Corners & Mannings Lane   -   Nick Locke, on "Woolverstone Notes & Queries"

Mannings Lane: I have seen a few mentions of the lane I lived in for many years. I decided to take a virtual tour and then transfer it into words.

Walking from the main road one would come to the back gate to Woolverstone House (known then a Corner House). Not much of the building could be seen because of the high hedge and fence. I am reminded of being told that the horror writer Denis Wheatley used to visit a young lady there.

The other side of the lane had several old, rotten tree stumps along the bank. These stumps were the home to colonies of stag beetles. As kids we dug into the wood to find them but there was always plenty on the road (flat).

When we reach the end of the tarmac we reach five cottages. People I remember were Mr Golding (I think), the sisters Gibbs and Anthony Double who turned numbers 1 and 2 into one house. The next house was number 3 where I lived with my mother and grandmother. My sister Sheila also lurked around the house but with her knowing nothing about cricket or football I took little notice of her (strangely, as the years have passed by we have got on well despite her several attempts to assassinate me). Next door was a Mr Farthing and then later the Gower family moved in. One house down were the Lancaster famil in a detached house. They were to move on and be replaced by the Yellands.

Further down the lane, towards the river, was another semi detached cottage. I can remember the Spiers in the first one and the Lynch family next door. Patrick, Peter and Ann were the children I recall.

On the foreshore stood Deer Park Lodge, a dark, gloomy, forbidding house. I can’t remember the folks who lived there because we didn’t see much of them during the day. I seem to recall a Mr Van Helsing visiting there but it could have just been a film I saw once!

Daniel Dave O'Byrne - Johnstone 67-72: “Thanks for a beautiful narrative of that lovely lane. I'm sure JRR Tolkien and his hobbit friends would be perfectly at home there. Just like The Shire. I was very lucky to have been at school in the "Hall" at Woolverstone (AKA Hobbiton perhaps) for five years.”

John Crack: “Daniel Dave O'Byrne what a nice comparison! When I encountered Tolkien in my late teens and a full decade after leaving my beloved Suffolk I instantly found 'my Shire' in memories of Belstead Woods.”

Peter Warne - Corners 66-73: “I remember the stag beetles so well. Some of the senior boys kept their bikes (Bonnevilles, I think) at Mr Gower’s house.”

Richard Hayter - Corners 65-71: “Peter - scary things. Especially if you were in a bottom bunk in L dorm and someone decided to hang one on a string from the top bunk springs.”

John Crack: “Aaah yes, stag beetles. As a small boy growing up in Belstead in the 1959s my first and rather scary encounter with said insect was when climbing an ivy-covered tree in Holly Lane only to find one attached to my finger as I scrambled my way upwards. I suspect it’s a much less common critter these days?”

Corners & Mannings Lane