Seen in the middle of this photograph of the East Meon Road team, next to Jeremiah Christmas in the photo was Stanley William Searle, nicknamed Curly. His daughter, Kath Adams, was 89 years old when she died in 2010; she was born in East Meon in 1921 in one of the cottages at Barnards . Where there are now three houses there were then six dwellings. Kath went to school in the old School building.
Stanley was a road builder and was responsible for the upkeep of a ‘Length’ of road from The Square up to Coombe Bottom; this involved digging ditches, clearing drains and keeping the length neat and tidy. She relates how at Christmas he would black up his face and go round the village, playing the banjo and raising coppers for Christmas presents.
He died of pneumonia in 1928 when Kath was only 7 years old. After his death, his widow moved to Eames Cottages in Frogmore; she was largely supported by the Parish, to whom she gave a list each week of her basic necessities.
Kath remembers going to school in the original building, which was later converted into the house by Peter and Audrey Street (now occupied by John and Margaret Ball). During heavy rain, the teacher would announce that ‘the children from Frogmore should go home now …’ Frogmore was regularly flooded; the Searles’ front door had a weather board to hold back the water but she remembers having to go upstairs because the ground floor was immersed– she and her brother made paper boats which they dropped into the floodwater from their bedroom window. The children would walk as far as Buriton and back to pick hops; their mother promised them a special present as a reward for their labours and Kath remembers her buying a watch for five shillings. She also picked potatoes for Wilson Atkinson. Her husband was also called Stanley and they were together for 46 years. He worked for Brian Blacker at 40 Acre Farm. They had 9 children of whom two died in their forties.
The village then had half a dozen shops including Mr Pink, greengrocer, Parsons, general emporium the Post Office, Warrens haberdashers and Joan Blackman’s flower shop. A saddler would visit from West Meon. The family would from time to time walk to Petersfield for special treats, sometimes coming back in Mr Lambert’s ‘Little Wonder Bus’. The bus also went to Clanfield, whence they could go by bus to Portsmouth.
Before the present Village Hall was built in the 1970s there was a collection of buildings in The Square, where Park Vista is today, opposite East Meon Stores (left, bottom picture). This was built in 1888 and included a shooting range, a library and the previous village hall where Kath remembers there being a dance every Saturday night. The photo at the top of Princess Margaret leaving All Saints Church in the 1950s, accompanied by Rev Rod Smith was collected by Kath.