A Winteringham 1940s Childhood

Winteringham Local History and Genealogy

Colin Curtis’s Winteringham Memories of the 1940s

Meggitt CottageI was a child in 1940 and well remember the war. We lived down Meggit lane in Meggit cottage. It was during a raid on Hull area that a German bomber got off course either by dogfights or he lost his bearings, however he was chased by one of our’s and shed his bomb load over Winteringham. One landed at Tranymere Corner and two landed somewhere near to the Cowgang. I remember being dragged from the bed wrapped in a blanket and taken outside as we thought the Church had been hit and we may be next.

The Lancaster bombers used to fly directly over Meggit cottage most nights and mother would count them out and in again in the morning fearing for losses . During these early years she would watch Hull and Brough being bombed from our landing window in the cottage night after night.

It was during the war that a POW camp was set up along the road to Winterton and one can imagine a young boy and his mate Ray Coles being in awe of these POWs.

One very snowy winter, it must have been about 1943 two POW’s came down Meggit Lane, Ray and myself had set up our defences behind a snow barricade and when we saw who was coming war was declared!  We all had a great snowball fight and both the POWs and us were soaked (we lost by the way) but mother being mother said to the POWs “Come in lads and have a cup of tea.” That started a friendship, which lasted until they were sent home after 1945.  Each Christmas they would give us presents they had made from scraps which included slippers made from rope and toys for us carved out of wood.

Another situation was with regard to the vicar, the Rev.Upton. He had agreed to have a set of refugees live in the vicarage and Mr & Mrs Adler arrived. The vicar was not that good to them and treated them harshly. They were often very cold and hungry and again mother invited them to join us for a cup of tea, which again started a friendship until they were moved.

They were Jews from the south of Germany I think they may have been from Austria, however they had been placed in a POW camp in Germany from where they escaped and came to England, I was told they were in Dachau but cannot substantiate that. I do know that Mr Adler was a cloth merchant and had his metre stick, which he treasured. When they were moved from Winteringham they told us they were going to “Liechester”.  Well we searched the map to no avail; to find out where that was only to realise that they were going to Leicester.  It was a sad day when they went. Upon departure Mr Adler gave to Wally my brother his treasured meter stick.

After the war and many years later Wally tried in vain to get in touch with their family or relatives to return the stick, unfortunately he was not successful and still to this day it is in safe keeping.

Wally was in the navy during the war on HMS Arethusa and during his service he sent back to me a box containing oranges and bananas. Well I had no idea what they were as we had not seen anything like it.  When I was told what they were I took some to the local school for the rest of the class to see, upon pain of death that no one was to steal the fruit and eat it!

During these years we had no bathroom or electricity in the house until after the war and had outside toilets.  These were emptied by the dilly man (Ron Long) once a week. Hence the saying that ‘they even know what toilet paper one used in Winteringham’ when one refers to someone being nosey.

After the war the ice cream (horse drawn) used to come round weekly which was a real treat if one had been good, also the milkman in his horse drawn cart visited us each day.

Down Meggit Lane the only house was the Cottage after Mr Brumby’s house. He was a market gardener of high repute and also the churchwarden.  His knowledge of local history was immense and he held a lot of local maps and records. It was with great delight that we found the gravestone of the Mayor of Winteringham a Mr Edmond Cordeaux, it is still there today and I had the pleasure of showing it to a group of young people recently.

Behind Meggit Cottage ran the railway line from Winteringham to Whitton and Scunthorpe. The first bride to be carried on this train was Mrs Barraclough, I cannot remember the date, but she and her husband lived at the top of Sutton’s hill on the corner of School Road.

As boys we used to put halfpennies on the track so that when the train ran over them we made them into pennies. That was until PC Eton caught us!

Beyond the rail line was Winteringham Haven, a clean stream in which we, and others, spent many hours fishing for roach, perch and eels etc. Indeed many grown men used to sit for hours fishing there.

During and just after the war rationing was in force and was strictly controlled at the Post Office just before Gate End by Mr Wardle and at Mr Teal’s shop. Mr Teal was a cobbler and had a general store just up from the Manor Farm on the right going towards the church, then came Parkinson’s shop further up on the right and beyond that on the left next to the Police house was Sid Wingate who had a cycle business and also charged up accumulators for the radio which he used to charge 6p in old currency. He also ran a small shop opposite the Temperance Hall and the bottom of Sutton’s Hill and beyond there was Arthur Bell’s Shop selling sweets, tobacco etc.

In later years Mr Wingate had the garage built at Mere crossroads where he still carried on this business but also sold petrol and repaired cars.

Entertainment was sparse at the time except for the occasional film show in the Temperance Hall.  The youth club was held in the Reading Room down Low Burgage ran by Tim Burkill, whose method of controlling exuberant youths was to throw a chair leg at them with great accuracy, he ran this with an iron hand. Also at Gate End was Bratton’s the Butchers who used to slaughter all the pigs in the village. One of our pastimes was to play football with the pig’s bladder on the street.

Further down Low Burgage was the Malt Kiln (now a Methodist Chapel) where dances were held and the celebrations for VE day were held.

Further down on the right was the blacksmith and Shipp’s fish shop.

Below that on the left were Fenwick’s hauliers who used to carry cement from South Ferriby cement works around the country. One of the highlights was to act as mate and travel with the driver delivering cement, and yes we had to help unload the wagon, but we felt grown up by this.

During this time with father working at the dairy farm it was our job in the summer when fodder was harvested to help put it in the silo for winter-feed for the cattle. (On page 31 of the book A Browse around Winteringham a picture of the silo exists).  We used to enter the silo at the bottom and the men would feed the fodder into the chopper, which would be taken to the top of the silo by elevator, and drop into it. It was our job to run around the inside of the silo to tramp it down.  We used to come out at the end of the day like Martians as green as grass. I don’t think any of us children suffered from hay fever.

After the war when we were at Winterton School we used to be excused lessons for a month in September to go potato picking. The money we earned doing this was used to kit us out for school for the next year, we didn’t need pocket money for there was very little to buy. Another job was to chop sticks on a Saturday morning for sale and this took place down Low Burgage in a barn next to the railway station. I think Jack Kirkby owned this business, we used to chop sticks for about 6p a day.

I started work on the steelworks in 1950 and used to catch the works bus each day, it was 4/6p per week, I did this for a year and then changed jobs to become a bakery apprentice at the Co-op bakery in Scunthorpe and continued with this until going into the army.


For a full-sized view of Meggitt Cottage, please click here.

Have you tried the other Winteringham Websites?
Winteringham, Parish Council (includes current news items, photographs, weather forecasts, calendar of events, etc etc) Don Burton World of NaturePhoto Archive (modern photographs of the village), What the Papers have said about Winteringham (since July 2004), High Resolution Historical Photographs, Winteringham Film Archive, Winteringham Football Club, Winteringham Nature Site, Winteringham Recipes, Winteringham Sales, Winteringham Camera Club, Winteringham Village Hall, Winteringham Chapel

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