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Mr and Mrs Knight were both born in Tiverton, Mr Knight (JK) in 1909 and Mrs Knight (FK) in 1920. Mr Knights family moved to Witheridge in 1919. They lived in Ebrington's Row, in a two up and two down, there were seven in the family then and two had to sleep on the landing. When the next baby was due, Jack Knight was sent off to his aunt at Holcombe Rogus to make room. In 1921, the family moved down to Cannington and in 1926, they moved to Belmont where the business was carried on by father (Mr A. Knight) and son (Mr J. Knight) until 1970. In 1941, Mr and Mrs J. Knight married and lived in Lawn Cottage until in 1946, they moved to one of the new council houses, in Butts Close. (JK)'s first job was watch making and bicycle repairs in 1924 with Jim Stanley who lived at Stretchdown in the house now occupied by Mr Parker with his grandfather, who was a foot peddler and went around with a basket on his head. Jim Stanley worked in West St.

Mr Albert Knight: Born in 1884,  (AK) first worked for Stenners. In 1902, he installed workshop machinery for Stenner's in Lea and Perrins works in Leicester. About 1912, still for Stenner's, he fitted the first oil engine in Witheridge parish in the barn at West Yeo, to run the barn machinery. (AK)'s interest in electricity stemmed from his work with Stenner's who, at that period, were fitting electricity into Starkey, Knight and Fords brewery in Tiverton and into Lloyd Maunder's at Tiverton Junction. After Stenner's, (AK) went to work for Lane's where he made bicycle wheels, (one wheel in 20 minutes) and helped make the first bus body (on a Leyland chassis) in Tiverton. (JK) recalls this being successfully tested on Long Drag Hill about 1915, before (A K) joined the Navy in 1916. (AK) had a flair for tuning and Leyland's adopted some of his ideas. After the war, (AK) was dissatisfied with his rate of pay and decided to move. He had known Walter Tidball, as he had lived near The Swan, at Westexe North, his bus stopping place in Tiverton. When he heard of the formation of the Witheridge Transport Company (a merger of the two carriers, Thomas and Tidballs) in 1919, he applied for, and got, the post of engineer in that year (September) with the new company. He worked for the company at £3 per week until 1934 when the company was taken over by Greenslade's. He had refused the offer of the owner of a Stourton to put £1000 into him as a motor engineer, preferring to remain loyal to the company. In 1934, (AK) went to work for the Exe Valley Electricity Company and started his own electrical and radio business at Belmont, having had an interest in crystal sets in the Twenties. (AK) taught many people to drive in the 1920s and 1930s.

Electricity: The first electricity to be installed in the village of Witheridge was in Cypress House by the Exe Valley Electricity Company in 1935. The power plant charged batteries, kept upstairs, When one burst, it leaked down through the floor and the lights went dim and flickered. Spence of Honiton did most of the wiring. Customers of the electricity plant in Witheridge got 100 watts for a shilling a week (and houses were limited to 100 watts each, so the light was not bright.) The electricity mains came to Witheridge in 1940 and the Exe Valley Electricity Company installed the surplus plant from Witheridge into Winkleigh and (AK) used to travel to Winkleigh to maintain it (and got his petrol at 1/- a gallon.) Wireless: (AK) and (JK) used to go to Bampton to service wirelesses

In the Twenties, letters lest Witheridge by horse van at half past six in the evening for Morchard Bishop and Morchard Road Station, and reached London the following morning. Mr Priddace was a pos Employees of Witheridge Transport Company In the 1920's Mr Albert Knight (father of Mr J. Knight) was engaged as mechanic and from time to time as a spare driver. In the early days, Mr Charlie Bryant was always in the garages as a schoolboy, and was taught to drive eventually.

The following conversation with the Vicar is recalled:

Jack Leach: Well, I'm beggared
Rev. Castlehow: What was that sir?
Leach: Beg pardon, Sir
Castlehow: What did you say?
Leach: That's all right sir.

(JK) recalls that a horse drawn wagon brought schoolchildren in from Venhay was, including the Grendons and was driven by "Down." "Down" was a higgler (or heggler or eggler), delivered eggs, butter, and rabbits during the day, before taking home the kids in the evening. The Cole children from Menchine (Nomansland, Thelbridge parish) drove in a trap, but the rest of the Nomansland kids walked, including the Lakes from Edworthy. In the early Twenties, there were some 80 kids at "the top school" and 120 at the lower school and fights between the two took place "everyday." Charles Carter was headmaster at the top school in the very early Twenties and (JK) recalls him as being fond of drink and with a foul temper. He at times beat kids so hard; their parents instantly transferred them to the lower school. Levi Ollerenshaw (who lived at Belmont) and who was less violent succeeded him; he began by announcing "I may be cabbage looking, but I'm not green" and was strict on clean boots, "he knew new dirt from old." (JK) attended the top school, and recalls an occasion that he and half a dozen others had gone for a smoke in the laurels in the chapel yard. They smoked so hard that the smoke came out of the laurel bushes and was spotted by Rev. Dudley (Congregational Minister, The Manse) but they were too quick for him. Some kids went to school with a penny to feed on for the day, a penny bought two current buns or four plain "chudleighs" (buns about two inches across.) Top School garden in the Twenties was at Chapner Cross in the angle of the field between the Nomansland and Stretchdown Roads. Mrs Dudley used to arrange dancing lessons and dances in the Top School.

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Last Edited 03/07/2006    Copyright © 2000-2006 Witheridge

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