Website of the Laceby History Group

My Memories of the Village Called Laceby

Eddie Lord Aug/86

Together with a map drawn from memory

My recollections of Laceby in the 1920 s - I left the village and the house at eleven Church Lane, owned by my aunt, Mrs. Alf (Kate) Insley, the last week of August 1929, when I sailed for Canada (I was 15 years of age April 22).

Now, where to start, perhaps a mile or so down the Grimsby Road this would be at the junction of a corner (at that time) and a new road made to cut off a corner, up on the left hand side was a gateway heading to a fruit farm - apples and plums, we school children from Laceby would walk to that farm and pick the plums off the trees, these plums and apples were made into jam at the Tickler Jam Factory nearby. Incidents relating to this farm are as follows; reaching up in a plum tree, a wasp fell down and stung me in the eye, the damage that was done, comes to light 6 years later, as I have vision loss in that eye because of early damage to the iris - secondly - in between the rows of apple and plum trees, rows of red mangles grew - I found out that these also went to the factory and came out as jars of plum and apple jam and that this process started during the 1914-18 war when Ticklers provided jam for the services. Now this may seem like a very alarming statement, but that is what I was told at that time. Coming towards Laceby, I pause at a mansion house on the right side, the drive way was through a grove of trees and one had to pass in front of the large house on their way to a square of buildings that perhaps at one time was carriage and horse and harness malls with living quarters above - my cousin Violet should be able to recollect it more than I. This was my first home in the area. On adjoining property was a very high smoke stack, this was demolished after the war, 1 remember it being blown up and the huge stack falling over, 1 possibly would be 5 years old at that time. On the other side of the road was a large farm house - this was said to be haunted, and strange things happened in the night. No one would live in it. Coming along the road, small cottages on the left - in front of these was a deep ditch and you had to walk on the boards over this to get to the house. On the other side was a larger home which 1 visited from time to time, 1 think delivering the paper - on the right hand side was a large house and a chestnut tree, where we got our 'conkers' in the fall of the year. A large mansion down along the Beck with the driveway from the road - 1 have cherished memories of the kind Christian people who lived in the house - 1 recall two beautiful girls - much older than 1 - they would ask me to come to the house and get a bouquet of flowers to take to church on Flower Sunday also at Easter they would prepare a basket of eggs for me - why me 1 do not know. At Christmas time they always had an Xmas tree inside of the front door and all the children gathered arid received a gift off the tree - the last present 1 received was a small box, similar to an orange crate and made to look like one - it was full of small candied oranges.

Down the road - (1 am going backwards now) was a lane going to farms nd to the Tuberculosis hospital (consumption) next. Now we take a look at the Beck where there is a stile and a road over the fields to the mentioned hospital - in the corner of this field was a cement sheep dip pond - and the smell of the disinfectant that was mixed with the water at sheep dip time would make you snort and cough. A fence was across the Beck which widened out before going under the bridge. 1 worked on the farm which was up along the Caistor Road?

One of my jobs was to drive a horse which pulled a vehicle which had two large wheels, resting between these on the wooden platform was a big barrel which had a square cut in the top, going to the Beck it was my task to fill this barrel with water - this was done by a gallon bucket attached t o a 10 foot pole - 1 would dip a bucket of water and bring it up hand over hand and by this means 1 would get a load of water. Needless to day 1 was soaking wet at the finish and felt miserable. 1 then would go back to the farm and drive up alongside the steam engine that was used for thrashing the grain. The engineer would attach his engine hose to the barrel spout and then send me back for more, a boy doing a mans work at sixpence a day. My other recollection, here, is that when at school we had a cross country foot race, which ended at the Beck - (1 was going on twelve at the time) 1 won the race, but near lost my life, they said 1 sat on a chair for a day and no one could see me breathe or move, the doctor told me later not to attempt any more races. 1 do not recall if there was a cup for this or not. In the field up from the Beck was the place where the circus was held when it came to Laceby. This was next door to the farm house. The farm yard next to that, on the right of the farm gate was a large pond - the ducks used this.

A miracle happened to me at this farm. Nesting bird's eggs was the thing, and we would climb all over for our collections. One Sunday afternoon, we went in the shed that housed the farm equipment - mowers, reapers, etc - the spikes that the reaper blade passed through were about 5 or 6 inches long once the whole 6 foot mechanism pointed upwards for storage.

