Sydney George Beacroft
Born 4 September 1929, Swanwick, Derbyshire


Parents Sydney Beacroft and Mary Barratt

Marital Details:-
Married Margaret Morton On 2 April 1995

Jane Beacroft
Mark Beacroft

Barbara Beacroft
John James Beacroft

Photo Album


Syd was born on Derby Road, Swanwick and moved with his family first to Rio Terrace and then to 3 Lower Drive, Swanwick.He was educated at Swanwick Infants and Junior Schools and later at Somercotes Secondry Modern School. He was apprenticed to Taylor & Parkin of Leabrooks as a Joiner. Passed East Midlands Educational Institute exams in Building, Geometry, Mathmatics and Construction in 1948. He was confirmed by the Right Reverend Bishop O'Ferrall. The Vicar was Reverend G.A.Evans. He was called up for National Service in the Fleet Air Arm in September 1949 and did his initial training at HMS Royal Arthur at Corsham in Wiltshire. His Service Number was L/FX 881281. Sent for training as an air mechanic to HMS Gamecock at Nuneaton he passed out as Naval Airman 1 Mechanic Airframes and was posted to HMS Daedelus at Lea on Solent joining 703 Squadron Naval Air Sea Warfare Development and Carrier Trials Unit. Transfered with 703 Squadron to HMS Peregrine at Ford in Sussex from where he was demobbed . Did reserve training at Yeovilleton on HMS Heron and Stretton on HMS Blackcap. After leaving the Forces he worked as a Bus Conductor in 1951 for the Trent Bus Company then as an Insurance Agent for the Refuge Assurance Company in 1954. He honeymooned with his wife at the Strand Palace Hotel in London on 2nd April 1955. He lived with his wife at 18 Flowery Leys Lane, Alfreton then moved to Wood's Yard, Swanwick. From there the family moved to High Street, Swanwick before moving to Oakerthorpe. They bought the property Beech House on Chesterfield Road from the County Council and lived there till November 1987. On the 1st of August 1956 he joined the National Coal Board Stores Department. His first post was as Trainee Storekeeper at Alfreton Colliery being transfered from there to Longwood Hall Estates Department as Storekeeper. His next move was to Area 4 Headquarters as clerk dealing with obsolete and redundant stocks. His next post was at the Area Workshops, A Winnings as afternoon Storekeeper. Appointed as Head Storekeeper at Wingfield Manor Colliery he moved from there to Alfreton then A Winning Collieries as Head Storekeeper. Was made Closed Colliery Storekeeper he started the Plant Pool Stores at Grassmoor Colliery which was eventually transfered to Williamthorpe Colliery. Set up the Area Holding Centre and Mobile Plant Stores at Williamthorpe before being promoted to Assistant Area Chief Storekeeper and finally Area Chief Storekeeper before retiring in 1987. He was Senior Scout Master with the 1st Swanwick St. Andrew's Senior Scouts and later Group Scoutmaster of the 2nd Alfreton Scouts. Secretary of South Winffield Miner's Welfare for 14 years and held all the offices of South Wingfield Labour Party. He was also Chairman of South Wingfield Parish Council. Northern Area Agent and Chairman of Belper Constituency Labour Party when George Brown and Rod McFaquar were the Members of Parliament. Persuaded by his wife they bought their first boat, Jambo in 1980 and have since had four other boats the last two, both called Andelain, built to their design by Stephen Goldscrough. Founder member of the Goldsbrough Boat Owner's Club he was Treasurer and Newsletter Editor of the club. He was Secretary and Treasurer of the Greyhound Boat Club and a founder member of NABO. Is member of several waterways organisations including IWA, AWCC, Trent and Mersey Canal Society etc. On the 30th July 1998 he had an Carotid Endorectomy at the Queen's Medical Centre carried out by Mr Tennant. His hobbies include painting, computing, boating and crosswords.

