Here are some more memories about people and events in Tilehurst

Armour
Around Tilehurst
Local Parks and Playgrounds
Pubs Schools
Shops, Companies and Work
Questions and Answers



Mike Keep has been talking to Pat Ager about growing up in the Triangle with lots of memories of the nurseries and the old shops and pubs too.

Stella Bird has sent in her memories of living in Armour Road.

And Mark Smith has contacted us to see if anyone knows anything about Joseph and Kathleen Crawshaw - a Tilehurst family.

We hope in the future to be able to add to these personal recollections and memories about places and events in Tilehurst, including:

Allotments
Cafes
Clay Pits
Fetes and sports on Victoria Recreation Ground
Garages
Scouts, Guides and Clubs
Village Hall

If you have any memories, stories, recollections or snippets about Tilehurst that you would like posted on this website, please send them in.
Click here for our contact details.

Please note that the information here is copyright and belongs to its respective owners. Any information is as recalled by the person; no assurance is given as to the accuracy of these recollections. If any facts are to be relied on, the onus is on that person to check the accuracy of the facts.

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This is a collection of memories about Tilehurst as told to Pat Ager.

Pat is a member of Tilehurst Globe.

As told by Vi

I was born in Oxford Road, then we moved to Bramshaw Road on the Norcot Estate, so I have spent most of my life in Tilehurst. I used to play in Tilehurst as a child but I would like to tell you something about the geography of the area.

There was a footpath where Links Drive is now, with allotments on the left and a grass field on the right which I believe was used as a golf course. This footpath went all the way to Water Road. There was Minchins Farm where Broomfield is now, with a barn at the bottom of Gypsy Lane (now Romany Lane). Where the Tylers Rest and Upcroft School is now were gravel and clay pits. Pylons supported a gantry type bridge with thick cables above the gantry and buckets suspended from them to carry the clay and gravel all the way to Water Road, where there was a brick kiln. The gantry was there to stop clay falling onto Norcot Road.

My sister and I used to play in McIlroys Park. From the age of five (my sister was seven) we would go to McIlroys and take our dolls pram, dolls, bat and ball, bottle of pop and sandwiches. We used to pick blackberries in late summer/autumn. We went there alone – this would be unheard of today. We also used to play marbles by cutting doors in old shoe boxes and trying to get them in the doors. We didn’t go into Lousehill Copse much because we found it spooky. I don’t know where the name Lousehill came from because we used to call it ‘The Munge’.

There was an Army Camp called Ranikhet in Church End Lane on the left as you turn in from Norcot Road. If you turn left into Hardwicke Road just before the road bends, there was a Sentry Post. A plane crashed where Riley Road is now – I believe it hit one of the pylons. The pilot was killed; I was told he was a Canadian. There was a caravan park at the bottom of which is now Chichester Road; it was owned by Cooper Brothers.

We never used Blundells Copse but we used to go to Arthur Newbery Park because there was a paddling pool there.

We also used to swim in the Lido in Scours Lane. There were changing huts and a boathouse by the river where you could use a punt and go down the Thames.

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As told by Ron

I was born in Dellwood Maternity Liebenrood Road. At the time my parents were living at 25 Ringwood Road, and we moved to 48 Gratwicke Road in April 1930. I went to Park Lane School. I passed an exam at eleven then went to Wilson Central School until I was fifteen. Before we moved we watched the house being built. It was built in six stages with several weeks delay between stages to allow for settlement and drying out.The price was £450 with a 25 year mortgage. The houses in the road were built by Francis Brothers, who had a yard in Armour Road.

  

This is the house where Francis ran its builders business. The yard is at the back. The fuel pump was in front of the house right by the pavement. The house has since been demolished and the site developed into residential housing, now called Francis Court.

The other large builder in the area was Haddocks.

Opposite our house there was an open field where cattle grazed while awaiting slaughter. The slaughterhouse belonged to the manor house which is still in Recreation Road. There were two other slaughterhouses in the village at the back of the butchers shops: Viviens in Norcot Road and Stevens in School Road.

Thicket Road and Bramble Crescent were built around 1936. We used to play at the bottom of Thicket Road (we called it the Green then). My friends and I used to play a game called ‘Tit Tat’. We had a stick about 1 inch round and 3 inches long which was pointed at each end – that was called the ‘Tit’ - and a bigger stick, about 12 inches long which we called the ‘Tat’. The object of the game was to strike the Tit with the pointed end of the Tat. This made the Tit fly up in the air and when it was in the air you hit it again with the Tat. The rules were quite complicated but basically whoever hit the Tit furthest won.

