Some memories of the time that I lived at Ravensworth No.5 Upton Park….. by Pauline Boynette (nee Moore)

Next door were the Parker boys ,Robin and David .In 1951 my brother Montague Moore built a canoe with Robin and it was stored in the Parkers’ builders yard close to the river Dee. I was able to paddle up the river with a friend Jill Davis from Demage lane .On another occasion a boy friend and I took it to Upton Shropshire Union Canal and paddled to his father’s farm at Stoke and Stanney

My father was Sydney Moore and his father was Joseph Moore who worked in Dickson’s nurseries as a foreman and later lived at Bridge Farm near the Frog Inn and farmed the Upton golf course area and was the foreman for Reginald Potts in 1902 when my father was 3 yrs old. He was still farming there when my father married his first wife in 1923, prior to it becoming a golf course. He was presented with cups for the best farm of it’s size . These cups and newspaper report are now with the Cheshire Agricultural Society.

Our father Sydney Moore did not follow in his footsteps. He was born in 1897. He attended Upton school and is in the photograph dated 1907 . He fought for his country in WW1. There is a photo of him, taken in his uniform ,with his parents outside his home ,Bridge Farm . Another Photo depicts Sydney on his motor bike, in a dispatch uniform ,when he was in France in WW1 in 1917 when he was 20 yrs old. He never spoke to us about the war as the memories were too painful for him. After the war ,in 1923 he married Margaret Williams, who came from Llanrug in Wales and was a nurse at the Deva hospital .He was living at Bridge farm with his parents when they married . They were both 25 yrs old.

In 1929, when they were both 32 years old and according to the Electoral Register , they were living at Ravensworth  5 Upton Park. Margaret died of T.B in 1932 . My father ,aged 36yrs, married my mother Ada Waterhouse from Oakworth , Yorkshire in 1933 having met her and her father on a cruise to the Mediteranean on the ship Montcalm. She was 23 yrs old. They returned to marry in Oakworth, then went to live at Ravensworth. My brother was born in 1934 and I was born in a nursing home in Queen’s Park in 1935.

Montague started nursery school at Mrs Brocklebanks who lived at Mayfield. No 31 Upton Park. I spent one day there. I enjoyed exercising on the climbing frames but could not sit still to hear the story. I had been told that I would learn to read when I attended school and I wasn’t being taught.!! So my mother taught me to read.

Our Grandfather , Joseph Moore , according to the 1901 census, was a foreman at Newton nurseries , owned by Dicksons’ . My father was 3 years old then. In 1902 Grandfather is believed to have been the foreman for Reginald Potts and farmed the area that is now Upton Golf Course and living in Bridge Farm House where my father grew up and was still living there when he married Margaret Williams in 1923 and lived at Ravensworth. When my father married my mother in1933, she apparently had my Grandfather Joseph Moore, living with them at Ravensworth. He must have been there for some time as he courted his 2nd wife Mary, born in 1896,(She was only one year older than my father.) She worked for the Lightfoots at Glendales, in Upton. They soon moved to a tenant farm next to a church at the cross roads of Sealand rd. and Queensferry rd.

My father loved his garden at Ravensworth. There were 2 damson trees , a Victoria plum tree, an apple tree and rows of gooseberries at the rear of the house .His vegetable garden produced asparagus ,beans , peas, potatoes, horseradish and leeks .

At the front of the house were rose beds surrounded by crazy paving . At the left of the drive was the rockery , behind this rockery were ferns which my father took to Charlie Brickland to decorate his fish shop in Bridge street Chester. Our lawn was divided from the back door by a privet hedge. Along the roadside privet hedge there was a silver birch tree , a holly tree and a Philadelphia orange tree . My brother and I would climb the holly tree and squirt water at passers by using a stirrup pump.!

Then there was Dad’s boarder, snowdrops and crocuses at the front, and behind were tulips, orchids , roses , dahlias and a host of flowers too numerous to name. At the back of the wood built garage I had a swing and a bar swing which I spent many an hour on trying to become a trapeze artiste. Behind the swing were lilies of the valley and raspberry canes. We kept hens during the war years and two rabbits, they were housed in a brick shed with a corrugated roof annexed to the kitchen. Blackberries grew on top of this shed and we loved to use our climbing expertise to retrieve them.

During the WW2 my father dug for victory in an allotted area with permission from Mr Proctor at the Limes. The area he cultivated was on the land where No 68 Upton Park is built now.

Ravensworth had a cellar where beds were made up for us in case of air raids during WW2 . The coke for the stove was sent down a shute from the outside grid. In the night it made eerie noises . My mother made nettle beer and the bottles were put in the cellar as the only safe place for the corks to blow off in the middle of the night. She also put the hens eggs in a bucket of isinglass , a preserving solution.

