Peter Hill

Hill_PeterPeter Hill was born in 1934 in Hartlebury. After leaving school in Stourport in 1949 he worked in farming at Charleton, just beyond Hartlebury, before joining the Army in 1951. After 3 years in the Army he left and joined the Merchant Navy working for the P&O line for another 3 years. He moved to Yarhampton (between Great Witley and Stourport) when he married Shirley Gresley, from Great Witley, in 1960. He worked for Worth’s Carpets in Stourport (on the site where the new Tesco stands) for over 40 years on an Axminster loom.

Peter tells stories of life in the Great Witley Choral Society presenting Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, the scope of the activities of Great Witley Womens’ Institute (where his wife was the Treasurer for many years) and his bell-ringing activities in churches in the surrounding area which earned him free passage on the Highley ferry! Peter tells of the strength of the community in Great Witley in the past and worries whether the village now has a similar strength and spirit. Now long since retired and, sadly, a widower, he has a zest for life and still performs as Father Christmas at events in local villages and pursues his hobby of tapestry. He has lived in the same house ever since his marriage.

Peters recording (20 mins 5 secs):

Start Topic Period
00:32 Coming to Great Witley from Hartlebury 1960s
01:00 Meeting wife while blackcurrant picking 1950s
01:50 Joining Great Witley Choral Society; performing in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas at old Abberley Village Hall 1960s-1970s
05:00 Dr Johnson’s surgery in Great Witley 1960s-80s
05:25 Fundraising for Great Witley school 1970s
05:50 Moving to Yarhampton after getting married; birth of daughter 1960s
06:27 Village life in Great Witley 1960s-70s
06:52 Great Witley Womens’ Institute 1960s-70s
07:35 Working at Worth’s Carpet factory in Stourport 1960s-2000
08:30 Bell ringing in Hartlebury, Shrawley, Bewdley and Highley 1960s-80s
09:20 Wedding at Astley Church (choir led by Pam Martin) 1960
10:35 Visiting Brinton’s Carpet factory in Kidderminster 1970s
11:13 Fairs at Great Witley school 1970s-80s
11:57 Daughter playing at the old police station and court in Great Witley 1970s
12:42 Involvement with Great Witley school over the years 1970s-80s
13:23 Performing as Father Christmas 1980s-present
14:15 Changes in Great Witley village life over the years 1960s-present
15:15 Father working as a boy at Abberley Hall; fire fighting 1910s
16:58 Witley Court Fire 1930s
17:20 Father working as a waggoner at Witley Court 1930s
18:10 Coal deliveries to Witley Court from Lenchford 1920s
18:30 Crowds of local people at Witley Court to their first aeroplane fly past 1920s
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