Geoff Weller – Coley

Hi John – I was born in 1943 at 26 Bright St ,Coley, as was my brother Tony(1935) and sisters Janet(1939) and Wendy(1941). I was at Coley School from about 1948 to 1954, and then went to Katesgrove for 2 years and then on to Alfred Sutton for 3 years. I played football for the Reading YMCA after being asked when I joined Alfred Sutton School when I was about 13 years old. I went on to play for them about 27 years until I was 41. I worked for Herbert and Lascelles (in St Mary’s Butts) as an apprentice electrician before joining British Telecom or Post Office Telephones, as it was then, on the Power Group and retired after nearly 39 years in 2003. I have been married for 45 years to my wife Lauretta and have a daughter Kerry and a son Jonathan.

I was a friend of Ken Rose, Bernard Beech from Shaw Rd and Barry Harris from Brook St. As you say, we spent many hours up the Coley Rec, or over the Coley Baths, swimming with the frogs? Ken Rose, if you remember had good football skills and we used to have to foul him to get the ball off of him. My brother Tony played for Huntley and Palmers and Reading Exiles. He later married Jeanette Mayo in1958. He played with Alan(Pal), Bernard and Colin Rose. I occasionally see the Roses at Goring Golf Club where they meet for Sunday lunch some times. Other people I remember playing football with Tony are Mick Millam, Bob Holiday, and Ted Rapley. Ted lived just down from the Blue Lion Pub in Wolseley St. Sadly Tony passed away in 2000.

The House in which you lived was later occupied by the Robbins family. About 15 of them – all very nice people.

Looking at Garnet St on your web site brought back memories of doing a paper round for Webbs newsagent in Elgar Rd. I used to do it on roller skates and used to come down Stoney Hill and try to turn sharp left into Wolseley St. Good job there was very little traffic in those days. It was usually disastrous on a Friday with the extra load of the Reading Chronicles, or was it the Standard? Some people I remember in Wolseley St that are not mentioned on your site are Ronnie Wheeler, who was a friend of Ken. He used to like to play cowboys in St Saviours church yard. Mr Beavis was the caretaker of Coley School and lived in the house on site. Teddy Lock, who played in goal for Coley School. Ron and Ted both lived just down from the Co-op shop. Also Kenny Gregory. On the other side the Hathaways and the Gibbards lived between Garnet St and the School. Past the school, between the school and the Buildings were George Gutteridge – I think he was a Bookies runner – I used to deliver racing papers to him. The Wheelers – Denis, Fred, and others, Kenny Mathews and next door two sisters but I cannot remember their names. Up the steps of the Buildings you had Coley Place where Victor, Sidney and Bert Simms lived. Bert was a goalkeeper. In Dover St, you had the Fowlers and the Jenkins. In Field Rd, the Wicks brothers and Gordon Taylor. At the top of Garnet Street, Gerry Allerton ran the fish and chip shop. By the way did you ever ride down the Buildings on bits of corrugated iron, our version of sleds? The Kennet Inn I think was at the corner of Castle St where Shirley Betts lived with her parents. Shirley became the Head Girl of Alfred Sutton Girls School. I used to go to Sunday school at St Marys church in Castle St (nicknamed Tubbs – I don’t know why).

I have attached a couple of photos, one is of the steps and I am fourth on the right of the lamp post and Ken Rose is far right. Also in the picture is Gordon Taylor, Lorna Deacon, Pat Gibbard, Maureen Cleveland. You’re not there are you? We look very poor, but we were happy! Also a picture of Bright St decorated for the Coronation with me, Terry Bradfield and Derek Watkins in our Band uniforms. We played in the Spring Gardens Band. Derek later joined The James Last Orchestra, and now teaches at the Royal School of Music. His Dad Ted was a very talented musician also. They lived in Parnell Street.

coley   coley 001

In Brook St lived the Roberts family, the Kersleys, Sandra Wheeler and her brother, Rod Humphries, the Knotts, Pat the daughter, and the Turners. In Brook St West lived Derek Lavell, Wendy Smith, Norman Grantham and the Hodders. In Garnet St down to Brook St West I can remember Carol Vickers, Keith Barnes, Dave Chard, as well as the Millams of course.
John, when I visit my sister Wendy next I will ask her if she remembers you as she is your age I think. Also I will ask Jean what memories and names she can remember.
Well that’s all for now. I hope I have jogged a few memories or names, and I look forward to hearing from you.
regards from Geoff Weller

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