The Johnson Family of Marholm

Enid Johnson (nee Gollings) is a churchwarden at the Church of St Mary the Virgin Marholm, and lives at 7 Walton Road Marholm with her husband “John”(Melvin) and son David. Enid’s family used to run the village shop. Enid was born 24 April 1950 and christened at old St Mary’s Church.




Phillip                     m             Kate                                                                        Thomas                  m             Eva                                        

Gollings                                                                                                                 Abraham                               





                Leslie William Gollings                                        m                                             Betty Cumberworth




Robert (d age 22)                                                  Enid Barbara                         m             Melvyn

Gollings                                                                 Gollings                                                 Johnson of St Mary’s Parish Peterborough



                                                                                                David Roy Johnson b 10 Oct 1985


Early Life in the Village:

Enid’s father was a plumber. They moved to Whittlesey, but Enid was not very well as a child, rather weakly, and the doctor said she was being poisoned by fumes from the Brickworks. As her father was working for Noel Darby at the time, they moved to Marholm, when Enid was 6 years old. They took on the village shop in September 1956. She started at Marholm School at the same time. There was one teacher, Mrs Telford, and only one class. The children sat “banked up” by age – the little ones at the front, the older children at the back. Mrs Telford lived in the School House (no 1 Church Walk Marholm, where Toby and Mary Jarvis were to live later). Old Mrs Barrett was the care-taker. She would cycle down to the school every morning, light the pot-bellied stove, and then go on to Woodcroft Castle to clean there.  Because Mrs Telford lived right by the school, people going off to work early could leave their children with her until school started. It felt like a safe community where everyone looked out for the other.  Clothes were all passed on. Mrs Wright made school skirts – she lived in Poplar Farmhouse. As children they did all you would expect from village children; scrumping apples, or go off from breakfast into the woods, to pick bluebells, violets or primroses, only coming home for dinner. Or they would fish in the pond beside the Lodges, catching roach or perch. They skipped, played hopscotch, or jacks.  Saturday morning it was to town (Peterborough) for the big shop, on the 8.30am bus, but they would be back not long after 10am. At Harvest they all helped. Enid even as a child drove a tractor. They would carry tea cans down to the men working in the fields. They would collect the eggs. From 12 years old they would pick potatoes for Arthur Jarvis or the Franks in Helpston. For beet-chopping, they would take on an acre, at a rate of £9 an acre. Most farms were mixed with a lot of stock. Everything was used, straw for the cattle, oats for feed. They used to glean for chickens, pick up the little potatoes to make a hot mash for the hens, hay from the edges for the rabbits. The chip van came on Thursday nights.

Marholm School closed when Enid was about 8 or 9. Unlike most of the other children, she did not then go on to Castor School, as directed by the LEA, but instead to Walton. He father was a man you could ask to do things, but not to be told! Olga Hutchinson’s children Charlie and Stuart, and John Smedley also went to Walton School. They then all went on to Glinton School.

The Church:

Tom Adler was the Rector. Enid was confirmed at Castor Church when she was about 12. Her mother was chapel, her father church, and her mother was confirmed at the Cathedral with Mary and Toby Jarvis. Sunday School was from 10-11am. She seems to remember only one 11am service a month; mostly they went to Evensong. Enid and her father would light the boiler for Christmas morning. They would take sticks, coal and paper.  Stalwarts of the church were Eleanor Darby, and Charlie Neal Enid’s mother was on the PCC, and Enid joined in 1985; she then resigned in the 90s, and is now of course a churchwarden. The PCC secretary was Ernest Britten, a former URC minister.


Later Life;

After she left school, Enid worked in her parents’ shop. John was a driver for Barber and Ross, the suppliers. Enid was 15 when she met him, John was 24. They married at St Mary’s Marholm and moved into 7 Walton Road, where they have lived ever since. It was a council house when they moved in,  in 1974, but after some trials with the council they bought it in 1976. The Rural Council was selling the houses, but then amalgamated with the City Council which was not selling at that time. Enid’s mother died on 3r October, and John and Enid’s son was born on 10th October, the day after her mother’s funeral. It was Harvest Festival that weekend.





Many of the houses did not have running water, nor did the school. For lavatories, buckets were used which were emptied twice a week by Mr Abbot. He lived in the Almshouses on Stamford Road Marholm. They had no water; instead there was a tap in the archway, which people who lived there used, and so did many other people, including gypsies passing through. Mr Abbot then moved to Saltbox, a house along the Woodcroft Road, which was demolished in the 1960s.

The village was a working community. Everyone worked in the village, or went off on their bicycles to Brotherhoods. The siren at Brotherhoods went off at 7.15, then 7.20 then 7.25, then a short burst at 7.30am after which the gates closed and you were late! There were very few cars in the village. And at Brotherhoods, at lunch-time, the police had to stop the traffic to let out thousands of cyclists. There were lots of young people in the village then: Mrs Tom Hill with her boys Ray (Bailey), John, Don and Mick. And also Roger Burfoot, John Robson, Gerard Woodward, Tony Osborne, all in Walton Road alone, also Grace Hill and Percy hill, with their sons Tony (now dec) Peter, Ron(now dec), John, Will(now dec) and Marie(now dec).They could play anywhere. In those days the War Memorial was at the junction with Woodcroft Road, and they would play “tiggy” on it.  It was moved to its present location about 40 years ago. Or they would go down Woodcroft Road and tie a rope from one 30MPH sign across the road to the other 30MPH sign and play tennis, using the rope as the net.


 In those days there were no buildings between the Rectory and the School along the main road. The first new house was the one Di and Roy Armitage now live in, then Jimmy Baldwin’s house, then the house where Vera Brown now lives. Milton built the Two Cottages, just opposite the Alms Houses quite recently. There are many more houses now. In her childhood, there were no private houses. People now have all mod cons; there are less children, as young families cannot afford to buy in the village. It did not matter if you had nothing, because no-one else had either. Enid looks back on the time as happy days.