11 Pound Green

Kath Crooks has lived at 11 Pound Green for the past forty-six years and before that at Gt. Thurlow. She is the second child of a family of fifteen, her parents being Mr. and Mrs. Fred and Gert Atherton. She says she had a poor but happy childhood, although she did not enjoy school and remembers watching the clock for the time to go home. Her memories include meetings at Mrs. Ryder’s at Gt. Thurlow Hall for the girls’ friendly society, trips out and the pageant.

Kath remembers the Thurlow Flower Show held on the 1st August every year when she tried in vain to win first prize for the best wild ├żower collection. Her father worked at Gt. Thurlow rectory for the Rev. Basil le Fleming as a gardener and handyman. He was caretaker of Gt. Thurlow church; he kept the fires going, rang the bells, sang in the choir and pumped the organ. He held the key and today it is still kept in the same place. Kath says they never wanted for anything when Mr Fleming was around, and she describes him as a wonderful man.

She left school at fourteen and went to work in a house at Gt. Bradley. When she saw the list of duties she had to do in one day she wondered how she could possibly get through them. Starting at 6.30 a.m. with blackleading the grate she toiled all morning, changing after lunch into cap and apron when she had darning and various other jobs to do, leaving her exhausted at the end of the day. All this for five shillings and four pence, just twenty-seven pence in today’s currency!

The war put an end to this and Kath went to Haverhill to work. There she met Bill, who was in the airforce serving at Stradishall, and they were married in 1941. Kath worked on the land during the war. Kath’s hobbies are now bingo, crosswords and knitting. She can’t imagine living anywhere else, although she says it’s not such a close community now and lots of the old characters are no longer with us.