Reminiscences of Lelant by Roy Richards

©Roy Richards 2004

Milk delivery was by mobile churn to the door. You took your own jug. Coal was delivered from Carter's Coal Yard where the bakery is now.

There was a cottage beside The Badger Inn. The cottage was demolished to improve the road.

At the chapel there were socials to pass the evenings.

The squire at Trevethoe was Tyringham who had his own church pew.

During the 1939-45 War there was an anti-aircraft gun emplacement at the top of the village with living accommodation for the gun crew. During the blackout you could look out from Lelant over St Ives Bay towards Camborne and see no lights at all apart from the illumination by the stars and moon in the night sky. The beach at Lelant was covered with anti-glider posts and Hayle beach was mined. As a family we were on Lelant beach and saw an aircraft crash.

Prior to D-Day barges for support were built on a slip area on the Hayle side opposite Ward's Quay and were moored on completion in the middle of what was known as Mackerel Boats. You can still see the slip area today.

A lot of village cottages were lit by oil lamps downstairs and by candles upstairs. My brother and I still have the candlestick holders. Cooking and heating was by Cornish range. Vegetables and fruit (gooseberries) were grown in the back garden.

As far as I can remember there were two teachers at Lelant when I went, Miss Noye who is still around, and Mrs Job.

The only home entertainment was reading library books or listening to the radio (wireless) powered by a grid bias battery and an accumulator recharged at Harry's Garage. We never went on holiday but we did go on Sunday school treats.

There was a village policeman, PC Collins, who lived on the right as you leave the village towards the A 30 [2 Langweath Cottages]. Church Road was open fields after Shaw Baker's nursery on the right and after the granite-fronted house [Tremar] on the left apart from Olds's farm and the cottages at the Church.

On Sundays boys from the village were quite often invited to the Napiers' at the top of Station Hill [Pentre] where I learned to play chess, taught by Mr Napier.

Down at the Saltings (we called it the Muds) we played the usual boys' games on what were the remains of a tidal mud flat enclosed on the seaward side by the railway embankment.

I suppose that of the people who lived in the village when I was at primary school perhaps ten remain as most people when leaving school left Lelant to work. I remember a couple of evacuees called Jimmy Shearer and - Coleman.

In the middle of Lelant an elderly couple lived called Edmonds. I think the husband had a horse and cart and he used to carry luggage to and from the Station.

The area doctor was called Dr Lockhart.

There were two grocery shops, House's and Polglase's, and a post office.

The church was a social focus for me in my teens when I was a server, choirboy, bellringer, and Sunday school teacher!

I can remember my father going out to work in the morning before we had got up and coming home after we had gone to bed in the evening.

Saturdays was spent visiting grandparents (mother's parents) who lived in St Ives. Mother would get their shopping and in the afternoon Granny, Mother, and children went to the pictures regardless of the film! (Carmen Miranda: ugh!). I don't remember but Mother used to tell us of the day when the Royal Cinema was machine gunned by a German plane - you could still see the bullet holes in the roof from inside during the early fifties.

Quite often on a Sunday evening the whole family, if father was home, would go out for a walk and meet other villagers. The grown-ups would gossip while the children played.

In our garden (10 Tyringham Place) at one stage we kept pigs, chickens, and rabbits, as well as vegetables and flowers to send to Covent Garden by train for the market. I don't know where Father found the time. He also cycled to work and for many years came home for lunch or dinner as we called it.

I recall seeing my first bananas after the War delivered to Polglase's,1946-ish, by a Fyffes van. I can still see it. Great excitement!

Oh, and one shop I forgot to mention. Mrs Evans's sweet shop. I think the war ration was two ounces, was it a fortnight, I can't remember. I do know that having a sweet tooth they did not last long. Another shop I forgot, the butcher's on the corner, Rogers's. In wartime we had whale meat and we ate quite a lot of rabbit. Oh, don't forget the village carpenter and undertaker, Mr Edmonds, who had his workshop opposite the school. Then came Gordon Hurrell and then Ernie Symons, after my time.