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


South Road etc. 

                         The scenes and sounds were vastly different to what they are today. No noisy planes, no shrieking sirens from Panda cars or ambulances. The police plodded the beat or had bicycles. They also had rolled capes, which they used as a weapon if us kids asked for it. If an ambulance was wanted it would be horse-drawn. The post men wore a uniform of dark-blue serge with red piping, and a hard fore-and-aft peaked hat. Railwaymen and tramway men also had a uniform, and a strict discipline was maintained as to how it was worn. The first trams I remember had slat seats on the open top deck and at the terminus the conductor had to turn all the backs round. They were on a pivot. Also the long arm which went up to the overhead electric wire had to be pulled down with a hook on a long bamboo cane and turned around. The turning point for Southall-only trams was, “Haddrell’s Corner” ( Herbert Road ). South Road used to house most of the prominent people of the town – Doctors Windle, Hart, Macdonald; two dentists, Green and Dunkings; two solicitors, Harris and Holder; the Postmaster, A. Hanson; an architect, Mr. Norman; Mr. Sanders, head of Sanders tube works; three builders, Brown, Kirby, Plaistow; a retired hospital matron, Miss Smithers; the Wesleyan manse; and Mr. W.W. Houlder, head of Houlder’s chemical works. All these were on the left hand side. On the right were: a bank on the corner; Arnold’s tobacconists; Edward and Thompson’s estate office; Eastman’s dyers and cleaners; ruins ( Townsend House ); a cinema; Fuller’s, boot repairs; Kirby’s; offices; a small Salvation Army hall; Gibson’s yard, in which were Kirby’s workshops; Hudson, plumber; Edward and Thompson’s auction room over the top of R. White’s mineral water storage warehouse; Northcote House, home of Mr. G. Gibson, who was Southall’s first county councillor; The Marylebone School, with three houses for staff all behind a close board fence; Gate Lodge with ornamental gates; a field where now stands the Kings Hall; and the head post office , on the corner of Beaconsfield Road. For years on the other side was the burnt-out ruins of Jarvis, coffee shop ( burned down August, 1887 ). Later the Central Hall was built there. 

                         When Otto Monstead’s margarine works came to Southall they brought with them a fair number of Danish staff. This was in 1894. They settled in very well. The works manager, Mr. Michelsen, lived at “The Chestnuts” ( now the Southall hospital ), built by Mr. T. Watson as a resident, and later rented to the Working Men’s Club. He moved to Ealing when the works closed in 1929. The chief chemist, Mr. Blickfeldt, lived at Vine Cottage, Park View Road ( now the site of the youth centre ). The rest settled in various parts of the town and were all well respected.