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1. The Art School, Ford Street, remembered by Liz Bayly
2. Schoolday memories of Pauline Bearcock
3. Little Park Street & Spon Street, by Mick Billings
4. Birch family war-time memories and the next generation, by Wendy Lloyd
5. Hillfields memories from the 1930s & 40s, by Jerry Bird
6. Bombers over our Radford Streets, by Jerry Bird
7. Voyage on the Queen Mary with Cecilia Cargill
8. Schoolboy fun around town with Patrick Casey
9. Dunlop Rugby Union Club, by Lorraine Clarke
10. Pre-war memories of Norman Cohen
11. Remembering Courthouse Green School, by Robert Coles
12. The Life of Riley, by Ron Critchlow
13. Wartime memories of Wyken, by Alan Edgson
14. Boyhood Memories of Peter Ellis
15. From boyhood to young adult, by Peter Ellis
16. War and Workplace memories of Mike Fitzpatrick
17. 1940s & 50s remembered, by Ken Giles
18. World War Two memories of James Hill
19. A selection of 1940s and 50s memories, by Rod Joyce
20. Pictures of a Coventry ancestry, by Lesleigh Kardolus
21. Innocence, by John Lane
22. A plane crash over Exhall, by John Lane
23. Post-War memories of Keith Longmore
24. Growing up in Willenhall, by Josie Lisowski-Love
25. The thoughts of a younger Coventrian, by Paul Martin
26. Growing up in Hillfields, by Jan Mayo
27. Winter before central-heating in Hillfields, by Jan Mayo
28. Viewing the Blitz from Birmingham, by Mavis Monk
29. Family memories of Eric Over
30. Early working days of Barry Page
31. Band life with Derick Parsons
32. Brian Porter, A Coventry Kid
33. Experiences of the Coventry Blitz, by Joan Powell
34. War-time memories of Brian Richards
35. War-time memories of Jeanne Richards
36. Coventry Remembered, by Andrew Ross
37. The Coventry outings of Brian Rowstron & family
38. Time Gentlemen Please! - Jo Shepherd's Family
39. The life experiences of Mike Spellacy
40. Humber Works photographs of Peter Thacker
41. Early Coventry memories of Lizzie Tomlinson
42. Post-war decades remembered, by Mike Tyzack
43. Fireman Frank Walduck, remembered by Peter Walduck
44. Early memories of Coventry, by Muriel Wells
45. Family memories of Burt West
46. A Childhood in Stoke, by Graham Whitehead
 

Hillfields memories from the 1930s & 40s, by Jerry Bird

Born at 13 Canterbury Street in 1932 was the start of my sixteen year life in the UK prior to emigration in 1948, and so I only remember Coventry as it was in my minds eye pre, during and after the war, as I've never been back.

Personally, only Google and the Forum inform me of things now! As a newcomer to the forum, and the incredibly varied and interesting information to browse, I now realize that it is broadening my own aspects and affecting my simple view of "that's how it was". Keep it up people, I really enjoy all your past contributions. (I will come across them all one day!)

Canterbury Street, Hillfields
Hill's Precision Plastics, Canterbury Street. (Courtesy of Coventry Library.)

I see on the Google maps that number 11 Canterbury Street, and down and round Yardley Street to Wellington Street, is now a car-park. There used to be a school on the Wellington Street corner - double storey with outside iron stairs up to the classrooms. The kids used to come up to talk to me when I was parked in my pram in my gran's garden at the back of 13 Canterbury Street.

The streets, as most know, were generally cobble-stoned and very noisy as there was still horse drawn traffic up and down. I seem to remember my gran saying that they used to put straw on the streets to curb the clatter during the flue epidemic in 1918/19. She lost two sons on the same day, my dad being the only survivor.

On the corner of Canterbury Street and King William Street was a red brick building with a short-ish sort of tower, which had a clock or clocks. Certainly one faced down the street towards the Singer Factory. My point being that I have always known there was some sort of pub there known as "The Clock" but can find no reference of such an establishment in the Coventry Pub Tally. A few "Clock" pubs elsewhere, but few pubs at all in Hillfields by any name.

Since emigrating I've met two Coventrians. One in particular remembers my dad playing rugger at Frederic Bird's the day he got his nose busted in 1917, and both remembered and drank at the "clock" pub. It's a small world!

