Growing-up With Southall From 1904 (Memories of R.J. Meads)


                         This is my memory: In those days the Windsor to London marathon used to pass through Southall. A group of us boys were playing about waithing for the runners, when someone threw a stone which cracked a side window. We all made a run for it and finished up near Dormers Wells Lane. We heard nothing about it; Abbot’s – they used to ring a bell for the men to start work, and Mr. Tingay, who used to be timekeeper, lived next door to us. They had no children and were very good to us, and I have happy memories of the Christmas party they used to give us; H. Jiggins, brother of W. Jiggins opposite – was a good, very henpecked man and very strong chappelgoer; Chaplin’s – my brother Tom was the oilshop boy and used to deliver paraffin and goods on a bicycle with a big basket carrier on the front. Much later on my mother took shelter in their cellar during air raids; Clifton-Brown’s hat shop – they used to live over the shop and we used to supply them with vegetables from the allotments. One day my mother sent me with a note. For some special occasion she wanted a new hat. Mrs. C-B put a selection of hats in a box for Mum to choose one, after which I had to take them back, The one Mum kept was 4/9 ( 27 ½p ). We were on friendly terms with the family until they died at their home “Old Garden”, Norwood Green. They moved their business into South Road in 1939, when once again the High Street was going to be widened; Singer’s – the lady in charge used to demonstrate the machines in the window, and her daughter was in my class at school;  Salter’s – he was killed in the war, and later the shop was turned into a sweet shop run by Mr. and Mrs. Allen, who was previously assistant at Beckett’s; the “George and Dragon” ( Mr. Ford ) – this was a square shaped building straight off the pavement ; Sherman’s with yard at the side – a very good plumber. My brother started work as plumber’s boy for 7/6 ( 37 ½p ) per week in 1914; Lot’s – small grocery business. He had to close being called up in the Army, and was killed in France; Wilding’s – this was our on the way to school sweet shop, always had a big selection of things for ¼d. Sissy Wilding was my childhood sweetheart ; Anstis, butcher – Mum used to deal there. He gave me a puppy and I used to call on the way home from school for bones. His only son died from meningitis through over study; Etherington’s  – he used to come around twice a day with a milk float. There were churns and cans in those days, and Dad used to have manure from the stable at the rear, which we had to fetch away by wheelbarrow; the “White Hart” ( Mr. Fewkes ) – during market day ( Wednesday ) the scene of gypsies trading horses and running them up and down to prove their fitness; Harry Girdler, the blacksmith, had his forge in the “White Hart” yard. He was a very jovial man and coming home from school us boys would watch him at work and sometimes there would be a horse or a job to be delivered, a penny earned; Quinion’s  – already mentioned but Leslie was my great schoolmate.