time because mother would use and make up from one to the other and we always dressed very well. I would run to Lytchett with this perishing thermagin on me and I would perspire and honestly I could have torn my flesh off. I can remember it to this day. So in the end I thought, I'm not having it, I would undo the pin that was holding it and whip it out and put it in the bottom of my bag. Then as we walked home I would fish it out and when I got nearly home, put it back on."
"One of her younger sisters had eczema and goats milk was delivered by Mr Isaacs of Upton."
Sun and smoking were not seen as health hazards then:
"In those days we would walk to school, we could get a ticket to go to school on the bus, 3d a day I think it was, but we used to go up the shop and get a packet of Woodbines cigarettes for 2d and a box of matches 1/2d and walk to school to smoke the fags. We were about 7 or 8 yrs old. We could get a clay pipe and a sherbet dab, that was a sweet, we would take the clay pipe, swallow the sherbet and take the tobacco out of the Woodbines and smoke the old clay pipe to school. Parents didn't know and they wouldn't have been very happy if they did. I think they did after a time, they weren't that stupid. I remember we had an old gentleman working for us and he brought his nephew with him one day. He had a packet of cigarettes and we went in the fowls house and we were smoking these Star cigarettes, one after another, we must have had about 20 I should think. But we smoked them and I felt my head going round and I felt sick and bad and when I said to mother "I don't feel very well" she said "Come here, have you been smoking?" and I said "no" and with that she smacked me on the ear and said "You'd better go on up to bed". That didn't put me off smoking but I didn't get up for the rest for the day, I didn't feel very well."
"I tried smoking once or twice but I hated the taste of it, I just didn't like it so I never smoked but I know my brother, my mum had a letter from school from the head because he was caught in the toilets with some of the young lads smoking, they all got up to it."
"One thing I do remember about that train, I suppose I was about 7 or 8 yrs old, and it must have been that year we had a very hot summer and I went sunbathing or shirtless and got burnt. Father was on holiday in August and we had a trip to Weymouth and Portland. We came back on the train, I was fidgeting about and he said "What's the matter", I said "My back do itch" and he put me over his knee, put his hand down my shirt and was pulling out handfuls of skin where I had peeled."
Insights into village life could be humorously innocent
"As a child, many moons ago, I used to be taken at intervals to visit an elderly friend of my mother who lived at Upton on the edge of Poole Harbour. Before arriving at her little cottage I invariably received the instruction "Don't ask to go to lavatory". To my question, "Why not?", I always got the time honoured parental reply "Because I say so". Another mystery surrounding the visits was the fact that we were always presented with a generous bundle of rhubarb from the garden but on returning home, it was immediately consigned to the dustbin. On one visit, getting bored with the adult conversation, I managed to make my escape from the parlour and wandering around the large garden was intrigued to find a little wooden hut, set amidst the rhubarb which grew to a monumental height, at the top of the garden. Opening the door I discovered a scrubbed wooden seat with a hole in it, and a bucket below. On the way home my mother, exasperated by my questions finally burst out "That's the privy and it ends up on the rhubarb, That's why we never eat it. Now do be quiet."
"When driving along the Upton bypass in more recent years I always smile at my townie-child wonder that the village had no main drainage in those days, but guessed that things had changed since then."
"If a gypsy knocked at the door, I used to walk off with them. Mother used to say "will you not do that."
"I wouldn't want to go anywhere else. I have lived here all my life and its too late to go anywhere else. Being on the farm we had plenty of food, in fact they used to get all the young chaps and kids and used to pinch our apples and the eggs and one day there were 3 or 4 chaps down there pinching the eggs out of the house and father saw them and he chased them and they ran up the road into their house and father went in there and said "What are you chaps up to, why aren't you at school?" They said" Ifs Ash Wednesday, sir", "Ash Wednesday be buggered", he said, "Good Ash across your arse"."
Schools carried on as best they could and there are various memories of teachers, subjects and classrooms. Discipline, no transport and lack of facilities were accepted as part of school life.
"I cannot remember myself but my mother told me that the old vicar, Mr Farley, Rector of Lytchett, was a very strict old man. When they went to school and met him, they had to curtsy and the boys doff their caps and if they did not, he went back to tell their headmaster who was Mr Pearce. My mother went to that school and she stayed on and became pupil teacher in the early 1900s. I remember going from Upton to Lytchett School."
"My very first school was the infants school at Upton Cross, it was a very nice school. I can remember quite a bit about school days but too wicked to mention!"
" I went to school at the Infants school in the old church which was on the site where the modern St Dunstan's church and community centre are now situated. This was 1945 and there were still air raid shelters in the grounds of the church, which we were forbidden to enter. Needless to say, we did peep in and dared each other to step in when the teachers weren't looking, The altar was curtained off during school time and the church was divided into two by a curtain to separate the two classes. Miss Baggs was the headmistress and her office was in the vestry, Miss Peach took the lower class and Miss Baggs the upper class. Everything had to be put away each day because of the church activities after school. I liked school and remember playing with water and sand, which were contained in large trays on legs. We brought in items for the nature table flowers, shells etc. At Christmas there was a Nativity play and this took place on an improvised stage formed of tables in front of the altar. The altar was the backdrop to the Nativity. We made miniature gardens at Easter, to represent the crucifixion, from moss and wild flowers such as primroses, which we gathered in the woods. There were many more wild flowers at that time so it wasn't necessary to protect them and we could pick them. It was always a thrill to find the first primroses and take a bunch home to Mother. Upton Infants School Christmas Play 1946 We were quite safe to roam in the local woods and fields and the older children looked after the younger ones. The woods had names, at least we children had names for the various woods. The woods at what is now the housing estate at Pony Drive were the "over the road woods"."
