• Reference
    Z193/3
  • Title
    Handwritten memoirs of Percy Rutland describing his parents' lives and times in early 1900s and then his working life.
  • Date free text
    1900 to 1950s, Late 1970s
  • Production date
    From: 1900 To: 1979
  • Scope and Content
    A handwritten (mostly in pencil) memoir by Percy Rutland describing his parents' lives and times in the early 20th century and then his life up to the early 1950s. The document is initially written in the style of a dialogue between his father William Rutland of Highlands Lodge, Campton and his mother Minnie (nee Bland) of Ampthill Road, Shefford and is written on the reverse of papers and correspondence which are dated from 1978 to 1979. The prose has first been written with William and Minnie's names substituted as "Jim" and "Kate", but these are crossed out and their real names reinserted. About halfway through, the narrative changes to Percy's voice and continues as a direct memoir of his life. William Rutland works as a farm hand for Mr G W Cook of Highlands Farm, Campton and the family live in a tied house. In 1918, Percy also goes to work at Highlands Farm, which is backed up by the Labour Certificate in reference Z193/1. Other events documented in the memoir include:- - the routines of their day to day lives, Minnie's hopes for their married life, an April Fool's joke, gardening for their own vegetables, looking after the farm cows and the farming seasons - the birth of their baby boy (Percy in 1905) - the Liberals forming a government (1906) - the birth of their baby girl (Phyllis) - rearing pigs and cattle droving - concerns about Sunday School teaching - Uncle Sid helping out with the babies in the family - going to Bedford market on the train - taking the milk to the station at Arlesey - Mr Cook buying his first car and William learning to drive - a trip to London for the coronation of George V (1911) - the start of World War I and William being in a protected occupation (farming) - collecting wounded soldiers from Ampthill Station and taking them to Wrest Park, Silsoe which was being used as a hospital - bad blizzard of 16 March 1916 when snow reached the telegraph wires, the football match between Luton Town and Northampton Town was cancelled and many trees fallen over in Ampthill Park where the Bedfordshire Regiment were camping - Zeppelins flying over and a bombing raid on London with cousin Jack coming to stay - Uncle Frank being gassed, his experiences in France with the Bedfordshire Regiment and the Queens Own Regiment - Percy starting work at Highlands Farm (1918 - see reference Z193/1) and his aspirations of being a carpenter, his farm work with cows and horses - news of the Armistice coming via Jack Roberts' father who heard it on the telegraph at the post office in Shefford - visits of the "new" ploughing engines, vans and threshing machines - an attempted burgulary on Grandma Bland thwarted by Nell the dog - Nell the dog accompanying the family to chapel in Gravenhurst at night - visit of Gypsy Lee visiting Gravenhurst Chapel to preach - Uncle Frank and Uncle Len helping with tree planting at Chicksands for the Forestry Commission - travelling to Luton on Boxing Day on Bob Fisher's "Bluebird Bus" - first use of a Blackstone grinding engine which was later used for generating electricity - left farm work and obtained work on a building site in Welwyn Garden City but had to leave when contracted flu - purchased first motorbike, a "2 1/4 Raleigh Deluxe" - meeting his first wife at a village dance, she worked at Chicksands Priory - their marriage and move to a house at Salisbury Hall, London Colney, later the home of Sir Nigel Gresley of the LNER - the birth of their daughter Sylivia - obtaining work with Charles Jeyes Ltd on a building site in Luton and moving home to Streatley - his wife dying of kidney disease when Sylvia was 3 - moving in with William and Minnie at Meppershall where they had moved from Campton - being sacked from his job because he couldn't travel from home to Luton to help clear snow from the pitch at Luton Town FC where Charles Jeyes was a director - his next job with James of Luton building a school in Hitchin in 1939, remembering seeing the LNER trains travelling north with evacuees - James of Luton being contracted to concrete a petrol dump and provide bomb proofing at RAF Duxford - Percy's second marriage to Eva Whittemore from Campton and their move to a council house at 5 Brookside, Campton - after the school building, working on the extension to Henlow Camp and the first air raid in the area - the taking in of an evacuee mother and son who left quite soon during the "Phoney War" - the taking in of another evacuee mother and daughter: Mrs McKinnon from Chiswick - obtaining a new job working for Fosters of Hitchin on air raid shelters at Henlow Camp - then on to Bedford Gas Works to build a hydrogen plant for barrage balloons - discovering an ancient chape (metal plate e.g. fixed on a scabbard) and donating it to Luton Museum - working at RAF Graveley where fog dispersal experiments were taking place - working at Chicksands making a site for the WAAF and teleprinters - working at RAF Cardington, where the sheds were being converted to be used as demobilisation centres - after WWII, working on new housing sites at Shefford and Stevenage New Town
  • Format
    sheets of paper
  • Level of description
    item