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8a Islingword Street

8a Islingword Street in 2014
© Paul Clarkson

In the Hanover area in the 19th Century, it was common for households to set up as a laundry. As a working-class area, many people had to find ways of earning money in hard times. The Census in 1851 showed that there were 68 households operating as a laundry.
Back in October 1967, my family moved from Colbourne Avenue, Moulsecoomb to 8a Islingword Street, I was 10 years old at the time and it was a radical change for me. One day I had bags of garden to play in and the next a postage stamp of a garden and a street at the front, also I had to now get a bus to school after a long walk down Southover Street.

Originally a Laundry

The property we were moving in to had been a laundry in the past. The first occupants according to the ‘My House My Street‘ website, were a Mrs Lewery (Laundress) and the listing showed that the number of the house was 8 and a half as opposed to 8a. In 1896 it changed to a James Cummings, then in 1901, the tenant was a William Mercer. He had the house until 1903 when a W. Cooter took it on until 1916. From 1916 to 1964 the occupants were a Mr and Mrs Fairhall, it was listed as Joseph until the mid 30’s then it was Mrs M Fairhall. In 1964 it was a Mrs Mechen who lived at the property until my parents bought the house in 1967.

A house full of surprises

On the day we moved in we pulled up in the car and my nan, who hadn’t seen the house, was astonished to realise that she used to work there when it was a laundry, whilst she was living in Holland Street. Added to that when we went down into the cellar there was a mangle that my nan had used in her time there 40 or so years before. I wanted to keep it but my dad threw it out. Number 8a was the biggest house in the street, we found out that it was possibly built after all the other houses, and before that had been a wide passage through to what we believe was a farm on the site of Ewart Street which was built after Islingword Street. On one occasion my dad was in the garden and he dug down to what we thought was cobbles. Maybe someone can give a bit more information on this?

A welcome move in 1971

When my parents bought the house (I remember it was about £2000), there was no bathroom and 2 sinks, one in the kitchen and one on the landing leading down to a rather dark cellar.
Personally I never liked living there, I’d been used to open spaces and the trip down to the basement in the middle of the night to the bathroom wasn’t good! My parents moved to Upper Lewes Road in 1971 which for me was a blessing, the bus to school was just down the road and I didn’t have to climb Southover Street every day!

Comments about this page

  • Nice piece Paul, I enjoyed reading that, I lived close by in Scotland Street when first married in 1979, yes that ‘climb’ up Southover Street or Albion Hill is hard work! I am not sure why the website has stopped listing the Author, who I guess is you Paul?

    By Mr Peter Groves (08/05/2020)
  • Hi Peter, thank you for your kind comments, it’s a story that’s been on the back burner so to speak for some while. I had a Sunday morning paper round from Harry Croydon’s that took in Albion Hill from the bottom of Jersey Street right up to Toronto Terrace. It was in 1970 so all the papers were big and heavy and I also had a money bag (it was safer back then) for collecting from the customers. Just think, 1970 and a big money bag full of half crowns and big pennies, it was very heavy!!

    By Paul Clarkson (11/05/2020)
  • Hi Paul, yes I had one or two paper rounds 1966 to 1970. Paperboys like us will remember that on Saturday the Argus was very thin, but each day after the thickness increased till Friday when it was really thick and the bag very heavy. No joking but I think the reason I have one shoulder slightly lower than the other was due to the heavy bag, thinking about it now aged 14 – 16 I was in “final growing mode” that Friday bag was no fun!!

    By Peter Groves (11/05/2020)
  • I must add an addendum to my Brother Paul’s article about 8a. After research I have found that John Samuel Cooter married Eliza Lewery in 1895 and Eliza was probably part of the Lewery family that were first occupants. John Samuel Cooter turns out to be our 2nd Great Grand Uncle (GGGF). And our ‘Nan’ mentioned in the article was John Samuel Cooter’s Great Niece. Small world.

    By Allan Warner-Clarkson (16/02/2021)
  • A final interesting piece on this property. So as Paul says the Cooters mentioned above occupied the house until 1916 with the Fairhalls taking it from 1916-1964. A further twist is that Mrs Fairhall’s maiden name was Cooter and she was John Samuel Cooter’s grand daughter and she was there until her death in 1963.
    This means that our ‘family’ have owned this property as follows:
    Lewery 1886-1896
    Cooter 1903-1916
    Fairhall 1916-1964
    Clarkson 1968-1971
    totally 73 years of the 84 years between 1886 and 1971. Our Dad was meant to buy it.
    Are there any other properties around owned by just one extended family?

    By Allan Warner-Clarkson (19/02/2021)

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