Golborne before Trellick Tower. Gwen Nelson (nee Martin) recalls the 1950s and 1960s.

Vic Martin in his shop at 21 Golborne Road

Vic Martin in his shop at 21 Golborne Road

We – myself and my parents Victor and Gerry (aka Vicky) Martin, moved to Golborne Road from Lambeth in 1952. After returning from being a POW in Stalag VIIIA, Lamsdorf and being demobbed Dad had never settled into a job working for a few weeks here and there as a spray painter, window cleaner, pretty much anything unskilled that was going. Mum always told of how Dad would come home, say he’d chucked in his job and hand her his final pay packet. She would go out, spend all of it and then tell him they had no money so he’d better find another job in a hurry.

In Lambeth we lived in a lovely late Georgian detached house with my grandparents Alice and Frederick Ireland. Grandad Ireland (more later about the Irelands) was a master builder and used what was originally the coach house and stables for his tools. Because we were a multi generational household Nana would look after me while Mum worked part time on the till at Lyons or ABC teahouses. Mum would also take in piecework sewing shirring elastic into children’s swimsuits at three farthings a garment.

Before the war Dad had worked as a bacon hand for Frosts, a protosupermarket group. One day he confessed to Mum that he’d like his own shop so that he could be his own boss and not work for someone else. With their small savings and some help from my grandparents they secured the lease on 21 Golborne Rd which had been run as a grocers by Vic Harrison who had apparently had little idea of shop management and pretty well run it into the ground. Our lease covered the shop and ground floor premises, the basement and back yards and the first floor rooms. Above us lived Vic Harrison’s daughter Violet Peck and her daughter, Beryl, who was a couple of years older than me.

After the lovely house in Lambeth number 21 was a huge shock. It was run down, damp and rickety with monochrome brownish wall paper hanging in large loops all the way up the stairs. Vic Harrison’s idea of repairs was to hammer six inch nails into everything, including wallpaper that had come loose. The phrase “doing a Harrison” entered our family’s vocabulary for a poorly done job. The basement of the building consisted of two rooms to the rear with a narrow passage that opened out onto a concrete yard. The inner of these rooms had no window and was quite literally dripping with green slime. Towards the street was the coal cellar. Coal was delivered by horse and cart with the street level manhole levered off and coal poured straight down into the cellar. All the rooms at this level had a fine layer of coal dust mingling with other adhesions.

At ground level there was the shop to the front and behind this a store-room with a coal fired oven where Mum would heat cornish pasties and meat pies to sell to the workmen. It was also very good for putting your feet in on a cold winter’s day. A passage ran alongside this with stairs down to the basement and up to the higher levels. It continued on to another room which was used as our kitchen and also a communal toilet for all inhabitants. It was one of Beryl’s ploys to sit in there for hours on end reading a comic and refuse to come out until Mum had words with her mum (and much effing and blinding from Mrs Peck) and made her get Beryl out. Beryl would also lay in wait for me on the landing and thump me and try to steal my toys or books until one day I filled a pint glass mug with water, hid it under my cardigan and then socked her with it nearly knocking her out. Mrs Peck complained to Mum saying I was, “as strong as an ox” After that it was a Mexican standoff. Beryl would glare at me but never touched me again.

Halfway up to the first floor the stairs took a right angled bend. There was a very tall set of french doors that opened out onto the roof of the store room. This was one of my favourite spots for playing as I could look out over the “Feathers” boys club on Edenham Street. Also Golborne Road, Edenham Street and Southam Street formed a triangle and it was possible to see everyone’s backyard. There were no fences around the perimeter and Mum always worried I’d get too near the edge and fall over.

