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The History of Grateley

Part thirteen: Modern Grateley 

1947- 1951
Although this is entitled 'Modern Grateley' it struck me that even this period is now two, or even three, generations ago and therefore, for some, a different world.

The housing shortage at this time drove people of the parish to set up home in the abandoned Grateley Camp. Many families utilised the available accommodation by living in the huts and were eventually charged rent by the District Council, which regularised the situation. Eventually housing was provided at Lawrence Houses in the village and the camp gradually removed as more housing was provided. Campbell Close was then built when the camp was totally removed.

This was a period of austerity with rationing of nearly all goods and food continuing. Coal was also rationed as was petrol, clothing and furniture. Clothing and furniture had the 'Utility' trademark, a remnant of the war years. This year saw the introduction of rationing of the basic foodstuffs such as bread and potatoes.

As late as December 1947 a buying permit was still required to buy furniture and then on a priority basis such as servicemen returning and setting up homes and newly weds. The total allowance of coupons for furniture was 60 per household.

Certain conditions applied before one could expect to receive furniture. If furniture was already available for use or there was built-in furniture in the house then the allowance was reduced accordingly. Choice had to be made from the illustrated copy of the utility catalogue, which was common for all manufacturers.

To save fuel the firm chosen to supply was to be no further than 15 miles from the point of delivery. In some cases it was necessary to obtain a buying permit and priority docket to purchase curtaining and floor covering. Finally stocks were so low that immediate delivery was not always possible: all in all a pretty bleak outlook.

The typical cost of a dining room suite, two easy chairs and a dressing table was £68 and a surrender of 38 units of coupons. Little left from the allowance of 60 coupons, for a wardrobe 12 units, bed 5 units, and kitchen cabinet 8 units and so on as every item of furniture had a points value. The Board of Trade Utility Furniture Office in Southport controlled all of this.

All other commodities were only available against the production of coupons, even sweets which were rationed to 2 ounces (60grms per week): a similar amount to that of butter.

Cost was also a deterrent to purchase when one considers that the average wage at this time was in the region of £6 per week A Police Constable received a salary of £273 a year.

Purchase Tax
For some lengthy period running into the late to middle 1950's there was an imposition of purchase tax, similar to the present VAT, but at the swingeing rate of 33% on common everyday purchases with an even higher rate of 66% on co-called luxuries such as refrigerators, radio (or wireless as it was called) and jewellery. Nothing was available to excess as it was either rationed or one could not afford it.

Beer increased from 5p to 6p and a bottle of whisky now costs £1.55p, a quarter of an average weeks pay. A ladies Cardigan would cost £4.15p and six coupons. This was when a 'joint' was what one had roasted on a Sunday, a 'fag' was stuck in the mouth and smoked, 'grass' was mowed', 'coke' was kept in the coal shed, 'making out' meant that you managed on your wages each week, and to be 'Gay' meant that you were the life and soul of the party.

The parish council were still considering the availability of a playing field for the village. Mr Crook allowed the children to play on the Horse Meadow.

Council House Allocation
The first 4 council houses were now built and allocated. Not solely to agricultural workers as first designated but to two agricultural workers and two others, one from Chapel Lane and one from Grateley Camp. The houses were to be known as 1 - 4 Lawrence Houses. This is the first time that Lawrence Houses is mentioned. The first offers of the tenancy to the new houses were to Messrs Ayres, Glover, Collins and Marchant.

The well on the roadside at Wheelers Farm was confirmed as private property, belonging to the owner of the cottages (now demolished) on the opposite side of the road. From the description it is probably the well now filled in on the corner by Peter's Orchard or the first house in Hawthorn Close. Another well further along the road towards Gunville seems also to have been a bone of contention for some time, even up to 1958 when it was considered that Shearing, the owner, having given the land to the RDC for road widening would not now accept responsibility. Thus it was the responsibility of the Andover RDC.

At this time the parish used 3 acres of land for allotments that was owned by Mrs Hoare, of which two and one quarter was worked. This would be the land now comprising the housing development on the Dell.

In 1948, the year of the Olympic Games in Britain, the National Health Service was established, Prince Charles born and Mahatma Gandhi assassinated.

Transatlantic travel was starting up again with a return air ticket from London to New York costing £86.85p if you could afford it on a wage of about £5 per week. A fully qualified secondary school teacher was able to command a salary of about £615 per annum.

It was not until this year that footwear ceased to be rationed although rationing of many goods continued for some years.

In Grateley in 1948 there was no sewage system and the Hampshire Cleaning Service offered an E.C. Bucket emptying service at a cost of 5/- (25p) per collection per bucket. It was reported that 10 families availed themselves of the service. I wonder what all the others did?

Mains water was still not available to the village at this time but the Parish Council were pressing for a supply from the proposed bore hole to be sunk at Ibthorpe.

