Crayford Road

Memories of Jeanette Vickers

I lived at number 28 Crayford Road, Kingstanding. There was my Mother and Father and elder brother and sister in the house. The neighbours next door were called Hipkiss and they had two daughters a bit older than myself. I remember their mother dying of cancer.

The house of course was a council house, and had 3 bedrooms upstairs, downstairs was the sitting room from which you then went into the kitchen which had a large table and on the left was the bathroom, and also there was a door to the right from which we used to get the coal for the fire, the coalman used to deliver it at the side of the house and we could get at the coal from the kitchen. We had a toilet under the same roof but you had to go outside to get into it. I remember sitting on the back steps shelling peas for the Sunday dinner.  Dad had a large garage and he paved all the front yard with crazy paving and we had a privet hedge all around the front which is still there by the way.

When you came out of the back door it was all cemented and Dad had terraced the back as the ground was quite high.  The back garden was quite large and we went up some steps at the left to get right up to the back. We had a large rabbit hutch and right up the back we had chickens, their pen was the full width of the garden. After the chooks had gone Dad made the chicken pen into a cubby house for me but grown ups had to stoop to get in. There was a crabapple tree right outside and I made myself sick  once eating them and got quite a belly ache.

The wood work in the house was painted a dark brown the walls I think were cream and we had a bay window at the front. Our little block consisted of four houses. Two each end were the same with the bay windows but the two in between didn’t have bay windows and may have been smaller. There was an alley in the centre of the 4 houses which enabled the people in the middle to get around to their back yards. There was quite a large area at the front and we used to play hopscotch, conkers or marbles.

Dad had a cafe in Birmingham I think it was in or around Corporation Street. Dad used to do hot dinners for the workers. I remember Lucas’s factory so the cafe must have been near there, and sitting in the bus in the fog and the bus conductor walking at the front of the bus with a light so the driver could see the way. My Father used to take me to the pictures at the Gaumont theatre once a week even when I was quite small to see films with Alan Ladd, Edward G Robinson and George Raft etc. I used to be scared stiff of Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre and hide behind my hands. At home we used to listen to PC 49 and Palm Court Orchestra on the wireless, toasting crumpets by the open fire.



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