‘People make Places. Places make People’.... In 2011 villagers began an online Open Archive on an informal basis. We have been recording events, logging images, sharing ideas and making comments for several years. The archive was closed for submitting new entries in February 2019. You are welcome to browse its entries and view its pictures.

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Submitted by: ChrisHubert       On: 12/7/2013 at: 17:33       Location: Greenham

Excavating the Past 7

11th July (this entry is dedicated to Brian & Kate, Rosemary & Bob, Andrew)

Well – Mayhem Monday turned into Terrible Tuesday into Woeful Wednesday and then Thunderous Thursday! Thunderous on account of the deafening noise made by the electrician as he “chased down”. Apparently, this could be heard on the far side of Cosipet – so apologies all round! Throughout, however, all the workmen, of whatever trade, have been acutely aware of the distress they have been causing and have gone out of their way to minimise the disruption. But when you’ve got to “chase down”, there’s no avoiding the noise…

I love these terms used by the various trades: as well as “chasing down”, we have had “tanking up” (as mentioned previously), and then there’s my favourite – “dib and dab” and sometimes “dob” to describe one of the many arcane phases of the plasterer’s art. Dib and Dab and sometimes Dob – they sound like a Music Hall act, don’t they? My parents would have loved it; in fact, I can picture them before me now: “Ladies & Gentlemen, for your delectation and delight, please show your appreciation for Dib and Dab and sometimes Dob – a Song, a Smile and a SeeSaw…!”

[Insert: a couple of observations from Andrew overheard as he was round watering:
1. The unbelievable decibel levels of the electrician's drilling - like a giant dentist.
2. One builder to another as they carried out pile after pile of old damp bricks: "What did they use to build this? Glue?"]

You can tell, can’t you? Hysteria has set in!

Actually, I have been away for most of the week, working in Brighton and London, and so I have missed the worst of it. Poor Amanda has had to face the brunt of it all week. Dib and Dab and Dob have given her the “ab-dabs”! But what has made it bearable, in addition to the unfailing cheerfulness and helpfulness of Andy and his team of Trig & Cub and Nibby & Phil, has been the overwhelming kindness of friends and neighbours, especially Brian & Kate and Rosemary & Bob who have allowed Amanda to use parts of their respective houses as occasional sanctuary and refuge, oases of calm in the maelstrohm that began with Mayhem Monday. Brian & Kate have even invited Amanda to sleep in their annexe, which has been just wonderful for her during this past week, while Bob & Rosemary have cleared space in their fridge and encouraged us to use their sitting room while they are away - very sensibly in view of the noise here - in Suffolk. At the same time Andrew has vacated his own sitting room from time to time to allow Amanda space to prepare her dance classes for the week. It is these unspoken acts of kindness that make Drimpton, Netherhay and Greenham such unique and special places, which is why we want to carry on living here for another 29 years at the very least…

Submitted by: Norman       On: 11/7/2013 at: 21:56       Location: General

Superfast broadband for Drimpton?

Maybe, but don't hold you breath!

Press release from Superfast Dorset
£31 million Dorset deal will bring superfast broadband to thousands more homes and businesses

97 per cent of Dorset premises will have access to fibre based technology

A multi-million pound contract to bring faster broadband speeds to thousands more homes and businesses in Dorset was signed today (Wednesday July 10).

Dorset County Council and BT have agreed a £31.75 million deal which will see high-speed fibre optic broadband becoming available to 97 per cent of premises in the county within three and a half years.

The Superfast Dorset project builds on BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband, which has already made the technology available to more than half of Dorset’s homes and businesses (more than 190,000 premises). The commercial programme will reach more than 260,000 premises by the end of Spring 2014.

The new fibre network will transform broadband speeds across the county and its rural areas. According to the regulator Ofcom in November 2012, the average downstream speed in Dorset was 8.7 Mbps whilst 13.9 per cent of premises received less than 2Mbps.

Submitted by: ChrisHubert       On: 6/7/2013 at: 12:42       Location: Greenham

Excavating the Past 6

7 July 2013

A final footnote to our first week excavating the past here at 9 Greenham. Yesterday Andy discovered a bricked up window that had once been in the old ground floor bathroom. Today, while further clearing up in readiness for the cement that was to be placed around the skirting edge of the kitchen in readiness for tomorrow's tanking, Andy's son, Simon, who works with him, picked up a small, delicate shard of glass from that window, delicately engraved with stars and a crescent moon... A tiny piece of treasure from the house's past.