"The classrooms were dark with high windows so you couldn't see anything but sky. We sat in pairs at wooden desks, which had attached tip up seats. The classroom was heated by a tortoise stove that was a solid fuel stove, which didn't really heat the room very well. You either roasted in the front desks or froze at the back of the class. There was a semi-circular iron guard around the stove. In wintertime we were allowed to heat our milk around this stove if we liked hot milk. All pupils were provided with a free bottle of milk each day (1/3 of a pint) at this time."
"Yes, when I went to school we started with Mr Burton. Mr Burton, Miss Baker, Miss Stickland, Mr Lewis, (Miss Viney was there when my boys were there, I don't think I had her, I can't remember). I can't think of the others but I remember Miss Stickland and Mr Lewis because if you weren't paying attention he would bang his ruler down on the desk and bang your knuckles."
Upton Infants School pre 1939 with Mrs Brooks, headteacher
"Started school in January 1930, I can remember my first day at school, we had a Mrs Brooks and Miss Singleton and I was in Miss Singleton's class. She took the Juniors and we were told when it came to break-time to put our coats on because it was cold and it must have seemed a long morning because I walked out of the gates. Some of the children must have seen me and told her I was gone and she came and the children shouted to call me back and I was down by the railway lines by then which was a few yards away. I thought I was finished for the morning and got called back. I am a natural left hander but they made me write right handed and I think it affected me in one way, I am not a good writer. They were happy days."
"I went to school what was then a brand new infant school in Upton. I was one of the first pupils, I think they were one year ahead of us that went there so very recently built and it's still there. This is the infant school off Moorland Way. There was Mrs Peach, she taught the youngest pupils, the entry class it would be.
Then there was Mrs Johnson who took the middle ones and Miss Baggs who was the headteacher and took the top ones."
"My first school was a little church school, St Dunstan's, the church has been demolished now and they have got a new one. It was surrounded by Pine trees. It was a school in the week and a church on Sunday. Mrs Brooks and Miss Singleton were our teachers. I moved to Lytchett at the age of 7 and we walked there day in and day out. That was a distance! Every day whether it was raining, snowing or blowing we had to walk. There was no transport. There were no cars. One car a month. There was a traction engine - steam traction .! engine made by some brewery - carrying the beer round to the different pubs. We didn't think he knew we climbed on for a lift - but he might have done. When we got down there, we had to go and wash in cold water because we had been in amongst the coal. We used to run home from Lytchett to Upton for our dinner and run back again."
"We lived right at the other end of the village and it was a long walk for a 4 yr old. I was under 5 and went in Easter and so coming up to 5 at the end of May and we used to walk right the length of the village down to the school."
"I started school at Lytchett Minster in the Parish Hall which is now known as the Old Forge. I walked to school with my sister and her friends through the woods and along the lanes via Pit Bottom. When I got older, I used to ride my bike with friends and my brother to school. At the age of 6, I moved up to what is now called the Annexe at Lytchett Minster where I remained until the age of 11."
"We had horses when we were young, used to ride them to school in those days and leave them down the farm that my grandpa had. Went to school at Hamworthy."
"After the infant school I went to the primary school at Lytchett Minster and in those days, even though it was then the mid 1950's, everybody was there from 7 right the way through to 15 unless they had gone to the grammar school. So everybody was in the building for the first 2 terms that I was there, then the older ones were moved up to the Manor House, which was going to be the new secondary modern. I would have been 7 possibly coming up 8, so it would have been 1955/56. The old school was a real Victorian school with the tall thin rooves and screens. The first classroom I was in was a sort of extension bit so you walked in the main gates and it was the small room that was sticking out into the playground from the entrance and I was in there for my first year. Then when I moved up into the class above I went through into the big room and they used to have big wooden screens they pulled across to make 2 classrooms and open them up for assembly. So I was in the left hand side of that. The first year I had a Scottish teacher, I can't remember her name. Then the next was Don Davy, (we always called him Don Davy), and then I had a Mr Jenkins and then I had a Miss Viney but I didn't have the Scottish teacher for the whole of my first year. I had her for only a couple of terms and then she left. Then I had a Mrs Evans for a term.
After the primary I went up to the secondary school but it was still part of the same school, had the same headmaster as the junior school, his name was Mr Rogers."
"I went to the Manor School when I was 11, it was an awful old building then, falling apart and in the winter when we used to have open fires, it used to smoke and we would all have to abandon the classrooms."
Amenities were sometimes primitive and discipline could be severe:
"It was used as a church on a Sunday and it was just one big room. The infants were in the first part of the school as you went in the door, and the older ones were down the far end in the big room. As you went in the school there was like cloakrooms on the left-hand side, where we used to hang our clothes and things like that. We had toilets there, which were emptied - bucket toilets in those days. I can't remember what hours we used to do - I suppose it was about 9:00 to about 4:00 in the afternoons. The playground then was all grown in with gorse, and I remember there was a tree there that used to have winter strawberries - a Winter Strawberry Tree. We used to go and pick these strawberries and eat them when they were ripe, you know."
"I went to Lytchett School when I was 7 years old. Well Lytchett School was run-of-the-mill, you know. Mr Burton, he was the headmaster and he was very strict - fair but very strict. Now I used to go in to Mr Burton about once a month - sent in to him by Miss Baker. She used to pull me out of the class by my hair; "come out here", she'd say, "in to Mr Burton!". Well I used to go in to Mr Burton in his office, he had the middle room at the school, I used to go in there and stand up alongside of his desk and he wouldn't take any notice of you. About 4 or 5 minutes before he'd take any notice of you. And while you were stood there, the rest of the class was laughing at you. And he'd say "What do you want?". "Well Miss Baker sent me in, Sir." "Well who's in the wrong, you or her?" "I am." You had to say that. "I am." "Right." Up goes the desk, out comes the cane, 6 of the best on each hand. About once a month I got that"
"I've seen people caned for some minor things like being outside the playground when they shouldn't have been because the playgrounds were split. You had the boys in one playground, the girls the other side and it was very strict but I suppose it taught you right from wrong that sort of thing."
