My parents lived in Godwin Road, no 46 I think, when I was born. We moved to Old Shoreham Road the year of my birth. I started school at Knoll Infants in Bellingham Crescent and remember the name Miss Lelliot. It was during my early school days the new infants’ school opened at the top of Stapley Road and I remember Miss Spearing a teacher of this time who came to school on a scooter. I think the headmaster at Portland Road was Mr Gale and the head at the Knoll Girls school was Miss Shields.
Our house in Old Shoreham Road was directly opposite and looking up Stapley Road and it was from Stapley Road a horse bolted that was delivering milk, the milk went everywhere and the horse ended up looking in our back door.
I have written a poem about my life in Old Shoreham Road, hope it brings back some good memories of life in the ’50s and ’60s from the Knoll Estate.
Our Front Steps
The steps from pavement went down four
Onto the path that led to our door.
First, in my pram, the steps were taken
Mother was strong, I was not shaken.
Later I would sit and play
Upon these steps for hours a day.
Coal and milk all carried down the steps
A bolted horse down our path once leapt.
The dustman with the bin on his back
Up those steps he would track
My father used a scaffold plank
To wheel his moped down this step bank
Bicycles up and bicycles down
The only transport used for town.
Home from the pub my dad would shout
Hey Molly! get my plank out.
The wheelchair was the toughest one
But to take Nan out it had to be done.
A thousand times these steps were trod
In various shoes my feet were shod
Sandals and shoes, boots or wellies
Platforms, flip flops and stilettos.
Rushing for busses, greeting the aunties,
the life of our steps saw all the parties.
People coming in all tipsy from the pub
Mum going off to the bingo club.
Uncle Mart and Auntie May
For holidays would come to stay.
In silken shoes and bridal gown
I trod these steps to go into town.
I pushed my own kids down those steps
A simple circle of birth, marriage, death.
And now another family in our stead
Their steps to the door we use to tread
I have my memories, though some are sad
For most of the steps, my heart was glad.
I don’t forget Paddy, next door’s mangy dog
Or the cats they called Ginger and Mog.
I don’t forget the peonies and the roses
The Lily of the Valley so gay for noses.
The chickens, the rabbits, the pigeon shed
All these forever stored in my head.
A solo child I would while away
The hours of my childhood day to day.
I’d pluck an apple from the tree
Cared not that it was sour as sour can be.
It wasn’t all bad, it wasn’t all good
A pretty average childhood.
Thank you for joining me on my tour
I hope you did not find it a bore
Those well trod steps to our front door.