• History Of Rodbourne (1)
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71 Responses to “Memories”

  • Anne Clement:

    I was born in Swindon in 1941 , but now live in Surrey.
    I am eager to learn if anyone has heard of (or even remembers!) my grandfather’s shop J.G.Bailey, family butcher, circa 1933 . I believe the address was 1A Rodbourne Road .
    I have 3 photos which I am in the process of scanning for submission to the Swindon Collection at the Central Libary. HOpefully, they will appear on the Flickr website soon.
    Any information from your group would be welcome. Thank you.
    Anne Clement

  • Val Cullum:

    I still remember the Jennings Street school song or some of it, anyway. It went

    40 years on and afar and asunder
    parted are those who are singing today
    When we look back and forgetfully wonder
    what we were like in our work and our play

    To be honest it was the most depressing song I had ever heard, and still is especially as the 40 years are well past. It did and still does fill me with a profound sense of gloom. Dreary isn’t the word for it.

  • Len Loveday, remembers the shop at 133 Redcliffe st,a sweet shop,( plus acumalaters were charged there for the radios)
    run by a ‘Jumbo’Brown & his sister Molly, he had fame in having made a television set in the garden shed, this was in the mid thirties,
    does anyone have memories of being invited to view?

  • Gordy:

    We have been given this memory of Rodbourne by Mr Kim Herron.

    “In 1948 my father bought a small holding at 30, Stone Lane, Lydiard Millicent. It was a bit primative having horse drawn impliments and a cart.
    One of his vegetable delivery rounds was Rodbourne on Fridays. On this particular one at the end of the round Dad stopped off at a newsagents to buy my Eagle, Beano and Dandy comics (I was only 11), he was running late and left Mum on the cart. Polly, the horse, decided that it was the time to go home so started off. Dad just managed to clamber aboard before the vehicle reached full speed.
    All along Rodbourne Road just as the GWR emptied, under the Rodbourne Road bridge potatoes, cabbages, onions etc. shooting off everywhere. Pedestrians had to get out of the way of this charging horse and cart. Then around the island opposite the Co-op into Westcott Place where some weights flew off nearly killing a cyclist. Then past Westcott Rec. , under the two railway bridges into the Shaw Road where Polly slowed down, gather she was made to keep up the fast pace till home.
    After that they upgraded to a lorry and “Fergie” tractor (Ferguson was the manufacturer) – but no horse.”
    Great story Kim. Can anyone do better?

  • Jean Allen:

    Reply re Anne Clements query

    Mr. J.G. Bailey was a shopkeeper at 1A Rodbourne Road in the 1933 streets directory. Some time ago a lady told me a little story about the butcher boy who worked there. Her relative worked at the ladies hairdressers opposite at 174, they smiled and waved at each other from the window, then he passed her a note to make a date, she eventually married him…These three lock up shops,part of the Fireplace Centre were very recently demolished and flats are being built there.

  • gordy:

    Reply re Jean Allen’s post on Anne Clement’s query.

    This is strange Jean as Anne Clement did tell me of this tale but having checked the Business Registers for 1931 to 1934 only Emily Hunt was in residence in 174 with no business registered against her so I discounted it. Could it have been one of those “Front Room” businesses so prevalent in Rodbourne? The nearest registered hairdresser in Rodbourne Rd was W.H.R. Bezer at 181.

  • Raymond Hinton:

    I was born in the front bedroom of 68 Redcliffe Street in 1956,My father was in the rail works and was a big player in the local skittles scene, he had an allotment down barnfield, and he loved to go fishing on a Sunday with the golden carp !
    My gran, (dads mum ) lived at 17 Drew Street until her death, and my uncle continued living there until his death, thus ending the Hinton chain there !
    My memories of Rodbourne are of community, and everyone working together,all dominated by the rail works.
    We used to go to Martins farm, where I spent many hours with Mr Martin sat on meal sacks and helping with the cows.
    My auntie worked in WD & HO Wills in Colbourne st, she now lives down Rodbourne Rd, I have very fond memories of Rodbourne and the fun we had as kids, we couldnt do anything wrong as everyone knew who we were !
    I do hope Rodbourne has not lost its sense of community.

  • gordy:

    Memories of Rodbourne from Ann Burlison nee Pembridge

    I lived in Jennings Street next door to Marjory Adams (who is also in the school picture I sent information about) from 1950 to about 1958. I do have another class picture but I am not sure if I can get it scanned in. I will see.
    My parents and I moved from South Wales to Swindon. My father, William Arthur Pembridge, had been a coal minor, but was invalided out of the pits and after some time of unemployment, found work at the Swindon railway works as a labourer. His brother already lived in another part of Swindon. We left Swindon when I was 15 to go back to Wales, where my father was employed as a forestry worker.
    My father always loved the outdoors and had an allotment in Rodbourne near the recreation grounds. He also kept chickens at the end of our garden!
    Occasionally my mother, Beryl Pembridge, used to work in a grocery store owned by the Wise family that was located at the end of Jennings street on Rodbourne Road. She also did some cleaning for Mrs. Wise and one of her daughters, ” Mrs Porter”, who also lived in Rodbourne.
    My family attended the Baptist Chapel- Calvaria(?) that was around the corner, and under the bridge from Even Swindon Primary School. I remember harvest festivals at the Chapel when my Father would take wheel barrow loads of his garden produce as a donation to the event.
    My father’s mother, Margaret (Maggie) Ann Pembridge, lived with us. She was bilingual- Welsh and English speaking.
    I still have relatives (my Uncle’s children/grand children) in the Swindon area and my mother is still alive – in Bridgend, South Wales.
    I went to Tonyrefail Grammar School in the Rhondda after Headlands and then Barry Teacher’s Training College. I taught in London and Singapore, before I married my husband, another teacher, and we emigrated to Canada in 1969. I went to University in Canada, and held a number of positions in the not- for profit sector, including acting as a Policy Analyst for the Red Cross, and an Executive Director of a Home Care agency. I am now retired and live by Lake Erie in Ontario. I have two daughters and three grand daughters.

  • gordy:

    Memories of Rodbourne from Val Cullum nee Val Compton

    I live in Marden, a tiny village 6 miles from Hereford.
    My brother Chris (Compton) was born at 49 Redcliffe Street in 1938 and I was born there in 1947 (the year of the big snow so I’m told) and we moved to 34 Montague Street in 1952. The end house next to the vicarage. (I was often in trouble for climbing the vicarage walls – oh memories). Spent many a happy hour down Mannington Rec. during the school holidays with my old mongrel, Spot.
    Wonderful to see some of my old teacher’s pictures. Remember Mr Davies, headmaster of Jennings Street school. He seemed such a huge man to me and I was quite in awe of him as I was also with Miss Griffiths who was equivalent to head school mistress. She was very strict but nice. I got on well with her because of my love of reading (creep). Also see there is a picture of Mr Archer. He taught maths at which I was (and still am, hopeless). I clearly remember him trying to explain to me some math problem. I never did ‘get it’ and still don’t till this day. Also there is a mention of Miss Sprittles. She taught my brother to play the piano for many years. He will be fascinated. Also the picture of Miss Dilnott. She informed me one day that I had ‘not bothered to wash your ears this morning’. Oh the humiliation.
    I still remember the Jennings Street school song or some of it, anyway. It went :-
    40 years on and afar and asunder
    parted are those who are singing today
    When we look back and forgetfully wonder
    what we were like in our work and our play

