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Page 8. Letters to the Editor

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CONTRIBUTORS:
Janice Binley, Northamptonshire, UK
Robert Birch, UK
Maureen Bird, Hemel Hempstead, UK
STU Cook, New Jersey, USA
Keith Frisby, Pennsylvania, USA
Peter Hammond, UK
Harriette Jensen, California, USA
Margaret Lodge, Canada
Maureen McIntyre, London, UK
Ian Mercer, Romford UK
Carolyn Paisley, British Columbia, Canada
Joe Rhea, USA
Geoff Searle, UK
Jim Smith, Thornton, Leicester
Pete Smith, Leicester UK
Phil Stone, UK



RE: 358 FOSSE ROAD NORTH, OUR FAMILY HOME

Geoff Searle

Geoff Searle

I have been browsing your website and love your Leicester 7 page. This is exactly the sort of content that I am looking to include in my own. I remember family holdays with board games, TV adverts like "Now hands that do dishes", Watch With Mother etc, the list is endless. I was and still am a big fan of Gerry Anderson, I met him once at a seminar that he did.

Machine

Model of platform machine

I remember black and white TV on 405 lines !! As a child in the summer holiday we used to go and see my cousins who lived in Cheltenham. We would buy a platform ticket and sit train spotting. On the platform there would be a big green cast iron machine with a pointer and letters and numbers around the outside. For the price of a penny or two you could print your name or anything on a small aluminium strip. A bit like a dymo label. I can't remember who told me now but in the 1960's bored houswives having extra marital affairs would put a packet of OMO in the kitchen window as a signal that the coast was clear, that the Old Man was Out!

It's funny how things stick in your mind. I just feel it is so important to pass my childhood memories on to my children before they are lost in time. Thankfully we are better able to record them than we were in the past. It may be a bit sentimental; maybe its my age and a realisation that more of my life has happened than is yet to happen?

By the way: Not very good on the quiz. Only got 2 (Q6 and Q8) right!!

If of interest, our own family history website, also written using TNG (The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding), can be found here: The Serle Family History

Geoff Searle, UK
March 5th 2017

RE: A WALK DOWN KING DICK'S ROAD - AND BACK AGAIN

Janice Binley

Janice Binley

This updated article is wonderful. Not only is it a trip down memory lane for all of us I should think - of a bygone era - reminding us of how life was in the not too distant past and of aromas and remembered characters of our passage to adulthood. You have also weaved in the ancient history well, leading us back again to the present.

For some reason I am humming Cathy's Clown to myself and Shorty Cut Across (Eddie Cochran) and I may have to dash down to the shop at lunchtime to see if I can get a small pork pie to have for my lunch with brown sauce and a nice bread roll because I can smell it!! I can also smell the linseed oil which was used to treat our Co-op counter and see Fred King (the Manager) in his white coat slicing bacon and weighing up sugar into blue bags. Potatoes and paraffin were kept in an outbuilding out the back and the smell of earth from the potatoes mixing with paraffin fumes is unforgettable.

I laughed out loud about your experiences with the barber's shop and Brenda's experience in the chemists. It reminded me of a friend's brother who must have often come across 'a Brenda' in the chemists and went home with things like toothpaste, toilet soap and shampoo. His mum couldn't understand it!!

Janice Binley, Northamptonshire, UK
March 31st 2014

RE: GROWING UP ON FOSSE ROAD NORTH, LEICESTER

STU Cook

STU Cook

I found all three articles very interesting - you certainly do have a vivid recollection of your neighborhood. Made me smile and remind me of my own past. My home town was Hunstanton in north Norfolk. We lived at the top end of Westgate Road just a quarter of a mile from the ocean.

