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The History of Grateley

Part fourteen: New Elizabethan Period (1 of 2) 

1952 -
We are now 7 years after WW II and rationing was still in place and would last for some items for another two years. On the death of George VI Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 the coronation service held in 1953. 165 coronation mugs were bought by the parish for distribution to all children under the age of 15 and so I suppose one can assume that the population of under 15s was 165. This number would give a total population in the parish of roughly 400.

Abroad there were troubles in the Canal Zone of Egypt, the insurrection in Kenya by the Mau Mau and in Malaya guerrilla action in the jungle, all requiring the presence of British troops. No doubt men from Grateley served in these areas as part of their National Service. The pay for national servicemen was 4 shillings (20p) per day, or 28 shillings (£1.40p) per week from which 'barrack room damages' and sports fund deductions were made. Blanco, boot polish and 'Brasso' also had to be purchased from this. Cigarettes cost 3/6d (17p) for twenty.

Teachers have had a pay rise to £806 per year a rise of about 5% over the previous year and nurses paid £394 per year. The average wage at that time was about £350.

Here, in Grateley, nominations were submitted for the tenancy of the six council houses now nearing completion. It would seem that priority was given to those living in Grateley Camp.

In September a further 4 type B 3 "Bungalows for Old People" were allocated to three people from Grateley and one from Kimpton. No reason was given for the allocation from somebody outside of the parish. At the same time 4 more of H and H1 type, three and two-bed roomed houses, were allocated to parishioners, mainly from the camp. Brig. AG Walch of Manor Farm agreed to supply water to the 18 houses that were to be built.

At last Chapel Lane was resurfaced.

It was proposed that the cleaning of the village pond (Pigeon Pond) be paid for. It is noted that payment was made in November 1952 but there is no reference to the cost.

1953 was the year of great events in different spheres. The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place, Everest was conquered by Sherpa Tensing and New Zealander Edmund Hilary and Stan Matthews won his first Cup Final medal with Blackpool. The whole of the East coast of England was flooded by the sea causing hundreds of casualties and millions of pounds worth of damage.

Footballers were now able to earn a maximum wage of £15 per week, roughly twice the going rate for an experienced train driver who earned about £8 per week.

In Grateley we were still agitating for the provision of mains water supply. There must have been a change in ownership of Manor farm as a water supply to the newly built council houses was through Mr Baird (Manor Farm) who was asked to give the Clerk of the Council 24 hrs notice before cutting the supply. How often loss of supply occurred is not recorded.

The roads and lanes were now in a poor state and the 'lengthman' had not been seen for some time. A Lengthman was a person employed by the Council who was responsible for the general cleanliness of a length of road.

The construction of a further 12 council houses to accommodate people living on the camp was requested with some urgency.

1954 was really the start of the "rock and roll" era in Britain with the release by Bill Haley and the Comets of the record of 'Rock Around the Clock'. The 'Teddy Boy' cult was established in Britain and I wonder if there is anybody in Grateley who can remember the first Grateley Teddy Boy.

The 'Four Minute Mile' barrier was broken by Roger Bannister. (There is no implication intended that he was running away from the music.).

At last, rationing ended after nearly 10 years but low wages were still a restriction - a coalminer was paid just under £8 per week and a policeman just over £8 per week.

The village roads had deteriorated after the very cold weather in February. The Parish Council asked for the roads to be seen to. This was done with some alacrity, compared with the present day response, by June of the same year. Unfortunately the road from the shop up the High Street was missed.

The Council meetings seemed to be very involved in correcting faults that had appeared in the newly erected council houses. Smoking chimneys, concrete paths at the back of the houses, vehicles running on the grass verges, etc. were problems that had been addressed by the Council. A request was put in for the employment of one more lengthman for the more frequent maintenance of the roads and verges in the parish. The wall of the High Street houses was again in a dangerous state with the ditch getting wider and deeper due to the very wet weather that had been experienced. It appears that the school bus went that way as there is reference to the dangerous situation of the bus passing heavy vehicles by the ditch.

