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


( A fair cop, but friends ). 

Walter Moore’s plantation was our venue for a scrumping expedition. It ran along the side of the canal towards Spikes Bridge. Four of us boys went along the towpath and I was left as dodger-out while the others went in to get the apples. Unbeknown to us we had been watched by the ranger Tom Farrance, who grabbed me, dragged me some distance from the hole, and I got several swipes from his stick. I ran off leaving him to catch the others. 

In later years Tom became Propagating Officer on the Parks Department and a great friend of mine, as members of the Southall Horticultural Association. 

( A meal in advance ). 

A new man had started in the gang my father was working with when Windsor Road was being built, and when it came to breakfast time the next day it was noticed that he was not eating. On being asked why, he said his wife was always too lazy to make him a breakfast in the morning, so he had it last thing at night. 

( Costly smokes ). 

Mr. Plaistow was noted for being very bad tempered on Monday mornings, and when he was building St George’s Church Hall, Lancaster Road he appeared one Monday morning and approached one of his men. “I have been watching you make that cigarette. How many do you smoke a day?”. “About 30”, said the man. “Well, you were six minutes making that one, so if you make and smoke twenty in my time, that’s two hours I get no work done. You will finish up tonight”. 

( Just a joke ). 

Whilst at Manston Camp in 1926 with 317 Coy. R.E. ( T.A. ) several of us had time off in Margate. Larking about on the beach Johnny Jee fell fast asleep. Gently we covered him all over with sand except his face. We placed his hat on his chest, and with stones made the letters R.I.P. We then moved some distance away. You can guess what happened. He woke up with a group of people around him having a good laugh. He was not amused, but forgave us later. 

( A catch ). 

One of the trick questions which we used to try out on strangers was; “How many Streets do you think there are in Southall?”. 

The right answer is “7” 

High Street; King Street; White Street; Spencer Street; George Street; Johnson Street; Clarence Street. It is still so today.