Monday, August 24, 2015

LFR 24 Aug Number 617

North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland

Welcome to the Laws Family Register. 

A Child of the Twenties

A suburban childhood of the Twenties 

seen from the Ninteen Nineties

by my late father

 John Robert Laws 1921-2008

Part 18
Before the building boom Southgate was largely an area of large mansions set in their own parks among farmland with a village of cottages and small shops where the new Underground station was now inserted.
                                       Southgate Underground Station

It has been well documented  by local historians and was in the final stages of suburbanisation when we moved there. I scarcely knew the area before moving there, but on at least one occasion had investigated the blackberries growing in the hedges of Osidge Lane at the bottom of which Pymmes brook was still a little stream edged with overgrown hawthorn.

There was a little farm in a small gentle valley opposite our new house, but within months the farm had become a large housing estate and, passing through the stages of a sea of mud became quite a pleasant suburban area.
A house got put up about one every three weeks with very little mechanical assistance, those houses were sold for about five or six hundred pounds, not cheap. A new house could be bought for a little as three hundred and seventy five pounds all around London.

Most houses were being built without garages but ours was one of a small development of half a dozen with a garage built in.    Builders had not yet really
decided that, a garage was an integral part of a house, so there was no upper storey over it. Our enterprising builder had even put a radiator in the garage and this, together with a radiator in the hall and a towel rail in the bathroom made up his attempt at central heating. It was too bad that his knowledge of gravity circulation was weak and the garage was a bit lower than the rest of the house, so that its radiator was below the level of the ‘Ideal’ boiler in the kitchen and remained for ever stone cold.

The kitchen in the new house was a real update on what had gone before. There was still a built in dresser for the china with upper grooved shelves to stand up the dinner plates but the top was enclosed by doors, albeit painted a darkish brown. The larder alongside it, was deep, giving a lot of space but difficult to access. 

For the first time there was a Refrigerator, a monstrous thing on legs with a big round cooling coil on top to collect the dust where you could see it. It was however finished in white enamel and built like a tank. The black iron gas cooker was left behind and the new one was finished in mottled green vitreous enamel, all very solid. We still had a deep white stoneware sink with a wooden draining board. The kitchen was of course a lot smaller than before and the old deal table used up a lot of the space so that there was little room to eat there. A breakfast room lay alongside to eat in and this arrangement was a bit of a curate’s egg, handy when you needed an extra room but not so handy at breakfast time.

We were about half a mile from the new underground railway station, our move to the new house had been held back until it was completed. A bus route with single-decker buses ran down the road as far as the Chase Side Tavern. The bus stopped within a few yards of us on its way back and it cost a penny for the ride up the easy slope half a mile to the station. I had to be very behind-hand and actually see the bus coming before money could be wasted in this profligate way.

The shops in Southgate were at that time in course of changing over from village to suburbia, a change which had been made in nearby Palmers Green a generation earlier probably when the railway arrived. The new tube station had a few new shops built around it but the old ones survived just a little longer, a tiny sweetshop run by a tiny old lady on the corner of Chase Side opposite the ‘Bell’ Public House and a barbers beside the Bell, where boys got their hair cut for three pence. 

Next to that going north along Chase Side, Lees Stores survived a long time although the first moves towards supermarkets shoed themselves in shops where you had to go from one counter to another to get your various goods instead of shop assistant fetching it all from far of places and piling it on the counter in front of you, before asking whether you would like it delivered. Next to Lee’s was the paper shop and then an ancient toy shop which didn’t last long. 

The bike, and perhaps motorbike, repair shop was a hundred yards further on , more a single storey brick shed with a shop front than anything, but it survived  some years standing well proud of the new parade of shops built beside it which was set well back from the road with a very wide pavement. Opposite was Collins the butchers, a purveyor of choice meat, complete with a slaughterhouse in the rear. Here Sam and his dad presided, with straw hats and blue and white aprons and, would chop away on their big wooden block to produce the chump chop you wanted out of half a sheep. 

They too would deliver if you liked in a little brown van, well known in the Southgate streets. No doubt you paid for the service in the prices but you still could buy a nice pork chop for four pence.

There were two garages locally, petrol cost the equivalent of six or seven new pence a gallon and you could buy a brand new Austin Seven for one hundred and five pounds if you were lucky enough to scrape that much together. 
                                                                Austin 7
My dad got a Chrysler saloon in place of the old bull-nosed Morris but didn’t have it long as he was neither the first or the last to drive straight on at one of the right-angled Essex lanes. I didn’t ride in it much anyway as he had given me a new bike which I liked much better. After the demise of the Chrysler came a much more sedate Hillman which I feel nobody loved very much.      

