David Arrowsmith

Knole Estate carpenter 1965-1979

Interviewed by Angela Prior-Wandesforde and Veronica Walker-Smith in 2016

Helping each other; clearing snow

At that time you needed to be very versatile and take on things you wouldn’t normally expect to take on.  We didn’t mind, everyone seemed to help everyone.  You know I would help bricklayers and bricklayers would help carpenters.  It was very varied and a classic example of that is when we had heavy snow.  We used to get up onto all the flat roofs and use what’s called a malt shovel.  It’s wooden so it didn’t damage the lead and they are huge.  We used to shovel all the snow over the top to get it off the roof because if you don’t, with the depth if it gets up to tile level, when it thaws; it could drain back into the showrooms.

Interviewer: How many people would be involved in that?

D.A.: There would be us woodworkers, the bricklayers. There’s Arthur and Alan Grubb, Jack Tye and his son, Robert Tye.  And there was a general help, Keith Hatch.

Interviewer: As you say it’s a good community.  People were all mucking in.

D.A.: That’s right, we all mucked in together and, as you know, there is a lot of acreage of roof here.  It wasn’t a 5-minute job to clear the snow, it was very hard work.  There was a lot of it!

Interviewer: Like a whole day, a half-day?

D.A.: Yes most of the day, but it was good fun as well.

Interviewer: Because of?

D.A.: Unless you were walking outside at the time and the snow came down!

Interviewer: Can I just quickly ask at this point, when you write your name down in the snow clearing lists [on the attic walls], was it because someone else had written it before you and you just thought, “Well I’m clearing snow too and I want to add my name to this list”?

D.A.: Well I mean you do note that other people have put names there but I always made it a point, wherever I worked, to put some part of future history there i.e. why there are daily papers tucked away in various places! Unfortunately I don’t know where now – but one day, they’re going to turn up, because I also put them in plastic bags as well so they would keep.

Interviewer: So when we find a newspaper with a plastic bag, would it have your name on it?

D.A.: It’d be me.

This page was added by Veronica Walker-Smith on 18/04/2023.

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