A memory of Lifton by Brian Keighley.
I was born in 1946 lived in Lifton until I got married in 1971. I lived in Fore St. next door lived Mr Brown he used to repair shoes in his little shed in the garden I used to watch him working. just a few doors away Bill Keast he was the watch repairer in the village. Jordan’s Bakery next to Bill where we could get fresh bread.
Taylor Shop again in Fore St I remember taking a grocery list in to the shop and Mrs Jago would get things off the shelf and pack it all in the shopping bag for you no self-service in those days. At the top of Fore st was the Post Office Mr Dustan was the post master Kevern Batten was the post man Kevern was also the village barber he had a little shop behind the Arundel Annex in Broad St next was Aunt Daisy’s shop she used to sell wool cotton etc. Across the road was the primary school which I attended Mr Kelynack was the headmaster Miss Parker & Mr Tucker were the other teachers next door was the Police Station with 2 police houses Maurice Gloyn was our policeman.
Next down was the Arundel Arms Hotel owned by Oscar Morris he was also the man who started the Ambrosia Milk Factory which used to employ lots of Lifton people. Again down in Fore St was another grocery shop Baileys when I was 14 I delivered grocery’s for them on a bike with a big basket on the front I did delivery’s most evenings for 10/- a week 50p in new money. Next to Baileys was our Bank Lloyd’s I think someone would come out from Launceston to open it just one or two afternoons a week we also had a cafe on the corner called Seagull Cafe where we could get fish & chips once or twice a week Ern Stevens and his wife Gwen ran that ………..But sadly most of this disappeared in the late 60’s when Fore St was widened.
Just along North Road on the junction of the Crescent there was a pig sty I remember hearing the pigs as I walked by. This was knocked down in the 60’s and in it’s place was built Venner’s Grocery Shop this was built by Bill Venner and run by Bertha, the shop would open very early in the morning to catch the early workers going to Ambrosia the shop would still be open after all the village had gone to bed. Bill was a real character he with John Deacon built the Church Hall, Bill would always dress up in his red and green outfit and be seen at the football matches especially the cup finals, he also did the Billy Butlin walk in the early 60’s from John O’Groats to Lands End I remember walking to Lewdown with I think the rest of the village to escort him home through Lifton when he walked through the village that night we were all very proud of what he had done we were all cheering and shouting. 100 yards further along was the Dr’s Dr Lee was the only doctor in the village for a long time . when he left Dr’s Sutherland took over their surgery was then at St Marys until they had a new surgery built along North Road.
Further along and over the river bridge I remember going to butcher Martins Yard for our meat Butcher Martin had a big shed where he had a slaughter house we could always be sure of fresh local meat. We also had another butcher in the village Freddy Parsons he would deliver meat on his regular rounds Tuesdays and Saturdays . Out to the main road there was and still is S.T. Lane hardware shop this I remember was run by Reg Meddleton for many years he would come out from Launceston every day on the Western National bus, also working there was Harry Bevan he would go around the village supplying heating fuel. Opposite side of the road was The Lifton Milling Company run by Henry Williams. Further along was the Fox & Grapes run by Maurice Blatchford I spent many a night in there drinking his famous Younger’s Mild a beautiful pint superbly kept, and rough cider at 6d a pint I have seen a lot of holiday makers stop off for a pint or 2 of that and they were not so steady on their feet when they left. Sadly no longer a pub. On another 200 yards to Sammy Cole’s shop situated by the old rice mill ( now in 2007 there are houses built) Sammy used sell all sorts, after Sammy died Rene Matthews took over until the rice mill was closed down. Opposite was the Railway Station this was closed down in 1962. a lot of boys went to Plymouth on a cold December morning on the last train to run between Lifton and Plymouth we were all looking forward to returning home on what was to be the last steam passenger train to run, we got to Plymouth fine but during the day the snow started to fall, we all arrived at North Road Station platform 8 to return to Lifton but it snowed so heavy that no trains were able to run everywhere was frozen solid, we spent the night in the waiting room all huddled up together. Sunday morning I walked into Plymouth the snow was knee deep all over what a sight just snow everywhere. I walked up to the Hoe where I knew some people who used to live in Lifton, Mr & Mrs Fredrick they made me some soup and let me sleep there. Monday I was told there were buses trying to run as the snowplough had been out clearing the way I left Plymouth at 11am remember the snow higher than the bus in places arrived back in Lifton late afternoon really glad to have made it back, a weekend that I will never forget.
Next was the old Ambrosia factory where they produced a lot of dried milk my grandad Ern Parish worked there all his working life 50 years he was one of the first people taken on Annie Dyer was another who worked there all her life The new factory was built on the opposite side of the railway line in the late 50’s I worked there myself from 1963 to 1968. the field in which it was built was owned by Mr Whitfield who lived at Higher Weir he used to keep chicken geese etc in this field. There were two cottages opposite the entrance to the new factory Den Nicholas used to help us repair our push bikes then motor bikes cars etc and in his front room his aunt Mrs Smithson used to sell little nick-nacks Then in the early 60’s he had the petrol station built during the summer months when the traffic was busy he would stay open all night on Friday’s.
Our milk man for many years was Horace Littlejohns talk about the fastest milkman in the west his one speed delivery service, we were lucky in Fore Street as we would get our milk before tea time. He once went to Bude for the day his comments when he got home were “I will never do that journey again in one day it was too far to go ”