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Howard Drury

 

I was born many years ago in Grantham, Lincolnshire. My father, James Drury was better known as Jim and was a signalman on the great North Eastern line at Barkston junction. He was born at Staunton in Nottinghamshire one of four brothers and a sister, the family were carpenters, wheelwrights and undertakers for several generations. My mother was born Joyce Freda Golland, originally from Collingham north of Newark in Nottinghamshire, and although many people called her choice to a close circle of friends and family, she was better known as Joy. She had trained as a dressmaker and frequently made dresses including wedding dresses literally without a pattern. My first home was in the village of Long Bennington where we lived at Rose cottage.

 

It was in the late 1960s that my parents decided to design and have built a new property immediately behind Rose cottage. It was a grand building and by parents decided to call it Camelot. Our family were involved in many village activities including those of St Swithin's Church (The entrance gates are dedicated to my father who died in a road crash in 1976)and the village produce Association of which my father was secretary for many years.

 

My father's side of the family originated from the village of Staunton just some 2 1/2 miles from Long Bennington, where my grandfather was local postmaster church sexton, Wheelwright, undertaker and Carpenter, something my family had been practising for many generations.

 

My mother's side of the family were known as the Gollands and originated from Collingham just north of Newark.

 

From a very early age I remember how my father grew fruit and vegetables in the lower half of the garden while my mother had numerous flower borders and these were divided from father's vegetables with a line of rambler roses.

 

We grew and preserved many fruits and vegetables, there were several damson trees in the garden along with a large Victoria plum and several Meriwether green gages and a huge Bramley apple tree to the side of the cottage. These provided the fruits the many jams and along with marrows the apples were often used to make Apple and marrow chutney.

 

At one stage we kept up to 300 rabbits in the old outbuildings, which kept us and the local rabbit man well supplied with meat. Dad grew many vegetables, and root vegetables were stored in straw lined clamps in the vegetable garden. Runner beans were preserved in old sweet jars we collected from Mr Brown's shop, just across the field from the bottom of our garden.

 

In 1968, I officially started work for Jacksons of Allington, who grew mainly Chrysanthemums, Tomatoes and bedding plants for outlets such as Woolworths, in addition to attending Grantham market. By 1970 I had acquired a Honda 175cc motorbike and started work at Belton where we began to build Belton Garden Centre, a rarity in those days, but it was the foresight of Bert Jackson that was literally a market leader in those days. We built greenhouses on the old Belton House Kitchen garden, we added a shop and finally a café and we introduced container grown plants!

 

By 1973 I had been courting a young lady from Balderton on the outskirts of Newark, an old gentleman by the name of Herbert Exton recommended I did better for myself and went on to get some proper horticultural training, such as offered by Kew and Edinburgh Botanic Gardens. I applied for both, and was offered places at both, but finally chose Edinburgh. Then began a search for accommodation in the city, and I was lucky enough to be offered housing in return for maintaining the garden at East Morningside House owned by a Dr Oliver and his wife who also worked as a doctor at the Royal Infirmary.  I invited the young lady I had been dating to marry me and on the 18th of August 1973 we got married at 11am at St Swithun's Church Long Bennington and by 3pm were on our way to Edinburgh!

 

On the Sunday we met Martin Jackson who had driven our few provisions and wedding presents to Edinburgh in an old repurposed Post Office van along with my motorbike. We then had to buy a bed before I stated work as a student on Monday 20th of August.

 

 

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