    To be honest it was the most depressing song I had ever heard, and still is especially as the 40 years are well past.
    It did and still does fill me with a profound sense of gloom. Dreary isn’t the word for it.
    If I remember rightly Miss Fursland welcomed me to Even Swindon Infants School. I presume about 1952. I did nothing but cry all day. Later in the day everyone had a little bed to lie on to rest for an hour. I refused. For several days I sat next to Miss Fursland as she patiently explained that the minute the big hand of her watch was on such and such number and the little hand was on such and such my mummy would come for me. One day I once again started bawling my eyes out. When she asked me why I said it was ‘because everyone had a little bed to lie on except me’. From then on I became resigned to school life.
    I remember Mr and Mrs. Vivash. They were very nice. Mr Vivash once gave me 50 lines to write out saying ‘I must not peep through the windows whilst teacher is marking the exam papers’.
    I too remember ‘Mary’ from the cake shop who used to bring the cakes over to the railings at at Jennings St at ‘play time’. I don’t think any cakes tasted as good. No one could make lardy cakes like that bakery. Twice a week my mother used to send me there to pick up a fresh loaf. It never got home in one piece as I could not resist taking a couple of chunks out of the end as it smelt so good, warm and fresh.
    There was a fish and chip shop at the bottom of Grove St? Those fish and chips were lovely. We used to go and ask for the ‘scrumps’ which were the crispy bits that came off the fish he had cooked.
    In Montague Street there was a shop on the corner of the road leading down to the Rec. It was run by Mr and Mrs. Gane. It was referred to as Ganes (obviously). They had penny trays and halfpenny trays of sweets to choose from. I think there was also a two penny tray for those who were really well off.
    Going down to the rec was a speedway track. I remember it well. There was a big tree there which I used to climb. It had three forks at the top and it was great to sit there especially as it would sway in the wind. I was 13 when they built the houses on the speedway track. My friend Eileen Davies, of Redcliffe Street, and me would go down there and torment the workmen building the houses (hussies). At the rec. itself was the River Ray. We used to fish for ‘reddies’. Also there was the cinder track that came out at the bottom of Redcliffe Street (I think) and there was the Echo Bridge. It was a tunnel leading into the hillside. It was really creepy as we couldn’t see very far in but could hear water dripping. I tried to walk in there once for a dare. I got a couple of yards when an animal jumped into the water. (probably a rat). I came out of there a lot faster than I went in. We kids always used to swear that one could see skeletons coming out of it.
    I remember my first visit to the Palladium on my own. I can still see myself setting off up the backsies with my little red handbag with a sixpenny bit in it and a handkerchief. I was so proud.
    I was confirmed at St Augustine. Sometimes I read the lesson at the evening service. My brother was in the choir.
    I also went to Sunday school. I hated that so to liven up proceedings I took my pet mouse with me. Well, it certainly did that. I can still hear the screams.
    When I was about 10 the factory where my father worked (G Shop I think) decided to have a cull of the pigeons there. My father rescued these two and bought them home for me. I called them Dot and Carry. One day the vicar asked my brother if he knew who owned the pigeons as they used to perch on the vicarage windowsills and make a mess. My brother, thinking on his feet, said no he had no idea. Vicar said he thought that was odd as they also spent a lot of time perched on our windowsills as well. Oh dear. We had to re-home them. I took them across the rec. and set them free. They were back at my house before I was. In the end we went with my father to Reading and let them out at the station there. We never saw them again.
    I was playing cricket in Montague Street one evening. A neighbour came by and told me that if I wasn’t careful I would break a window. I’ll be careful I said. Next minute a terrible crash as ball went through a neighbours window (she happened to be one of the most miserable people we had ever known). I slunk home. Mum asked what was the matter as I was ever so white. I was going to lie but then realized someone would ‘tell on me’ so I confessed. Dad went across and sorted it. What really annoyed him though was the fact that although we paid for the window she charged double for her own son to fit it. Dad never forgot that.
    I remember only too well the bitter cold. No central heating of course just a coal fire. My brother Chris had the larger room at the back of the house. The ice used to form on the inside it was so cold. To make matters worse when he was old enough to have girlfriends I used to sneak into his room and make him an apple pie bed, or sew up the arms and legs of his pajamas, or both. He would come home at midnight or 1pm freezing cold and discover what I had done. He used to be furious. Also when he used to be saying goodnight to his girlfriend (s) outside the front door I used to lean out of my bedroom window (which was over the front door) and make silly remarks. He used to get so angry. We had a living room and a front room. To have a fire in the front room was a special occasion. We usually lived in the living room. Sometimes as a surprise my mum used to do a fire in the front room on a Sunday. I loved that as it was much more comfortable there. Trouble was often the chimney hadn’t been swept we used to sit there and billows of smoke used to come into the room along with smuts of soot. We used to cough like anything and could hardly see each other across the room. One Christmas we were all sat there and we had put chestnuts in the ash pan to roast while we watched TV. Suddenly there were terrible explosions and nuts flew everywhere as they cracked in the heat. Frightened all of us and the dog wouldn’t come in the front room for ages after that.
    My first boyfriend’s mother came to visit us once. She said how horrified she was as it was obvious we were ‘posh’ as we had ‘bay windows’.
    In Rodbourne Road at the top end near Redcliffe Street was a general sort of grocery store which we kids used to refer to as ‘Dirty Dicks’. Think more to do with shop being shabby than owner himself. Was an open secret that we could buy 5 woodbines for a shilling or 2 for 6d. My first port of call especially when my pocket money went up to 2/6d.
    When old enough often used the Dolphin Pub. Was in the lounge there when it came over the radio that President Kennedy had been assassinated. How stunned we all were and upset.
    The worst day of all was the Sunday. Morning not too bad but the afternoons (after sunday school) were dismal. Everything shut down. Not allowed out unless I played ‘nicely’ (how does a tomboy play nicely?). Most of the time had to put on a nice dress and go for a sedate walk. No playing on the swings or roundabouts in the rec. In the evening the radio would be put on playing the programme ‘Sing Something Simple’. Oh dismal. As bad as ’40 years On.’
    I used to be really cross as my brother could stay out till all hours whereas I could only stay out til 10.30 on a Saturday provided Mum knew where I was and who with. If a minute late Mum would be waiting at the front gate and would ask ‘what time of night do you call this young lady’. (Usually about 10.40 pm). Used to query why Chris could stay out late the reply was ‘because he is male’.
    I remember the faggot shop in Rodbourne. Think it was quite close to the Dolphin. I used to love the faggots sold except for the ones that had streaks of fat across them.
    I also used to play Jack o’ Lantern round the backsies. This consisted of the person who was ‘it’ had the torch and the rest of us had to hide from the beam. Once caught in the torch beam that person became ‘it’. We used to climb over the fences and hide in the gardens especially in Redcliffe Street. Could only play this when it got dark early as all had to be indoors for tea.
    I used to play being a doctor by bandaging up my dogs legs and tail. Then he would get fed up and go out (via a hole in the fence). Goodness knows what people thought when they saw him.
    We only had expensive things like chicken on special occasions like Christmas. One day friends of my parents asked them if they would look after their poodle for a week as they had to go away. My parents agreed. On the due day the couple arrived with their poodle plus a huge bag of chicken as they said that was all their dog would eat. We ate like kings that week whereas the poodle seemed to thoroughly enjoy eating the same kind of dog food as our dog did. Needless to say we were sworn to secrecy.
    I went to work for a couple of years at Rentaset/Radio Rentals in Percy Street. I worked in an office there and enjoyed it. Then I left Swindon to join the WRAF as a dental nurse.

