Dora Adams at Hambrook in the 1930s

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This photograph was taken in 1930 outside of the house named Inglenook, in Hambrook.

Dora Adams is seen in the doorway, right, with her daughter Catherine and their dog Donny. 

Barbara R Adams, granddaughter of Dora, has written for us

some of her memories of Hambrook in her younger days...


Hambrook in the 1930's - Part 1

My grandparents, Ernest and Dora Adams, had moved into the white-shuttered cottage on The Green in Hambrook, around 1920. They named it 'Inglenook', as it then remained for a number of years. It was supposed to be a temporary situation, but they were to remain there until 1940.

 Grandma Dora did not feel at home there, as it had no real garden, except for a wooded area at the back, which was reached by a short flight of steps close to the back door. Also, there was considerable dampness in the back walls as they were below ground level. Dora had been brought up in larger properties, both in Hambrook and Winterbourne. From the front windows of Inglenook, she could look across The Green to one of the houses where she had lived as a child. Now called Evancoyd, it was known then as 'Grove House', for a period from 1894 to 1895, while she and her aunts were there until their move to Winterbourne. The contrast was apparent.

My visits to Hambrook as a child in the 1930's were one of the highlights of my childhood. I adored the cottage, and found the wood mysterious and exciting to explore. At this time, the property was part of the Hambrook Grove estate, and owned by the Mirehouse family. A high wall joined to the cottage ran the length of the estate, and enclosed it.

There was little passing traffic in those days, so when my parents and I turned the corner by Sandy's the butchers, after our walk from Filton, it was a wonderful, never to be forgotten moment for me, to see The Green open up in front of us and I could then run ahead and cross to the cottage and knock on the door in safety; or, as sometimes happened, see my grandmother and aunt Catherine with Donny the Irish Terrier, waiting at the door for us to arrive.

Inglenook is seen here on the far left, opposite The Green.

Inside, the cottage was the typical two-up-two-down, with a stone flagged kitchen adjoined, and a scullery which led out to a high-walled yard with toilet at the far end; which was nothing more than a wooden seat with bucket underneath, which was frequently taken to my grandfather's allotment.

When her rent was due, my grandmother always called at Hambrook Grove, an event I looked forward to when I was with her. We would walk up the drive to the main door and ring for the maid to let us in. I was told to stand up straight if I was peering through the glass panel to see the servant coming. I believe she was Laura Cook, a local girl. The sitting room we were shown into was furnished with lovely old furniture, with the chairs and sofa covered in chintz. I remember Mrs Mirehouse as being a regal lady who greeted us in a friendly manner. I think she and grandmother had known each other for a long time.

On my exploration of the wood, I was able to look through rails into the grounds of Hambrook Grove. I was curious to know how different life might be on the other side. Sometimes I would catch sight of Miss Olive Mirehouse riding her horse. She would have been about the same age as my aunt. Being taken into 'the big house' gave me an insight into that family's lifestyle. I was told that no trespassers were allowed in the grounds, and Miss Olive was known to have chased them out with her riding crop, if any were spotted. My grandmother was privileged as a tenant to have been given a key to the lower gate, so that, on walks, they were able to take a short cut across the grounds; and I and my parents were able to accompany her now and then.

Barbara R Adams

Barbara has now sent us further photographs and reminiscences of her visits to Hambrook...

Hambrook in the 1930's - Part 2


The Adams family of Hambrook was a long-established one; and in the 20th century there were still many living in the area, although now, there are none that I know of. There was a John Adams mentioned in the Tything of Winterbourne in 1327.


In the late 18th century, George and Martha Adams were my great-great-great-grandparents. Their son William and his wife Mary were my great-great-grandparents, and Robert [see photograph, right] their son, and his wife Elizabeth (nee Turner), were my great-grandparents, living at Quarry Barton.


The happy days spent in Hambrook in the 1930's are a lasting memory for me, and are captured in the photographs I have, which were taken at that time.

Weekends and holidays in Summer saw my parents and I walking to Hambrook, to arrive in time for lunch, after which we would set off for a walk, or at other times take a picnic, which often included sausages and a frying pan. After finding a suitable spot, a small fire would be lit, and the meal cooked; a few field mushrooms added, which we had picked on the way.


