VERA FIRTH - SUMMERHILL ROAD MEMORIES
for your letter and the photos. It was nice to see my old house. I was interested to
hear who had owned the house before my grandfather and father but do not understand about
the division. I had always been told how my father and grandfather had divided up the
house, my parents living at 42 and my grandma and granddad at 44.
census is right about my dad. He was born in Ida Road but they moved to St Anns
before they came to Summerhill.
memories. I am wondering if anyone has mentioned to you anything about the refugees, which
were billeted with certain families in the road during the war. We had three with us for
just over a year. There was a grandmother who we called Madame because we could not
pronounce her name, a granddad named Harry and their granddaughter named Edith. All
Belgians. Ediths mother Marcele and Ediths aunt Simone were billeted with Mr
and Mrs Osborne further down the road at number 18. Our refugees were Belgians. Many
others were billeted down the road. All were very frightened when they first arrived and
each time the siren went they thought the Germans were just outside the front door.
Edith came to school with me, which at that time was just one hour each day at St
Philips Hall. Eventually all of them were found homes in Downhills Park Road and we
got our homes back to normal again
Before the war, many of the front gardens in
Summerhill Road were fronted by iron railings and I vividly remember the day in 1940 when
the men came to take away all the iron for the war effort.
There was a Jewish family living right at the
bottom of the road on the same side as us at number 2 named Freeman. I used to play with
the son named Cecil who was a very fat little boy. I am also remembering the house
opposite me (it would be number 37 I think). A family lived there called Trotter. Mr.,
Mrs, son John and daughter Doris. They kept themselves to themselves. He had been a
butcher. As a kid I was fascinated with the sign, which they had on their gate and I used
to stand and look at trying to understand what it meant. It read No Hawkers,
no canvassers, no circulars.
the war inhabitants (except for the children) of the road did not mix very much but the
war changed all that. People were thrown together because of the situation. They shared
their sorrows and joys in an entirely different way. They had to share their air raid
shelters with some people that they hardly knew.
was over we had the biggest party in the road imaginable. My mother was out there dancing
and a little bit inebriated which did not please my dad one bit.
just remember your mother and I can also remember you being born.
we children were a bit of a menace to the older people in the road. Always in trouble for
making too much noise when all playing together. We played a lot of knocking down ginger
when I think of it now I realise we were unkind making elderly people come to the
door and finding no one there.
next to the Holgates was used by the firewatchers and had a large mound of earth in
the front garden. We called that the Rocky Mountain and thought it was great
to ride up and down it yelling as we went over it.
sorry about the Monkey tree. That was quite a Historic monument for the road.
my dad had a big yard he used to organise a fireworks party at this time of year and we
had children in to watch. He had plenty of wood to build a bonfire as in those days all
his tiles were delivered in wooden boxes.
always said that Jack Chapman had grown to look like his pigs as he had been with them so
long. I can understand Janet having a go at the mugger. She would have been very angry I
know. She and I have been friends since she was one and I was three. That is along time.
We drifted apart as we grew older but always kept in touch two or three times a year and
when we speak on the phone it could be yesterday.
taken on quite a project Ray. These things are very time consuming. I am very grateful for
all the information you have sent to me. When I think of other memories I will write you
again and if I can help you in any way let me know. As I think of any little items of
interest I will jot them down and then if I have few bits and pieces to relate will let
p.s. I shall have to pay a visit to Summerhill Road
This letter has been reproduced for the internet site from the original written by Vera