Mum and Dad Decide to Get Married on 2 June 1956
At the start of this period, mum and dad were already engaged to be married. They had got engaged on mum’s birthday in 1954 (see Chapter 57). In February 1955, mum noted that she and dad had talked and they “decided to ask mummy & daddy if we could get married on June 2nd 1956”. Mum also noted that she hoped they said yes. Presumably they did as mum and dad did get married on that day.
Arthur Lofthouse Agrees to Marry Them
On 19 December 1955, mum must have asked Arthur Lofthouse if he would marry them as there is a letter from him, dated 28 December 1955, among mum’s papers accepting that role.
In January 1956, mum noted that she had decided to ask Carole Holland to be her sixth bridesmaid. However, she did not record asking the other five. But, they were Marilyn Seville, Dorothy Lofthouse, Maureen and Janet Stark (dad’s nieces) and Lynne Evans.
Also, in that same month, grandma and mum went to see Mrs Booler, of Beulah Road, to see about making bridesmaids’ dresses. In February 1956, mum went into Nottingham and got a sample and pattern for the bridesmaids’ dresses. Also, that same month, she went into Nottingham with grandma. They bought mum’s going away dress and material for her dress. They “ordered bridesmaids” (presumably material) and “looked at Roy’s” (suit?). Also, they got cake decorations.
Measuring for and Fitting Bridesmaids’ Dresses
In March 1956, Dorothy visited in order to be measured for her bridesmaid’s dress. Also, that same month, both grandad and dad were measured for their suits, and grandma ordered her dress. Then, at the end of that month, mum took Maureen and Janet to be measured. That same day, grandma and dad collected mum’s white shoes from B&B. I am not sure what this refers to. In the 1941 Kelly’s Directory, there is a shoe dealers called Betts and Broughton in Huthwaite. Could this be them?
The measuring continued into April with Lynne and Carole being measured on the 3rd and, on the 4th, mum went to Nottingham for lace. On the 7th, Marilyn visited to be measured. On the 15th, mum took Lynne for a fitting. Three days later, she bought presents for the bridesmaids and ties for dad, grandad, and Denis, dad’s brother and best man. On the 21st, mum took Maureen and Janet for a fitting and on the 29th Marilyn visited for a fitting.
Buying Watches and the Wedding Ring
In May 1956, mum and dad bought each other watches and mum’s wedding ring.
Wedding Dress Fitting
Also, in May, on the 8th, and again on the 15th, mum went to Mrs Booler’s to have her dress fitted.
Making Cake and Other Preparations
Also, on 28 May, mum noted making lots of cake etc. She also noted that Ella Lofthouse arrived for the wedding on the 28th and Arthur on the 31st. Again, Dorothy came on 1 June. That night, mum noted going to chapel to put tables up.
Mum and Dad’s Wedding
Mum and dad got married at Bourne Methodist chapel on 2 June 1956 at 2.30pm. The wedding was officiated by the current minister, Rev Howells, and the former minister and family friend, Arthur Lofthouse. There were several copies of the order of service among mum’s papers. According to these, the opening music was “Antantino” by Edwin H Lemare. Also, there were three hymns and the service included holy communion. The three hymns were “The voice that breathed o’er Eden”, “Be known to us in the breaking bread” and “O perfect love”. Other music included the bridal march “Lohengrin” by Wagner, Mendelssohn’s wedding march and Handel’s Largo, during the signing of the register.
Grandad Was Too Ill to Attend
Because of ill-health, grandad was unable to attend the wedding (see Chapter 65). This meant that mum was “given away” by grandma’s brother, Bert. Ken Hodges sat with grandad during the wedding. I have assumed this was Ken Hodges but the diary just says Ken. Given that Arthur Lofthouse’s letter mentions a Ken, it is possible this could have been a different Ken.
Mr Pinchbeck, the pastor of the Full Gospel church, made an audio recording of the wedding for grandad to listen to later, which he did on Monday 4 June. Grandad commented that it was “very good”. He decided to invest in a reel-to-reel tape recorder, which I recall as a child, and Mr Pinchbeck brought a better recording of the wedding and made a copy for grandad’s own use.
Report in the Local Paper
The wedding was reported in the local newspaper. This noted some of the features of the ceremony. These included that the organ was played by mum’s friend Hazel Munns. Also, it noted that the reception was held at the Bourne Methodist Schoolroom for around 100 guests. It also misspelled the name of grandma and grandad’s house as “Elston”!
Honeymoon in Torquay
After the wedding, mum and dad went for their honeymoon to Torquay, staying the first night at the Abbey Hotel in Kenilworth (see Chapter 66). Then, when mum and dad got back from their honeymoon, mum cut up the wedding cake. Also, a couple of weeks later, packed away the wedding presents. Then, at the beginning of July, mum got her wedding photos back.
