First research led me to All Saints Church, the village notice board attached to the wall opposite, Crown Lane and the adjoining pub.
Initial interest in Crown Lane led to the local history group website and a wealth of social history stories to choose from. The website identifies that the success of tradesmen within the village was due to the commercial advantage of being located at the crossroads from Warwick to Northampton and Banbury to Market Harborough! The website continues with information cited from ‘The Militia Lists’ (1770’s) which recorded every male villager between the ages of 18 and 45 along with their occupation. This identified that twice as many people were weaving and woolcombing than farming at that time.
Other businesses listed throughout the centuries include the clockmaking father and son, Valentine and John Hanbury who moved to West Haddon from Watford at the beginning of the 1900’s. Also Thomas Patch and John Johnson who became brickyard partners and began building cottages in the 1820s.
Searching for an individual to represent West Haddon, I became particularly drawn to the trade section of the website which presents recounted memories of businesses operating within living memory and include:
Symington Corset Factory
Doris Webb’s mother and grandmother worked at Symington Corset Factory which was allegedly hardly more than a shed with six sewing machines in. According to Doris, girls would train at the factory and pay one shilling per week towards the purchase of the machine she worked on. The pay differed depending on the quality of stitching on each corset! Once a girl had enough money to buy her own machine she would work from home.
Cross Butchers The butchers killed their own animals in Crown Lane watched on by boys of the village. The down side to this was the rise in rats which then invested the thatched roofs of cottages in Elizabeth Road!
Bush Bakery Denys Bush recalls that his father used to use the huge bakehouse ovens to roast people’s Sunday lunches on the one day they were not being used to bake bread.
Bike Hire & Repairs Next door to Bush’s Bakery, Fred Hutchins looked after the bikes of the village. He repaired them, and even ran a bike hire service for those without bikes of their own!