I also used to take the 'Eagle' comic and read the exploits of Dan Dare - also used to take the 'Beano' and 'The Dandy'. On Saturday mornings we used to also go down the hill from us to the local cinema and watch 'Flash Gordon' and 'Tom and Jerry' - cost was the same to us as it was for you - 6d, unless you wanted to sit upstairs in the balcony in which case it was 9d. I'll never forget, when the credits came up showing Fred Quimby's name after the Tom and Jerry cartoon, everyone in the cinema shouted, "Good ole Fred"! I think one of the parents started that and it just kept going.

Your recollections of the sweet shops were similar to mine. One of the sweet shop was diagonally across from my fathers garage business and called Carr's, the other was on the corner of the High Street and was called Abb's - it was also the tobacconist. My most vivid memory was when sweets came off ration - I think in 1953. We used to take our pocket money, which I think was 2s 6d, to buy our favorite sweets and a bottle of Corona or Vimto, then in the evening watch the TV whilst gobbling our hoard.

I did not have a paper delivery route but I was a green grocers delivery boy. Every day after school and on Saturdays I used to ride that trade bike all over town, up and down the hill, with boxes and bags of deliveries in both front and back carriers - not that easy starting off going up hill. When the grocery store changed hands and the new owner did not want to pay me the same amount I went to the local butcher and became a delivery boy for them - much easier work for the same pay. I think I used to get 12s or 15s a week. To this day, due to being a delivery boy, I remember just about every street in the town.

Anyway, I enjoyed your articles and could almost imagine myself being there. They certainly caused my old gray matter to move about quite a bit and reminded me a lot of what I used to get up to in my own home town all those years ago.

STU Cook, New Jersey, USA
April 10th 2014


RE: 358 FOSSE ROAD NORTH, OUR FAMILY HOME

Margaret Blackwell

Margaret Blackwell

I've just had a look at the web site and "358 Fosse" - you have done a bit of work on it since I last looked.

I too did a tour of the old sites in September 2004. This was for Mum and especially Dad - his short time memory was fading fast, yet his long term was still intact (normal for dementia) - and digital cameras are great for this. Son Matthew then made them all into a video to bring back memories of their life there. Dad's house still stands, but not Mum's. Their old church has gone too and their last house was for sale. Anyway they had a trip down memory lane but as you mentioned somehow there's a look of despair not just in our neighbourhoods but in Leicester in general. Nothing looked 'healthy'. Maybe it's our association with North America where sun and light abounds. Even here with winter it is nearly always sunny - freezing cold maybe (-20C is common) and deep in snow but sunny.

I always thought your house was 3-storey model and MUCH bigger than it looks. Mum even commented that she thought your house was 3 storeys. Did you have an attic? (No, but the ceiling over the hall and staircase was high - about twelve feet up, I guess - NF) You were the posh people on the hill especially with that lounge. And I remember the wood toilet bench upstairs; such a wide toilet that you could sit and read in if you wanted to. I also remember the very long dining room. Didn't know tables came that long either. I also remember one of my first kisses at your birthday parties (Postman's Knock!) and the many games that meant having the lights out!

I remember Ann Letts - she visited us in Canada in the early 70s when she lived in Toronto for a year - are you still in touch with her? she was my first visual of the 'mini' - Canada was a little late, or at least Ottawa was a bit conservative - and everyone would stop and stare at her legs!

You also mentioned a chocolate bar ('FRY'S five boys') that I didn't really recall. My friend here did (she's originally from Sheffield). In fact it was only yesterday when I'd bought her her favourite Fry's chocolate cream (we find those occasionally), that she mentioned this bar - small world to hear about it twice in two days. I couldn't find it on the web as you'd called it five five boys (Sorry, now corrected - NF). When I realised it's FRY's five boys I came across the following link
Lindsay Poulton; the face on the FRY'S Five Boys Chocolate Bar

Thanks for the memories. No wonder I still like Fox's. We can get Walkers crisps here in a few 'specialty' shops but not Fox's.

