1930 - People and local trades

Through the 19th century, most people were agricultural labourers or servants of one kind or another – ladies maids, housemaids, kitchen-maids, under-maids, gardeners, coachmen, butlers, gamekeepers. The opportunities shrank in the 20th century, but did not disappear. Here is Alan Pearce as gardener at the Manor:

Before cars became common, all services had to be provided in the village. There was a post office in some house or another. Here’s a picture of when the post office was in 17 Wilcot:

As well as the pub, there were several shops – groceries, stationers, sweet shops, a bicycle shop. In the 1950s, there was a groceries shop at the pub, run by Mrs Docker, and a shop selling cigarettes, Corona, pencils, rubbers and school stationery in 13, Wilcot, run by Mrs Miles until she died (and her widower, Bill, the village special constable, married the school-teacher next door), along with a shop selling bread and groceries in 19 Wilcot, run by Joyce Howse, daughter of a local farmer and Church Warden, Walter Howse, and another in 11 Wilcot.

Model of the shop in 19 Wilcot, made by Rosemary Nunn

Smithies were as common then as petrol stations are now – or more common, perhaps. From 1895, James Brown was the smith, and lived at the Forge, which John Brown bought from Stowell estate in 1900 for £95.  By 1915, the smith was Sid Williams, with his partner Ken Brown.

Sid Williams at the Forge

And of course there was a schoolmaster and assistant, and a vicar.

Bread was baked locally. Several cottages had bread ovens:

There were thatchers, sawyers, carpenters and builders, shoemakers (or ‘cordwainers’), a laundress or washerwoman, dressmaker, even a ‘straw bonnet maker’.  In the mid-20th century, the Gilberts, who had long been estate managers, carpenters and builders, had a building yard at 29 Wilcot (the site of The Limes). Here are Percy Gilbert, B Hopkins, Willie Gilbert, Les Pearce, SS Gilbert, Tom Spanswick and Charlie Lovelock at the yard at some point before 1931:

Moving into the 20th century, new trades became possible, such as ‘trained nurse’, water engineer, electrician, but over time these ceased to be local. Reg Houghton’s building firm got work from the government, and accordingly needed a certificate of registration:

But it brought work into the village:

Reg Houghton at work in the 1980s

The Pearce family had been thatchers in the village for generations, but their business ceased in the 1990s:

Wilf & Sid Pearce thatching in trade-mark bowler hats 1980s