On setting out from Inglenook, we always went over the stone style and along the footpath by the main road, which ran along beside the high wall which was the boundary of the Hambrook Grove estate. There were horse chestnut trees overhanging the path, and one of my happiest memories is of walking through the heaps of fallen leaves in autumn. I do not have a photograph of this path, but there is one in Sydney Mark's book 'Around Hambrook', which was, for me, such a pleasure to see again after so many years...

  This photograph I have is, I believe, of Robert Adams, although has not been positively identified. If anyone should recognise him, I would be most grateful to hear from them.


We often walked to Whiteshill Common. On the way up the steep road we sometimes had to wait while grandma Dora delivered a large ball of silver paper to the village Hospital, which she had taken months to make. Whiteshill Church held painful memories for her because of its association with her dear aunts and her uncle Alban, the former minister there. But it was never spoken of while I was with her.


Aunt Catherine was a keen cyclist and owned a smart sports model, which was her pride and joy. I remember that it always hung close to the ceiling in the scullery, pulled up by ropes, to prevent any damage to the tyres by the dampness of the stone flagged floor.


Now and then, my parents cycled out to Hambrook, when I was quite young; and my father made a seat for me on his cross bar, and little platforms for my feet. It was great fun, but not too comfortable. My mother was not good on a bicycle but did her best to keep up on her rather old machine. The picture of us all out for a ride was taken by the abattoir just before we set off. [Left to right, aunt Catherine, mum, dad and me]. Grandad Ernest was never a part of these 'high jinks', as he called it, but preferred to remain in the comfort of his chair beside the inglenook.


Our Winter visits to Hambrook were less frequent, but stand out in my mind for the night time return along those lanes, and the bareness of the trees as they swayed before us against the often moonlit sky. I still recall how scared I felt. Grandma Dora and my aunt Catherine, with Don the dog, would often walk with us for about half the journey, lighting our way with torches; then they would turn back, while we continued our way towards Filton, all of us calling to each other "Coo-eee" until we could no longer be heard.


There were not many homes along that road then, but on our daytime journey to Hambrook we passed one cottage which was set back from the road, where there were often children playing outside. They would stare at us as we passed by, as if we were aliens. It was quite a rare sight for them to see strangers passing by. How different that area is today!

Barbara R Adams

Left to right: Grandma Dora Adams, my parents Freda & Robert Leslie Adams, and myself; on one of our picnics, about 1931.

Left to right: grandma Dora Adams, my mum Freda, myself, and aunt Catherine.

Me handing grandma oak apples.


Barbara has sent yet another addition to her 'Hambrook in the 1930s', Part 3.




In the little sitting room at 'Inglenook' there was an old upright piano, the main means of entertainment for my grandparents and my aunt Catherine (always known as Babs to her family and friends, a nickname from her childhood). It was usually Babs who played, mostly traditional songs, to which she always sang along. I can remember in particular, 'With a Hey and Ho and a Hey Nonny No', and the mellow tones of the piano and my aunt's strong voice. This sound seems to sum up home life as it was for many people before the coming of the wireless.


My aunt was a role model for me. She had an interest in anything to do with the stage, and loved the Pierrots. She and her friend appeared in a local production, for which they made their own costumes; as in the photograph.


On visits to the seaside she would always go to a Pierrot show if one was on.





Far right - Mum, Dad and myself at Hambrook...


Babs had a great fondness for animals; dogs in particular, with Donny being her constant companion on country walks. Like her mother before her, she seemed to attract other people's dogs to her and would often have one or two tagging along when she walked the fields and lanes.


Donny is with her on the right in the photograph, with one of her followers on the left. I think this dog was an Otter Hound, a type which I believe was at one time bred in Hambrook.




Far right - Mum, Dad and myself at Hambrook...



Babs was engaged to be married in the mid-1930s, but Kenneth, her fiance, was killed in an accident abroad, so she never married. She remained at home with her parents at 'Inglenook' and worked for a while for a shoe firm in Bristol, and later at Staple Hill, where she became Head of Records Department until her retirement.


After the death of my grandfather in 1938, at the age of fifty eight, my grandmother and Babs spent two more years at 'Inglenook', until the the early years of the second world war, and then went to other addresses in Bristol until settling at Fishponds.


Their move from Hambrook was the end of an era for the family, and there were no more happy visits to 'Inglenook' and Hambrook for myself and my parents.

Life, as we had known it in the 1930s, was gone for ever.

Barbara Adams

Read more about Dora Adams' eventful life by following this link...

Photographs and information kindly provided by:

Ms Barbara R Adams,

granddaughter of Dora Adams.