Langstone Memories - a Memory of Langstone.
I grew up in Langstone, living at 'Longleat' on Catsash Road from 1961-1973. I attended Langstone Primary School from 1964-1969 and then Caerleon Comprehensive from 1969-1973. 'Longleat' was one of the four semi-detached houses at the north end of the road and was the third from the end. Running behind the houses was a small stream that originated as a spring in the field north of the house and ended down at the A-48 where it merged into a larger stream running east-west. Prior to us an older couple, Mr & Mrs Coward, lived at Longleat and when they left they moved to a larger house on the south side of the A48 between Taylor’s transport café and the Coldra (there was no roundabout there then). When we arrived at Longleat in 1961, a very old couple, William and Carolyn Edwards lived in the very end house on the north end of the street. Mr Edwards had only one leg and he fascinated me when I’d visit, and he sat resting in his chair with his stump showing. Mrs Edwards used to gather watercress from the stream in the field north of the houses and sell it at the market in Newport. Mr Edwards died in 1963 and Mrs Edwards in 1970, and they are buried in Langstone churchyard. Between the Edwards and our house, Mrs Phyllis James lived. She had lost her husband Henry in 1960, just before we moved in and had two grown up children, Tony and Christine. Tony used to build canoes in her garage and Mrs James loved to garden and tend her rose bushes. Just south of us in the other half of our semi-detached unit lived the Reardon / Palmer family. There was Margaret Reardon, a widow, and her youngest daughter Kathleen, with Kathleen’s husband Arthur and their children Felicity, Faith, Stephen and Jamie. I played a lot with Stephen (who was slightly younger than me) and the twins Felicity and Faith, both about 6 years older than me. They often babysat me. Mr Palmer had an old car (1940’s I would guess) that sat in the garage they had, and Stephen and I would often play in it. It never left the garage and smelled very musty inside. South of the Palmers in the first detached house were the Jerwoods, Dorothy (Pet) and Frank. Frank was an avid gardener and grew some incredible peaches, which I loved eating. The Jerwoods had an Italian family that was somehow associated with them and I was great friends with Gianni, one of the children and we hung out together whenever they came to visit. Just south of the Jerwoods there was a small side street with a few houses and along here lived another Palmer family, Mr Alfred Palmer and his wife. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Mr Alfred Palmer was I think the uncle of Mr Arthur Palmer, and he somehow carried a great deal of weight on the street. When there were meetings to decide business to do with Catsash Road, the meetings often took place at this house. I remember one meeting where I was dragged along by my mother and he talked about the problems with the stream that ran behind the houses down the street, and how we needed a central sewer system rather than the then system of private septic tanks which overflowed into the stream. There was also talk about the growing unexplained problem of periodic flow stoppages in the stream. Little did the residents know that this was caused by my brothers and I building massive dam projects behind our house and thereby mastering the flow of the stream. Problems with the sewage system on the street finally came to a head in the mid-1960’s when several sewers, including ours, started to back up. My dad, together with Frank Jerwood, neither of whom wanted to spend the money to have the council come in and fix the problem, attempted a ‘home-fix’ and one night (to avoid notice by the council) dug out a large portion of the Jerwood’s garden (where the septic tank was located). Feeling that they’d dug out enough to find the root of the problem, they looked out the next morning to find their freshly dug hole a large pond now filled with sewage. Now we understood how the Jerwoods had always been blessed with such an abundant garden. Shortly thereafter the council came in and dug a trench up the entire west side of the road and connected all the houses to a central sewer system. Further down the road and on the opposite side lived the Wills and their market gardening business. Danny Wills and his wife Gladys ran the business which was mainly growing flowers for the market in Newport. I spent many days there working for him in his greenhouses and fields and learned how to drive a tractor. We sometimes went as far away as Chepstow to make deliveries. The Wills had a daughter whose name I forget but I do remember the Triumph Spitfire sports car she drove around. My favorite though, was ‘old Mr Wills’ (Danny’s father Sidney), who was in his 80’s and lived in a house in the north central part of the grounds. He was very generous and always had chocolate bars he gave to us, as well as an old organ in the front room which he let us play. Moving further down the street and back on the west side of the street was another market garden, this one run by the Airdries. They had a son David who was perhaps 6 years older than me. The Airdries had a substantial estate with lots of greenhouses and at the entrance a grove of majestic beech trees; I believe this is where the roundabout is located now.
(to be continued)
A memory shared by on Feb 19th, 2013.
Tips & Ideas
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?
How does it feel, seeing these places again?
Do you remember stories about the community, its history and people?
This week's Places
Here are some of the places people are talking about in our Share Your Memories community this week:
...and hundreds more! Enjoy browsing more recent contributions now.