Submitted by: ChrisHubert       On: 6/7/2013 at: 11:35       Location: Greenham

Excavating the Past 5

6 July 2013

As our good friend Ken Banks so wisely says, “You can’t make an omelette without breaking an egg!” Well – there are many eggs being broken here at 9 Greenham at the moment! The sight of a cement mixer in the living room is not something I ever expected to see, nor to be able to look up from the kitchen through gaping holes in the ceiling into our bedroom while pipes are being re-routed…

The whole project is being managed by Andy from Yeovil and his team who are unfailingly cheerful and who seem genuinely interested in what we are trying to do. “Twill all be worth it in the end,” appears to be their mantra. Let us hope that is the case…

Meanwhile Andy and Phil, Simon and Trig, Nibby and Cub are all beavering away at their various tasks, breaking eggs every few minutes, fuelled by endless cups of tea which they appear to ingest intravenously strong and sweet.

Today they are tanking. For those of you in the know this will need no explanation; for those in the dark (like us) this involves cement (I think) being plastered on floors, up walls to a certain height, to act as extra protection from damp, in readiness for proper plastering to follow next week, after the first fix (?) of electrics has been fitted. At the same time the plumber has been disconnecting radiators and is now sawing through pipes. There are also sporadic bursts of drilling, whose purpose I have yet to discover. At least this makes a change from when the ceilings were being pulled down yesterday and the day before. Such was the level of noise and vibration, I am sure that my laptop bounced in time to their actions, making my two-finger typing even more challenging that it usually is.

And so we approach the end of Week 1 of our not so very “grand design”. Amanda and I continue to huddle in the corners of our bedroom surrounded by most of the furniture from downstairs, perching on the edge of the bed consoling ourselves with the thought that, unlike those much Grander Designs that Kevin Macleod so relishes on TV which last months and sometimes years, our little project should all be completed by the end of August/beginning of September. Fingers crossed…

Meanwhile we are girding ourselves for what Andy has cheerfully described as “Mayhem Monday” next week. Oh what a pity that I shall be working away in Brighton and London all through it!

Submitted by: ChrisHubert       On: 6/7/2013 at: 09:58       Location: Greenham

Excavating the Past 4

5 July 2013

Today, though, has produced the most exciting discovery so far.

While stripping back the living room to its bare walls and floor, a portion of the concrete floor leading from where the old front door had once been had started to crumble and when the builders dug deeper, they uncovered the original flagstone floor from when the cottage was first built. I’m no expert but these flags look like blue lias to me and as they undulate where time has worn them away, they offer yet more tantalising glimpses of what life must have been like here in the 19th century… Sadly, though, this will have to be recovered. It has been laid directly onto the bare earth, is probably not complete, and its restoration is beyond our purse! Amanda and I console ourselves, however, with yet another cup of tea and the contemplation of the winter to come with the under-floor heating that will be laid on top of the newly laid concrete that will cover up what remains of the house’s original stone floor and memories of the feet that once walked across it.

Submitted by: ChrisHubert       On: 6/7/2013 at: 09:52       Location: Greenham

Excavating the Past 3

4 July 2013

It’s amazing what people put on their walls and floors, isn’t it? And just what those changing tastes in style tell us about a certain period. One only has to glimpse a particular pattern or design and immediately it will conjure up a certain decade and, with it, all the other customs and ‘mores’ of that particular time. I only have to see wallpaper with large repeating patterns of roses and immediately I am thinking of front rooms only used on Sundays and tinned peaches and evaporated milk for tea!

