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Recollections from Lydney Parish Magazines of 1941, 1953 and 1962.

Lydney as seen from Lydney park  estate

St Mary's church, Lydney, from Lydney Park Estate with the Cotswolds in the distance..

By Peter Essex.

Although not a Forester by birth, I have very much sensed roots in and around Lydney these last 70-plus years. My grandparents and other family lived there, and other relatives still do. The three recent sungreen additions from parish magazines evoked many memories.

Williams & Cotton was a shop on the corner of Bream Road and Hill Street, with another branch further up in the High Street. The corner shop is shown in a photo contributed by my distant relative Kelly, and one of the consequent posts by a member of the Sterry family (again related) tells a hilarious story of young Ivor Sterry getting a clip round the ear for forgetting he had left his baby sister Margaret outside the store. The Imm family themselves show up in the 1962 magazine through F.I. Imm's building supplies and the burial of Mary Ann Imm of Primrose Hill.

I vividly remember “Nobby” Harris the undertaker. He directed the funeral in February 1961 of grandfather Frank Essex. It was Nobby's particular mission to encourage everybody at funerals to join in every “Amen” when required. This meant Nobby uttering a prolonged “Aaaaaamen” which momentarily had me convinced that a sheep had got into Springfield Methodist chapel.

The Methodist minister at that time was the Revd Albert Simpkins. The manse was at 11 Forest Road, and where I stayed with my grandparents was at No. 42. A regular trip with my Grampy was to collect the next Sunday's hymn numbers from No. 11 and take them round to the meat department of the Co-op at Newerne. Why? Because the organist, Russell Jordan, worked there. Would-be buyers of meat were obliged to wait while appropriate tunes were discussed. Mr Simpkins can be seen to have preached at St Mary's for a united service.

The staff list of the parish includes vicar the Revd Denis Hallett, who was at that funeral, as well as choirmaster Dr Brambell whose brother was Wilfrid, famous as Steptoe Senior in the TV series Steptoe and Son, and another doctor, Dr Carson, as churchwarden. I seem to recall my grandparents having been patients of both those doctors. By 1962 there is a new vicar by the name of Leach, and the lay readers include Mr B.J. Emery who I am sure must be the head of Aylburton Primary School in the photo “A group of men at Lydney Cross”.

Inevitably there are numerous memories of the Watts “dynasty.” I particularly recall the petrol pumps fronting the road where Tesco's car park is now found. My grandfather, who was on the Council, found “Jimmy” Watts a useful man to know. The name of Watts will for ever be associated with foundation of the Red & White bus company.

The burials include Alice Nelmes of the Cross Keys pub, where Jim Nelmes (also a councillor, who advertises on a later page) was landlord. By 1962 Jim has been succeeded by Walter Boothby.

Also featuring is Clifford Hughes, the chemist. I remember prescriptions being collected there.

I am not sure, but believe the Mrs Wintle mentioned in the 1962 magazine may have been the wife of Frank Wintle, the local registrar of births, deaths and marriages.

I think I'm right in saying that the Lydney & Chepstow Trading Co. had the big building in the Town station yard across the main road from the station itself. The post on sungreen entitled “View from the crossing” may show that building. If so, the word “Lydney” appears to have been painted out. I wonder why?.

No doubt many other memories will have come back to viewers of this website through the magazines recently added.

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