My father did all the repairs in the home . He even put in the toilet upstairs on the landing. He connected the immersion heater in the bathroom , this bathroom was so small that I think it must have been made out of a linen cupboard. All the bedrooms had a fire place except the box room. A small , narrow room which had steps leading down from the landing by the toilet area. It was the maids bedroom initially , then used as a spare room. When visitors stayed I would sleep there and they would accommodate my bedroom. There was an iron bedstead and often apples were stored beneath . By the window was a large brown chest of draws which contained father’s treasures. There was a set of embroidered cards that he had sent to his mother from France. They were beautiful. Then we found some old toys including ivory dominoes that went up to double nine. !

All the bedrooms had fire places. The only fire place that I remember being lit was in the first bedroom at the top of the stairs, my brothers’. The woodwork surrounds caught fire. So the fire brigade was called as a precaution to safety. My parents bedroom was the first on the landing and mine at the end. I looked over Nettie Crosby’s field , the one where we had the bonfires on Nov. 5th. I went to sleep listening to the sound of trains going along the track and across the Bache bridge to and from Chester.

One evening , during WW2 ,when my parents were out they had left their bedroom light on. When they returned home the bulb was missing. . Next day Cec Parker came round to return the bulb as he had taken it out the previous night , having carried a long ladder from his house and then reached in through the open sash window to remove the bulb. All in the aid of the WW2 blackout period.

During the WW2 we took in lodgers from Western Command. My brother had contacted poliomyelitis whilst we were on holiday in the Isle of Man so we were not allowed to have children, ‘evacuees’ from Liverpool. So the house was made into 2 flats , except for the kitchen which had to be shared. Our family slept in the front room near to the front door. I was still small enough to fit into a cot. The Captain’s family had the first floor. Captain Boyd always cleaned his shoes in our kitchen ,with spit and polish, and they shone. Mrs Boyd always burnt the toast. They had 2 boys but I think that they must have gone to a boarding school as I do not remember seeing much of them. Another time we had a lady Captain Ascoff to stay . Mother enjoyed her company.

We often saw the search lights in the night sky and once found a large piece of shrapnel on the front door steps.

My mother often entertained soldiers from the Dale army camp for Sunday lunch when we had roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and vegetables. Often followed by an ice cream block which my father brought home after being to church and the Egerton Arms at the Bache.

Our kitchen had a black Yorkist range which was black leaded every morning .It incorporated an open fire and an oven on the left .

Kettles were put on the fire for hot water for tea and a large pan filled with scraps was boiled for the chicken feed. When we had a broody hen ,father made a chicken coop and run which was put on the lawn so we could watch the chickens hatch .

My mother baked her own bread . The oven had no thermometer gage., she just knew by sensing the heat when she opened the oven door when it was hot enough to bake the bread. Sometimes we bought a loaf or yeast from the mill ‘through the slot’ The bread cost 4 ˝ Pence in 1941. At this time there were two remaining sails on the mill. Sometimes we walked into the factory and watched the bread being made, from putting the flour ,water , yeast with sugar for the dough into the two big containers ,where it was kneaded by the machine. After it had rested and risen , the baker would slice off an armful of dough and hold it against his bare chest whilst carrying it to the weighing machine where he sliced it up into 2lb loaves putting each slice into a tin on the conveyor belt which slowly transported the tins into the oven on a continuous slow moving conveyance. After the appropriate time in the oven they appeared cooked and a workman who wore padded gloves would pick up 8 tins at a time and knock the bread out onto the conveyor which eventually took the cooked loaves through a hole in the wall where they slid onto an oval wooden slatted belt to be picked up and carried to the vans for distribution. We children were often lifted onto this last conveyer with the warm bread and enjoyed the ride.!!

When I was five years old in 1940 ,I was allowed to follow the boys to Dicksons nurseries . It was a great play ground for sledging on in the winter and for playing cricket in the summer. The other play area was via the track alongside the Oldham’s house , 44 Upton Park, which led to a wooded copse where we climbed the trees and explored the ruins of Upton house. The other children that we played with in the park were :-Jean Cox in the first house by the mill ,named The Westings. Sonia and Daphne and Johnny Steinman who came from Switzerland and lived with their mother, and grandparents Mr and Mrs Davies at No 12 Willowdene. Both girls joined the Girl Guides. Next door were the Matthews at No 14 Laverstock. Pat and Peggy were twins and their was an older brother called Richard ‘Dick’ and younger brother called Peter who the same age as myself, 8 yrs old . He had lots of white mice which were kept in the garage which was round the back of No 16 & No 18 with a drive out alongside No 18. Their garden’s were extensive as they backed onto White Cottage No 32. This garden area is now No 20 orchard close. This was a wilderness of a garden and we were free to dig and make dens and play hide and seek. Major Matthews was often away and Mrs Matthews was always knitting socks for the soldiers whilst standing up leaning on the fire place as she talked with us.

In Ravensworth kitchen was a row of bells hanging inside the doorway near to the hall entrance and there were pulleys in each room to work them. They were made obsolete and taken down when we no longer had a live in maid.

