The Swinburn Family Story 1918 - 1946


photographs c 1940

I do not have a single photograph that shows the whole family together. These holiday snaps from about 1940 have everyone. The photo on the left, taken by Tom, shows Dave, Margaret May and Ray with young John in front. The photo on the right, taken by Ray, has Tom on the left.

This volume is the story of the Family of Tom and Margaret May and their children from their marriage in 1918 up until the date of Dave's marriage in 1946. It is told in the voices of Tom, Margaret May and Dave, with each narrator having text of a different colour and their age given with the date at the top of each entry. The diary entries are built around stories told to me directly by various members of the family and documentary evidence.
Later entries focus on Dave's story as he was my main source

1st August 1918 - Margaret May (23)

Tom and I were married today at St Augustine’s Church in Derby. It should have been my wonderful day but it was ruined by my sister Flo, who seems to have gone mad. She would not come to the wedding but just leaned out of the window singing ‘Nearer My God to Thee’ over and over. We all went off without her but when we came back for the reception she was still there and we had to call the doctor who sent her off to the mental hospital in Derby.

Flo was committed and spent the rest of her life in the institution. Her daughter, Muriel Brewster, was brought up by her grandparents, Fanny and Arthur Sparkes. Flo had good reason to be distressed. She had seen two of her sisters recently married and must have been all too aware of the contrast between their happiness and her own situation, a war widow with a young daughter.

On the back row (left to right) - Dora - Fanny - T&M - Fanny’s husband, Percy Rankin (best man) and Nance’s husband, Bert Mountford. Seated are Annie - Margaret - Hetty (matron of honour) and Nance. The children are Fanny and Percy’s children, Margaret (Shirley?) Gordon and Connie Rankin, with Muriel Brewster (Flo’s daughter) in the middle with the big bow. Maurice Mountford, Nance’s little boy is holding his mother’s hand.

29th January 1922 - Tom (27)

Our baby boy Tom, Raymond was born today.

This is the earliest photograph I have of any of the Swinburn children showing Ray aged around 2 years old at about the time when Dave was born. Dave always called his brother Ray but others in the family called him Tom.

19th September 1924 - Margaret May (29)

Today our second son was born at our home 91, Belvoir Street Derby. Tom took Ray round to Shelton Lock and left him with Mother and Father for a couple of days.  We shall call the new baby Ronald, David.

Ronald David Swinburn was known as Dave for most of his life although as a child at home and school he was called David - never Ronald except on some formal school reports.

I have never had a full birth certificate for Dave - just this short one.

1926/1928 - Margaret May (31)

Tom scratched his thumb on the lathe at work. (He works as a turner at Rolls Royce.) Blood poisoning developed and he was in hospital for several months unconscious and close to death. He then spent several further months convalescing at home, at first requiring almost full time nursing. It was 8 months from the accident before he was able to walk again.

This was before the days of antibiotics when such injuries could be killers. For this time Margaret May was effectively bringing up the two boys alone and a frequent retreat was Shelton Lock where her parents Arthur and Fanny Sparkes lived in the Lock Keeper’s Cottage. All of these photos were taken there. All dates are approximate. Dave had fond memories of visits to his grandparents at the lock cottage.

The photographs all taken at Shelton Lock show:

top left  - Swinburn Family beside Shelton Lock - the boys Ray and Dave can be made out in the group at the top left of the picture - I am not sure who the adults are

top right -  D&R with Muriel Brewster in the cottage garden at Shelton Lock. Muriel was the granddaughter of Arthur and Fanny - see above 1918.

bottom left - Margaret May (back left), Tom (back right) with Fanny Sparkes (seated) and Ray and Dave - the other 3 people are unknown

bottom right - Arthur Sparkes

1929 - Dave (5)

I have started at Clarence Road School. It is not far to go - just at the end of our street. On the way home from from school we often go to the Co-op for the shopping.

1930 - Dave (6)

Ray and I got into big trouble. We’d both got scarlet fever and had been shut up in our bedroom for weeks. Even when we started to feel better we couldn’t go out to play because Mam said we had to stay in isolation until the rash had gone. We played with our Meccano and our Hornby train set, we did our jigsaws, read all our comics and got fed up with Ludo, draughts and snakes and ladders so we were really, really bored.

