Dennis Bellamy

It was in 1924 that my parents, John and Adeline Bellamy together with their son, Dennis and daughter Barbara, moved from Wollaston, near Wellingborough, to 82 Bedford Road, Kempston.

My father took over the boot repair business at that address from his step brother Harry Short. Uncle Harry had been a teacher in Kempston East Wesleyan Sunday School from 9th Jan 1910 until 6th July 1924 and was presented with a Bible suitably inscribed on his retirement. He gave me that Bible many years later and I still have it. it was signed by W. King Superintendents.

At that time lighting in the shop was provided by gas and a gas engine worked the finishing machine. In the living room we had a an oil lamp suspended from a hook in the ceiling to proved us with light. Each day the glass chimney had to be cleaned and the brass reservoir filled with oil. Light in other rooms was by candle. Heating was any a range in the living room  and a brick built copper in the kitchen. The copper also provided the bath water, a large tin bath being brought in at the appropriate time, and it was also used to boil the plum pudding at Christmas.

Street lighting was by gas and the lamplighter could be seen on his bicycle with a pole over his shoulder lighting all the lamps in the area. He had to ride round again in the morning to put them out. Eventually timing devices were installed.

From 1924 until his death in 1981 my father was was a member of Kempston East Church. In those days the members paid a rent for the use of the pew. Ours was 50.

I, together with my sisters Barbara and Maisie, who was born in Kempston, attended Sunday School as soon as we were old enough. It began at 10.00 am and at 11.00 am we went into the church for the first part of the morning service after which we could go home.