DATA BASE REF NO: I 1046
FREDA SHIMMIN of Marholm
Freda has lived in Marholm since 1967. Her father came from the Peterborough area, her grandfather was Rector of Great Gidding and Vicar of Little Gidding, and her great grandfather was Rector of Thrapston.
Freda was born on 7th July 1913, the only child of William Edward Dixon Bagshaw and Annie Augusta Steward. She was christened at great Gidding Church as Freda Augusta Bagshaw.
Her grandfather was William Salmon Bagshaw, Rector of Great Gidding and Vicar of Little Gidding (at the same time) for 40 years. Her grandmother (wife of Revd WS Bagshaw)was Sarah Maria Hayley Dixon. George Fitzwilliam was the Patron of the living at Gidding. Her father was educated at Oundle, and she was born at the famiy home in Eastfield Road Peterborough. Her grandfather retired to Bath, having originally served his title there as a curate. Her great grandfather was Rector of Thrapston.
Her father worked in Peterborough, having worked at a number of things, including fruit-farming in Canada (he went to Canada twice). During the First World war, he served in an all volunteer battalion, the Sportsman Battalion of the 23rd battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), regimental number 985. He did not have to go to war; he spent his 50th birthday in the trenches!
Freda was brought up in Eastfield Road, Peterborough, and in her early years went to Laurel Court School, in Minster Precincts. She remembers the headmistress of Laurel Court, a Miss Gibson, as being blind with no teeth, a white lace cap, and a lovely cream cashmere shawl around her shoulders, who ruled the school with a rod of iron. Freda would not say that the days at Laurel Court were particularly happy. Sometimes she caught a tram to school – it was a penny tram-ride from Eastfield Road. At the age of 12 or 13 went to St Andrews School Bedford.
The Norland Institute:
Freda had always loved small children. When she left school she went to the Norland Institute, to train as a nanny/child nurse. Inn those days it was in Pembridge Square, Notting Hill Gate, just a short walk from Kensington Gardens, where they used to push their prams. The dress was the famous Norland uniform; brown felt hat, brown uniform, apron and gloves. It was compulsory. They used to train there for a year; it is now 2 years, but in her day they had no time off.
In about 1930 she completed her training, and went to work for the Vaughan family in Lewin Road,Streatham. Mr Vaughan was an osteopath. As a Norland Nanny, one was not fully qualified until one had completed a year with a family. At that time they had a book known as the Testimonial Book, and the Vaughan family had to write a report on her after a year. Freda still ha her Testimonial Book. She worked for the Vaughans for seven years. The family moved to Copperkins Lane, Chesham Bois, Amersham on the Hill, Bucks in 1932, and Freda went with them.. The Vaughans had two children, Josephine and Adrian, and Freda kept in touch with them. She went to Josephine’s wedding. She slept in the house and was always treated as a member of the family. She wore uniform, and looked after the children entirely.. Bed-time would be at 6pm, including a bath-time, story-time, and then mending. She had a day off, or part of a day off, once a week. Freda became very friendly with another nanny (Mothercare- Truby King , they wore a lovely blue uniform, their nursery training was in Highgate),
Through the Norland Register, she took another post looking after the twins of the Nortons at Coleshill Nr Beaconsfield in June 1939 until 1941. She is still in touch with them. When Mr Norton died she wrote to Jeremy Norton (now 64) who came to visit Freda in Marholm..
The War :
In 1941, Freda went to Shardeloes; this had been the family home of the Tyrhitt-Drake family, but it became an Emergency Maternity Hospital during the war, where mothers from the East End came by the coach-load, to have a weeks peace and give birth away from the Blitz. These were happy days. The Tyrhitt-Drake family did not return to Shardeloes after the war.
In 1944, Freda’s father died, and as a dutiful daughter Freda went home to Peterborough to look after her mother. She worked locally at the Maternity Hospital in Peterborough for some years, then transferred to The Gables. In 1950, Freda moved to a Day Nursery in Grenville Street, where she worked for 12 years.. Freda’s mother died in 1960, and in 1962, Freda started work with the Norland Registry, going to families at their home after a mother had given birth and come out of hospital. She would stay with each family for about 4 weeks. That is how came to know Richard and Jean Winfrey, and Jackie Cook now of the Old Rectory Castor as she looked after the Jeremy and James.(The Cooks then lived at Elton). Freda knew Denys Cook, Jonathan’s mother. While going to the Winfreys at Stibbington she also got to know the Huntsman family. They had eight children and lived at the Old Rectory Stibbington. Freda looked after the last 4 babies as maternity nurse for 3 or 4 weeks from birth and became a close friend of the now large family including their 14 grandchildren around the world.
In 1967, Freda moved to Marholm. She bought the last two Almshouse cottages from Milton (leasehold), and converted them into one cottage. She would work for a month, then stay at home for a month, so that she became part of the village and got to know people. Mrs Butler was the last person to live in the Almhouses as an inpensioner. Tom Adler was then the Rector of Marholm and Castor, and Freda served on the PCC for over 25 years, and was doing church cleaning and flowers until 2 or 3 years ago. The Churchwardens were Eleanor Darby, and a bachelor Mr Charlie Neil, who lived with his sister Miss Neil. Bobby Moore’s mother and Mr Neil were brother and sister. Mrs Gutteridge, a relation of Miss Moore, and her husband had retired from the Green Man. Mrs Gutteridge was a widow in 1967 and lived at 12 Walton Road. She was a wonderful lady, salt of the earth, born at the turn of the last century. Farming was much more evident then, the roads not so busy, nor the population so shifting. She well remembers Alec Siddom who lived in Quarter Cottage when the thatch caught fire. You would go to Peterborough and meet people you knew there; there was a real market in Cathedral Square. Other people at church were Mrs Gale (Audrey Murphy’s mother), Mr Neale, Mrs Darby, Jim Baldwin (Jim played the organ, but we did not always have an organist), Edie Hill (John Hill’s mother) who had a nice singing voice. The service was not necessarily sung. Di and Roy Armitage came about 2 years after me to the village. Claire Maycock lived where the Greenwoods now live in Woodcroft Road (no4). Enid Johnson’s family (the Gollins) ran the shop. Freda misses the shop, no longer there, the pub is not a pub anymore, and the bus service is poor. Until a few years ago you knew who lived in every house. In October 1982 Freda acquired a new family when she married Francis Neil Shimmin at Marholm Church. Neil Shimmin was a civil engineer and had 2 daughters Susan and Rosemary. The other priests after Mr Adler, were Adrian Davis, Mr Bell, Bill Knight, and the Curate Julian Olde who went to Glinton, then the Scilly Isles, and is now in Falmouth. Rose Jarvis and Mrs Glover were on the PCC.
These notes were made by William Burke, while talking to Freda on 2 June 2003.