Up on the first floor was a huge lounge that ran the length of the building looking out onto the street. It had two windows with a 12 foot drop and a large fireplace that barely warmed the room. It was so large we had in it our three piece suite, a large mahogany dining table that could be extended to the size of a table tennis table and a large sideboard with still lots of room to move. To the rear was Mum and Dad’s bedroom with a strip partitioned off by a blanket for me. For a while Mum tried to use the basement rooms but the damp and dark defeated her and I used them as part of my enchanted kingdom to play my games and keep my growing collection of pets including a wild rabbit that had a broken back and a tortoise we thought had hibernated until a foul greenish liquid started to emanate from its shell. Among my other pets was a tabby and white cat named Bobby who was my best friend and confidante. He and I would share a bed and he’d cuddle up to me with both arms round my neck.

In those days, fortunately, Health and Safety were only individual words and not a dictatorial body so there was no-one to pontificate about the hygiene of having a cat on premises where food was sold. Bobby was a regular part of shop life and would sit on the doorstep to greet customers. In reality he was an essential part of the shop as it was overrun with mice and Dad regularly had to trim the cheese to remove little teeth marks. One day, when he was cutting bacon with one of the old hand operated machines, a little mouse got trapped by the blade and before Dad could do anything he’d chopped off its little back leg. Said mouse was promptly despatched under the heel of Dad’s shoe.

Anyone who has watched “Open all Hours” would have a pretty fair idea of what Dad’s shop looked like and Dad was not unlike Ronnie Barker in appearance complete with moustache and full length coat. The only difference being that Dad’s was white. It had removable buttons that were held in place with pegs that went through loops in the back of the buttons which were pushed through holes in the coat. It fell to me or Mum to put these in as Dad had been badly wounded during WW2 and had little use of his right hand. Although he had taught himself to write left handed anything that required fine manual dexterity defeated him.

The shop had a full front window with the door opening on the left as you faced the shop. Inside were tins of biscuits from which customers chose which they wanted. He also did a fine trade in broken biscuits and children regularly asked for “fruppence werf ‘v broken ones mister”. Tea was sold loose from large wooden chests, usually an ounce or two at a time and put into a paper bag. He also bought in rice in large chests and one of my after school jobs was to weigh it into pound bags for sale. A scoop and a quarter weighed a pound and it was amazing how easily one could gauge the amount after a few goes.

At right angles to the window was the counter with a chiller cabinet containing cheeses, salami and flitches of bacon. On top of the counter was a set of scales and display stands with packets of Lyons pudding mix, Kraft cheese, Burton’s Battenberg cake, and a brand called Kut-a-kake that used to boast that each piece was “specially wrapped” On top of the chiller was another glass fronted display stand with 2d caramel wafers, Brand’s dressed crab dish paste and butter in 4 ounce packs although these were often cut into halves or quarters for customers’ requirements as rationing was still in force when we moved to North Kensington and, in any case, people could often not afford to buy a whole packet. Behind the counter he had box shelves made from old packing cases with tinned food in them and plastic strips across them where prices were displayed.

This was long before the days of pre-packaging and Dad would cut bacon and ham to order. Bacon was bought by the leg or shoulder from Ivan, Kellets and Child and one year Dad negotiated for my school class to have a trip to their smokehouse to see how bacon was made. I forget where it was but can remember the tall chimney with the joints hanging down on hooks,the interior walls of the chimney being stained with a thick, glossy brown substance and the aromatic smoky smell.

Any ends of meat that couldn’t be sold, we ended up eating or Mum would mince and add to the heaps of potatoes she chopped with onions to go inside the pasties. When I read Noel Streatfield’s “White Boots” I immediately related to Harriet Johnson and her father’s shop although Dad was a far better businessman than Mr Johnson and the shop prospered.

The pasties were very popular with young working men as they were cheap and tasty. She also made steak and kidney pies and a peculiar mixture of baked beans, tinned peas, corned beef and Oxo cubes which she would ladle out into dishes the customers brought into the shop. It was surprisingly good and became one of my favourite childhood meals.

Dad had a very innovative approach and was constantly looking for ways to improve his stock. Up Kensal Road was a wholesalers run by either Czech or Polish people. It was from here Dad bought his salamis and wurst. I often used to walk up there with him and one Christmas the men gave me a musical box like a carousel that played “Silent Night”.