This particular day we wanted swallow eggs - climbing up to the roof was some effort, to say the least. however I missed my footing coming down and landed with one leg each side of the reaper prongs. I t was a miracle that I did not i mpale both legs which would have left me totally lame - I was scared and did not mention that escape to anyone. On the opposite side of the road was a cottage and a lane that went behind all the homes from there to the Beck - alonghis lane were garden gates, also the tennis courts. Only one name I can recall here - Miss Oyble? I would get bones for her  dog from the butcher. At the end of the lane was a small park area with seats - also the big manhole that the gasman would check out every so often, I believe it was an escape valve apparatus if the pressure got too high i n the pipes some would be blown off. I can smell the odour even now. Coming back to the cottage and the roadway - on the right was the ir on railing, or fence enclosing Squire Fields property, the sidewalk alongs i de until you come to a hedge? At this juncture, maybe two or three times a year we would not go near, the reason, a man with a wooden leg would rest and sleep at that spot - we used to call him 'peg leg' - and older ones told us to be careful for he could take off the wooden leg. He was no doubt a brave soldier and lost his leg in battle, but kids are kids!

On the opposite side was another large house which had a Russet apple tree in the garden, I visited there quite often - (the name might be Cash - for I think they moved from here). Next to this was the Church Hall. I think that they used it for big banquets. We now come to The Square. The Square is the keystone of the village - this is where the bus sits to take people to work or shop in Grimsby, also it was the stopping place for 'charabangs' full of holiday people passing through on the way to Cleethorpes, or on their way home. I remember one bus line that had the words Ne Plus Ustra painted on the sides. Passengers would fill up or empty themselves at the pub, such as a joyous drunken bunch of miners. Making up the square - on the left were homes - then a brick wall enclosure that was right on the corner - in this enclosure was a fish and chip shop, also a machine shop, and a doctors office. The owner of the machine shop was a good man, only on a Saturday he would really  ill up with 'booze', his wife looked after the fish and chip shop - it was his job to prepare the potatoes to be made into chips - in one corner of the yard was a potato 'skinner' you put potatoes in the edges and the down cylinder took off the potato skin and at the same time washed them. Then they would be put on the chip machine which was a device made out of metal and squared - the potato was placed on this square and you pulled down the handle, pressing the potato through the bottom half - 'Presto' potato chips. Raynor, I think that was the man's name. Mr . Raynor was a kind man, for he would fix our bicycles, wheels, chains etc. for free. Many times I have helped him 'scrub' the potatoes on a Saturday night when he was unable to do the job. The doctor only came twice a week.

Continuing up the road was a large home, then a church - I think it was 'Wesleyan', next, another big home and a tea room. They
had a big garden and sold vegetables etc. Next, on the corner, another house - I think they made bricks or something here? I just cannot place the industry. People would go to that place and buy 'lime'. They had a large 'lime pit ' and you took a bucket and the man would dig out the lime and fill your pail for six pence . You then took the lime and mixed it with water and painted the fence - or the walls of the pigsty, chicken coops etc. If you got this pure lime on your hand it would burn a hole and one was very careful with the application. Continuing past this yard, next was a stile and a footpath that led you to the afore-mentioned consumptive hospital. Next was farmland with the farmhouse up the road - and opposite was another farm. This is where I worked after my schooling and where I had to rake and sweep the farm yard Saturday afternoons so that it was clean and tidy for Sunday . At this farm they had a turnip and mangle cutting machine and a linseed and locust cake cutter. These I used many times. Machines such as those are past today, when everything is mechanically electrified. Coming back from the farm, there was the blacksmith shop. They made horse shoes, wagon wheel rims etc. In the winter time they would put iron studs in the horse shoes so that the horse did not slip on the icy road. Next to the blacksmith shop came a group of homes - one feature here is that each two had an enclosed passage way to the back door or garden. Next, on the corner, was the builders lumber yard and sawmill. I got odd jobs here - one I remember, on a cold winters Saturday I had to sort nails that had been taken out of old lumber and many were bent. I had to
sort them for size and straighten them out. For this I got lunch and six pence. Next door was a grocery, then farm homes for the workers at the farm where I worked. Next to them a garage, they sold motor cycles, bicycles (Raleigh) and did repairs. Next was a home - they took the front room and opened up a shop. Next a candy store then a butchers shop with buildings in the rear for slaughtering cattle etc. Upstairs in a room above the slaughterhouse, some men from the village made a boxing ring and gave us lessons in self defence and boxing - they supplied gloves etc. Many nose bleeds from this experience. Next door was the butchers home - a brick wall faced the square - next to that was the opening to the big yard belonging to the pub - here carriages would be parked and the horses stood while the guests enjoyed themselves - beautiful carriages and horses from Grimsby. A Mr. West ran the establishment at that time - a very nice man, very good to me. Mr. West would buy the soot from the chimney sweep. I would have a job in that I had to place a ring of this soot around each rose bush in his big garden this kept the slugs
away, also feeding the plants. Mr. West had a huge red nose! I remember a story connected to this - the doctor said he had
'Erysiplas' the older men said it was 'Harry Hewitt'.

