Una's Memoirs - 1930s - 1
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The 1930s

Me in January 1931.
Me in January 1931.

In 1931 the family sold the shop in Wilford Road and bought another fish and chip, and wet fish, shop in Wilford Crescent, Nottingham. This was a move of about a mile. This was a smaller building, and we were unable to live there as a family. My parents had arranged to buy a new house, but until it was completed, it was decided that Mum and I would lodge with Mrs Otter and family in Wilford. We were very unhappy staying there. I believe that my Dad, as did my sister Edna, slept in the new fish shop but I do not remember where Eva lived at this time.

The new house, which was being built in Wilford, was about three miles from the shop, and the other side of the River Trent. Our address would be "Wave-Crest", 12 Roland Avenue, Wilford, Nottinghamshire. It was a semi-detached house of three floors. There was no central heating, but there were open fireplaces in all the main rooms. A back-boiler gave us hot water (a back-boiler was a water heating system behind, and heated by, one of the ground floor coal fires). The lowest floor was a cellar which had a door and a small window over-looking the back garden, which faced south, and was approximately 30 feet wide and over 100 feet long.

The ground floor had a hall, with stairs leading upwards. There was a sitting-room at the front with a bay window, a dining/living room at the back, and a kitchen with a 'walk in pantry'. Few people had a refrigerator so in the pantry was a tiled stone 'cold slab' which extended back under the stairs.

The living room had a French-door facing the garden. When we moved in, this door had to remain locked for a few months, until Dad built a wooden veranda with a stairway down to the back garden. I enjoyed looking out of the kitchen window at the garden, and the fields beyond. In the kitchen floor was a trap-door, and below it a stairway into the cellar. At the side of the house, the kitchen door opened onto two steps down to a driveway which led onto seven steps down to the garden. There was a small extension at the corner of the house which was meant to be the coal-house, but for the first six months there was just a mat on this floor, and I remember playing happily here until autumn came and the room was put to its proper use. Underneath this extension was an open store area by the cellar door. At the front of the house there was a small garden and a path leading to two steps up to a porch and our front door.

The front bedroom was big enough to take a double bed and a single bed. It had a built-in wardrobe on one side of the fireplace and space for a chest-of-draws on the other. I shared this room with Eva. There was also a small bedroom with a single bed, a Singer treadle sewing machine, a chair and a bookcase. This was Edna's room. The back bedroom was the largest and was used by my parents. I loved this room where I spent many happy hours reading, and gazing from the window. This room also became a family refuge when the floods came.

When we first moved into Wave-Crest, the fields were quite close, and when I looked from the back bedroom window I could see the farm horses which pulled the ploughs and carts. At haymaking time two or three friends and I were allowed to help with the stooks and bales. We were also able to take picnics in these fields during the summer holidays, and from there we could see a grass embankment which carried the London to Scotland railway line. We had fun collecting engine numbers and names.

Our neighbours at 14 Roland Avenue were Mr & Mrs Hutchinson. He was a railway engine driver and sometimes he would start work in the early hours of the morning. The railway company employed a man to make sure that their staff were woken on time. These men were called 'knocker-uppers' and they had a long pole to tap on bedroom windows. Sometimes the man would get the wrong house and I would be woken up instead. I then had to get out of bed, open the window and call "Not here, next door!".

At Wilford my education continued at the Wilford Endowed School. This was a church school. One of the special days each year was Foundation Day when the children would go in a 'crocodile' to St. Wilfred's Church which was about half a mile away.

The school was built about 1866, and was a tall brick building. Above the entrance was a turret-clock which struck the hours, and there was a bell which was tolled when school was about to start. I remember it as a cold building, although there was a boiler in the basement which supplied hot water to large pipes throughout the school. To sit near these pipes was a joy on a cold day, although they gave off a strong smell of hot metal.

The entrance had seven steep and well-worn stone steps to a porch entrance. I remember those stone steps because they were treacherous when they were wet or covered in snow. Many a child went home with grazed knees or hands from slipping on those steps. The entrance led to the main corridor and to two cloak-rooms which were very cold and bare. Each cloakroom had two hand basins, and four rails of coat-hooks.

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