When West Indian immigrants started to arrive in the late 1950s they complained that British bread wasn’t as good as the bread they got back home so Dad found a West Indian baker who would supply him in bulk.

Eggs were bought from a farmer who would sell them by the trayload, thirty eggs to a tray and also would supply Dad with chickens and geese at Christmas. In those days chicken was not the ubiquitous food it is today and these birds were delivered feathered and still with their interiors still intact. Mum and I sat of an evening after delivery plucking and disembowelling the wretched things. The trick to plucking is to dampen the feathers first so they don’t fly everywhere as you pull them out but it did mean a good wash oneself afterwards to remove them from ones person. Disembowelling was trickier as I was told to be careful of the gallbladder as its rupture would taint the flesh and make the bird unsaleable. Most of these birds were old layers and often one would find an egg inside them or, more spectacularly, a string of yolks before the shell had formed around them. I recall one time finding an egg encased in its membrane with the finest, transparent shell.

Although Dad had a till he refused to add up purchases on it as he could do it in his head quicker and often more accurately than punching the keys and pulling the handle (yes just like Arkwright’s devil machine) If a customer demurred he’d let them add up on the machine while he did it in his head and always he finished first and was correct. Eventually regulars accepted that what Vic Martin said was right.

Cigarettes were a large part of his sales. Packs of twenty were available, but more often in this poor neighbourhood people bought packs of ten or even two. Popular brands were Kensitas for the coupons you collected and could exchange for gifts, Senior Service with the picture of an “old salt” smoking, Dunhill, Craven A, Players and a brand especially for the ladies “Sweet Afton”. A very upmarket brand was Sobranie. You could buy strong smelling “Black Russian” or a milder one “Cocktail” with the cigarettes each a different pastel colour. No health warnings then and I can recall seeing an advertisement in a magazine recommending smoking for people with asthma. Like butter, cigarette packets were also split and one cigarette would be bought at a time if the person didn’t roll their own. Tinned tobacco and cigarette papers were more common, as very thin “fags” could be rolled and men would spend all day with a partially smoked “dog-end” attached to their lower lip.

Customers were a mixed bunch. Many were very poor and had a real struggle to make ends meet. While Dad was far from a soft touch, he was aware of genuine hardship, having had to leave home at twelve years old and become self supporting because of his father’s remarriage. He would allow people things “on tick” until their situation improved and often give away slightly smelly bacon or sausages that were past their best. With a rinse under the tap the bacon was edible if somewhat strong tasting.

Some of the best customers Dad had were the irish “navvies” who had come over as part of “MacAlpine’s men” after the war to work on the roads. These were young, husky men, well paid and hungry as a result of their hard labour. They would buy bacon by the poundload, eggs by the dozen and a whole loaf of bread and 4oz of butter and that just for the one meal. Dad’s mother, who had died young of throat cancer, was Irish and I suspect their soft Kerry and Limerick voices touched his sentimental streak.

At the other end of the scale were women with children and no man to support them. Illegitimacy rates were high around North Kensington and I suspect that a lot of women were, unwillingly, “on the game” to support their children. Alas, all too often, this resulted in yet another mouth to feed unless a trip to the local back street abortionist could be afforded. Rumour had it that she operated from one of the basements in Edenham Street using a pint of gin and a knitting needle, brine or a chemical abortifacient to perform the task although in the 1950s I was ignorant of such things being still of primary school age. Dad could always be relied on to find a little something for a woman who was trying to raise her children decently despite her circumstances.

In those days, before the internet, and in many cases before people had telephones the “traveller” was a regular weekly visitor to Dad’s shop. These men, often European Jews, were employed by warehouses to visit shops and persuade them to buy their goods. Looking back they seemed to have a curious sameness about them. Gaberdine coat, Homberg or Fedora hat and a thick accent. They were paid on commission so were persuasive salesmen.