"Play truant. We didn't play truant a lot because we knew what we'd get when we come back, but sometimes the hounds went out (foxhounds). So we used to follow them dinnertime: they didn't come back 'til about half past 3 in the afternoon. They always used to meet at the Peter's Finger. Just in the area it was, you know, but sometimes they used to travel a long way, you know. And come back wet through sometimes, muddy and all that. But that was it - that's how we used to carry on in those days."
"I didn't want to go to school, absolutely hopeless I was. After a bit you used your loaf, I used to play the teachers up and then I realised I wasn't doing myself any good and they used to give me different things to do and I realised I was mucking myself about as well so I started behaving then. I used to get the cane, across the backside and across my hand."
"Mr Tann was the headmaster and terrifying to me. He caned any boys who misbehaved and often they were caned in front of the whole school. Miss Viney caned girls if necessary but I think she did not like doing this and certainly she could control her class with a look. The other punishment was to be kept in at break or lunch time when you had to write lines 'I will not talk in class,' 50 or 100 times."
Lessons differed for girls and boys at times:
"The boys used to do rural science and so they did work in the old walled gardens and reconstructed the pond that they had, the old pond that would have been part of the landscaped Manor gardens. We girls didn't do that, we did sewing and cookery, we weren't allowed to do rural science.
They used to do technical drawing which we didn't do. I was in the top stream, the G stream; it was A stream up until the third year and then you became G stream and so I was in the top stream and we used to do mathematics, English, science and we missed out on 2 years science so the third year we did a very rapid general science course and then I did biology. So the boys did all the science but the girls did biology."
"There were about 4 or 5 classes there. We used to get time off for playing football. Not much - we never had a lot of time off, but we used to get time for playing football. I used to play in the school team. And one of the masters there, name of Palmer, used to take us down to the moors and the river in the summertime, swimming. We used to go down by the Peter's Finger, in the back lane there, and go right across the moors down to the river that runs into Lytchett Bay. It runs past the Baker's Arms. Well it was tidal, you see. The tide used to come in up the river. So we used to do pretty well. That was at dinnertime."
"For games we played netball, I was in the netball team both before, when I was in the first year and later when I went back and it was a proper secondary school, I was in the netball team then. We actually had some tennis courts, some hard tennis courts later on, I don't remember them being there when I was there originally. There was an old swimming pool, which they did up and we used to use that when it opened as a secondary modern. It was an interesting pool because it was obviously built for a private family and it didn't have a sloping floor, you used to be in the shallow end and then you stepped down to the deep end."
"We used to do history and geography; we had gardening lessons and carpentry, in the school and we had the school gardens just outside the school."
"I remember listening to programmes for schools on the wireless. Travel talks were one of the programmes.
The school had one wireless with a speaker, which was moved from class to class as required. We girls were taught sewing and had to make by hand an apron and cap in white cotton which we embroidered with our name ready for cookery classes which started in the Secondary school. Each girl also made a needlework bag, again made by hand and embroidered, in which to keep her sewing."
"We had no sports facilities. We had a hall that we used to be in for our sports when it was raining and I think they had one buck to jump over and that was it. We used to do a lot of country dancing and we had a lot of playing fields to do sports in during the summer, but there were no facilities for winter sports and we were quite a small school as it was only people that came from Upton."
"We did English, maths, biology; we did PE, religious knowledge which was called divinity later, in fact I think we were quite advanced for what we did at that time because we studied Buddhism, Hinduism as well as the Christianity so we did quite a lot and it was a wide embrasive subject. We did history and geography, cookery, sewing, art and we had some very good art facilities when it was a new schooL"
"On Thursday September 13th we were very excited when Miss Baker said we were going into the School Garden. As soon as we reached the gate we had to cross over a bridge. We waited for Miss Baker to come out then we walked on. We went through a gate leading to a garden, we noticed the day was fine.
First we looked at the thermometer, it was 69 degrees, we looked at the garden, vegetables were potatoes, marrows and parsnips. The next thing were fruit trees. There were apples, raspberry canes and strawberry plants. There are 25 plots, 5 apple trees, 46 raspberry bushes and many paths. The senior boys had plots of their own. The flowers in bloom were roses, marigolds, snapdragons and others. There were trees as holly, beech, silver birch and oak. We were in the garden about an hour. Miss Baker had notes about the garden, Miss Baker said we had better go back into the School and so we opened the gate and went over the bridge into the plantation, we picked a few berries there and then we walked on. At the big gate we picked blackberries and we ate some then we went into School"
Some have fond memories:
"Well I started school at Upton School, in Miss Singleton's class, and I remember we used to have a cup of cocoa in the morning. They used to make it on the stove and we all used to bring a cup and they used to line these cups up and you always had your own cup."
"The head teacher was Mrs Brooks. Now I remember that well because Mrs Brooks, at the morning break (we was only small - I was only 5 years old then) Mrs Brooks used to make us cocoa, but she had to buy that herself and all the children there had cocoa."
"There was Mrs Brooks's class which was five to seven I suppose, five to seven year olds and Miss Singleton had the babies. I always remember there used to be a row of bouncy balls and they were all lovely shiny coloured balls they had there and if you had a birthday, they'd give you one of these balls. But I never had a birthday there because I caught measles and didn't go back to school there. After that I went to Hamworthy in Mrs Sillence's school. She started a little private school; there were only about five or six of us at the time, and we used to go - Jean started school at Mrs Sillence's - and we used to go down there on the bus and the bus conductor used to get out and show us across the road, which you wouldn't get these days."
But others did not benefit from their education:
"I had no education; I couldn't even write my own name you might as well say and I went to Lytchett School but of course they didn't know what it was but what do they call it now? Dyslexia, because in those days they reckoned you were daft because you couldn't read or write. I've succeeded and done all right and my brother has done all right because he's the same."
Business activities were remembered by children for their goods such as sweets, smells of hay or wood and perhaps some opportunities to indulge in mischief!
