Mavis Green (nee Hollyhead)

Mavis Hollyhead was born in the Police Station on at Redmarley in 1925 and lived in the village until moving to Stourbridge in 1941, aged 16.

In 1941, her father Inspector John Joseph Hollyhead of the Worcestershire Constabulary should have retired. Instead, there being a war on, he was promoted and posted to Stourbridge taking his family with him. Mavis and her mother started to attend the Stourbridge Congregational Church and eventually  Mavis joined the choir when she met her husband to be, and who became, Reverend William John Green. Mavis passed away in 1997 in Glasgow in the year of her Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Mavis committed some of her memories to paper, including her time at Redmarley and the extra below is from her family website. We have tried to contact the family without success but would love to hear from them if they come across our website.

 

 
After Mavis Green died in 1997, husband John found the following autobiographical notes written in a small notebook. The photographs have been added from the family archives.

Autobiographical Notes

I was born on February 19th. 1925 in the Police Station house at Redmarley-D’Abitot, then in the county of Worcestershire (now Gloucestershire). My father, John Joseph Hollyhead was the village ‘bobby’, going about his duties on a push-bike or maybe a motor-bike. Mother used to talk about rides in the side-car of the motor-bike, me on her lap and my sister Cynthia in the back seat.

Corse Lawn Police Station in the early 1920sMy mother’s name was Annie Eliza (nee Roberts), but she was always called ‘Nance’ by my father, who was known as ‘Jack’.

I have very happy memories of my early childhood, moving about so often I think. My sister, Cynthia Annie, is 4 years older than me and she was born October 31st. 1920 at the Police Station at Corse Lawn near Tewkesbury. She was always called ‘Tint’ by my parents – her own version of her name – and I was called ‘May’, names which our parents used right up till they died.

Jack Hollyhead at Malvern in 1927 or 1928After Redmarley my father was moved to Malvern, of which I have very scant memories, and then he was put in charge of policing at Blockley, a small village not far from Broadway, near Evesham..

Mavis in 1929I remember Blockley quite well – I was 4-plus – and I started school there. I began piano lessons, going with my sister to Mrs. Milton at ‘Hainault House’ I remember being rewarded for correct playing with biscuits – cream and jam sandwich – with a smiling face if it was very good, and a sad face if it was ‘not bad’ (Here follows a marginal note – “penny on back of hands” “a music concert at Oxford”)

I can remember when playing with Cynth and her friends, accidentally being pushed into a pond and having to be taken home with wet knickers !

Mr Joyner and daughter, Mrs. Selina DonaldsonMy parents were very friendly with a Mr. Joyner and his daughter, Mrs. Selina Donaldson, who lived in half of what used to be the Bishop’s Palace. It was a lovely old manor house with extensive grounds. A long drive with a huge syringa hedge which when in blossom gave off the most wonderful heady perfume. There was a large flat lawn stretching away from the house with cedar trees round it and a wall at the far end. We played croquet on this lawn, getting the mallets and balls out of big wooden boxes in an out-house. Falling sharply away from this lawn, down a steepish path was the walled garden with vegetables etc. and a stream running along the bottom. We paddled in this and walked painfully over the stones and pebbles, looking for pretty stones, fish and watercress.

The police station at Blockley wasn’t very big, but it had two cells which we used to play in when not in use, which wasn’t very often. One memory of the old Bishop’s Palace was that we were allowed to explore the attics and corridors. We slept there one night in a huge four-poster bed and Cynth had to give me a ‘heave-up’ because I was too small to climb in.

Old Mr. Joyner had silver-grey hair and a small beard. He spent most of his time in the sitting room which I remember as being full of furniture. It was here that I was introduced to ‘Solitaire’ with most beautiful marbles with twisted threads of coloured glass in them. Mrs Donaldson loved doing jig-saw puzzles and I remember seeing a large one on a table and the picture was of apples and leaves – very complicated.