Dad got on well with them and, having been a POW in Silesia, could sympathise with them as many were DPs (Displaced Persons) as a result of Hitler’s policies. Dad was always keen to get a bargain and pass it on to his customers so would negotiate a special weekly deal on a particular line. I can recall one week it was Heinz Baked Beans and another tinned fruit salad, macedoine of fruit as it was called.

Next door to us at 19 were an elderly couple Bert and Amy Cross who were originally from Earl’s Barton in Northamptonshire. He had been an apprentice at Clark’s shoe makers as a young man and was operating as a “snob” as shoe makers were known in those days. In 1959 he decided to retire and the shop came up for lease. As I was now at grammar school and there was a limit to how much Mum could do in the shop, my parents decided to lease number 19 and Mum was going to run it as a drapers, ladies’ clothing and wool shop, since the closest one was the other end of Golborne Road, over the iron bridge. Thus started another phase of my life on The Golborne.

Gwen Nelson (nee Martin), 2014

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25 Responses to Golborne before Trellick Tower. Gwen Nelson (nee Martin) recalls the 1950s and 1960s.

  1. Audrey Counsell says:

    This was a wonderful read. I loved it! I came to this area in 1961 and much of what she had described was still evident then. My childhood was spent in wartime Penge and I can relate to her descriptions. Thankyou Gwen.

  2. John Henwood says:

    A very interesting and informative read. Great photo of your Dad in position in the shop. There was a similar shop in Bramley Road at the junction with Walmer Road (where I lived). We called it ‘Andys’ but I don’t think that was the proper name. They sold the broken biscuits from a square aluminum tin and also sliced their own bacon/ham etc. I think the proprietor was Italian or Portuguese.

  3. Thom Hickey says:

    Thanks. Wonderful to see history come alive in this way! I’ll be back to this blog. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox.

    • Gwen Nelson says:

      Hi Thom. I went to school with a girl named Maureen McKenna. She had Hickey cousins who, I think, lived off Harrow Road. There was a girl called Margaret. Any chance you are related.

  4. Ken Farrow says:

    Thank you Gwen for some fantastic memories, I lived in Golborne gardens just across the road and the photo of your Dad brings back many memories of trips to Martins or “The Green Shop” as it was called, L lived in the area from 1948 to 1966 when the who;e area was demolished to make way for Trellic Tower, Regards Kenneth “Abe” Farrow

    • Gwen Nelson says:

      Pleased you enjoyed my article. I’m intending to write my autobiography but have started with the Golborne Years after coming across this blog. You’d probably also recall my Mum’s shop which was next door at No19. She took it over after Bert and Amy Cross, who had the shoe repairers, retired. Mum sold wool, underwear, stockings, tea cloths etc. I’m hoping to have a picture of her in the shop and a further article sometime soon. Whereabouts were you living?

      • Ken Farrow says:

        Hi Gwen, I can remember your Dads shop and the Coblers next door & Mr Wilkinson in the White shop, but for some reason I cant remember your mums shop, we lived at 48 Hazlewood Cres from 1948-52, 12 Golborne gardens from 52-56 then 82 Kensal Rd from 1956- 1966 when they demolished the whole area, now I live just outside Melbourne Australia. Where are you living now. XX

      • Gwen Nelson says:

        We emigrated to New Zealand in 1967 (bad move!!!) and Mum and Da both died there. Dad in 1976 and Mum in 2007. I returned to UK in 2005 and now live midway between Perth and Dundee with the person who was my first boyfriend. Have been to Melbourne a couple of times. Great city!!

  5. Maureen Barnett says:

    Gwen I remember your dads shop and you very well. I went to St Marys with you and you always wrote such great stories (I had story writing) so I suppose that is something I remember very vividly. I am sure you dressed as the bisto kids with a friend for a competition. I was one of 4 girls the Moloneys and we lived in Hazelwood Crescent. So good to read your account of your time in the Golborne they were happy memories.

