Thorne, Frances (b.1914)

Frances Thorne is the sister of Ron and Ern How, the brothers who ran the Brompton Regis wagon works until their retirement in 1986.  A series of recordings was made then, but this recording was made ten years later in 1996.


The How family held family evening concerts in the evenings, and Frances played the church organ as well as singing in the Brompton Regis choir. On a Sunday the children would attend Sunday School in the morning, then the village church service. More Sunday School followed in the afternoon, and another church service was held in the evening.

BRCW top workshop, above the machine shop, 1986. BRCW top workshop, above the machine shop, 1986.
Sound File
Listen to Frances Thorne - 1.24MB Duration 3:21 min.

AH: And you used to go on to school, so you...


FT: Yes, I used to go on to school.


AH: You were at Brompton Regis school?


FT: I was at Brompton Regis.


AH: And what about the boys?  Were they with you?


FT: Yes, yes.


AH: What, what memories do you have of Brompton Regis school?


FT: Happy memories.  Very strict teachers.  Miss Parkin, two Miss Parkins, were there. One was a very tall lady and very strict; she was in what we used to call the big room, and then in the small room was Miss Parkin, the little Miss Parkin and she used to... She was strict but she wasn’t quite so strict as the tall one; she was very strict.


She used to line the boys up and give them the cane if they went off at lunchtime and didn’t come back on time.  She would line them up and let the cane, give them a rap.  Oh yes, quite a lot would be on in the front, but you see, go off stagging hounds, you know, yeah.  Oh yes, it was a, well I don’t have it because I wasn’t allowed to go off but some of the boys would, yeah, quite a lot too.


AH: They’d just do this in the lunch hour then?


FT: In the lunch hour, yes.  Oh yes, they were supposed to be back; I suppose it was an hour for lunch and ’course they weren’t, wouldn’t be back because they’d gone off stagging hounds.


AH: And did you, what are your memories about the business?  Did you ever go to the work, workshop?


FT: I used to go to the, up through the workshop when I went to school every morning, always used to go up through the workshop.


AH: Oh did you, up through the garden?


FT: Up through the garden, yes.  Yes, because I could see Dad then, you see because he wouldn’t be going down to breakfast for a while, and...


AH: What was he doing then?


FT: On, on the wheels, you know, knocking um spokes and that in the wheels that was.  Dad used to on the, on carts he used to be, on making carts and things like that.


AH: And what about Uncle Walt?  What work did he do?


FT: He used to go out more in, say buildings, in the building works and that, going out to farms and whatever they were doing, you know.


AH: Yes because they did that as well, didn’t they?


FT: Yes, they did, yes.


AH: Did repair work?


FT: Repairs and building, you know.  They used to do building and all that, yes, oh yes, they was always busy, always seemed to have plenty of work back in those days.  Strange, isn’t it?

Copyright Information
Copyright. This recording was made by Ann Heeley in January 1996. Photograph ©SRLM. For access to full interview please contact the Somerset Heritage Centre.