I was born at my Grandmother's home at No: 50 Hand Avenue on the Braunstone Estate. When I was about 3 we moved from Grandma's to our own home at No: 9 Wellinger Way. I went to Queensmead Infants School and then to Cort Crescent Junior School. I remember the old wooden buildings that were built on stilts. They were our classrooms. The only brick buildings were the assembly hall and the 'White Hut' which was Mr Worthington's classroom. I was in his class in year 3 and he was one of my favourite teachers. Another of my favourites was Miss Shenton, who taught writing skills and RE and was often known to whack a child over the back of the hand with a ruler if their writing wasn't uniform and neat. I thought she was a lovely old lady and felt I knew her as she had also taught my dad. I also liked Mr James, a welshman with a fiery temper who was my year 4 teacher and Mr Tabener who never taught me but was such a lovely man.
I remember the old wooden buildings being pulled down and the new school being built. My brother spent his final year in the new building and was in Mr Tabener's class. They were the first class to use the new swimming pool and my brother nearly made history for a tragic reason. He was in the pool trying to swim when someone jumped in on top of him. Mr Tabener had to pull him out with the pole and resuscitate him.
There were some shops opposite the school. Smith's was a grocer and greengrocer and was run by Mr and Mrs Ernest Spiers. Mr Sam Smith often came in to help out. He had lost an arm and there was always a bit of a nasty smell in the shop when he was there. Mrs Spiers's sister, Winnie, worked at the shop too. She lived a frew houses down the road from my Grandma.
Then there was Mortimer's the Butchers. Mr Mortimer always had a fag in his mouth and once the ash dropped off onto the liver he'd just weighed out for my mum. There was a right old ding-dong when he refused to chage the liver. Mrs Mortimer was a small thin woman and always seemed cross. It was mainly because her feet always hurt. Sometimes their son Mick would serve in the shop
Me and a boy from another part of the estate were heartbroken one Christmas Eve in the 1960's when old Mortimer stood in the shop killing his Christmas rabbits with the blinds up. One poor rabbit didn't die straight away and we were horrified to see him chasing it round the shop and both banged on the door begging him to stop.
There was a jitty after Mortimer's and next to that was Reeves News agents and post office. Mr and Mrs Reeves ran the shop with their daughter and her husband who's name was Derek. A lady named Stella worked for them. Mr and Mrs Reeves were a lovely couple and I was very fond of them.
Finally was Sharman's, another grocer and greengrocer. I don't really know much about them only what I've learned from my mother-in-law as we never used them because they once accused my mother of stealing a tin of Nestle's condenced milk from them when she returned it because it was off. According to my mother-in-law they came from Northgates Street when the back to back slums were cleared.
I have many memories of Braunstone, both the council estate and the old village which we frequently walked. I had a very happy childhood there but by the time I left school at 17 the estate had become riddled with some undesirable people. I left the estate about 2 years after my mum died in 1974. My husband, who was born in Morcote Road in Braunstone, and I have taken our boys around the estate a few times and pointed out where we grew up. I was shocked to see that the 'New Court Crescent School,' which replaced the old wooden huts had been demolished and yet another new school built. The shops all had metal shutters and looked empty and there was lots of graffiti around. It is such a shame as those houses are quite large and the gardens were very big compared to many council estate houses.
A memory shared byon Mar 9th, 2009.
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