The Mitchell family from London
During the second world war a family from Stepney in London were evacuated, the mother went to Cosgrove but the daughters came to Yardley living at the bottom of Mount Pleasant in the cottage that is now 1 Mount Pleasant. Nellie worked as a landgirl at Sopers at Potterspury, and then moved down to work in the Cotswolds. Sisters Emily, Marie and Ann with husband Mick worked at Roade factory.
William Frederick Turner

During WW2 my uncle (William Frederick Turner – Bill) was an evacuee in Yardley Gobion. Bill and his mother (Marian Ethel Turner nee Lambert) were evacuated to a Mrs Glenn. Bill recalls two men who lived at Mrs. Glenn’s, one he described as being an old man who had string around his jacket and kept his trousers up with a belt which had a large buckle. The other person living with Mrs. Glenn was a young man (aged about 18 years old) who used to play football with Bill, and take him out shooting and for walks along the canal. Both men worked on local farms.Brenda Pittam has since spoken to Charlie Whitmarsh who boarded with Mrs. Glenn in the 1940’s (He would have been about 18 years old in 1944 when Bill lived there). Charlie said there was another older man living with Mrs. Glenn called Alf Keys, he worked on a large farm in the village owned by Harry Weston. Charlie Whitmarsh (the younger man) was employed as a gardener at the Childrens’ Home in Yardley House and later worked on the farm at Moorend. During Bill’s short stay as an evacuee, he was enrolled at the local school and there is mention of him in the school records. Bill recalls that whilst he was at school in Yardley Gobion he and other children had to go gardenening each week and that the tools were kept in a barn by a house opposite the Coffee Pot. Bill recalls getting into trouble for taking plums from Quick’s orchard like his sisters did when they came to stay with Granny Lambert. Bill’s stay in Yardley Gobion was not long and both he and his mother went back to Dagenham, Essex where they lived.

Jenny O Connell

(Bill was admitted into Yardley School on 19th September 1944 and stayed for about a month. B. P.)

John Chilton
From a 1976 local newspaperThirty six years ago a small boy was evacuated from war torn London to Yardley Gobion. By chance the family he lived with were keen musicians and bought the young boy a cornet. The young lad’s interest in music was kindled by the local schoolmaster and from these humble beginnings the boy went on to o become one of Britain’s leading jazz musicians and composers – John Chilton.John, now leader of singer George Melly’s backing group, John Chilton feetwarmers, revived his childhood memories when he returned to the area on Sunday. The group were in concert with George Melly at Stantonbury Theatre and there to listen with a special ear for John was his former school pal Mrs. Sheila Mallows. And in the interval and after the two hour show John chatted over his happy school days with his old friend.The battle of Britain was raging when John and his brother Ron were evacuated to Yardley Gobion. His home for the next six years was with Lonis Horton and his family in the High Street. Lonis was a member of the Yardley Gobion Band and bought John a cornet. But it was the headmaster of the village school, Mr. Eric Jones, whose widow still lives at the Wharfe, Old Stratford who brought out John’s musical talent. Mr. Jones used to have nickname for all his pupils and John was known as “Tubby”. “No one in my family was musical” said John. “It was Eric Jones who took a terrific interest in me and my music, who started me in my musical career.” John’s interest in jazz was sparked off by listening to Jelly Roll Morton on the Horton’s radio in 1944. Back in London after the war he soon became a professional musician taking time off to follow his passion, research into jazz history. The decline of interest in jazz in the 1960’s led John to act as publicist and musical director for a number of pop groups from Liverpool. But in 1974 John returned to full-time jazz with George’s permanent backing band. Since then the band has toured all over the world. But it was trouble over visas for a tour to America last summer which led John back to Yardley Gobion. He was waiting for the Visa to come through and took a train to Wolverton and a bus to his war-time home to have a look at the village. The family he had stayed with had since died and although he had gone for a drink in the village pub, the Coffee Pot, he had not met up with any of his friends. He had just got back on the bus to Stony Stratford when a woman stepped on. Immediately he recognised her as the girl who used to live next door to the Horton’s, Sheila Tapp, now Mrs. Mallows, of Warren Road, Yardley Gobion. Andthey spent the journey chatting about old days.


Strangely the group travelled through Yardley Gobion on the way to Stantonbury Theatre and the only person John saw as he went through the village was one of his other school friends, Margaret Cooper, now Mrs. Margaret Minocki, who lives in Northampton. John stopped to chat to Margaret and she told him Sheila was going to the evening concert. So he kept a special eye out for her in the interval. Now John and Sheila hope to keep in touch. He left for a tour of Denmark on Wednesday and plans to send Sheila and her family a postcard.


(For anyone who would like to read about John’s life in Yardley Gobion and the rest of his life, he has just produced his autobiography called Hot Jazz, Warm Feet. ISBN 978-0-9550908, published by Northway Publications. B.P.) John Chilton started as a trad jazz trumpeter playing with Bruce Turner’s Jump Band 1958-1963, also with Alex Welsh, Mike Daniels, Swiss King (1966-1968), the Feetwarmers (in 70’s and 80’s). This group often backed George Melly. He has written a large number of books on the subject of jazz and jazz greats. These include:- 1983 Billie’s Blues. 1985 Who’s who of Jazz. 1988 Louis. 1990 Song of the Hawk. 1992 Let the Good Times Roll. 1996 Sidney Bechet, The Wizard of Jazz. 2000 Ride,Red, Ride. March 2007 B.P.

John sadly died in February 2016