Nancy Waters

Nancy Waters

Nancy Waters was born at Mill Green, Turvey in 1931.  Her hard working parents ensured that Nancy, her brother and two sisters enjoyed a healthy upbringing. Nancy recalls her childhood in Turvey, helping her mother and father, her schooldays and her Saturday jobs for local shops. After leaving school Nancy went to work in Bedford, firstly for Clayton’s and soon after for Igranic. Once her own children were all at school, Nancy found local part time work. Initially, this involved packing herbs and spices for a company based in the Old Chapel in Carlton Road and then at Bon Appetit in Bamfords Lane, Turvey.

Memories of mother’s thrifty ways


“She had a treadle Singer sewing machine and she would always use old sheets to make pillowcases. She used everything she possibly could. Never wasted a thing. And food wise, we were ever so lucky because she kept chickens and pigs and Dad had two plots in the allotments so Mum never bought any fresh vegetables. There were all the year round. We had a carrot pit along the garden path and a potato pit. When they were picked they were stored in straw with soil on top.”

Memories of toys.


“I didn’t have a lot of toys really. Dad used to make us our cricket bats. Outside here, where you came across, there was a five bar gate and a kissing gate and that was our entrance straight across to Nell’s Well. That was the style, not open like it is now. And, we used to use that path as our cricket pitch. And Mrs. Collins, who owned The Fyshes, let us have an old beer crate, that was our wicket. And there were two big elm trees and in the winter they were our goalposts.”

Memories of bath time.


“One thing was that we would have a bath every night, before we had a bathroom, tin bath in front of the fire, with the door open if it was in the summer when hot. Mum would call us from playing in the field and we would have our bath at seven. Did you have fresh water? Yes, soft water from the tanks and we had two, 100 gallon tanks that worked together and Dad would put a tap indoor and, when I grew up I suppose, it was we had a great kitchen and he put a partition across the door, oh I must tell you this, we had a brick copper, you know, for boiling clothes and one of those big mangles, the old mangle and my brother and I used to have those Tammy’s hats and fold it up like a forage cap, like the forces and we’d put them through the mangle time and time again then put them on our head and that crease had gone, but didn’t stop us doing it. When that came out that gave us a lot of room and when Dad put a pipe inside for a tap we had a bungalow bath, big long galvanised bath, so you had cold water from the tap and a gas copper for the hot water”.

Memories of working at the herb and spice company

“I got a part time job, three hours, nine to twelve, when my daughter started school, but I didn’t work at all when I had the children, for all of eleven or twelve years, but I got this little job so that my daughter could go to school and I could meet her at lunchtimes. It was all weighing up all sorts of dried herbs and spices and everything you could think of. All sorts and it smelt lovely.”

Memories of Turvey’s shops


“Starting this end of the village there was the Mace shop, the butcher’s shop and then you went round the corner and there was another butcher’s shop and there was Pain’s grocery shop on the corner of Carlton Road and where John Howlett is at the supply stores, that was the Post Office.  And then where the bakehouse is, the bakehouse and the little shop that was attached to it where they sold bread and all sorts.  Not an awful lot of groceries, but some and the cabinet they had for children’s sweets was in there and the kids could get quite a few little sweets for a penny in those days.  And then you go on to Norburn’s the grocers and then the Draper’s opposite.  Then eventually there was Ivan Electrics on the corner of Bamfords Lane”.

A transcript of the full interview with Nancy Waters may be found in the Voices Collection of the Archive. 

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