  • gordy:

    Memories of 114 Morrison Street from Eunice Arrowsmith

    In the early 1960’s my husband and I and our four children lived in Morrison Street. We had a son aged eight, twin daughters aged thirteen and a son eighteen in the Merchant Navy.
    He came home on leave late one night. We were talking to him and suddenly a little face peered out of his shirt. It was a small lemur which he’d brought back from Madagascar. I was horrified but as time went on he became part of the family. We had him for several years. The children called him Julius Caesar because of the fringe he had across his forehead.
    All the time I was doing my housework he sat on my shoulder with his long 23 inch striped tail around my neck. He should have just been fed on fruit but he loved sitting on a stool in front of the open fire eating a chip. The children adored him and he loved them.
    We had a bay window and when all the children passed on their way home from school he’d do tricks and they all sat on the front wall watching him.
    After a few years I worried as he became aggressive to strangers probably because he needed a mate but then he was taken ill and died. It was like losing a small person belonging to the family. We buried him in the garden along with various cats and rabbits etc. that the children had had as pets. He had a little grave and the children have always remembered him with great affection.

  • gordy:

    Memory of the shop at No.176 Rodbourne Road from Gordon Lawton

    Sadly just after Gordon posted these memories to us he died of cancer so we will be always in his debt for taking the time to pass them on when it must have been difficult for him.

    In about 1972 I’d bought the lease of a shop in Rodbourne next door to what was Bob Units, the Butcher next door to the Dolphin. The previous tenant had converted the shop to a fruit and vegetable shop, but it hadn’t been too successful, he had it up for sale, and I decided to give it a try. I had a few contacts and bought a half share in a lorry, so along with Don Saunders from Wootton Bassett, we used to go to Southampton wholesale market at 5 am every Wednesday morning. Buying this way, and cutting out the local wholesalers i.e. Hughes, Collier’s etc we were able to sell much more competitively than the other local shops, of which to the best of my memory there were four others just in Rodbourne Lane.
    The shop became quite successful, and being next to Bob Unit, who was the most popular butcher around it was all going very well. In fact I employed three local girls on a Saturday to cope with the queue.
    It transpired that Bob owned both buildings, so I only paid him a small rent as at the time he was only interested in the place being kept clean and tidy. After about eighteen months Bob decided to retire, and hand over the business to Glyn Hunt, the present occupier. Bob used to call for the rent once a month. After about six months retirement became a bit boring for Bob, and as he was unable to open another butchers in the area ( lease agreement ) he started making me offers to sell him the business. I could see a good profit in it, and the chance to open a new shop in Cricklade, so the deal was done.
    Bob soon found that fruit and vegetables from local wholesalers was not an easy game he thought it was, so after a few months, he sold it to Ray Girling who had it until very recently. By now enough time had elapsed for Bob to go back into butchery and he took over a shop on the other side of the road just below the mini market on the corner of ? Street. That’s all I can tell you, I really enjoyed my time in Rodbourne, ( I lived in Lydiard at the time ) and still keep in touch with some old friends from there.

  • gordy:

    Memories of Rodbourne Road from Maurice Jones

    My name is Maurice Jones and I have just received, from my sister Christine Gunning who lives in Morris St, a copy of your wonderful publication, Walk Down The Lane. It brought back so many happy memories that it was like living there again. My only disappointment, if you can call it that, was to see so little written about some of the oldest houses and some of the oldest families to live down the lane. I am of course referring to the numbers 20 to 32. I know they are gone now but they should in no way be forgotten. I was born in number 25 in 1935 and in 1946 moved with my family to my grandmothers house at number 28. My grandmother, Alice Mathews, and my grandfather, Ernest Mathews, had lived there since the late 1800s. My Mother, Florence Jones, nee, Mathews, having been born there in 1898. Next door at number 27 was my grandmothers sister Maggie Meader. She also had another sister, Mary Jane Winkless living in Charles St. When I left to live in New Zealand my mother still lived at number 28, her sister, Alice Frogatt lived in Charles St another sister, Olive Clements lived in Hawkins St and her brother, Cyril Mathews, lived in the council houses opposite the parish hall.
    I thank you very much for reminding me of many of the wonderful people that I was privileged to have lived with down the lane. To name but a few who I can say I knew well. Pete Witts. John Ing. Doris Hall. Doris Nash. Mr Higgs. Mr Jackson. Sheila Pullen. old Ben Higgs and so many others. As the old saying goes, You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy. I shall always be a Rodbournite. Thanks for the Memories. Kindest regards Maurice Jones.

  • gordy:

    Memories of Rodbourne Road and Even Swindon school from John Dean

    Most of the members of the Rodbourne Community History Group will have seen the metal bollards that have been installed in front of the Post Office and other shops on Rodbourne Road but some years ago there were wooden ones. It transpires that my Uncle Frank (who lived in Morris Street) and his mate (who lived in Hawkins Street), having spent the evening in the Dolphin partaking in drinking Arkell’s falling down brown liquid(beer) were staggering home along Rodbourne Road and in the dark managed to walk into the last remaining wooden post. After picking themselves up they went home and getting a saw from the shed they proceeded to saw the post down and carried it home, where it stayed for several weeks under the stairs.
    Afterwards, Gran was so worried and expected a visit from the boys in blue, until Gramp removed the evidence by chopping it up for firewood. Gran related this tale to Mrs. Gealer who owned the Greengrocers. She had heard the commotion but had not bothered to look out of her window.

    As a boy I attended Ferndale School but on Fridays our class would walk to Even Swindon school for wood working classes with Ken Kitchen in the old hut in the school playground. Mr Kitchen had his own dance band and after a late night playing he would arrive late for classes in the morning , peddling furiously down Rodbourne Road on his bike.
    I remember him as a good shot with a piece of chalk which he would throw at you for the slightest inattention on your part. He was also very hand with the cane for which he would select a piece of dowel from the wood rack and give you two whacks on the hand.
    I still have the teapot stand that was made for our first project and is still useable after 60 years so I suppose he must have taught us something!

  • gordy:

    Memories of Even Swindon & Jennings Street Schools from Bill Ferris

    Bill was the Chair of our Group but sadly succumbed to the dreadful “Swindon Disease” Mesothelioma in November of 2009. As one of many ex GWR employees he contracted this by breathing in the fibres of Asbestos which lay around certain parts of the works like snow. He was greatly admired in the group and has been sadly missed. Thank goodness we have some of his memories to remember him by.

    I was a pupil at Even Swindon School due to the Rab Butler Education Act in 1946. I moved from Jennings Street School (where I had attended from the age of 3) to Even Swindon and can remember being there during the bad winter of 1947.
    The Headmaster Jack Maisy who was quite a sporty chap and thankfully I didn’t have to go and see him too many times.
    I can remember Ray Nash who was also a very pleasant teacher and I subsequently had more dealings with him when I was older with the Swindon Amateur Dramatics Society.
    My main memory of one of the teachers there was Miss Hill. She had long hair which was done up in plaits in a bun over each ear somewhat like Princess Leea in Star Wars. I can always remember she collected each week any pennies or odd coins we had for her favourite charity B.E.L.R.A. which was the British Empire Leprosy Relief Association (we had an Empire then) and after all these years I recently read a book called “The Island” in which I discovered that my pennies and halfpennies helped to find a cure for Leprosy in 1954, so at least I had the knowledge that mine and many other pupil’s small subscriptions helped towards a cure for this terrible disease.
    I also remember Miss Fursland who had a wonderful main of hair but again my memories are just of the nice teachers.

