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  1. newcombeofsheepwash on

    This picture is the front room of Pretoria House, East Street, Sheepwash. The house never had a room called a lounge, but downstairs had this front room, a parlour, a dairy (larder), scullery and kitchen. The house had been built by my great grandfather, Thomas Newcombe, around the turn of the twentieth century, on the site of and possibly incorporating part of an older building. The name being referring to Pretoria, capital of the South African Republic in the Second Boer War and its surrender to the British in 1900.

    The “Mrs Newcombe” referred to in the caption is in fact my aunt, Mary Pedrick Newcombe, but she never married, her sweetheart having been killed in the Second World War. She was born in Pretoria House and lived her life there. I lived there as a child when my mother had a long stay in hospital and loved the intricacies of the house. We only rarely used the front room as the parlour was warmer of an evening.

    James Ravilious came to see her the early seventies and copied many of the old family and village photographs she had in her possession. Cautious at first about the purpose of his work, as we had seen film makers in the past ridicule our way of life, she realised that he could be trusted and persuaded my father to have photos taken with his cows. However, she never wanted her own photograph taken, a point he respected.

    She sadly passed away in April 1975 at a relatively young age and lies in the Churchyard of St Lawrence, Sheepwash, almost in sight of Pretoria House.
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