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By kind invitation of Keith Roythorne and Dot, we spent a pleasant
afternoon on Easter Sunday 2005 with Bess Roythorne and Beattie Cross,
both of whom are sadly no longer with us. Here's a brief extract
of the recording which was made:
Bess Roythorne: We used to vote for the May Queen and then we used to practise and we used to go round the village pulling her in an old cart, singing to the May Queen, collecting.
Daphne Cummins: Did they used to have a lot of May Day celebrations here?
Keith Roythorne: I can remember May Day here when Len Thacker had his dray. I don't know who made the garlands but I remember the May Queen sat in the middle of the garlands and they went from one end of the village to the other.
Beattie Cross: When I went to school, I don't know who made the garlands, but the older boys of the school put two poles through and carried the garlands. One of the older girls was chosen for a May Queen and she had two attendants. We used to go round the village stopping at all the houses, singing and collecting, and we used to get enough money and we used to have a tea-party. Then in Golling's paddock, down Spring Lane where the Lewis's house is, that was a paddock, Swiss Cottage's paddock, and Mr Golling used to allow all the school-children to go in there to play games, after we'd had our tea. Yes we did, all sorts of sports we did.
Jake Young: Did you start collecting in the morning, then?
Beattie Cross: Sometimes they'd go around beforehand, but we all collected in the morning. Somebody went round with a box or something, knocking on the doors.
Jake Young: It wouldn't be an evening thing?
Beattie Cross: Oh no, no no. We used to start early in the morning, that was the idea, the first day of May: May Day.
Jake Young: And would that be actually on the 1st of May, and not the first Saturday?
Beattie Cross: No, no, no, it was the 1st of May. Whatever day that fell on, we went.
Jake Young: Was that a public holiday, back then?
Beattie Cross: Well, the school had a holiday, but it wasn't a general public holiday. Some of the children's mothers used to help with the tea, you see, and we used to have a tea in the school. The Village Hall wasn't there, then.
Daphne Cummins: And this was the school on Church Lane?
Beattie Cross: Yes, the old one that's been closed, although we called it School Lane then. Colonel Grenfell lived at the Rookery, and their maids used to come and help serve the teas. And then we all used to go up to Golling's paddock, to play games.
Jake Young: And what was Mr Golling like, he sounds a nice character?
Bess Roythorne: He was. He was alright.
Beattie Cross: He was. First and foremost he was a businessman. But he also cared a lot about the village, and he always helped the village as much as he could. Mrs Golling was my Godmother.
Daphne Cummins: What was his business?
Beattie Cross: Builder.
Keith Roythorne: Carpenter and joiner, wa'n't he.
Daphne Cummins: And is that what went on in that building up there? (The Golling's Workshop site, at the head of Chapel Lane.)
Beattie Cross: Yes.
Jake Young: Did he play a part, officially, in things?
Beattie Cross: Oh yes, whatever committee there was, he was on it. He was on the Parish Council, the Church, whatever took place in the village he was there. He was one of the leading lights, as well as the schoolmaster, Billy Dyke.
Jake Young: Was Mr Golling born in the village?
Beattie Cross: No, he originated from Knipton, he did.
Jake Young: And did they have a family?
Beattie Cross: Yes, they had one son. They lived in Melton when he was a young man, down Burton Street. I don't know whether you've read about Burton Street getting flooded years and years ago, but Mr Golling's first wife, she'd just had a baby, a little girl, and there came these terrible floods down Burton Street, and she caught a chill. She went out with her tiny baby, about two weeks old, something like that, Ruth her name was, and she caught a chill and she died. Then Mr Golling was left with Ruth, you see. And then he came out to Wymondham and somehow or other he met the second Mrs Golling. She came from Frisby-on-the-Wreake, she did. And he married her and then they had Bill, William Golling, and they lived close to me, they lived there for 40, 50 perhaps 60 years.
Bob Cummins: That used to be a garage up the road and sell petrol did it?
Beattie Cross: Golling's shop? Yes. When the Gollings had the builders' shop, they were one of the first people in the village, they persuaded them to have petrol pumps, you see. They had two petrol pumps set up there. I can't remember the name of the petrol. And they sold petrol there for many years, they did. That's all gone now. You know, it almost broke my heart to see that building go, like that. That used to be the Maltings, you know, where they used to prepare the barley ready for making the ale. That's how my family came here: my Great-Grandfather was foreman at the Maltings.
In July 2004, part of Golling's Workshop collapsed following removal of its roofing materials, thankfully without injuring anyone on their way to school or causing a road accident. This led to the early unplanned demolition of the whole building.