Sergeant Horfield’s button

23 September 2011


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old-teasel

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Sgt Horfield's buttonSgt Horfield's button

The cupboard we keep drinks in would once have held treasured crockery, and something to serve on special occasions. In its higgledy-piggledy way, it still does. Our collection of things found out the back is also in it somewhere.

Our street is a terrace in north Bristol. It was built for married non-commissioned officers stationed in what was Horfield Barracks and which is now a housing development. So, when we hacked up our turn-of-the-century concrete path to make a turn-of-the-next-century garden, we came across a Royal Engineers uniform button. It’s just in front of the sloe gin.

Whoever wore it on their uniform before it dropped off (while he smoked his pipe in the shed?) was quite likely in the Bristol Engineer Volunteer Corps. Let’s call him Sergeant Horfield, and hope he came home again next time he was due leave. His house was quite new, and it had a copper boiler in the scullery, at the end of the First World War.

His wife is not forgotten in our drinks cupboard. There are two pottery dolls’ heads of about the same period that we dug up. One still has painted hair and eyes, the other still has rouge and red lips. There are also two little bottles. One is a perfume bottle and probably quite modern, but the other is older, and in front of it there is a mother-of-pearl button. Perhaps Sergeant Horfield undid that button before he went back to the front.

Posted by Old Teasel

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