Nigel Hartwell

Nigel Hartwell

Nigel Hartwell was born in 1943 at Bedford Hospital. The family lived at Picts Hill, Turvey in a tied cottage, as Nigel’s father worked there as a gardener. Nigel recalls his childhood whilst living at Picts Hill and his enjoyment of countryside pursuits.  After leaving school, when he was 15, Nigel worked as part of a team on a threshing machine for the season, before starting work at a local leather dressing and importing company. Nigel worked within the Leather Industry until 1997/8 leaving due to the after effects of an industrial accident. In 1962 the family moved from Picts Hill to live in Mill Green, Turvey.  Nigel remembers attending the Congregational Chapel with his mother, the Garden Field in Newton Lane, going fishing, the local shops, two of the local floods.

Memories of owls living in a ruined building at Picts Hill.


“And on this end there was a chimney there, and they used to be some barn owls living there. They make that very tiny cry when they are about to go hunting at night. We could hear them in the day; we assumed they were snoring. So you could get a nice, quiet mid-summer afternoon and nothing much moving because there was not the traffic there is, in those days. We could hear them making this noise.”

Memories of rabbiting at Picts Hill


“Well I’m afraid I was the scourge of the local rabbits. I used to catch them and make mince meat out of them.  Interviewer – How did you catch them?  NH The big house had a spaniel called Punch, I used to get a bit of pocket money to take him out for a walk and I had two of my own, Sally and Titch.  Interviewer – What breed?  NH Mixed.  Interviewer – Just using dogs to catch rabbits, they must have been fast dogs. Did the rabbits go underground?  NH Some of them dug them out. We had a stick that had a metal thing on the end. A little spade about this long and this wide and digging out the poor little bunnies.”

Memories of Ladybrook flooding in 1974


“The brook pushed a wall over. The water was really warm because it was in July. Chucked it down all night, really heavy rain. I remember going outside. The thing is Dad had seen it all before. I went outside and came back in, “The road appears to be a river.” He took it in his stride. Before he had to get about on his motorcycle, but he had a car by then. He had a Morris Traveller.”

A transcript of the full interview with Nigel Hartwell may be found in the Voices Collection of the Archive.

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