Advert Calendar Window No. 21. 12 Spinners Cottages.

December 21st. Winter Solstice and the weather is almost as temperate as at Summer Solstice. A window designed as a retrospective of past Advent Calendar Windows. See more in “rest of this entry”.


























Photo: Colin Wootton

In 1951 a group of boys climbed the forbidden ladders to the top of the church, including myself aged 13 with the precious folding Brownie camera. The film was developed and prints made in my darkened bedroom, which accounts for its poor quality. My father’s builder’s yard can be seen between Spinners Cottages and the present Sulgrave Village Shop, then the home of the local billiard club. The telephone kiosk, then about half the size of the present one, can also be seen and in front of it the old style telephone kiosk.

Both my father and mother were born in Sulgrave and whilst my father was away in the army during the second world war (1939-45) my mother and I lived with my grandmother in No 11 Spinners Cottages, next door to the house featuring the 21st Advent Calendar Window. Though relatively new, the house was absolutely basic with three bedrooms on the first floor with a living room and kitchen/scullery on the ground floor. There was no water supply and therefore no flush toilet or bathroom. The “alternative toilet” was housed in a small building in the ample back garden. Water for washing came from the rain water tubs and for drinking from the pump in Stockwell Lane. There was no heating other than the fireplace in the living room and on washing days, the fire under the copper in the scullery.

As a small boy I hated washing days, which were always on Mondays. The living room fire was laid with paper, sticks and coal but not lit until evening. Although there was a fire under the copper boiler in its brick housing in the scullery all the doors were open to let out the steam and everywhere was very uncomfortable, especially in cold weather. My mother and grandmother would struggle out into the garden with a wet bed sheet, stand facing each other and twist the sheet in opposing directions to force out the water. One of them would then feed the sheet into the mangle whilst the other turned the handle, before hanging it on the garden washing line. Lunch was a sketchy affair of left overs from the Sunday roast.

I also have vivid memories of a large convoy of army trucks carrying Canadian soldiers south in the build up to the invasion of Europe in 1944. For some reason it strayed into the village and the trucks parked outside Spinners Cottages. Within minutes the predominantly female residents were outside with mugs of tea and cocoa. “Good luck, lads”, they said and I often wonder how many of them made it back to Canada…..

Colin Wootton


2 Responses to “Advert Calendar Window No. 21. 12 Spinners Cottages.”

  1. Jude says:

    Thanks Colin, I’m really enjoying your photographs and the history of the village.

  2. Ingram Lloyd says:

    Amazing photo. So much change and such an interesting record of childhood memories

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