    • Gwen Nelson says:

      Wow! Yes I do remember you. What a great memory you have. I’d quite forgotten the Bisto Kids. Dad obtained the costumes from one of his wholesalers. My friend who wore the other one would have been Yannoula Christi who lived at 23 Golborne. Do you remember Miss Kenny, Miss Roche, Sister Anselm and Sister Monica from St. Mary’s. I’m down London two/three times a year. Are you still there? It’d be great to catch up.

  6. Beryl "Bee" Clark says:

    Hi Gwen, i thoroughly enjoyed reading this, brought back so many lovely memories for me, thankyou

  7. Dear Gwen the Golborne was another world for me. I loved your story about your parents and understood your poor dads suffering, but a great story! I scaffolded Trellick Towers with my mates, and a few others. Walked up or cycled from Lancaster Road every day. My boss sub’s me out to work for SGB in those days as a casual. I always loved construction. Hugs from Spain.

  8. Maggie says:

    Does anyone remember anything about the building next to the Cobden Club in Kensal Road. It used to be a dairy at one time and there was a courtyard behind the houses, which have now disappeared ?
    The Meanwhile Gardens committee are researching the history of their area alongside the canal and are interested to hear from anyone who remembers this particular building and chimney, now known as ” The Factory”.

  9. Gwen Nelson says:

    I can remember the building but not very well. I was in London in February with my son and took him to see my old haunts, including “The Little Rec” (Horniman Gardens?) Lovely to see the old bridge over the ponds is still there. There was a park keeper who used to wear a ginger Harris Tweed suit and chase us away if he though we were going to try and climb onto the bridge. I can remember the blacksmiths on Kensal Road, on the way up to Westbourne Park. Their forges were through an archway on the canal side of the road. There were two or three of them and they used to shoe the totters’ horses and ponies.

  10. Ted Burton says:

    I remember it well.i used to go to the 7th Feathers club and in fact have photographs taken at the entrance,these were of my twin cousins,Elsie & Rosie Hendon,Mary Toovey & Jeanie Rayner.i together with some pals are also in some of the pictures.These were taken by Ken Russell, before he was a famous film director. I was born and grew up in Southam St,went to the Dolls Hse ‘St Andrews’ and then Brunel Sec Modern for boys.I have a great memory of the times, exciting,violent,drunks but also falling in love,dancing,rock & roll and loads of sport,Bombed houses & debris everywhere, great places for us to expand & play.loved the area.

  11. Maggie says:

    Hello Ted
    Is that the “Factory” that you remember well ?
    If it is, do you know what it was being used for, during WW2 ?