Margaret Lodge (nee Blackwell) Canada
November 21st 2005



Page added: January 1st 2007
Last update: March 5th 2017

RE: A WALK DOWN KING DICK'S ROAD - AND BACK AGAIN

New Bow Bridge plaque

The 2005 Bow Bridge plaque © PT Stone

What a lot of information on your site - wow! I could almost imagine I was in old Leicester.

Your section on King Richard looks very fair, though I cannot answer your question about his route out of the city. Are you aware that there is a second plaque now, alongside the Broadbent one, advising that the story of the bones being thrown in the Soar is just that, a story? It was put up about 8 - 10 years ago. I can't remember exactly when, though I was there when it was unveiled by one of Broadbent's descendants. Attached is a photograph I took which feel free to use.

Dr Phil Stone. Chairman, Richard III Society. UK
March 31st 2014


RE: A WALK DOWN KING DICK'S ROAD - AND BACK AGAIN

I congratulate you on your web site. It is apparent that you have put a lot of work into it and I enjoyed looking at the maps.

I agree that it is a puzzle how the (or a) road from Bow Bridge led to the Foss Way but I think there must have been such a road since there is no suggestion that Richard used any other bridge and the story that he did use it starts not too long after the battle.

I think that it is really one of those questions without a satisfactory answer. So far as I know there is no evidence to say what road Richard took to Bosworth. He must have got on to the Foss way at some point because this would be the quickest route to Atherstone where he knew Henry Tudor was camped. None of the chroniclers bother to say how he got to the Foss Way though.

I agree with you too that it is a puzzle where Richard put his army while he was in Leicester. It would be a guess whatever we say, several thousand troops plus many horses occupy a lot of space, so I think that it must have been outside the city.

Peter Hammond, Richard III Society. UK
March 31st 2014


RE: GROWING UP ON FOSSE ROAD NORTH, LEICESTER

I have greatly enjoyed your Fosse Road webpages and photos (and I got much of the quiz right too!). I am writing to ask if you might possibly have any image that includes the girls' orphanage/primary school near the old junction with King Dick's Rd - it was across the road from where you lived; the address was 7 Fosse Road Central.

My mum and her sister lived there in the 1920s. Aunt Dorothy is still alive and has asked me if I can try to find a photo of the house. It was in a big plot of land - you can see it easily in the little map on your website. Now the site is covered over by the edge of the dual carriageway and grass and tree margins next to the end of the red brick terraced house by the SW corner of the new King Dick's Road / Fosse Rd junction.

Dorothy has a vivid memory of people and names: there was a Doctor David Smith at the corner of Arundel St. opposite the orphanage: his wife not only smoked cigarettes in a long holder but rode a motorbike! Did the girls love her!! The girls would have walked in a crocodile every day past your house on their way to Mantle Road School. They went to the church right by your place, and also walked to the Cathedral, in Sunday Best of course - panama hats with white ribbons.

I have searched on line, also the Council and planning records, the Library and two days of poring over stuff in the county records office, and not a sign of a record of the place, let alone a picture. The trade directories show it was in existence for a surprisingly long period, having moved there from central Leicester in 1862, to at least 1938. I have a list of the Board of Governors from mum's jottings and from Dorothy, and I am contacting one of their descendants also. Miss Alice Plunkett was their matron: I have a photo of her at mum's wedding in 1936.

If you have any image of No 7, or can provide me with any slight lead towards further information, we would be really delighted.

Ian Mercer. Romford, Essex
January 23rd 2006


RE: GROWING UP ON FOSSE ROAD NORTH, LEICESTER

I`m writing on behalf of my wife Val (nee Manship) who went to school with your sister Brenda. (Val doesn`t have too much interest in computers so I`ve been given the task of replying!) She doesn`t have many clear memories from long ago but appreciates all the names and date you have listed with the photo on Friends Reunited which certainly helps. Yes, the photo must be from Mantle Road if your dad says so. She also went to Ingle Street Junior at some stage before returning to Mantle Road for her Secondary years. .She can now recall quite a few of the names and faces on this photo including your sister. Brenda

Val used to live at 7 Battenberg Road just around the corner from Mantle Road School. She still keeps in regular touch with a couple of girls from her schooldays especially Sally Wesson. Does your sister remember Sally?