It was very cold and Mam had lit a fire in our bedroom. I was not supposed to touch the fire but Ray (aged 8 and two years older than me) was allowed to put the coal on. He went over to poke the fire and started messing around with the poker. He got it really hot and pushed the end in to the carpet to write his name in black dots. It would have been my turn next but Mam came in. I think she could smell the burning carpet. She smacked us both really hard and said that we’d get it again when our Dad got home.

1931 - Dave (7)

I had to go to hospital to have a bean removed from my ear under general anaesthetic.

This is how it happened. At school we were doing arithmetic and there were lots of haricot beans on the desk for counting with. The boy sitting next to me showed me how he could put a bean in one ear and take it out of the other. He was just fooling about and it was a trick really because he had two beans. I tried to do the same trick but I pushed the first bean into my ear too hard and I couldn’t get it out - it was stuck.

I didn’t dare tell anyone.

It wasn’t until bath night a week or two later that Mam came to wash my face. The ear had been getting pretty sore and when she took hold of it I cringed with the pain. Well, then it all came out (the story not the bean!) and Mam was so angry. She took me straight round to the Doctor’s but he couldn’t do anything and sent me immediately to the hospital. I had to stay overnight and have the bean pulled out with forceps under anaesthetic. They showed it to us and it had started to grow a shoot!

The ear troubled Dave for much of his life.

These two studio photographs of Dave and Ray were taken on the same occasion. I have the original of the one on the left but only a photocopy of the one on the left. I would be interested to know who has the original.

September 1931 - Dave (7)

I started at my new school, St James Road Council School. It is a lot further away from home than my old school (Clarence Road Primary School) and it takes Ray and I about half an hour’s walk to get there. Sometimes we go on the bus. My last teacher at Clarence Road was Miss Sangster but here I have a man teacher called Mr Woolley.

The house 91, Belvoir Street was a basic 2-up 2-down with a small kitchen at the back. Upstairs T&M had the larger front room and the two boys the smaller at the back of the house. There was also a small box room. The four main rooms all had fire-places which was the only heating. The wc was outside in the yard and there was no bathroom – everyone bathed in a zinc bath in the kitchen.

Summer c1932 - Dave (7)

We went to Worthing for our holidays and stayed with Aunty Nell and Uncle Sid (Abbott) who lived in Worthing. The pictures show Ray and I on the promenade and on the beach with our spades and with me in my swimming costume. Behind Ray in the one on the beach is the lookout post where the lifeguards sat to watch all the people swimming in the sea.

Most years we went somewhere different for our holidays and we usually stayed in guesthouses. We went to Scarborough and another time to Skegness where they did not have proper toilets only holes in the ground called earth closets.

Aunty Nell was Margaret May's sister - Mary. I do not know why she was nicknamed Nell.

The two top photographs on the left show Dave and Ray on the promenade at Worthing. The man with them may be Nell & Sid's son Reggie - cousin to Dave & Ray who would be in his 20s. The top right photo shows Dave in his swimming costume. I do not know where the bottom left photo was taken - this shows Dave with his parents.

17th May 1934 - Tom (39)

Our third son, John was born today.

1934 - Dave (9)

At St James Road School all the children go swimming every week. Some of the children could already swim when we started going but most of us learned with the school. I had just learned to swim - managing a width for the first time with all the class cheering me on but then disaster struck. I got terrible earache and Mam took me to the doctor. He examined me and told us that I had an infection of the mastoid bone and that the only cure was to go into hospital to have all the mastoid bone cut away. That bean that got stuck in my ear three years ago probably started the infection and it has been slowly spreading ever since.

I was admitted to Derby hospital and had an operation in which they drilled the bone away through a cut at the back of my ear. I had a huge bandage over it and internal dressings, which had to be changed by the nurse every day.

I missed lots of school since I had to stay at home for weeks after the operation to convalesce. I was also told that I could never go swimming again in case the water gets in and starts the trouble up again.

My friends sent in a huge pile of comics (mainly Hotspur, Wizard and Rover) but after two days with nothing to do but read them I was very bored.

Dave is on the left in his school cap. I do not know who the other people are.

June 1935 - Margaret May (40)

Today we moved into 14, Ainsworth Drive, a brand new house on a new estate. The house has cost £620 for which we have taken out a mortgage. 

The house is lovely and a great improvement on Belvoir Street. It is a semi-detached (91, Belvoir Street was terraced) with three bedrooms, a bathroom with an indoor toilet, a neat little front garden, a big garden at the back and a garage at the side. 

