Life at 'Reinbek' in the 1940s
Some views of Reinbek today, extended, and in use as a Nursing Home.
The Mormon church, with 'Reinbek' next door.
Many thanks to Mr Clucas for sharing his memories with us. For the history of the house and the Clucas family, see our main Reinbek page.
A reminiscence of Reinbek, by Kit Clucas
Supplement to The Reinbek Story. 1940s photographs kindly provided by Ann Wilkie
Some memories of the house 'Reinbek' and its grounds as I remember it as a child from when we exchanged houses (much to my mother's sadness) with my grandmother after the death of my grandfather W.E.Clucas in 1945. I have drawn up a plan of the interior as I remember it.
We were only there for a matter of a couple of years, until 1948, as the house was too big for us and was costing too much to run especially the central heating from coke fired boilers in the cellar. In fact, my mother used to go round all day in the house in an over-coat, as it was so cold because we couldn't have the heating on all day. In my grandparents' day pre-war, they had a cook and chauffeur/gardener, and two living-in maids, but my mother was looking after the house all on her own as you could not get the staff any more.
We should not have gone to live there, but we could not find anywhere for my grandmother to live, so when my parents suggested that we should exchange houses, my grandmother jumped at the chance to move out of Reinbek. The hall as I remember it was some 30 feet square and went right up to the ceiling with a galleried staircase running right round it. You can imagine what a drain on the heating arrangements that would cost. I used to have a stuffed panda and would push him through the banisters to my father waiting in the hall below. Of course my panda went blind very quickly after this treatment after losing his glass eyes!
When we moved into the house, my bedroom was over the dining room and subsequently became my play room after the following incident. One night soon after moving into Reinbek, my parents rushed upstairs on hearing my screams and when they entered the bedroom and put on the light, I was sitting up in bed and pointing to the corner of the room where my teddy bear was sitting on a chair. I couldnít speak but continued to point at the bear. They realized that I was badly frightened by something that was not apparent at the time, so they moved me and my bed into the dressing room adjoining my parentís bedroom and my old bedroom became my playroom where I could lay out my Trix and Hornby train sets and a wonderful fort with hundreds of lead figures, without having to put them away each time I played with them. Some time later, my mother was coming down stairs when it was dark and passing the door to my bedroom, she spotted two golden orbs from the corner where the landing light was shining into the room reflected in the eyes of my teddy bear!
On one occasion, when I was sleeping in the dressing room next to my parents' bedroom, I complained that our Persian cat 'Smokey' had bumped into my bed on the night before we were to go on holiday. My mother discovered soil on the floor of the downstairs lavatory and showed this to my father. The following day we went on holiday to the Isle of Man and a few nights later we received a telegram from a relative to say that we had been burgled. The burglars made a real mess by taking out every drawer from every room and wardrobe and tipping the contents into the hall over the banisters. My mother reminded my father of my complaint about the cat bumping into my bed before we went on holiday and then they realized that the burglars were in the house the night before we went away, saw the suitcases and came back at their leisure. The police eventually caught the men responsible after another burglary because one of the men was wearing a suit with my father's name tag sewn into the inside of a pocket by his tailor.
I was given an American jeep pedal car for my Christmas present in 1945 and I was able to drive it all round the house during the winter months before we took it outside. I loved that jeep and was still driving it everywhere at Reinbek with my imaginary friend and also at our next house in Bramhall Park. In fact I put it down to having the jeep that gave me the ability to estimate narrow gaps when later driving a proper car, as I used to run full tilt between a hedge and the house in a slalom race the length of the garden with twists and turns round the greenhouse in my jeep.
Coming back to Reinbek, as mine and my father's birthday was on the same day in November, one week after the 5th November, we used to have a massive bonfire on the tennis court each year, well probably only two years as it happened, but at the age of four it seemed forever and invited all of my relations to a firework party. The surface of the tennis court had long since begun to break up, but I don't suppose the bonfire did it much good either! My father used to make Chinese lanterns every year with coloured tissue paper on the billiard table and we would release these into the night sky long before the current fad.
Outside, there was a double garage with an inspection pit and it was at the pass door into the garage that I had my only real memory of my grandfather when he and my father were discussing the sale of his American Buick with chauffeur screen that had been laid up on blocks for the duration of the war. It must have been only a few months after this meeting that my grandfather died. Behind the garage was a woodshed and greenhouse where I used to sit high up on the logs on wet days and watch our gardener cut up logs with a band saw. There was a croquet lawn at right angles to the tennis court and behind that was the kitchen garden and cut plants bedding area as well as a chicken area leading to the back gate out on to Egerton Road. We had a really fierce cockerel looking after the hens and we had to back out of his lair if we didnít want him to attack us.
One of my uncles, Philip Clucas, son of Edward Clucas, lived on Egerton Road just across from our back gate. Edward and his brother Thomas were merchant converters and they specialized in shirtings. There was another brother, Arthur, he was the second son and was a cotton merchant, but died young at the age of 37. He and his brother Thomas were born in Nottingham and their parents moved around the country as the children were born in different places, but we know very little about Arthur as he was regarded as the black sheep of the family, (but I have no idea why). At some later date the kitchen garden and chicken run were sold off for housing after we had left the property. Of course when we were there, no one thought about selling land to build houses, or converting large unwanted houses into flats. That era had not arrived.
My father only survived his mother by two years when he died at the age of 51 in September 1956 when I was 14, and my mother followed him in 1975. Shortly afterwards, I met my wife Jane on holiday in Majorca and we married three months later in September 1976.
Updated October 2013. Back to the Reinbek main page