106 Wolseley Street, Reading
The building to the left is the former St Saviour’s Church
The first house on the left is 104 Wolseley Street which was occupied by the Mayo family. I understand that Mrs Mayo – Florrie – still lives there and she is 99 years old. I think her husband’s name was Cecil. The children were John, Jeanette and Peter – Peter was killed in a car accident in Berkeley Avenue. The Mayo’s were related to the Millams – Audrey Millam – now Audrey Hora – tells me that Florrie Mayo was her Dad’s cousin
In #102 were the Coopers with two children – Ray and Brian. There may have been a daughter as well.
Then at #100 were the Roses – Mr and Mrs Rose and 5 boys – Bernard, John, Alan, Colin and Ken. Ken is three years younger than me and we used to play football and cricket up at the Rec. With the exception of Colin who died a couple of years ago, the other 4 are all alive and Bernard is 80. I remember Mrs Rose well as she was very kind to me and I suspect she had a fair idea of the problems at 106 upstairs.
I am pleased to say that I have established telephone and email contact with Ken Rose.
Next at #98 was Mrs Brown and her daughters – one was called Phyllis. She had a boyfriend who rode a motor bike. He offered to take me for a ride one day but I was too scared. I don’t remember ever seeing a Mr Brown. I seem to recall that my mother was quite friendly with Mrs Brown – probably a shoulder to cry on.
The Whites lived at #96 and the Tibbles at #94 although Audrey Hora thought that maybe Mr and Mrs Goodchild lived at #94 with their son Ray.
The Hopgoods lived at #92 and the Stearmans were at #90. The mother’s name was Gwen and there was a boy – Michael, and he had a sister – Rosemary.
At #88 were the Vockins – I seem to recall there were quite a few children. I remember Martin (Billy?) (my age), Dorothy and Joyce. #86 were the Rollins.
The Bryants lived at #84 – the ‘creamy’ coloured house above – at least three boys – David, Roger and Richard. Next door at #82 were the Allwood family – Betty and James (Jimmy) were children I remember.
Pauline Winterbourne – nee Millam – who lived at 115 Wolseley Street back in the 1940s, tells me that Mrs Rushton lived at #80 – the house on the left, and Mr and Mrs Choules lived at #78 with son John (now passed away) and daughter Pat. At # 76 were Mr and Mrs Wicks – their youngest son married Mrs Gray after her husband died. The Grays ran the shop we knew as Parsons. Next at #74 were the Pikes – son Bertie, daughter Edie and Edie’s daughter Eileen.
At #72 were Mrs House and her three daughters one of whom – Violet – married Alf Mills after his first wife died. The last house before Stoney Hill was #70 and Pauline says that Mr and Mrs Dyer lived there and they were somehow related to the Millams!!
I certainly remember Garnet Street – more commonly known as Stony Hill – the number of times I walked up and down those bloody steps! There used to be a fish and chip shop at the top of the hill on the corner of Field Road.
I have no recollection of the residents of the houses past Garnet Street leading up to the school but I am convinced that I used to visit one of them.
This is Coley Primary School from the other end of Wolseley Street looking back towards #106.
The part of Wolseley Street from the school up to Castle Street no longer exists as I know it. I do recall that there were some more houses on the even numbers side and also a pub and then a large open space which was known as “The Buildings” where quite a few ‘slum’ dwellings had been demolished around 1939. I particularly remember the bonfires there on Guy Fawkes nights and setting off rockets in bottles and sometimes lighting a ‘penny dreadful’ and dropping it into a bottle and then running for dear life before it exploded! We did some daft things in those days – my kids probably think I still do!
There were also ‘The Steps’ which ran from Coley place down into Wolseley St.
Somewhere on the left (odd numbers) side of the street was a general store run by Bert Bristow who used to do home deliveries on a bike like the one Granville used in “Open All Hours”! I notice on Google maps that there is a shop that looks like it is no longer functioning called Jeffrey and Sons at #33 Wolseley Street – would this be where Bristows was? Also – somewhere near that corner was a pub which I think might have been called The Rose and Crown – then again, there were a lot of pubs called the Rose and Crown! There was also a pub on the corner of Willow Street and Brook Street called the Borough Arms run by Jim and Alice Wicks. Alice also ran the coffee stall next to St Saviours hall at the end of Wolseley Street where it meets Berkeley Avenue. Alice was sister to Elsie Bryant at #84. I used to do odd jobs for Alice to earn a bit of pocket money. She was very generous.
Then I seem to recall that there was a small Co-op on one corner of Wolseley Street and Garnet Street and a small shop called Parsons on the other corner. Audrey tells me that when Mrs Parsons died her daughter Doris and her husband carried on with the business. Again I can see from Google maps that neither shop is there now.
This is Garnet Street leading down to the Holy Brook.
This is 115 Wolseley Street where the Millam’s paternal grandmother lived.
These are the last two houses in Wolseley Street at the Berkeley Avenue end – opposite #106. I have some recollection of the people who lived there but their names escape me at the moment. I always thought there were much better off than us!!
A few houses back, roughly opposite the Coopers, were Mr and Mrs Boxhall and their daughter Iris.
Back to Garnet Street leading down to the Holy Brook.
Somewhere on the left are the Millam houses where Bernie and Audrey lived and their cousin Michael lived next door but one. Audrey tells me that Michael now spends 6 months of the year at his house in Somerset and the other 6 months at their villa in Florida. Opposite the Millam houses and a little further down was David Chard.
Then – of course – at the end of Garnet Street is Brook Street West and Holy Brook where I spent many happy hours fishing! Holy Brook is a channel of the river Kennet – see an article on this at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Brook
I remember Bert Norris, the caretaker at St Saviours church, lived in Brook Street West. Nora Neville (nee Thompsett) told me that when she and Ray first married, they lived in Brook Street West also.
It was great fun trying to remember who lived where in Wolseley Street back then and I think we did pretty well considering our ages!! However – Bernie Millam sent me a three scanned pages from the 1954 Kelly’s Directory which I have been able to collate onto the one page – click on the thumbnail to enlarge it for viewing.
I also have another directory entry – again I think it is Kelly’s – whick Ken Rose sent me – and I think it might be 1957.
There are some inconsistencies between what I have put up above assisted by comments I have received, and that which is listed on the two directory pages, but I am not going to try and sort out what is correct. Directory entries are not always correct. However, if anyone wishes to suggest any changes, I am quite happy to make them.
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