Eric Dawes - Village People

Last month we were delighted to hear that former Lindfield Primary School teacher Eric Dawes had returned to the village after 68 years. 
     Eric, who has been living in Turners Hill, made the decision to return to the village after losing his wife Carol in May 2014. The couple had been married for 66 years.
     Now settling into his home at Little Compton, co-incidently next door to Littlecote, the private house that Carol left on her wedding morning to marry Eric at All Saints Church, Eric is busy compiling his memoirs. 
     Eric’s story recalls life growing up in the village, and memories of the school he attended as boy, never dreaming that one day he would become a teacher!
     We are delighted that Eric has agreed to share some of his memories with us.

Shops and businesses

My first ‘shop’ memory is of the Pond Shop (now the Barber’s), an old glass-jar sweet shop full of delights! Mr Startup was there and later he went to The Stand Up Inn. There was a little petrol station and garage, a small second-hand furniture shop and then the White Horse Inn and The King Edward Hall. There was a builder’s shop by the Pond at the end of Pond Croft Road where Mr Anscombe had his builder’s yard, and the large barn, which is still there as a private dwelling.
     The main shop of the village was Masters. I recall some very frightening looking Man Traps hanging on the wall where the shop started. First came the Furniture and Funeral Department with double windows, then a driveway for vehicles. The main shop had two departments – Grocery and Haberdashery. The Grocer’s was a wonderful place selling just everything you needed from cheese to wine, paraffin oil to biscuits! Butter was cut from a huge slab and ‘patted’ into a small block, bacon was sliced on a great whirring machine with a deadly looking circular blade and cheese was expertly cut with a wire to your requirement from a huge slab!Dried goods were weighed and deftly contained in


a twisted paper cone and biscuits were kept in square tins which were stacked all along the front of the long counters. Up the stairs at the back was a great store of soaps, candles, oil and paraffin, giving that area a very distinctive mixture of odours and smells!
     There was a raised office where the cashier sat overlooking the store where you could pay bills – also the end of the line for the amazing overhead pulley system used by the staff. Cash and orders were loaded into a small canister which travelled on an overhead wire to the cashier when the sender pulled a handle. Change was duly zipped back to the counter! This was a great fascination for small children!
     The Haberdashery shop sold all you needed for sewing, mending or garment-making, plus many good clothes. Like all village shops, if they did not have your needs in stock they would get them in for you! The Masters’ family lived in a house on the corner of Denman’s Lane called The Downs. I well remember Mr Jerry Masters, his father Mr Leslie and his grand-father Mr George.

Read full article on pages 22/23.