"Another thing I remember was a little shop on the corner of Factory road; it looked like a bungalow but when you got inside, there was everything you could imagine. The dear old lady that owned it was called Miss Bellamy, she always seemed to remind me of Miss Marples (Agatha Christie). I remember the first time I went to the shop with my aunt, she introduced me to Miss Bellamy and said I had a 1d (one penny) to spend and could she show me what I could get for 1d. I was told how much I could get (sweets) and I came away with 4 toffees for my 1 d; if you buy 1f4lb of toffees now you pay about 50-80p and get about 810 toffees, what a difference!"
"I wouldn't like to move out of Upton at all. How I remember Upton is the old places that are not there any more, such as the Blacksmiths, where the library was there was a Blacksmiths and when you walked down the village you could see him shoeing the horses and the smell it was lovely, it was really, really lovely, it sort of got to you,"
"Then next to the butchers, where the garage is now, the Upton garage, was a saw mill and the smell from the pine as they cut the wood as you went by, it was lovely."
"There was also Dorset Clay Products which was where Factory Road is now. and they had another pit or pond and I can remember the sandy cliffs and the sand martens and we used to pinch the sand martens eggs. We also swam in the pond but that was pretty dangerous because there were quite a lot of weeds and someone actually got drowned there."
And sometimes a business was recalled because of the colourful characters who ran them:
"At the top of Sea View Road was Mrs Heckford's tea shop, she used to sell everything. She could just about peer over the counter, she was a little hump-backed. She had sweets in jars and if you asked for something and she didn't have it there she would say "I've got it here somewhere, wait a minute" and she would look for it until she found it. When we came home from school we used to pop up to Mrs Heckford's for a quarter of Lyon's tea and I can remember now some boiled ham she used to sell and some lovely lardies. She made the best cup of tea for miles around and she had all the lorry drivers in, she used to have the Frenchmen go with their onions on their bikes. I can see them now outside because it was enclosed with a fence and big trees there."
"You used to have a real gossip and talk to the butcher which was Mr Cooper, he was ever such a nice man. Then there was Mr. East who used to do the train gates, open the train gates, now he lived in a little bungalow opposite the butchers where the two houses are now where the lights are (the panda crossing).
He was a very fat man, but he used to waddle over the road, he could hardly get through the gates, it was one of these gates what you open one way and outwards another to get through. He used to wander over there and then he would lock the gates and then he'd wind the big wheel. We used to watch him wind the big wheel and it would open the gates, and the train would go through. Then he would do the reverse and go back over again. The level crossing was where the Panda crossing is now near Butchers Lane. Now, 4 o'clock every morning you could hear a train go by and it was the milk train and it was never late, always 4 o'clock in the morning.
Young as we were, we still managed to earn a little money by different means:
"And then if you wanted to earn a penny, you'd go and pick a bag of fir cones in the wood and take them into Mrs Samways and she'd give you a penny and a piece of bread and jam. She was a nice old lady. She used the fir cones for her copper to boil her water up. Fir cones were good for anything. We used to burn them in the kitchen range and all. They spit a bit, a little bit, but when they're really dry and open they were all right. But these were the little tiny ones, you know, off the trees that was in the Upton area."
"Fir cones, we picked up so many fir cones that they were all gone - so what did we do? We took a cross cut saw and a tree which stood 90 feet high, we were only youngsters mind, not very big - we sawed and sawed and sawed until the tree fell over - and when it fell over look what happened. The keeper came along and said I've been watching you doing that all the time and now I'm going to report you. Father had to go to the Llewellins and apologise. The Keeper stayed there and watched us saw right through that tree, it was a great big tree, it came crashing down and as we started to gather the fir cones he said now I've got you lot - we didn't run away. We were only after the cones - not the wood."
"I was only about 12. This was a farm further down, a farm I used to work for when I was 14. We used to go potato picking every summer a whole month for 2/6d a week, but we started half past seven in the morning. My mum would do sandwiches and drink up and we used to sit in the woods over there after they'd ploughed the field, that was up near Upton Country Park woods but the other side near the water, and we used to start half past seven in the morning. The plough would go along throwing the potatoes out each side and we had to go walking along picking them up, putting them in sacks, leave the sacks, when it was full go along to the next sack, fill that up. Stop for lunch (you didn't go home) you had a piece of paper round your sandwiches to eat then carry on 'til half past three in the afternoon."
"When we were getting the corn in we made it into stooks. STOOKS or it could be sometimes STUKES, but I'm not sure which one. You'd roll up these stooks and chuck them out and then you'd go along and stand them up. When they were up for so long then you'd gather them in on a hay waggon, a horse and cart again, you don't see a hay waggon nowadays."
"When I was about 11 or 12 years old, if we went on the milk round with my father, I used to have my own ferrets and to go out on the farm rabbiting, catch rabbits and my father used to sell them on the milk round for 9d each. 9d each for rabbits in those days and in winter time you'd get 6d or 9d back for the skin so that's how I got a bit of extra pocket money. If I went out I would sometimes catch half a dozen rabbits or sometimes a dozen, all according how they were bolting."
First there was the First World War:
"Down in the trees there used to be airships in the First World War. They used to go up the Channel to see if there were any German ships. There were two big places to tie up the airships. I can't remember seeing them but my sister used to push me up there in a pushchair. They were Canadians, Canadian soldiers.
They were down Pony Drive, towards where the railway was. There were two of them."
"The airship in the trees at Upton, at the bottom of the hill on the left hand side, opposite the Llewellins.
The trees were cut down a certain width through and those airships used to set down below, I do not know if anywhere else had airships but they could get them down below the trees and would not be seen for a long way. The barrage balloons were left up all the time. The airships belonged to the Navy."
And then the Americans came:
"Also I remember the American soldiers being at Broadstone when I was at school and their vehicles were parked on the Broadstone Common where they had all their lorries and jeeps lined up. I used to go out with the other boys, about 9 or 10 yrs of age and I can remember driving their jeeps round the common when nobody was looking after them."