Sgt. Hollyhead at Broadway in the early 1930sWe must have lived at Blockley for about two years, after which Dad was put in charge of Broadway, not far away at the bottom of Fish Hill. The police station was right on the road and Cynth and I used to sit on the front doorstep and take the car numbers down – more cars were appearing on the roads. We had a little Yorkshire terrier called ‘Sam’ and we often pushed him out in the dolls’ pram with a bonnet on! We couldn’t keep him from jumping in, so he must have enjoyed it!

Being the younger sister I used to tag along with my sister and her friends – what a pest I must have been ! They played in an old hollow tree in a field part way up the hill to Broadway Tower. I couldn’t climb down after getting into the top of the tree from the bank so they pushed me down inside and fished me out at the bottom!

(Here follows a footnote:- “Holidays- cars – Wales – beaches – cottages – black patent leather ankle-strap shoes)

Great Witley Police Station in 1934/5Dad’s next move was to Great Witley just a few miles from Stourport-on-Severn. A very scattered village. The Police Station was small but had a court-room behind it where sometimes we played at being ‘Judges and Prisoners’. The school and church were reached by crossing a field or by the longest route of ’round by the road’. The school was the usual church-school shape with one large classroom, several different age groups were together- the youngest at the front whilst the biggest, and ready to leave at 14, were in higher desks at the back – all under one teacher called Miss Shakespeare who was very strict and sarcastically said that if Cynth and I were products of Broadway school, she didn’t think much of it.

It was under her instruction that I, aged eight-ish, tried to make a tray cloth, but had to have it cut down to start again that it ended up as a table centre!

Sunday School was held in the church and it was the privilege of the first arrival to ring the bell. When I did it, I used to go up and down with the rope – right off the hassock I was standing on!

Milk had to be fetched from the farm, (Quartermans) twice a day and we used to collect it in an enamel jug with a lid and a handle. To heat water for a bath, mother filled the copper which was built into the corner of the scullery, with water and lit a fire beneath it. When the water was hot enough, she then had to pump it up by hand to the bath in the room above the scullery which jutted out from the back of the house, next to the kitchen.

(Here follow several footnotes: “Cherry picking. Broadway ballet classes – dancing in garden. Fair on green. Rhubarb over candle (This refers to an attempt to cook rhubarb in a metal spoon held over a candle!) Allotments. Margaret Tyson’s play house. Xmas house. Dutch doll. Cynth’s ‘stew’. Brownies. Camp fire – sausages. Sugar bowl- mum – 6d. Fairy godmother. Large bedroom with black paper. School- graded class every week. Had nervous breakdown – no sleep – off school months Usually near top!)

Dad was then promoted to Inspector and we moved to Redditch. Cynthia must have been 14 yrs because she didn’t go to school here but went to work at the local laundry – so I must have been about nine years plus. It was a big, depressing tall house in a narrow street opposite the back of a local cinema and in the summer when it was hot and the doors were open we heard all the sound-tracks full blast! Mother often sent me when I came home from school for a ‘pint of peas’.

(Here follow more notes, obviously intended for elaboration : “School library. Guides. Wartime. I travelled to Stourbridge. Hop-picking. Plum picking. Aberystwyth holiday”) (On a scrap of paper: “Thornliebank. 15, Heathwood Drive. Gwyneth/David Warren. Judith same age Rod. Robert same age Jenny. Neighbours – 17 Clift, 13 Russell. Jenny – birthday umbrella. Dancing classes. Morrisons.)

Dad’s Family: Louisa Twins ? Jim / /Mavis. Gert – America

Mum’s Family: Elsie/Jack/Cecily ? (Shurmer) Molly/Tom/ Tony/John/Beverley (Nichols) (Molly marries a second time – name Yearp) Floss (Un marries) Dorothy Fanny/ / Evelyn/ Beryl George – killed in first world war. Will – ditto. Charles/Lizzie/Sheila/Nigel. Christopher & twin Fanny – died at birth.

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *