2up And 2down!

A Memory of Birmingham

My father was born in Ford Street Hockley Brook Birmingham in 1936.
He was the youngest of 6, 2 sisters and 3 brothers. Ford Street consisted of a row of houses on one side and factories on the other side. The houses were 2 up and 2 down and the toilet was outside. At the top end of the street was the tram station and around the corner from there was Icknield Street school which my dad started at in 1941. During the war, Birmingham was repeatedly bombed by the Germans and my dad and his family had several close encounters with bombs in Ford Street.
One time was when the factory oppisite my dads house was hit by bombs from a night time raid and the factory was completely flattened and none of the night-shift workers survived. Another time was when the family was in the kitchen at the back of the house and there was a huge crashing sound at the front of the house and everyone rushed through to the front room to find that a 250lb bomb had come through the roof, through the bedroom floor, through the sitting room floor and was sitting in the cellar having decided not to go off. I have been told that everyone was out of that house quicker then Stirling Moss could go around a Grand Prix circuit!
During the war, my dad's father worked in a factory in Birmingham making tanks and his mother worked at Hockley Brook railway goods yard loading ammunition trains. Eventually the war ended, my dad finished school and in 1954 he departed Birmingham to join the Royal Signals where he served for 18 years.
I remember in the late 1960s as a child visiting my grandparents who still lived in Ford Street and there used to be a sweet shop where I use to buy Mars bars with a thruppney bit and the toilet was still outside and there was a chamber pot under the bed! Ford Street is now just a row of modern houses and where my dad's house was it is now a park with trees and Icknield Street school is still standing but has been closed for a while now.

A memory shared by Raymond Parlett , on Jul 25th, 2010.

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Not sure what to write? It's easy - just think of an important place in your life and ask yourself:

  • How does it feature in your personal history?
  • What are your best memories of this place?
  • How has it changed over the years?
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  • Do you remember stories about the community, its history & people?