  12. thanks Gwen for your memories. I grew up in the White Shop, 17 Golborne Road 1953 until our family moved to Gloucester Gardens, Baywsater in 1966. The shop was a sweet shop, named Wilkins and Sons. I went to school at St Andrews at the bottom of Southam Street. My name is Richard Wilkins, I have a brother, Graham. I grew up with Derek Maberley, and Peter and Walter, the children of Gereman, I guess Jewish Refugees. Opposite us was the Gethings. I remember to this day their joy at waking up and finding Christmas presents, being the first for them, waking up the street but no one minded. I am in life long contact with a friend from St. Andrews. I remember the endless Carol singing practice, anyone else remember? I recall the regular fights outside of the Prince Arthur, which would start about the time we sat down for Sunday lunch. I remember the Youth Club at the back of Golborne Road, with the entrance in Edenham Street. Does St Andrews School have reunions? I remember queing up for Rock Salmon and chips at the Greek Fish and Chip restuarant just over the Golborne Road bridge. Sometime in the 1950’s the first West Indian family moved in opposite us, after their windows were smashed in they put chicken wire across them to protect them. I remember at the time of the Latimer Road Riots, watching two Policeman, wathcing a group of white Teddy Boys chasing a lone black man running for his life. I recall going to the Saturday morning pictures at the cinema in the Harrow Road, I can’t recall its name. I remember doing the hand jive and watching CoCo the Clown, anyone else remember?
    And the girls going up on the stage to jive. I used to roller skate everywhere, especially a smooth section of tarmac at the junction of Golborne Road and Southam Street. I remember someone photographing all the kids rolling skating around. I wonder if there is a photo of this anywhere or known to anyone? Does anyone remember sitting in South Street and watching I think Health promotion films from the back of truck with a cinema screen? I remember watching men playing Two Up – two half crowns tossed up in the air, and the bet being if the coins heads or tails up in South Street. I recall the local book maker being told by the Police they were to nick him, so he went into the Prince Albert and paid an Irish labourer to stand in for him and avoided a heavy fine for repeated offending. We lived next to a shop which sold sample shoes. I remember cleaning the shop owner’s car – big Bedford along American lines. He left a man ran a factory making plastic items. One day the shop; caught fire, and my dad told me to feel the divding wall as to how it was becoming, as dad had loads of chocolate Easter eggs sotred all the way up the stairs for customers. Did anyone remember Dougie Q, what happend to him? I remember him coming backwards out of the Prince Albert holding two fireworks in his hands, shooting the fireworks back into the emerging and angry drinkers telling him to get out. Does anyone remember when Irish Tinkers as they were called in those days, moved into next to Derek Maberly’s home, the men become drunk and used axes to smash down the doors barred by their families as the women were terrified as to their men who were not used to the very strong Cider sold at the Prince Albert? According to Derek Maberly they family won the Pools and I remember visiting them at their new home, then, in Wembley.
    I failed the Eleven Plus at St. Andrews, a girl named Vicki was the sole student to pass out of a class of 30 plus. My parents paid for me to go to a private in Cricklewood. I ended up as a social worker for the next forty years. I have read recently that psychologists have discovered the positive power of nostalgia, being a place we can return endlessly enabling us to feel positive about ourselves, helping us to retain our sense of idienty and personal history and most importantly our sense of self worth. My childhood memories remain clear, strong and are some of the happiest times of my life. I know this is not the same for everyone, given other people’s experience of childhood. I take heart from Holocuast Survivors who recalled when in Death Camps sharing with each other their memories of their lives before being interned in the Camps which helped them survive the next day, hope or something like it was kept alive. I remember playing on bombed sites where the division between the road to the immediate left of the Prince Albert pub and Hazlewood Terrace used to be. There was a bombed out church and behind it the old stables for the horse and carts for Portobellow Road Market. I remember on Sundays, the soldiers on horses drawing gun carriages, and the local all girls band marching down the road afterwards.
    The most abiding memory I have are all the children playing outside in the summer evening, the boys swinging on metal bars keeping apart the outside wall to the basement and the side of the house on the corner of Golborne and Appleford Road, the girls swinging on a rope around a lamp post – I recall the lamp lighter lighting the original gas street lamps – the boys playing football and the girls jiving or playing hop scotch.
    Maybe I will hear from someone else who remembers?

    Richard Wilkins, now 67, married with a daughter and son, and three grandchildren. Last Sunday, (it is now 23/11/14) I took my son now aged 36 and his Italian partner back down to Golborne Road showing them where all of the above memories were located, ending up in a Italian cafe in Portobellow Market.

  13. Gwen, I have just realised you were my neighbour at number 19 Golborne Road. I am Richard Wilkins, the son of Cyril and Lorana Wilkins who owned the White Shop next door to your shop. I remember your dad. He used to sell his Fly Slices as he used to call his mince pie slices. I came to a party at your house when I was about 14 years of age. I remember embarrassing myself in referring to going to your your party in being used to attending larger sized parties! Gwen, is my memory serving me right, did you used to practice singing, I remember hearing a voice singing scales and your mother who used to buy fags from our shop referring to you having singing lessons?

