Interview with Ken Brock – Resident of Abbeyfield

6 Nov 2013

Ken Brock, aged 94, lives at Abbeyfield Residential Home on Ack Lane. With memories spanning back six decades, Ken recounts life as it was living and working in Bramhall

Bramhall then and now

Debtors retreat it used to be called here in Bramhall!” Ken chuckles as he recalls the early years of Bramhall, “Because folks loved to live the high life, but couldn’t pay the bills! In fact, I remember in 1948 the milkman claiming he was owed £1,000 now what would that be worth in today’s money?”

“Bramhall was then and still is a very special place to live. The sense of community has always been strong – with something for everyone, whether you were married, single or courting. So much has changed, but the sense of living in a community is as strong as ever. That must be unusual, especially in today’s times when all these supermarket giants are moving in and making every village and town look the same. Not Bramhall, we have retained our village life.”

How long have you lived in Bramhall?

I’ve lived in Bramhall for 65 years, ever since I married my late wife. We never moved outside of Bramhall, had both our children here where they grew up, went to Cubs and Brownies, played out with their friends and enjoyed everything our village had to offer.

What did you do for a living?

I worked as a Post Office engineer in Bramhall all my working life, apart from my time in the Navy during the Second World War.  During the War we all appreciated the small things, and the sense of belonging, living in Bramhall was very important to me during those years. The village just pulled everyone together.

During the War

The Neville family still lived in Bramall Hall when I came back from the War, and I remember vividly returning to my job at the Post Office, and every Christmas the girls who worked in the Post Office were invited to Bramall Hall where they were presented with £5 each as a gift of gratitude, which was a fair amount in those days.

What was Bramhall like then?

Most shops have changed now, though the high street still looks the same and feels like Bramhall. Where Snapes Estate Agents is used to be a cinema, I took my children there every Saturday morning. Pizza Express (previously Woolworths) used to be a derelict farm and I remember in the Ironmongers, which is where Tesco Express stands now, if you paid cash you got a 10% discount!

There were no cafés or restaurants then, but the men used to meet at ‘The Victoria’ pub which stands where Boots is now. It was a great place to sit down, watch the world go by and catch up.

What do you love about Bramhall?

Bramhall used to be known as the place to be, it was very well to do and everyone who lived here looked out for each other. I’d say the only thing that’s changed is what’s on the high street, the community spirit is as strong as ever and nowadays people pay for what they buy!


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