Newpapers’ stories of the time provide an insight into village life. Recently, it was the turn of some Hertfordshire Express years to be added to the archives which is why this article has been uploaded now. These help with dates that events occurred in Preston and where people lived - there is a hole about this in the 1930s as the relevant directories can only be read at the British Library.On this page, the extraordinary story of the occupants of Sootfield Green is told and episodes in the history of Preston cricket are documented.
Birthday: Winifred Palmer of 4 (new) Council Cottages on 7 January.
In January, Hitchin’s Rural District Council met to discuss the building of new properties in villages after the passing of the Housing Act 1930 - Slum Clearance Scheme. It’s Chairman was Preston’s R J W Dawson. Two bungalows (with water) at Preston were proposed for a total cost of £564. A tender from B & G Mott had been accepted. Later, the plan to build not bungalows but two, two-bedroomed houses was adopted.
11 May: ‘Best Day Ever’
Birthdays: Esther Brown (20 April) and James Brown (also 20 April) of Pond Farm.
22 JuneHertfordshire Show:
Birthdays: Doris Sharp of Hitchwood Cottages on 10 July. and Kathleen Palmer of 4 Council Cottages on 13 July.
31 August: ‘Strange Pets at Preston’
Birthday: Patricia Currell of Holly Cottages, Back Lane on 20 September.
November: In Memorium
Birthday: Jocelyn Brown of Pond Farm on 22 November.
23 NovemberHitchin Chrysanthemum Show:
Birthdays: Margaret Harper of Wain Wood on 13 December Denis Robinson on 20 December Clarice Bryan of 5 Council Cottages, Back, Chequers Lane on 24 December.
9 May:Death of Isabella Peters (84)
Royal Agricultural Show
Birthday: Rosemary Brown of Pond Farm on 28 March.
Finally, a special mention for Clarice Bryan (shown right), the last person mentioned in this article. Clarice was born on 24 December 1921 and brought up in the household of Alfred and Caroline Longley at 5 Council Houses, Chequers Lane, Preston.She was an assistant in a confectionery shop in 1939.
In 1935, the Hertfordshire Express (a weekly newspaper, published on Saturdays) had a regular column titled Under the Oak Tree which was a ‘Children’s Corner’. It featured stories and competitions for youngsters.
During 1935, Clarice (then thirteen years old) was mentioned in ‘Children’s Corner’ nineteen times. She wrote essays such as Autumn, How I Like to Spend a Day of the Week Best and What Would You Like to be When I Grow Up. She entered competitions like My Popular Film Stars, Where Would You LIke to Live in the British Empire and Name Katie’s Four Kittens and sent in 270 stamps on one occasion as well as ninety-nine Jubilee together with 244 ordinary stamps another time.She received four vouchers which could be redeemed at Hitchin shops: Geo. Spurrs (3/-), Timothy Whites, Spurrs and Curnows (2/-). The Express cost 2d (pence), so her vouchers would have paid for fifty-four newspapers - a year’s worth. She was also commended fifteen times by Gipsy Jack.
A neighbour in the Council Houses, Samuel Hall, delivered newspapers and one can easily imagine him leaving a paper at No 5 on Saturdays with an excited Clarice. No prizes are offered for guessing how she spent much of her weekend. This was a different world.