Off Norcot Road, where Links Drive is now, was a golf course. It was dug up before the First World War and turned into allotments. My father used to go down Norcot Road to the Golf Links then along a pathway through the allotments as a short cut to Water Road to where he worked at Colliers Kiln. On the other side of the road was Starkeys Kiln in Starkeys Lane, which is now called Dee Road. Wheelers brick kiln was in Kentwood Hill. Clay was carried to Colliers Kiln in buckets suspended on cables supported by a pylon structure. It was carried from the Norcot clay pit to Starkeys Lane, then tipped out and left to season for seven years, then carried to the kiln on a second overhead cable to Water Road. There was another kiln near where Prospect Park Hospital now stands. We used to call the hospital the Fever Hospital because it was an isolation hospital for treating people with scarlet fever etc.

A short distance down Langley Hill on the right was the entrance to the local cottage hospital, which was later Blagrave Hospital. A Mr Brown, who lived in Lower Armour Road, used to call round for a subscription of 1d or 2d.The subscriptions were used to build and maintain the hospital. Obviously, this was before there was a National Health Service.

My sister and I used to go to Lousehill Copse and collect cow dung, which we put into a cart and took to our allotment. In those days Lousehill was mainly fields with cattle. The area between where the chemist is now and McIlroys Park used to be called Beecham Hill, with a chalk pit on one side. There were several nurseries in Tilehurst, eg Toomers at the bottom of Chichester Road. Faulkners and Lansbury were in Recreation Road. There was also Dunsters nursery in Gratwicke Road and Keep and Duffin behind the houses where Bramble Crescent is now. There was a part of Blundells Copse that we used to call ‘the Withy’; it was a marshy area mainly over the other side of the stream. It was mostly Willow and Ash trees. People made baskets, chairs and even sofas from materials found there, plus our pea sticks. There was a bit of Blundells Copse which was fenced off, which was then called Starkeys Wood.

The house next to the telephone exchange in Norcot Road was a hand laundry. On the corner of Norcot and School Road, there was a sign which read “WEST END PARADE”; the School Road sign was below it. Mrs Darmandy’s sweet shop was in Blundells Road opposite the girls’ entrance to Norcot School and the girls’ playground. There was another shop opposite the school in Norcot Road. Other front room shops were North’s in Recreation Road, Rolf's at 32 Gratwicke Road and Gower's at 57 Gratwicke Road. They kept a book and you went in on a Friday (pay day) to pay your bill.

Blagrave recreation ground had a park keeper who would unlock the gate in the morning and lock it at night at times displayed on a board. The park keeper was a Mr Ilsley, whose brother was park keeper for Victoria Rec. The Ilsley’s also had the garage in School Road and the yard where Car Contacts is now. There were two hand operated pumps in front of their house which have now been demolished. There was also a shed and a large square extension ladder on cartwheels - a plaque said it was used as an ‘airship anchorage’. In the area opposite Berkshire Drive was Newbery’s Farm which had a model railway. As a Sunday School treat we would be taken there and given a ride on the model train.

If we went into town, it cost 2½d (tuppence hapenny) on the bus, but if we walked down to Church End Lane it would only cost 2d because that was a fare stage.

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As told by Robert

I was born in Recreation Road in January 1913. One of my first memories was having my tonsils removed – I was five at the time. This wasn’t done at a hospital but at home. My mother draped curtains around a trestle table and this was where the operation took place. I remember the doctor’s name, Dr Carmody, and his assistant was Nurse Bowles. There was a manor behind Recreation Road where the rector of St Michael’s church lived. We moved to Armour Hill when I was eight.

I went to Norcot School; we thought we were better than the pupils at Park Lane. We used to go on school trips each year to Brighton in an open-topped charabanc, there were three of them. The last year at school we were taught gardening by Mr Saul. We had small plots of land opposite the school where the Potteries are now. We could also go swimming; the pool was in Tilehurst Road about 300 yards from the junction with Liebenrood Road. I left school when I was fourteen – that would be in 1927. We could, if we wished, take a secondary exam and if we passed, could do two extra years at Wilson School.

When we were younger, we used to play hoop and stick along Norcot Road. There was hardly any traffic then, it was really just a track. Also we played marbles, and spinning top with a string.

