Community Articles

Sunrise Over Synwell
More notes from an old-wottonite, John Durn.

I was born in December 1942, 'during the war', as Uncle Albert used to intone in Fools and Horses... I remember little of those far off days, apart from what my late parents and grandparents used to tell me.

Our house was a large rambling building, tucked away up Charfield Road, in the village of Kingswood, knocked into one house, from three cottages, in the early 1920's.

My grandparents had moved to this house from Abbey Street in the village of Kingswood, and lived out their lives there. As with most of us living through the 1940's and 50's, the days we all remember, were filled with sunshine, my Grandmother was a serious wine maker, Dandelion was her speciality, and many a 'hazy' evening followed secret tastings of her 'brew'.

I can still see in my minds eye, the colour of the dandelion flowers, the bright yellow, the smell as they swayed in the summer breeze in the meadows that backed on to the family home. These fields were our playgrounds, secret streams at the bottom of the fields, where banks of rusting pins thrown out from the old Langford Mill were our 'battlements', the stream a wonderful playground, safe, still and mysterious.

As night fell, the lights from Abbey Mill lit up our road, and the humming of the machinary lulled us to sleep. The hourly Bristol Tramways bus, trundled up the road, its weight shaking our house to the foundations.

We lived with Gran and Gramp, as Dad was in India, "doing his bit for the King and Country" as Gramp explained. Gramp was my 'Dad' during my early years, and I loved him dearly.

The day my Father returned from the war in 1946, left a mark on my brother and I. Who was this stranger, bearded, and sporting Seargents stripes, whom we had never seen. "Ullo then" were my fathers first words I remember, my brother bawled his eyes out, and ran away upstairs to hide. I just tipped out the contents of Dad's kit bag, my eyes lit up at tins of turkish delight, and tobacco, rolling over the floor...

Dads return to civi street, marked an end of an era for me. Dad had to find employment, and this he soon did, as a clerk in the offices of the Cotswold Publishing Company, Brittania Mill, Wotton-under-Edge.

So, at Eastertime, we left the security of our Grandparents home in Kingswood. Another day I have inscribed in my mind. Our furniture and effects, had been collected from my parents rooms in 'Sunnyside House', and stacked all down the long passageway, which lead to the outside backdoor. At 9am, a Mr Wyatt, who was known as Wyatt the Carrier, with a business in Haw Street Wotton-under-Edge, arrived to load our furniture onto his Green Albion lorry, for the short journey to Wotton.

Our new home was situated in Long Street, Flat 4, Marmonts, 27, Long Street, just three of our family made this journey, as my brother had chickenpox, he had to remain with my granparents for two weeks. So a new chapter in my life, was about to unfold.

My life in this huge new town ... WOTTON-UNDER-EDGE ...

More to follow. Have you read John's first article?