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Martin Raynes

Although I never lived in Oldton, I’m sure my brothers and I stayed there as young children. My parents had very good friends called Arthur and Reenie Gladding who lived in a bungalow in Oldton. I used to stay there in the summer for what passed as a summer holiday. I know realise that my parents just wanted us out of the way so they could get on undisturbed with their dog smuggling business.

Anyway, I digress. What I wanted to add relates to the idea that much of the town might have been destroyed or at least catapulted into permanent decline by a major fire. When I was 6 (and this places the year as 1965) one night in July there was a huge fire which burned all through the night lighting up the sky. I shall never forget getting out of bed and going down into the garden in pygamas, slippers and dressing gown to watch the huge flames blaze into the sky. So bright was the sky that we were able to play French cricket at midnight.

I distinctly remember “Auntie” Reenie saying to “Uncle” Arthur, “there goes the factory” Was this the brush factory? As you can gather my memories are a bit hazy and I’m sorry I can’t be of more help in piecing together the story of Oldton. I will ask my older brother as he may have clearer memories of Oldton.

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