A number of mum’s friends also got married during this period.
Betty Longden and John Dodsley
On 26 March 1955, Betty Longden married John Dodsley. Mum noted that there was a “lovely dress & cake”.
Barbara Merry and Philip Binns
Also, in July 1955, grandad, grandma and grandad’s sister, Eva, went to the wedding of Barbara Merry to Philip Binns in Stanton Hill. The Merrys appear to have been family friends of the Parkins living in Mansfield. They appear to have been particular friends of grandma’s Auntie Bertha. Prior to going out with dad, mum appears to have had a crush on David Merry (DM in her diaries) (see Chapter 56).
Barbara Spencer and Ron Rowe
On 8 October 1955, Barbara Spencer and Ron Rowe got married. Dad and Robert Ollerenshaw were ushers and mum noted that there were “games after”.
Mum and Marilyn Were Bridesmaids at the Wedding of Peter Cirket and Rita Ireton in Hastings
Also, on 5 November 1955, mum’s cousin Peter Cirket married Rita Ireton in Hastings. Mum, dad, Renie and Auntie Bertha went down by car the previous day. Mum was chief bridesmaid and wore pink. There were three other bridesmaids. They wore green. They included mum’s other cousin and friend, Marilyn and Marilyn’s sister, Jennifer. The third bridesmaid was a friend of either Peter or Rita’s (or both) and was called Pamela. Also, this wedding occurred at a time when both grandma and grandad were unwell. This explains why neither of them, especially grandma, attended what was an important family wedding.
Harry and Shirley
In January 1956, mum and dad went to “Harry & Shirley’s wedding at St Wilfrid’s then Waggon & Horses after”. Initially, I thought this might be mum’s school friend Shirley Sadler but this wedding was in Kirkby and Shirley did not live there. Plus, she married someone called Les Vryenhoef in 1961.
According to FreeBMD, there was a Shirley Doe and Harry Sheldon who married in Basford in this quarter. So, perhaps this is them. If so, I am not sure how they knew mum and dad, but perhaps through chapel. Although it would be slightly odd that they then got married in an Anglican church.
St Wilfrid’s is one of the Anglican churches in Kirkby. It is described as the “mother church” in the book “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee (p6) and they also have a picture of the church in their other book “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” (p35). In his book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield: Yesterday Remembered”, Gerald Lee dedicates a chapter (#19, pp97-103) to it as “A Church for All Seasons”.
In 1907, the church was badly damaged by fire and images of this are captured in the book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Annesley on Old Picture Postcards” by David Ottewell (pictures 21 and 22).
There is a detailed description of the church in the book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield: An Interesting Township” by Bill Clay-Dove (pp7-13). Some of its activities are advertised in the 1969 Kirkby Directory including bellringers, men’s fellowship, mothers’ union, young wives and youth club (pp33-35) and there is also a section giving basic information about the church (p55).
The Waggon and Horses
The Waggon and Horses was a pub in Kirkby. It closed in the 2000s and became a Boxing Club. It features in Gerald Lee’s book ”Kirkby-in-Ashfield Yesterday Remembered” as a venue for sharing boxing recollections (see Chapter 17, p84) and it is also mentioned in Mark Ashfield’s book “Horses, Herbs and a Cockatoo” (p3). As of August 2021, it appears to be boarded up.
Annie Reynolds and Donald Wilson
In February 1956, mum and dad went to chapel to see Annie Reynolds get married. According to FreeBMD, she appears to have married a Donald Wilson.
Roy’s Cousin May
In March 1956, mum and dad went to “Roy’s cousin’s (May) wedding”. This took place at St Thomas’s (see Chapter 54) and then the Miners Institute. Also, from FreeBMD, this may have been the wedding of May White and Ronald Horton but, if so, I am not sure how she was related to dad.
The Miners Institute
The Miners Institute was located on Low Moor Road between Alexandra Street and Edward Street. Much later, it was demolished in 2010 and the land is currently unused. There are a number of discussion threads about the Miners Institute on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group. Also, there are photographs of the building in the books “Kirkby & District: A Second Selection” by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee (p42) and “Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Annesley on Old Picture Postcards” by David Ottewell (inside front cover).
A Number of Weddings in 1957
In 1957, a number of mum’s friends got married in quick succession.
Joan Hardy and Graham Hardy
In one of those weddings, Joan Storer and Graham Hardy were married on 9 March at 8am.
Margaret Varnam and Ken Roome
Also, Margaret Varnam and Ken Roome followed on the next week, the 16th, at 11am.
Joy Munns and Alan Jones
Also, that same month, on the 30th, Joy Munns and Alan Jones got married at 2.30pm. Her chief bridesmaid was her sister, Hazel Munns. According to a photo of mums, another of her bridesmaids was Kay Munns. She was Hazel and Joy’s niece, the daughter of their older brother Alwyn and his wife Audrey.
