Memories of Moving to Great Bradley
"My Memories of Great Bradley '' provided by Joyce Potter
I married in 1950, and moved to Great Br8idiey in 1951, after spending the first year at Great Thurlow until a council house was available at 6 Evergreen Lane, which had then just been built. There was no electric in Bradley at the time, so it was oil lamps, and solid fuel heating, with an outside copper for washing.
At this time there was a shop [now St Osyths House on the Corner of Evergreen Lane and Main Street), a post office run try Jack Chapman at what is now Willow Cottage. [opposite the Village Sign]
Crown House was then a builders, an undertakers plus taxi.
The village then had a W.I., and a Mothers Union which I attended at the Rectory.
Also at this time the village was well served try tradesmen. Haverhill Co-op ran grocery service - collect orders on Mondays, and delivered on Thursdays. This we made our main shopping list. They also ran a butchers van from which we got our meats for the week. Curtis’s from Haverhill also ran a butchers van. Foreman’s from Cowlinge ran a mobile shop on a Monday. He would deliver paraffin, and also a large range of hardware. Newsomes did a similar round which was driven by a
very large lady. We were also served by three or four local deliveries. We also had a midnight baker, a Mr. Cooper. He moved from London to Thurlow and took over Rutters bakery. He was single-handed when he started off . He managed to deliver daytime, but gradually got later and later until he was delivering in the middle of the night. We woke the next morning and there was your bread in the shed, but there was not another baker who could make bread like him.
Wilkins from Haverhill also ran a tailors round once a week. You could order clothes, suits, shirts, socks etc one week , they would deliver the next.
Fish and chip vans ran sometimes three a week. Wrens from St. Neots ran one Saturday, Ella's van came on Tuesday evening, and another ran on Thursday, but alas, we don't have that privilege now.
In the summertime we had ice cream deliveries. Max's used to come on a motorbike and sidecar. Eldoredos also did a round art a bike with a front box. These were pre-war times.
Our milk was delivered by Harry Martin who lived at Matthews Farm. He did the round for P.L.Smith from Mill Farm [Now Mill House, at the top of Bradley Hill] where it was produced, sterilised and bottled. The round consisted of Great and Little Bradley, Great and Little Thurlow, Cowlinge. Bottles had the old cardboard tops.
MOVING TO THE VILLAGE IN THE 1960/70’s
Extracts from the coffee morning held on 13th November 1999 with a small group of people who came to the village in the 1960/70’s.
Reasons for moving to Great Bradley
House prices, ease of getting to work in both local towns or further afield, nearness to a school, Opportunity to build property and the pleasant location.
Clarendale took several years to build so those arriving first had to contend with building work around them. A residents association was formed to tackle problems.
For some of those who worked as they were out most of the day it took time for them to meet other Village residents.
Many of the houses were occupied in the short term by Americans from the air bases in the area. Residents association tackled issues such as missing man hole covers
and lack of footpaths.
Facilities in and around the village.
Several mobile shops came into in the Village, butchers greengrocers, bakers and provisions. Milk and papers were delivered daily and a fish and chip van called in weekly. There was a post office and shop with petrol pumps and the Fox public house was still open. Villagers used the bus service to get to Haverhill, Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds.
Village children attended football and scout clubs in Stradishall, with Brownies, swimming and cycling proficiency tests at Thurlow school. Mr. Ryder allowed his tennis court to be used and Mr. Vestety in Thurlow would open his squash court. There was a cinema in Haverhill near the present day Lloyds bank. The village had a Woman’s Institute and the mothers organised a baby-sitting circle. Fetes, car rallies, bingo, 50/50 auctions, whist drives and jumble sales were held. The Thurlow steam rally was also held in the village.
The children all went to Thurlow School as the Bradley school had closed in 1967. They then went on to Haverhill. Playgroup meetings were held in the Village hall.
Some people felt that the village was more close-knit in those days, others disagree. Events such as plays and pantos held at the Village hall were often sold out. Many people on the Clarendale had young children which helped the adults get to know each other quickly. Those that lived in the village or worked in it got to know the ’locals’ quickly. Many of the older villagers were friendly to the newcomers even though they were living on their cricket pitch!!!