Interestingly, I thought that your name rang a bell from the distant past and viewing your excellent website I see that you were a neighbour in Fosse Road North of one of my girl-friends from long ago, the lovely Ann Letts. Needless to say at the time I was madly in love with Ann . Unfortunately (for me!) she was still madly in love with Dave Zanker who was a previous boyfriend who fell out with her. This meant our relationship was doomed to fail....which it did after around 6-9 months or so. I used to go to the same school as Dave (City Boys) and I met him at a reunion a few years ago and we had a good chuckle remembering those "anguished times !" He confessed that his feelings for poor old Ann were never as strong as she thought. The dilemma of teenage love!

I often wondered what happened to Ann as the only time I`ve ever seen her since then was in the late 1960s when I bumped into her at her place of work, the old Electricity Showrooms in town.

Many of my mates were from the Tudor Road /Newfoundpool area and so we spent most of our spare time on Fosse Park playing football and cricket (depending on the time of year). We also frequented the various local youth clubs (for the girls and music) including St Pauls and the Catholic St Peters, and as we got older, the Empire Hotel public house. I first knew Val during those times in the early 1960s, however we didn`t start courting (a lovely old fashioned phrase !) until much later, eventually getting married in 1968. We now have 1 girl, 2 boys and are still married.

Happy days from long ago.

Pete Smith, Groby, Leicester
October 1st 2005


RE: "IPSE DIXIT" - A FAMILY SURVEY"

After reading the postings on the TNG list, I took a look at your site. Loved it! I especially loved the Ipse Dixit idea and the picture of the road sign. I have had cousins ask me what information I want from them and usually send them a group sheet form with the note to add anything they want people to know about them. However, most people are really intimidated by the freedom of that and your idea of a few pertinent questions is a good one.

My Hoisingtons seem to have had a number of things named after them here in America (they were Horsingtons in England)...mountains, lakes, roads, schools. I keep running into them while doing google searches. Hoisington is my grandmother's maiden name and I am doing a one-name study on it. It might be interesting to create a page for all of them.

Harriette Jensen, Oakland, California
March 31st 2006

email: hoisingtonweb@yahoo.com

RE: THE APPRENTICE

I have often wondered if the old firm Caribonum still existed, So, imagine my surprise on asking Google when my old pal George (Craxford) appeared. We used to work out of the Princess Road office along with Ted Norman and Stan Clarke. Sadly he is no longer with us in the case of Ted - I am not sure about Stan. At 75 I am still working on Thornton Nurseries, but have lots of time off! Nita and I have a trip planned up the Amazon next year. All the best with your super site. I just felt I had to drop you a line to say 'Hello'.

Jim Smith. Thornton, Leicester
December 26th 2006

RE: THE GUV'NER - ARTHUR CRAXFORD (1908 - 1989)

My father, Walter Fredrick Birch, has just past away having worked in the latter part of his career at Denroy Plastics in Bangor Northern Ireland. I'm sure you will understand that our family whilst grieving his loss are also reflecting upon his life.

We know he worked at the Craxfords Duplex Works (where he would have been known as Wally) as a Draftsman during the 60s and indeed I visited the factory living just around the corner ourselves at 9 Haine Road. I believe he continued working there when it became Viking Industrial Plastics. I recognize many of the products shown on your website, projects which I'm sure my father was involved. He and my mother Peggy attended the works dinner dances and I wonder if you or readers of this page have any information / memorabilia, photographs or drawings connected with my Father.