"The amount of troop trains that were brought through Upton during the War to the build up to D Day, there was a colossal amount and we as children used to sit up there and beg from the Yanks, shouting for gum or cigarettes. We used to sit on the embankment outside of the brickworks, Upton Brickworks, and wait for the 2 trains to come through. Especially at weekends when we weren't at school or working. There used to be dozens of people sat along the embankment there just waiting for these troop trains to come through. Not only was it British troops coming through, (we never got nothing from the British troops because they didn't have anything to give away) but the Yanks were going to Weymouth, getting ready for D Day."
"My earliest memories are of having to hide under the dining room table when a plane went over our house. My youngest brother was a baby in arms then and it was scary and quite stressful for us all. We only felt safe because the Americans were protecting us from harm, we thought at the time, who were assigned to protect Poole Harbour and surrounding areas."
"Where we lived in Frampton buildings in those days, just at the back behind the brickyard was an Ack Ack gun, which was anti aircraft and when the German planes used to come over, I used to be asleep in bed and all of a sudden these guns used to go off and the vibration used to nearly knock me out of bed."
"We used to hang around the American camps because they had chewing gum and chocolates and that - and they used to give us the Camel cigarettes."
One of the most stable influences in village life was the Church:
"When we were children, we went to the Methodist Church by Sea View Road for Sunday School. We used to go to Miss Ballam, who lived across the road from us and she used to take us in her car, a big car and I think it was called a Lancaster. I went to Sunday School until I was 14 yrs. During the War I went one day and it was shut and that was it, I never went again. Whilst we were there we had a Sunday School outing, used to go to Weymouth, went by coaches. Used to have prize giving for attendance."
"The Wesleyan Chapel on Sunday you had to go twice a day and in those days you had to be 14 before you could wear long trousers."
"Having attended the Methodist Chapel Sunday School, we had an anniversary each year when we (the children) all dressed up in new clothes for the occasion, said recitations and sang to all the parents, the church was usually full. In the summer we were taken on an outing to Weymouth and at Christmas, had a party. The church, then called Chapel, was rather plain with wooden pews and floors, making quite a noise when we got restless and began fidgeting."
"The nearest church was Lytchett Church but we went to the Chapel up here on the corner of Seaview Road and Dorchester Road. We were Methodists, we went there 3 times on a Sunday. We went there as tiny tots, do not know how old it is, we went to Sunday School as children and then go in the afternoon to Sunday School and the Chapel in the evenings. When we went out of the door, there was the old man with peppermints, used to give us a round peppermint."
One lady still has the school composition which she wrote in the 1930's.
"It was a Sunday School outing and I wrote a Day at the Seaside. The first Monday in my holiday Donald and I had to get up early because we were going to the Sunday School Outing to Weymouth. First we had our breakfast and Mummy cut our dinner and packed it up in our case. When we finished our breakfast we got ready then Marjorie came over to see if we were ready, we started off to go to Upton where we waited for the charabanc. Nowadays we call them coaches, but it was charabanc in 1934. It soon came along and we got in the last but one, we stopped at Lytchett and after that we went to Weymouth.
On our journey we passed the White Horse then we were right into Weymouth, we got out of the charabanc and went onto the sands. We took off our coats. It was dinner time so we ate our dinner and I went and got two cups of tea, one for Donald and one for myself. When we had drunk our cups of tea I took the cups back. Betty had lent me her bathing costume so I had a bathe, I didn't have a bathing costume. When I had dressed Marjorie, Donald and I went to the shops and I bought Granny a bottle of scent, I don't think I bought anything for my Mother, I don't know why, and Brian two sticks of rock, Brian was my younger brother. When we came back from the shop we went into the funfair. There was a horse racing machine so Marjorie and I put a penny in each. Marjorie had a blue horse and I had a green horse. We had to turn around a handle, my horse won, then we came out of the funfair, I don't know if we won any money, but still. Then we came out of the funfair and went onto the sands and watched Punch and Judy. It was teatime and we went to have tea at Tetts Restaurant, that is still there I think I am sure it is. We had a lovely tea and when we had finished we went onto the sands again. We looked at Punch and Judy again for a little while until it was 7.00 pm, then we went to the charabanc and got in it. When all the people were in the charabanc it started. We went home Dorchester way, we were at Upton about 9.00pm we walked home from Upton to our house and when we got home we had our supper and I gave Granny the bottle of scent which she said was nice and then I went to bed. - This was written September 28, 1934."
There was a Guide pack in the village:
"I went to Upton House for Miss Llewellin to test me for a Guide badge. It was the nature badge and you were required to stand silently in woods or countryside 4r.:.
for about 15 minutes and then report everything you had seen. I was put in the trees in front of the house to take this test and afterwards Miss Llewellin asked me if I would like to take some flowers home to my Mother and of course I said I would like this. She opened a door into a walled garden where camellias of all colours from white to dark red were growing against the walls. I had never seen anything like it before and certainly had never seen a camellia. It was a wonderful sight and Miss Llewellin let me choose the colour I liked and picked a bunch for me to take home. Some of these camellia trees are still at Upton House although they don't seem quite so overwhelming as they did to an eleven year old,"
"When we came to Upton one of the first things I did was join the Guides. I must have been eleven. I joined the first Upton Guides. They had a guide hut, I think it was the Women's Institute hut on the corner of Ropers Lane which is now a bungalow. It was a wooden hut and we did our Guiding there, under the careful stewardship of Miss Llewellin of Upton House who was our Guide Captain and very excellent she was too. Mrs Parr was the Lieutenant and we had lots and lots of happy times with the Guides. I have still photographs of the Guides and lots of groups of people."
We did not have television for a long time but the radio was very popular. The early wireless too had many forms as it evolved into today's radios with CD players.
"Cat's Whisker, it was an open square box with a crystal on the top and what we called a cat's whisker. Don't remember much about it now, we used to just twiddle a little knob to try and get the music come through, you could hear it faintly miles away and we used earphones to put on and take them off and 'can't you play it a bit louder, can't hear' but you could hardly hear it."
