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LIVING IN CLYDE ROAD 1950s - SUSAN ROWE (nee BRAY)

 

My family lived in Clyde Rd for a short time, moving there not long after my dad left the RAF in 1949 when I was a few months old. My brother was nearly four. We took over the newsagents/tobacconist’s shop at 45 Clyde Road, living above it. From Stan Wood’s valuable ‘Memories of Clyde Road’ it seems we had as neighbouring shops a ‘small Fruiterers’ on one side and a ‘Fried Fish shop’ on the other. My mother - Joan Bray - is passed away now, but well into her 80s she laughed about the smell of fish wafting up to our flat, and shared pleasant memories of going dancing with one of the neighbours, a Jewish lady. They used to go to the Tottenham Royal, where Mum was once awarded First Prize in a ‘Best Hat’ competition.

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PARADE OF SHOPS IN CLYDE ROAD WHERE BRAY’S NEWSAGENTS ONCE STOOD – AWAITING DEMOLITION 1980’s

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Thomas & Joan Bray are listed on the 1951 Electoral Roll as living at 45 Clyde Rd, and so are Thomas and Peggy Neal. This is very interesting to me as I recall an ‘Auntie Peggy’ from my earliest years. The husband of ‘Auntie Peggy’ was ‘Uncle Geordie’, so named due to his strong Geordie accent. Perhaps they were Thomas and Peggy Neal, I don’t know.

 

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TYPICAL NEWSAGENTS SHOP FRONT FROM THE 1950s

I do know that aspects of our stay in Tottenham were apparently difficult for Mum, the transition from RAF married quarters in Norfolk hard to cope with, perhaps. At any rate, she ended up sticking her head in the gas oven, but was luckily rescued and taken to hospital. This must have been in 1952 or 1953, because I recall having to stay with my grandparents in Norfolk who I didn’t really know. (They had a horse in their back garden which I wasn’t allowed near, sadly!) I think my brother might have been away at boarding school when this occurred. He started when he was five.


Despite the near-tragedy with Mum, my dad’s memories of Clyde Road always sounded positive. They were of dealing with early morning newspapers – he was always an early riser - and the fun of letting my brother and I choose good behaviour ‘treats’ from the array of glass jars on the shelves, filled with brightly coloured sweets. Dad was an avid magazine reader, so must have enjoyed having the variety at hand. I imagine that was when he latched onto the idea of caravanning, and also of one day having a boat. He had joined the RAF in 1938 straight from school and by the time my grandmother bought him out in 1949 he was a highly trained mechanic. When we left the newsagents in Clyde Road it was to run a garage in Surrey, so no doubt all the car magazines were much read also.

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EXTRACT FROM 1894 MAP SHOWING CLYDE ROAD - TOTTENHAM

(Position of Red Arrow is the approx location of the shop)

 

Unfortunately there are no family photos of our Clyde Rd era - or not that I have come across as yet - but I revisited Tottenham not long ago, living on Bruce Grove for a time. While there I busied myself mapping the old All Hallows church gravesite, which led me to find out about the lives of Tottenham folk from all walks of life, from the late 1700s and on through the Great War. There was clearly a very strong community spirit with the churches, as used to be the case, at the heart.

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While the passing years have brought about many changes, for good and bad, it was lovely, living once again in Tottenham, to discover that there is still today a resilient and caring community determined to preserve and celebrate the area’s rich history, not only of buildings, but people. It seems to me that sharing memories, and making sure that we don’t forget, is like forming a baton to pass on into the future, in light of which I would like to thank Alan Swain for this Summerhill Rd website, which is so delightful to look through, and also to thank the many contributors, and all those who take an interest. You can always trust the ancients for a good quote, and I can’t resist this one of Cicero’s to sum up:

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?
Marcus Tullius Cicero 106BC-43BC

Article by Sue Rowe – November 2017

Background Image - Selection of 1950's Comics<

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