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Photo and reminiscences supplied by daughter-in-law, Sue Hallett

Alfred Hiorns

Alfred Hiorns (17 Feb 1920)

The Hiorns family originated in Great and Little Tew and there are many spellings of the name. Alfred, b. 12 December 1901 (shown on the right with his brother Gilbert on the left), was son of the pork butcher, Charles Frederick, and his wife Elizabeth Agnes Hanks whose father was a local publican. The family lived in Newlands Street and Charles Frederick’s brother William was killed in WW1 (his name is on Eynsham Memorial but spelt as Hirons).

The Family Home

The pork butchers run by his father was also the family home. In the back garden were greenhouses full of grapes, this was a good side business as the grapes thrived on the blood of the slaughtered pigs. He remembered that his father’s hams were very popular and he used to watch him salt them in large sinks. He also remembers his father pulling at his fingers and a white powder used to puff out of the joints, which his father said was due to all the salt he used. Alf was always proud of the fact that his father had taught them all to say the alphabet backwards, which he could still do when he was in his eighties.

Next door a Colonel came to live, and he didn’t like the idea of a Pork Butcher as a next door neighbour and was always trying to buy his father out. However, after his father died his mother did sell to the Colonel and moved to Whitehouse Road, by Folly Bridge, Oxford, and the Colonel pulled the house/shop down and Alf was told many years later that a road leading to newly built houses goes through what was their shop.

The Milk Round

It was a very young Alf who had the job of delivering the milk to households each morning before school. He took the milk churn round on a small cart and the villagers used to come out with their jugs to be filled. Afterwards it was his job to clean in out and being a small boy he had to get right inside the churn to clean it spotless and all his life the smell of the milk left him with a dislike of anything with cream or milk.

The Lemonade Factory

Alf and his brother Gilbert used to earn pennies by collecting the empty lemonade bottles. They were also given a bottle of lemonade each for their troubles and Alf always swore that these bottles were given extra fizz because they used to belch all the way home.


There was a builder/odd job man he knew in Eynsham called “Perpen” because apparently whenever he was satisfied with anything he built he used to stand back with his hands on his hips and announce in his slow country accent that it was definitely “per-pen-dicular”.

The Bread Run

Because of their large family and the fact that bread was ½d. a loaf cheaper in Oxford, Alf had to walk over the fields each week to Oxford with large wicker baskets on each arm to collect the family bread. He often recalled that it wasn’t the walk to Oxford that he minded, but that coming home in the dusk he had to tiptoe past the barns because of the tramps who slept in them might take the bread.

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