Hounslow Staines Road
My parents moved to Cranford in 1938, I was 3 years old. My dad was a pastrycook / baker and had got a job with a local firm in Cranford across from ‘The Berkeley Arms Hotel’. To the left of the hotel was a cherry orchard. A bakers shop and a hairdressing salon with a two bedroom flat had been built opposite, this was where we lived. The garden was huge, and had 26 fruit trees in the bottom half. My dad was to work in the bakehouse of the firm’s second shop. This was on the Bath Road as well. on the corner of Wellington Road near Hounslow opposite a pub called ‘The Windsor Castle’ which I think is still there. Years later I was married in the church across the road, St. Pauls.
Next door to the shop in Cranford, was a detached house which was also a bank. Then came several more shops, a grocers, a greengrocers, a newsagents, a wool shop and a butchers. This was on the corner of Waye Avenue where several of my friends’ lived. We all went to the school in Berkeley Avenue, ‘Cranford Junior and Infants School’ At the junction of Berkeley Avenue and the Bath Road was a small thatched building with petrol pumps. Cranford then was more like a village, mostly fields and the odd farm, and no airport. My brother was born in 1939, the second world war had just started, and my dad did not have to go in the army because of his job. He kept greyhounds and used to exercise them in Cranford park which was a short walk away. There was a temporary church across the road leading to the park. It was called ‘The Holy Angels’ There was also a nursery where plants could be bought. A little further along was a petrol station. My dad had a small car which he could not use because of the war, so he rented a garage in the forecourt of a pub called ‘The Jolly Waggoner’ Opposite this were fields and a small airfield. Heathrow (as it was called then) was started much later in 1946, and was sited near Harlington.
Next to the bakers shop below our flat were two very old cottages, they too had big gardens with lots of fruit trees. A grocers shop was next, and a hardware shop, A block of three shops owned by ‘The Co op’ was next. A grocers, a butchers and a greengrocers with a flat above. There was also a hall that could be hired. I used to have dancing lessons there !! Next to the dairy yard was an alleyway which led to Berkeley Avenue. Then came a shop selling bicycles and prams. A café was next. You could buy ice cream cones and wafers through a special window in the front, inside were tables and chairs where you could enjoy ice cream sundaes. My favourite was a glass of Tizer with a scoop of ice cream. The owners were Italian, and the café was called ‘Continental Café’. Then there was a fish and chip shop and a wet fish shop, round the corner was a chemist shop called ‘Dunns’, I actually worked there when I left school! A drapers shop came next, then ‘The Victoria Wine Shop’. The last shop on that side of the road, was a shoe menders.
Opposite the 'Victoria Wine Shop' was a greengroces, then I can't remember as I don't think it was of any interest to me, probably a dry cleaners, next came Cliffords Dairy, then a large newsagents, then Cranford Library. Next was 'Meadowbank' where the American soldiers were during the Second World War. We children used to spend ages talking to them, a lot had their own families and obviously missed them. In the block of shops near the 'Jolly Waggoner' was a hairdressers and a cafe and, I think, a sweet shop.
We lived in Cranford until 1946, when we moved to a shop near Hounslow Hospital (see picture). My dad, who was a pastrycook/baker, managed a baker's shop at 185 Staines Road. It was called 'The Cromwell Bakery' as it was opposite Cromwell Road. My mum ran the shop and Dad's bakehouse was at the back. Next door on the right was 'N Signs', they did various things like silk-screen printing. Next to us on the left was 'Whiteheads', a newsagents shop, then 'Pilmans', a tailors. Then there was 'Claremonts', a cycle shop. My brother went to a school in Cromwell Road, I went to another near Isleworth fire station, Spring Grove.
Hounslow Heath was fairly near our shop and I used to take my pet greyhound for walks over there. Sally, my greyhound, had a kennel and small fenced area at the end of our garden.
Opposite our shop was 'The Butchers' Institute' where retired butchers lived. On the other side of the road was Hounslow Hospital, I remember hurting my foot, we walked to the hospital, only a few hundred yards from our shop, but I ended up with a plaster cast! As I could not walk back our local greengrocer gave me a lift on his horse and cart!
My dad made bread, assorted cakes and pastries, as well as wedding and celebration cakes. I remember one cake in particular, it was huge and was a model of Wembley Greyhound Stadium! I think it was for an event being held at Wembley dog stadium.
At Christmas time people would ask my dad to cook their large turkeys in the bakehouse oven! A large loaf cost about 4d, less than 2 new pence. The little cup cakes and shortbread he made, 2/6d for twelve, 12 new pence. Those were the days!
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