The Meaker Family...Genealogy

The Meakers

Memories of Durweston in the 1950's & 1960's

Many changes have occured in our lifetime when we were kids in the 1950's. In this page we would like to remind you of a more gentle time. As we remember them, there will be a few memories of days gone by.

Please make allowances for any mistakes we make along the way it was a long time ago and our brains are not what they used to be!

We hope you will enjoy them and perhaps if you are old enough, remember those times too.

Nature walks and Outdoor Pursuits at Durweston School
by Christine

A wonderful part of school life, although most of us lived on the farms it was great to go with friends. In the 50's it just meant leaving a note on the school door on where we heading. We returned with many items (some smelly and still alive) for our "nature and interesting things" tables.

I remember one trip to the Stone Age settlement of Hod Hill to see archeological dig; we walked down Water Lane passing the Water Mill, which at that time was still working, and under the railway bridge; hoping a train would come along because it was lucky to be under a bridge as a train comes. It meant walking through enemy territory - Stourpaine, it was a friendly rivalry, since they beat Durweston at the Coronation Tug-of-War, all chattering ceased while passing the school!  However we came home with many treasures and in awe of the history of Hod Hill. I am sure this is where my love of local history, wherever I have lived, started.

Our Cross Country races were from the school part way up Milton Lane across Mr. Bartlett's fields and back to the school through Haycombe, some pupils found a short cut through the Rectory gardens and would arrive back at school in record time and not a little tired. This was not tried when they knew the rector was around because next weeks sermon would be on cheating!

Mr. Rex Bartlett would remove his cows from a field near the school a few days prior to our sports day - in spite of the efforts a few 'gifts' remained for us to step in when in our athletic pursuits.!! It was great when we had a real playing field in the late fifties early sixties.


Shrove Tuesday
by Marilyn & Christine

Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) in February the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent was eagerly anticipated as it meant a morning away from classes and treats at the end of it.  It is still followed today at our old school Durweston. A tradition only followed now in a small number of villages in the country.

"Here we are coming a-shrovin'
For a piece of pancake
Or a piece of knuckle cheese
Of your own making"
So blow the fire and het the pan
For here we come a-shrovin'

During the morning we would go round the village, calling on local people give them a small bunch of flowers and reciting the following rhyme:

We would receive money or treats to be shared once we returned to school. I always volunteered to help with the infants because they were cute, received more treats! (Christine)

We would place flowers on Mr.Valentine Rickman's grave. My moment of fame (Marilyn) was being filmed by Southern Television laying flowers on the Rickman grave!

Saturday Picture Bus
by Marilyn

We were lucky to have a bus service in our area and this was run by the Bere Regis bus company. It came from Milton Abbas through Winterborne Stickland and past our lane near Bryanston into Blandford.

Palace CinemaI can remember the old Bedford buses grunting up the hills with their distinctive sound. We kids were never sure if we were actually going to make it, but they did most of the time! We also had to be taken to Durweston school from our home at Old Warren as there was no school in Bryanston. We had to walk to the top of the rough stone track, about ½ mile, whatever the weather every day to catch the bus which took us to school, again the old faithful Bere Regis coach in the distinctive brown colouring.

When we were older we took advantage of what we called the 'picture bus', although it served as the Bingo bus as well on a Saturday night. The bus was usually driven by 'Dougie' Hall while his wife Mrs Hall was the ticket collector and kept us in order. I'm not sure if his name was Dougie but all the kids affectionately called him Dougie, but not to his face as we would have got a clip of the ear!!!

The best thing about the picture bus that it nearly always left Blandford before the film had finished! As soon as the Bingo was out at 10 o'clock off it went and if we missed it we would have had a 3 mile walk home! So we had to time our departure of the film with fine precision, if it was near the end we had to try and get out before 'The Queen', if the National Anthem started we had to stay until it finished, nobody would move otherwise we would be in BIG trouble. So there was always a last rush hoping that you could find out what the ending was the next day. With a quick dash for the bus before it left. Sometimes if we were lucky we were able to buy 6d worth of chips from the chip shop opposite 'The Palace' (Blandford's picture house) although we couldn't eat them on the bus, Mr and Mrs Hall kept a tight ship! We enjoyed them when we walked down the lane after our journey home, a real treat!

History of Bere Regis coaches

IMAGE: The Palace Cinema is no more although you can still see some of the original building above M&Co.

Women’s Movement starts in Durweston!
by Christine

ChristineThe women’s movement was said to have started in the late 60’s early 70’s, but it really started in the rural village of Durweston, Dorset in the 50’s.

It was always the boys who rung the school bell before morning and afternoon school, much to the chagrin of a certain female pupil. We were told it was because the boys were stronger and girls didn’t do that sort of thing. Talk about putting a red flag to a bull.

The action was carefully planned for days, then, the big day came – I asked to go"across the yard" (outside bathroom) on returning I gave the bell two hefty rings.

The entire staff, two teachers, came running; meanwhile I was going in the opposite direction back to the classroom. Somehow they found out it was me – I didn’t care one of dreams had come true!