Gladys Leap

If I should tear myself away from this keyboard and look out of my living room window the first thing that comes into view is ‘Wendys Wall’. So named because it a small wall on one corner of the crossroads at the boundary of the house in which a Wendy lived.

It gained its name I think because people parked their cars on the crossroads and long vehicles that had no right to be on the Island always managed to take a hole out of the brickwork on ‘Wendys Wall’ when attempting to manoeuvre out of the tight space that was left.

I suppose there are thousands of such landmarks up and down the country. Easy for locals to recognise as a point of reference when speaking to a neighbour but totally unintelligible to a stranger.

No one has yet named a road after me such as Letsby Avenue where a police station was built or Nelson Mandela House where Del Boy made and lost his millions.

But there is a local spot in Gloucestershire known as Gladys Leap after the local post lady – whose name was not Pat, but Gladys Hillier. She delivered the post for 35 years in the village of Cranham where she was born and bred. Two of the residents were Diana and Arthur Cooper whose land was bordered by a brook.

The footpath crossed the brook, a tributary of Painswick stream and a wooden plank was placed over it, but invariably fell into the water and floated away. It left a three foot stream to cross and rather than take a long detour Gladys would leap across with her mailbag, never once getting her feet wet.

When she retired Arthur Cooper mentioned this in his presentation speech and ‘Gladys Leap’ was born. The Ordnance Survey people came down after reading about the speech and the grid reference was noted and the spot marked in all future maps.

She was also commemorated in the title of an album by Fairport Convention: Gladys Leap from Amazon music.

The sign at Gladys Leap
The sign at Gladys Leap

In 2005 when Gladys was 88 a bridge was finally built over Gladys Leap which was opened by Gladys Hillier and a commemorative plaque erected to mark the spot. David Drew MP asks what he could do for me.

Well David, I’ve pinched your photo of Gladys Leap. Thank you.

 

 

You can contact John Barber here: moc.r1508745461ebrab1508745461nhoj@1508745461tcatn1508745461oc1508745461