Tom and Margaret May lived here until Tom’s death in May 1960. We visited them there regularly - it was a 1½  hour drive from New Mills. They had mature Bramley apple trees in the garden - probably planted soon after they moved into the house and MM made a wonderful apple pie!

April 1935 - Tom (40)

 Today I was awarded a certificate for 25 Year’s Service at Rolls Royce.

I had always been told that Tom narrowly missed his 50 Year award by dying in May 1960. However, adding 25 years to this date the award should have been given in April 1960. I do not know why it was not.

Tom’s certificate in recognition of 25 Years service to Rolls Royce is currently (2012) hanging on the stairwell wall at the house of J&W. We took this photograph of it when we visited them this spring for their Golden Wedding.
The Swinburn Boys c 1935.
This is the earliest photograph I have which includes John.
July 1935 - Dave (10)

I brought home my report today.  Mr Woolley said that I have made very good progress, especially since I was away for most of the spring term with mastoiditis and my operation. I did not do so well in the scholarship exam though. The boys with the best results get in for Derby School, the next best go to Bemrose School and the rest that pass the exam go to Central School. Mr Woolley said that he had hoped that I might get in to Derby School but I only got enough marks for Central School because I had missed so much time. I start at Central School in September after the summer holidays.

Samuel George Swinburn -  almost certainly taken some years earlier but is the only photo I have of Samuel George (1886-1936)

1936 - Dave (11)

My uncle George has died of tuberculosis aged 50. He spent his last months in Derby Sanatorium. When the TB was first discovered all the Swinburn family had to go to see the doctor to be examined for any signs of the disease. Fortunately all the rest of us were clear. George was not married and used to live with Grandad.

TB was a major killer and this would have been a great scare.

1936 Christmas - Dave (12)

I have now been at Abbey Street Central School, Derby for a year and a term. This term I was top of the class:-)

The place is so much bigger than my old school and it took some time to find my way around when I started. Break time was the worst - I stood in he playground and looked round at all the bigger boys feeling very small and frightened of being bullied.

Dave's school reports (15 of them, termly from 1935-1940) show amazing variability in his performance with this one being the best. He was top of the class at Christmas 1936 but the following Easter was placed 25th out of 36. Maths was consistently his best subject, closely followed by the sciences.

Summer 1937 - Dave (12)

My friends Arnold and Harry Tunaley are keen swimmers and they are always trying to get me to go with them. I am not allowed to go swimming because of my ear (even when the class goes I have to sit at the side and just watch) but the weather has been so hot and they just kept on at me so I decided it would probably be all right if I wore some ear plugs. I got some and went with them today but I never got to swim!! I felt a bit nervous since I had not done any swimming for so long so I held on to the rail at the side, jumped in backwards - and cracked my chin on the edge of the baths. It bled like hell and I had to get out straight away. The people at the baths put a plaster on it for me.

I didn’t dare tell them at home that I had been swimming so I just said that I had fallen over in the street and Arnold's Mam had given me the plaster. Swimming pools always seem to bring me bad luck!

1938 - Dave (13)

At Speech Day this year I was awarded a prize for raising the greatest amount of money for charity. My prize was a lovely book called Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb with beautiful illustrations by Arthur Rackham.

This is a photocopy of the bookplate - the original of which is in a poor condition. I still have the book

Summer 1939 - Dave (14)

Lots of the boys in my form (4B) are taking School Certificate this summer but I am not going to be one of them. I did pretty badly in last term’s tests and so the school has decided that I will not be entered until next year. They are going to keep me down in the fourth year, in class 4A. I got a real telling off from Polly Wood (our French teacher - she’s called Miss Wood but all the boys call her Polly behind her back) for doing so badly in French. She said that it was just laziness and if I don’t pull my socks up I won’t get French even next year. I suppose I’d better work a bit harder at it (and lots of other subjects too!) in September.

This photocopied page is from the roll of 1939 School Certificate results which is in the Fitton/Boothman book as it contains Muriel’s results. Dave did not take the exam but his classmates from 4B are listed including Harry Tunaley.

Spring 1940 - Dave (15)

Because of the war, our school was evacuated from Abbey Street, which is in the centre of Derby to a place on the outskirts of the town called Darley Park where there is a huge mansion called Darley Hall.

The grounds are very extensive with a river running through and there is plenty of grass for cricket and football pitches but we have no proper science labs there.