1956 was the year that England and France invaded the Canal Zone of Egypt in an attempt to recover control the canal from Gamal Abdul Nasser, president of Egypt. The adventure failed mainly because of the hostile attitude of the USA and world opinion.
In the same year premium bonds were first sold. To qualify for the prize draw the bonds had to be held for a minimum of 6months.

Over the last four years teachers' salaries increased to £1,275 pa, a 48% increase and nurses to £455 pa, an increase of 15.5%.

At last! The parish was to have piped mains water with effect from 7th January 1957. It was to be supplied from a borehole at Ibthorpe, to the NE of Andover.

The state of the village hall was brought up at the Parish Council but it was found that "there were no living trustees". The council then proposed that the trusteeship should rest in the Council. The mains water would seem to be late arriving as there was complaint about the water pipes being scattered about the fields in March of 1957. It appears that the pipes had been laid in Chapel Lane by December of that year because there was a complaint that the road had sunk where the pipes had been laid.

The parish was becoming more aware of road safety and requested the painting of white lines at the crossroads at the old Stockbridge road with indication of right of way. One wonders what happened before. Did they play 'chicken'? This may have been brought about by the national awareness of road safety and control. It was in 1958 that flashing indicators became mandatory on cars, double yellow lines were introduced with parking tickets and the police introduced radar equipment to catch speeding motorists.

Nuclear arms caused concern and the CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) held its first meeting led by Russel, Foot and AJP Taylor.

This was the year of the fateful air crash at Munich when the Manchester United FC team was destroyed with 21 deaths. Mike Hawthorn, driving a Ferrari, became the first British born Grand Prix Champion. He was killed the next year in an accident in his own car outside of Guildford.

Farm workers were now paid a basic wage of £7.50 a week with a train driver at £11.20; very difficult to afford Rolls-Royce Phantom V at £8,905.

Teachers now had an annual salary of £900 and nurses £540 A reasonable bungalow in the area would have cost about £1500, about the same price as the old Rover '75'.

About this time Fidel Castro became president of Cuba and Mr WT Crook Chairman of Grateley Parish Council.

Complaints by the Council to the Andover RDC over the state of the roads and, in particular, the Drove seem to be ignored. The Drove was overgrown such that with tree stumps and branches lying about it was nearly impassable for traffic. Manor Farm, Quarley was blamed for the dumping of brushwood etc. Ownership of the well between the farm entrance and the allotments was still being questioned as Shearing had given this part of the road to the County Council for road widening. The drainage on C7 (presently Pond Lane) on the bend by the railway bridge was constantly complained about. Nearly 50 years on the situation still remains.

Mr Sprackland was still agitating for the erection of more council houses on the site of Grateley camp. Mr Sprackland had been a prime mover in getting council houses built within the parish. The death of Mr Sprackland was reported with regret at the parish Meeting in 1960. He had been a member of the Parish Council since its inauguration in 1947.

The cost of running the Council for the year was recorded at a total of £10. 6s. 11d. Just for interest I itemise it:
Clerk's Fees £6
Clerk's Petty cash £1
HAPC & Insurance £2.4s
Lighting and heating 6s
Caretaker Fees 16s. 11d

By 1960 the 'Cold War' was beginning to be noticed in Grateley. It was decided that a film on Radio Active Fallout and the organisation to deal with it should be shown with the object of recruiting volunteer wardens. In the next sentence the need for bus shelters was again raised. People still thought that there was a future because they were concerned on the naming of the 'Station Council Houses'.

Chapel Lane was still being flooded and requests for something to be done were repeated. Similarly the rough state of the road and flooding to the new council houses at the station was reported.

In the September meeting of the Parish Council in 1962 a letter was read on the proposed closing of Grateley station to goods traffic and possibly passenger services. All probably part of the "Beeching Plan" when thousands of miles of rail and a similar number of stations were closed. The council decided to take no action.

HMS Hampshire was commissioned for the Royal Navy in this year and the parish was asked to give a small donation towards the event. No action was taken and the matter closed.

The Local Government Records Act of 1962 caused the Council to try and locate the Parish Tithes Map as it was the only historically valuable item in the parish. When found the map was to be deposited with the County Archivist at Winchester. 

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