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People Stories

We will be recording recollections and stories of our village and would love to hear from anyone who would like to share their memories of Osgathorpe. Please send us an email or use the contact form. 

Miss Florrie Wye

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Miss Florrie Wye was born in Wymeswold on 28th April 1916. Her family were farmers and she moved with her parents and two brothers, Teddy and Willy to Forest View Farm in Osgathorpe in 1934.

 

Florrie worked at Manor Farm, Belton until her mother became ill, when she returned home to keep house. Mrs Wye died in the 1950's. Teddy Wye had married and moved to Belton, where he carried on the family farming tradition, and Florrie remained at Forest View Farm, until after the deaths of her brother Willy and her father, the farm was sold. In 1960 Florrie moved into her home in Dawsons Road, which she had built.

 

Naturally, Florrie had seen many changes to life in Osgathorpe since she came to the village in 1934. In those days men worked either on the land, down the mines or in the quarries; women often had seasonal work on the farms. Those who worked outside the village were taken to and from their employment by bus and there was generally a much better public transport system than exists now. The village was served by a Post Office and shop.

 

The village supported an active social life, with whist drives and social evenings organised weekly by the rector. Everyone attended Church and there were three Sunday services and a weeknight service, all well supported. For special services, such as Harvest Festival, Florrie

remembers the Church with all the pews full and chairs set out down the aisle. Florrie was a Sunday School teacher until the Sunday School closed in the 1980's.

 

The character of Osgathorpe has changed very much in recent times. There is now much less farming, the pits have closed and the main earlier sources of employment have therefore disappeared or been much reduced. The village has seen the building of new housing, but there is a shortage of affordable housing for young people wishing to stay or come to live in Osgathorpe.

 

As Florrie says, life has changed, and not only in Osgathorpe; it is not better or worse, just different. The pace of life is much faster but although there is generally less time for people to support and look out for one another, there is still a caring community in the village.

Mrs Olive Springthorpe

Olive Springthorpe was born on 20th May 1906 and lived in the village all her life. Families were larger in the early 1900's and Mrs Springthorpe was the ninth of eleven children. Of the nine girls and two boys, Mrs Springthorpe was the last surviving member.

 

The family lived in one of a terrace of small cottages situated at the end of Main Street, where the footpath alongside the brook begins. Brookside house now occupies the site where the cottages once stood.

 

Mrs Springthorpe attended the village school (now the village hall) and recalls marching in twos from the school to Church, which played a large part in the life of the village. Later, associations with the Church continued and Mrs Springthorpe’s husband, Joe, was for many years a Churchwarden.

 

Perhaps not so very curiously, since Osgathorpe then, as now, was a small community, Mrs Springthorpe and her sister Nora married two local brothers. Olive and Joe had two sons and Nora and her husband two daughters. At the time of writing, Nora Springthorpe’s daughter, Betty, lived on Ashby Road and had a wonderful fund of photographs and memorabilia of Osgathorpe and its people down the years.

 

Like Mrs Springthorpe, her parents remained in Osgathorpe all their lives. Their last home was a few hundred yards from the cottage where they brought up their family, at 36 Main Street.

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Interview With Don & Wynn King

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Don King (front centre)

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Top from left:  (?) ,  Alex Yeates , Ken?, Peter Marshall,(?) ,(?)

Bottom from left:  Don King, Billy Derby

Taunton Courier & Western Advertiser

April 4th 1923
270 feet fall down pit shaft
George King, 45, colliery fireman of Osgathorpe, Leics, was killed by falling 270 feet down a pit shaft at Coleorton colliery.

Don was born in 1937 and has always lived in the village. He was born in a house on the Jetty, the land being owned by his father Albert (the Jetty was renamed as part of Main Street in the 1970’s). Don was one of three children with an older brother, George, and a younger sister, Norma.