CHILDHOOD: I was born in the village of Swanwck in Derbyshire. My first home was on Derby Road but my first childhood memories were living at 21 School Street ( now called the Green) This was a three bedroomed terrace house which I shared with my father, mother, sister and brother. The toilet was at the bottom of the garden ( a scary trip in winter when I had to take a candle which often blew out) and the toilet paper consisted of newspaper torn into small strips and hung on a nail. There was no bathroom and on Friday nights we were bathed in a zinc bath in front of the fire in the living room. Water was heated in a boiler situated at the side of the fire place. John and I were bathed first then put to bed then Barbara had her bath. Anecdotal evidence tells that I was often fastened in the garden by a belt round the waist tied to the clothes post. This was to stop me trying to get out onto the road. I had a pedal car at that time and was found several times pedalling along the road at the side of lorries. Swanwick at that time was a small mining village where everyone knew each other. The village policeman, a Seargent Harrison, kept us in order reporting any mis-doings to our parents who took the neccessary action, usually a slap. The sort of things we got reported for were our 'scrumping' of apples, breaking the occasional window as we played cricket in the street ( there were few cars and the road was our playground) and one one occasion killing a chicken with catapults. This got me a real good hiding. The first school I attended was the Infant's and Junior which was situated at the cross roads opposite the church. Miss Carlin was the headmistress and was very concious of diet cajoling us to drink cabbage water and eat brown bread, both of which I hated.( My father was at one time very preoccupied by diet and we had to have wholemeal bread, lots of vegetables and were made to chew everything thirty times before swallowing it.) We had slates to write on in the first years at school graduating to paper excersise books and pens later. I went up to the boy's school at the top of Pentrich Road ( now St. Andrew's Court) at the age of 7. Mr Hanbury was the headmaster and the form teacher was a Mr Walker. At 11 years old I transfered to Somercotes Secondry Modern School. We were taught to write well spending lessons practicing our letter between three lines. There was very little sports training as there were no playing fields attached to the school. Seasonal games were played such as marbles were you had to try and get as many marbles as you could into a hole scooped out of the earth in the lane next to the school. Fag cards was another game in which someone would set up a stall in the playground and lean a cigarette card up against the wall and other boys would flick their cards at it. If you knocked it down you collected all the cards on the ground. If you failed to knock the card down the stall holder collected the cards. Summers seemed to be hot and dry and we spent our time playing cricket or football on the 'reck'. This was the Miner's Welfare Ground which had swings and a sandpit for younger children. In later years I played tennis on the hard courts there. Another attraction, one that was officially barred to us, was Butterly Reservoir. We had a raft on it and one summers day I got sunstroke as we had been out on the water for hours without any protection. I remember having to stay in a darkened room for several days. We lived next to Nurse Palmer who was the District nurse. She treated me for a scald by putting a bread poultice on it when it turned septic. I had a scar on my fore arm for years afterwards. There was no National Health Service and my parents paid half a crown a week into Dr Corkery's club. This gave some cover in case of illness but any hospitalisation cost extra. My father was an avid reader and there were always books in the house. He had the 'Natural History of Selbourne' which I read and it started me on my lifelong interest in natural history. I grew up in WW2 but it did not intrude much on our way of life. My father was an Air Raid Warden and we had a stick of bombs dropped in the fields btween Swanwick and Butterley. It seemed they were trying to hit the ironworks at Butterley. Rationing did not affect us much as my father grew his own produce and we kept chickens. This was suplimented by fruit and vegetables from the Grammar School gardens. My father was head caretaker at the school and I remember getting beef dripping from the school kitchen. This was great in sandwiches and on toast. The Hayes at Swanwick was turned into a prisoner of war camp and we used to follow the prisoners as they were marched from the railway station at Butterley to the camp. There did not seem to be any animosity towards them, indeed I can recollect villagers giving them cigarettes. My first job was delivery boy for Abbott's shop. I had a cycle with a basket on the front with which I delivered groceries. I think I was paid two shillings and sixpence a week and had to give it to my mother who gave me sixpence back as pocket money. I once dropped a pot of jam and had to pay for it out of my wages, this reduced them that week to half so I got no pocket money. In 1939 we moved to 3 Lower Drive. This was a council house with an indoor toilet and bathroom. I was now in a different part of Swanwick and had to change my allegence to the Pentrich Road gang. This was run by Arthur Tatham. We had confrontations with my former friends in the upper part of the village. Mostly played out on the football field but there was occasional fisticuffs. My grandparents lived not far away and I was called upon to use the phone box when they wanted a message sent, usually to the doctors as they were afraid of this new method of communicating. I loved going to my grandparent's for dinner as they had their pudding first, this was to fill you up so you did not need so much meat which was more expensive. I was a bell ringer at St. Andrew's church as a teenager and our band got into the national press for going on strike. We had a new Vicar who insisted we went into the service after ringing. Several of the older members liked to go for a drink in the local pub and refused to comply. The Vicar stopped them ringing so we all went on strike. After a while a compromise was reached and we started ringing again. Another time I got into the press was when the Senior Scouts I ran, rescued a man who got into difficulties on High Tor at Matlock. I shiver when I think back to that occason as we pulled him up on a rope no thicker than a clothes line. My father bought me a bicycle - a 'sit up and beg' type on which I explored Derbyshire. Once with a friend I cycled to Grimsby and camped out in Aunty Eva's garden.

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