Unexamined Lives

The story of the 20th century as lived by residents in the Derbyshire village of Borrowash


The Life of Bine Payne – Bine Payne

The Christmas post brought an early treat in the form of a letter from Angela Fretter of Banffshire who enclosed some information about the life of her father. Bine Payne was the dashing bridegroom of the wedding photograph published by The Derby Telegraph that launched our writing project.

On November 13th, the Ockbrook and Borrowash Historical and Archaeological Society held an open day at the Methodist Hall in Borrowash and called for Borrowash residents to attend with photographs and mementoes of their own. We were delighted to meet people who had been guests of the 1938 wedding of Bine Payne and Nancy Perkins and I later spoke on the telephone to Angela Fretter, the daughter of the couple who now lives in Banffshire.

Angela has provided a written history of the handsome groom who became her much-loved father.

His full name was Percy William Payne – always known as Bine for some unknown reason – and he was born on November 17th 1913 at 17, Cumberland Road, Plaistow in the district of West Ham.

He had three sisters and attended Bramton Rod Junior Mixed School in 1921 which gave him an excellent educational grounding. His school report describes his conduct as ‘very good’ and he was never absent or late.

Bine later studied accountancy at college.

Angela’s mother, the bride of the photograph, was Dorothy Anne Perkins (always known as Nancy). She was born on 12th October 1914 in Shardlow and had one brother and four sisters.

She met her future husband at ‘a village hop – somewhere near Borrowash’, and the wedding, presided over by the vicar of Ockbrook, Mr Gibbs, took place on 24th September 1938 when the bride was 23 and the groom 25.

The first marital home was 1, Littlegreen Road, Woodthorpe and Bine was called up to fight in the Second World War shortly after greeting his first child, Roger William who was born in a nursing home on 28th March 1940. Roger was christened at the Mansfield Road Methodist church in Sherwood, Nottingham.

Wartime must have been both terrifying and exciting for Bine who served as a sub lieutenant and then captain on minesweeper in the North Sea, patrolling the Moray Firth Scapa Flow areas. His ships included HMS Llydd, HMS Bressay, HMS Swithan and HMS Elgin.

Meanwhile, Nancy who was left at home with one small child, moved to Borrowash to be close to her family, as she awaited the birth of her second.

Angela Mary was born to the accompaniment of bombs dropping on Derby, on 19th August 1943, at 129, Victoria Avenue, Borrowash.

The arrival of the man of the household, came as quite a shock to Angela and Bine received a distinctly frost reception from his three year who asked her mother ‘Who’s that?’ when she wasn’t shouting, ‘Send that man away!!.’

She remembers the gift of a completely new fruit – a banana, which she put for safe-keeping in her dolls pram until it went mouldy.

After the war, the family de-camped to a new home in Byron Street, Daybrook Nottingham. Bine worked conveniently close to home as an accountant at the brewery at the bottom of the street.

One of Angela’s earliest memories is of perching at the window in her father’s office, and looking out to see a member of the royal family sweeping past in a car.

When Angela was six, the family moved again – this time to Northampton where Bine took up a new job as Chief Accountant at Phipps Brewery. His worked from Gold Street and the brewery, later to become the famous Carlsberg Brewery, was situated in Bridge Street.

Roger and Angela enjoyed a golden childhood. Roger was a boarder at Chicherly Hall and Whittelbury schools and Angela remembers holidays at her grandparents’ second home at Walton-on-the-Naze and bucket and spade trips Nancy’s aunt’s home in Scarborough.

It was a full and happy family life. Angela took up ballet, tap, traditional and Greek dancing with piano and singing lessons. The family were regular churchgoers; Angela joined the choir and also sang solos. She shared a love of greasepaint with her father; Bine was an enthusiastic actor in many amateur productions – sometimes joined by Angela.

His daughter was exceptionally talented and was asked by the Sadler’s Wells Ballet Company to train with them and attend their school in London.

But Bine put his foot down, reasoning that it was too far away from home for a twelve year old.

If she felt regrets, Angela doesn’t mention them, but follows the revelation by changing the subject and quietly stating that, ‘Dad also played cricket and was a member of the Lodge of St James’.

 Her brother, Roger, had attended boarding schools from the outset and it is tempting to wonder if the decision to keep Angela at home reflects the different expectations for the education and upbringing of girls in the years shortly after the Second World War. Would Bine have taken the same decision today?

The sudden tragedy that befell this apparently blissfully happy and fortunate young family is best told by Angela in words that are both moving and shocking:

Mum and Dad were having a house built and were going on a cruise when suddenly Dad died. He was gardening and Mum and I heard a moan, we went into the kitchen where Dad was sitting, head on the table and stuff coming out of his mouth. The next door neighbour rang the doctor and ambulance, Dad passed away during the night of the next day, 4th March, 1957. The last time I saw him was in the dining room, my head on his lap and hand on my head.

Poor Roger was at boarding school and was told of Dad’s death by his head master. Roger was 17 and I was nearly 14.

Dad died at the age of 44 from congenital haemorrhage. He had had this condition from birth, so could have died at any time. Mum did not get a widows’ pension, she was told Dad was too young when he died. Mum went from having dark hair to complete white over night. My father was a wonderful Dad, a friend to anyone.

Mum especially, never got over it’.

The Northampton Chronicle of March 7th 1957 describes the funeral service at the Park Avenue Methodist Church Northampton, attended by ‘A large number of business associates, Freemasons and representatives of sporting and social organisations’, as well as friends and family. In the midst of life there is death.

Our thanks to Angela and her family for sharing the lives of her parents and their guests pictured in the photograph of a 1938 wedding in Ockbrook and published again in The Derby Telegraph on 1st November 2010.

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