Robert Birch, UK
December 6th 2012
email: RBirch2@ucreative.ac.uk

RE: THE CROXTON CONUNDRUM AND OTHER MYSTERIES: THE POLLARD GIRLS

The article was of great interest to me. I have the most extensive historical notes and genealogy on the Bedells of Essex in the United States, and hope to publish it as a series of ebooks in 2017. My wife, Mary Ellen (Bedell) Rhea is descended from the Bedells of Essex. Her father was Erwin George Bedell and a descendant of the earliest of the Bedells of Essex to settle in the American colonies, Robert Bedell. Robert was a minor son of John Bedell of Fairstead, Essex, England, and his grandfather was John Bedell of Black Notley, Essex, England. Thomas Bedyle of Black Notley who died after 16 September 1550 (married Johan Sache) was the shared common ancestor of the Bedells of Fairstead and the Bedells of Black Notley. A grandson of Thomas and Johan was William Bedell (born about 25 Dec 1571 - died 7 Feb 1642), who was the noted Bishop of Kilmore, Ireland. What fascinates me most about your article is the pictures of George Sinclair Biddall you included at the end of the article's section on The Croxton Conundrum. The short rounded stature, the narrow distance between the eyes, the outsized nose, and the receding two-sided hairline are physical characteristics of the Bedells down through the centuries. My wife's father bore a striking resemblance to your George Sinclair Biddall. The earliest mention of these distinctive characteristics occurred in England in the early 13th century, and traces the origin of the Bedells to emigration from France to about that time.

My time this year is pretty much consumed with publishing the history and genealogy of my Ray-Rhea family. My first book on my Ray-Rhea family was published in 1969 after ten years of research. That one book of 385 pages has grown over the years to its present state of three volumes and over 14,000 descendants of John and Hannah (Hasty) Ray of Ireland, a poor Scots-Irish Presbyterian family. We printed out over 15 years ago the last trial printing of my database on the Bedells of Essex, and at that time it took 10 volumes. My expectation is the publication next year will be double that number of volumes. While I serve as the compiler, the work on my Ray-Rhea family and the work on the Bedells of Essex is the product of many historians and genealogists who have consented to be included and properly credited in the text and in footnotes for their contributions to my compilation.

As a side note, the Bedells who settled and actually laid out and designed the original town, were Loyalist descendants of Robert Bedell, the early Bedell of Essex settler in the American colonies.

Joe Rhea, USA
April 22nd 2016

RE: 358 FOSSE ROAD NORTH, OUR FAMILY HOME

Maureen Bird

Maureen Bird

A few lines to say that I've really enjoyed reading your latest article and all its reminiscences. Various thoughts came to my mind as I read your words.

Jelly for birthday parties you say. Lucky you say I! I have to tell you that in the war years, when I was a child, jellies were rationed or in short supply, I can't remember which and a family only had one or two per year. If, as a child, you had an invitation to a party, one or two mothers would send a jelly along, if they had one, so that there was enough. Hardly seems possible does it?

Our house in St. Helens was a modern semi, but like yours had a lounge (only used at Christmas) , a dining/living room, a kitchen (nowadays it would be called a breakfast room) and a scullery (now called a kitchen). The back door was in the scullery and outside this was a square piece of concrete which Mum used to pumice-stone every Monday after she'd done the washing, and I had to jump over it so's not to get it dirty!

In the kitchen we had a Triplex kitchen range exactly the same as your photo, and an airer. We called ours an airer, although some folk in other parts of the country called them 'maidens' or pulleys. I have several wonderful memories that relate to the kitchen range. Somewhere along the line, probably Christmas, I was given a tin of Cadbury's chocolate buttons. As a small child I remember they were absolute bliss. Heavens knows where they came from because they would have been a rare commodity. At the time they were in a purple tin in the shape of a milk churn and Mum used to keep it on the shelf on the top of the range where I couldn't reach!! I was only allowed a few each day. She used also to put potatoes in the ashes under the fire to bake. Wonderful baked potatoes which sometimes were burnt. Another thing she used to do, which I realise now is dangerous, but she used to carry a shovel full of hot coals from the kitchen to the dining/living room to make the fire in that room. Apparently this was to make the job of making a fire much quicker than doing it from scratch. Our range was black enamelled which Mum used to polish up regularly. A labour of love I feel.

