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Painting Camp Hill. 

Other Stan Clark Picture Stories

A water colour painting by Stan Clark of Bugbrooke High Street near to Camp Hill as it was around 1950

On the right hand side is the Dower House, then home to Doctor White and family, and the next building on the right was once some Sunday school rooms.

It was later demolished and a house was built on some ground that was behind this very large building.

When we first moved up Camp Hill to live, this building stood empty for quite some time. It had some very large sliding doors that had at one time been erected to the front side of the building, a very large ornate doorway Camp Hill end of it, and very tall windows either side of the sliding doorway. Inside, the walls were wood paneled to the height of about six feet, with plastered walls ceiling above. There were very large open beams that a chain hoist was fitted to in order to lift engines etc out of vehicles when it became a garage. There was a stage at one end nearest to Doctor White's house and a very large ornate fireplace, along with a small lean-to on the end, that was once a toilet that still stands to this day.

I think Father said that at one time it was to do with the parson who owned the soap factor that stood opposite, and once it was used as a very early type of youth club where they used to teach the young men to box.  Alf King broke father's nose while boxing in this building at one time, hence Father had a bent nose.

But in later years Mr Frank Barford used the place for his first garage in the village. He used to mend and repair motor cars and bicycles there, and in the time before petrol pumps, he sold tins of petrol from this building with a five shilling deposit on the can if you took it back. We still have in our possession one of these petrol cans that Father bought from Mr Barford when he ran his business from this building. (Later Mr Lionel Clayton was to build a new garage and bungalow for Mr Barford at the bottom of Butts Hill on some ground that he rented from off the Blue Coat School. He stayed there for the rest of his life until he passed away in old age).

This same building was to be taken over in later years by the Norman Brothers, who ran an agricultural contracting business from it. A Land Army girl by the name of Kathleen (Theobald), now Faulkner, worked for them. She now lives in Harpole, but she was based for a start at Kislingbury Hostel until she lodged with the Nightingale family at Bugbrooke Wharf. In the picture next to this building I have painted a Fordson tractor, like one of the many tractors that the Norman Brothers used.

In the background stands the home of Mr and Mrs Jack Heygate.

In the picture on the left hand side stands a concrete electricity pole. The arm supporting the street lamp was once one of the arms that supported the tram wires in Northampton, (and many of the street lamps in Bugbrooke used parts from this old tramway).

Father was paid bonus for doing such work when money was tight in those days. If he could run the electricity from house to house instead of by using poles, he was paid an extra bonus for doing so. Some of the fittings, where he installed the electric cables from house to house, are still on some of the old buildings today. Recycling materials is nothing new. He used lots of materials from the then outdated tramway system in Northampton.

Father said that because of the two world wars and the rift at the time with the Soviet Union, there was a shortage of wooden poles that were used for the electricity or telegraph companies. He said that most of the poles originally came from there, and this was one of the reasons that they made these reinforced concrete posts. He said that they did not like using them unless they had to, due to the weight of them. Father was to help bring electricity into Bugbrooke and the surrounding villages, as Grandfather had done years before with the telegraph system.

The first house on the left in the picture was where the Marshall family lived, the next house was where Mr and Mrs. Partridge lived, and the next building was at one time the old soap factory, that Mr Harry Lovell the butcher had taken over as part of his butchers shop. Next door was the slaughterhouse, In the days when the farmers, Oliver and Ern Brown,  took the milking cows up to Groughton Pond field to graze, it was quite a job to drive them past this slaughterhouse on the way to and fro from milking, as I think they could smell the blood or whatever. It was the same with sheep or any other livestock. I have seen horses bolt and get out of control in my youth in this area. Once, Father's brother Andrew was killed by a horse and cart getting out of control in the gateway to Browns Yard at the bottom of Camp Hill opposite to this Slaughterhouse,

Stanley Joseph Clark.