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Bream, The Schools 1948

Bream Schools 1948 (64k)

This is a busy scene at Bream Schools. Manchester House is hosting James's grocery store. The children's playground is in use, children have gathered at the school gate. The shadows suggest that the time is early afternoon .The boy in the school blazer and white shirt sitting on the window ledge is a young Brian James of Oak Cottage, Mill Hill. Brian remembers the photo being taken whilst he was running an errand to the Post Office.

Robert Cooke kindly sent in these memories of Bream in the 1940's and early 1950's: Robert writes: "I recently discovered your excellent website on old Bream photos and it brought back many poignant memories of my life in the 1940’s and 50’s when I lived with my parents, Hubert and Katherine Cooke at The bungalow, Coleford Road, and from 1946, when my father died, at Bristol House, High Street (next door to the chemist shop), with my grandparents Ben and Annie Bath who had a bakery at Whitecroft and a general shop in the High Street, Bream. I was particularly impressed with such photos as the Bream Youth Club in 1952 and recognised many faces I had long forgotten, and the Band, of which I was a member, until I left to join the merchant navy as a radio officer in 1953"......"In the 1940’s my grandfather’s business was known by the slogan ‘Ben Bath, Baker Bream, bakes best brown bread*’! However he was most famous for his lardy cakes (one bite and you were hooked forever) and Chelsea buns and the US servicemen who were billeted in the woods used to queue up at an ungodly hour outside the Whitecroft bakery to make sure they got a bagful. I have often thought since that if I had got him to Teach me the secret of his lardies I’d have been a Millionaire a long time ago!."

Robert's Memories of Bream in the 1940's and 1950's:

  • Birds nesting at Gunters Farm meadows and peewitt pool.
  • Swimming in "the tank" - what a health hazard.
  • Collecting fern indentations from pieces of coal off the pit tip.
  • Being taken down the pit on a school trip- it scared me witless.
  • Sledging down the slope outside the band-hut in that ferocious winter of 1947.
  • Grandfather Bath running his Austin 7 during the war on paraffin, with the ensuing clouds of smoke.
  • Having a hundredweight sack of flour and sugar in the back room during the war - naughty but nice.
  • Dr Pat O’Driscoll, a most kindly man, and his son Dr Michael who was no Mean cricketer and who, upon being urged to ’run Michael, run’ when a ball passed him in the outfield retorted ’what do you think I am, a bloody Greyhound?’.
  • Playing billiards at the ’stute’.
  • Collecting chestnuts in November.
  • My father collecting wild mushrooms from the hedgerow for Sunday Breakfast to be eaten with freshly cured bacon rashers.
  • Being employed on Saturdays on Bill Robinson’s meat van for ten shillings.
  • Haymaking with the prospect of a large slice of my mother’s cake and a bottle of nettle pop to go with it when we had done for the day.
  • Picking raspberries, strawberries, apples, plums and red currants from our Garden.
  • Stopping newly-weds outside St James church until the groom threw us a Handful of pennies.
  • Paying sixpence to sit on a tin box in the front row of the pictures (now The rugby club) or sneaking in for free by the side door when we were Skint.
  • The band’s G-Trombone player, Rufus Watkins, upon being urged by the Conductor ,Mr Sterry to address his music so ’we can all get on’, replied ’that’s alright butty, you go on, I’ll catch you up’.
  • School teachers Miss Worgan, Miss Drabble, Mr Davies, Mr Norris, Mrs Selby and Mr Watson.
  • Fishing at Noxon pond.

The generations were austere in many ways but the spirit of the community was rock solid.

* John Palmer added (June 2015): "... I remember the Ben Bath rhyme as follows: Ben Bath, bakers Bream, bakes Bream's best brown bread before breakfast".


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