"A cupboard on which stood a large bake lite wireless. Bakelite was the forerunner of plastic. The wireless was the only entertainment and reception was often poor. In order to get any reception at all, there was a long aerial wire which came from the back of the set out of the window and about 20 yards down the garden where it was attached to the upper branches of a huge apple tree, I can remember climbing the tree to attach the wire. No hardship as we spent most of our time climbing trees anyway. We listened to Palm Court on Sunday evenings, Billy Cottons band show and I was allowed to listen to Dick Barton special agent if I was good. However if the accumulator was empty we listened to nothing! Because we only had gas lighting (no electricity in the house at all) the wireless was powered by an accumulator battery which had to be refilled I remember going to Danks garage at Creekmoor to get it refilled. I think it cost 6d (2.5 pence)."
"I used to take my auntie's wet battery. Now this will probably make a lot of you laugh, for those who don't know what a wet battery is. It was about I suppose about 4-6" square, and about 8" or 9" high, if that, it might have been a bit smaller, but it had liquid in it, and you carried it, (it had a piece of metal over it with a handle on), and what it was we didn't have electricity in my aunt's house in Pony Drive, she had oil lamps and to get your radio to go, you had to have one of these wet batteries. You used to have two, take one to the garage, which was Palmers Garage, and you used to take it there and they used to put it on charge and then when your other one had finished, you went and fetched your new one which cost you 6 pence to recharge it and took your old one and put that on charge. You just connected it with two small pieces of wire at the back and two little clips and that was your electricity for your radio."
Leisure activities depended on amusing yourself and doing whatever you wanted to do:
"There weren't many organised activities for children when I was young. We spent our spare time roaming the woods and lanes. It was safe because everyone knew us and we knew everyone. We played by the streams and climbed trees and made 'camps" in hidden places. We also played games at seemingly set times of year. At one time we would be skipping and there were different games of skipping. Unfortunately I can't really remember them very well. Individual skipping could be quite expert. We competed to see who could skip longest or do the most 'bumps', (turning the rope twice or more under your feet before landing again). The rope was sometimes turned sideways while skipping. The skipper skipped normally for several turns of the rope and then the handles were put together and the rope turned to the side in a circle. All this was done, as were the 'bumps', while keeping a regular rhythm of skipping. Another game used two skipping ropes held by two children. They both held one handle of each rope so there were two long ropes which they turned and the other children had to skip through without being touched by the rope. If they were touched they were out. We chanted rhymes while skipping, "salt, mustard, vinegar, pepper," was one. I suppose it kept the rhythm going."
"There were ball games when we also chanted the rhythm. The only one I remember was one, two, three and over". We played with tennis ball sized balls, which were thrown against a wall. The side wall of our house was ideal as there were no windows. Several balls were used at a time. They were bounced against the wall and caught continuously. So you played "2 ball, or 3 ball or 4 ball'. Balls were thrown underarm or overarm and you turned around quickly or threw one ball under your leg and still caught the balls and kept the rhythm going. 'One, two, three and over was played with 2 balls. The balls were thrown one two three underarm and over was an overarm bail. We also played games like hopscotch and statues in the playground at school."
"When we were very young, the games we used to play were the normal alleys and those type of games.
Alleys were glass balls and we used to smack them into one another and what's the name of the big alley, marbles, the master marble was a large one and we used to have to hit it into them and then gain possession of the marbles or alleys we used to call them."
"In childhood we played mainly football, tops on the main road as there was no transport going through the village then. We used to play with pigs bladders we used to get from the slaughterhouse and we used to drive the sheep from the railway station at Hamworthy junction to Upton and they used to dry the pigskin bladders for us then so we can play football because the football was too dear and we couldn't afford them in those days. That was our main sport. We had other things, we used to join with the girls in their hopscotch and skipping and things, you know when you were kids but other than that, mainly hide 'n seek and that type of game but pretty well football always came into it."
"We made our own amusements, whips and tops and hoops and play in the road, climbed trees for jackdaws' nests, plenty of owls in Upton Park that is now, we had the whole run of the farm so we had plenty of freedom. We would climb trees for conkers, bird eggs. Conkers are horse chestnuts, we used to play conkers, kids used to pick the conkers and make a hole through the middle and bash one another to see how many you could bash without breaking your own conker. We used to put them in the oven to harden them off and all sorts of things like that."
"I was often champion. We had bags of conkers, bagfuls off the trees on a Saturday morning, we used to take them to school and swap them for different things off of children who couldn't get their own conkers.
The games went in seasons. There was dibs. Dibs is like 5 square clay pebble things and we used to sit down on the ground in the playground in school, throw one up in the air and scrape one up in your hand and after you had got the five in your hand you could do the same thing again only you'd pick up two at a time and then three at a time until the one who could go further without dropping any was the winner. We had marbles, cigarette cards. In those days, Players and most cigarette firms give you cigarette cards of footballers, boats, cars and you could save a set and when you got 50 of different kinds you had a set of cards you could get an album and put them on in the album. If you had two of one kind, you swopped one for something else, never had one that you had, you used to swop like that. There are still some about now, they're antiques, worth a bit of money now if you have a set of cards."
"Childhood memories: floods in Sandy Lane in winter, playing with hoops and sticks, marbles, hopscotch, ring 0' roses, tell us the name of your sweetheart in which people guess the name you choose then the correct one went to the centre of the ring and chose a name for the rest to guess, conkering which we did in St Johns Wood in Post Green, leapfrog, hide and seek and whip and top."
