Manmates Memory Lane Page 1- Memories form Manchester
Does anyone remember the Abbey Hey Club? It was on Abbey Hey Lane in Gorton. I remember there was some brilliant bands on, not to mention solo artists. There used to be a great organist, Brian, with Derick on the drums. The place used to be packed every weekend. At Christmas you had to queue up to get a seat. I spent many a great night there. Now, the place is closed down with all the windows barred up.
This message sent by e-mail from Alan.
I remember going down to Tibb St as child, about the late 60's. There was many pet shops, but one in particular the kids used to call Scenning Ben's.
The owner, the poor chap, had problem with his eyes that made him squint and kids,being cruel as the are, they gave him that nick name. Nonetheless, he provided a great service with the pets and food and all the much needed accessories. It was a great day out looking in all the shop windows, seeing such things as tortoises. Of course, they are not allowed to be sold in pet shops nowadays. The law now protects abuse of such animals, and rightly so.
The above sent in by e-mail from Jackie
I see there is mention of the pet shops on Tib Street. This was the setting for a childrens’ book by the great Manchester novelist Howard Spring ( Rachel Rosing, Shabby Tiger) Tubmbledown Dick is set in Tib Street in the twenties. I first heard of it 60 years ago when it was dramatized on the wireless (as we called it) on Children’ Hour. Who remembers that?
Walter Houser 02/08/05
Do you remember the past, when things did last, we didn't even have a bath? We worked long hours, for pay that was low. No TV, wireless or videos, no...! Not even hot water or a an inside loo. Yes, Yes, this is true..!
A walk in the park was holiday enough, no holidays abroad or any that stuff. We never locked our doors, there was no big stores. The corner shop was just a hop. Central heating, what a laugh, a coal fire and a tin bath. Polished lino on the floor was what we had and nothing more. No state benefits things were rough, the people then had it tough.
Belle Vue Aces
Belle Vue Aces speedway team of 1963 was one of the best in their history, that season was one of success and tragedy, Peter Craven died from injuries he sustained at Edinburgh in September of that year when he swerved to avoid a fallen rider (George Hunter of Edinburgh Monarchs) Dent Oliver was the team manager at the time and only 12 months earlier Peter had won The World Crown at Wembley.
Princess Road looking from Mauldeth Rd West Withington taken c 1934. I moved as a 7 year old to the fourth house after the avenue (Stirling) in 1935 .
I moved to Australia in 1964 . My parents continued to live there till the mid 1970"s. Regards Ed Hobson
More From Mauldeth Rd West
Mauldeth Rd West shops before the war had a chemist on the corner called Latewoods ,I think, and the newsagent was Carleys where I delivered papers in 1940. My round was the opposite of Mauldeth Rd to the shop down Doncaster Ave to about half way point. The bike shop started as war finished and the butcher whose name I can't recall (my mother dealt with the co-op in Moss Side) but my school friend from Old Moat started work there at 14 and his name was Dave Dearden. So I assume he took over the business.
