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


Territorial Service. 

                         In February 1923 Bob and I joined “B” Company, 8th Batt., Middlesex Regt. T.A. at the Drill Hall, Church Road, Ealing. Capt Parmeter was commanding officer and the resident Sergeant Major Tom Baynum. We made a great success of this and won 4 cups between us, taking part in all that was going on and being best recruits of the year. We used to go to Bisley for rifle practice, fire our course on the range in the morning and do service as markers in the butts in the afternoon, or vice versa. This was always on Sundays. It was part of your service obligations which were a minimum of 15 drills , firing a course and 14 days annual camp. The yearly bounty was £2:5:-. Our first camp was at Seaford. I enjoyed it – 1/- ( 5p ) per day, but plenty of good sport and exercise. 

                         We went to Shoreham to camp in 1924 but before that, in February, we attended a dinner at the Great Central Hotel in honour of the Middlesex Regiment, in the presence of its Colonel-in-Chief the Prince of Wales. Then, on the 9th May, we formed a guard of honour with 80 more marching four abreast with the Grenadier Guards into the Stadium when the King opened the Wembley Exhibition; and on Saturday 6th June the Regiment formed a guard of honour at Brentford when King George opened the Great West Road. 

                        Just after the summer camp at Shoreham with the 8th Coy., T.A. Bob and I were persuaded to transfer to the newly formed 317 Company ( Searchlight ) R.E., T.A. which had been started at the Southall Drill Hall. We were both promised promotion. This did not take place, and it turned out to be a great mistake. It was not a happy company. We had to go to the Rainham range for our rifle course and the summer camp was at Downham in Kent. Excersise was mostly at night. The 1926 camp was at Manston Aerdrome, and I was not sorry when my four years T.A. service was finished. 

                        I chose for the title of this book “Growing up with Southall from 1904”. My growing up is now complete. I am 21, a man. My upbringing made me clean both in habits and in mouth. Having to work hard to get what I wanted has made me realise the value of money. I was brought up to know right from wrong and made to know what to expect if, as we all do as youngsters, I went a little off course. I used to be proud to say I was born in Southall, but most unfortunately things have changed so much for the worse that when asked the same question in 1978 one tells the truth with some misgiving. Southall has had many different names in its history; but when walking through the streets with even public notices displayed in three different languages maybe perhaps another change, such as “Southallabash” would be in order. Who could have forseen what has happened in 74 years. From a vestry of Uxbridge to an urban district ( Southall-Norwood ) to a borough ( Borough of Southall ), only to become part of the Borough of Ealing. Even Middlesex has vanished from our postal address. A population of just over 11,000 has risen to 33,000 ( 1925 ) 

                        I cannot say how greatful I am to the teachers of North Road Schools who made you learn. I am proud to be an old Maypolean; my 7 years working there gave me a great start in my working life. 

                        In writing these memories I have at all times tried to be as factual and impartial as possible. Maybe one day I may attempt to carry on and try to record more of the growing pains of Southall, which I am sure will be a great deal more difficult. It is my hope that whoever reads my efforts will get some idea of how Southall developed. 

                                                                                                                                       R.J. MEADS