What a lovely smell
I was born in 1940 at 43 Argyle Road. As a child I remember Bostock’s the fish and chip shop. My mother would take me there and two things stick in my memory; the lovely smell and the incredible height of the counter as I was only small. We would also go to the butchers for our rations, and the floor between the door and counter was covered in sawdust; like any small boy I could not resist making tramlines everywhere.
The demise of our chickens
On the opposite side of the road, between Campbell and Argyle Roads, was a row of small shops I cannot remember which shop, but we used to take our ‘Accumulators’ there (lead acid batteries) to be recharged for the wireless. The houses only had gas in those days. One shop there I remember well was the green grocers. Apart from the daily visit for vegetables, once or twice a year we would take a chicken from our back garden to the grocer, who would wring its neck for us; mum did not have the heart to do it. I vaguely remember my mum holding me up to see the first train going over the viaduct after it had been rebuilt following a bomb that brought down one of the piers.
The joys of frost outside the windows
I can remember diving into the bomb shelter in the basement front room every time the sirens sounded, or a doodle bug flew over, those were the days. In 1950 we moved to Patcham and what luxury that was. We had a bathroom and toilet, no more tin baths with the water shared between four of us, no more walking down the garden to the loo but still only one coal fire to heat the house like Argyle Road. There was one other improvement, as the house in Argyle, was three stories high, with large rooms and the coal fire in the basement, the frost in winter was on both sides of the window. In Patcham, a smaller two floor house, the frost stayed on the outside.