    Now to Jennings Street School. The Headmaster during my return after the 11 plus when I went back was Mr Davies whose nickname was Jammy Davies and I’ve no idea why. Perhaps it was because he had very red cheeks.
    Miss Griffiths was my form teacher for most of the time there and I can remember doing tables every day for five minutes so that even to this day I can recite the tables in an instant.
    Then there was Mr Phillips whose nickname was Pop who if you were not paying attention could flick a piece of chalk at you with deadly accuracy. He was always the teacher who gave you the cane for whatever reason on a Friday. The most popular reason being going up the stairs two at a time, the stair monitors would report you and you had to appear before Pop Phillips on a Friday afternoon. As children it was always the object to go two at a time without getting caught but I can assure you this double whack with the cane became something you remembered quite vividly.
    Mr Whetham nicknamed Fred (I think this may have been his real Christian name) took us for Maths and other classes and was an extremely good teacher.
    We also had a new teacher whos’s name was Mr M.M.Hill and his nickname soon became Man Mountain Hill. He took us for Sports and when I see a picture of him now he seemed very young and was obviously a fairly new teacher.
    Mr Smith who’s nickname was Froggy used to take us for Science and was very fond of bringing girls to the front of the class to demonstrate body parts on which I am sure would have earned him the sack at least these days.
    Miss Jean Harvey was the object of many young boy’s desires as one of the young teachers at the school along with Pat Holmes who I can remember as she had just finished teacher training when I arrived at Jennings Street.
    All in all the teachers were extremely good at Jennings Street School. There was a lot of discipline which was the order of the day, nobody seemed to mind this.
    I can’t say the standard of teaching was exceptional because it wasn’t until I went to night school after leaving school, that I realized how little we knew compared to some other schools, and so I finally ended up going to night school for another 16 years until I was 32.

  • gordy:

    The following poems were written by Joe Wild who’s nickname was “Wishbone”and who lived in Hawkins Street. Those of you with a few grey hairs may remember a 1960’s TV series called “Rawhide” featuring a young Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates the Ramrod and a cantankerous old cook called Wishbone played by Paul Brinegar who drove the chuck wagon. Click on Rawhide to get the opening and closing credits. We think Joe Wild got his nickname as he had a food wagon on the M4 motorway when it was being constructed.


    Rodbourne is a lovely place, just outside Swindon Town.
    It’s full of friendly people, full of life and never a frown.

    You can walk into the Co-Op, other shops, and yes the pub.
    And you are served with much politeness, not a strange look or snub.

    The tradesmen in the village, some come from near and far, will stop and have a friendly chat, and ask how you are.

    There’s Glyn, now he’s the Butcher the one most people use and Stewart in the Dolphin who serves you up your booze.
    There’s John who runs the Post Office, along with all his staff, you can go and draw your pension and be certain of a laugh.
    The Chemist is just further down from where you get your bread, and then the Chinese take-away or there’s fish and chip instead.
    A laundrette and café, the Barber who’s quite good, the DIY to get your nails and paint and bits of wood.

    Of course we’ve got the Railway works, the mainstay of the town.
    We only hope and pray someday that it will not close down.
    The people aren’t all local some foreigners you’ll find, but people here don’t bother for inside they’re good and kind.

    There’s Mr Wicks the Newsagent, a man of high esteem who pops the papers through your letterbox while you lay in bed and dream.
    The weather may be sunny or cold with mist and rain but he jumps upon his bicycle, and delivers just the same.

    We’ve got Ron’s the local handy stores who sells you anything you need, there’s pet food, wood and nails and most of your garden seed.

    The Greengrocer just down the road grows most of it himself. Tomatoes, cabbages and such are all upon the shelf.

    We haven’t got a Lock-Up, so that experience is saved. The people here in Rodbourne are very well behaved.

    The Clubs we have are homely and also very clean; you can play a game of Bingo or go to the fruit machine.
    On Saturday nights they hold a dance or Disco if you please, and as you’re gliding round the floor it puts your mind at ease.

    I think I’ve wrote just what I think about Rodbourne, and still there’s some that’s never satisfied.
    Well you know what they can do , get the hell out of here.

    All in the Game

    I am known as the motorway cowboy, and my name is Greaser Joe.
    I’ve travelled many highways, from Lands End to Scapa Flow.
    Instead of punching cattle in and out of deep ravines, I go around with oil and grease and take care of big machines.
    I started work for Blackwell, twas early in the Spring, without a dime, nowhere to sleep, a smoke or anything.
    The agents name was Bruno, and words he said to me, “Joe, do your work and play the game and you’ll get along with me”.
    From that day on I got stuck in and worked the clock around, then one day he said to me, “Wishbone I think you’re sound”.
    “I’ve watched you oil and grease them up without you even knowing. Now the winters coming on, I’ll be sad to see you going.
    Well never mind you’ve done your job, no moans or anything. So cheerio old Wishbone, I hope to see you back in Spring.

    Just a Thought

    Friends are very hard to find, especially when you’re old.
    You’ve time to think about the past, memories you enfold.
    There’s some that’s good and some that’s bad, and some are happy while others are sad.
    You think of life that’s past you by, and you think of the land, the sea and the sky.
    You think of the things you never thought, and those simple things you never sought.

    The kids like birds, have grown their wings, and flown away to better things.
    Those photographs you put aside, with your letters and the rest, are brought back out with tears and pride from your old treasure chest.
    Then you start to think of things you did, when youth was on your side, of those antics played when just a kid, and those smiles you couldn’t hide.
    While you are young, be rich or poor, these things please do remember. When you get old and lonely, life is just a dying ember.

    Bare Headed Facts

    I was invited to a party by W.C. French & Kier.
    I had a rake of whiskey, cigars, fags and beer.
    But late on in the evening as time went merrily on, I put my hand upon my head and found my trilby gone.
    Now one of the boys among the crowd took a fancy to my hat. Now that boy didn’t return it, and old Wishbone dont like that.
    It’s not an ordinary titfer for it means a lot to me, for I had it brought me special from across the Irish Sea.
    Now I hope the bloke that took it, be a workman or a toff, when he puts it on his head again his f………. ears drop off.
    Now I told my friend who got it for I thought he’d like to know, and he said the lousy b……..d is only a latchico.

    (latchico is Irish slang. I’m not going to tell you the definition, you’ll have to look it up)

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  • gordy:

    Memories of my early life in Rodbourne By John Carter.

    I was born in Charles Street In 15th of June 1931, the youngest son of William and Florence Carter, Brother to Olive and Ivor. We moved to a house in Rodbourne Road, The community spirit was very good, every body knew each other, and you could leave your front door open all day at that time.
    The next door neighbour in Rodbourne Road was a man called Happy, because of his red face and he was always smiling, It was nothing to see him coming home from rabbiting with all the rabbits tied together with string slung around his neck. A few doors away there would be Mrs. Jones, a lovely lady who always seems to be standing outside her front door, and Iris Jones pushing a pram up and down Rodbourne Road. At the top of Charles Street there was a yard called the Loco Board’s which belonged I think, to the Council, we used to play in there. We moved to Summers Street, which still had gas mantles, which was better than the paraffin lamps and candles we were use to, later we had electricity installed, If you had seen our faces then, it was like magic, amazing.
    During the war years coal was in short supply and wood was hard to come by, but as Dad worked in the Railway he was issued with a docket, to fetch wood from the wood wharf, just past St. Mark’s Church, so we borrowed a wheel barrow and mostly us kids would go under the bridge, along the back of the park to the Wharf, to queue for the wood, which was mostly an assortment of long planks, which Dad had to saw up when we got back home. Sometimes the gas oven was lit and the door was opened, that was the only heat we had.
    In the evenings we listen to the Radio Relay, our favourite programmes were, The Man in Black, Dick Barton Special Agent, with Snowy and Jock, In Town Tonight, Vera Lynn, (Dad’s favourite), Boxing, Tommy Farr and Bruce Woodcock, Itma, Workers playtime and many more.
    Shops in Rodbourne Road that I can remember, one that sticks in my mind is Nash’s sweet shop, I would buy sweets in there with the money that I had earnt from running errands, and then jump on a bus and have a ride to Gorse Hill and back.
    Once a week, I was sent down Rodbourne Road with a large basin to fetch faggots and peas for dinner. Then every Friday there were Fish and Chips from Higgs, always a queue. Sunday queuing at Pullens for Dad’s cigarettes And chocolate. Going to “don’t you knows “for a hair cut.
    My sister had a bicycle which was too big for me at that time, but that was not going to stop me having a ride on it, so, when she was out, I took it in the street and with one foot on the pedal and just about reaching the handle bars I scooted along, grazing myself a few times doing it, and she would go mad when I came back.
    May Day was a time I can remember, when I am sure the girls wore daises around their necks or pinned them to their dresses, and if the boys saw that they did not have any, they would get some stinging nettles and run after the girls to sting their legs. I believe it was an old custom.
    I think I was about nine or ten when the Americans came to Swindon. They may have been stationed at Ogbourne or further out, anyway
    Dad would bring two or three home from the pub after drinking time. One of them would come back and visit us now and again I was talking to dad about how I would like a bicycle when the American said he would get me one from the camp and take me to see the planes as well, Dakotas they where called. The Americans had to come to Swindon to collect the bread for the camp, from the East Street Co-op Bakery with the lorries, so he picked me up, got the bread and drove back to the camp, this was a real treat for me. When we arrived at the camp, I had to wait at the guard house while he went to check in, then he came back to me and said sorry I cannot leave the camp because of security reasons, but you will be taken back home. A big disappointment