My father worked building munition factories and aerodromes in World War I. When I left school, I joined Francis Bros., builders, as a joiner and carpenter. I did that for five years – three years as an apprentice and two years as an approver. I helped build some of the houses in Gratwicke Road. While I was at Francis Bros. I had an accident; my hand got caught in a spindle machine and I lost part of a finger on my left hand. I was taken to the doctor, who was on the corner of School Road/Armour Road, and then to the hospital at 2pm, operated on at 6pm and discharged at 10pm. It turned septic and I had to have it continually dressed for 12 weeks! I was off work but was paid 10 shillings a week. The doctor who I saw first was Dr Jones; there were two doctors in Tilehurst.

I was secretary for Tilehurst Cricket Club which is now Theale and Tilehurst Cricket Club, and I played football for Tilehurst, scoring three goals in my first match – that was never repeated. This was about 1930.

I worked for Collier & Catley, builders, for 2-3 years.

I met my wife Ursula in 1939 at the Gaumont Cinema. I had gone there with my friend, and she was sitting nearby with her sister. My friend had to go to the gents … she said to me “I think your friend can’t find his way back” and it carried on from there. At this time I was working for Miles Aircraft, Woodley, building small RAF training aircraft. Ursula was working nights in the fabric shop, which she was in charge of. We were married at St Michael’s Church in September 1940. We rented a top floor flat in Russell Street; the rent was £2 per week.

I was called up in 1944. I wanted to join the Royal Berkshire Regiment but had to join the Kings Royal Rifles. The training was initially in Norwich, then we finished our training in York at Bernard Castle. We were sent to Italy to reinforce the second battalion. We joined them at Naples, went on to Bologna, then Gradisca, which was on the border with Yugoslavia. There was always trouble along the border, that’s where the telephone wires were. The Yugoslavs would drag the wires into their side of the border then the Italians would try to drag them back and get captured.

After the war I got my job back at Miles aerodrome. They were taken over by Handley Page, then Adwest engineering making steering gears for car companies. Then I was a draughtsman on contract in Reading, from there I worked for Easams in Camberley, then Frimley working on computerised systems for Tornado aircraft. My wife and I were going to buy a house in Frimley but it fell through and we settled in Gratwicke Road. I stayed with Easam until I was 65. As a retirement present I was given two Waterford crystal brandy glasses and a book. I then got a job part-time with ICL in Reading doing photocopying. I got the job because I lied about my age – told them I was 60!

Now a bit about transport in Tilehurst. The bus service began at the White House – now The Victoria. The bus company was Thornycrofts and they were open topped. The driver sat on a long seat which, if the bus was full, passengers were allowed to sit on next to him. The bus went as far as The Pond House, then you had to get off and get on a tram into Reading town centre. The fare from the White House was 2 pence for adults and 1 penny for children.

Now something about the rest of Tilehurst. The main roads were Norcot, School and Armour. The water tower in Norcot Road used to supply water for Tilehurst; there was a tank at the top of it which was later removed. I remember the water tower by the Bear Inn being built. Apart from it being the highest point in Tilehurst, Langley Hill was so full of springs, the water would seep up onto the road surface. At one time they couldn’t get enough pressure so they had to drill more bore holes. I remember horses drinking from the trough in Park Lane which was situated in the right place, as horses had to pull carts up Langley Hill. The Victoria used to have a courtyard, and every Saturday a fish and chip van would arrive. Chips were 2 pence a portion and fish 4 pence; for children it was half that price.

Park Lane School was rebuilt between 1920-1930. The one there now is not the original building. Chichester Road was just a gravel lane which was called The Moors, a stream used to run across where the dip is now. Along Armour Road opposite Polsted Road was a Co-op shop. They had dividends even then. If you spent a certain amount you were given a metal disc or a ticket. Behind the Co-op was Warings Bakery. There was also Grants, the hardware shop. In School Road where the garage is now used to be Ilsleys carrier service. If you wanted anything from town, you could give them an order, they would get it for you and you could collect it in the afternoon. On the other side of School Road were a greengrocer, confectioners and chemist. There was also a butcher called Thacksters. He would buy cattle and sheep from the cattle market and butcher them himself. Where the hardware shop is now used to be a Blacksmiths. Most of the roads were gravel tracks and the cars in my younger years were like the ones in the film, Genevieve.

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As told by Audrey

I was born in Armour Road in 1924. My father’s name was Mr Duffin and he was in business with Mr Keep, of Keep & Duffin’s Nursery in Church Road. He had a car, an Austin, which was quite a novelty in those days. It had removable windows – the glass could be slotted in and out. My father used to take us on some good holidays in that car.

