THE WEBB FAMILY
My grandparents, Bill and Louie Webb and their family had always lived in caravans. Before moving to Quarry Bank in 1945 they were based at Netherend, and for a while the caravans were parked on land at the back of the Thorns Public House. Then Granddad bought the land adjoining the Stour at the end of Caledonia. He paid for it with a bucket full of gold sovereigns! At first there was only a couple of caravans - Granddad's and ours, and then more of the family came to live here too.
Bill and Louie had brought up eight children; my Dad, also named Bill was the eldest son and the other boy was John. The girls were called Annie, Carrie, Maudie, Alice, Nora and the youngest was Louie, after her Mum.
When they came to Quarry Bank young Louie would be about 18. Dad had married my Mum, Alice, and they had two children, John my older brother and me. I was only twelve months old at the time and my sister Alice was born few years later.
In the beginning we lived in the caravans but then the Council insisted that we must build ‘proper' houses. So the first house was built for Gran and Granddad and then huts for the rest of the family. It was very strange for us especially sleeping; we were so used to being close together in our cosy little home.
All our caravans were beautiful; carved wooden beds, red crystal chandeliers, shining brasses and crocheted lace cloths. And the white metal stove of course. I remember Dad painting the gold leaf on the scrolled panelling.
The men made a living partly by buying and selling scrap metal. Granddad made pegs to sell door to door; he also made wire horseshoe baskets for eggs which were sold to grocers. There were wooden baskets made too. He used to sit on the steps of the caravan working away.
Louie, my Grandma made paper flowers. She too, preferred working in the open air and made friends with many a passerby. She loved the children, and often gave a flower to a little one passing with their Mum, who'd paused to have a chat.
Every September we went hop picking near Worcester and then plum picking at Evesham. Of course we went in the caravans which we parked close to the job, so we were able to have the comforts of our home. One year we bought back six hop vines which we planted; they grew really well!
Our horses have always been important to our families. When we were on the road with the caravans they were indispensible; the two I particularly remember were called 'Showman’ and 'Prince', who took us hop picking.
Sunshine bungalow was built in the middle sixties for my Mum and Dad and it has been my home ever since. Another bungalow for Alice (my sister) and her husband Alf was built more recently.
My Gran was such a well known person in Quarry Bank, people still mention her; and my Uncle John too, who went everywhere on his bike. The old-fashioned caravans were all sold a long time ago but we still keep our horses. And I've got such wonderful memories of the old days.
© M.P.L.H.G. 2012
Bill and Louise with their family
Alice with John, Doris and Alice
Louie Webb with paper flowers