To date we have unearthed woodchip, anaglypta, fake plastic ‘wood’, swirly orange tiles, lurid green geometric shapes, closely netted horizontal and vertical lines, different strata of plaster to the original cob-filled walls. Whilst on the floor there have been a range of square tiles – red and white, purple and yellow…

Submitted by: ChrisHubert       On: 6/7/2013 at: 09:50       Location: Greenham

Excavating the Past 2

3 July 2013

Our house in Greenham is the last in a row of four before you reach the fields (more about which to follow). Like all houses of a certain age, ours has gone through several incarnations, and we like to think that this latest one is part of its continuing story. When it was first built it had just one room downstairs, with a front door opening straight into it, with a narrow staircase leading out of the opposite corner upstairs to two small bedrooms. In those early days, none of the houses had inside toilets of course; there was a brick-built outhouse at the far end of the row with ‘privies’ that served all the houses in Greenham. (When we first moved here in 1984, the remains of that outhouse were still standing, and Stuart Hallett, who was at the time modernising No. 12 Greenham, used the bricks from it to build a garden wall which of course is still there today).

In the 1930’s all four houses in the row had a flat-roofed two-storey extension added along the back of the terrace, with a bathroom and toilet next to a kitchen on the ground floor and an extra bedroom upstairs. As the builders demolished our current kitchen, ripping out all those brave but tired 1970’s units, gradually this previous configuration began to reveal itself. Where, until yesterday, had been the dining area of our kitchen, you could now plainly see the outline of where once had been a toilet, bath and wash basin; while over by where our sink had been, you could see the remains of an old brick boiler with a chimney opening above. It’s fascinating to think how families before us would have, in our eyes, struggled to cook and wash with this old boiler, while thinking at the time they were using all the latest ‘mod cons’, which compared to previous generations they were.

15 years ago we did our only other bit of renovation in the house when we exposed the original fireplace in the living room, which is where the cooking and baking would have been done before those flat-roofed extensions were added in the thirties. To uncover that fireplace we had to remove three others that had each been added in front of a previous one at various times in the life of the house: a 1970’s reconstituted stone unit concealed a classic 1950’s tiny marble mantel, which was itself in front of a 1930’s red brick square affair. As for washing, laundry and baths would have taken advantage of Temple Brook, the stream at the bottom of the garden! How times change…

(For more details about past life in Greenham, readers are urged to look again at Andrew Pastor’s excellent “Village Voices/Local Lives”).

And so now, as we embark upon what is (for us) a major change to this old house that has served us so well down the years, it is sobering to reflect how, in years to come when future owners come to make their own changes and set their own mark on 9 Greenham, they may well look at our present efforts with a rueful smile, thinking: how did they manage? or what on earth made them choose that particular wallpaper or that shade of colour, or that type of flooring?!

Submitted by: ChrisHubert       On: 5/7/2013 at: 13:39       Location: Greenham

Excavating the Past 1

Tues 2 JUly 2013

We live in Greenham and have done so since 1984. Like anyone moving into an old house - ours was built for mill workers at the Flax Mill here in Greenham in 1824 - we have often wondered and speculated about the lives of other families who have lived here before us and made their mark. Today we are uncovering some of those marks as we embark upon a long overdue project of internal renovation.

What began as the need for a new kitchen has now extended into work across the whole ground floor and as the builders began on that necessary, if rather alarming, task of ripping out ceilings and digging up floors, so we have begun to discover the traces left by the various people who have lived here before.

I have decided therefore to describe some of these changes and speculate on what life must have been like here for our predecessors, and I will try to make an entry each day as the project evolves. I promise to supply some photographs too once I have worked out how to upload them from my mobile. (Time to call in the teenage step-grand daughter for assistance here, I think!)

Submitted by: andrew       On: 3/7/2013 at: 21:14       Location: Greenham

Temple Brook Embankment

Anya Martin, artist and avid gardener, has been losing large chunks of her garden at Greenham over the last few years when Temple Brook fills to overflowing during periods of heavy rain. Now her husband, Guy Martin, sculptor and maker, has built an amazing palisade to reinstate the river bank, and all done single-handed! Since its construction Guy has wheeled tens of barrowloads of earth and manure across a temporary bridge (built by him) to fill the gap behind the new palisade. And Anya has begun to reinstate the area as a vegetable garden.

Click on a thumbnail to view the photograph. Click on the photograph when finished.

Submitted by: Norman       On: 2/7/2013 at: 19:49       Location: Drimpton


Hazel would like to pass on a big Thank You to all who supported the Cream Teas and gave so generously. Also many thanks to all the helpers who donated cakes etc., who helped in the kitchen and the Hall, also those who set up (and took down) the tables and chairs.
We raised a total of £671!
Thank you one and all.
Hazel Hill

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