It is a pretty place but it takes me longer to get to school, as I have to walk about a mile to where we catch the bus. I usually go with my friend Peter McKears who lives on our estate. 

The three boys from my year who have stayed on after taking School Certificate last year do much of their work in a private study room which they have all to themselves. I spend most of my free time in there with them. They are studying for HSC (Higher School Certificate).

The photograph shows Peter McKears and Dave outside Darley Hall.

July 1940 - Dave (15)

I have got credits in four of my School Cert subjects - and one of them was French! The others were maths, physics and chemistry which are the subjects which I have always liked the best and been best at. I shall now leave school at the end of this term and apply for an apprenticeship in the chemistry lab at Rolls Royce.

French was not Dave's strongest subject!!

The two testimonials - one from the school and one from the Vicar - were supplied in both typewritten and handwritten forms and I have both.  Perhaps that was the usual procedure at that time

September 1940 - Dave (16)

My Headmaster and the Vicar wrote testimonials for my application to Rolls Royce. The initial letter from the works said they had no vacancies but after interviewing me they offered me a job.

1940 - Dave (16)

I started work at Rolls-Royce on 15th October. I work in the Chemistry Lab shown in the plan. Our job is to analyse the raw materials coming into the works, particularly the metals (cast iron, pig iron, steel, brass and bronze) but also sometimes oils and greases, to determine whether their composition falls within the tight limits set by Rolls-Royce. For example, cast iron is tested for the content of carbon, silicon, tin. cadmium. sulphur. and manganese.  We pass on our results to the foundry where they decide whether or not the materials are suitable for use, For example the carbon content must be in the range of 3.25 to 3.7%.  The photograph shows some of the chaps I work with in the Analytical Laboratory and opposite is a plan of the lab.

This plan of the lab is a copy of a sketch drawn by Dave. He also wrote of the main routine work:

Analysis of Cast Iron, Pig Iron, Steel, Brass, Bronze, Oils and Greases. eg Cast Iron analysed for content of C Si P Sn Cd S Mn. Results passed to foundry to determine whether accepted - all components had tight limits.

Dave has written all their names on the back of the photograph of his colleagues at Rolls Royce Analytical Laboratory:

Left to right
Top Row - Harry Cliff, Me, Bill Beacon, Eric Molley
Middle Row - Arthur Peat, Jack Timmins, Tony ?
Bottom Row - John Dixon, Ken Hodgkinson.

Christmas 1940 - Dave (16)

I have been press-ganged by my friend Peter McKears into taking part in his Chapel’s production of The Rajah of Rajapore. Both Peter and I are pirates - I think we look rather dashing!

Mother embarrassed me greatly by making me take back Peter’s Christmas present - a game of Totopoly - because it is a game about horse racing and she says she won’t have gambling in the house. I myself can’t see the difference between that and Monopoly (Peter and I both have a set and we play a lot). We shall just have to play Totopoly at Peter’s house!

This episode gives some insight into the character of Dave's mother!!! Dave is on the left of the group and Peter is second from the right.

Spring 1941 - Dave (16)

I have registered at Derby Tech. to study for Inter (Intermediate BSc) in maths, pure maths, physics and chemistry. I then plan to specialise in chemistry although I have to take a subsidiary subject, which will be pure maths. I shall probably take that first to get it out of the way so that I can concentrate on the chemistry. 

Before I could register for Inter. I had to retake English language in order to get the 5 credits in School Certificate required for matriculation. To prepare for that I have been taking a course in English in the evening at Derby Tech and, thank goodness, I managed to get a credit when I did the retake in January. Inter. is the only part time route to a degree - the alternative would be to stay on at school and take Higher School Certificate but I would rather be working and earning my own money.

I have heard that a friend of mine from school, John Burton, has had polio, which has left him crippled. I feel really upset about it.

Polio was a feared paralysing disease. I too had a school friend who was damaged by it in the late 1950s, losing the use of her right arm. Children were all vaccinated initially by injection but later orally on a sugar lump.

The Exemption from the Matriculation Exam was probably because of Dave’s School Cert results from the previous year.

The supportive letter from Dave’s old Headmaster at Derby Central was sent a year after Dave left the school. Note the changed address in the header - see the Spring 1940 entry above.