    I recall the Maberleys were at the end of Golborne Road, next to them was a house converted into some sort of factory/store with a green door. Next to that was a house that became a shop selling shoes, followed by becoming a one man band making plastic items (this is the one in my blog I referred to as having caught fire) then our shop, ten your dad’s, then another house with the ground floor becoming a store house for china items, all in their original white before being painted. Then another house with the house having been converted into a small factory. I worked there on Saturday mornings making belts for dresses. Then I think Jones the Welsh grocery store. I remember the son’s name as, James. Then at the end of that part of Golborne Road with the corner of Southam Street was a house. I recall knowing a boy but I cannot remember his name who lived in that house. I recall meeting him when we were both teenagers. He had become a Insurance Sales Man and tried to sell my life insurance.

    One blog is written by an Albie Vickers. My dad and I used to know a Albie. We went with him to watch Queens Park Rangers at Shepherds Bush. I wonder if that is the same Albie?

    On reading your entry, my childhood memories just tumbled out as recorded in my first entry.
    I tried to put a bit of structure into this entry.

    I remember my dad said he would not pursue those owing credit via the Court’s as your dad did, as your shop’s window was smashed in a number of times from any angry debtors having been taken to Court. We had iron bars above the shop door and heavy wood shutter across the glass panel in the shop door, This stopped anyone breaking in.

    I remember every night banging on my bedroom floor to stop the mice from squeaking when travelling between the floor boards on their way to eating the flour stored in your dad’s shop/basement – I remembered your dad sold flour.

    The Landlord to our house – my parents had bought a lease – held out with the Council for compensation much longer than most other landlords. This followed the Council having where we lived subject to a compulsory clearance order. As a consequence, as all our customers were moved away my dad had to close the shop to avoid bankruptcy. He worked at Selfridges until he retired through ill health. We were due to emigrate to Australia. We had bought the tickets to go, I remember going to Australia House at the Aldwych in central holiday to be vetted by an official, but a week before were due to sail, the council slapped on its compulsory order with the potential seller to buy the lease to our shop pulled out. I think we were the last family to be rehoused by the council to a four bedroom flat in Gloucester Gardens in Bayswater.

    In your entry your referred to th shop at number 17 not doing very well. I think this is right. The person who sold the shop to my father led my dad to believe the business was thriving as the shop was always full of kids when my parents visited buying sweets. When my dad owned the shop he realised the profit was tiny, as it depended upon sweets and fags mainly. He tried selling birthday cards, loaning out books (which he had to stop as customers failed to return them) offering credit, which your dad advised against – and ended up stopping this as customers failed to repay loans. Finally my parents were sold the idea of breeding Chinchillas for their fur. On returning to Golborne Road recently, I was with my son. In waling down Golborne Road, near where Holmes the Baker’s used to be I noticed a read painted house with the name, Clarke above the door. I suddenly remembered this is where I used to go buy the hay for the Chinchillas.

    When my parents moved they would spend most of their tme recalling their time when living at Golborne Road. I think this was one of the times when they felt most alive to all the goings on of other people around them.

    Richard Wilkins.

  14. William Daniel Prytherch says:

    Here is a photograph of the rear of 92 Walmer Rd in 1958.

    Notice the petrol pump signs of Jarvis Garage, looking down under the arch of 92 Walmer Rd.
    1937 500cc Engine Star motorbike driven by myself.

    The Children are Carlos Crawford and the small boy lived down Walmer Rd towards the railway bridge, his name is either Steven, or David Bloom.

    The area a few yards back later became a scrapyard/place where cars are dismantled, run by a man named Brian.

    • William Daniel Prytherch says:

      If the photograph link does not work/come through , I’ll appreciate any advice on how to go about it

      Many Thanks

  15. john henwood says:

    Thanks for posting this nice old photo Dan. Is the open area behind you looking toward the road what we used to call the BUS YARD -I lived at no.77, close to the junction with Bramley Street,
    kind regards,
    john

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