There was a certain strictness exercised by the one policeman and because we were minors we were not allowed to hang around the front steps of the pub or go into the yard. Saturday night was the fun night, to watch the drunks come out. Men and women arguing and fighting etc. - of course we watched from a good distance . Next door was the Nags Head pub which had a carriage yard at the rear - this was a smaller establishment and seemed never to get into the news. Next door was a large grocery, one of the main stores in the village - they sold everything - and many many times have I been sent on errands to that store . All produce, such as sugar, tea, etc. came in bulk form - tea in chests, sugar in bags, dates in boxes, dishes in barrels. They had a large warehouse at the rear, where workmen would weigh up pounds of this and that, and package the goods . How many of you can recall purchasing a gas mantel (my how fragile they were). Going to the store for salt, for a penny worth you received two small blocks, these would be placed on a plate at the table and when you wanted salt for your potatoes etc. you rubbed the two small blocks together, then placed them back on the plate. The men who worked in the weighing and packaging room would sometimes give us kids a royal banana or some dates . This experience ended abruptly for me. One day I was handed some dates and when I ate them I got awfully sick , they had secreted some chewing tobacco in them, at which they had a good laugh at my expense. Next, at the rear of this establishment was the opening to the rear of the Nags Head Pub - then came the post office and chemist shop.

Telegram boys had a red fixed gear bicycle for the delivery of telegrams. One Saturday I got called to deliver a telegram eight or ten miles away, this is as far as my mind can focus was up what I call Caistor Road across the four corners, up the big hill and away back in the country . My mind tells me it was regarding a Lord Prettyman who had been thrown from his horse and had died from a broken neck - I did not get back until very late at night.

A road here leads to the sandpit and the cemetery - one of my chums lived at the top of this road - his name was Slater - this name perhaps sticks in my mind for they were a good family and seemed better off than many others, in that there were many toys to play with, and my friend was always dressed up even on week days. At the lower part of the lane or road was a man who sold milk - I do not know what church denomination he was but he would not work on Sunday. Many times I took the two-wheeled cart with the cans of milk on, also the metal measures, pint or half pint - and made the rounds of his customers for him. Now we are at the
corner of High Street. On this corner was a house where when the winter time came and it got dark early we would go to this house and kick at the side of it. It made an awful noise inside and we would watch the door until it started to open. Then away we would run, the owner would chase us, he wore slippers, and I can still recall to mind the clip clop sound they made. He never caught us which was just as well for our sakes. Attached to this house was a large hall. You had to be eighteen before you could go in there where they played pool etc. One of my recollections here is a beauty. One time a lecturer came to Laceby, I believe it was connected with the church, and he brought with him a black and white movie film of Africa which he had filmed himself. He also had a moving projector and a large screen. How I got to be a key member of this project I cannot recall, but I found myself in charge of operating the projector. This was done by turning a crank at a certain speed, as the film went through the projector and it was projected on the screen and the people shown would be moving about. The lecturer would talk as the scenes changed and the projector illumination was by a gas light at the rear. Now visualise if you can, a thousand feet of precious movie film going through this machine reel to reel. I was supposed to pay strict attention to the reel that was the take up. Well I, while turning the crank, got interested in the African scenes and when I looked to check on the take up reel it had stopped and there was ab out 400 feet of film all coiled up in a pile on the floor. I got scared and stopped turning, the man came back and I thought he was going to die. He said 'No one light any matches', he gave me a smack across the ear and a boot at my backside out of the door - I never knew how I got into that situation and how he got out of it and I did not get another chance to operate future machines. During the last war this building was the A.R.P. or the Home Guard H.Q. Next to this building was a dairy farm and attached to this they had a small grocery and adjoining this was the fruit and vegetable store, operated by a nice gentleman who was a cripple. He was not very old and I used to talk to him a lot, he was very interesting. A group of homes, then the bakers shop - I can still smell the new bread and fresh cakes, freshly made. They also sold candy and when you bought candy at any of the stores, they would take a small sheet of paper and make a cone to hold the candies - (I still make one of these for the neighbourhood children, they think its something!)

