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I would just like to add to Dez’s comments about Di’s Articles about Coley.They are beautifully written and I can remember well all of those fond memories, about Charlie Martin the pig man, he used to live in Parnell Street just around the corner from us in Bright Street. Also the Co op Baker and his horse walking on ahead. Bonfire Nights on the Buildings, and Simmonds Brewery Shire Horses in Fobney St. Also Jean Mayo was a keen Dancer. I used to roller skate down Stoney Hill and try to turn into Wolesley St delivering papers, not always successfully. Could you also ask Di to look at my post in January 2013 and look at the picture of us children on Coley Steps. I am interested to know if she is in the group.I am sure that one of the girls there is a Diane.
John – they are lovely stories, beautifully written with such graphic detail. Although I never lived in Coley, the activities and neighbourliness described in the stories were typical of where we lived in West Reading (Mason Street) and later in Whitley Wood (Spencer Road) – all before TV became popular. I can imagine the detail and location would have brought back many memories for you. I think the Coley spirit within the neighbourhood was a bit special, even unique in Reading and the memories have obviously been deeply etched into the minds of those who grew up in that area of Reading. Thanks for sharing the wonderful stories.
It was Rock and Roll – Yeah!!
In 1950 when I was six, a local girl Jeanette Mayo, who was a professional dancer started giving weekly lessons in the function room over the Blue Lion pub at the end of our street. Mum could barely afford the fees let alone suitable shoes, but that was all right because everyone in the neighbourhood was poor; they wouldn’t have the correct shoes either.
Jeanette worked hard showing us stretching exercises, graceful hand movements and how to stand with our toes pointing just so. I soaked it all up and practiced for hours at home, but then Jeanette was offered the chance to tour, the lessons ended abruptly and I had to fall back on my imagination once more.
With bonfire night fast approaching and with the National Press debating how childhood is far less adventurous than it used to be, a couple of weeks ago I was fascinated to watch a video of little boys playing with fireworks and I found myself saying, so what! It was pretty tame compared with what the boys in our neighbourhood used to get up to.
Now before I go any further, I’m not denying that some horrific accidents occur due to careless handling of fireworks, but I can only say in my defence that throughout my childhood, after I married and had children and when I gained a brother in law who was an accident waiting to happen when he was around fireworks, no-one ever got hurt; not even slightly singed. So I guess I come out on the side of those who say we’re protecting our children to their detriment.
Snotty Noses and Toboggans.
In our street every front garden had a small wooden seat by the front door. On warm summer evenings residents would sit outside and gossip, and naturally keep an eye on what we youngsters were up to. Any sign of wrongdoing and they’d threaten to tell our parents. Too many bad reports and we knew we’d get a clip around the ear when we went home.
During the late forties and early fifties our freedom to roam because there was nothing else to do was – due to always being under someone’s scrutiny – quite disciplined. Of course there were dangers. We had busy main roads, canals and rivers within a few streets of where we lived. I’ve no doubt our over-crowded streets also hid the odd pervert, but even in those pre-television days we were aware of the dangers, and if someone strange did cross our path, gave them a wide berth.
My memories of Wolseley Street
There are nearly two hundred two up two down terraced houses in our street; every house has a small front garden, and nearly all of the gardens have a rickety wooden seat built for two by the front door. On warm summer evenings the residents sit outside gossiping with their neighbours, whilst keeping an eye on all the comings and goings in the street.
‘It ‘ent fair,’ my friends moan, ‘you can’t get away with nothing round here, there’s always some old nosy parker watching us and shouting they’ll tell our mum and dad.’
Thanks for your email contribution. Very interesting. When I first read your comment on Charlie Martin’s pigsties – I thought – que? But eventually the penny dropped – a great memory prompter- thank you very much! I would be very interested in anything else that you have regarding Coley.
I used to do a bit of writing and did a few stories on Coley. [I lived at 51 Wolseley St.] A couple of the stories were published in Best of British Magazine a couple of years ago.
Grandmother lived at 51 Wolseley Street from @ 1918 [could have been earlier] Mother born there 1921. I was born there 1944.
We moved to St Saviours Rd in 1957 in a new house built on the site of Charlie Martin’s pigstys. If you’re interested and I can find the ones you might be interested in, I’ll gladly let you use them….
Hi Dion – thanks for the email and the comments – much appreciated. Any further Coley information would be gratefully accepted.
