Growing Up In Southall

A Memory of Southall.

I grew up in Southall in the 1940s and 50s. We lived in Gordon Road in a terraced house that backed onto The Tube. We had an outside toilet, no bathroom and, until I was about 6, no electricity. At the age of 5 I could change a gas mantle. My mother continued to live there until she passed on in 1989.
Two doors away was Mrs Ridgewell's grocery shop and on the corner there was a greengrocer's. I recall being sent for a shilling's worth of King Edward potatoes.
I went to Clifton Road Primary (Miss Camp) and Junior (Mr Constable) schools and went on to Drayton Manor School in Hanwell. I went to Sunday School and belonged to the Boy Scouts at the Salvation Army in Adelaide Road. I was their first and only Queen's Scout. Opposite on the corners of Clifton Road were Pearson's Drapers and a good fish and chip shop. Just around the corner in Norwood Road was a small parade of shops which included a newsagents who I worked for as a paper boy for a while. I later moved to Cowan's butchers further down Norwood Road. They offered more pay for less arduous work. Outside the shop was a telephone kiosk which the Cowans used as their business telephone. They even printed the phone number on letterhead etc.
In the summer months I almost lived in the outdoor swimming pool in 'The Rec'. Entry was one penny for each session but because I was a Southall Swimming Club member I was allowed to stay in the pool between sessions to do training laps, so I would usually pay a penny for the whole day. The superintendant was Mr Betts and his assistant was Arthur Choulertan. Arthur moved on to the super's job in High Wycombe. While I was a club member Laurie Dormer was the club secretary. For a while the club captain was Jeff Stokes whose parents owned the fish and chip shop on the corner of The Green and Kingston Road - probably the best in the area.
The swimming club used Flexman's Coaches (Western Road) to transport members to the indoor pool in Acton for training during the winter months. I recall on a number of occasions one of the adults walking the five miles home with a torch pointed backwards to navigate the coach through the pea-souper smog. Thinking back, I'm not sure why we used Acton as Ealing and Heston pools are both closer and you can get to Heston on one bus.
Flexman's coaches were also used by the Salvation Army for seaside outings. I recall being sent at 7am to the baker's shop in King Steet to collect bread rolls fresh out of the oven from the side door to take on the trip.

Added 24 November 2009


Comments & Feedback

Hi John
Only just found this site, so if you still come back to it from time to time, you will find that we share many memories of Southall. I lived on Endsleigh road between 1947 and 1967 so am familiar with many of the places you mentioned. The Sally Army/Chip Shop/Pearsons and do you remember Evans Cycles on Norwwood Road, Bakers ( Parkers ) wher you got your bread rolls. I never did a paper round but use to deliver repaired shoes for a cobblers near Norwood Green. It was in a little parade of shops almost opposite the police station?. Even today when I have visited a shoe repair place, the smell takes me back.

I remember the shops opposite, wasn't there Stevitts grocers, the son of man that ran a shop in Heston Road, it was the nearest when I lived in North Hyde Lane in the 50's, we used to walk to the shop & place the order & he would delivery it in a little old van..I used to get my bike serviced in Evans..
In the 40s I lived on Buckingham terrace. There was a canal behind our house and from the front of the house I could see a Quaker Oats factory. I believe I went to Clifton Rd school until I was shipped off to children's homes in Brentford.
I used to have a paper round from Hills newsagent in Regina Road in 1953

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