A tale of Pinfold Close


As told to one of our volunteers recently:-


The houses/bungalows in Pinfold Close were (at least some) bought ‘off plan’ and the builders completed when they had a purchaser lined up. Since it was a cul-de-sac with a lot of families of similar ages, a great community spirit developed. Any cars that did come along the road were necessarily going slowly because it was a short dead end road. Traffic was reduced because none of the young Mums could drive, even if their husband had left the car at home. This latter fact was remedied when there was an accident and no-one could drive the victim to hospital – driving lessons en masse followed.

The kitchens of many of the houses were at the front and so the children would go out and play together on the street, with at least one Mum keeping a watchful eye over proceedings, and going out to sort out problems, minor accidents etc.

For birthday celebrations, Bonfire night and suchlike events, street parties were regularly arranged. There was summary justice too. One day, one of the Mums had a gang of under 5s playing in her garden when she heard them, obviously daring eachother on, coming out with a remarkable repertoire of ‘4 letter words’. So she told them to line up, shut their eyes and stick out their tongues. Whereupon she put a dollop of mustard on each tongue and told the owners that they must never use those words again!

As the children got to the age of starting school, the parents made up a rota to take the children in a crocodile – what later became known as a School Bus – but which way to go? Since there was no footpath in parts of Belmot Road, it was a risky business taking children to school that way. Green Lane had no footpath at all until the houses were reached and so that was deemed even more dangerous to herd children along.

So Elm Lane –a.k.a. Ashy Lane – seemed a safer route. At times the path would become quite muddy so the children had it drilled into them to keep to the dry bits and it was a matter of avoiding the nettles along there!

One of the first communal projects the able-bodied men undertook was the creation of the concrete steps down to Elm Lane from the lowest part of Pinfold Close. There was just a muddy, skiddy slope there initially. (Did the families seek permission to make steps? No idea! Nor can they remember from whom they borrowed the concrete mixer. No doubt they had a whip round to cover costs). The steps were created quite some time before the path down Elm Lane was surfaced, and it was years before any proper footpath was made along Belmot Road, so the children were shepherded safely along until they reached Ironwalls Lane.

By the time Pinfold Close was built, Elm Lane had become very overgrown. The late Jim Lane (ex- Greengrocery shop in High Street, ex-gravedigger who found the alabaster tomb now in Tutbury Church and who founded Tutbury Museum), recalled having driven a coal lorry along Elm Lane (a.k.a. Ashy Lane) in the past. Maybe when the big house, The Elms, was still on the west side of Belmot Rd , with its stables etc. at the east side, other vehicles were ‘not encouraged’ to use Belmot Rd? The young parents of Pinfold saw some near-by road repairing men apparently have some spare tar, so went and begged to have it to put down on Elm Lane, and were even lent a roller to firm it down.


Happy days!


A group of volunteers ‘Friends of Elm Lane’ was set up in 2015 to maintain and improve the lane, as a public footpath.