The Back Croft And The Rec
During the mid to late fifties and early sixties I lived on Withington council estate near to Princess Road and Mauldeth Rd West, as kids we all grew up together and attended schools such as Old Moat, St Cuthberts, St Ambrose, and Chorlton Park, the clever ones won places at Chorlton Grammar or Ducie Technical. Nevertheless most of us were interested in football and it was about even stevens on the CITY -UNITED issue, on the estate between the houses (labrynth if you like) lay a piece of spare land of red shale with small areas of wild grass, it was big enough to stage 5 or 6 aside games on so we put coats down for the goals and got stuck in to a match. Eventually we organised games against teams from the other side of the estate such as one from Golbourne Ave area called Red Star, we called ourselves Withington Juniors and at one period were helped or managed by a Mrs Yates and her three sons, Arty, Danny, and Ralph who lived in Rainford ave, another side came from the other side of Mauldeth Road west called Mornington Juniors. We had some great battles, the players included Brian Holt, Alan and Ian Vickers, Jeff Coulthard, Willie Longden, Joey and Peter (P ecker)Hart, Keith Doyle, Terry Daly,Bob Harris, the Gablers, Mike and Stewart Dewhurst, Dave (wubby) webb and freddie fleet etc etc. They were great days and even when a few of us graduated to organised league football we still used the BACK CROFT as a training ground. Further on to the estate on the corner of Mauldeth Rd West and Yew Tree Rd was a park we called THE REC obviously short for recreation ground it was there we used to play a greatly organised team called HORNET JUNIORS and I've forgotten the names of their players except one -BERNARD WALSH, THE MANAGER WAS A MR MCUGH who lived Mauldeth rd West just round the corner from THE REC. THEY had giant canes for the goalposts,a full set of playing kit and even a first aid kit, I often pass the place now and it brings back fond memories as too does the OLD BACK CROFT that was situated between Rainford, Bromborough, Woodhall, and Ulverston Avenues in Withington, sadly the council built houses on it around 1980, HAPPY DAYS! I would love to hear from any of my old footballing mates from those days. The above memories kindly sent in by Teddy Knott. Where are all those football mates of Teddy's? Lets hear from you..!!
The "only Jones" cut our hair for sixpence and he had only one style for all ,short back and sides regardless of what you asked him to do.The circle of two avenues ,one was Hassall ,the other ? made our bike racing circuit. On VE night we lit the biggest bonfire I've seen in the middle of the street in Hassall Ave cracking the cement surface. Sorry to hear the Princess pub has gone but as teens we preferred the "Fallowfield" as a waiter there would serve us our first round of beers then whisper "finish it and go !" The Princess knew our fathers and wouldn't dare serve .
Ed Hobson 2/05/04
I was born in Hulme on the 05-12-41 in Norfolk Street.
From there we moved to Carlton Street where, at the back of our house,
was a bakery called Hanforths, which put the bread near the door to cool
and we use to take the middle out and eat it. Also in Carlton Street was
a sweet factory called Turnbulls and all the wagons had the old starting
handles. As kids we use to lay down in the street so the drivers could
drive over us.
The market that someone mentioned was called Denmark Road market where it had a person on one of the stalls called Rag Annie. There was the old Grannelli's ice cream who also had a shop come cafe near the market. The stalls of the market used to be carried for storage across Denmark Road to a yard in Carlton Street. There was a church on the corner of Denmark Road and Carlton Street. Also, there was an orphanage on Denmark Road which, in the school holidays, the nuns allowed us to play in the big play room. The building is still standing today, so is the old Towlers factory.
We moved from there about 1946 to Woodhouse Park I went to Brownley Green School to which I am trying to find old school friends. My sister started a cub pack called the 1st Crossacres Cubs, which was held in the old Peel Hall farm cottage. We had to light candles for the lighting and lower shutters by rope. Where the Civic Centre is now it was all farm land, and Manchester Airport was known as Ringway. There use to be ten bob trips from Ringway .
When I lived in Hulme I went to St Marys school and was baptised at the church, which is still standing today. So are the schools. I believe they are grade 2 listed buildings.
I also remember collecting pop bottles and jam jars and taking the jam jars to the pictures for our entrance fee.
On Whit Week we use to visit family in our new clothes, and also if you told your mum that you had a hole in your shoes you wouldn't get new ones. It was here that you put this cardboard in, or you would see your mum stick some cut out lino on the bottom.
They where the good old days of the 40s up to the late 50s.
Thanks. Ronald Arthur Mallender
Now living in Gorton and proud of it. 11-09-2004
Many thanks Ronald. I enjoyed you story, the webmaster
Ronald Adds More Memories form Hulme
On the corner of Norfolk Street was a newsagent called
Oldhams he always had time for the children. In those days there was two
pubs called the big and little Alex. Kids would sit outside and make lollies
out of the tar whilst waiting for their fathers to come out.