Margaret Bostock and Robert Ollerenshaw
Then, in March 1958, Margaret Bostock and Robert Ollerenshaw got married. However, although mum has not named people in these photos, one of the bridesmaids appears to be Hazel Munns and the best man appears to be Richard Ward, Hazel’s future husband.
Maureen Hobbs and John Smith
Later, in April 1958, mum attended the wedding of Maureen Hobbs and John Smith at chapel.
A Wedding at St Wilfrid’s
After that, in July 1958, grandma helped Mrs Deakin with the catering for a wedding at St Wilfrid’s.
A Wedding at Farnsfield
That same month, grandma, mum, dad, Renie and Jim all went to the wedding of a friend of Auntie Bertha’s at Farnsfield.
Dorothy Lofthouse Asked Mum to be Matron of Honor at Her Wedding
In January 1958, mum noted that Dorothy had written to her to ask her to be matron of honour at her wedding on 16 August.
Grandma Attended Dorothy’s Wedding But Mum Did Not
It is not clear whether mum accepted or not but it appears she did not attend, presumably because she had given birth to Tricia in the May. Dorothy did visit Kirkby in July, after Tricia was born, so presumably she and mum discussed it then. Regardless, it seems that grandma went to Dorothy’s wedding in Shildon on her own, although grandad, mum and Tricia did take her to Derby.
According to mum’s notes with photos of the wedding, Dorothy was adopted but mum did not give details. According to a short news cutting among mum’s papers, Arthur officiated at the ceremony so Dorothy was “given away” by her uncle Mr H E Lofthouse.
Although Dorothy got married at a Methodist church in Shildon, mum was not sure which one it was. In her photo album, there are card photos of two Methodist churches in Shildon – one is referred to as the PM (Primitive Methodist) chapel and is on St John’s Street. The other was called the Wesleyan Church, Shildon. Mum noted that “Dorothy and Alf got married at one of these”. On balance, I suspect it was the one labelled Wesleyan Church. The order of service refers to the Wesley Methodist Church and one of the photos appears to have a pillar in the foreground. The newspaper article and photograph referred to the church being on Main Street.
Shildon Methodist Church
The current Methodist Church in Shildon is on Main Street but it is in a new building which opened in 1976. There are more details of the Primitive Methodist chapel on St John’s Road on the My Primitive Methodists website. Apparently, this building was demolished and replaced with houses.
Hazel Munns and Richard Ward
Also, on 20 June 1959, Hazel Munns and Richard Ward got married at 11am. According to grandad’s diary, grandma went to help with catering and mum, dad and Tricia went as guests. From the photos, which are not labelled in detail, it appears that Robert and Margaret Ollerenshaw (nee Bostock) may have been best man and matron of honour, reciprocating roles played for them by Hazel and Richard at their wedding the previous year. The child bridesmaid appears to be Kay Munns, who played a similar role at Hazel’s sister’s wedding in 1958. It appears that there may have been a second matron of honour and this may have been Hazel’s sister Joy.
Also, during this period, there were celebrations of some major wedding anniversaries.
Grandma and Grandad’s Silver Wedding
In 1955, grandma and grandad celebrated their silver wedding having got married in 1930. Invitations were sent out in February and a party was held at Bourne Methodist Chapel on 19 March. Grandad noted the party but focused more on the fact that this meant that Ken and Pearl Hodges had had to look after the shop from 3pm.
Mum gave more details of the party. About 90 people attended. She noted that she, dad, Ken and Pearl organised games. Presumably, Ken and Pearl did this once they had closed the shop! She noted that there were quite a few family members at the party. Grandma’s brother (Bert) and family (Doris, Peter and Rita) had come up from the south coast. Grandma’s aunt and uncle (Bertha and Frank) were there as were members of their family (Edie and Marilyn are mentioned specifically). In fact, there were so many that grandma, mum and Marilyn had to sleep next door at number 98.
Auntie Bertha and Uncle Frank’s Golden Wedding
In October 1956, Auntie Bertha and Uncle Frank celebrated their golden wedding, meaning they were married in 1906. Mum noted that the actual anniversary was on the 8th but the party was held on the 10th. This was held at Chesterfield Road South Methodist Church in Mansfield. The church is still active although the building looks new. Apparently, the church was established in 1904. I found some details of a souvenir programme for opening of a new church in March 1967.
Mum noted that she only got home at 1.30am after the party and that Marilyn, her sister Jennifer, and her parents Bert and Edie, stayed with them that night.
Arthur and Ella Lofthouse’s Silver Wedding
Also, in July 1957, Arthur and Ella Lofthouse celebrated their silver wedding anniversary. Grandma went to Stokesley for a few days to celebrate this with them.