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Evacuated to Normanby
. . . . by John Burton   sent 26th September 2011

        I have very many memories of Normanby.
   My home town was Crayford in Kent and, living very near an armaments factory in WW2, I was sent with my 2 sisters to live with my Grandma Clara Almond in 15 Hewley Street, Normanby.  She ran a coal merchants Almond and Sons.  They were my two uncles Bob and Bun.  As I was under 5 I was not at school, unlike my 2 sisters, so I used to spend my day very often sitting on the coal cart with my uncles.  We used to get up very early in the morning and go to get the horse from its field which was by the bridge on the way to Ormesby.  I used to sit on the horse (which seemed massive to me) without a saddle just holding on to its mane, then take the horse back to Hewley Street.  It used to stand outside while we had our breakfast.  My uncle used to go out to the wash house and carve off rashers of bacon from a pig hanging there - it is all so clear in my mind!  After breakfast we would take the horse up to the coal yard which was by the rail track.  The track was elevated with big hoppers underneath to hold the coal when the doors on the bottom of the coal truck were opened.  I used to wait while my uncles would fill the cloth bags up with coal (from a big set of scales with a chute on it to tip the coal into the sack) and load the sacks onto the coal cart.  Off we would go around the streets with me sitting on the cart.  I used to get little treats given me by the customers.
   My uncle's coal cart was always painted very brightly and I remember it used as a float during a carnival or something.  I can remember a 'queen' or like being sat on it all decorated.
   Does anyone have any photographs of the Almonds coal cart or carnival perhaps from local newspapers of that period?
   I had another uncle called Maurice Almond who was also a coalman.  He lived in Ormesby by the side of the pub with his wife my Auntie Mary.  I used to go with him some days to his house for lunch and Auntie Mary used to spoil me.
   I can remember on a Sunday my uncle Bun used to take me for a walk up the Hills at the back of their house past a reservoir and on up the hills.  We used to pick some little berries (bilberries) off the shrubs which my Gran made into pies.  On the way back he used to go into the Working Mens Club at the bottom of Hewley Street and I would sit outside.  I can always remember the little cones of wood that went into the barrels of beer they used to give to me to play with.
   Sometimes with my sisters we would get on a bus and go to the seaside (presumably Redcar) - the bus had a corridor down the side (why do you remember these strange things?)
   We also had cousins that lived in (as I know now) Cleveland Street.  Auntie Vera and uncle Jack with their children Gwyneth, Mavis, Janice and a baby David used to go to a park up Flats Lane with a little stream running through it.  My uncles used to call it Titty-Bottle Park - because all the Mums took their babies there to feed them - my grandma used to tell them off for being rude!
   I also had an Auntie Elsie and uncle Jim who lived on Plum Tree Farm, I think in Stokesley, with more cousins - including James Addison whom I am still in contact with.
   Those happy days are just as clear to me today as they were nearly 70 years ago!
          ----------John Burton (Dartford, Kent)----------
          [John can be contacted via our Contacts page]
Response from John Hunter of Hewley Street, Normanby
        sent on 18 October 2011:
   Here [opposite] is photo of the Almond brothers in the Coal Yard at the top of Cleveland Street (taken in 1951 by Maurice Harper).  Walter says that Bun Almond is the tallest one with his back to the camera.  Bob Almond is the shorter one facing the camera.
             ----------Regards, John Hunter--------
Response from John Burton of Dartford, Kent
        sent on 20 October 2011:
   I cannot believe it, what a find, I am absolutely thrilled.
   John Hunter is correct, (Bob) Hubert Almond Facing, and (Bun) with his back to the camera wearing army uniform.  He was in WW2 later on in the war so must have kept his uniform.
   It is the only photo I have of my dear uncles.  I will never forget them they were so kind to me.  After all this time I still recognise them. Thank you so much John [Hunter].
      --------Very kindest regards, John Burton--------
Response from John Hunter of Hewley Street, Normanby
        sent on 3 November 2011:
   Here [opposite] are a couple more photos of the Almonds Coal Cart including one at the Coronation in 1953 in Cleveland Street.  I have already sent the photos on to John Burton.
             ----------Regards, John Hunter--------
Response from Kath Kelly of 15 Hewley Street, Normanby
        sent on 20 November 2011:
Hello John,
   My husband and I bought 15 Hewley St in 1988 not long after your Uncle Bun died.
   You will be pleased to know the house hasn't changed a great deal since you last visited.
   The beautiful fireplaces are still in place as are the stained glass door and landing window, in fact most of the original features are as they were when the house was built.
   The outhouses were changed when we extended the kitchen in 1999 and the aforementioned wash house had to be demolished in 1989 as it was unsafe.
   Almost all of the inner doors, cornices and mouldings are still the same, but we did give in to double glazing in 2000 as the house was very draughty!
   The house has been a very happy family home for us but is now up for sale.
   I really enjoyed reading your memories about your evacuation to Hewley St.
          ----------Best wishes, Kath Kelly----------
   PS the club is still on the corner!!

 Cart 1951