We used to have milk delivered by the old horse and cart, Hydes Anvil ales is the oldest brewery around Hulme. I used to play with the dray horses as a kid. Alex Park was the biggest park around there. Then there was Platt Fields and Whitworth park which are still there.
Around the corner from Carlton Street was the old Fire-Police Station which also housed the mounted section of the police. There was also the A.F.S. of which I was a member of when I lived in Stockport.
Where the big brewery is in Hulme, before they were there, was a small mineral water bottling plant. The old school clinic is still standing. On Stretford Road the old snooker hall is still standing, albeit selling second hand household goods.
I would like if possible, if anybody could tell me
whatever happened to the old hall street mission which I used to go to
when I was a small boy.
Yes some more old saying of Hulme. From R. A. Mallender. 12/09/04
Many thanks again Ronald
What a fantastic site. It has brought back lots of memories. I remember
throwing the rope over the lamp-post and twisting it round tight whilst
sitting on it and then turning the other way and it uncurled. Great, until
the rope snapped and I broke my ankle! All the kids in our street (Woodland
St. Hr Broughton) and surrounding streets used to play together - skipping,
marbles (allies), hide and seek, what time is it Mr Wolf?, whip and top
and many more. A lot better than TV or computer games. I also remember
taking the accumulator (glass blocks) back to the shop for recharging
so we could listen to the radio and my first record player had needles
that you fastened in and, if I remember rightly, didn't last too long.
We moved to Fallowfield, Manchester in about 1958 and I was married at
Holy Trinity (Platt) church in 1963 and our reception was held at the
Princess Hotel, Princess parkway. It's lovely to hear so many stories of the past and I am going to jot
down mine when I remember them and pass them on. I now live in Perth, Western Australia but would love to hear from old friends from the area. I went to Broughton Modern School for Girls and left there in 1957
Ann Reed 27/06/04
Many thanks Anne, we would all love to hear more, the webmaster
I have found a couple of slides taken of Woodland Street, off Bury
New Road in Salford. (To see Ann's slides, click
Here)These were taken in 1977
on a trip back to the UK. I must admit I did see a huge change. Some of
the street had been demolished and some houses were bricked up. Not like
that when I lived there. I can remember a lot of our neighbours sitting
on the doorstep at night and chatting. I can't remember anyone being downright
nosey but you knew that you had good neighbours. We lived at No.19 which
was next door but one to spare ground (which used to have houses but were
bombed during the war). Our neighbours at No 17 were the Christies and
No.21 were the Wakefields (Frances and Eileen). Also further down the
street the McGintys lived (Ann was my friend). Almost every corner had
a shop (chipshop, grocers etc). I think Green Street ran off Woodland
where Maureen Popey lived. I wonder how many of these people are still
living in the area? I attended Broughton Secondary Modern
School for Girls and left in 1957.
One of our favourite summer pastimes was taking someone's baby for
a walk (with permission, of course!). Mind you, we picked our prams -
they had to look good!!! I don't think many mothers would allow that
these days. I should like to see more of Salford (if possible) on this website as I believe it it now part of the greater Manchester area ( is this correct?).
There will be more photos when I eventually unpack all my photos. We have just moved from Tasmania back to Perth and will be moving house again once it is built. Then I can unpack and sort some photos out for you.
Once again, thank you for a beaut site. Have passed it on to my Manchester friends over here in Australia. ta ra for now.
