Little Eaton Local History Society

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A Brief History of the Carlier family In Little Eaton

Alfred 1870 – 1950

Herietta 1876 - 1966

Alfred 1896 – 1994

Arthur Joseph 1898 – 1982

John  Oakley 1900 – 1984

William Poulton 1902 – 1974

Robert 1904 – 1904

Winifred Nellie 1906 – 1974

James Archibald 1907 - 1988

Harry 1909 – 1973

Beatrice 1911 - 2005

Although the Carliers did not settle in Little Eaton until the mid 1920s, the background as to why they came to live in the Derby area may be of some interest.

The father of the family was Alfred Carlier who was born in London in 1871 and lived there until he moved to Derby in the mid 1890s. He was a coppersmith by trade and came to Derby to work for Haslams on City Road. Prior to his marriage to a local girl, Henrietta Clarke in 1895, he lived on Henry Street. After they were married they lived in a house on Mansfield Road on Chester Green which was close to the Haslams factory.

Whilst living there they had two sons Alfred (Alf) (1896) and Arthur Joseph (Joe) (1898).  For reasons unknown, soon after the birth of Joe the family moved down to London. It was here that two other sons were born, John Oakley (Jack) (1900) and William Poulton (Bill) (1902). The family then moved back to Derby. It is believed that Alfred went back to work for Haslams because they again  moved into the Chester Green area this time on St Paul’s Road which again was close by the Haslams factory. A fifth son Robert was born here in 1904 but died in infancy. Their first daughter Winifred Nellie (Winnie) was born in 1906 followed by two more sons, James Archibald (Jim) in 1907 and Harry in 1909. It was around this time that the Rolls-Royce factory opened in Derby and Alfred moved there to work for Henry Royce where he continued his trade as a coppersmith. In order to be near his work the family moved to a house on Osmaston Road which was opposite the Royal Crown Derby factory. It was here that another daughter, Beatrice, also known as Ray was born in 1911.

In the mid 1920s the family moved to Little Eaton in order to open a garage, petrol station, haulage business and cafe which they called “Carlier Brothers”. On special occasions they also ran trips in a charabanc. While suitable domestic houses and garage facilities were being built on the side of the canal opposite to what is now the Severn Trent Water Treatment Plant the family rented Camp Wood House. This house, which has now been demolished, stood on the corner of Alfreton Road and New Inn Lane. The properties they had built consisted of two semi-detached houses with the garage facility at the side. The business prospered with Jack in charge of the garage and Alf taking care of the haulage side. Alf left the area in order to follow a career in engineering and Joe took over the running of that part of the business.

Following the opening of the garage, Alfred the father, affectionately known as “Pop” by his customers and “Grandspike” by his 23 devoted grandchildren, took over the running of the off licence at the front of the Little Eaton Brewery. In 1931 the Brewery was bought by the Derby brewer Offiler’s but “Pop” continued to run the off licence. Although it was classed as an off licence i.e. no alcohol to be consumed on the premises, it is rumoured that more beer was drunk behind the counter than was ever sold over it! He was also well known for helping out in the middle of the week when “pay day” was still some way off. He would sell one Woodbine, a popular cigarette of the day, and two matches for tuppence. Apparently the second match was in case the first one blew out!

All the brothers were keen sportsmen. Even as children when money was scarce their father always made sure that there was a football and cricket bat available. At one time or another they all played sport for Little Eaton, be it football, cricket or tennis. In 1958 five of the brothers together with a collection of their offspring raised a side and challenged the Little Eaton Cricket club to a game on St Peter’s Park. Henrietta, at the age of 82, bowled the first ball. This cricket match was reported in the local press and was also featured in the Central TV News programme. The Derby Evening Telegraph reported that the Little Eaton Cricket Club had won the match but there were so many other errors in this report that the result is still being debated to this day.

It was during the late 1920s and 1930s that three of the brothers married local girls. Joe married Leticia Hill the daughter of Bill Hill who came down from Scotland to work at the local paper mill. Jim married Frances Farmer who lived on New Street and Harry married Marjorie Ellis the daughter of the landlord of the Fox and Hounds at Coxbench.

In the late 1930s came an event that shook the family. The powers that be decided to extend the dual carriageway from Ford Lane, which is now the A38 roundabout, to Duffield Road at the entrance to the village. A compulsory purchase order was placed on the garage and the adjacent houses and the family had to move. By this time Alf had left the area, Joe moved to Derby and took the haulage business to Agard Street, Bill had married and lived at number 52 Alfreton Road, Winnie was married and had left the area and Jim and his wife had moved to Breadsall. Harry had married and moved to Flaxholme. The garage side of the business was moved to the Brewery on Duffield Road. Jack and his wife bought a house on Highfield Road and then later moved to The Town House near to the centre of the village.  As a temporary move Alfred and Herietta with daughter Beatrice rented house number 40 Alfreton Road but it was not long before Camp Wood House came back on the market and the three of them moved back there.   Work was started on the new duel carriageway. The houses were demolished but before the garage could be pulled down World War II broke out and the project was put on hold. During the period of the war the council used the garage for storing road making/repairing equipment. The dual carriageway was not finally built until the1950s and lasted a relatively few years until the A38 by-pass was constructed. The north bound carriageway  into the village has now been reclaimed as a grass verge and footpath.

With the outbreak of WW II the necessary machinery was installed to turn the Brewery into a factory for manufacturing parts for Rolls-Royce.  The factory employed mostly local women who spent long hours making parts for Merlin engines that were to power Hurricanes and Spitfires. With the factory running smoothly and at full production Jack and Harry took their families off to farm in Devon in order to help boost food production.  Jim was left in charge of manufacturing aero engine parts.

During this period Alf was in Manchester working at Metropolitan-Vickers, Bill was working at various Rolls-Royce factories in the Derby area while Joe was keeping essential goods moving about the country. It was about this time that Winnie moved back to the village and lived at number 95, Duffield Road.      

At the end of the war the factory at the Brewery naturally finished making engine parts for the war effort and Jim returned to his trade of panel beating and opened a garage in Derby. Both Bill and Harry were working at Rolls-Royce, Winnie had emigrated to South Africa with her second husband and Beatrice had married an RAF officer and moved to where ever her husband was stationed.  Jack and Harry returned to the village from Devon. Harry eventually joined Jim at the garage in Derby. The next venture at the Brewery was buying and selling ex army surplus equipment, a by-product of which was casting toy soldiers from the lead extracted from ex WD electric accumulators. This was followed by wholesale toy dealing, tropical fish breeding and finally the pickling of beetroot. All these ventures, varied as they were, provided work for many of the residents of the village.

“Pop” continued to run the off licence until he died in 1950 after a short illness. For a short time Jack took over the running of the business but was told in no uncertain terms that “the selling of intoxicating liquor behind the counter would no longer be tolerated.” The off licence was closed and the licence transferred to George Boffey at the Toll Bar Stores.

In 1952 Jack finally returned to his first love and bought a small farm in Duffield where he raised pigs, beef cattle and poultry for eggs. This just left just Bill and his family in the village. His son John married and left the village to live in Derby but after two years the pull of Little Eaton was too great and in 1964 he returned with his wife to live on Windy Lane where he is to this day. John’s two sons left the village when they went to university and due to their career paths never returned. It now looks doubtful, but not impossible, that the family name will continue in the village for a full century.

Many thanks to John Carlier for sharing his family history.

January 2017

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