|Summerhill Road - Beryl Small|
Isle of Sheppey,
Thank you so much for all you have sent me regarding Summerhill Road. I must say, you and your brother Alan have really worked hard on the project. I read with great interest what you have sent to me. It really has stirred up memories, lovely ones at that. I wish I could turn back the clock to the days I spent in Summerhill Road. I think in some ways 'Very Happy Ones' There is so much I want to say and write that this letter will seem very mixed up ( Forgive me).
First, my Mum and Dad did come from Sunderland. My Dad was sent to Tottenham for work, as there wasn't much work at the time in the north of England. I think my Dad settled in Tottenham, but my Mum took a long time to adjust. She was living in number 75 where I was born. Charles my brother was about 18 months old. Mum didn't like it there, she and Dad had two rooms. I don't think the owners were very kind. My Mum and Dad had to go through their living quarters to use the toilet. My Mum hated it! They then moved to 51. I should think they were overjoyed. Only 2 Bedrooms but they had a garden. They then moved to 63 as the house was larger, only 2 bedrooms but my Dad made the front room into two. We spent the best part of the war years there, apart from being evacuated.
Charles and I were sent to Hoddesden. To me it was the end of the earth. Mum had drummed it into Charles that he had to stay with me and, being the big brother, we would not be parted. Because of that nobody would take a boy and a girl. We did find a kind family to take us in but Charles wouldn't settle and tried to escape ( As he put it). We did return to Tottenham until the first bombs started, and then we were away again. This time we were sent to St Neots with my Granddad ( Dad's dad). I can't remember how long we were there. I think it was while we were there that Dad found number 63, so we returned to yet another house.
Charles went into the Army for 5 years. In that time the Korean war started and the Middlesex regiment was sent to Korea from Hong Kong. He was made a Sergeant and looked so handsome in his uniform. I can remember we all went to Southampton when they came back to England. The bands were playing and there was many a tear shed. It was so touching!
I was married from number 63. We stayed with my Mum and Dad until my brother came home. We then had to find somewhere else to live which we did. We then came back to number 75. My friend Mavis lived there and got in touch to say she was moving and would we like her flat, We finally moved to 75 (Where I was born) I must say I was as miserable as was my Mum when she lived there. My Dad then found out that number 61 was empty so we got the house and moved in. My life was No 75, No 51, No 63, No 75 and No 61. I had moved all in lovely Summerhill Road. I would still be there but the council decided to pull the house down. I don't know why! I was really upset as I really loved my little house. My husband Bill had really worked hard on it.
We found another house in Etherly Road where Bill had to start re-building again. My Mum and Dad moved to Nelson Road. They stayed there until my Dad Died. My Mum stayed a while then she came to live with Bill and I in Etherly Road. She lived with us for almost 10 years. We had already decided to move and found this bungalow in Kent. My poor Mum didn't get to see it. She would have loved it! There is so much I miss from Tottenham and much I don't miss. You know what, Summerhill Road I do miss!
It has been so nice to read about my old neighbours and I must say old friends. I had some mail from Janet Perkins this morning about Misses Kemp. They lived next door to us when we lived at number 51, what lovely friends they were to my Mum. I have their phone number from Janet and I will get in touch.
Number 51 is still standing. At number 53 was a Mrs Webster. I think it still had gas lights. At number 57 lived the LeFevre's, I think 3 boys and 2 girls. Number 59 was Haycock who had 2 girls. Number 61 was Mr & Mrs Garrad and son Cyril. Number 65 was a Mrs Moore and then Mr & Mrs Patterson and son David. Ron Patterson went in the Army during the war and met up with his 2 brothers in Burma. It made headlines at the time. They all came home safe I'm glad to say. At number 67 was Mr & Mrs Lloyd, son Ernest and daughter Edith. Ernest was taken prisoner in the early years of the war. Great excitement when he came home. Number 69 was an Uncle Haycock then Mrs Wade and son Ken. Then Mrs Dutton - Mr & Mrs Cootes, Mrs Camp and 2 daughters, Mrs Hawkins and family. There was a Livemoor family., another family whose son was taken prisoner in Arnhem. More joy when he came home.
I can remember all the games we played in the road. We used to have a skipping rope from one side of Summerhill Road to the other. It was a long rope and took some turning. I remember Mr Robins the milkman, a very round red faced man and Mr Mainwaring next door. I had to go there on washing day for 1d of pickles to go with our 'Bubble and Squeak'. Mr Mainwaring used to scare me, he always seemed so cross. Then there was the fish shop. I had a cat who always crossed 2 roads (Summerhill and Clyde) where they always gave her a piece of fish. This happened nearly everyday. Then came a small greengrocers. All the shopping was done locally, no Tesco's or any other big stores that is.
My brothers Charles and Fred would have loved to have read all the notes you have sent to me. Fred and Fred Hardy were great pals as I recall, always in trouble or were always blamed. I will carry on with more as I remember.
Road 1957 - Note the slab on the right
where Iron railings were taken during the war!
Road 1976- The houses to the right where Beryl
had once lived are now being demolished- Photo by Jim Clark.
Sorry that I only have one snap ( see above) but it will show how empty the Road is of cars, different to today.
I have some more when I can get in the loft.
So sorry for not getting in touch sooner. I do hope that you can understand this letter, my thoughts run faster than my pen. Thank your brother also, as I've said before, you both have put a lot of work into this project. (you have put me to shame).
(Note: This letter has been reproduced for the Internet site from the original written by Beryl Smith [Small]
Background Picture-West Green map 1920s