"Anyway when mother had done her big shopping, she used to put us all in the pram, or at least the ones that couldn't walk and we had to walk right the way round Fleets Bridge down to the George Hotel. She would cut up sandwiches and we would all walk to Bunny, which is in the park, the Bunny was where they have the model yachts. There was a little beach at the back and we used to walk there, play all day long and walk home. There were four of us, two sisters and two brothers. Mother would do that every time walk the whole way round. That was before the Poole bridge was built. Old bridge - wooden bridge - not the one that is there now. And to get across we used to have to go down to the Ship Wrights Arms and go across on a little boat."
"Where Lytchett Way and Ferry Road are or round that area, my father used to keep his boat, a small rowing boat and I used to go out in it with him duck shooting by Rockley Bridge. He also used to take me rabbit shooting and mushrooming down where the houses are in Woodpecker Drive and all around there.
It was a very big wood, no houses at all and the wood in the spring was a mass of primroses and bluebells.
You could just stand in one place and pick and pick and pick bluebells and primroses to your heart's content."
"Yarrells Lane was there, the next road Border Road was not there, there was nothing, no houses, just bog. It was all bog. Peters Close there was nothing built there, there was a field there and we used to go and play in that field and I can remember picking what were called Wild Orchids there, Granny Grigglesticks we used to call them."
"Behind the builders yard was a large meadow owned by Mr Courtney who had the village smithy at Upton Cross. This meadow was used by Mr Courtney's horses and wild orchids grew."
"Further on, past the lodge, where Meadow Drive is now, a lane led past the lodge to the primrose woods which of course were full of primroses in the Spring. A stream ran through this wood. A little further on were the bluebell woods carpeted in bluebells in Spring. These woods were absolutely lovely and I have wonderful memories of childhood days spent roaming through these woods and the Roman Road. We only ever went as far as the railway line to watch the steam trains on the line to Wimborne. Sparks used to fly out of the engines and often set light to the vegetation on the embankments sometimes causing quite extensive fires. I remember one fire raging nearly up to the Poole road, which destroyed a plantation of fir trees."
"Often in summer, we would take our jam jars and go blackberrying, there were so many we would collect those that grew at the top of Moorland Way on the now present site of the fish and chip shop. Mother, helped by us, would make pounds of jam or jelly and along with that make from the fruit in our garden, raspberry, gooseberry, loganberries and plums, the shelves of our larder were full. Our neighbour had a big medlar tree that supplied large brown fruit but these were not made into jam, they had to be very squashed before eating."
"We used to play by blocking the river and making dams for hours. A lady who lived nearby used to collect her water from the river in two buckets and she used to get quite cross if we had muddied or stirred the water up. Now I know why she didn't like it. And we used to pick orchids in the spring down in the field it used to be called Courtney's field where the playing field was - and we used to pick orchids and 'shaking grass' used to grow down there. And I remember one year we used to have a house; we'd made a house in a tree, and we used to play down there."
"There were otters down on the Moors. When you go down Slough Lane you come to a sharp right hand where there is old Giles's cottage there. That is moors from there down to the river and away down to St Peters Finger with the river running through. Giles used to catch fish down there, dabs. He got on the mud when the tide was out, flat fish always go underneath the mud they don't swim about and he used to put these mud boards on about a foot square and he would have a bag with rope on it. He tied it round his neck and he would go along because he knew where to fiddle and used to catch any amount of these flounders, (flat fish), and throw them in the bag. He couldn't have ate them all, he was always out there in Lytchett Bay but the bay then was better than it is now, over the years the tide has swept the mud in and the reeds have built up. That water used to come in quite tight down by Giles' cottage and that field on the other side had a bank along there and the water came up to it right tight, I used to keep a boat there. I had a flat bottomed fishing boat and used to go out in the bay and catch fish, more crabs than fish, when you get into Slough there is Beach Road and I could keep my boat there. Mr Todds who lived up the top kept his boat there as well and that was the most accessible place because I could walk down there but the other places you had to go across the fields. I expect you can still catch the same fish now."
"I loved to watch the cows when I was small each afternoon coming up the Dorchester Road to be milked at the Upton Cross Farm and while I waited, I would watch the many lizards that basked in the sunshine along the banks of this same road, hard to believe when you see the Triangle Shops standing there."
"Down on the Arnold's farm, there was a stream that runs underneath the road. There was a little dam in the farmyard and we used to get down there and the horses used to come down to water and we found out, I don't know how, that these metal feeding troughs would float. Somebody went in one day and paddled round and that was the thing when someone new came, we would paddle around and say do you want a ride and they would say yes and they would get and we would point them so their face was away from us and we would get a stick and push the bottom of the trough under the water so it sunk and they couldn't get out in a hurry as there were bars across."
"Occasionally, there may be some older Girl Guides who may remember being smoked out of the Guides Hut, somebody would put something over the top of the chimney like a cloth or sack over as they had the old combustion stove in there."
However, there were some entertainments that came round each year, including the Circus!
"The highlight of Upton in those days was Poole Fair, they used to come through Upton in the days with horses and the big traction engines and they stopped down in front where John lives and we see all the brass, we never saw anything like this. Every year the circus used to come to town and all the animals used to walk through Upton, the elephants and horses and all the lions and that was in cages on carts.
We used to get up early about 4 o'clock to see them coming through. Was a treat and the elephants walking along, big event. The circus was held in Poole in the stadium or the Ladies Walking field was then, its all built on and is the Dolphin Centre now."
"Another thing in those days down on the farm with the horses, .they used to have a float in Poole Carnival.
The horses would be all groomed, harness polished and brasses shining, some would have plumes on and they would look really nice, a thing you don't see nowadays, its all lorries that do the floats now.
Always had Hie fire brigade from Wareham used to go along to Poole Carnival. They had an ordinary fire engine then, bit different to what they are now. The horses would pull a truck or car or something, people wore their Sunday best for this parade."
"There was a circus and a fair although I don't go in for circuses and animals. When they used to come through here we used to have to get up at 3 o'clock in the morning because they used to travel from Dorchester by horse drawn waggon and the elephants walking from Dorchester to Poole. It was an awesome sight to see the horses and waggons because they were all dressed up."
