Ethel Smith (1911-1996)

(Joyce) Ethel Smith 1911-1996

Ethel was the 2nd daughter of George (Bricky) Smith and Eleanor.  She was born on Back Street.

Early in the Great War, Ethel was treated for scarlet fever at Draycott Isolation Hospital.  Her other memories of the war included seeing a Zeppelin over Swadlincote and the celebrations when the armistice was announced. 

In 1916 she started at the Baptist School on Back Street.  There were 3 classes and the day always started with prayers.  The Baptist kids never mixed with the church (National) school kids.

In June 1917 her mother (Eleanor) took the children to see the results of the disastrous fire at Astle’s cotton mill at Church Wilne.  Several years later her father had the contract to rebuild the mill.

Ethel remembered the school holidays as being a week at Whitsun, pancake day, Empire half day and 2 weeks in November for potato picking.  She wasn’t allowed to go potato picking by her stepmother, who made her clean the house instead.  The children also had a day off for Princess Mary’s wedding in 1922. 

She left school at 14 and started working at Gambles lace factory on Wilsthorpe Lane as a lace mender.  She then moved to a better paid job doing pattern mending at Davies’ mill in Leopold Street, Long Eaton.  Until she could afford a bike, she walked to work across West Park.  Working hours were 8am to 6pm Monday-Friday, with an hour for lunch, and 8 to 12 on Saturday mornings.

She married Samuel Arthur Buxton (1909-2001) in 1936.  He had a daughter from a first marriage.  Samuel and Ethel went on to have two sons.  In 1939 they were living at 10 Wilne Road and Samuel was an iron foundry labourer. 

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