These recollections of Twerton as it used to be, come from a recorded conversation with three elderly gents, Dennis, George and Les, in the Old Crown one morning. This is how they answered the questions that I asked, in their own words.
What was life in Twerton like as a child?
It was different in many ways. The Parochial School, that’s where we went as boys. That got blitzed in the war and destroyed. It was the church school. Carr, he donated it – he was the main bloke behind the school. It was a very strict school – old Cad Wallender was the headmaster. They had an attendance officer when we was kids, he’d make sure you went to school, that was his job. He would get in touch with the school and if you were missing, he would come round your house. Lyons his name was.
When you went there in the morning you had to line up in the yard, and they used to inspect you and make sure you had a handkerchief. You had to have a handkerchief – that was the way you had to be in those days. It was much more strict than it is today. When you went in for assembly, old Cad Wallender used to play the piano and across the top there, he used to have a big cane. His favourite trick was to pick you up by the ear, and that hurts, believe you me. You used to get the cane for all sorts back then. There was Empire Day when the kids used to wave the flags. Bearing in mind in those days, if you looked at an atlas, three quarters of it was in red – it belonged to us.
What was the village like in the old days?
You used to have the village bobby in those days, and after the war, you had a certain PC Ledger down here. He was a strict copper – he came straight out of the service in 1946, and he hadn’t been in Twerton about three months and he knew everybody in Twerton. He was one of those coppers, it didn’t matter where you went, he seemed to be on every corner. Here’s the difference between then and now: he was along there at Mill Lane – they used to have police boxes in they days – a stolen car came round the corner and he put his baton straight through the windscreen. Twerton had its own police station in they days, along the bottom of Burnham Road, opp