Wiltshire Publications

A short, cold wedding leads to a 60-year marriage

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 at 11:33 am.

DESPITE their wedding not going according to plan, Westbury couple Ivan and Rose Clark celebrate 60 years of marriage, their diamond wedding anniversary, this month.

Ivan and Rose married at All Saints Church in Westbury on Saturday 15th March, 1958. Their wedding was during the time of Lent, which meant they couldn’t have any music, making the service very short. Rose said, “The wedding was quite in and out really, the church was absolutely freezing, the photographer didn’t turn up, and they sent the wrong bridal flowers. It cost us £1 6 shillings and 8 pence as well! We were thankful that a photographer from the newspaper turned up to get our only two wedding shots.”

Ivan first met Rose when she was 15, just after she left school. She worked at the White Horse restaurant next to the Laverton, serving ice cream from the window. Ivan made excuses to see her, including taking his little sister to get ice cream, just to speak to her.

Ivan was in the RAF at the time they met, and he continued to meet Rose outside of work over Christmas 1955 before he was demobbed in May 1956. He then proposed to Rose when she was 16 and they married when she was 18.

Ivan had left school to work in the Angel Mill, Westbury, and after three years in the RAF, he returned to the mill as a loom tuner. In 1960 he was offered the opportunity to work in a blanket mill in Whitney, Oxford, and worked there for nearly five years. They both then returned to Westbury in 1964 where Ivan returned to work in the mill, despite textile wages being poor at this time.

He then moved to work at Avon Rubber in Melksham where he was made redundant in 1982. Ivan did a few other jobs before retiring at the age of 55, due to spinal problems.

After his retirement, he still continued to work part-time for 19 years at Trowbridge Museum, helping to run their textile machinery, running the loom on a saturday and also doing voluntary demonstrations to visitors and schools on some evenings.

He also opened the visitor centre in Westbury and a was a keen member of the Westbury Heritage Society, joining the committee as the social secretary. Taking over as chairman, he managed to obtain a Lottery grant of £5,000 to provide somewhere for the group to meet, which is now Westbury Visitor Centre. In total, he successfully bid for £100,000 in Lottery funding, which was used for Westbury Heritage Society projects over the years.

Rose, who started work as a waitress at the White Horse restaurant, became their cook after swapping roles with a friend who hated working in the kitchen. As cook, Rose was paid £2 a week.

She then moved to the leather works at Westbury Leigh, and then to Laverton Mill as a warper before having her children. She returned to work at Tann Synchronome until it closed, and then the RCB for 11 years, before retiring at the age of 60.

Ivan and Rose have four children, Tony, Linda, Debbie and Christine, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, with the youngest just four months old.

Rose said, “They keep us going, we are very proud of them all. We are never happy unless we are around family, they are all still local, so we get to see them often.”

Ivan is often found at his computer, cleaning up old photographs and Westbury memorabilia which he has been collecting since 1982. He also has a keen interest in family history, discovering that his family have lived in Westbury as far back as the 1500s. Rose enjoys cooking, embroidery and dress making.

When asked what the secret is to a long marriage Ivan said, “I just found the right one, it’s just love – plus she makes great cakes and I especially like her curry pies!”

The couple say they have not planned a special celebration for their diamond wedding anniversary, but they could be surprised. Unfortunately, Ivan could not attend a surprise party arranged for their golden wedding anniversary, due to ill health.

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