Help for the Old Folk
What a long way we have come in 1982 from the ‘Bad Old Days’ when all, or nearly all, old folk had little to look forward to and, if relatives could not or would not look after them, would finish up in Poor Law Care. Things have gradually been improving since the First World War. Pensions have gradually increased (most insist by not enough) but no one need be in want. In Southall, as in most places, it was the churches which used to run Mothers Meetings and Thrift Clubs. Over the years the Council and Social Services have done a tremendous job. Special OAP bungalows and still more are being built in Havelock Road. Three splendid homes – ‘The Limes’ Bridge Road, `Martin House’ Swift Road and ‘The Cedars’ Norwood Green, and Eventide Home, Telford Road which was privately subscribed for. Meals on Wheels and regular visits from the Nursing Service tend to those who are housebound, and some are lucky enough to have a holiday at the seaside at one of the Council’s Holiday Homes. Also there are two OAP Workshops, one in Feather-stone Terrace and one at Spikes Bridge, where easy little light jobs are done, and a small amount earned — but the main object is to relieve boredom. But the old people have not been slow in organising themselves. The churches now run OAP Clubs in the afternoon — ‘Silver Threads’ Community Centre, `The United Old Folks Club’ held on Mondays at the Working Men’s Club Salisbury Road, ‘Old Folks Club’ held at Adelaide Road Depot, St Anselm’s
Old Folks Club held in St Anselm’s Church Hall, Baptist Church ‘Leisure Club’ Western Road, Salvation Army Old Peoples Club on Thursdays at Citadel Adelaide Road. Most try to be self-supporting and a great many ways are used to raise funds. A cup of tea is a must and the organisers try to find talent to entertain. One person who should be mentioned — Mrs Doris Hicks (nee Marwood) — who was one of the first to organise a club. For 27 years she ran the United Old Folk and ten years the ‘Salisbury Road Club’. She was blessed with a strong contralto voice – a member of the Kings Hall Choir for 50 years – so she was able to entertain. She died in January 1981.
The BRCS run a disabled Club and the Hard of Hearing also run a Club. Both at the Community Centre.
There are, of course, more Women’s Clubs – Southall and Norwood Women’s Guild, the ‘Friday Club’ at Youth HQ Park Avenue, but this is a general club. Since so many of our Asian friends have settled in the town they have formed clubs of their own and organised a meal service at the Temple in Havelock Road. So what a turn round! If they wish and are fit, there is no need to be lonely. Home helps are laid on by the Social Services, whose job it is to keep the house clean and do some shopping. All clubs open to men and women but the men also have their own clubs, Working Men’s Club, Fairlawn Hall Conservative Club, Labour Hall Uxbridge Road all these three are in the headlines now and again because, due to their rules, Asian membership is not allowed. Not clubs, but provided by the Social Services – a Workshop for the Disabled The Albert Dane Centre Western Road, the new Clinic in Featherstone Road and another in Northcote Avenue, two social services buildings in Bridge Road, Speech Therapy and Nursery School in North Road. I have not troubled to itemise the opening dates of the above but no doubt that will be revealed as you read this book through.
Catering for the Young
From about 1912 the Scouts Movement in Southall has done quite a good job training young boys and girls to be good citizens. From the original first three troops other troops were formed. The 6th Southall (Trojans) was formed in 1933 by Mr and Mrs Frank Bluett, and used to meet at Mount Pleasant Hall. This troop was formed to cater for boys on the Waxlow Estate. There were other troops at the Kings Hall, Norwood Parish Hall, St Anselm’s and Salvation Army which was known as the 10th Southall. So great was the interest that there was a waiting list for some troops. Summer Camps were held and a great many useful subjects taught. Then came the Cubs and Brownies, aged from 8 years. What a lot of dedicated people were those who came forward as leaders. Over the years, through sheer hard work, they have managed to get their own Headquarters in Cranleigh Gardens, and now the Trojans have their own Headquarters in Allenby Road on land leased from the Borough. This was opened in October 1975 by Mr T. Bluett who had started the troop and was now District Commissioner.
As always, some of the old faithfuls have passed on and those left have found, to their regret, that several troops have lapsed due to lack of leaders. But, as long as Scouting goes on in the town, the names of Mr and Mrs F. Bluett, Mr and Mrs Crews and Mr and Mrs W. Vale will always be remembered.