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


                     We all had to do Jobs and the pocket money had to be earned – 2 pence paid on Saturday, 1 penny for pictures, 1 penny for sweets. A penny bought a lot in those days, we would spend ¼p at a time on such things as sherbet dabs, liquorice laces, calorbonas and gob stoppers. We were always trying to earn extra pocket money which we would save up to spend on the outings which came our way (more about them later on).  

                      All us boys had to go to Sunday school which was held at North Road school. We used to look forward to the Sunday school outings and I remember going to Burnham Beeches, by horse brake twice and to Hampton Court by tram. That’s when our extra earned pocket money came in handy. Christmas time the Sunday school teachers used to organise a pantomime and tea party, when prizes would be presented and there would be a bun and orange for all the children at the end.  

                      Southall itself was growing very rapidly and building was going on all around. We used to have to take my father’s breakfast and dinner to him over to Windsor Road when those houses were built. My eldest brother had to take Mr. Wells’ dinner down to the Gas Works 5 days a week for 6 pence, and do a paper round, which took him from the High Street as far as Osterley Lane for 1/6 (7½p) per week. When he eventually left school at 13 ½ he started work at Abbott Bros. , beehive and cabinet makers, whose works were in the High Street, for 1 penny per hour (58 hour week, with prospects of 1 ¼,d hr. after 1 year’s service.  

1913 – 1914  

                   When at the age of 9 (1913) it was time to go up to the “Big School”, as we called it, Mr. Payne was the headmaster and my teacher was Miss Dry. Things to look forward to in those days were Empire Day, when all the scholars would line up in the playground, sing patriotic songs, be addressed by some notable public person, salute the flag and cheer like mad when 1/2 day holiday was given; also the yearly sports day, this was usually held the first Wednesday in June. Great competition between schools, with races going on all day and the prizegiving in the evening, all of which was organised by the teachers, plus refreshment tents. Discipline was very strict in the classrom and if you misbehaved you were sent to the headmaster for the punishment book and cane; and after receiving several of the best it was entered in the book, and you had to return it with cane. You had to sit in class and not talk.