At the bakers shop, many times I have stood in the line up at 7 o'clock in the morning at Easter to get the 'Hot Cross Buns'. These were only sold at that time, if you went at 9 o'clock they had all been sold. Next to the bakers shop was a walled farmyard. Next to that was the carpenter and also the undertaker. I had an odd job here at times. I would help him to put the coffin together, handing him the brass screws and handles etc. Also I would help to push the two wheel cart that the coffin was balanced on and when we got to the cemetery and the coffin was taken off, it was my job to wheel it back to his shop - I got six pence for this. His home was next to his workshop. Then the schoolmaster's house. Mr. Dosser of the Laceby Stanford Charity School. We all survived and in later years benefited from his strictness for he was a tyrant to use the cane! Every morning at nine o'clock each room would line up in the play ground and file into school. Mr. Dosser would whack the last person in the older line, because he was just the last one. He was always in charge of every situation - I recall he had some of us boys at his home one Saturday and we had to dig down into his garden. It seems that Some canned goods (tins of corned beef etc.) had been buried in a pit at the outset of the first World War but we never found anything. Around the school yard was a brick wall and it had a sandstone topping. We would make a groove in this and sharpenour slate pencils in the groove with the aid of spital. Everyone carved their name in the sandstone top.

A road was next to the school, and in the first house I believe lived a family by the name of Judd. Other homes along this road, which eventually led to the allotments on the hill. It terminated at a stile. The pathway then would lead you to Aylesby. Coming back along the road (I used to deliver the Sunday paper down that lane) there was a family - the name was Sykes. They had a large
house and garden, the old man had a horse and wagon and he went around and emptied toilets at night. This was one of those jobs that someone had to do, before modern plumbing! Coming along the road again there was a large field. After school on Friday in the summer we would play a game of cricket. You had to be alert and pay attention (ever got hit by a cricket ball) even to catch a fast one and your hands would sure sting and smart. Next to the field was a large garden and the butcher's house and around
the corner on High Street was the butcher's shop - a Mr. Scott was the butcher, he was a portly, fat man, always smiling. I got a job at Mr. Scott's on Saturdays, his helper would load up with roasts of beef etc. and take these to customers miles away. We left at daybreak and got back late evening. My job was to look after the horse and meat while he was in the house getting paid, sometimes my pay was the Sunday roast. Mr. Scott had a large farm which was along the road that went to Aylesby. Around the corner was a farm, owned by the people at the grocery on High Street, they had a large barn on the premises. In a shack next to this lived a hermit, a little man who kept to himself and came into the village and got his supplies. He never washed. His clothes shone from the dirt in them but he never bothered anybody. He was a gunsmith, for he could make revolvers and the bullets that he would use in them. He shot all the rabbits he needed for food. Unfortunately his shack got-a-fire one evening. He got out but no one could get near it for the bullets were flying and whizzing all over the place. The next day they took the hermit to the old folks home, they cleaned him up, gave him another suit of clothes. One day he left and came back to Laceby to his old place and they came and took him back and soon after he died. Down the road in a large field was the school's football grounds and all matches were played on Saturdays.

Back at High Street, turning left down another road, and halfway down a long lane where a lot of my friends lived. Continuing down the road again we turn left and continue until one comes to a gate and stile. A lady - I think a Miss Lamming - lived at the end of the lane. I used to run errands for her. Other homes along here had big gardens and sold vegetables to people. Halfway was other land and more homes and gardens and at the top end two homes close together, I remember they seemed to have a large family, all girls. Further along we come to Stockwell Lane and the posts. I never knew why these were built or how long ago, it wasn't to stop cars from going through, that's for sure. However, I learned to manoeuvre my bicycle through them without getting off. Opposite was a road that led up to the school and at the lower end was a closed store. In the evenings sometimes I would watch the bats flying in and out. On the opposite corner was a large pl ace that was walled in. Next to this was a house - (don't ask me the name of the people - but a most friendly home, they treated me royally). Now going up the road to the school. At the top or near the top lived a man who worked on the farm when I did and sometimes he would bring me to his home for dinner. One time, he had fat salt pork - ugh - to this day I still can't face it. Up at the junction of High Street lived the cobbler, two brothers - looking in the window, there they were, each on his stool cobbling away, again lovely people. We would take in our tops and they would tap in a new stud for u , all for free. Next door a blacksmiths shop - oh how the sparks would fly . He would let us pump the bellows at the forge. Continuing down the street we come to the parsonage gateway and a wall extending all the way down the street until it reaches the church grounds, then an embankment and a hedge take over all the way around the corner to the church gate, bring us to Church Lane. Inside of the church gate was a set of stocks (I hope they are still there). Up at the church and right below the clock tower there was a grave stone. The clock fell off the tower at one time and landed face down on the grave stone. The imprint of the clock should still be able to be seen! At the back of the church grew walnut trees. The ministers name was Rev. Knight, one time he got me to climb up to the top of the church tower to the clock room. He had to put the clock on one hour, (daylight saving time). This was done by turning a big crank. What I had to do was watch a small clock which turned like the big one. Well I guess I got curious, peeking out through the cracks in the tower stones, with the result over 2 hours had gone ahead. Was he mad, and chased me
out and down the stairs. It meant that he had to stop the clock and then come back, climb up all those steps and start it up again. However he forgave me for it. Saturdays I would help him to cut his lawn, he would push, I would pull - it took over two
hours to do the job.

