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Volume Two

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Barbara Durman (nee Canning)

Born in the Brendon school-house in 1929, Barbara was brought up by the Rockford doctor Dr Head and his wife Ann, who she came to call Doc and Nan, or Nanna, respectively. The doctor had arrived at Rockford in 1921 aged sixty to retire, but soon started working again because he saw that his knowledge and skills were desperately needed. These were the days before the National Health, and during the next twenty four years, for little personal gain, he and his wife cared for an entire generation of local people and brought all their children, the following generation, into the world. Barbara lived with them until she was 23 when she was married and went to Lynton. The biggest shock of moving, she said, was the new electric lights which for a long time had hurt her eyes. She has lived in Lynton ever since.

Black and white photo circa 1930s of the two sisters the Miss Nercombes who ran the tea rooms and B&B at Watersmeet near Lynmouth with some visitors and their workforce of gardeners and helpers.

Barbara Durman's chapter includes the following topics and many more:

  • mother dying at birth and Barbara being adopted
  • Doctor Head comes out of retirement
  • he cares for injured and wounded animals
  • doctor takes on dentistry too
  • a bottle of pink and Mrs Head mixing the medicines
  • walking the rounds with his black bag and thumb stick
  • C S Lewis visits
  • calls in the night with a flickering lantern
  • the Rockford and Brendon schools
  • the convalescent home in Lynmouth
  • a tandem accident
  • salmon fishing and gardening
  • paddle steamers at Lynmouth
  • caretaking jobs at Brendon school
  • the school dentist boiling his equipment on a primus stove
  • declaration of war and the evacuees arrive
  • a mossy den in the woods
  • playing with the Rockford publican’s children
  • getting in the harvest at Wilsham
  • playing in the river and visits to Watersmeet
  • collecting sphagnum moss and foxgloves for the war effort
  • air raid wardens and blackouts
  • American officers and their jeeps
  • dancing in the back corridor of the Rockford to a wind-up gramophone
  • the Good Friday motor trials
  • the youth hostel and conscientious objectors
  • lines of ponies tethered outside the Rockford
  • lifting farmer Albert onto his pony and sending him home from the pub
  • the doctor receiving payment in cabbages and rabbits
  • borrowing a horse and cart for the doctor’s funeral
  • the Lynmouth flood at Rockford and Hillsford Bridge
  • Mrs Head gets on a train for Wales at the end of her life

Page sample from Barbara Durman's Chapter

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Photo samples from Barbara Durman's Chapter

  • Black and white photo circa 1944 of Barbara Durman (nee Canning) with pet dog Nipper.
  • Black and white photo circa 1934 of three girls sitting on a wall in Rockford, Barbara Canning, with Marion and Mary Beesley.
  • Black and white photo circa 1930s of four children playing at camping with a tent and a wooden wheelbarrow in a garden in Rockford.
  • Black and white photo circa 1910 of people on one of the P & A Campbell paddle steamers called Cambria in the Bristol channel.
  • Black and white photo circa 1930s of crowds of people in the Brendon area watching a motorbike coming up a dirt road in the Land’s End motor bike trials.
  • Black and white photo circa 1920s of a ploughman and two heavy horses working in a field probably at Hallslake farm near Brendon on Exmoor.

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