The Highways Officer of HCC was required to clear up Pigeons Pond and to tar Chapel Lane. I believe that this was the first time that Chapel Lane had been made up. Prior to this it was still an unadopted earth lane.

Chapel Lane appears to have been in a perennially poor state by the times that it was brought up in the minutes of the Parish Council. The complaint was mainly of flooding at the top end of the lane. This could have been due to the fact that there was a pond (Pyle's Pond) situated at the top of the lane outside of the Plough Inn many years before. There is still a noticeable dip in the surface of the lane that does flood at times even now.

There were further suggestions on the siting of new houses within the Parish. Several sites were put forward and it appears that nearly all were taken up at one time or another. At the station end of the Parish the field to the north of Station Road extending behind 'Kevington', 'Lamorna' and 'Darjeeling 'was mentioned. At the village end land eastward and north of Amport Lane, now Monxton Road, behind the Post Office. I identify this as the present Hawthorn Close as the Post Office was in the position that 'Peter's Orchard' is now. Further eastward the land being used as allotments, the Dell, and land to the south of the road between Gollard's Lane and Gunville, the latter being about the only piece of land that has not eventually been developed.

In 1949 there seems to have been a desire to expand the village by the construction of ten to fourteen houses and a new school. The site for the new school was identified as that close to the Council Houses, which I identify as the present Grateley Primary School sports field. The Chairman of the School Committee considered that the site would be insufficient and proposed the land to the west of the Memorial Hall. This suggestion was rejected, as was the suggestion that the Park, the fields now associated with Grateley House School, be used. The Park was turned down because it housed the village cricket pitch.

It was at this time that Shearing erected two stiles across Gollard's Path causing difficulties to the five families living there. The Minutes for that year read "This entailed hardship for the infants, children of school age as well as old and infirm persons." It took some two years to get the stiles altered to a gate. Presumably the residents of Gollard's Lane struggled every time they went out until the gate was installed.

Little changed outside of Grateley with the maximum wage a footballer could now earn was £12 per week. A nurse received a yearly salary of £350. 20 Woodbine cigarettes now cost 2s 9d (24p) and a pint of milk 2p, the same as a 'Mars' bar.
Relative to other countries England became poorer by the devaluation of the pound against the dollar. The devaluation was massive from $4.30 to $2.80 to the pound: a drop of nearly 35%! As world trade at that time was carried out in dollars imports were immediately reduced.

George Orwell published his prophetic book 'Nineteen Eighty-four'.

It is interesting to note that in 1950 the road between Grateley village and Gunville was still so narrow that a request had to be made for passing places to be constructed. The High Street was almost impassable due to 'Overgrown hedge on one side and the collapsed wall on the other'. The Post Office wall (No 1 High Street), where Mrs Warren lived, was now in a dangerous state.

It seems that at this time the roads and services in the parish were in a pretty parlous state. It was even considered necessary to request the Council Rodent Officer "to rid the parish of this pest". No, he didn't have a multi-coloured coat and whistle. On questioning the District Council about a water supply it appears that there was to be another 3-year wait
It was in 1950, only 4 or 5 years after the World War that the Korean War started. Once more our troops were sent off to the Far East.

At home the 'Eagle' comic was launched, one could buy the new Sony pocket transistor radio and Sainsbury opened their first self service store in Croydon.

Travel was becoming easier and cheaper with London to Paris costing £8 and London - New York £125 or roughly 6 months pay for a baker who received a weekly wage of £ 5. 7s. 4d. For those who had the money a Cook's World Tour lasting 140 days could be had for £400.

Twenty cigarettes now cost 2/9d (14p) starting the trend of increasing the tax thereon annually.
In 1951 the 4 bridle ways and 4 footpaths were redefined according to the 1938 submission under the Rights of Way Acts 1932.

National Servicemen in 1951
This was the year of the Festival of Britain with the exhibition on the South Bank of the Thames and troops began to move out to the Canal Zone in Egypt in response to the revolution against King Farouk. It seems that a large proportion of National Servicemen served in Egypt at that time. Many served in the Korean War and the Malayan jungle at the same time. No doubt young men from Grateley were among those serving. At that time if one had a conscientious objection to joining the armed forces the option of working in the coal mines for 18 months was the alternative.

National Service was required of all fit men from the age of eighteen for two years in the armed forces. The pay was at the rate of 4 shillings (20p) per day or £1. 8s (£1.40p) a week. From this there was a deduction for 'barrack room damages' and sports fund and one had to buy boot polish, blanco and 'brasso' out of this. It was possible to increase pay by being a qualified tradesman (2½p per day) or by joining a parachute regiment.

On a lighter side, the 'Archers' started broadcasting, as did the 'Goons Show'.

A police constable was relatively well paid, with a 50% rise over the previous 5 years, at £400 pa and a teacher even better at £766 pa. Rationing was still in force for most commodities, which was to last into the next decade.

Hopefully the new Elizabethan Era would presage a better future for the country as a whole and growth and prosperity in the parish.

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