HERTS & ESSEX OBSERVER: NOSTALGIA
This article is reproduced with permission from the Herts & Essex Observer who provide news and feature coverage of the same area of Uttlesford represented by the Recorders of Uttlesford History. The Observer is part of Herts & Essex Newspapers, the leading newspaper group in East and North Hertfordshire and West Essex. This quality, paid circulation newspaper, has been serving the local community since 1861.
issue: 23 November 2007
By Elizabeth Reeve
Memories of childhood days
spent growing up in the village of Rickling are recalled for our
column this week.
Richard Brown, 80, who now lives at Birchwood in Birchanger, dropped in to the Observer office to show us a delightful collection of treasured photos which chart those early days of his life.
He was born in March 1927 at Rose Cottage, next to All Saints Church in Rickling, and five months later his family moved to 1 Rickling Corner Cottages.
’Father [Sam Brown] was a horseman on a farm at High Laver before the war and then went to work for the council digging trenches.
’I started at Rickling school when I was about five. I used to walk to school, and when the war broke out there was no air raid shelter in the school - only one or two people had them.
’When the Battle of Britain was on in 1940, we could see it and the school sent us home. The cartridges from the Spitfires and Messerschmitts were falling and we had to walk home in it - it was just unbelievable.’
Another image that has remained with Mr Brown is that of one bitterly cold winter when the school milk froze solid. ‘We had to put the one-third pint bottles on a stove to thaw out and hope that the glass didn't crack’. he said.
As a schoolboy he enjoyed drawing and for some years after he left school in early 1942, aged 14, some of his pictures remained on display.
In those days the family used to get their water from a well at Quendon. ‘My dad would go down there with a yoke on his shoulders and two buckets’, he said.
It was after the family's collie dog fell down the well and drowned that it was filled in and a tap was put by the back gate of the row of cottages where the Browns lived. ‘That was luxury really because we didn't have to walk to the well to get the water’, he said.
Mr Brown went to work for Tinney and Hitchcock on a farm at Church End, Rickling, after leaving school. ‘I wasn't there very long before I was given a brand new tractor to drive. The Americans had sent over three boat-loads - two boats sank and they were distributed around the area.’
Mr Brown worked on the farm until 1951, when he got a job as a fitter with Aviation Traders at Stansted Airport. He stayed at the airport until he retired in 1991 as a planning engineer in the control office of Swedish group FFV.
Mr Brown, who is married to June and has three sons, Roy, Paul and Colin, and two granddaughters, said of Rickling: ‘It was a typical village. There were three pubs then - there's only one now.
’There was a good cricket team. I was a member of the second XI and we used to play on the green.’
© Herts & Essex Observer 2007