The Featherstone Arms Public House was built in 1832 and has hardly changed at all except that it was a beerhouse only, now fully licensed. Next comes A. & B. Hanson’s yard and offices They became established in 1850 and settled in what used to be the old workhouse. The firm became very prosperous as building contractors, erecting many well-known pubs, schools, cinemas and other public buildings. They were also funeral undertakers, making coffins in their workshop. The Hanson Family had a great deal to do with local affairs, which I will deal with later ( Appendix 2 ).
An older cousin of mine started with the firm in 1909 as office boy and was a Director when it closed in 1977. He lived for over forty years in one of the two houses and offices attached to the yard.
On the corner of Featherstone Road and Hartington Road is a piece of land which has always been known as the “Bath Site”. It was left by will for the express purpose as a site for slipper-baths. At the time it was left, houses were being built all around the area in 1890 – 95, but hardly any had a bath. Various uses have been made of parts of it. The R.A.F. Cadets and the Pride of Murray Pipe Band both had huts, and an attempt was made to turn it into a childrens’ playground but, so far, there are no plans to put it to its intended purpose. Of course, more houses now have baths fitted, but the fact remains, baths would still fulfill a useful role and would be much better than the eyesore the site is at present.
Hartington Road gets its name from the Liberal statesman who became Duke of Devonshire in 1891. In Hartington Road left-hand side is now the Headquarters of Southall Division of the St John Ambulance Brigade. The hall formerly belonged to St John’s Church and was used for social functions. In the 1939-45 war, it was taken over by the Civil Defence and became a feeding centre. When the war ended it was allowed to become derelict until 1947, when it was purchased by the Brigade for £3,000. With the financial help of the public and a great deal of voluntary labour, it was formally opened in June 1950 by Dr. Charles Hill, then the “Radio Doctor”, but not before the Borough Council had thought fit to force a public enquiry on area planning grounds – there being at the time a 10 – 15 – 20 year development scheme for the area which, so far in 1980, has still to get off the ground.
At the rear was Avery & Vincents Joinery Works, established in 1902 – now part of Abbess Ltd. ( formerly Abbott Brothers ).
At the corner of Queens Road and Hartington Road was a corner store, and it was here that William Gardiner came to, after he had been acquitted in the Peasenhall murder case ( Appendix 1 ). He was the grandfather of the Wilmot family. Mrs. Wilmot was well-known for her help and care for others as a St John’s Nurse, and Ernie founded a Coach and Car Hire Service which, unfortunately, had to be sold up due to his bad health.
Following straight on from Featherstone Road is Dudley Road ( named after Sir Henry Dudley, writer of comic opera ). On the North side, ten shops and houses to its junction with Sussex Road. The “Lord Wolsey” Public House, built in 1908, was in the licence of Mrs. E. Osborn and, after she retired, it was taken over by “Lofty” Chapman. On the South corner is Dudley Road School, built in 1896. This housed mixed Juniors, also a small woodwork and cookery centre ( now being used as a school clinic ). All the houses were built around 1895-6.
Sussex Road ( named after the Earl of Sussex ) leads through to Western Road, Scotts Road ( from Scotts Emulsion ), Balfour Road ( after Lord Balfour, M.P. in 1902 ) and Clarance Street ( after the Duke of Clarance ), branching off on the right-hand side. Moore’s Grocery and Post Office, and Goodchilds, Butchers, on the Corner of Dudley and Sussex Road were well respected tradesmen.
Between 61 and 91 there used to be a block of thirty small flats with a railed balcony. These were pulled down in 1969 and the site is now a Council-sponsored Adventure Playground. Ten more houses brings us to Spencer Street ( after Earl Spencer ) on the North side of which was “Hope Hall”, a small mission hall, and twenty-eight two storey flats which were the worst slum property in Southall. These were all pulled down in 1936 and the site still stands vacant.