Re the Bricklayers Arms photo – 28 is tony mackay and 27 is terry mackay
Hi John, just read your My Reading, with interest. I lived next to Ronald Josey, we lived in Howard St., he had been at my 3rd birthday party when his mum Rose sent him out to play, he never came home alive again, his dad was Sam, and I remember him being a big guy also. I went to Coley school and also remember Coley (cold) swimming baths.
Geoff – I would have put money on you coming up with a photo of Willow Street – you are a champion! I have put it up on the web page along with the Kelly’s information. It is a tad small and hard to interpret – is there any chance of blowing it up a bit?
Hi Graham – thanks for the email. There is no membership of this web site – anyone who is interested can contribute. When people email me, I manually post their comments on to the Posts page. I didn’t ever think the web site would be that busy to justify setting it up more formally although I am surprised at how many people have written in. Hopefully someone will be able to help you with a photo or two of Willow Street.
I would like to know if anyone has any photos of Willow St Coley, also how do I become a member of My Reading, many thanks Graham.
Hi Rachel – I see Geoff Weller has been in touch with you. Yes – the Coop store is long gone! The small shop on the corner of Wolseley and Garnet has as well – it was a general store – I knew it as Parsons – used to go in there and buy sweets! The lady was Alice Parsons.
I suspect that there is still a lot that you haven’t seen on the web site. I never expected the web site to attract as much attention as it has which is why it was designed in a simple manner. I suggest you go through each section as there is a lot of stuff in there. For example, under “My Coley” is a tab called “Memories and Trivia” and another called “Bricklayers Arms” – both would be of interest to your Dad. Continue reading
I have attached a copy of the Coley School Football Team,circa 1953. Teddy was the Goalkeeper,(he was a good goal keeper) and I am the small one on the left.
From the Left, back, If I remember correctly was,Alan Jenkins,….?Fowler,Teddy Lock,Clive Upton,?,Joey Gibbs,Barrie Harris:Left Front,Geoff Weller,Derek Lavell,Rodney Humphries,John Beech(Capt)Ronnie McQuiston?,Gordon Taylor,and Ken?Matthews,the linesman.
Charlie Welfare was our Sports Teacher who also organised trips to see the Schoolboy Internationals at Wembley. As you can see we won the Primary Schools B League. Continue reading
Thanks ever so much for your reply John. Hoping I can clear a couple of things up for you.
Yes, 93 is almost opposite the school. I guess the Co-op store is long gone now. I certainly don’t remember it (know Garnet Street well though). I do remember there being a small shop at the end of Wolseley Street. It’s shown on one of your photographs, signed up Jeffries & Sons. Can’t remember what’s there now. Perhaps it’s still Jeffries, as your photograph seems quite recent. I used to go to the shop at the end of the street with my Nan regularly and she would buy me sweets. I have huge memories of my Nan and the little house she lived in, 93 Wolseley Street! She left us in 1979, and I would have only been around 4 then, having been born in Jan 1975. Apparently I spent a lot of time with her, probably why I remember her so well. No memories of my granddad disappointedly. Continue reading
Hi Rachel – great to hear from you. The name Lock is ringing tiny bells in this tired brain of mine but I can’t put any faces to the name. Number 93 is a few doors down from what used to be the Co-op store on the corner of Garnet Street – in fact almost opposite the school.
I don’t have any photos or memorabilia of my time in Wolseley Street except for the photo that is the banner on my web pages which is an Imperial War Museum photo of Wolseley Street taken just before the end of WW2. I actually purchased that photo from the IWM and had it enlarged and framed and it is on the wall of my study. I have sent you a copy to print off and give to your Dad. I’m sure you probably realise that any photos I have put up on my web pages can be copied and downloaded on to your computer and then printed off which I am happy for you to do.
Some of the people who have written in to my web site will have photos and memorabilia to share if they want to and hopefully will get in touch with you.
I do remember walking down to the end of Wolseley Street, past the church on the right, and then crossing the road and walking through a sort of laneway with a row of terrace houses on the left and then crossing Berkeley Avenue to go up to the Rec. I can’t remember what was on the right except that further to the right was a garage on the corner where I used to take our accumulator (wet battery) to be recharged. Is that area to the left what you call Cranford Mews?
Regards to your Dad and look forward to hearing from you.