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


Some Personal Recollections. 

                        I had started courting again. This time the young lady lived in the “Rising Sun” cottages and for three months this meant walking at all times over there to meet her, and walking back home to Cambridge Road after seeing her home. This was a distance of about 2 miles each way, part of which was through Clifford’s rhubarb fields. A footpath used to go from the old “North Star” to the “Rising Sun”, Cranford. It all finished after a good bust up. I called for her but was told she had gone to Heston Fair. In those days this was held on the first of May and in the streets near the church. I found her and did not like what I saw, so that was that. They say love is blind, but looking back now I think I should have had my head examined earlier. 

                        My mate Bob got himself a motor bike, an Enfield, and of course I had to get one. So when a 2  3/4 h.p. belt-drive Douglas came along it was mine for £27. ( I was still making money from gardening ). The 5/- ( 25p ) you paid for a driving licence entitled you to drive any type of vehicle. Now we could show off, and we went to the Isle of Wight over the Easter week-end 1923. There was a nice group of lads and lasses from the works who used to get about together, some pairing off eventually. I myself was doing my best to court a young lady who lived in Marlow Road. With the motor bike things began to go my way. Soon I offered to take her to visit her sister at Reading. So we started off one Sunday morning, but rounding the corner into Cranford Lane I skidded and we both came off. Shaken but not hurt we both carried on, only to run into a thunder storm just before we got to Reading. We arrived soaking wet. After drying out it turned out fine and we enjoyed ourselves and had a safe ride home. But the romance did not blossom. 

                        My mate Bob and I made good use of our motor bikes, going several times to my friends the Willis family, who had moved to Barnwood from Trowbridge to take charge of the boilers after helping to install them at Barnwood Asylum. His son George, the same age as us, had also got a motor bike so we saw a great deal of the Gloucestershire countryside. One Sunday evening in September we found ourselves at the old Heston Airport and noticed that people were queueing up to take a flight over London lasting ½ hour in a 3-seater biplane, fare 15/- each. Although it took all the money we had with us we made the trip. What a thrill, we went as far as Tower Bridge and back.