To be continued tomorrow

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Family Events from our database for today August 24th

If you are interested in anyone listed here, email us with the name, date and reference number, and we will happily do a look up, you might get a whole tree! 

Family Events
1734 - Burial: Richard LAWS-8037, St.James Clerkenwell MDX
1797 - Marriage: William LAWS-57762 and Mary Ann PALMER (former Widow) -57763,                          Deptford KEN UK
1807 - Birth: Jane LAWS (Spinster) -7810, Cambo NBL UK
1819 - Marriage: Edward LAWS-5480 and Sarah CHURCH-5481, Whitchurch HAM UK
1828 - Baptism: Ellen Mary LAWS-47460, Portsea HAM UK
1828 - Baptism: Elijah John LAWS- (Labourer) 4171, Portsea HAM UK

                           HMS 'Victory' Nelson's flagship preserved in Portsea Naval Dockyard.

1859 - Burial: James LAWS (Ag Lab) -3881, Gas Works Road, Kinson, Bournmouth DOR UK
           (St Andrew)
1861 - Death: Mary LAWES-41937,
1862 - Marriage: Benjamin LAWS (Moulder in Foundry) -4731 and Eleanor BACON-4732,
           Bungay SFK UK

                                                             Bungay SFK UK

1865 - Death: Thomas LAWS (Bricklayer / Coachman / Groom) & Twin) -3148, Dorchester DOR                UK
1885 - Birth: Albert LAWS(Tobacco Agent)-7641, Wood Green MDX UK
           (My Great Uncle)
1895 - Birth: Charlotte Maud LAWES-168164,
1899 - Birth: Edward Arthur LAWS-36357, Lincoln LIN UK

                              Lincoln Castle Square & the Cathedral with its Norman West front.

1902 - Birth: Rosie May LAWS-116627, Derby DBY UK
1906 - Birth: Charles John LAWS-167872, Old Street, Finsbury MDX (St Luke)
1906 - Birth: Edith LAWES-54077, Ealing MDX UK
1907 - Birth: Bernard Oswald LAWS (Farmer) -3488, Shepparton VIC AUSTRALIA
1907 - Birth: Percy Maitland LAWS (Book-keeper)-90143, Gateshead DUR UK
1914 - Birth: Herbert Frederick Kitchener LAWS-116297, Greenwich KEN UK

                                          Greenwich Royal Navy College & Park KEN UK

1916 - Birth: Henry Partridge LAWS (Coal Miner) -39883, Seaham Harbour DUR
1922 - Birth: Bridget Frances LAWS-122788,
1922 - Birth: Victor William George LAWS-42791, Kensington MDX UK
1924 - Residence: Bolitha James LAWS (Lawyer / Judge) -29244, Albee Building, 9 Oxford Street,              Washington DC USA
1928 - Marriage: Sydney George Edward LAWS (Australian Army)-35404 and Norah Daphne                      QUIGLEY-35240, Leichhardt, NSW AUSTRALIA
1928 - Death: Ronald LAWS-42796, Kensington MDX UK
1933 - Birth: Peter Robin LAWES (Accountant) -59289, Leigh on Sea ESS UK

                                   Leigh on Sea ESS UK with Bawleys waiting for the tide

1936 - Death: Donald R LAWS-41471, Harlan Co KY USA
1938 - Death: Owen Genry Charles LAWES-123559, Cambridge CAM UK but resided at
           Witcham CAM UK
1940 - Death: Percy Frederick LAWS (Decorator) -9191, Chatham KEN UK
1944 - Military: Maurice Edward Seymour LAWS-38526, Order of the British Empire
1957 - Death: James Holland LAWS-50124, Bryan TX USA
1972 - Death: Elsie Myrtle LAWS (Nurse) -3487, Shepparton VIC AUSTRALIA
1998 - Birth: Oliver Charles LAWS-58220, Norwich NFK UK
2004 - Death: Lloyd Clinton LAWS (YN3 U.S. Navy / Korea) -38122Topeka KS USA
2011 - Miscellaneous: Terence Ronald LAWS-120519,

1882 - Birth: Bertha Mae FRY-56604, ME USA
1886 - Death: Thomas CHARTERS (Draper) -34680, 
1912 - Birth: Percy Edward DEAL-55523, 
1918 - Burial: William George SPENDIFF (Cellarman)-122738, Meaulte FRANCE
1927 - Birth: Betty Jane DYER-54680, Inglewood, CA United States
1929 - Death: Adeline Annie BETTIS-42418, Piper, Wyandotte Co. KS USA
1977 - Death: Mary Ann Frances STEEL-43389, Dagenham ESS UK
2001 - Birth: Jake Kenneth GIBSON-46087, Southend-on-Sea ESS UK

                             Southend on Sea ESS UK The longest Pleasure Pier in the World.

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