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


Our Own House. 

                         Early in 1922 our landlord died and in April we had notice our house would be up for sale with all his other property. The sale was held in the “George and Dragon”. I had left work at 2 o’clock and Mother asked me to go along. It was announced that Mr. Brown wished that his tenants should have the first chance to buy. Most did, but I had to come home and tell Mother that they had all been sold for £300 each, except the end one which was slightly bigger and sold for £345. Ours had been held over till 12 o’clock the next day to give us time to find the money. After a big rally-round the money was paid to the agent in the morning. No. 2 ( now 17 ) Cambridge Road was ours. Solidly built, bay fronted, with garden back and front, three up and three down, outside toilet and coal house, it was in our family till 1956 when it was sold by my brother’s widow for £3,200. We thought that was inflation, but in September 1976, noticing one of these houses was up for sale, out of curiosity I enquired the asking price. £11,500! 54 years older, and not altered in any way – but £11,200 more. If that isn’t inflation gone mad! 

Growing Up, Begining to Show. 

                         Just about this time, for what reason need not be stated, I had been in conflict with my mother and decided I would join the Army. So I made my way over to Hounslow Barracks to join the Royal Hussars. Finding the recruiting sergeant I told him I was 18. He told me to wait, and whilst doing so the R.S.M. came in. He asked me my age in such a bullying way that I told him I was 17 ½. He told me to go home and come back when I was 18. Maybe it was for the best. 

                         During the summer 4 of us used to spend week-ends in a punt on the Thames. We would go down to Romney Lock, Windsor by cycle, hire a punt for £1 plus £2 deposit and with provisions and a Primus stove enjoy ourselves till Sunday evening, then ride home. 

                          Southall High Street on Sunday evenings got the name of “Monkeys Parade”, the reason for this was the habit of lads and lasses parading up and down trying to catch the eye of someone they fancied. Some of course did pair off, and maybe that is how the tunnel under the railway got nicknamed “Devil’s Tunnel”.