Anna
  BROSNAN

Anna.brosnan@northantsnews.co.uk

BROTHER and sister Maurice Crutchley and Christine Clancy may have lost their father more than three decades ago, but they feel safe in the knowledge that his childhood memories have been recorded for future generations. Too often people die, taking with them their personal memories and the stories of local history which remained locked in their minds. But former bus driver Arthur Crutchley made sure his past was written down for others to learn from and enjoy. Before his death, on .July 7, 1977. he put pen to paper and neatly outlined his early experiences of life in Northampton, from his birth to the time he served with the British Army in World War One. His daughter, Christine, has a copy of the seven sheets of memoirs, which she recently read out to members of the Far Cotton History Group. She is now keen to see her father's memories published in some form, perhaps in a book of local history. Mrs Clancy, of Delapre, said: "I look it to the Far Cotton History Group and read it out and the members thought it was interesting and should be published. 1 don't really know how 1 would go about it, though." Mr Crutchley was born in 1899, in a family-run Northampton pub in Silver Street. Known as the Northampton Arms. He grew up in Northampton, attending the Blue Coat School and later leaving to serve with the Army when war struck. He married Doris Miller and the pair had eight children. His later years saw him working for the Northampton corporation as a bus driver and later in the company's office in Market Square. He lived much of his life in the Delapre area and was a popular character with local people. At his funeral, the church of St Mary's in Far Cotton was so full, some people had to stand outside. His memoirs include a mixture of personal memories and records of the town. He wrote: "From the commencement of Edward's reign, everyone seemed to come to life after the long drab years of Victoria's era. The town seemed very prosperous and busy and there appeared to be a boot factory in every street. "As many of you will remember, working hours were long - 56 hours per week, wages 2.10 to 3 for men and 30 shillings for women. However the cost of living was proportionate and one could get a packet of 10 Players, a pint of mild and bitter and have change out of sixpence This was the era of horse transport and I recall having a ride on the horse drawn tram." He also recorded memories of Bridge Street, during his school days. "Bridge Street in those days was the busiest street in the town and had no less than 23 hostelries in its length, commencing with the George Hotel at the top. "Although motor cars and aircraft were making great strides, most conveyances were horse drawn and consequently there were still


Christine Clancy and Maurice Crutchley with the memoirs of their father, Arthur Crutchley (inset)
CE picture by Tracy Chambers 080221TC11
blacksmiths shoeing horses and lads loved to watch the blacksmith at his forge in Angel Lane. Another one was Matthew's at South Bridge." Moments of social history were also written down. "The Market Square with its fountain reputed to be the second largest in England was always a hive of activity and on market days trading took place until almost midnight. "Many famous characters used the fountain steps for oratory and I well remember Sylvia Pankhurst and her votes for women supporters being pelted with eggs and tomatoes and having to seek police protection and being smuggled into the Corn Exchange for safety." Arthur Crutchley's memoirs ended with accounts of the joy in Northampton when World War One ground to an end. "I was lucky enough to be in Northampton on November 11,1918. I was on sick leave after
recovering from a flesh wound and I shall never forget the scenes as the sirens flared forth as All Saints struck 11. Factories emptied in no time and everyone gave way to their feelings. "It didn't seem possible that after over four years, we were returning to sanity and it took time to sink in. "But with true British grit and spirit prevailing at the time, the task of reorganisation soon got under way. And on this happy note I conclude my notes, which I hope have been of some interest. "In retrospect I would say that we were very fortunate to live in this era and enjoy very full lives, a life which I am afraid future generations will be denied." one who is working on a book of local history or would like to speak to the Crutchleys about the publication of these memoirs can contact them by calling Anna Brosnan on Northampton 467046


Reproduced courtesy of Northampton Chronicle & Echo