Ann Reed 15/07/04
Many thanks Ann for your memories and great photos. We shall all look forward, I am sure to more great photos, the webmaster
As a child most Saturday mornings my sisters and I had to take turns
each to go to a Butchers shop in Brayshaw St Moss side/ hulme it was on
the corner of Radnor St where the 102 bus used to turn into on its way from
Firbank Rd Wythenshawe to Manchester Exchange railway station. The butchers
shop was called Bells who were friends of my family, Nellie Bell always
gave me an half crown piece so there was an incentive for me especially
when at time (around 1956/59) my spends were only one shilling until I started
a paper round in 59.' Brayshaw St was the continuation of Princess Rd where
the Scottish & Newcastle brewery stood on the corner of Denmark Rd &
Princess Rd. They extended it during the seventies which seen Denmark Rd
sealed off, at one time you could find Moss side Market further down on
the left and in actual fact it was always known as Greenheys lane market
and behind it was Webster St where my sister worked at David Towlers Ltd
as a machinist. Further down there was Pigott St where my Gran lived during
the forties and fifties I think it was No 70 though Im not 100% sure. At
the bottom of her Street was a coal yard where again we had to go and get
a couple bags of coke from, there was a difference between coal and coke
can anyone tell me what it was? Getting back to Princess Rd just before
Moss Lane East on the left was The Sports depot which was owned at one time
by Roy Clarke who played for Man City during the late forties and fiftes
I used to buy the old wooden studs and tins of dubin for my boots and caseball
not fogetting the white laces as well. During the mid sixties Hulme was
a demolation area and the community were broken up and sent to overspill
areas such as Hattersley,Gamesley & Miles Platting some ended up in
Withington, Fallowfield, Denton and Wyhenshawe. Can anyone else recall those
days and have photos of the area?
More from Ted 10/06/04
Does anyone recall the grocers shop on Mauldeth Rd West, Withington called Mayes? We used to take empty Lanry bottles back for the old threpny piece? They used to store them in an empty crate in the back yard of the shop and one day I was caught climbing over to nick one, mind you it was my third trip!!!! I was clipped round the ear and told not to do it again otherwise they would tell my mam, everyone knew each other in them days 50s/60s and to save myself the ordeal of my mothers wrath amongst other things I took their advice. I also remember at Old Moat School before we had a canteen, we had our dinners at a shop called Barkers on Burton Rd, close to Withington Baths, almost opposite Everett Rd. The daily menu always seemed to be Tator Ash and red cabbage. It was horrible, you would kill for it today. The shop was only small so they had about three sittings. Some pupils however, went home at dinner time, especially the ones that lived nearby on the estate. I can remember the old rag and bone man pushing his barrow round Hassall and Rudheath avenues giving away the old rubbing stones for old rags that our mams cleaned the back door steps with. Where does the BONE MAN phrase come from? I'll never forget every saturday night during the footy season we used to hear a paper seller shouting "FOOTBALL FINAL" it was the football pink and later the football green as well. His bag was empty before he got round the estate. Can any other reader recall these days in the fifties & sixties?
Great memories from Ed Hobson. Yes, the butchers were called Deardens, next door was Hancocks the greengrocers, then Mayes the grocers, then The Only jones, Clarks the newsagents next to an entry, then came an outdoor beer licence,then Latewards chemist, round the corner was the trustees savings bank which now is a doctors surgery, then came a cobblers shop followed by Coopers tuck shop, then a hardware shop, followed bt Mark Greens a tailor shop and finally the bike shop, then came the railway line which sadly no longer is thanks to the Beeching era. The brook is still there and I remember when we used to tie a rope to a tree and swing over the brook sometimes it snapped and we ended up in it. Rudheath was the other avenue that made the other half of the circle and does ED remember, The old back croft, which was situated in the middle of these two avenues? My memories are from the fifties and early sixties so some of the shops had different names I expect, funnilly enough the Deardens butchers shop is now a DENTAL PRACTICE, the barbers shop has gone, the grocers knocked through and is now a mini supermarket I think its called SPA, however I recently drove into Eddisbury ave the place where I was born and bred and sadly it hasn't stood the test of time, reasons being I will leave you to draw your own conclusions even so they were happy days in the 50s & 60s.
