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.