Recollection of the ‘Parrott’ family –  48 Summerhill Road  (1913- 1982)

Recollections of Rex Lancefield (born Bournemouth 1949) of visits to his great aunt, Mrs. Rose Parrott

         Persons mentioned as residents:

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Herbert Parrott – a postman, born 1856 at Torriano Terrace, Kentish Town, son of John Parrott (bookseller) and Ann (nee Allen). Married 1879 at Hackney to :

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Laura Brown – of 13 Moscow Terrace. Born about 1859 at Fifield, Berkshire, son of Henry Brown (labourer). Her brother, James Brown was Head Verger at St. Paul’s Cathedral for nearly 42 years, retiring in 1912 to return to his native county of Oxford (according to news cuttings). It is believed she had other brothers as I have been told one was a soldier, one a marine and one in the Royal Navy.
Herbert and Laura Parrott are reputed to have moved to 48 Summerhill Road in 1913. Both lived there for the remainder of their lives, Herbert Parrott dying in 1923 and Laura in 1944.

How many of their children moved to Summerhill Road is not known but in the census of 1911 the family is shown as living at 31 Brooksby Street, Islington. In addition to the parents, there were four children :

Edith Parrott aged 29; Florence Amy Parrott aged 24; Henry Herbert Parrott aged 23 and Arthur Ernest Parrott age 10.

Florence’s married name was Prior and her name appears on the receipt from a monumental mason for providing a memorial for her mother in 1945.

Henry Herbert Parrott - son of Herbert and Laura Parrott, remained single and died at 48 Summerhill Road in 1952. His occupation on the death certificate is given as ‘Radio Manufacturer’s Storekeeper’. In the 1911 census he was stated to be a Printer, monotype. I have some memory of being told he worked in a hotel in London as a waiter and also that either he or another close relative had worked as a cabinet maker in a piano manufacturers. There was a wooden shed in the garden at number 48 Summerhill Road with a workbench and various tools and it was in talking of this that the mention of cabinet making came up.

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Arthur Ernest Parrott – born 1901, son of Herbert and Laura Parrott. Self employed electrician. He met his future wife while carrying out work at a convent (C of E, I believe). Died about 1956. Married 20 April 1935 to :

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Rosina May Lancefield – born 1899 in Pokesdown, Bournemouth, last of 14 children of Joseph Thomas Lancefield, a journeyman house painter (who had been born in St. Marylebone in 1848 and settled in Bournemouth after serving in the army). A laundress by occupation but also worked as a cook in a doctor’s house in Bournemouth for a while before moving to London. Her sister, Annie was already living in London (see below). While in London she and her sister Annie (Webb) worked as ironers in a convent where Rose met Arthur Parrott
Arthur and Rose lived at 27 Ravely Street, Kentish Town following their marriage in 1935, then moved to 48 Summerhill Road a few years later – possibly following the death of Laura Parrott in 1944. They had no children. Rose died in July 1981 but by this time had moved into some old peoples’ flats on the other side of Summerhill Road

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Emily Eliza House – born Boscombe, Bournemouth in 1891, sister of Rosina May. Also a laundress by occupation, she moved to London to work in a munitions factory during the First World War, living with her married elder sister Annie Webb (born 1884, Iford, Bournemouth) and her husband Will Webb (laundry mechanic). Whilst working in the munitions factory, Emmie met her future first husband, Bernard James Kay who had been classified as unfit for active service. They married in 1918 and settled in Bournemouth. Bernard Kay died in 1934 and then in 1935 Emmie remarried to Alfred House of Christchurch, a widower and a gardener by trade. She did not have any children by either of her husbands. After Alf House died in (? 1951) Emmie lived with two other of her sisters at Jumpers (a district in Christchurch) then after they had both died (1951 and 1952), she moved to London with her sister and brother in law, Annie and Will Webb. After Annie died in late 1967,
Emmie moved from the home at 105a Uxbridge Road, Hanwell (a flat above a chemist’s shop) to live with her sister Rose at 48 Summerhill Road. She died in November 1970


After Uncle Arthur died (? 1956), Aunt Rose (n.b. I always called her aunt although she was in fact my great aunt) came down to stay with my Mum and Dad (Thomas Percy and Dulcie Enid Lancefield) and my young self (aged about 7) at Kinson in Bournemouth. From then on, Dad and I used to go to London and stay with Aunt Rose for a week almost every year. Dad would do some gardening and odds and ends like making some marmalade and of course we would go out. Usually Dad would take Aunt Rose and myself and Aunt Em out for the day somewhere. Once we went to see “Goodnight Mrs. Puffin” (starring Irene Handel) at one of the theatres in the West End. Another time we had a boat trip up the Thames to Windsor.

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Dad and I would always have trips to the museums in South Kensington and also Islington Market was a regular place to visit. In the early days it was a case of getting the 171 bus or the tube to Manor House before Seven Sisters station was opened. Dad would always ask me to work out the route from the underground map from wherever we were and I can recall as a youngster wondering why he could never remember it or work it out himself, but of course he was just making sure that if I got lost I would be able to find my way about.
The house had a hallway with “front room” off to the left. This was never used as far as I can recall and probably had the best furniture in it! At the end of the short hallway was the living room with dining table and chairs and a couple of easy chairs. The table legs were terribly scratched which was apparently done by a cat Arthur and Rose once had. Another door in line with the hallway door led through to a small inner hall with stairs off to the left and also the gas and electric meters. Another door gave access to the kitchen. There was a “meat safe” in here and a gas cooker and few other pieces of furniture. Yet another door in line with the others gave access to the scullery. This had a sink with cold tap and this represented the only washing facility. Any hot water had to be boiled up in a kettle in the kitchen.