Ted Knott 04/05/04
More From the Mauldeth Rd West Area, Ted Knott follows On From Ed Above, With His Memory Of The Area
Comments of Ed Hobson (Above) regarding Stirling Ave Withington. I lived just round the corner in Eddisbury Ave, off Hassall ave from being born in 1946 until 1972. I was a paper boy in 1959/61 and part of my round was on Princess road , the newsagent was a Mr Clough who's shop was over the bridge in Fallowfield next door to the Cresta picture house (formerly THE REGENT) funnily enough Stirling Ave was a 5 min walk to the old back croft we used to play football on, opposite was the prefabs which german POWs built near the end of the second world war to accommodate people who were left homeless during the bomb raids. They eventually came down around 1965 and it broke the hearts of the residents because they loved the houses, or should I say bungalows, so much. A few of my mates lived on the estate which included roads such as Framley Rd , Alnmouth Rd, Rossmere rd, camberley rd, wendover rd, and Oakham ave, just to name a few. Mr Hobson, can I say, that if someone gave me £5 every time I went past your house on Princess Rd, I would be a rich man now.
Looking at the photo from around 1934, well the houses haven't changed but there is however, traffic lights, lots of vehicles, buses, but sadly no trams. The two young ladies to the left of the snap could have been off to the shops, which were situated across Mauldeth Rd west, which in my time included Deardens the butchers, Hancocks the greengrocers, Mayes the grocers, the only jones (barber shop) Clarks the Newsagents, just to name a few. Round the corner on Princess Rd you had the Trustees savings bank which is now a doctors surgery, Mcdonalds sweet shop, the Cobblers shop, Coopers tuck shop, a hardware shop, a tailors shop called Mark Green who was in fact a bespoke tailor. At the end next to the railway line was a bike shop. I remember my dad buying a bike for 5 shilling a week for 52 weeks, oh and there was a chemist called Alexanders on the corner as well. I'm sure Mr Hobson may recall the same shops as well perhaps he can restore some cherished memories of Mauldeth rd west/ Princess rd.
Regards >Ted> P.S. The Princess pub was demolished a few months ago after 70 years of buisness.
I very much enjoyed browsing through your site, it brought back quite
a few memories, especially the recollections of John Morgan,*
I too was a pupil at Armitage St School from 1938 to 1945 being taught
by Mr Sykes, Mr Eyball, Mr Houghton, Mr Beach and Mr Adams then came Mr
Derbishire and the notorious Mr (Pop) Price who was a master in the art
of giving you six of the best with a leather strap, if he missed your palm
on the way down you could guarantee that he would catch your knuckles on
the way back up. My last term at Armitage St was under the gentle guidance
of Miss Bentley a good teacher and I might add, a lady. During this period
after school activities were spent either playing Rallivo or in my case
delivering Newspapers for Gregsons with my old friend Roy Fisher, who, as
a matter of fact, lives over here in Australia. At least one night a week
was spent at "The Bug Hut" its proper name in those days was "The
New Central" and the usher was the spitting image of the old actor
Will Hay, one of his jobs was to get as many people as possible on the long
wooden benches situated down the front of the cinema, and in trying to get
another bum on the bench would cause the poor kid at the other to be pushed
off. Other Cinema's we frequented were, the Corona in Birch St, West Gorton,
the Coliseum the Apollo and the Ardwick Cinema (until it was bombed in 1941)
all in the vicinity of Ardwick Green. For a change, on some Saturday nights
we would attend a meeting at Belle Vue Speedway watching the likes of Frank
Varey, Bill Kitchen, and Oliver Hart perform. At this time we were living
in Bennett St Flats, or if you wanted to sound a bit up market, "Heywood
I could go on, but I don't want to bore you. Thank you once again for re-kindling old memories.
Arthur Percival, Mount Kembla Australia 19/04/04
Many thanks to Arthur for sending in this great piece of nostalgia, The webmaster
*read John Morgans stories below
I left the area (and home) in 1951,
to take up apprenticeship in carpentry.
later moved to Birkenhead, then SE Wales, Pontypool.
