MEMORIES OF HEDDON BY EDITH A. WARD (nee DIXON) - APRIL, 2001. (NSW, Australia)
from an article by Pat Farnaby
Last weekend I discovered the Heddon web site and it transported me back to the first 12 years of my life. I was so impressed that I'm endeavouring to have the town where I now live do a web site on similar lines.
My family moved to Heddon in 1938 and were there for ten years. We lived in the house known as Mon Abri (I think it is now known as Badgers Nest). I have many happy memories from my years there.
My grandfather dug into the rise of the back garden to make an underground air raid shelter. It was equipped with a first aid basket complete with brandy, matches and candles. Why do I remember this? My playmate from next door and I were caught playing with the matches little knowing we could have been burned alive! I also recall being carried out in the dark during a raid and being put into a bunk bed in the shelter. There was usually a pot of hot soup at the ready for these occasions.
Heddon Common was my favourite place. I used to wander all over it. The Victory bonfires at the end of the War, and the Guy Fawkes fires were very popular along with the fireworks. One year my grandfather and I were up there first and we put a match to the pile before anyone else arrived! No-one was amused to say the least!
The world was such a safe place in those days, the children could wander anywhere without a care, though my mother did occasionally threaten that the gypsies would take me away! In our driveway there was a wooden snowplough sort of boat-shaped, goodness knows how it worked. The garage was quite large and we shared it with Mr Hall who lived in the row of houses opposite Armitage's blacksmith shop. I think Mr Hall was in Insurance.
Visitors to our house used to take bits of stone home with them, believing they were once part of the Roman Wall!
I used to travel to school in Hexham in the charge of Hilda Shields who went to the same school. If I wasn't at the bus stop the driver would slow down and look down our driveway to see if I was coming before driving on. Can you imagine a bus driver doing that these days? My playmates were Alan Honeyball, Kathleen Johnson, Derek Hetherington, and the Rutherford boys from Newcastle who came to stay with their grandparents at weekends. There was also Kelvin Sinclair who lived in the next house along the Military Road. When the Sinclairs moved a family with daughters moved in. I was friends with them but I can't recall there names (old age is catching up). Colin Waugh lived at the Post office/village shop and I believe he became a police officer in Newcastle.
Deliveries - one of my favourite things to do was to go for a ride with the milkman who delivered the milk with a pony and trap along the Military road to the last of the houses then turn left onto a track that led up through the fields to the Hexham road, the left again and back to the village, dropping me off on the way.
We had a butcher who came every Wednesday, I think his name was Lumley and he came from Stamfordham. I seem to remember we got liver every week and I must have got so sick of it I refused to eat it for many years afterwards.
I would be happy for anyone who remembers me or who would care to contact me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or for those who use 'snail mail', Edith A Ward 10 Keera St, Bingara, NSW, 2404 Australia