 

He remembers attending Sunday School three times a day on Sundays and that the village was divided roughly 50/50, with half going to the Chapel and half to the Church. The Chapel was run by Mrs Wardle. From the age of four, Don attended the school based in the Harley Hall, then on to Griffydam and eventually to the Senior School at Broom Leys until he started work at the age of fifteen.

When Don left school his first job was for Tom Tivey, a local farmer. He worked six days a week from 8am until 5.30pm, with a weekly wage of £3. He remembers that he could never catch the 5.50pm bus on a Saturday to go to the cinema with his friends as he didn’t finish work in time. He remembers that, when they were threshing corn, there were lots of rats which they killed with sticks.  

 

Don worked then as a miner for thirty seven years, first at the Lount pit (see photograph) then at the South Leicester and Bagworth pits. Every day he used to cycle to the Lount pit until he got his own transport. Don started as a belt mechanic, moving on to become a coal face worker a year or so later. He remembers that some of the seams were only 2’10” deep and half filled with water, difficult and dangerous working conditions. In the early days it was a two shaft mine, but later became a drift mine. An amusing incident was that one day, a goat followed them into the pit and they had to catch it to take back to the surface!

His grandfather, George, and his father were both miners. His mother’s name before marriage was Harriett Horribin.  His grandfather died in an accident at the Bug and Wink pit at the age of forty five. He had also been a Parish Councillor and he thinks that he was responsible for getting street lights into the village. His grandfather also kept chickens, a pony and other animals including a jackdaw that used to ride with him on his bicycle! Don's father died at the age of sixty three, six months after leaving Lount pit when it closed.

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Don's father Albert,  his mother Harriett

and his sister Norma

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Don's father Albert King with Granddaughter Dawn

Don and his wife, Wynn, met at the Labour Club in Coalville and married in 1962. Wynn came from Coalville and worked at the Palatoy factory. After he and Wynn were married in 1962 they lived in a caravan on his father’s property on the Jetty until moving to the house that they now live in on Dawson's Road.  The land and original house on the Jetty was sold on the basis that the original cottage would remain, but after a time it was demolished and four new houses built on the plot.

Don remembers the following members of the Home Guard in World War 2: Alf Milward, Billy Bird (later killed in a motorcycle accident), his father (Albert King) and Bill Kerry.  They used a small hut on the Snarrows Lane where the Spinney is now, heading out of the village just before you get to the houses and footpath.  One story was that they were called out one night to a report of suspected paratroopers landing in Griffydam, but none were there!  There was also a ‘big gun’ on the corner of Greasley Lane. Don clearly remembers the sound of the bomb or bombs that went over the village and landed in Lily Bank, Thringstone. He was not sure if it/they exploded or not but he can remember the air raid siren sounding and the family sheltering under the stairs. 

He confirmed that Lloyd Ferrier did come back from the war. Lloyd was taken prisoner in the Far East and worked on the railways. He ended up living on Dawson's Road, but suffered fits for the rest of his life as a result of his time as a Prisoner of War.

There was a caravan on Main Street where number 39 is now, adjacent to the spring, and a man called ‘Soggy’ lived there up to the 1950’s.

 

Don remembers that Brooks van used to stop outside the Storey Arms each week. It sold cleaning materials and possibly other hardware. Also, that the village shop was next to the original Post Office on Main Street and that the Co-op in Thringstone did a weekly delivery to the village, but you had to make out your order the week before.

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Don cannot remember a specific football or playing field in the village but thought the original idea was that the village shared the Belton playing fields on a 50/50 basis.

 

Don remembered that there was a blacksmiths on the corner of Church Lane and Chapel Lane, which is where Sam Smith's parents lived (Sam Smith was the RAF Spitfire pilot): his father was also called Sam, who had three sons and a daughter.

 

As he remembers, the first new car in the village was owned by Percy Armett, a green Austin  A40 Somerset.   The village also had a full time road worker, who kept all the verges and roads clean and tidy.  During his time in the village he witnessed water, electricity and street lighting being installed, although many villagers preferred water from the well or spring on Main Street.

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