"Then, along at that time, we used to watch the circus come through. It used to walk through and we always knew when they were coming. Of course everybody went out in the road to see the elephants walking along, and the camels. We'd never seen them before in our life, look. And people used to take out stuff like cabbages and things like that, to give to the elephants. The lions and things like that were in big containers like box containers and they were pulled by perhaps 4 or 6 horses. All horse drawn vehicles. The elephants and camels and some of the horses walked because you could see them tied on the back, all spotted and that. Well the circus was quite big in those days, you see, quite big they were."
"Well then we used to have the funfairs - they always used to go in Mr Hibbs's field, if they could because he had a pond in each of his fields and as they were all steam waggons in those days, so they used to like to get somewhere where they could get their water for their boilers on the steam engines. They always came every year - with big roundabouts and everything. They had the big roundabout, swinging boats, and then they had the hoopla stalls and things like that. It was nearly always around so that they'd come when the school sports were on, so during the afternoons the school sports were run in the same field."
"There was a wall dividing his garden from the main road. The circus used to come once a year and go right through to Weymouth - but they had to walk. The old elephants used to come along - he (Mr Taylor) had some beautiful cabbages and they swiped every cabbage he had in the garden - they put their trunks over the wall and they literally took every one. They must have come from Poole because they were going on to Weymouth. We used to have them every year, they used to come and this particular morning he lost the lot - poor chap. Of course his garden was right next to the wall and as they weren't on the main road they up with the trunks and whipped the cabbages out - when we looked he did not have one left."
"Two other highlights of the year were the British Legion Fête held on the recreation ground behind Wyatts the builders during the summer and the Gymkhana held in the grounds of Lytchett Manor on the May Bank holiday. The fête had side shows and stalls races for children and adults with money prizes and a fancy dress parade. We always entered the fancy dress and one particular year my Mother decided to dress me as 'Spring". Clothing and materials were still on ration at the time so she decided she would bleach some dark blue muslin, which had been a previous outfit. Unfortunately she forgot it and the muslin practically disintegrated. However nothing deterred, Mother pinned me in the rags, borrowed a garden trug from someone and filled it with vegetables and brown leaves and I went as 'Autumn" and won first prize."
"Every November the 5th, a huge bonfire and a guy was made and a collection made in order that a large number of fireworks would be purchased and let off by an adult with all the children and their parents gathered together. Potatoes were cooked in the fire and drinks served."
"At the back of Wyatts, there was a field, Wyatts the builders I'm talking about, there was a field, it was not a very big field, but that was the recreation ground and that was where they had the VE and V J celebrations when the War ended. Bonfires and fireworks and parties and things. Then the recreation ground moved over to where it is now, behind the British Legion."
Children noticed adults for all sorts of different reasons, names were often not important.
"When I was a baby, Lady Lees was very fond of my mother and used to come and visit us. She took us to my Christening at Lytchett. She was very kind to my mother. She also gave mother a lovely gown for me which was long and with a panel of embroidery, possibly came from India, because they had a long time over there and indeed she was very kind and stayed a kind friend to me for most of her life."
"There was Mr Pearce who used to have a horse and cart to come round with the milk. And sometimes if Jean and I were coming down the road he'd stop and pick us up and we used to come down the road in this horse and cart. We used to like that."
"Sometimes there was a hurdy-gurdy man with a monkey on the box and it turned the handle. We used to love to go out and see this monkey - he used to be dressed up and had a little hat and aiL"
"One thing I remember, we only had a small garden but the other houses had very long ones and down the bottom of No. 56 and 58 years ago there was an old man who lived down there in a houseboat. I don't know what his name was but we always knew him as Boathouse John and he used to cycle round on a trike. He was a little short elderly man. He was there from when I was a small child and lived there some years."
"Just up from where I lived at No. 60, there was a little old man who was the mole catcher and where these new houses are by Pony Drive, that used to be allotments and if you had moles burrowing underground doing damage, he caught them."
"I can't remember the year my father came home (from the War) but when he came in I didn't know him because I had not seen him for so long. I could not have been very old when he came back."
"During the War the smithy was made into a soup kitchen; we used to go there for soup. There was a rifle range at Lytchett Minster, that was what was made into the soup kitchen. There was the Manor with Sir John and Lady Lees, that was not so far from the school, its still there. They had a party every year and all the school children went there for a party and they gave us all a present. Sir Elliott was John's father.
Sir John and Lady Lees were the nicest people in the world."
"I never actually went down to the slaughter house. I think it was at the bottom of Dacombes Lane, somewhere in that particular area. There was a very colourful character who used to work there by the name of Jarvis. He had a swarthy skin and he wore a large gold earing in one ear. He also wore a red spotted kerchief round his neck and with his cap set at a jaunty angle, he looked very exotic. He had a daughter called May. She was in the Guides with us."
"There has always been a cobbler in Upton before my time and this Mr Crook, he used to live in Toops Cottages. Now, Mr Crook, he was a real old-timer and he used to wear a big white apron and he had a waxed moustache and he wouldn't stand any nonsense from us boys. And when we used to run in the back of his place, which you were allowed to, he used to come out and chase us off."
"The surgery used to be a pub run by Mr Jumbo Bull Best. We used to call him John Bull because he was a big fella."
"And every Christmas they used to hold a party, a Christmas party for us, all the kids in the village and we all had a present from the Lees. A good party - we got food and everything."
"We used to go as school children, the Lees would invite all the village children, because there weren't that many of us in those days and we used to have a Christmas Party every year at the Manor. They all used to have a toy, usually a doll. It was just the local school children. Used to think it was lovely walking home from the party from the Manor and the bigger ones bringing us home. We really looked forward to it; it was a lovely party and a lovely Christmas tree just inside where the hall is now."
We may not be able to give the same freedom to our children but maybe with these memories, we can show them how past generations lived and how life changes constantly.
Our future lies with our children.
"I am Jason Rose and I am 5 yrs old and go to Upton School."