The other Lombard Street – Shackleford in 1951

The other Lombard Street

By L W Bromley

From a newspaper article dated 10th March 1951. Possibly the Sunday Times

Not, as the name more readily suggests, a busy banking thoroughfare in the City of London, but a quiet country lane in one of the most completely unspoiled of West Surrey’s villages.

Except for two cottages, a larger house and the Post Office, Lombard Street, Shackleford, is entirely rural. The Postmistress, Miss Le Petit, was unable to tell me the origin whereby Lombard Street, Shackleford, derived its name. She did tell me, however, that she had been a Sub-postmistress there for 13 years.

The Post Office itself is situated in a picturesque old cottage with dormer windows and has been there for nearly 100 years. Outside the entrance is a quaint old-fashioned lamp and inside, behind the counter, are crayon drawings of animals, the work of Miss Valerie Thornton when she was 13 years old. Miss Thornton now lives at the Old Rectory. (editor’s note: now known as Mulberry House)

Miss Le Petit showed me a letter written from the General Post Office on April 15th, 1859, authorising the establishment of a post office in Shackleford “from which letters would be daily delivered free of charge”. Commander J.H. Hall found the letter among his mother’s letters relating to her own mother, Mrs John Roker, who lives at a house in the village which has since been named after her. Today the letters which come to Shackleford are delivered by Mrs Conner of Lydling Cottages and her cycle delivery is over a radius of about five miles.

Parish of seven hamlets

Shackleford Parish embraces the hamlets of Upper and Lower Eashing, and Norney, Hurtmore, Gatwick, Lydling and Attleford. Of these, Eashing, with its picturesque bridge, old timbered cottages and pleasant inn, the Stag, is probably the most widely known. But the bypass, with its roaring traffic, separates it from the Shackleford of which I am writing.

The buses stopped at Shackleford Shop, the general stores for the village, which is kept by Mr. W.E. Barns. Mr Barnes, a Londoner, has been there for five years. His goods are delivered in all the Shackleford hamlets and he is also the local newsagent.

I learned about the Women’s Institute from the Secretary, Mrs Thornton, at the Old Rectory. The institute had its 31st anniversary party last December, when one of the oldest members Mrs. Stillwell (who is in her eighties) came all away from Merrow to be at the party, despite the fact that it was rough weather. W.I. activities in Shackleford include basket-making and similar handicrafts. A play-reading group has just started.

A school in an ideal setting

Hall Place, in the centre of the village, was for many years the residence of Sir Edgar Horne who, as Mr. W.E. Horne, was M.P. for Guildford. Today Hall Place is occupied by Aldro School, an old-established private preparatory school evacuated in 1940 from Eastbourne to Shackleford, where it has since remained.

Here is a school in an ideal setting. The headmaster is Mr. F.E. Hill and there are about 80 scholars. Shackleford history is contained in these buildings and out-houses. There is an old wing which was formerly the village inn and a classroom that was once occupied by the cider brew house.

In the grounds there is an Elizabethan dovecote and a group of cottages surmounted by a clock tower which was once the stables. Russell Hall, now a single classroom, was the original little village school, and on the outside wall I was shown a name engraved there, that of a long past Shackleford scholar, George Caesar, 1819.

Impressive in its simplicity is the war memorial chapel at Aldro School, established in an old corn barn on the estate and with two stained-glass windows from the original Aldro School at Eastbourne. The altar rails come from the banqueting hall of the old Whitehall Palace in London.

The lady of Norney Rough

Shackleford has a charming and talented authoress, Mrs Phyllis Nicholson of Norney Rough. Mrs Nicholson has lived at Shackleford for 17 years and wrote her first book, ‘Norney Rough’, a book about the village and its people, 10 years ago.

Her husband, Colonel W N Nicholson, is the honorary colonel of the Suffolk Regiment and author of the history of the Suffolk Regiment (1928-1946) and a book about World War One, entitled ‘Behind the lines’, which was based on his diary.

Preparing a pageant

At the Rectory I met Reverend J. Ellis who has been rector of Shackleford since 1944. From  him I learned that Mrs. Ellis had written a pageant of local history, which is to be performed on June 1st and 2nd in connection with church funds. The players, local residents, will give their performances in the rectory gardens.

Among the characters it is hoped to present in the pageant are William and Mary Brocas who were at Peper Harow and the Reverend Owen Manning, who was Canon of Lincoln, Rector of Peper Harow and Vicar of Godalming in 1801.

My last call was at the Cyder House, where there is an interesting sign representing an apple tree, which was cast by a local blacksmith some 50 years ago. At the Cyder House I renewed my acquaintance with Mr. C.R. Bookham, who has been licensee there for three years and was formerly with the R.A.F.

Cyder house features

Mr. Bookham told me that the house was 52 years old and drew my attention to the fact that it was built on French chalet lines, with a wooden veranda and outside seating. Most of his customers are agricultural workers from the large farms in the village and the Cyder House has a darts club strength of 33 as well as a football sports club, better known as Hewitt’s Sports Club. Also, they have a cricket section, who play Sunday matches on a new ground given to them by Mr. R.J. Hewitt and situated in Peper Harow Lane. There are about 30 Club members.

Said Mr. Bookham, “This is the sort of village where we are trying to maintain good, convivial village sport for all members of the community.

And for those who fancy a snack at the Cyder House I would recommend, in addition to the cider, the pickled onions.