I was recently very lucky to sit down with Wyn Smith just prior to her 90th birthday and reminisce with her over her days in Chideock – her family – people she knew – and how things were in Chideock in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s. This is Wyn’s story…
Wyn was the daughter of Mr. Robert Jerrard who was born in 1875 in Chideock. Robert was the son of William and Susannah Jerrard and was one of eight children who lived for a time at Roadstead Farm known then as Collins Corner. Nearly all of the Jerrard men were agricultural workers. The name Jerrard goes back generations in Chideock. Robert left school at 11 and joined the Navy at 15 (albeit the legal age was 16) and moved to Portsmouth where he was married to Jane Blair. They had four children and Wyn was the youngest. Living in Portsmouth during the Second World War was very difficult and dangerous and Robert decided to move back to Chideock in with his wife and daughter Wyn in 1941 to live in one of the newly completed houses in Broadmead.
During her childhood in Portsmouth Wyn frequently travelled to Chideock on the ‘Royal Blue’ coachline to holiday with her Aunty Florrie and Uncle George in Cleal Cottage on the Main Road. George’s surname was Cleal hence the name ‘Cleal Cottage’. Wyn loved holidaying with her aunt and uncle and spending time with her many cousins. Times were different in 1920’s Chideock and there was still clear division between the Roman Catholic faith and the Church of England. Inter faith marriages were not encouraged and two schools existed to accommodate both faiths.
Wyn was, at first, unhappy at the thought of moving to Chideock when she was 20 years old as she had a busy and active life in Portsmouth and was a member of the Civil Nursing Reserve but was soon amazed at how much was going on in Chideock and what a busy little place it was. She took up a position of employment in the Local Council’s Surveyors Office and was in fact the first female to be employed by the Council! However, as this was not a ‘reserved occupation’ she also had to nurse at Bridport Hospital as well. She met her future husband Harold Smith who was an electrician for the Electricity Board and they married in St.Giles Church in Chideock in January 1943. Sadly, there are no photographs outside St.Giles to commemorate their wedding as it was wartime and film was unavailable but they did travel into Bridport and attend a Photographic Studio after the church service to have their photograph taken on this special day. Wyn remembers Chideock in the 1940’s and 1950’s as having many more shops and businesses with the Family Baker (now the Old Bakery) Family Butcher (part of The Castle building) The Sweet Shop and Tearooms (now Bridge Cottage) The Dairy, Mannings Stores (now The Bay Tree Tearooms)The Post Office, The Tea Room at Apple Tree Thatch and The Cliff Café at Seatown.
Wyn and Harold started married life in a flat in Crock Lane, Bridport where their two daughters, Jennifer and Janis, were born. They then moved to St.Andrews Road and latterly to Litton Cheney when Harold was ordained as a ‘Minister’ and where they spent ten years ministering to five parishes. Whilst they lived in St.Andrews Road a Marjorie Stoker, schoolteacher, stayed with them prior to her marriage to Hugh Stoker of The Mill House, Seatown. During their marriage Harold was Bridport Mayor twice in 1962 and 1968 and Wyn spent many happy times accompanying him on his mayoral duties. Sadly Harold died seven months after he retired at the age of 70 and Wyn now lives back in Bridport at West Court. Over the years Wyn has played an active part in the Mothers Union, The Inner Wheel, The Young Wives, The Women’s Institute and is to this day The President of The Bridport and District Parkinsons UK Charity.
At 90 years young Wyn has embraced the computer age and has her own email which keeps her in touch with her two daughters, four Granchildren and seven Great Grandchildren as well as help her with her duties as President of Bridport and District Parkinson’s UK. It was lovely chatting with Wyn about bygone days and may I take this opportunity of thanking her for sharing her memories with me.