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



( Chanted by us kids ). 

Mr. Payne ( Reid’s ) a jolly good man. He goes to church on Sunday to pray to God to give him strength to cane the boys on Monday. 

( On Band of Hope outings  Shouted from the brakes ). 

We’re all teetotallers here, we don’t want none of your beer. Shut up your public houses, we’re all teetotallers here! 

( During Election times ). 

Vote, vote, vote for old Burney. Kick old Chamberlain out the door. For Burney is our man and we’ll have him if we can, and we don’t want Chamberlain any more. 

( Advice to us from my father ). 

Having got to the allotment one Sunday morning my father was very annoyed because I had forgotten something. He said: “Son, never go about the neighbourhood without a hat”. And when I asked why, he said: “You’re that bloody wooden-headed and there are so many woodpeckers about that you daren’t take the risk!”. Since then I have always worn a cap. 

( A true story from Otto Monsted’s – Maypole ). 

Six men had been discharged one Saturday morning in 1899. Among them was Jimmy Lovall, a big strong man but a bit of a simpleton. He was a very henpecked man and no doubt got a good telling off for getting the sack. So he turned up as usual for work on Monday morning, and the foreman found him on the melting floor, where he had left off on Saturday. He sent him to Mr. Birch, personnel mnager, to whom Jimmy told of his telling-off by his missis. 

He got his job back and I saw him get his 25 year service medal; and of course he got a small life pension when the works shut down. His wife worked in the works laundry during the War. 

( A Knock-out ). 

When it came to spring cleaning time at Mrs. Norman’s, Clare Lodge, where I was a houseboy, the carpets would be taken up and she would borrow a lad from Abbott’s to give me a hand to beat them. They hung over a line, he on one side with a carpet beater, me with a walking stick on the other. Both were bashing away when unbeknown to me he leaves off and comes toward the carpet to say something. The next thing I knew he was lying stretched out on the lawn unconscious, with a lump on his forehead as big as a duck egg where I had hit him with my stick. Taken into the house he said that it was an accident. Later I took him home to Bankside Cottages, Hayes Bridge. Later on he married a great friend of mine and we had a good many laughs about it. 

( Hard work. Quick wit ). 

When Wimpeys started developing the Greenford estates the gangers they employed for their road work were real hard slave drivers. Labour being very plentiful it was their practice to get everything possible out of their gang, and then sack a few each night at an hour’s notice. This would put the fear of the sack in the others to keep them going. One ganger walking along found one man with a straight back and bawled at him to get a move on, to which the man replied: “All right, Rome wasn’t built in a day”. To which the ganger answered: “No, but it might have been if Wimpey’s had had the contract”.