An interesting house was the parsonage. At one end of the large lawn was a large whale bone arch. On another place up on the left corner was a special type of tree, the spikes grew downwards and they said it was a tree a monkey could not climb. Several other
different trees and bushes grew around the front lawn. It is the type of house that should be saves, spacious rooms, beautiful stairway leading to the great rooms on the second floor. I remember the scullery having 5 foot high whim tiles on both sides, sinks and a large pantry. The whole place made one feel great just to be in it. I hope that it has not been changed. Along Church Lane in the corner was a doctor's home and large garden. He used to make his calls on a small motor bike, a 'Velocette'. Next door was a yard that had a large shed and there was a big double brick house at the end . The name (Daubney or Wright ) comes to my mind. However , the significant historic event for Laceby happened here. This gentleman in 1925- 26 built the first radio station. He had
wire all over. Two thirty foot poles, 50 feet apart with a wire stretched across and a wire coming down to his shed. He built a loud speaker and would let us sit in the yard to hear the music coming from his receiving set. I have often wondered if one had taken the time to study what he was doing, what a head full of knowledge he would have and what a fortune he would have made building radio receiving sets. Next door more homes and friends and finally No. 11 Church Lane where I lived right beside the closed lane . A Mrs. Binnington lived in the cottage opposite, next to her a Mr. Wright lived. He was a blind man who made wicker baskets etc. - Mr. Dosser the schoolmaster bought his canes from him.

Next door a nice family, and a family of young girls next to them. Across the road from them was a cottage. The man was an awful
drinker and would beat his wife all the time. Now we will journey back on the left side of Church Lane. There was a field on the left of the Binnington house. Then a large house at the end a gate where a path started that went to Brocklesby's house. Coming away from this gate was the wall of the farm shed and then a gate into the farm yard. Every October there would be a day for killing the pigs. Many times I have watched the butchering and put my fingers in my ears at the squealing. I saw the instrument used to take the bristles off. Some years ago I was able to buy one, it cost me about a shilling and no one knew what it was. I have been offered many dollars for it. I like my pig bristle scraper, for a blacksmith made it long ago. Moving along we still go by Squire Field's property. Once in a while I would look up to the windows and the servants would wave to me. Halfway to the square was the main gate to the house, or I should say mansion. Many times I have seen the Squire drive out with his lovely horses and landau. From the gate to the Square was the fenced orchard, and at the end facing the Square a big house, with steps going
up from the road.

Not far from the Beck and down the back lane was the tennis courts.

The chimney sweep, Mr. White, would make the delicious ice cream in the summer and pedal his little ice cream cart around the
village ringing the bell!

In the Minister's house, we had to go every week to learn the ritual preparing for confirmation at 12 years of age. I was confirmed
by the Bishop of Lincoln. One of the many aspects of our young life had go to be deportment and servility. The ever 'drilled in' respect for elders - I still respect my Minister, Doctor and older persons, the Policeman etc. This training has never hurt me in any way. In the 1920's pay for ones work then cannot be compared to wages today. On the farms was a man who was called the 'Head Waggoner', he was in charge of all the horses etc. He was hired by the year living quarters supplied, some milk, a pig, a row of potatoes and his cash was £120 a year.

When I think back at my days in Laceby I do not recall any enemies - just beautiful people - I have perhaps been in about every house of that time. Always treated to cake or sandwiches. I did run many errands for people. I never seemed to be idle. Someone started a Boys Brigade. We wore a red 'pill box' hat. One of the worst disasters that could befall any of us younger people would be to have the policeman call at the home and report some mischief one had done . That was good for a couple of good whacks! At that time we all had Sunday clothes, penny for collection and would sing at the t me this was collected - 'Pennies Dropping' - and there was no snitching one back either. All the school went to church on Ash Wednesday and paraded down High Street. Also I recall whenan election was held, we kids wore a blue or red ribbon, and sang songs such as:

Vote, vote, vote for Mr. Tickler
Throw old Johnson in the sea
For Tickler is the man
And we'll have him if we can
If you all put your shoulder to the wheel!

How many remember that?