31st May 1941 - Dave (18)

It was the wedding of my Aunty Hettie (Mum’s sister) to John Athya. She is 50 years old and has been married before (to Leopold Handley who died in 1933).

The group in the garden seems to have been taken on the same occasion. It includes Margaret May (front right) and Tom (front second from left) and possibly John (aged 7) next to his dad. I do not know anyone else in the photograph.

1942 - Dave (17)

I have managed to crash Dad’s car! We were all getting ready to go out and I told Ray that I would back the car out of the drive - it seemed a simple enough thing to do although I had never driven before. Setting off was fine but stopping was not so easy. I hit the accelerator instead of the brake, shot out of the drive and crashed straight into the gatepost of the house opposite. You can’t imagine how I felt! It must have been pretty clear how upset I was as I didn’t really get told off for it - although Mother was not too pleased.

On a more cheerful note I have planned a Youth Hostelling holiday with my best friend from Derby Tech, Alan Mallett. He works in the Weights and Measures Department of the Council as a public analyst and he is studying the same courses as me for Inter. This summer I did a bit of hostelling with some of the blokes from Rolls Royce and I really enjoyed the walking. Alan and I are planning to go to the Lake District next summer and have been working out our route.

The photograph from around this time shows Dave's parents - Tom and Margaret May - and his younger brother, John.

Monday 26th July 1943 - Dave (18)

Alan and I stayed tonight at Grange Hostel after a real washout of a day. It has been the first day of our hostelling holiday in the Lake District and it has poured down most of the time. We did not have much of a walk to get to Grange and we were here by lunchtime. This afternoon it brightened up a bit and so we took a rowing boat out on Derwentwater. But while we were a long way from shore a real storm blew up. We got totally soaked and then we lost an oar and panic set in! We managed to retrieve it in the end and got back to the jetty where we hired the boat. I cannot swim and I was really scared out there for a time.

This evening we are warm and dry and we have had a good time sitting round the piano, singing, chatting and smoking. There are a couple of nice looking girls here.

One of the girls was Muriel - and this was their first meeting.

The photograph was taken on Muriel’s camera and shows Dave and Muriel with Alan and Maud, Muriel’s walking companion. It was Muriel’s excuse to first write to Dave after the holiday - for this an further detail of their romance see Muriel’s account in the Boothman Family Story.

Friday 30th July 1943 - Dave (18)

Today we did the longest hike we have ever tackled. It has been a blistering hot day and I have got really burned and feel quite ill with the sunstroke. 

We set off from Honister, where we stayed last night, and went over Green Gable, then Great Gable, down into Stye Head Pass, up Scafell, over Scafell Pike and down the Esk Valley to the hostel at Eskdale. The worst part was the last stage of the walk down the valley, when the ferns alongside the path were brushing against my sunburned legs - it was unbearable.

We have met up with Muriel and Maude again and this evening we sat outside a pub in Boot for a drink but the beer just made me feel sick so I wasn’t very good company.

1944 - Dave (19)

Today I told Mother and Dad that I am planning to go next weekend to Todmorden to meet Muriel’s parents. I suppose that made then realise that we are serious and Mother sent Dad up to talk to me!  She wants to know why I couldn’t fall for a nice Derby girl!

Muriel felt antipathy from Dave’s Mother from the outset and their relationship remained very cool throughout their lives.

This photograph of Muriel taken outside her home in Oakleigh Terrace, Cornholme was sent to Dave in one of the many letters that passed between the two of them in the 3 years between their meeting and their marriage. On the back is written,

‘To my darling with love Muriel’

After their 50th Wedding Anniversary D&M destroyed the actual letters feeling that they were too personal to ever be read by anyone else. However they kept the envelopes until their deaths.

1944 - Dave (20)

When I was 18 I registered for National Service. However I was told that as I worked in a protected job I would only be eligible for Air Force flight crew and I failed the medical for that on account of my ear problem. Instead, I joined the Home Guard and I have been serving with them ever since. 

My company is the ‘Z’ Anti-Aircraft Battery and our job is to watch out for bombers flying over Derby and shoot them down. We man a huge field, close to the Rolls-Royce factory, filled with 128 rocket guns and the plan is that if we spot a plane the guns will be fired in synchrony thus filling the sky with a battery of rockets. There are two men to each gun - one to load and one to fire. The camp is run by regular army personnel and they man the central command post which gives the orders to all the guns - first about the angle and direction - then the order to load - and eventually the order to fire. We have never fired the guns for real, although when we were training at Saltburn (near Skegness) we did fire into the sea and the noise was unbelievable. The training was very rigorous as the rockets are quite difficult to operate - 10 feet long and bloody heavy.