The back door went off on the left as you came into the scullery and outside down a short path by the side of the scullery was the toilet. I remember the wooden seat which went the whole width of the toilet and had a perfectly round hole in it! I have never forgotten the slug trails you would see inside the toilet when going in there.

Between the living room and the kitchen, the stairs went off on something of a double-wind. Aunt Rose said that the builders had got some measurements wrong and that it should have been a more straightforward system – how some of the furniture got up there I’ve no idea. One bedroom went off at the back of the house – a single room, and then about three more stairs up gave onto another hallway with two more bedrooms off it. Dad and I would have the front room which overlooked Summerhill Road. The front wall where it joined the left hand wall of the house (adjoining the property on the right as you looked at the house from the road) was pulling away and had a quite sizeable gap running down it. Although I cannot be absolutely certain, I am fairly sure that the electric sockets were still the two-pin variety with Bakelite fittings for them and also for the light switches.

Aunt Rose did not have a television by 1966 and it was while Dad and I were staying with her that the World Cup final (England v Germany) was on. We all went to watch it a few doors down the road at the home of two or three ladies – sisters – who had a television and were only too happy to have us join them. I believe they must have been at least the same age as Aunt Rose and possibly older. I was only 17 at the time so I cannot be sure.

I recall there was a lady named June who lived either next door or next-door-but-one, and also of course the animals going up the trackway a few doors down and the slaughter house at the end of the road.

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When I was about 20 or so – i.e. around 1969 or a year or two after – I was on a two-week course at the Public Record Office and stayed with Aunt Rose during that time. One day Mike Diprose from across the road popped in with something from his Mum, and Aunt Rose introduced us. He said that a group of his friends and himself were going for a trip to Epping Forest and invited me to join them. I thought this was very nice of him as we’d never met before and I was only too happy to go along. I recall that one of those in the party was a young lady who was (I believe) at university with Mike – Liz Urry (? Urrey). Her father, Dr. William Urr(e)y, was the archivist at Canterbury Cathedral.

I recall one evening walking down to the local shop with Dad when a young chap – obviously of West Indian origin – came running up and asked us to call the police from the ‘phone booth as his brother was chasing their mother round the house with a knife. I got the impression it was a family argument and he’d probably just picked up a knife in the kitchen rather than anything more sinister than that. We made the call but I don’t know what happened afterwards.

I remember when the smokeless zone was introduced and also the “meals on wheels” being delivered by a chap named Jack.

Over the road was a lovely looking terrace of houses called Eliza Terrace with the date of construction on them which I am quite certain was 1856. I believe these were demolished to make way for the old peoples’ flats where Aunt Rose spent her last years. I remember thinking that it would have been better to demolish number 48, bearing in mind its lack of facilities and the state it was in, rather than that lovely row of houses.

I was told that the owners of number 48, when the property was left by will to the next heir, specified that it should not be sold as long as any of the Parrott family was still in residence.

A particular memory which has stayed with me is of Mr. Firth who lived some houses down on the same side of the road as number 48. When Aunt Rose died and the hearse was going down Summerhill Road, he stood on the pavement in suit and hat and as the hearse went by he took off his hat, held it against his chest and bowed his head. I went round the next day to thank him for various kindnesses to Aunt Rose over the years and he simply said “Well, she was a neighbour, wasn’t she?” We chatted for a while and he showed me his shed with many ceramic tiles in it, from where (? his son) and himself had run a tiling business until closed down by the council because they wanted it to be a residential area rather than trade. The slaughterhouse continued though!


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Arthur Parrot was an Electrician by trade and pictured left is a copy of one of his advertisements that appeared in the local newspaper.
Arthur Parrot had first moved to 48 Summerhill Road with his parents in 1913. Following his marriage to Rosina Lancefield in 1935, they initially lived in Kentish Town but returned to number 48 Summerhill Road a few years later from where he operated his Electricians business.
Arthur Parrott died in about 1956, His wife Rose died in July 1981 but by this time had moved into some old peoples’ flats on the other side of Summerhill Road.

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These early Post-War Ration-Books belonging to the Parrott family serve as wonderful mementos of the time that they lived at Summerhill Road. They had endured WW2 and the Blitz and yet years after the war there were still restrictions imposed on everyday essentials like Food and Clothing.


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As referred to previously, Laura Parrott (nee Brown) 1859-1944 had an older brother who was the Head Verger at St Paul’s Cathedral in London for nearly 42 years,

The following is a short extract from an article that was published in the ‘The Star’ on the 13th September 1912.

“42 YEARS AT ST PAUL’S – Reminiscences of old Cathedral Verger.
Owing to failing health, Mr James Brown, the head verger of St Paul’s, is retiring from that position today. He has held it for nearly 42 years, and a ‘Star’ reporter, who had a talk with him today at the quaint, charming little house in Amen Court, where he has lived for so long, found him in rather low spirits at the prospect of farewell. ‘I am compelled to give up through rheumatism’ said Mr Brown. ‘I am going back to Oxford, my native place whence I came to London in 1869”

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Herbert Parrott 1856-1923 was postman for his entire working life and the above article has been adapted from a much larger feature on him that appeared in the ‘Postman’s Gazette’ in 1895

Following Aunt Rose’s death in 1981 I never visited Summerhill Road again.

These are all the recollections that come to mind of Summerhill Road and residents – I hope they are of use to someone!

Rex Lancefield
Hedge End
June 2011

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