    You will see Radio Relay referred to in John Carters memories and I’ve included a passage below from an account by Donald Edward Lea of Gorse Hill from Mandy & Duncan’s website to help describe this cable radio system.
    ” I well remember sitting on a leather settee or wooden chair (father’s) that was by the window to listen to the ‘radio relay’. This was a wooden box fixed to the wall that had two switches, one for the volume and the other gave a choice of two programmes, “the home service,” or the “light programme.” Two broadcasts that were eagerly looked forward to each week were ‘Dick Barton’ a hero who could do no wrong and the ‘Billy Cotton Band Show.’ This service came via a wire that would run from the Radio Relay Company in Swindon to any house that wished to have it as a rental. I believe this was a shilling a week. It seems we were easily pleased in those days.” The cable system was eventually used by the community cable television company Swindon Viewpoint
    Just click on Mandy & Duncan’s website and Swindon Viewpoint for further information.

  • Alan Hazell:

    Reading John Carter’s memories brought back many good memories for myself.
    I remember John and his family very well as we lived just opposite to them in Summers Street at number 26. It was a very friendly area of Rodbourne with everyone knowing everyone else, especially the lady-folk and the kids. Mums chatting on the doorsteps, kids playing in the street
    I remember well playing out in the street with him, Leonard Alexander (who lived at number 29) and Shirley Buckland, who lived opposite Leonard. Although I was quite a lot younger than these they didn’t seem to mind me joining in.
    I particularly remember John swapping a Keil Kraft Supermarine Attacker flying model powered by a Jetex 50 engine which he had made, I can’t remember what I gave him in exchange.
    I also remember appearing in one of Mrs Whites concerts, as a sailor, singing ‘Soldiers of the Queen’ with Terry Quince and Terry Carter (no relation to John and his family), both from Morrison Street, wearing a sailors hat which I am sure Mum borrowed from Ivor who I think was in the navy at some time.
    I seem to remember his brother Ivor was the local milkman for many years.
    Another memory, loosely connected, was watching the Coronation of the Queen on the TV (very small screen) through the front room window of Mr & Mrs Baker’s house which was next door to the Carter’s. This was probably the only TV in the street at that time.
    Good memories, good times.

  • gordy:

    Memories from Marcia Dancer nee Hulbert

    My parents Sid & Doris Hulbert lived in two houses in Rodbourne in the 1920’s / 1930’s but I’m afraid I can’t remember the streets or house numbers.
    My sister Joyce attended Jennings Street School and had a friend named Elsie Herbert who lived with her Grandmother.
    My Dad worked for a firm named Robinsons, he drove a van selling fish, poultry and would skin a rabbit at the customer’s request.
    Mum was told not long after she moved that she had a double, living a few streets away. When she joined a skittle club the lady was also there, named Mrs. Hacker. I believe her family consisted of several children and in later years they moved to an off license in the Henry Street area.
    Mum was also friendly with Charlie and Nance Froud. They ran a Working Men’s Club in Rodbourne for many years.
    Dad’s Sister married Frank Webb. He lived with his parents at 40, Morris Street and later at 96, Rodbourne Road until he married.. Vera and Frank lived in Bruce Street until the 1970’s.
    Gerald my husband also had relatives in Rodbourne; his Aunt Flo married Peter Broderstad’ they ran a Grocers shop in Groves Street. Peter came from Norway. They had five daughters, one of which was Meg now living at Purton and one son. Two of the girls joined the land army in the Second World War.

  • gordy:

    This is a poem from Barrie Smith encapsulating memories of the workers leaving the GWR factory down Rodbourne Road. If you want to get an impression of how it looked click on and scroll down to ID Number 472

    “Factories Out”

    Whining Hooter, thud of feet,
    Men stream out to the quiet street.
    Hustling bustling on their way,
    Work is done for another day.

    Tinkling bells as others ride,
    Filling the road from side to side.
    Like ants they swarm all around,
    Puffing , panting, homeward bound.
    Queues for buses quickly form,
    Beating breasts keeps men warm.

    Cries of “Adver” fill the air,
    Drivers shouting in despair.
    Flat capped workers old and young,
    Cousins, brothers, Fathers, sons.

    Frame erectors, boiler makers,
    Fitters, turners, Vacuum breakers.
    Foundry workers, millers, grinders,
    Trimmers, painters, storeroom minders.
    Collars raised against the cold,
    Make their way down Rodbourne Road.
    They filter into narrow streets,
    Of terraced house trim and neat.
    As one by one they reach their door,
    Peace returns to the street once more.

    News stands empty, crowds dispersed,
    Daylight fades, no sound is heard.

  • gordy:

    Unfortunately we have lost the name of this contributer so if you can identify them please let us know. Update: Alan Hazell thinks it may be a continuation of the earlier memory submitted by John Carter dated January the 18th. 2011

    We children went to the Mannington Recreation Ground a lot, and when the grass was cut we made a round castle out of the hay, and sat inside with our bottle Tizer and crisps, Great fun.
    When we got older on a Sunday afternoons all of us lads played Football, the team was made up something like sixteen a side, Mad, But it was all good fun. We also played Cricket, all the youngsters against the older ones, my brother is a good Fast bowler, when the ball came at me I would shut my eyes and hope for the best “Coward”
    I think most people went to the Palladium picture house on a Sunday Evening, and after the films, it was well known to walk to Nine Elms and back for a pint. We saw tall daisy flowers growing by the Railway lines, cowslips, and lots of other wild flowers. On other warm nights we would walk to the Sally Pusey, or the Running Horse,
    The Mechanics in Rodbourne Road had three or four snooker tables upstairs and reading rooms downstairs, it is a very large building, often we would be waiting outside for the Caretaker Sandy to get off the Bus at Summers Street to let us in. We shouted come on Sandy,
    The Coles family, Denis, (nicked name Battler) and his brother Ray lived next door to the Mechanics.
    When I was young my sister Olive used to sit me on the table and comb my hair, But she wanted to curl it, NO way I said, but the offer of money soon changed my mind.
    I had to go into the Isolation Hospital Cricklade Rd, with Scarlet Fever most of my class was there they kept me in longer because, it left me with earache. The nurses I can remember were Nurse Rose, Nurse Rice and Nurse Nightingale.
    I would go to School early the mornings with Ivor Gough when the weather was Frosty and Icy to make slides in the Playground, Mad again, yes.
    One night I was at the Palladium with a Friend watching a film and about 5 o’clock
    It was so good that we looked at each other and said lets see it again,
    My Mum might get worried I said, and after about an hour we could see the Usherette With her torch shining in all the rows until it was on my face, Mum got hold of my arm “come on home now you rascal”, It was well worth the spank I got.
    Next to Browns field at the bottom by the river Ray there was a small boating lake and swimming pool it may have belong to Whitts I can’t be sure.
    At school we would play Bump Te Wagtail, one of us would stand against the Wall the next bent over with his head in your stomach and five or six more in line behind him, doing the same, now the other side, six also, stood about twelve foot back, the first one would run and jump over as many as he could and get on the front boy and the next boy followed until all was on, hoping you did not collapse because if you did they would have another go, you imagine a boy like Lionel Higgins ready to jump on you, He was heavy and strong.