Having read your piece about Brenda dashing off to her cold bedroom. I have wonderful childhood memories of colourful knitted and crocheted blankets that my grandmothers made with all the oddments of wool that they collected. On the really cold winter nights I remember being wrapped up in these wonderful blankets and put into bed, all snug and warm.

Seeing the picture of the Reckitts Blue Bag reminds me that when I was first married I used to "blue" all my table cloths, pillowslips and Colin's white shirts. In those days he used to wear detached collars and these and the double cuffs on the shirts, and the pillowslips and table cloths then used to be starched. Such memories.

It's fun going back to see your old home. A month or so ago I went back to see the house and area around where we used to live in Birmingham, (after we left St. Helens). Amazingly it really hadn't altered very much at all. It was a nice part of Birmingham all those years ago, and it's still quite nice now.

Well, that's enough reminiscing for now. I look forward to reading whatever comes next.

Maureen Bird (nee Craxford), Hemel Hempstead, UK
September 10th 2005


RE: A WALK DOWN KING DICK'S ROAD - AND BACK AGAIN

Carolyn Paisley

Carolyn Paisley

The walk down Memory Lane is different for you, isn't it? It reads very well, though. Your memory serves you well. I don't think I was exposed to shopping trips like that. We had old converted buses come round our way: a greengrocers, a butcher's and a fishmonger (I bet that was pongy on a hot day.) The baker and milkman had more up-to-date vans. We were a long way from shops where we lived off Uppingham Road, so I suppose that's why they came to us. I can't remember the co-op, but for some reason I remember my mother's co-op number, which is now my password on my library card! I see you don't have dab and suckers on your list, but that's what we all went wild for (the lollipop ones, not the nasty liquorice in a tube ones.)

Hmm, now what was my first record? I think it might have been Helen Shapiro's You don't know. I don't remember yours, but I thought we were the same age. That annoying Playmates song. For a start, I thought it was Seven Little Girls, Sitting in the Back Seat, hugging and a kissing with Fred... Do you remember that one? But I checked the Playmates out on Google and it's something called the Beep Beep Song. I remember it now. And yes, I think it's even worse than Seven Little Girls Sitting in the Back Seat. It's close, though!. That was a great idea putting the quiz questions interspersed throughout the text. We oldies do like reminiscing about the 50s and 60s!

Carolyn Paisley, British Columbia, Canada
March 31st 2014


RE: GROWING UP ON FOSSE ROAD NORTH, LEICESTER

I have read with much interest your family's website. I walked along all three parts of Fosse Road regularly as a child and the website has brought back many memories.

If I remember correctly the horses from the Glenfield Road Co op Dairy were stabled in Battenberg Road or a neighbouring road. The milkmen walked the unharnessed horses from the Glenfield Road Dairy along Henley Road across Fosse Road North and into Battenberg Road. They could be seen walking the horses back to the stables shortly after lunch when their shift ended. Perhaps some of your other contributors may recall these men and their horses taking this route. The Co op Dairy kept horses for milk deliveries long after Kirby and West had changed to electric milk floats.

Your site reminded me that the names of the roads in Newfoundpool spell HARRISON. However, Ingle Street is the first road in the acrostick and so they spell I HARRISON for Isaac Harrison who erected the building that is now the Empire Hotel. It was firstly a spa and then a private house for the Harrison family. The original entrance is in Newport Street and is really much grander than the Fosse Road North entrance.

Please let me know if any of your contributors remembers the White House School in Stephenson's Drive. I can find no record of it now at all. It was an attractive building surrounded by trees and was towards the top end of Stephenson's Drive furthest away from Fosse Road North on the right hand side. My brother attended this school before going to Ingle Street Juniors.

Maureen McIntyre, London
February 20th 2011

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