Ernest Joseph Hollingworth was born in Nottingham on 24 March 1893, the only child of Herbert, a house painter, and his wife Mary Ann. A possible interpretation of the information available is that Herbert and Mary Ann separated when Ernest was young and he was brought up by his father, at some stage both of them seemingly living with Herbert’s parents in Sneinton. By the time he was 18 Ernest was working as a lace curtain designer.
Elsie Peters was the elder of two daughters, the only children of Frank and Eliza Jane Peters. They lived in Sneinton where Frank was a warehouseman for Boots, the pharmacists. Elsie was born on 30 April 1896 and her sister Doris was about three years her junior. By 1911 the family had moved to Hickling Pastures and Frank was then a warehouse foreman for Boots – the proximity of Widmerpool station very possibly made the Pastures the chosen place to live. Fourteen year old Elsie was a sewing machinist working for a blouse manufacturer. Frank worked for Boots for over 40 years and was given a clock to commemorate this fact. He later took up dairy farming and lived at Chestnut House on Main Street with his daughter Doris and her husband and children. He gave up this business in 1940.
Since both Ernest and Elsie had lived in Sneinton it would seem quite likely that they met there, perhaps when the Peters returned to the area to see friends and family. On 8 April 1916, when Ernest was an iron turner living in St Ann’s, they were married at Hickling. Their eldest child was Dorothy May (Dot), born in Nottingham on 15 August 1917. The births of their other children, Douglas Frank Peters (born 5 April 1919), Cyril Ernest (born 12 December 1921) and Elizabeth (Betty, born 2 January 1928) were all registered in Bingham. Although this is the registration district for Hickling, at least the oldest of these children was apparently born in Bingham, so it is not clear when the family moved to Hickling. Certainly by the early 1930s Ernest had established a farm stock transporting business on the Pastures, originally on the Melton Road just north of the corner with Bridegate Lane, and then on the south side of the lane itself, just at the top of the hill. The family originally lived at No 2 cottage opposite the top of Bridegate Lane and later in the lane itself.
Cyril had joined the RAF at least by November 1938. In that month his father was fined at the Melton Mowbray Sessions for failing to produce car insurance at the police station – he actually had insurance and explained that the failure to produce was due to pressure of business and because his son was home for his first leave from the Air Force (Cyril’s brother Douglas was working as a driver in the family business in 1939 and later joined the army, so it is very unlikely that he was in the RAF at this time). Cyril was baptised at St Luke’s in February 1939, perhaps the fear that war might be coming made him decide that it was the right time take this step. In the RAF he was a Flight Engineer with the 103 Squadron. By 1943 the squadron was stationed at RAF Elsham Wolds in north Lincolnshire. Many bombing raids were flown over Germany and the squadron’s casualty rate was high. On 9 January 1943 Cyril was killed in action at the age of 21. He was initially buried in the Cologne South Cemetery. After the war many of those buried in Germany were brought together in the Rheinberg War Cemetery and Cyril was interred there on 31 May 1946. His family gave instructions for “Only good-night, son, We’ll see you again in the morning” to be inscribed on his headstone.
Ernest is remembered as being quite an intimidating character, perhaps the seemingly difficult circumstances surrounding his childhood contributed to this. He certainly had a string of convictions for driving offences. He served as an air raid warden during the war and died in Leicester in 1963.
Elsie is remembered as a lovely person. At the first annual meeting of the Hickling Conservative Association she was made vice chair, Ernest also being on the committee. She was very active for many years with the local WI. She served on the committee, including as Vice President, and was the local delegate to national meetings. She won the monthly competitions in such categories as making an apron and dressing a doll (the dolls were then given to the children’s hospital for Christmas presents) and made a cake to celebrate the 85th birthday of the oldest local member, Mrs Warrington. Elsie died in Nottingham in 1975. Her sister Doris also lost a son in the war, so two of the three Hickling deaths came from one family.
Dot celebrated her 21st birthday in August 1938 with a party for friends and relations. On 29 October 1939 she married butcher Jack Redgate from Nottingham and they lived in Hickling. Dot largely kept the family business going during the war. She also became an air raid warden, as was her father. Jack and Dot’s daughter Dorothy Elizabeth (Liz) was baptised on 15 October 1944, Jack by then being a soldier. On 18 March 1951 their son David Cyril was baptised. He was adopted and had been born on 25 July the previous year. Jack was working as a cattle transporter, one imagines in his father-in-law’s business, and the family lived at Goss Close, Hickling Pastures. Dot, too, was active in the local WI. She was delegate to national meetings and served on the local committee. She also won many of the monthly competitions, including like her mother for a dressed doll, and she made and iced celebration cakes for various of the meetings. In 1956 her young daughter Liz was one of several members’ children who put on an entertainment at the meeting. Dot and Jack eventually left Hickling, possibly around 1970, and ran a corner shop in Basford, a venture which apparently suited them very well. Dot died in 2002.
Douglas first worked as a driver in his father’s business. In the war he joined the army and served in Palestine as a mechanic. He told stories about how he used to visit a local kibbutz after his day’s work to enjoy an evening there. In June 1941 he married Margaret Joan Oxby from Kinoulton. He was already a soldier and perhaps the decision to marry then was influenced by a sense of lack of time to spare – certainly the marriage did not last. He then married farmer’s daughter Joyce Warrington from Ashby Folville in 1949. He eventually took over the running of the family business. He and Joyce had one child, a son. Douglas died in 1990 and his son took over the business, which he continued to run until its recent closure.
Betty married Albert (Bert) Frederick Wicks at St Luke’s on 9 June 1946. A Londoner by birth, Bert was then living in Morden, Surrey and working as a soldier. They had two children, Patricia Ann (Ann) born in Basford in late 1947 or early 1948, and Paul born in the Melton Mowbray area in 1953. Betty died in Leicester in 1998.