Our aim with this new (March 2009) section is to try and capture some local 'folk history', those tales about real life in Caversham, Reading and nearby that, with their details and asides, combine to give real insights into everyday life - within living memory, but in a very different world.
We would be very happy to develop with section with inputs from other contributors. Please do contact us if you have anything to offer or, indeed, know anyone who does.
Day To Day Life In Reading in the 30s.
Reminiscing with RB, b 1930.
"But when I knew [my grandfather] he had two or three allotments, together, you know, he used to feed the family sort of thing, I guess off of that ... which was in the top end of Earley, to the left of where the motorway is now ... Part of it, we had pigs on and in those days you could fatten pigs and they were slaughtered in - there was an abbatoir in Southampton Street I think it was. And they used to have these little lorries that would come around and take your pigs alive and pay you - after they were slaughtered of course."
Where were your parents living then?
"Watlington Street I think, in those days. So, if you came down Queen's Road to the Lyndhurst Arms on the left - and the lights are there and a church on the opposite corner - if you turn left there ... there used to be a long terrace right up to ... a milk shop with an archway. I used to work for him in school [time] - before school or after school or weekends. In those days that was [putting] the cardboard tops on. You filled [the bottles] yourself with a jug ... got your thumbs clean!
"There was a butcher's on the other corner, which is now an upholstery shop, or was. In war time you used to be able to get faggots there. They were warm, they were lovely. They must have been full of right rubbish but I can remember scoffing them.
"So, we lived in a terraced house there because I famously set fire to the front bit. Because the fire was a bit dead and I got a cycle pump ... I think I was off school, unwell. My mother was in the kitchen and of course in those days you had a fringe around the fire, pinned on the thing, with tassles. Up come the flames ... I can remember it now - 'If I tell you, you'll not hit me, if I tell you something, you'll not hit me'. 'What is it? What is it?' [Laughter.] I can't remember how bad it was ... it didn't burn the house down but that's how it started."
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