Recollection of Summerhill Road - By Norma Clayson 

                                                  (18/12/2002)

 My name is Norma Clayson née Lane.  I was born on the 12th July 1940 when my parents, George and May Lane, lived in number 14 Summerhill Road.  My Nan lived with my Aunt Maud (Nan being my mother’s mum and Aunt Maud being my mother’s sister) lived at number 10a Summerhill Road.

My earliest recollection is when I was about 3-4 years old and I was allowed out into the street to play and my mother saying to me “If you hear that funny noise you are to come running home” that funny noise being the siren to warn you of a forthcoming air-raid during the Second World War.  When this happened and I got back indoors my mum used to shove me under the scullery table, which I suppose was her quick answer to an air-raid shelter.  I also remember after my sister was born in 1943 there was an air-raid and my mum put us in her double bed when she heard a doodlebug coming and came rushing into the bedroom and throwing herself over the top of my sister and I and a few seconds later the front window being blown in.

There was a couple who lived upstairs at number 14 who were called Arthur Lee and Miss Cruise.  I suppose you could say that they were a couple living in sin although I can never remember a bad word spoken about them.  Because my dad and mum worked my Nan or my Aunt used to look after me at number 10a and Arthur Lee or Miss Cruise had taken a shine to me and used to come and leave me a doughnut on the doorstep everyday.  They were absolutely scrumptious!  Arthur looked after the garden at  number 14 and he grew these really fabulous Roses which had beautiful scents. 

The children I remember were of course my cousins Ronnie & Geoffrey who lived at 10a.  Billy & Marilyn Stephens who lived at number 3, their parents Bill and Maisie were good friends of my mother during the war and Bill Stephens owned butcher shops one being in Philip Lane.   Christine, Raymond and Alan Swain lived at number 11 and their mum Ethel who really was a character.  Connie Corbyn, Teddy Baston (who was a friend of my cousin Ronnie) a girl called Beryl Glynn (who lived next door to Teddy Baston) whose mother would never allow us in the house to play but I do remember going into the back garden to play and it was like a jungle.  Patsy Stockle who had an elder brother David and younger brother Robert.  I played with Patsy a lot and she was probably one of my first real friends, her garden was another story which seemed to be like a secret garden with nooks and crannies and a big apple tree.  Next door I think there was a girl called Sylvia Smith and just up the road a bit was Ronnie Bloomfield and his sister whose name was Barbara.  Across the road were Anne and Margaret Carter who lived with their mum Mrs Carter of Austrian descent I believe but a lovely lady, they all lived in the house next to the piggery where very often lots of children would play on the haystacks which was the pigs feed, there was also a wash house where Mrs Carter used to let us play if it wasn’t washing day.  I remember once that one of the piglets got out and it chased my sister all the way down the road, she was absolutely terrified.  Going on up the road there was Mrs Pearman Aunt Maud’s friend who often called in to number 10a for a cuppa she had three children Sheila Peter and John.  On the other side I think there was a family called the Small’s and near the top of the road on the left hand side was a girl called Iris Hawkins who the same age as me.  She had two sisters June and Janet and a brother David.  About the middle of the road was the Minter family – I remember Jean and Dougie and their grandmother at the back of the house if my memory serves me right there was a haulage business.  Although we moved from number 14 in 1945, my sister and I always spent our school holidays from school at 10a because our mum and dad worked and Aunt Maud or Nan looked after us.  I remember one day in the summer when it fell down with rain there was a coach station next to number 14 for Horseshoe coaches I think it was, anyway some one had left a sailing dinghy outside with a cover over it and a group of us kids each got a bottle of water and something to eat and played in the boat under the tarpaulin for ages and having a picnic of sorts!

There was Mr Robbins’ dairy at the top of the road who delivered the milk and I remember Cadge’s the chemist in Philip Lane and a lovely fish shop near Robbins Dairy.

All the houses were very different in style and character and to small children they held a certain amount of mystery. 

I would be pleased to hear from any of the people I have mentioned if they have the time.  Ray Swain would let you know where to contact me.

Norma Clayson

 

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