I recall cinemas..Savoy, Ardwick Cinema (bughut, bottom of Clowes Street just off Hyde road, another in Birch Street, agian just off Hyde road near the speedway at Belle Vue, forgot the name, another in Gorton road opposite Bayer Peacock , now that's a name in history of railways!!! I first came to classical music in that dirty old place, they played Dance of the Hours and other stuff before the film started and in between shows. Further down was The Hippodrome, and opposite that was one that got a bomb that flattened it, behind that in Stockport road another one, Still there I think, but probably a bingo hall or furniture outlet or something other than a movie house.
As time goes by one sometimes recalls the places of youth, I remeber one on Ashton New road where a girl friend shone the torch as an usherette. We used to canoodle in the dark when the film was running. Oh! happy day's.
Many thanks again, John
Great Stuff John, Keep it up.
I can give you chapter and verse about the days in west
Gorton, but unfortunately they came to an end when I moved out of the area
to go live with foster parents in Staffordshire.
However I still recall certain aspects of my early days. Like the walk up Belle Vue Street to the wonderland, the early version of Disneyland I suppose. It was all there, from flea circus to big top. boating to speedway, miniature railway to the 'bobs'. For the teens and twenty's there was dancing, and wrestling for the 'hard knocks'.
All for a shilling or so. I well remember the 'Candi' dancers outside the Hyde Road entrance and the enormous Guy Fawkes standing there in his leather boots, red outfit and wide brimmed top hat. Hemust have stood fifteen or twenty feet tall. What a shame he had to go up in flames on Nov 5th. But then came the fireworks, the show was stunning. Sometimes I used to climb on the roof of Brook House flats to watch, about half a mile away from Belle Vue, this when no cash was to hand to pay to get in. Another year I would take a chance and sneak in either through Redgate Lane entrance or over the wall in Kirkmanshulme Lane. What a little urchin I was amongst many of the same ilk. But didn't we have fun.
The tram or trolley bus ride down to the city centre was ok at time, especially if I could get some sucker to pay for me to go into the Free Trade hall to hear the Halle with that great guy in front, Barbirolli. I remember the Childrens choir singing Nymphs and Shepherds. Not with the famous boy tenor though, I have a copy of his recording on CD these days. Brings back memories even so.
There was a great victory show or fair in Piccadilly Gardens, there stood an actual V2 rocket for all to witness, a chap stood in front of the Victoria monument inviting Joe Public to throw coins at him, all sorts from farthings to half crowns were whizzing through the air, Crafty little tyke me, ran behind him and managed to get hold of about twelve shillings or so, I ate really well that day, I was only about Nine or ten but that didn't stop me going into an actual restaurant and getting a slap up meal, or at least I thought it was, and when compared to my fare at home I suppose it was. Then I actually paid to go into the Free Trade Hall to a concert. I remember that it was one and ninepence.
There was Grey Mare Lane market to have fun in as well, it was not until I returned at 15yrs that I started on the cinema thing. Although I had been a movie buff from when I first found about the 'tuppenny' rush on a Saturday morning at the old Coliseum ( I gave you the wrong info last time, the 'bughut was the Coliseum at the bottom end of Clowes Street, not the Ardwick Cinema, that was the one that took the bomb in the War) A penny to get in and a penny to buy sweets and pop. Sometimes we were up in the gods in the Savoy, then it was bomb the crowd below with toffee papers, used up chewing gum, and whatever came to hand, invariably to be thrown out before the main part of the show came on. Maybe one of the more daring and criminal minded would pee over the rail. That would really bring down the management in a fury. Then we would have to run for it.
A long day away would be up to Chadderton to fish in the mill lodges, catching carp and other small fish. One mill had water that was polluted with something, probably copper of some sort, as the bottom of the lodge was all blue. In that one someone had released goldfish, and they stood out against the blue of the bottom. As there was, nearly always, warm water, the mill lodges were like a tropical paradise for the fish I suppose. There was another warm water spot up at the Reddish canel, behind the Bulls Head in Houldsworth Square, there were goldfish in the canal there as well.