I went firstly to Park Lane School, passed an exam and then went to Wilson Central school.

This is a picture of the children in Park Lane School who passed the exam to go to Wilson School in 1935. Audrey is standing on the left.

The headmaster there was Mr Souch. We were taught Domestic Science which was everything to do with the home, including wallpaper hanging! We were taught to swim at the Kings Meadow swimming pool. They used the river water to fill the pool. Although the water was filtered, you could see tiny fish in it. As youngsters we were always roller skating. At school I was quite athletic and did lots of running representing Wilson School. I remember a pool attached to Grovelands School where they used to teach swimming to 5 and 6 year olds. We were also taught shorthand and typing at Wilson School.

Audrey was a member of the 7th Reading Girls Life Brigade. The picture is of the grand opening of the Tilehurst Youth Centre attended by the mayor. Audrey was also there. The Centre was later demolished when the Triangle area was developed.

I left when I was 14½ and went to work at Huntley& Palmers. They encouraged you to work your way up and I later became secretary to the Clerical Manager. They had good sports facilities there, and we had competitions against other companies – eg Peak Freans. They also had badminton courts, and you could do rifle shooting. I was with Huntley & Palmers for 16 years.

A few things about the war: I recall a German plane returning home and unloading its bombs, one narrowly missing Blagrave Convalescent hospital, by the Bear Inn. Under a government scheme workers came from Scotland to make metal steps for aircraft and they made other aircraft parts. My husband worked there. This was at the brick kiln in Kentwood Hill.

Around Tilehurst I recall a small library next to Arthur Newbery Park and a Salvation Army hall in Armour Road where we used to go and watch slide shows for a few pennies. I remember Warings bakery starting up in Armour Road. I used to deliver orders for them for a few pence – I was about 12 then. The Warings family were: Joan, Marie, Nora, Enid, Sidney and David. The girls used to serve in the shop when they were youngsters and the boys took over when their father died.

On the corner of Norcot and School Road was a greengrocers. In School Road there was Stephens (butchers), a bicycle repair shop, Bishops chemist and a gentlemen’s only clothes shop. Opposite the War Memorial at the Triangle was a haberdashers and a shoe shop. St Michael’s Road used to be called Church Road.

When my father was about 70, Reading Borough Council made a compulsory purchase order for my father’s business (Keep & Duffin).They wanted the land so that they could build houses; this is now Corwen Road.

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As told by Roy

I was born in May 1932 at Swansea Terrace, which is in Lower Armour Road. I went to Park Lane Junior School and then when I was 11 to Norcot School. Mr Saul was the head teacher there. Mr Ayres was our carpentry teacher and if you misbehaved he would throw things at you, but he was a very good teacher. There were air raid shelters for the children of Norcot School situated where Chichester Road is now.

I left school at 14 and became an apprentice mechanic for S D Motors in Oxford Road, servicing army vehicles. I then worked as a driver for Royal Berkshire Minerals, then on the railways. My final job was repairing lawn mowers – I was there for 37 years.

I did my National Service in 1950. I was in Africa and then Cyprus, and then back to Africa, to Egypt during the Suez crisis.

Now something about Tilehurst. There were a few poultry farms, one at Brooksby Road and one in Kentwood Hill. The one in Kentwood Hill was owned by Spencers, who also owned large parts of Tilehurst including the Highlands School in Wardle Avenue. There used to be a massive pit in Kentwood Hill (where the Potteries are now) where sugar was stored. During the War it caught fire. It burnt for ages and could be seen from quite a distance away. Along Armour Road was Bridges General Store, and Dawsons where we used to buy lemonade. About 200 yards before Wardle Avenue was a Salvation Army hall. Next to this was a thatched cottage where Eddie Smith lived. I remember buying meal from Dibleys shop (now the pet shop) to feed the pigs which we had on an allotment at the bottom of Polsted Road. We had a copper there which we lit to cook their swill.

We celebrated VE Day (1945) in Newbery Park. There were bonfires everywhere and someone set fire to the Furze bushes. Also in Newbery Park was an underground Command Post and air raid shelters; this was long before the children’s playground and swings were there. There was a doctors surgery on the corner of Armour Road and School Road, where either Dr McCormack and Dr Jones passed you fit (or not) for the Army. There was an aircraft that came down near Ranikhet Camp during the War and the pilot was killed. Some people say he was American, others Canadian. It was said he was flying low on a Sunday morning and hit a pylon.