With a bit of luck we may never have to fire in anger. Although Rolls Royce would seem like a prime target, Derby has never been bombed - probably because, being in a bit of a hollow, often filled with mist, it is quite difficult to find. The odd stray bomb has landed here but nothing more.

I take a turn on duty once in every 8 nights when I have to be at the field by 6.30pm. That means just time to change and get a bit of tea after work and then straight there. We sleep in Nissan huts (on call) overnight and rise for breakfast (the porridge is excellent!) at 6 am and then it’s home, change and off to work again. All of that is pretty tiring and if we do get called to get up on cold winter nights it’s even worse (thank goodness for the really warm great-coat which is part of our uniform). Fortunately we have not had many standbys and we only got as far as loading the guns on one occasion.

I was later told by JM that the Rolls Royce factory was covered by smoke screens and lights were put in the fields to represent the factory. This ruse was very successful as when it was bombed the bombs were dropped on the fields.

July 1944 - Dave (20)

I have been to London to sit my Intermediate exams.  I don’t think I did too badly.  I stayed in digs in Notting Hill and took all of my written exams at the University of London building in Imperial Institute Road, South Kensington.  I now have a week’s break before I have to go back for the practicals.

October 1944 - Dave (20)

Have heard that I have passed Inter:-)  I was a bare pass in most of the subjects bur I got an A in Applied Maths!!!

This was a pre-degree level examination - similar to ‘A’ levels. 

19th September 1945 - Dave (20)

My 21st birthday and I have been awarded a certificate on the completion of my apprenticeship at Rolls Royce.

Saturday 22nd December 1945 - Dave (21)

Muriel and I have just got engaged on an 88 bus going from Clithero to Burnley. 

Muriel said that we couldn’t afford a ring but I really wanted her to have one so she did keep her eyes open and she saw a solitaire that she fancied in a shop in Burnley. 

I finished work yesterday and have come to Cornholme for Christmas. I went to Burnley to pick up the ring and then caught the bus to Clithero to meet my darling when she finished work. On the bus back I slipped the ring on her finger. We have all Christmas together to celebrate.

This is Dave's actual diary from the time - this is the only entry! The photograph shows Dave aged 21.

The collection of photographs below were taken on various hiking holidays during their courtship

16th April 1946 - Dave (21)

Although I was exempt from National Service during the war because I worked at Rolls Royce, now that the war is over I am eligible for call up. But today I went for a medical examination and was placed in Grade II because of my ear. That means that I shall probably not be called up.

The images below show the front and back of the National Service Acts Grade Card for Dave

Friday 21st June 1946 – lunch time - Dave (21)

Today was my last working day in the Rolls-Royce laboratory before being married on Monday 24th.

Although the chaps in the lab were relatively young they did carry on the kind of tradition for dealing with budding bridegrooms.

As I entered the lab door on returning from lunch, there was a hell of a hullabaloo; every metal tin or object was being beaten by every member of the lab. The laboratory was decorated with coloured ribbon and crude and questionable slogans were hanging from the ribbons. The inside of the laboratory roof were supporting metal beams and a large chamber pot, brightly painted, was tied to the cross beams. I knew of course that the collection, which had been going on for a few days, had been deposited in the chamber pot. It was my job to retrieve it, and the hullabaloo would continue until I’d been successful.

Fortunately, the lads had placed a ladder in an observable position just outside the lab and I was able to climb up and retrieve it. I remember the collection was a very generous one and also that it was difficult to concentrate on work that afternoon.

Dave wrote this account (and the one below) from memory 50 years after the event. Here is the start in his own splendid handwriting.

Friday 21st June 1946 – evening - Dave (21)

A stag night with the boys was an inevitable part of the pre-wedding celebrations. It was complicated in 1946 because the war restrictions had given rise to shortages of beer and other alcoholic drinks. However, about a dozen of the lab colleagues met at a pub in the centre of Derby and moved from pub to pub as the taps ran dry.  We eventually found a place a few miles along the London Road close to Alvaston and not far from the ring road around Derby. It was in this pub that I learned another of the pre-wedding traditions. I was turned upside-down, beer was poured on the soles of my shoes and I was raised to the ceiling to make footmarks.

