Two big Builders Merchants, Broads in Park Avenue and Wiggins and Sankeys at Hayes Bridge. Wimpeys had established a large depot in Lancaster Road. There were four laundries, Holly Lodge, Frogmore Green; Corbiere, Oswald Road, Scotch Thistle, Regina Road and the largest Southall Economic, Norwood Road. They have all now closed, the last to go was the Southall Economic in 1973 after 48 years. During the Second World War they had the contract for the laundry of all the United States Forces stationed in the area.
A great many Southall people used to work in Hayes. There were several large factories there – HMV, Nestles, British Electric Aolean Piano Works to name just a few. Also, on our southern border, Heston aerodrome was taking shape but, as yet, aeroplane noise hardly noticeable. It was here that Mr Neville Chamberlain landed from his visit to Hitler in Munich and waved the signed agreement pledging ‘Peace in our Time’ on 31st September, 1938.
Like the rest of the country Southall became aware that another war was a possibility and, at the end of October, 1938, orders were issued for everyone to attend at various centres to be fitted with gas masks. They had been brought from London stores by the St John Ambulance Brigade, just enough for all to be registered for size. Also, in 1938, a start had been made on a new Civic Centre. Having purchased part of the St Joseph’s School on the right hand side of South Road, a start was made on a contract worth £83,000, by Dove and Co.; a very extensive cellar complex had almost been completed when the work was stopped by the outbreak of war. These were used by the ARP.
A telephone system was installed and manned 24 hours a day ready to deal with any emergency. Stocks of various kinds of tinned food and gas masks and first aid equipment was accumulated. These cellars were all that was built, for, after the war ended, the plan was scrapped and they were sealed off for several years but, in 1981, plans have been approved for them to serve as a nuclear bomb fall-out shelter. The whole site is now occupied by the new Hambrough School, opened in 1981.
In 1935 it was costing £81,493 a year to run Southall. Besides this £96,466 went to the Middlesex County Council and to the Police £15,083. The town’s loan indebtedness was £828,759 – £17.15.1 d per head of the population. This was more than double what it was in 1925. The rateable value of the district was £338,376 and a penny rate produced £1,370. The net amount raised by the rate of 10/4d in the pound was £169,880, equal to £3.12.9d per head of population. This compared with £3.0.6d in 1930, and the net expenditure was £193,381.
The population in 1938 was 51,560 and the rates were 12/3 in the pound.
Mr T. G. Tickler, whose Jam Works were renowned for the First World War ‘Plum and Apple’, had himself done great service in the town and had been a Parliamentary candidate, died on January 19th, 1938, aged 85. Also, on the 26th December, 1938, Mr R. W. Baxter died at South Lodge, aged 82.