Memories

This is our collection of memories contributed by local residents. Please browse through and enjoy the memories.

Each memory has its own comments which you can add your own to. Or you can add your own memories.

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Elver Henry Higgins

By Chris Higgins on October 6, 2013

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

Marilyn Beale’s memories

By Marilyn Beale on May 17, 2013

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’

Where is/was Slancer Street?

By Dave Tayler on April 6, 2013

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.

Memories of Ray Cheese

By Carol Cheese on January 9, 2013

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.

Con’s memories

By Con on November 28, 2012

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.

Memories from Gillian Spencer (nee Carter)

By Gillian Spencer (nee Carter) on

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.

Memories from John (Polly) Partridge

By John (Polly) Partridge (via Gordon) on October 2, 2012

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.

Swimming Lessons at Milton Road

By Pat Jones(nee Connell) on September 21, 2012

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.

Comment from Ray Buckland

By Ray Buckland on July 22, 2012

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