In spite of the shaking, I still felt fine as we left the pub – merry of course but quite well. One of the boys, John Beech, was obviously unsteady on his feet and I volunteered to see him home because it was on my route of about 3 miles around the Derby ring road.

I saw John to his front door and continued alone. I wasn’t far from John’s house when the alcohol took over and I blacked-out. I must have cracked my head on the pavement and somewhat damaged I continued walking but now I found it almost impossible to walk in a straight line without clutching at garden hedges and fences. I remember reaching home at Ainsworth Drive but can’t remember going in to the house. I was found in the early hours of the morning in the bathroom. I was fast asleep with head hanging over the bath where I’d obviously brought back the evening’s drinks etc.

I had stern lectures particularly from Mother on the evils of drink, but the unpleasant after-effects were a lesson in themselves.

I don’t remember having a hangover the following day, but obvious signs of bruising on my head were still visible on Monday the wedding day.

These snaps of Dave and Muriel on hills in their beloved Lake District make a fitting end to the conclusion of their separate lives.

Details of the wedding of Dave and Muriel and the story of their subsequent lives and those of others in the wider Swinburn and Boothman families continues in the section Swinburn-Boothmans.

Footnote: Dave Swinburn Full Biography - 19th September 1924 to 11th June 2006

Dave Swinburn was a gentle man with a strong sense of public duty. 

Dave was born in Derby in 1924. His willingness to give his time for others showed early, when at the age of 13 he won a school prize for raising the greatest amount of money for charity. He left Central School for Boys at the age of 15 to become an apprentice in the chemistry lab at Rolls Royce Limited. Determined to continue his education, he studied in the evenings at Derby Technical College gaining his Intermediate Exams, which qualified him to apply for a place as a mature student at Leicester University, graduating with a BSc in Chemistry.

His work for Rolls Royce in a ‘protected’ occupation meant that he served in the Home Guard during WWII.  Fortunately as Derby is in a hollow where mist concealed it from the enemy, he never had occasion to fire the anti-aircraft guns, which he manned night after night.

After university, Dave went to work in the research laboratory at Ferodo in Chapel-en-le-Frith in 1947. He continued in employment with the firm until his retirement in 1982 reaching the level of Senior Manager. His work occasionally took him overseas on visits to France, Italy and Japan where he made lifelong friends.Highlights of his career were his contributions to the product research, for which the company won the Queen’s Award to Industry in 1969 and again in 1976.

In 1946 Dave married Muriel Boothman. The couple lived for 3 years in Buxton and later, in 1952, settled in New Mills where they made a lifetime home raising their two children Heather and David. In 1969 they took into their home and fostered 17-year-old Steve Turner who became a close friend of the family.

Dave and Muriel became interested in politics in 1956 following the Suez Crisis. They joined the local branch of the United Nations Association where they met many members of the Labour Party who urged them to join. They did, and remained active Labour Party members for the rest of their lives.

Dave's strong sense of public duty was demonstrated in many ways, but especially by Dave’s long service as a school governor. In September 2000 he retired from the governing board of New Mills School. In an article in the Times Educational Supplement entitled ‘Veteran at the end of an odyssey’ his 39 years of service as a governor (including 13 as Chair) were celebrated. The following year, a new classroom block at the school was named ‘The Swinburn Building’ in his honour.

Dave’s involvement as a school governor was just one of his many contributions to the community. He was a local councillor in New Mills from 1960 until the Urban District Council became part of the High Peak, serving a year as Chair of the Council in 1964. For twenty years he was a volunteer for the WRVS Meals-on-wheels service, helping to deliver meals and for eighteen of these years he was also route organiser and treasurer responsible for all of the accounts. He served as treasurer to the local branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau and audited the accounts of the local bowls and cricket club - all unpaid activities with time freely given. Dave took up golf on his retirement and as might be expected became an active member of the New Mills Golf Club, serving as President in 1996.

On a personal level Dave was a loving husband to Muriel for 60 years, a much-loved father to Heather and David, and a devoted grandad to Kate, Oliver, Laura and Sophie. All love and respect this noble man who gave so much to society and to his family, asking for nothing in return. He will live on after his death in the hearts and minds of family and friends who will remember him with pleasure and great affection.

This ode - wriitten in Dave's own hand was in his diary. The sentiment summarises his approach to life. The poem is by Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)