There was a slaughter house (Viviens) in Blundells Road, also a little shop, which was really a hut, called Pringles. Opposite Blundells Road was a sweet shop. Pierces Hill was just a track but we used to call it The Dean. A gentleman called Mr Barnet lived at the top and he used to drive a beautiful four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage each Sunday around Tilehurst.

At the Triangle there were two buildings, a Post Office and a pub (The Plough) not to be confused with the one there now on the opposite side of the road. There was a large pond in St Michaels Road on the left where the frogs would return to each year. The Meadway was just a track and you could only go along as far as Prospect Hospital. Large parts of Tilehurst from The Meadway to Norcot were owned by a Mrs Routh. The area was eventually acquired by the Council.

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As told by Sylvia

I was born at Dellwood maternity home in Liebenrood Road. As a child I lived in Stone Street and played in the fields behind the houses. We used to go bird nesting – nothing untoward – we used to watch the birds, then go home and find out what type of birds they were. Further beyond the fields there was an Italian prisoner of war camp (where Loverock Road is now). The prisoners would make flowers out of wire and cotton and give them to us.

The school I went to was Wilson Central but it was taken over by the Americans in 1942 and used as a convalescent home for injured soldiers. From then on we had our lessons in a hut in Beecham Road and in Elm Park Hall. We used to walk to Prospect Park for PE. As a young girl, I went roller skating at Bamfords in West Street, where Primark is today. When I was sixteen my father said it’s about time you learnt to dance so I went along to the Oxford Road ballroom which was in Eaton Place.

My sister worked for Berkshire Printing; she would never tell me what they were printing as it was ‘secret’. My brother started work on the railways when he was 15, but after a while was told to leave as he was underweight, so he got a job driving a horse and cart for Wilson’s Bakery. Later he went back to the railways and stayed there for 40 years! I was an auxiliary nurse for a while at Park Hospital, which was called the ‘fever hospital’ – now Prospect Hospital. I then worked for the GPO (now British Telecom) as a telephonist. I always remember signing the Official Secrets Act and being told that I couldn’t go on holiday to any communist country.

When I married I moved to Staines but returned to Reading and moved into a bungalow in Park Lane. Next door one side was Butchers (builders), and on the other side was a coach depot. A lot of the area was still fields, but I do remember Breretons butchers, a grocers and florist in the row of shops where the Art shop etc. is now. Some of Mayfair had been built, about 30 houses on each side.

I do like Tilehurst but I don’t think it’s as friendly as it used to be.

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As told by Pam

I was born in 1953 at Battle Hospital. My sister and I are twins – I’m the elder by 17 minutes.

This is us standing in the lane off Norcot Road

I went to Norcot School. The Headmaster was Mr Turner. I recall a big hall and steep stairs leading to the Staff Room. The infant classrooms were nissen huts as was the canteen. I lived in Norcot Road so I didn’t have far to go to school. We played rounders at School and I remember doing a project on Cadbury’s. I recall when I was seven going to see the ‘Crazy Gang’ in London - it seemed that the whole of Norcot Road went. We all went in coaches.

This is a picture of the start of the grand outing to London.

I used to play at Blagrave Park which then had swings and a pavilion. Victoria Park also had a pavilion and a parkkeepers hut, that was situated where the small clump of trees are now. Arthur Newbery Park hasn’t changed much except there used to be a paddling pool and toilets there. Outside school, we used to play mainly in the clay pits – we used metal trays and slid down the side of them. They used to have a summer camp at McIlroys Park during the holidays, but I didn’t like it.

Our house in Norcot Road was built in 1930. It had gas mantles for light and an air raid shelter in the back garden. At the back of our house where BT is now, was a field with goats in it and where Beatty Drive is used to be allotments. The clay pits went right down as far as Rodway Road. In the gap to the Potteries in Norcot Road was a building where they used to make roof tiles. I remember them being stacked up outside. I went to Alfred Sutton School after I left Norcot School, which was quite a distance to travel as most of my friends went to Wilson.

When I left school, I worked at Littlewoods department store in Broad Street. Then in 1971 I joined the Royal Air Force. I was stationed at RAF Coltishall, near Norwich. I was a Survival Equipment Fitter, making sure parachutes and lifejackets were safe, also escape shutes on ejector seats. I returned to Reading in 1985.

There used to be a Jobs dairy in School Road next to the Methodist Church and my sister used to help on the milk rounds. There was a Post Office in Norcot Road where the Off Licence used to be. On the corner of Norcot and School Road was a greengrocer, after that it was an independent supermarket, and now a restaurant. Further along there used to be an independent school where the Plough (public House) car park is today. The bus terminus used to be at The Triangle.

