Asylum Road Arlesey

A Memory of Arlesey

Alma Allen was born at home in Asylum Road, Arlesey, now called Hospital Road. They later moved in with Herbert's dad, Big Jim, who lived in the Gothic Farm House that was at the bottom of the yet to be built Lynton Avenue.
One day her little brother George got out and was found cuddling the huge shire horse's leg. This obviously frightened them, but she said the horse stood dead still and never moved a muscle, as if he knew it was a toddler down there.
Herbert, Alma's dad, then bluffed his way into the Foreman's job at Arlesey London Brickyard.
They the got the foreman's house at the brickyard, handy for the pub. I remember mum telling me she always wanted to go with her older brothers and sisters, but being the smallest they used to put her in an empty clay carrying truck and start it rocking up and down. By the time it stopped and she could jump out they were gone.
I remember my brother and sister doing similar to me, go and get ur wellies on, they said, and when I came back out they were gone.

They lived at the Brickyard until the family got a council house at St Peters Ave when Alma was 10 .That would have been 1938. The war then started and Arlesey was filled with London overspill. The classes got so large that St Peters hall was used as an extra classroom. Mum used to tell me she went here, and she never got taught much 'cos all they did was sing songs all day long. That was her story anyway.
They had a greyhound dog called Whitey who helped supplement the family of seven's budget by catching rabbits over the fields around the lake and the sandpits. Rabbit stew was supposed to be very tasty. All the gardens were cropped to make the cost of living a bit cheaper. She used to keep chickens for eggs, that was quite common as well; then you could eat the chickens when the laying stopped. There were even gas lights at St Peters Ave in 1938, outside toilets and no washing machines.

The schooling was very limited because of the very large classes, caused by the children evacuating London during the war. Alma left school at 14. There were loads of jobs in those days, you could walk out of one job and start another the next day, as all the factories needed labour. Mum used to bike to work at Letchworth as did most people.
Met dad at a dance in the W.I. hall. Dad was a prisoner of war. He had to go back after war. When dad was allowed back he lived at the vicarage with Mr Bevan the vicar.
They got married and lived at 2, St Peters Ave with Herbert and her mum, Polly, her brother, George, her sister, Daisey and Daisey's daughter, Lorna.
They eventually got a council house in Lynton Ave, once mum was expecting her third child - me.
Dad was doing very well at work and kept getting promoted, so he bought our own house at Davis Row. He then got transfered to Kenfig Hill in South Wales where they were building a very modern plant.

A memory shared by Clive Lombari , on Sep 13th, 2012.

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