from Ted Marriott
Grove Road, Lenton
Sometime in 1947/8, we left 19, Cloister St and went to live in a BRAND NEW council house at 54, Staverton Rd, Bilborough. The smell of new paint and central heating was marvellous. No more freezing nights when I went to bed AND hot water coming out of the taps again, same as Nans…Plus an inside toilet… BLISS!
After less than a year, Jim in his wisdom decided to move nearer to his factory in Lenton. He exchanged our new house for a cold 3 bed roomed 3-storey terrace house on Grove Rd, No. 27.
The factory where he worked, Glovene's Elastic Yarns, was at the top of the street, so he didn't have to travel to work in his car. Nice one, Jim…back to freezing bedrooms and only cold water in the kitchen, plus an outside toilet. …again! The bathroom at the very top of the house consisted of an old cast iron bath under a sloping ceiling. The bottom of the bath was showing patches of rust, so he painted it with white gloss paint. I was the first to bathe when the paint had dried. When I stood up the paint was stuck to my backside. Jim was never noted as being a D.I.Y. man.
Sometime in the 1970's, the roof of No.27 collapsed and had to be rebuilt. Not too long after, one of Jim's D.I.Y. projects went drastically wrong. He had put a double adaptor in the light socket and ran a wire from it, through the window to the outside toilet. This worked well for years but was never checked till one day while the house was empty, the adaptor overheated. Mum must have left the kitchen light on when she went shopping. The adaptor and wiring must have caught fire and set the lamp shade alight before falling to the floor beside the kitchen sink. Across the front of the sink, Jim had rigged up a curtain to hide the cavity where the waste water pipe was. This also hid the tins of paint and turpentine stored there too. Plus, unfortunately, jars of paint brushes soaking in the turps. When the flaming lampshade had fallen to the floor, it had set fire to the curtain which in turn must have ignited the turps and brushes.
Mum told me that when she was walking home from shopping, she wondered where the fire engine was rushing to as it turned into Grove Rd. As she too turned the corner, she couldn't believe her eyes as she saw the smoke billowing from No 27. The actual fire damage was of course mostly to the kitchen, and luckily the kitchen door had been closed. Smoke and heat caused damage to the next room and strangely the heat had damaged items on the side board and shelf but not other items. I remember looking at the damage afterwards and noticed a set of darts on the sideboard. Two sets of flights were shriveled up but the third was untouched. Peter's photo frame beside them had melted and yet another one was untouched. Strange! The smell of smoke had filled the house and Sandra (my sister) took in mum and Jim and we took in Malc (my brother) till they were re-housed at No 19.
A Lenton Lad - The Grove Road Gang - (1949-1955)
Robin Britton ('Brit')
The above photos taken at Pipewood Camp (1951/2)
There weren't many of us in the Grove Road gang. Starting at the top of the road next door to the chip shop was Malc Dew, 'Dewey'. He seemed to prefer his own company and never hung about with us much even before we left school. He trained to be a cobbler. Opposite where I lived was Geoff Green, he was never one of the gang, and he went to Grammar school I think. But I did join the Sea Cadets with him for a while when I was 13 or 14. He joined the Merchant navy and did OK.
Further down the bottom end of the road was Pete Bradley and next door to him at the Dry Cleaners shop, was Robin Britton, 'Brit'.
Over the road was Petersham St, and Mick Patman. He was tall and lanky and always galloped the streets with his 'mac tied around his neck, imagining he was the Durango Kid or Zorro or some other Saturday picture show hero. He left school to train as a ladies hairdresser before packing it in and becoming a supermarket manager. He is now a security officer.
Around the corner on Alderney St was Johnny Smithson and he made the fifth member of the gang, and was train spotting mad and always talked of joining the army when he was old enough. His dad was a career army man and ended his service at Chilwell barracks. But about 1955, the whole family had to go to Malaya for a couple of years and Johnny missed out on the rock n' roll years with us. He came back and joined up for nine years. Imagine the shame when his mum had to spend £200 to buy him out when he couldn't hack it after only one year. He eventually immigrated to Australia. He had an elder brother, Mick, with little black beady eyes and being a couple or more years older, never mixed with us.
Pete Selby, who lived up Willoughby Street, would often join us when we went out on our expeditions into the 'jungle' or swimming in the canal.
We were lucky that we didn't catch something nasty as the canal was green and stinking. I think what finished us swimming under the railway bridge was when Pete, up to his chest in water, lifted up his foot with something on it. It was a dead dog.
After that we swam in the Trent near the 'Prince of Wales' farm. Unfortunately for Pete, this too was contaminated and he came down with some strange 'plague' as we called it. His glands under his jaw swelled up and he was confined to bed for days. I think we at last learned our lesson and used the Radford Baths or Highfields Lido for our future aquatic escapades.