My second "anyone remember?" question is; There was a Fish and Chip shop upside of my number 13 entry called Goff's, but no idea when it closed. It's all forgotten now - delicatessen or car-park covering that part of my history!

SIR: What a flood of memories the article "Airships over England" (Summer 1997) brought back to me. I was born and brought up in the village of Corsley, near Warminster, Wiltshire, and I vividly recall one day in the 1930s, when I was 11 years old.
    As one of a family of eight, it was my job to light the fire and make the tea on Saturday mornings, but on this particular morning the fire would not catch alight. I tried more paper, more matches - but nothing happened. Ah well! I knew the answer. The old thatched house which was our home had a cellar and in there we stored the paraffin. I poured a liberal amount into a tin, and then emptied it onto the fire. There must have been a flame lurking in it somewhere, for suddenly the fire erupted into a blaze that roared up the chimney.
    I got the fright of my life as the roar became louder and I had visions of the thatched roof going up in flames. I rushed outside to check, but the thatch was not burning although the road was now even louder. I dashed back inside to see if a fire in the chimney was the cause of the trouble, but indoors the fire was now behaving itself. However, the noise was giving me a terrible time!
    Running outside again, I finally realised that the dreadful roar was coming from above my head. I searched the cloudy sky to ascertain the source of a noise such as I had never heard before - and then I saw it. A window opened in the cloud and passing by was a mighty, German airship!
    These Graf Zeppelins appeared above many towns in the 1930s in "salute". I recall that later it was said that their "goodwill tours" over Britain were an excuse to photograph the country from the air - a valuable aid to the attacks that were to follow during the war. - H. RALPH HAMPSON, PINELANDS, SOUTH AFRICA.

Further recollections....

I have had a long nagging recollection of an event that occurred in the early to mid 1930s, which took place as my mother and I were just about to cross over the road from my Gran's house at 98 Stoney Stanton Road. At the time I was in the process of learning the "look left, look right, then left again", which came to a sudden stop.... when looking left, mother suddenly yelled "Look, look", and there in the sky, moving in the space beyond and over the Canal Bridge, floating slowly and, to me soundlessly, from right to left was a large "silvery cigar shaped" Zeppelin, which l estimate now would have been overflying the Courthouse Green / Bell Green areas at the time, with Morris Motors & Alfred Herbert's more or less below, then on towards the Foleshill / Lockhurst Lane Gas Works, Riley, Jaguar, Dunlop and others, like the ball bearing /chain manufacturers, etc.

I write this late adjunct to comments made in the Blitz category on the forum as to how come the Luftwaffe had prior and accurate knowledge of target locations.

I recently came across an old 1998 edition of "This England" magazine, which refers to a Zeppelin sighting at Corsley in Wiltshire, and also in the 1930s by a youngster a few years older than myself. (See article on the right.)

No doubt many people in and around Coventry saw the same event that I did, though I've met and asked many ex Coventrians over the years if they knew anything, but to no avail.

Coventry Carnival 1935

I clearly remember my first carnival, viewed from an aunt's house on Berry Street, over from Primrose Hill Park and throwing ha'pennies down into buckets held up to us by oddly dressed young people - an elephant, penny farthing bicycles, men on stilts that seemed to be up to my window, a piano player, and a band on the back of a lorry. The drays and horses, harlequins, tumblers - and a cyclist with an oval front wheel bouncing up and down was hugely amusing, especially when he got stuck in the tram-line and went for a purler right in front of us! l remember he had to carry the cycle to the pavement side out of the way as it wouldn't push.

The horse was more impressive than Godiva. Later being shown Peeping Tom leaning and leering down at us from the window of his garret at the bottom of Bishop Street, turned to stone and sightless for daring to peep at the shapeless Godiva I saw in the carnival - to my young logic a travesty if ever there was! From that came a personal fetish as my bus-stop was below or over opposite to his garret. The Keresley 16A stopped in and out of town, and he always got a glance going or coming. Whatever the weather he was at his eeriest by street-light in fog! I wonder if he is still there?

Read Jerry's war-time memories of Radford.


 
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Birch family war-time memories and the next generation, by Wendy Lloyd
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Hillfields memories from the 1930s & 40s, by Jerry Bird
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Bombers over our Radford Streets, by Jerry Bird
 
 
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