In through the back door , on the left was a toilet next to it we kept the coal . Facing the door was a gas boiler where mother bottled all the fruit and boiled the whites on Monday ,wash day . On the right was an electric washing machine . Three iron legs held a tub with a posser and a lid ,above this were the rollers which wrung o the water from the clothes before they were hung on the washing line on the lawn to dry. Through the door into the large kitchen which had a black and red tiled floor with the sink and gas stove on the left and also small window to see into the hen house. . Then a large bay window looking out onto the back garden with the hens amongst the gooseberry bushes. There were inset shelves each side of the fire place , then a walk in pantry , with food safe, and shelves of crockery and mother’s bottled fruit and jam.

The hall on the ground floor was my mother’s pride and joy. It was a beautiful mosaic which she and various maids polished until it shone. Every visitor was told to step onto the door mat, often with disastrous consequences , as the mat would shoot away from under the unsuspecting visitor’s feet and they would fall down.. We had not heard of home safety none slip mats then.

When I was 4 yrs old in 1939 , I went to watch my mother play tennis on the Millside court presumably with Mrs Flavelle.

My father attended the Upton Park meetings ,but there is no mention of him having attended. He was a quiet person so probably did not make any propositions for his name to be recorded . He was a taxation officer at the Chester car licensing department. After working for years in some wooden huts on the banks of the river Dee he eventually moved into the Chester Castle which proved to be warmer and better equipped offices. When he had a car he drove to work .Sometimes he would cycle there. He often called at Charlie Bricklands ‘Mac Fisheries’ in Chester to purchase fish for dinner. One day he arrived home on the bus. Mother asked where the bicycle was. He’d left it outside the fish shop. He retrieved it from where he’d left it some hours later.

He attended Upton church regularly. In his younger days he had been a Sunday school teacher there. .In later life he was a sides man and then the treasurer for Upton Church.

He knew Alix and Kay Joseph and they persuaded him to act as Father Christmas in the village hall for the children‘s party .which I attended . Later I said to my father ,“Father Christmas’s trousers and shoes were very like yours.” Then I learnt about the real father Christmas.! .Another year he acted in the tableau as St Augustine and I and my friends Sheila Hooper and Ann Morris were in the tableau as spectators, I think this was part of the Chester miracle plays.

I joined the girl guides when I was eleven and Alix Joseph was the Guide Captain. I was eventually a patrol leader of the swallow patrol . This is where I made friends with Sheila Hooper ,Ann Morris , and Pat Rowland from the Firs. Ann married and lived in N.Z where I have visited her .Unfortunately she is now deceased. I continue to write to Pat every Christmas . I would like to contact Sheila Hooper , who I understand lives in Mold.

Every year we went camping with the guides and shared a tent .We acquired many skills , in the cook patrol or wood patrol or water patrol. We took our duties seriously but we also had lots of fun.

Upton Park was a quiet haven .Montague and I walked along the tree lined avenue to Newton school ,passing the sentries on guard at The Firs. The Americans would give us chewing gum. We carried our gas masks with us, if we forgot them the teacher would make us walk home to retrieve them. When I left school I helped out at Mrs Longman’s school , the Firs , in those army huts, for one term .We first knew Mrs Longman when she lived in rented rooms with her son Edward (Teddy) at Grange house , 76 , . She came from N.Z originally.

I learnt to ride my bicycle when I was four years old, going round Upton Park circle with little fear of meeting any traffic. I eventually cycled to Newton school before continuing my education at the Convent school and Queens school 6th form and travelled there on the Upton bus. Sometimes I was responsible for escorting Judith Astle to the convent school.

In 1948 at the convent school I was friends with Bridget Rose who’s father was a Major and they lived at Government house. Major Rose introduced us to the art of bowling on the well mown lawns in the extensive and beautiful gardens. Bridget had a beautiful teenage bedroom and lots of books to read. .The neighbours at Upton Lodge at that time were General Elliot and his three children . Two of whom my brother and I became well acquainted ,Judy and Richard. Judy had a pony called Bimbo and we would go for rides in a cart around Upton lanes. We also practised circus acts on dear old Bimbo in the field annexed to the mill. One day we had permission to go through Eton hall to attend a gymkhana at Farndon. We rode on bicycles and took it in turns to ride on Bimbo . On arriving at the carnival the poor pony was so tired that he didn’t take part in any events. Then there was the long trek back home.!!

I left Ravensworth and all those childhood memories behind when I entered the school of nursing at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

My parents left Ravensworth to live at Strathallen in Kingsmead in 1954.My eldest son Nicholas was born there on January 16th 1959. My mother is at present in her 96th year and lives in a home near my brother in Sandbach. My Father died when he was 85 in 1983 . His funeral was well attended by his many friends who filled the church and the aisles .His obituary stated “He was a gentleman.”