The Story of Heyford (Extra): Dear Diary – Spring 1960

Fashions are changing rapidly. The mini skirt is in, thanks to Mary Quant, pillbox hats like Jackie Kennedy wears, beehive hairstyles like The Ronettes and false eyelashes. Hippies are wearing tie-dyed shirts and bell-bottoms. All great stuff. I had a Record Player last Christmas so I bought my first record by Elvis Presley, “It’s Now or Never”. Brilliant. I also had a Premium Bond from my auntie. They cost £1 and your number goes into a draw each month. They are known as ERNIE Bonds (that’s Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment) and you can win prizes up to £1,000. Now, what would I do with all that money?

The first part of the M1 Motorway is now open and a new roundabout is in place at Upper Heyford. It isn’t lit and there is no speed limit at the moment but I bet that’ll change when more traffic gets on the roads.

Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones in May in Westminster Abbey and it was shown on Television. Her brother-in-law, The Duke of Edinburgh, gave her away because her father, George VI, had died. The love of her life was Peter Townsend but he was divorced so thought not suitable.

The new Village Hall was officially opened in May as well, by Viscount Spencer. It’s been ongoing for months, built entirely by volunteers from the village, and social functions have been held regularly in the Foresters Arms to raise money to build it. What a great asset this will be for everyone. I look forward to enjoying many happy
events here in the future.

They’ve dismantled the old stone coach bridge crossing the river near the mill and replaced it with a concrete footbridge. It’s not as charming as the old one but we don’t have horse & carts any more so it makes sense I suppose. The old bridge was best for playing Pooh sticks though.

My cousin lives in Far Cotton and I go to stay with her sometimes. Sad to say they are closing one of our haunts there which is the Tivoli cinema, just down the road from her house. Still, the nearby Railway Club lives on. My uncle Jim is a train driver, like his dad before him, and used to live in the Railway Cottages up Furnace Lane. He said you get used to the noise of the trains.

I hear that we are to have seats around the edge of the green which will be handy for watching the football and cricket matches. There’s also to be a new Secondary school at Bugbrooke, that’ll be better for Heyford pupils but not me as this is my last year at school. I shall be 15 in July, the week before I leave.

The old gasworks along the Bugbrooke Road are being dismantled now natural gas is here. I hope they leave the poplar trees but get rid of the scrap by the old shed, it’s an eyesore.

A gun club is being formed and they are to use the shed at the gravel pits. I hope we can still go for walks there when they start as it’s beautiful in the Spring when the flowers are out.

The Methodist Church has closed and the building is to be used as a youth club. I wasn’t a member of this church but for a while some of us joined in a sing-song occasionally with Noel Stanton but I think he now just preaches in Bugbrooke.

When we went out to play on Saturday “old Peet” was on the prowl, that’s Mr. Peet, the local bobby. He lives in Bugbrooke but cycles to Heyford regularly. He keeps his eye on us but we know how to avoid him, so we went down the river to play on the island, out of his way. This island is only there when the water’s low and, if you dare, you can climb onto a pipe attached to the bridge and jump down, then you need to jump from the island onto the bank, great fun, just like The Famous Five. I love reading about The Famous Five, they have such fun.

My uncle and his family are visiting from Yorkshire at Easter and they have a car so we get to visit places like Banbury Cross, Leamington Spa and Everdon Stubbs. The family stay with my aunt and uncle up The Peak, but we have lots of visitors in our house over the time they are here because this was always the ‘family’ home.

I’m now looking for a job because I leave school in July when I shall be 15. The Careers Officer is coming to school to talk to each of us and give us some guidance on our future career. I think I’d like to learn shorthand and typing and I love English so maybe an office job. I’m ready for a new challenge.


First published in The Prattler Edition No. 442 – June/July 2021