Many thanks for your quick reply! Wow – I am happy to read that Alf may still be alive!! To be honest, that doesn’t surprise me at all because he was such an active man and as I say, he was incredibly fit – I could never comprehend his age – even 10 years ago!! Maybe I will look him up but I don’t want to frighten him as it has been such a long time. I have very fond memories of him recalling stories of how he used to swim in the Kennet and fish. I have a feeling he used to work in the jam factory, and I seem to remember that not only was he born in that house but he was one of many children growing up there too – all in a 2 up 2 down. I no longer live in Reading – I am now in Cranleigh, Surrey but all my family are still in Reading so I am frequently there. Perhaps I will drop in on him. Or even perhaps some of your contributors from the area know of him.
I have been watching a series about the Secret History of our Streets on the BBC (all about London so far) as I am fascinated about Victorian social history (it is probably on BBC iplayer if you have an interest). So I was inspired to look on the internet for areas that I have lived and what history is known about them. I already knew that Coley Steps was an infamous part of Reading so I ‘Googled’ Wolseley Street Reading Slums and your website popped up – thats how I got to you!!
I have contacted my mum for more information about Coley Baths. I think she has probably done quite a bit of research of Southcote too as she lived there for 10 years. She is very much into her history of Reading and this is the website for Kings Meadow campaign http://www.kingsmeadowbaths.org.uk/. Kings Meadow is near Reading Bridge so its the other side of Reading.
I shall let you know if I ever do drop in on Alf. If I do, I’ll take a notepad and jot down as much as I can about his memories!! Will also let you know if Mum has any info on Coley Baths.
Thanks and best,