Sawston Village History Society

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January 2011 Meeting Report

East Anglian Archives

Our first meeting in 2011, on January 13th, a showing of some archival films on DVD on East Anglian themes was somewhat marred by technical problems with the sound so it was reluctantly abandoned, with the promise to show the films some other time.

Fortunately, one of our veteran members, Eric Willis, provided some very interesting and amusing commentary and recollections of his boyhood in Sawston in the 1940s. Some of this was quite relevant to one of the (silent) films showing the fine Suffolk Horses at work. These, Eric informed us, were called Suffolk Punches (which I had thought was a cider, perhaps it is?). These large chestnut horses had sturdy barrel chests and hairless legs and were also very good natured. Eric’s father had one of these called Blossom who pulled a cart carrying Eric’s fathers working tools for road resurfacing for the Council. On one occasion, Mr Willis pulled up with Blossom and cart outside Peasgoods shop ( now the Red Fort) to buy some tobacco. It seemed Blossom was annoyed that he did not have any sweets in his hand, so knocked the baccy out of his hand into the wet road.!

One memorable picture from the film was of a rider wearing what could only be described as some sort of leather garters around his thigh, just above the knee. Eric said that these were called, wait for it “rook shotting lalliegags” and were intended to prevent mice “scampering up the fellers legs and chewing his privates!” Hopefully Eric will be available to provide more comments and recollections when these films are shown again, with sound.

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