Geddington – A life in words and memories – March

This report is the last of our postings about the life of the Holding sisters who were born in Geddington around 1887 and 1890, lived through two world wars and experienced huge challenges and momentous change in their shared lives in Dallington House and later the The Bungalow on Kettering Road.

The report includes a few of the many photographs found with the diaries and gives an insight into the reality of daily life in the early to mid twentieth century. Throughout it all the sisters showed strength of character, intellectual curiosity, loyal friendship, an appreciation of the beauty of nature and the countryside around them and an understanding of the characters with whom they shared their lives.

‘Kitty’ was one of those characters.

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Carrie (Caroline) and Daisy (Margaret) Holding, daughters of George Holding, timber merchant, and Esther Farmer of Dallington

Spring 1925

It has been said that ‘the horse is the friend of Man’. I am quite sure that Kitty and Dad are friends.

Kitty you must know has been in the family for upwards of thirty years. She has surely stood the test of time. Never were Master and mare more devoted to each other, and never did friends understand each others’ moods as these two seem to do. Many is the journey they have taken together in summer sun and winter snow.

Daisy and Carrie with their mother

Kitty always goes her own way; she either trots at a round pace or walks leisurely along. It has ever been thus and her Master knows full well it is too late in the day to reform her. Kitty is a blue roan mare with a sleek glossy coat. She, and her trap, and of course her Master are known for miles around. ‘Ah!. she’s been a good ‘un’  is an oft repeated remark. It was at the end of the South African War that Kitty began her career in the timber trade. Previous to this she had been rather overworked in the grocery business and had for some time been carelessly treated. Loving and tender care was bestowed upon her, for somehow she made her way into our hearts at once. Her soft nose would be pushed into our hands and she would snuff and blow as if to say ‘Don’t you love me? I really am a dear.’

Carrie in The Bungalow dressmaking

As children we early learned to love her and she would follow us anywhere. It was our delight to feed her on sweets, sugar, biscuits and bread. Friday was Market Day and the day also when Dad brought the children home from school. Frequently a few small friends accompanied us to the outskirts of the town and these too all loved grey Kitty. In these days Kit was in her prime and her chief duty was to run in her Master’s trap conveying him to markets, timber sales and business journeys. She was always smart and well groomed and the pride of his heart. Here I am reminded of  the various stable lads who practically grew up in Dad’s employ and remained with him until he retired from business.

Joe was the Autocrat of the Stable Yard but his chief duties lay with Alice and Gilliver, Blossom, Short and Charlie and the glossy cart horses who carted home the timber before Dad insulted them by buying a tractor! ‘Big Kitty’ as she was called to distinguish her from ‘Little Kitty’, little Sister’s steed, was cared for by the juniors.

First of all comes to mind; quiet ‘Ben’, very few were the words he ever spoke but he was most faithful and remained so as long as he was in our employ. It is only a few short months ago that we attended his funeral. He died as a result of an accident.

Next came ‘Fred’, the son of our foreman and the ‘universal cleanser’, Mother Dear’s charlady and always our dear friend. He stayed with us until King and Country called him and he made good, gaining a commission.We were always proud of Fred and he still enjoys a chat whenever he comes over this way.

‘Johnson’ too, abrupt and curt, but very particular and painstaking answered the call of duty. We have lost sight of him somehow but I am sure he is a good citizen somewhere. Poor old ‘Fire Walter’ the bane of Little Sister’s life because he had fits, is now in the Workhouse Infirmary. Drink, I am afraid, was largely responsible for this. He was one of Mother Dear’s boys and Oh! what high hopes she entertained of him. Luckily she never knew how he had fallen.

‘Dick’ now in Australia, John our old gardener and handy man, ‘Music’ and several others are all associated in my mind with the grey mare.

Very fastidious and dainty as any of her sex she would only drink from one certain pail and would go without water for a day or two rather than drink from a vessel she objected to. Saturday evenings and Bank Holidays, Mother Dear, Dad, Little Sister and I nearly always went for a ride with Kitty. On one never to be forgotten occasion Kitty took her family forty miles in one day for their summer holiday. Oh! there never was such a pony!

Is this Kitty?

Then came the War, and it was rumoured that the Government were commandeering all horses of a certain stamp. What if they took Kitty? That could never be. This quiet, gentle creature must never know the horrors of fighting. These latter years Kitty has assisted not only her Master but his neighbours in light duties, running in ‘the trolley ‘ carting poles or potatoes, bricks or light articles of furniture. She is a skilled timber carter and it is a pleasure to see her with her Master in the woods so dear to their hearts. Kit always knows just where her Master is or what he is doing and starts off when she thinks it is time to knock off work and go home!

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Note: The photographs included come from the sisters’ collection. If any captions are incorrect please let us know.

The website team hope you have enjoyed a year with the Holdings and would welcome your comments or ideas for the next series.

 Families?    Buildings?    Customs?

Most of the diary material and the photographs will make its way into our Archive but there are many photographs where neither people nor places can be confirmed. If you know the family or lived in the village 50 years ago maybe you could help?

Do get in touch using the contact details on the home page or the phone numbers given in the Annual Review article earlier this month. We would love to hear from you.

    2 Comments

    1. Christine Godwin

      Fri 14th Apr 2017 at 10:30 am

      We have a painting by an artist named GF Goff it looks like it is entitled at Geddington. It was painted in 1932. Has anyone heard of him?

      Reply
      • Janet

        Fri 14th Apr 2017 at 12:29 pm

        Hello Christine,
        Thank you for your comment.
        Could you let me know if it was a watercolour or oil painting and what is included in the picture.
        We may be able to cross reference it with other Archive material.I have looked to see if there was a
        Goff living in Geddington at that time – so far no luck but it is quite a common name for Northamptonshire.

        Reply

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