We used to paddle in the lake at Debdale park to get golf balls, then we would sell them back to the golfers for a penny or two each, yet another source of petty income. If only the tax man knew about all our little scams.
I remember the old brickworks in Reddish. The craters had filled with water over a period, and someone had put fish in at least one of the small lakes thereby created. I was playing about the old Blacksmith's forecourt one day when some one said there was a young boy in the brick pond. We all rushed over to see, natural nosy parkers as we were, only to see the limp body of the deceased youth being dragged out of the water and put into an ambulance. I supopose it could have been me in that 'hurry up' wagon had I been a water type.
I well remember the excitement when a lady named Nellie McGrail won £75 thousand on the pools. I think that was about 1945. She lived a few doors from us in Reddish at the time, I went to school for a very short period with her daughter, name escapes me. I often wondered what became of that widow and her daughter, maybe someone knows. I used to go to the British Restaurant (a sort of civilian NAFFI), for a filling and cheap meal. We were rationed food wise, and you had to take coupons to get your meal, but I knew the manageress (my step father fixed her car for her once or twice), and the coupons were not required from me. I really ate well and often.
I spent all summer adventuring about Reddish Vale, we had wars and jungle skirmishes and all sorts of marvelous times. Then we moved back down to that grotty place with the bed bugs in Margaret Street. I really did miss the days in Reddish.
After we moved from Margaret Street to Brook House, I got in with a new set of characters. Tony Sinacola, a boy named Burgess, a girl called Josie Lidell and my first real sweetheart, not reciprocated unfortunately, Miss Olive Buckley. Her mother was a lovely round little woman with a damaged leg, she had a caliper I think, but she really used to look on me as, possibly, the son she never had. Olive later married a soldier and the last time I saw and spoke to her was about 1952 or 53, I met her pushing a pram along Hyde Road near the bottom of Bennet Street. She was a real beauty as a teenager, in the mould of C.Z. Jones.
Another pal was Derek Malikan. A neighbour, Mrs Hill, used to look after us sometimes, Her son was Joe Hill, he was a lot older than me so we had little contact except he delighted in giving me a kick or a smack across the ear now and then. He was not a bully though, it was more that he resented me and my young brother eating into his family time I suppose. Further up the estate, I guess you could call it that, being a few acres covered with semi high rise brick buildings, lived another 'gang' led by an enemy called Alphonse Rossi, in retrospect he was a great kid, but we all went in fear of Rossi's gang. and carefully steered ourselves away from his sphere of influence as best we could. It was bit difficult at times as just near to the flat in which he lived was the central wash house where all the mamms and big sisters and aunts used to go and do the weekly laundry. I was often drafted in to carry part of the load home, this meant hanging about around the doors of the washhouse, we were not allowed inside, so was an easy target for one or more of that dreaded gang.
Another of our pet schemes was to swipe detonators from the locomotives in the shunting yard. Then we would bring them back to Brook House and placing them on the ground in front of the air raid shelters, we would climb on top of the roof and drop a brick down onto the detonator so that it would explode with a terrific bang. Needless to say, those days there would be many babies being born; military boys were being demobbed, they were coming home to a highly charged welcome from wives and sweethearts. The birth rate soared skywards, naturally. The ladies would be either feeding the babes or getting them off to sleep, when all of a sudden these dratted kids would be letting off bangers. Heads would appear at windows and balconies, and a screaming horde of women would heap a diatribe of invective on our heads. as we ran off laughing amongst ourselves. Right little rats we were in those days.
On the other hand Josie Lidell was a flirty young girl, given to giving me the come on. But when I actually tried it on one evening she smacked me in the face with the can of fish she had been to the shop for. I had a lovely shiner for about a month after that encounter. I wonder where Josie is today.
All for now, maybe more later .
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