Letter from our Archive – Jack Leivers, 1983

“As I remember Sawley, it was a lovely village with farms all around us. Mr. Bates, two Mr. Bradley Smiths, Mr. Gregory, Mr. Grammer, Church Farm. The fields were beautiful when harvest time, with horses pulling carts, and we as children catching a ride underneath and grabbing corn to eat. I remember walking into a telegraph post on Draycott Road, near Shirley Street, and what a bang on the nose.

When the cows came out, I used to collect the manure for the late Mr. Rice who lived near Dr. Clifford’s house, Wilne Road, opposite the late Mr. Kirkland’s buses and petrol pump.

I was a pupil at Old Sawley Infants school, moved to Sawley Junior School which now is a motor showroom. I was there till the outbreak of WWII, 1939. I left on my 14th birthday and worked for the late Mr. Jarvis, Wilsthorpe Road, named Paragon Works, wood working; wage £1. !Os, eight till five pm.

My father worked at Sheet Stores, British Railway for 50 years, as a workshop and shunter, sometimes all night shift work. I remember going for his wages to keep nine of us, £2.10s.0.

Trent Lock was my favourite walk, and Wilne Lane as that was lovely when Old Sawley Band, Gypsie Serenaders used to practice there. Winter nights we went onto Bates’s field to skate or slide in the dips.

I took newspapers out for the late Mr. Evans, morning and nights, and the late Mr.
Bannister of Long Eaton, Salisbury Street. They were joyful days.

We did potato picking for Mr. Poyser of Lockington {actually Hemington Fields} for 2s/6d a day, and God behold you if you left any on the field, and you had to wait till 6 pm to be paid; but we had plenty of roasting potatoes to take home.

We had bad floods, all the fields were covered from Sawley Cross Roads, and Wilne & Draycott Road, we could not get to school. We had good old-fashioned frost and snow, deep, and frost hanging from the telegraph wires.

I can remember Mr. Bradley Smith’s farm stacks burning. I was in school, 3rd class, Mr. Bradley , teacher, no relation to above. I was fidgety to get out and see the fire engine and firemen at work, dashing about all over the place, but no cattle injured. Caught fire by a spark from threshing machine chimney.

I loved Bothe Hall and Mr. Gregory’s fields. You was able to go for a walk round Lady Lea and Draycott Lane, also Breaston Lane. You could go gathering blackberries, and bird nesting, hedges were high then and you could sit and have a picnic in the sun. There was no reservoir at that time.”

Before Jack Leivers married and moved to Carlisle, he became very active in the Salvation Army, especially on a Saturday evening, when he would tour the public houses and sell ‘The War Cry’.