(May 2006) Sibford 1939 – the war years

Some more memories from Terry Cemm.

The Ferris had a post office which sold stationery, sweets, etc. and there was another farmhouse kitchen where you could buy sweets and chocolates. The Gower had a co-op shop near the school and another little shop down by the pond. Most people grew their own fruit and vegetables, kept chickens and bartered various items.

A drawing of a personThere were occasional visits from an old van which was festooned with hardware items – this was a form of mobile shop. Other shopping was done in Banbury. There was a Midland Red bus which could be caught at the Elm.

The best transport was Tanner’s bus, a 1930’s coach which called at the Ferris and returned with its large roof rack loaded with crates of chickens, rolls of lino, wire netting, large tin baths, etc. I enjoyed watching Jess driving. When he let go of the steering wheel to light his cigarette, the wheel jumped around. Then you could watch his hand groping A drawing of a faceback behind him for the gear stick which jiggled and jumped around in an alarming fashion. When he stopped, he reached over to give a tug on a handle which opened a folding door.

One of my favourite jobs was taking shoes or boots to the cobbler at Burdrop. He was always happy to chat and I remember you stepped down into a small front room workshop where he sat in the middle surrounded by tools, bags of nails, hundreds of off-cuts of leather and racks of shoes.

A little way along the road was the doctor’s house from which he also dispensed your medicines. The main children’s complaints were nits, chaps, chilblains and a nasty skin complaint called impetigo.

There were many characters living in the village. Out on the Shipston road in some ramshackle old wooden huts surrounded by iron bedsteads, etc. lived Theodore Lamb, a recluse who dressed in old sacks and who pushed either a pram or an old bicycle around the villages. It was said that he was thwarted in love which caused him to adopt his way of life.