    In my last year at school, one day the farmers asked the school heads for volunteers for potato picking, I think every body put their hands up. The Lorries came for us and we set off for the fields, they said we would receive 2/6d each for the day, we had fun, and came home with my pockets bursting with potatoes, well worth it.

    During the war we had a blast wall put up outside the back window and we also had a large iron table, it was cover for us in case the house came down because
    of the Bombs, They took the railings away from all the houses for the War effort, all the railings at Farringdon Road Park went to, also they put air raid shelters in there as well.
    One night or day there was a lot of noise going on outside, most people were
    looking up, Mum and Dad as well, there were thousands of German planes going over to bomb Coventry they said. Then another day this German fighter plane some time during dinnertime came over, he was so low you could see the Pilot
    He was machine gunning over Rodbourne Rd hitting the school wall and part of the Railway Works, luckily we where at home then.
    Before we left school we had a monthly dance it was called CRAZY NIGHT
    I could not dance a lot then. After that we would go to the Rec Centre upstairs
    It was not far from the Majestic dance hall, good old days.
    Roller Skating was held there as well, when it was Race night on a Saturday it would be packed
    My sister and a lot of her friends, at some time worked in the Shirt Factory, Rose Street.
    Some people might remember Browns milk diary, also in Rose Street, He had a horse and trap and he would gallop it down the streets you would think it was a Roman Chariot. But things soon changed Electric Floats took over, so about a year on my Sister Olive and Brother Ivor got a job there and yes later on I was there, as well.(Family take over)

    I will try and list the names of the boys I played with.

    Lionel Higgins
    Alec Taylor
    Leonard Alexander
    Ronnie May
    Ken Buckland
    Tony Avery
    John Burrows
    Roy Smith (nickname Boxer)
    Harry Mapson
    Richard Green
    Johnnie May
    Eric Drury
    Ken Roberts
    Dennis Turner
    Derek Whitcombe
    Fred Lovell, his father also worked for Brown’s Dairy
    Ivor Strange
    Ken Archer
    Malcolm Bishop
    Dave Cuss
    Graham Jennings
    Eric Walkley
    Dennis Cole, nickname Battler
    Jim Whitefoot
    George Dobson
    Derek Titcome
    Cyril Ackurse

    By the way when we played cricket with the older boys I can remember a few names

    Wack Penny, Johnny White, Ivor Carter, Brother Dave Webb, Alec Taylor, Alan Gunter Don Townsend, Bert Townsend, Victor Spackman

  • Times growing up in Rodbourne were wonderful we didn’t have computers etc them days we had to make our own games up. We were never bored though playing at Locoboard in Charles St and Mannington Rec was all part of this everyone got on together. I remember these teachers at Jennings St they were a good bunch Dorothy Sprittles used to have music shop in Faringdon Rd and she taught music to many on different instruments. My freinds were Shirley Johnson, Sandra Fisher, Brenda Hunt, Angela Newton, Elaine Williams, I also know Les Holt, John Hinton, Kenny Wallace (he was a bit of a god to some girls) Les Goddard, Mick Hickey, Rod Wheatley and many more to many to mention. I lived at 31 Rodbourne Rd next to Pullen’s shop; my family was Hitchmans of Rodbourne Rd and Bruce St. I had an aunt in Charles St. I know Maurice Jones when he came over to England a few years ago I went to his reunion at the Steam Train pub in Cheney Manor Rd. Ah for the good old days! If anyone remembers me please get in touch my email is shirleyrose808@hotmail .com as I now live in Bristol. It would be be nice to hear from anyone. I was in touch with Dave Webb from Redcliffe St who went to Darwin, Australia but I think he may have passed on now R.I.P if you have mate.

  • Pauline Hambrook:

    My maiden name was Pauline Offer, and I grew up in Drew Street. Reading all the memories posted on your site made me think back to my early days in Rodbourne, so here goes with a few of my own.

    I was born in 1940, wartime, and. as Drew Street then faced out on to allotments, the smallholding, and across the rec to fields we had a pretty unimpeded view. In the daytime we could see the barrage balloons against the sky, and at night searchlights raked across the darkness. We all had blackout curtains, and I think there was no street lighting so as to give no help to the German pilots. There was a water tank up outside “the shirty” (Cellular Clothing Co),in case of fire caused by bombing I suppose. Oh, and the grass in the rec was allowed to grow long so that it could be cut for hay, so haymaking was quite a highlight for us kids – with hay-fights etc to be enjoyed.

    Some people had Anderson shelters, but we had a big metal table in the dining room, and were supposed to take refuge under it when the sirens sounded. However, after one morning when my Mum found squashed cockroaches, she decided she was more frightened of the roaches than the Luftwaffe, and we stayed in our beds thereafter.

    Rationing was very much in evidence. At the butchers, Pullens, I think sometimes the choice was between something like one sausage or a slice of corned beef per person. And when sweets came in at Notleys or the other sweetshop in Rodbourne Road (Heaths?) the word went round like wildfire and we quickly formed a queue clutching our coupons and pennies! We were fortunate, as we had an allotment on the other side of Drew Street (very handy) and grew our own vegetables. We also kept chickens, so there were eggs when the pullets were laying – and when they stopped they were destined for the pot. We always had cockerels fattening for Christmas – one for us and one for each of my aunts and their families. Any waste food went into the pig bins, one in every street, and was used to help fatten up the nation’s porkers. I had an uncle in the merchant navy, who sometimes brought back treats like boxes of sugared almonds, Turkish Delight, and once a big bunch of bananas ( which we wartime babies had never seen) and my Mum divided them out among the local children. There were plenty of power cuts, but as we had coal fires there was sufficient light, and we toasted bread on a toasting fork. The biggest inconvenience was when our radio (one of the brown boxes from Radio Rental) suddenly went silent during a favorite programme like ITMA

    My Dad had been laid off by the GWR in the late 1930s and had to travel to Gloucester to find work at Shorts. As he was employed on aircraft manufacture, a reserved occupation, he was fortunate not to be called up for the army but joined the Home Guard instead. My Grandma and Granddad who lived in Ferndale Road weren’t so lucky – a random bomb was dropped there, reducing many houses to rubble and killing some of their neighbours. Their house had some damage but they did survive.

    My final war memory is of a VE Day party where the end of Hughes Street joined Drew Street, with a huge Bonfire and much singing and dancing. I think I must have been taken home to bed, as have no other recollection of that night.

