Willen Tales

Willen in the 60s: the unspoilt village

Back to life in Willen in the 60's
One of the attractions of living in Willen in the 1960's was the fact that it was so unspoilt ....................

but this did have its down side as well!

"We had a church and a letter box and a telephone box and that was it! There was no shop where people would meet up or post office or anything like that"

George and Frances, resident since 1967

" It was a small community - nobody ever locked their doors. The village was very black at night because there was no street lighting. Our house was in a very bad way because it had been empty for some years with the doors open. There were still farm implements in the sheds and harness hanging up"

Alan Calder, Resident since 1973

Hear another story from Don Beamish.
View from the crossroads in the 1960's
The number of workers on the land had reduced dramatically over the years because of mechanisation, so by the 1960's only one cottage was still occupied by farm labourers. Henry Rees, the farmer, had taken advantage of the building of the M1 motorway in the early 1960's to rent the cottages out to motorway workers. These were itinerant workers who moved on as the motorway went north.
"You would not believe the state of these places. When we moved in the whole house had been distempered with pink - everywhere you touched you got pink on you. There were 6 inch nails driven through the doors so that you could hang your coat on both sides!

In one of the cottages they had literally gutted the place - burned the staircase as fuel!"

Don Beamish

"There was an air of decay about the place. This house was in a dreadful state. There had been prisoners of war in the house and then it had stood empty for years. Mr Claydon who first bought it - he had to literally cut his way through brambles to get from the road to the back door and it was rat infested"

George and Frances

Next page on the arrival of the monks