Somerset Coalfield Connections

Entries: 71661    Updated: 2011-07-26 18:15:34 UTC (Tue)    Owner: Phillip Clements

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  • ID: I01395
  • Name: Stanley George THATCHER
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 1906 in Bath, Somerset
  • Note:
    Extract from Down Memory Lane by Reg Jones: Chapter 8 - Page 33

    I would like to write a little about a young man I knew and admired. His name was Brian Thatcher. He now lives, in retirement, at Warminster. He spent most of his childhood in Midsomer Norton, living at Norton House, then at White Cottage, but mostly at the Grange with his grandmother, Mrs William Beauchamp. His Grandfather, William Thatcher, lived at Stones Cross in the house now owned by the British Legion. Where his Father, Lieut. Col Gerald Thatcher DSO, later Royal Artillery, was brought up. His maternal grandfather owned Norton Hall and his two sons, Sir Frank Beauchamp and Louis Beauchamp were responsible for sinking Norton Hill and other collieries.
    Col Thatcher, himself, was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1924 and followed an Army career. He was evacuated from France in the last war via Dunkirk and returned on the morning of D-Day. Shortly afterwards he was awarded the DSO and Belgian Croix de Guerre.
    There are a lot of Nortonians who remember the Somerset and Dorset Railway, also watching the Pines Express everyday, thundering through Norton Hill Station at twenty minutes to twelve midday and returning up the steep incline towards Chilcompton. I have a photo of Tom Dando in the Signal Box at Norton Hill in 1917. He used to wait for the ambulance train carrying wounded soldiers, winding its way slowly, just fast enough for us to throw packets of Woodbines and chocolate through the windows. On the carriage were huge red crosses painted. We could see doctors and nurses inside. This was war and all its realities.
    Mr Thatcher remembers our little mining village with the little river running through and white ducks just swimming peacefully. There was Miss Church's Toy Shop in the Island, Mr Gate at Welch's. Alec Stock the Butcher, dear old Mrs Hole the Greengrocer and Mr and Mrs Hole at the Post Office.
    Col Thatcher left, in his own words, his beloved Somerset in 1920 at the age of sixteen, never to return, and these are his childhood memories. We both remember the colliers squatting in clusters on the roadside, alongside the stream, in the High Street, which was their club except on paydays. The conversation was usually about our Football Team, Welton Rovers. We had a good team with Billy Muspratt, Jobie Woodland, Ginger Maggs and Tommy Edwards. In later years I was groundsman at West Clewes for twenty-five years with many happy memories. At this particular time the Thatcher and Beauchamps were the principal citizens of our town.
    Colonel Brian Thatcher's family tree was Great Grandfather, Charles Thatcher, Grandfather William Thatcher, Father Gerald Thatcher. All lived at Stones Cross where the British Legion now stands. Grandfather on the mother's side was William Beauchamp of Norton Hall, near White Post, Mother was Miss Rose Beauchamp of the Grange. Uncles, Sir Frank Beauchamp of Woodborough House, Louis Beauchamp of Norton Hall, John Thatcher of the Hollies which is still standing and he owned Welton Breweries where the Standard Check Book Company now stands.
    I worked for Alan Thatcher as gardener, for two years, at Silva House. I believe Captain Thatcher, Alan's son, is still alive. The whole area of Midsomer Norton was full of Thatchers and Beauchamps. Very prominent people. I remember as a lad, waiting at the entrance of the Palladium for Mr John Thatcher, we knew the night he came to the pictures. He would say to us, "Follow me" and we had a free night at the pictures.
    Col Thatcher at the age of four (1908/1909) stayed at the Grange with his Mother while his Father was abroad. Later they stayed at the Grange with his Mother while his Father was abroad. Later they stayed at White Cottage, Norton Hill. Their manservant was Leonard Maundrell who lived near me. His sisters were teachers at the Church School. Also Doris Haydon, whom I shall never forget. Also living near the Grange was Mr Bristow, the gardener, and his family. I came to be friendly with his son Jack who worked for William Taylor, Timber Merchant, their Mill was at the bottom of Laburnum Grove, off Chilcompton Road.

    Father: Gerald Gane THATCHER b: 1873 in Midsomer Norton, Somerset
    Mother: Rose Beachim BEACHAMP b: 1872 in Frome, Somerset
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