  • Gordon Turner:

    I am looking for a family from derby named Newman,

  • Ron Jennings:

    I was born at 2 Charles St one of 8 children,started school at Even Swindon Infant School,then to the Juniors,The Head Master was mr Masiey,I went to his house once a week to clean his push Bike I Used to take the Goal post on our boggie push cart to the Rec by the Gas Tanks, Then onto Jennings St School Head master was Jamie Davies and his deputy was Mrs Grifiths,on Saturdays I would go to Mr Smith,s house in Westlecot Rd The Science Teacher to do his gardening,I can still remember his car parked in Jennings St with a dial on the radiator, I had to vist Mr Philips for the cane on more than one occasion He called it is friend for little children,he was our history teacher. I can still remember the caretaker and the boiler house,I moved back to live in Jennings St After marring the wife,I ran my Building buisness in a yard behind the Morris St Community Hall,Now living at Vicarage rd, I feel I was born and bred a true Rodbouneite and proud of it,,,Ron Jennings

  • Ron Jennings:

    Iwas wondering how many can remember the horses in Rodbourne, the ones I remember is the 2 that was kept in snowys field,Mr Ernie Hunt who delieverd the bread,with his Horse he was a very clever horse I think he knew his way better than Ernie, Mr Nobles who deliverd wood, his yard was at the bottom of Rodbourne Road,Before Gough Bros took over, The dodsons had 2 horses a cart horse called Taffy,and a Pony called Violet,Stan Brooks had a horse to pull his coal around,That is the only ones I can remember…This would have been in the 40s…..Ron

  • Meg Broderstad:

    I lived on Grove Street where my father Petter Broderstad ran a small grocery shop during the war and for some years afterwards. My father, who was brought up on a small farm/croft in the far north of Norway Harstad, moved to England before the war where he met and married my mother who had been a head cook at a pub in Wood Street, Old Town. My father was a much respected person in the community and tried as best he could to help those in need during the war. I remember him cooking huge hams for the shop and buying the best veg he could get from Evesham. I have very happy memories of my childhood in Rodbourne and was very proud also of my Norwegian heritage. I remember in particular correcting one of my teachers at Jennings Street School as to who was the first person to reach the South Pole pointing out that it was Roald Amundsen the Norwegian and not Scott the Englishman. I also remember enjoying the snow with friends on my norwegian sledge. My mother was the most wonderful cook and housekeeper worked tirelessly for our family of 5 girls and 1 boy.
    My father was very interested in the history of Swindon and Wiltshire and would have been really pleased with the development of this website giving a flavour of life in Rodbourne.

  • not good news heard the grot is closing again

  • John Carter:

    Memories, Gordy January 23 2011, the unknown contribitor, is me John Carter.

  • gordy:

    Thanks John for clearing up the mystery.

  • Beryl Warburton wos maisey:

    Hi gordon, you should remember me i came to your house last week with some family photos. what it is i’m asking is i was reading one of your rodbourne memories and spotted a one from val callum was compton, was wondering if you could pass her email address on to me as i was a great friend of hers when we both lived in montagu st. many years ago and it would b great to catch up with her again. thank you

  • Any memories or stories of the Wheelers from Montague Street or maybe Photos.

  • Nigel Bown ex Bruce Street:

    This is a wonderful website for former Rodbourneites ! Once a Rodbourneite , always a Rodbourneite – no doubt about it ! Am surprised that posters have not so far mentioned Bert Walters with his “pennypops” ! Other Rodbourne Road shops that I remember well were Suik`s [ on the corner of Charles Street ] , Pullen`s on the corner of Manton Street and Winning`s on the corner of Thomas Street . Mustn`t forget Higgo`s fish and chips opposite Hoare`s fruitshop either ! All long gone but not forgotten !

  • gordy:

    Thanks for your kind comments Nigel. Yes there are still lots of memories untold so come on you present or ex Rodbournites it only takes a few minutes to jot down your memories here and remember once you’ve gone your memories have gone with you. I’m still sifting through a backlog in our Archive and wil be posting them soon.
    Gordy (Secretary)

  • Jean Allen nee White:

    Does anyone remember Jim (Jock) Walkinshaw, before the war he was a credit draper, selling clothing from door to door in Rodbourne and collecting a few pence a week in payment. During the war he went to work in a war factory and became an air raid warden. He lived in Morris Street. After the war he started social evenings which grew into Rodbourne Community Centre. I have put his name forward as a a street name at Nightingale Rise off Moredon Road and have just heard he may be ‘shortlisted’.
    Jean Allen…

  • Sue Day nee Whitefoot:

    My gran and gramp, William and Martha May Whitefoot lived at 62 Summers Street. When my parents were married we lived there until I was 4 years old then we moved to our own house in Penhill when the estate was first built in 1954. My Dad was the youngest son, Cyril Whitefoot, he married my Mum Ilse Lindner in 1947 while posted to Germany after the war. My gran had 11 children, 8 girls and 3 boys. I’m afraid I don’t know all of their names. There was Bill, Len, Doris, Lucy (who married Harold Legg), Vi and Ivy (who married brothers named Alf and Jim Smart) and Toss. I’ll try to find out the others as I’m starting to do a family tree now.
    Sadly my Mum died when I was 7 and my brother Ken was 5.
    I noticed in the entry dated 23 Jan 2011 that my uncle Len’s son is mentioned, Jim Whitefoot.
    I’m sorting out some photos now and will contact the society to get them put onto this site.

  • Jean Allen nee White:

    Me again, I have some memories of the family of Sue Day, nee Whitefoot. My parents, Harold and Hettie White were friends of (I believe)her uncle Len and his wife and often stopped to chat to them and exchange family news. I remember when her dad married her mum, Ilse, at that time, although the war was over frienships between British troops and German girls was rather frowned on,and they sometimes found it difficult to fit in. When Sue was born she was pushed around Rodbourne in a pram her mum had sent from her homeland, it had glass panels in the bodywork so that the baby could see out, I wonder if Sue remembered that? I remember my mum saying that Cyril’s wife (Ilse) followed a German custom of thoroughly cleaning the house on New Years Eve so that the New year came in to a spotless home… I was sorry to hear her mum died so young…

  • Pam King:

    Hello. I am very jealous of your website as living close to Rodbourne, but not in it, I know a lot of the names.
    Friends are Pauline Offer (was), Jean Dixon and Kay Unsworth. I hope Jean will not mind my mentioning her mother’s tragic accident at the top of Bruce Street, when a lorry cut off her bike, not realising she was continuing round the bend while he turned left. Loss of a very lovely person..
    Kay went the U.S, married at 16 at the Baptist Tabernacle. Several people hoped to contact her and I just came across an Obituary for her husband, so she is still living in Louisiana. Her maiden name was given as something else.
    Oh, and my great uncle and aunt, Jack and Dais Cumner lived at the top of Bruce Street!
    Spent many many hours waiting at the Bruce Street bus stop in an effort to get to Headlands, which was miles away. Pat McGinnis the cobbler lived opposite, his daughter Diane also went to the USA. He was great friends with lots of Burderop personnel. The Terminus cafe was there but we never actually saw anyone in it…
    Any advice I can get as to building a website like this for other areas of Swindon would be greatly appreciated, especially as I see from the internet that not only memories, but half the actual buildings are being consigned to history!

  • ray buckland:

    Hello.I lived in Wootton Bassett but spent most of my weekends at my Nan and Gramps at 46 Summers St.My dad is Ken Buckland who along with his sister Shirley are mentioned in previous letters.Dad is now 82,along with my mum still living in Wootton Bassett.Shirley Griffiths(Buckland)lives in Common Platt Purton.I hope to find time to attend a meeting in the near future.The Howlett family are of interest to me as my Great Grandmother was Annie Howlett,who married Thomas Ralph Buckland and they lived at 69 Summers st.In fact,the Bucklands and the Howletts lived in Morris st,Morrison st,Redcliffe st and Summers st.I look forward to learning and sharing with the group.I have a few photographs that may be of interest.
    My personal memories are more recent from the early sixties,living in Bassett but weekends at 46 Summers St-Faggots from the lane in Greaseproof paper,sweets from the corner shop in Summers St-Barnetts?My nan was Gwen Buckland and Tom my Gramp.Nan worked in the shirt factory and gramp and my Dad were in the railway.When the hooter went nan would put the kettle and dinner on.Happy days

  • Gillian Spencer (nee Carter):

    I had to reply to Alan Hazell’s reminiscences about playing with Terry Carter and appearing in Mrs White’s shows. Terry is my brother and Mrs White was my Great Aunt. She would rope everyone in that she could to “perform” in her shows, whether you wanted to or not! I think the whole community thoroughly enjoyed them though. I don’t remember Alan but his name does seem familiar. Funnily enough my younger sister, she was born after we left Rodbourne, met some of the Quince family a short time ago at Longleat and they remembered our family but I couldn’t quite place the name,now I know that Terry Quince was a friend of my brother. I had just sent an e-mail to my brother asking him about the family. I’ve beaten him to it !! My brother now lives in Preston and I live in the USA, Florida to be exact.
    This is a wonderful site, it has brought back alot of memories especially of Even Swindon School

  • Pat Jones(nee Connell):

    Does anyone remember going to Milton Rd swimming baths very early in the morning, before school. This happened once a week, when a group of us would walk to the baths, and Mr Maisey, the Headteacher, would give us swimming lessons. During the winter months it would still be dark. It seemed very special to then take our picnic breakfast to eat, at school.

