Well, I was born and bred at 19 Nottage Road which was, at that time, part of a very small village of Newton. Things were different in those days. Everybody knew each other and spoke to each other. We had no cars, of course, so people had to meet when using the bus.
Just about every boy in the village sang in St. Peter’s Church choir, except those who were members of Paraclete Chapel in Newton Road. The only local Primary School was in Nottage Road.
There were two shops in Nottage Road; Mrs Beynon’s grocery store, which was pretty much opposite our house, and Mrs Skilbeck/Fred Powell’s newspaper shop.
The opposite side of the road had the ‘even’ numbers and those whom I remember from those days – starting at No.2, were;
- The Smiths and their son Malcolm – nickname Gruber!
- Mrs Baglow.
- A group of terraced houses including the Hoppes, Mrs Davies and my mate’s Lindon Lewis’s, where I was introduced to Cottage Pie. Lovely. They actually lived in an empty shop. The outstanding features of which were a telephone (one of only two in the street!) and a refrigerator, which always seemed to contain some of the old Wall’s ice-creams. Do you remember them? They were small, round ices, and were frozen bloody solid!
- The Butchers. Mr Butcher was one of many Gardeners who seemed to thrive in those days, and his son Tommy. Tommy was an extremely shy, quiet young man, who spent his working-life serving in Cash Hardware Store in Mumbles. We would have to go there with our 6 pence to get slugs for our airguns!
- Another row of terraced houses including Mrs Luckham and son Charlie. Charlie was very useful as he worked ‘on the land’ so could be utilised to do the milking on the very, very rare occasion that Dick Woollacott was ill or otherwise missing from his farm. Then there was Charlie Arnott, and Mr and Mrs Howell and son Peter. Mr Howell – Bryn – was the person who used to go crabbing between Langland and Caswell Bays and would invariably drop a crab into us for my father. Peter emigrated to Oz and recently we were in touch, following on from contacts from my main blog. A gap of a mere 58 years since contacts!
Peter is on the right with his wife and t’other good-looking Gent is another old pal, Burnie from Norton.
- Next came Mrs Smith and daughters Barbara and Diny. Diny was a close friend of my Mother and is still going strong today.
- I think the next house was a Mr Grey and Mrs Brown. He stood out as he always wore a polka-dot dickiebow!
- Then Beynon’s shop. Mr and Mrs Beynon were helped by Sid Beynon from Mumbles. Sid had a crippled leg but still stood as Umpire at local cricket matches. He would count out our 2 ozs of sweets in the shop, and would always try and ensure that there were eleven – enough ‘for a football team’!!
- Then – directly opposite our house, was an elevated garden belonging to the Harris’s. It was their pride and joy. Always extremely well cared for, growing only vegetables. Prize-winning veg at that! We often gorged on sprouts that we scrumped (alright, stole!) from there. Anytime that I had to go to their house with a message or whatever, Mrs Harris would always get a sweet from a drawer for me! Hanging on hooks, suspended from the ceiling in her front room, were the two shotguns of Mr Harris and son Billy. Daughters Molly and Dorothy. Molly married Jim – an American GI who was stationed nearby, and went orft to America to live. Dorothy used to join me for a swim in 1959 when we went swimming all-year round at Langland. She joined me because I had access to the Lifeguards hut!
- Next to Harris’s was the paper shop.
- Then another row of terraced houses the families of which seemed to swop houses from time to time! There was Mrs Taylor with sons Cliff and John. John, I’m afraid, had both legs in irons for the full-length and could only walk by literally dragging his legs along, using crutches. Then the Woods. I liked Percy. Probably because he could play the trumpet. Two sons, John and Paul – another mate of mine. Living in the end house was an incredible character – Artie Stevens!
- Then, around the bend at the top of the road to Charlie Hixson’s. He was my father’s best mate. Daughter Margaret was one of my sister Pat’s best friends. Next door was fred and Katie Wilcox. Claims to fame were that they had the first television in Nottage Road, and Kate made laverbread for the village. Lovely grub! Next came the Jeffries -= a large, well-known local family with other relatives in Nottage Road. Claims to fame were that one of the (adult) sons was a Japanese PoW, and also that he had a motor-cycle and sidecar!! Next were the Davis’s, then old man Llewellyn, who, together with Charlie Hixson, had an allotment in the Church field, after the Yanks moved out.
And that, was one side of the street. The better side, will have to wait!