BBC Voices

Five regulars at the White Horse pub in Edwardstone discuss the origins of the Suffolk dialect.
The group is made up of people who have lived in Boxford or Edwardstone all their lives and have known each other for a long time.
Recorded by: Stephen Martin, Radio Suffolk

BBC Voices

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Von Whymark remembers his early days as a farm worker in the early 1950s, learning the ropes from more experienced people.
Eileen Whymark talks about the house where she's lived for nearly 50 years, which used to be an old farm cottage.
Charlie Steed remembers the way conversation for his grandfather's generation revolved around the land, farming and the weather.
Charlie Haylock talks about sitting and listening in on a conversation between a group of old suffolk men and how the youngsters of today are not able to hold such conversations.
Leslie Snell recalls his grandfather's practical skills in the days when the village was a self-sufficient community.

Boxford - Water Under the Bridge

Today when we turn on the water tap or flush the 'loo' in our Boxford homes it is probably difficult to imagine that these amenities which we take for granted did not exist here only a short while ago. My thought's occasionally stray back to those times and the question, "How did we manage?" It brings about memories of what I like to think of as the 'Eau-de-Cologne Cart' - but let me explain...

In 1950 plans were made whereby the mains sewerage scheme would be provided, where possible, throughout the whole of the Cosford Rural District, but until that time a method of 'night soil' collection operated in the village. In the early 1930s the contractor for Boxford was Mr H C Raynham of Brick House Farm, Ellis Street, who had to provide a horse and suitably adapted cart to receive the contents of soil buckets.

Vivid memories exist of the vehicle trundling through the village during the hours of darkness, it being no more than an open topped tank transported on iron clad wheels, drawn by a weary looking horse who no doubt wished it was doing something else. For the purpose of road safety and to comply with the law, a hurricane lamp hung either side of the vehicle. Usually two men were employed in the operation, whose task it was to collect from individual properties the contents of pails from buildings at the rear of gardens and deposit same in the tank.

In 1939 the contractor for Boxford was Mr S Ribbans of Tills Farm, who received £160 per annum. The vehicle then in use boasted pnuematic tyres which was the only advance in technology. This method of collection continued in various forms and by different contractors until the completion of the sewerage disposal works in Wash Lane in 1953.

It must have been a thankless task but one that was essential for the well being of the inhabitants. It was essential, as well as showing one's gratitude, to remember these gentlement at Christmas!

Prior to Government Grants being available under the Water Supplies Act 1934, Cosford Rural District Council, of which this parish formed part, possessed only two water power plants. These were situated in the parishes of Hitcham and Whatfield, whilst the remaining 23 parishes in the district, relied on pump over shallow wells. It was recognised that the water in shallow wells at river level in Boxford, were liable to serious pollution. The Rural District Council embarked upon a grant aided scheme to bring piped mains water into the most populated parts of the area, which culminated in the 'Official Inauguration of New Water Undertakings' on the 5 February 1937, by the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, The Earl of Stradbroke.

Boxford Water Works was situated at the top of Cox Hill. The depth of the borehole was 261 feet and was capable of yielding 51,480 gallons per day. The water was pumped into an elevated pressed steel water tower with a capacity of 40,000 gallons (approx. 3 days supply). The pump house was built by local contractors W. B. Kingsbury, the complete cost of the scheme being £6,600.

Not all owners of property took advantage of the Council's offer to provide, free of charge, a supply of water, with stop cocks to the curtilage of premises. In order to ensure that every dwelling along the route of the 'main' had 'a pure and palatable supply of water within reasonable reach' a standpipe service was made available to the occupiers of unconnected properties, at a distance of no more than 200ft.

There is still within the village evidence of these stand pipes - in Stone Street opposite to Wash Lane, at the junction of Butchers Lane with Ellis Street and in Broad Street. The waterworks superintendent was the late Mr S Stannard, who, in order to permit him to visit each water headworks at least once a day, was provided with a motor cycle combination!

Prior to the mains supply and the provision of hydrants, water for fire fighting was drawn either from the river or pond, by a manual hand pumped fire engine...

... but that's another story!

Percy Flectcher.

Three Freehold Cottages, Stone Street, Boxford