Living at Compton Grange in the 1950s

 In the 1950s domestic comforts for the villagers had not changed a great deal from the time before the first world war. As a child, Renella Phillips (Humber) lived with her parents at Compton Grange (opposite the car park): An isolated house even now, we had no electricity or inside bathroom. Lighting was by oil lamp or candles.

There was an old-fashioned range in the kitchen, but I think Mum cooked by calor gas. The ‘bathroom’ was outside the back door. It had a toilet, and a bath which, I think, had a waste outlet but no taps (no hot water), so had to be filled from the boiling copper, which was also there. There was a big garden, where Dad grew all the veg we needed, and an old apple tree, bent becauseof the winds. Before the public conveniences were built at Compton, we one day had a hiker knock on the door and ask if he could use our ‘facilities.’ We were highly amused to find, after he’d gone, a sixpence left on the seat in payment! With no electricity, our main source of news and entertainment was a battery operated ‘portable’ radio, which seemed to weigh a ton! It had huge batteries which Dad would heat up in the oven when they began to run down to get a bit more life out of them. I remember listening to ‘Children’s Hour,’ ‘Listen with Mother’ and ‘Larry the Lamb’. At Christmas, we would put real candles on the tree, not fairy lights, and I never remember the tree catching fire! Mum would make the Christmas puddings early and store them in the attic to mature. She would put a flour-and-water paste on top of the pudding mixture to help preserve it, and a pudding cloth on top; one year mice nibbled through the cloth and the paste and ate the pudding. We were troubled by mice, but one became a friend – he would come and sit on the hearth in the evening and get fed crumbs!