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.

Add a memory

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

Comment from Pam King

By Pam King on July 16, 2012

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!

Sue Day, nee Whitefoot

By Jean Allen nee White on June 21, 2012

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…

The Whitefoots

By Sue Day nee Whitefoot on May 5, 2012

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.

Jim (Jock) Walkinshaw?

By Jean Allen on April 19, 2012

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…

Comment from Nigel Brown

By Nigel Bown ex Bruce Street on April 13, 2012

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 !

Comment from Beryl Warburton wos maisey

By Beryl Warburton on March 14, 2012

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