  • gordy:

    I have received this memory from John (Polly) Partridge. – Secretary (gordy)

    My family and I moved to 51 Rodbourne Rd. in 1940. My name is John (Polly) Partridge,my family were, Father Albert (Wally) Mother Elsie, Sister Rose and myself.
    My fathers occupation was farm labourer, cowman, and was wounded in first world war,when he couldn’t work because of his wounds we had to move out of tied cottages,in fact I lived in twelve different houses in the first twelve years of my life, so it was nice to live somewhere semi-permanent in Rodbourne.
    I attended Even Swindon School, just across the road, until 1942, while still at school,I used to help Mr. Noble who had a ironmongers business from his horse and cart, going round Rodbourne on a Saturday selling parafin, wood, pots and pans etc. and do you know that horse knew exactly where to stop to get tit-bits from the customers.
    On leaving school, I went to work at the GPO Regent Circus as a Telegram Boy during the day, and an ARP Messenger at night, in case the sirens went for an air raid, one night a week I was a Fire Watcher at the GPO, equipped with a Styrup Pump and a couple of buckets of sand to deal with any fire bombs that might drop on the roof of the GPO building.
    When I was 16 years old I was told I either had to be a Bevan Boy in the Coal mines or join up, I didn’t fancy the mines so I joined the Royal Navy as a Boy Signalman and served for 14 years in Signals coming out when I was 30 in 1958.
    and as I joined up during the war, the Post Office offered me a job as a Postman,which I did for 12 months, on nights , at the Station, handling sacks of mail from one train to another, when the Station had about eight platforms, also mail for local delivery in Swindon and district to sorting office by van in Regent Place. Although I left Swindon in January 1945, my family stayed at No.51 until they were moved to Penhill in 1961.
    I have many happy memories of Rodbourne, Mr.Notley’s (the Yelton) shop and the
    fish and chip shop opposite the house, Pullens shop on the corner of Manton St.
    Old Dont y’know the barber, the Palladium cinema , twice a week programmes,
    I first played a drum in the school concert, and I played them for about 40 years afterwards around Swindon when I left the Navy. My son Andy, is quite well known around Swindon as a musician (member of XTC), and I’m proud of him. Anyway, thats some of the Happy Memories I have had of being a Rodbournite, and proud of it,

  • Gillian Spencer (nee Carter):

    I come from a long line of Rodbournites. My great grandparents,Frederick and Martha White lived at 55 Summers St. the first of their 7 children was born there in 1879, she would become my grandmother. When Harriet White married Frederick Reeves, they moved into 57 Summers St, my mother (Doris Reeves) was their 4th child, they had 6 children altogether. When my mother married and became Doris Carter she moved to Bath for 3-4 years. When the war started and my father was ‘called up’into the Marines,she and my brother (Terry) moved back to Swindon and moved in with her brother Arthur Reeves at 28 Morrison st, where I was born.When the war was over and my father returned to civilian life, we continued to live there until 1950 when we moved to Moredon. I continued attending Even Swindon School until I went to Secondary School, Pinehurst and then Moredon.
    My grandmother’s two youngest brothers spent their entire lives in Rodbourne, as did my Uncle Art in Morrison St. Frederick White and his family lived in Bruce St and Albert White and his wife Edith (Edie) lived at 6 Summers St. Mrs White will be remembered for the concerts she arranged yearly and were performed at St. Augustine’s Church Hall. She would rope people into this before they knew what had hit them!!! My aunt was very hard to say NO to, she would look so sad and make you believe that the whole show depended on you. When you gave in and agreed to do it, her whole face would light up and she would beam from ear to ear.
    Even though I have not lived in Rodbourne (or the UK for that matter) for most of my life, I still consider myself to be a Rodbournite. I have several memories of the area but I will post more on that later.

  • hi im very interested to find out about the past of where i live i find it all very interesting any info on 6 guppy street rodbourne or photos whould be apresheated the older the information the better thankyou very much for your time and help

  • con:

    My mum was brought up at 34 thomas street in the late 1940s and her mum Flo Roberts used to work at a butchers on Rodbourne Road.
    Mums aunt Dinah Nevison lived at 148 Rodbourne Road.
    I have fond memories of nans and the old railway hooter!
    Visits to nans meant 50p to spend in Mr Hoares on 1p, 2p and halfpenny sweets, he always had a great selection.
    I now live in Redcliffe Street and as i have redecorated my house over the years i have found plenty of railway green paint inside and out.
    If anyone has any memories of Florence or Dinah i would love to hear them.

  • carol cheese:

    My late father in law Ray Cheese lived in Montague Street, with his parents and siblings until he married in 1945. I recently came across a letter of his which he had received from Jennings Street School December 1942. It speaks of the School being aware that he has Joined “Her Majesty’s Forces” and wishes him “Best of Luck”. It asks that he accepts “The enclosed Gift” but doesn’t say what that gift was. It is a lovely letter and brought a tear to my eye on reading it. Has anyone any idea what the gift was? The writer of the letter describes it thus; “We trust it will be of real use to you and hopt it may be a small link in the chain of remembrance between us”. Here’s hoping someone knows.

  • Dave Tayler:

    I’ve been looking into some family history and according to the 1901 Census some of them lived in Slancer Street in Swindon. Most of the family lived in Rodbourne or Rodbourne Cheyney areas going back to the 1860s. I’ve lived in the area all my life and I know most of the old streets in Swindon but I’ve never heard of Slancer Street and I can’t find it on any map. Perhaps its disappeared or been renamed. It may even be a misspelling.

    Does anybody know where Slancer Street was, I’d be interested to find out.

  • Marilyn Beale:

    I’ve just found this site whilst looking for Rentaset and Relay Exchanges things.
    I was born in the front room of No 8 Hughes Street, went to Evan Swindon Juniors and Jennings Secondary Modern, left school in December 1959 and started work on the 2nd January 1960 at Relay Exchanges Head Office in Percy Street. I went to the Chapel upon which that was built and then Rodbourne Road Chapel.
    My brother still lives there and has just celebrated his 80th year, by writing his memoirs – ‘Forging Ahead’

  • Marilyn Beale:

    Forgot to say that I also remember that dreary school song, I found out years later that it was the Harrow School song – I could never get why it referred to the 22 men until then.

  • Chris(topher) Higgins:

    I have found this site quite fascinating and hope you might be able to help me trace my family on my fathers side, about which I know nothing. My father lived at 68, Summers Street, Swindon and all we have are letters from his mother at this address mainly during the forties. Dad was Elver Henry Higgins and had a sister Hilda. That is all I know. He never mentioned his parents or other relatives. He worked at the Garrard factory and then the railway. during his employ with the railway he moved to Worcester where he met my mother. He was an ATC electrician with the railway. If any of your members have any information about my family they can share with me I would be most grateful.

    Thanking you all in anticipation,

    Chris Higgins

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visits since 9 March 2009