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As told by Gil

I was born in Dellwood maternity home, Liebenrood Road in 1926. As a child I lived in Crescent Road and went to Park Lane school, then to Wilson. In my younger days I played for Tilehurst FC as goalie. We played at Victoria Rec. I remember the plane crash during the war, near Ranikhet army camp – it was a Dakota training aircraft. My friends and I went to have a look at it but the police wouldn’t let us get anywhere near. We used to go to the Rex Cinema (at the bottom of Norcot Road) on a Sunday because they used to show a ‘Sunday Special’ which was cheaper.

When I left school I trained as a baker at Dawsons in Oxford Road. I also worked for a while at Talbot Haulage and if things were slack we used to deliver coal. When I was called up for the Army, they asked what I did in civilian life. I said ‘a baker’ so I got sent to Catterick army camp as a baker. In 1945 the army sent me to Belfast because they had a bread strike over there. I left the army in 1946 and was married in 1953.

Around Tilehurst, my father told me, the original Post Office was on the corner of Victoria and Armour Road. My Uncle Wally and Aunt Ann had a dairy in Armour Road, in the stretch between School Road and Victoria Road. It was called the Tilehurst Dairy but as sold to Butlers, then to Jobs. Opposite Warings bakery in Armour Road was a general store run by Mr & Mrs Wakefield. Where the Trophy shop is now was Grants hardware store. Mr Broadhurst was warden of the Salvation Army building, which was a tin hut to begin with but was rebuilt during the years. Mr Broadhurst was also the manager of the clay pits. On the corner of Norcot and School Road was Marshalls, the greengrocer, next to that was Mr Ward’s sweet shop, then Osborne’s (clothes shop), Bishops (chemist), and a small bank. On the opposite side in School Road just past the Methodist Hall was Mr Noble, the chimney sweep.

I still live in Armour Road, which is where I’ve lived for the last 55 years.

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As told by Jim

I was born on 28th August 1920 in Fleet, Hampshire. I left school at 14. In 1934 we leased a shoe repair shop at 109 School Road, on the corner with St Michaels Road, in Tilehurst. The business had been going since 1906. Although still working in the shop, we moved to 87 Westwood Road in 1939. Our next door neighbour was a Mr Coates who was a type-setter and photo engraver. Also in Westwood Road lived a botanist, who used to catch butterflies. He worked at the Natural History Museum in London; his wife was a musician and when the house was emptied they brought out five grand pianos!

On the corner of Chichester Road and Church End Lane was Timms Nursery. A lot of people were moved to Norcot from Silver Street (known as a slum street) when they pulled down a lot of houses. There was a farm in Mayfair and a dew pond that came up in St Michaels Road which had to be channelled into Blundells Copse. It often flooded in St Michaels Road. I remember an elm tree completely disappearing in Langley Hill leaving a crater. Warings the bakery originally worked from a kitchen in St Michaels Road, then moved to Armour Road. Sidney Waring was a lay preacher. Next to our shoe repair shop in School Road was Matty Ferguson, the ironmonger, next to that was Mr Turner who was a Master Mason; he worked in St George's Chapel, Windsor. Opposite us was an undertakers who made coffins in a workshop at the side of the shop, this is where Bloors, the jewellers, is today. Also opposite was Johnny Good, the hairdresser (where the Co-op Funeral service is now), also a pease pudding and faggot shop. In the workshop next to the undertakers was Wicks that made aircraft parts during the war. There was also Southern Boilers and an estate agent. Councillor Sage had a dry cleaning shop.

There was a primary school where the Plough car park is today. There used to be an air raid shelter at the Triangle and a cherry tree that the children played around and then ate the cherries when in season. Also at the Triangle was the Little Plough pub, the landlady's name was Kate - she used to leave beer on her window sill for the local bobby! Joe Avery lived near the pub. He fell out with us because we wanted 2s 6d to put steel tips on his boots.

I was called up in 1940 into the RAF. I was trained as a fitter armourer. I spent most of the War in Iraq assembling planes for the Russians. Getting there took 12 weeks as we couldn't go through the Suez Canal and had to go round the Cape (Africa), then up to Bombay and get to Iraq from there. They used liners to get us there, in convoys with 3,000 troops in each ship. Two of the merchant ships in our convoy were torpedoed off Port Elizabeth, and the convoy scattered and headed for Durban.

When the war ended, I went and worked in the shop again, which closed in 1992. It was then that I moved to Woolhampton.

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