My Grandfather Albert Edmund Goodman came to Godmanchester in approximately 1925 and the family lived at 18 Cambridge Street. Grandfather came to work for Brown and Goodman Flour Mill (No relation). This mill was situated where the new Bridge Car Park is at the entrance of Godmanchester coming from Huntingdon. He was a Millwright Engineer, whose job was to make Wooden and Metal (log Wheels for the machines that ground the flour. There was another Flour Mill in the town which was also demolished and now is another Car Park just off Post Street.
The house in Cambridge Street had Clyde Yard sheds to the rear and this is where my Grandfather had all his machines, one with a 6ft to 8ft flywheel. In addition to the machinery he relied on 2 ponies which were stabled in the yard. These ponies were of great help. He used to go to the local woods, select and cut down trees, and the ponies would bring back the wood to the yard. There it would be cut to length and put on his lathes. He would turn these pieces of wood into Mangle Rollers. The ponies used to be watered in the River by the Causeway. They would enter the slip way and they used to be walked in the river and would exit near Ethnic Origins. Local farmers also used the River to water all their cattle.
To the rear of Clyde yard was a shed where Mr George Pomfrett used to live. My grandfather used to help him with food in return for help with the animals and from what I can gather he was a very nice man.
Unlike today's throw away society, the family never wasted anything. The spare wood would be collected up in short pieces by my Aunts and then sold as kindling wood for fires. All the wood shavings would be collected for the stables and for the pigs. The family kept their own pigs for meat. It was a large family by today's standards and there were 9 children. They were Samuel, Pearce, Gladys, Alice, John (my father), Joe, Dinha, George and Ellen. As I remember my grandfather was bankrupted by a company working out of premises on Tennis Court Avenue in Huntingdon. He was working on woodwork parts (Sprockets), when the company packed in owing lots of other firms' money.
The Comrades Club which now goes from Cambridge Street and extends back to St. Anne's Lane, has some history that many people are not aware of. I can remember the club as a Cinema and Theatre and this part was to the rear of the now Comrades Club. I think if you look carefully, you can see a V shape in the brickwork, this is where the projection box used to be for the cinema. It stood proud in the front of the building. There used to be a stage inside as well and this was used as a theatre. The performers that entertained at the theatre were usually second rate acts.
My father recalled a husband and wife act where the wife always had heavy makeup to cover a black eye given to her by her husband when he was drunk. Another act, who became very famous, was Tommy Trinder who appeared quite regularly. He left Godmanchester on a borrowed five pound note to go to Coventry for his first professional performance. With this five pound, he bought a train ticket and two white shirts. He came back two years later and paid his debt. Tommy Trinder may be remembered for his famous saying “You lucky people".
Whenever there was a performance at the theatre my whole family, (those that were old enough) would muck in and clean up the hall. My father, when I was younger used to say to my son that he used to be on the stage. We always used to say to him "yes - just to sweep it up"
Eventually, my grandfather Albert Edmond Goodman died on the same day as my Grandmother Elizabeth Ellen Goodman but in two different hospitals. My Grandfather in Huntingdon Hospital and Grandmother in Cambridge.
The above are the recollections of Bobby Goodman, son of John Goodman and grandson of Albert Edmund Goodman. A family that lived and worked in and around Godmanchester.
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