Posts Tagged ‘1930s’

Cliff Fleetwood writes…

Here are some further anecdotes about the Kings Norton Scouts.
With all the current concern about knives and crime recently, in my days with KN Scouts your status was measured by the size of your sheath knife or two, if you were lucky, that you wore on your belt. Sometimes that belt was similar to a “cowboy gunslinger”. Some of the names I still recall besides Wally Watts WW1 veteran, Norman Brown Scout Master and a Crown Court Official, Dennis Hurley Senior Scout who I believe became Head Master at Turves Green School, Keith Newcombe (28 Midland Road), and Geoff Newham.

Keith & I were asked to provide guard of honour for the official opening of THE QE Hospital in March 1939 by HM King George & Queen Elizabeth. When the pomp and circumstance was ended Keith & I decided to sneak off. We had reached half way down Metchley Park Road when we heard the Royal Car(s) coming. Two lonely boy scouts stood at the kerbside at the salute with our staves as the Royal Car swept by. HM Queen Elizabeth gave us two a charming waive. We came down to earth when we tried to get on the No 11 Outer Circle bus as the conductor tried to stop us boarding with our “sticks” as he described them. We had “jobsworths” in those days.

Rachel writes… I’m looking for info about a man called Clifton Peter Scott-Riddle who married my late Grandma Ivy Lee in March 1939.  He then disappeared and it transpired that he was a bigamist. Grandma gave birth to my father in Dec 1939 so this man is my grandfather. She lived with her parents in Beaumont Road and married Horace Jays in 1942.

Cliff Fleetwood and his cousin Hilda Thompson outside the bottom shop in 1929 or 1930. Thanks to Cliff for the photo.

Francis Road 1929 or 30

Francis Road 1929 or 30

The "bottom shop" at the corner of Frances Road and Lifford Lane, early 1930s

The "bottom shop" at the corner of Frances Road and Lifford Lane, early 1930s

Cliff and his dad, circa 1930/31

Cliff and his dad, circa 1930/31

Thanks to Cliff Fleetwood for these photos.   

He writes, my father, Bill Fleetwood, was possibly one of first ‘horse whisperers’, who won vast numbers of trophies for his horses” in the 1920s and 30s. 

He remembers, “”Snowy” Mason, or “Dripping” Ballinger, or Herbert Wathen who lived in Dell Road. Finally Walter Carrol who was the blacksmith responsible for shoeing most of the horses in the area, & who originally acquired the land in Breedon Road from Fishers. Dad bought the whole property from Walter.   

Another horse which was rescued by Billy was a City of Birmingham Corporation horse & was temporarily stabled at Hole Lane during the Blitz.
Timoshenco, Bill Fleetwood's means of transport during WWII

Timoshenco, Bill Fleetwood's means of transport during WWII

A German land mine (a bomb on the end of a parachute) fell and was caught in a tree, without exploding, so the area was cordoned off for a couple of days. The horse was without feed or water so Cliff’s dad dodged the police officer at the top of Hole Lane and took the horse across the field at the rear of the stable, so avoiding any metal, sparks or noise on the roadway from the horseshoes. 

A dark mare prepared for show, taken in Cotteridge Park. Picture from Birmingham Post & Mail

A dark mare prepared for show, taken in Cotteridge Park. Picture from Birmingham Post & Mail

Main picture: Billy Fleetwood standing (dwarfed) by 'Norton Statesman' 18hh (that is over 6ft at the shoulder of the horse) in Breedon Rd. The horse was a regular at all the Midland Horse Shows, & also worked for his living

Main picture: Billy Fleetwood standing (dwarfed) by 'Norton Statesman' 18hh (that is over 6ft at the shoulder of the horse) in Breedon Rd. The horse was a regular at all the Midland Horse Shows, & also worked for his living

The last man employed by Fleetwood's to drive horses, and the picture was taken in the late 50s. His job was to cart materials to R.J.Hunt Ltd.

The last man employed by Fleetwood's to drive horses, and the picture was taken in the late 50s. His job was to cart materials to R.J.Hunt Ltd.

David is looking for information on his grandfather, Alfred Kinsella, who used to work for Fleetwoods Hauliers taking supplies into Cadburys. He was a carter and used to show the shire horses at the Kings Heath Show at Alcester Lane End, and was wandering if anyone could steer him towards more information about Fisher/Fleetwoods and the horse show / fair that was in Kings Heath. David’s father worked for Cadbury Bros at their waterside stores, and he remembers Alfred Kinsella coming to the waterside laden with brick, clay and bits & bobs. There was an area at the back of the waterside stores where stuff like this was tipped – this is what Alfred was doing for Fleetwoods. Alfred Kinsella married David’s grandmother in 1934 and he would love someone to remember him and maybe another picture might turn up.

Cotteridge Carnival, 1936/7

Cotteridge Carnival, 1936/7

 Cliff Fleetwood writes, “The vehicle is a long nose Fleetwood’s Bedford lorry which were not running much after 1940/41. The last job that this particular vehicle was engaged in was going around most of the public air raid shelters emptying the chemical closets. It was driven throughout by a man called Johnny Biddle. His one claim to fame was an incident when emerging from under a railway bridge near to Kitts Green, when a bomb dropped by a lone German bomber exploded and took the front engine bonnet off the lorry. Two seconds later and Kitts Green would have been covered in s…”

I was at Cotteridge School during the 1930s.

These are the teachers that I remember. Miss Showell was the headmistress. Miss Doherty, Miss Henshaw, Miss Genders, Miss Carpenter, Miss Leek, Miss Powell, Miss Carr, Mr. Brooking and Mr. Tozer were the other teachers. My brother, who is a little younger than me, remembers Mr. Major.

In the senior school Miss Turner was the head with Miss Franklin, Miss Rogers, Miss Shergold, Mrs. Mortiboys and one other teacher.

In the 1920s one of my friends remembers that the teachers were Miss Butcher, George Liddell (who played right-back for Birmingham City), Mr. Spicknell- the head, Mr. Osborne, Mr. Merry, Mr. Towers and Mr. Gibbs.

I remember that once, during the 1930s a fair came to Cotteridge Park. All the children went home for a midday meal and I think we may have had about two hours for lunch. Well, many of us stayed in the park watching the fair being put up and Miss Showell came to the park and rang the school`s hand bell because so many of us were missing.

I also remember taking a letter to the Park Keeper asking if we could have some holly and greenery from the park to decorate the school at Christmas time.

Alderman Fryer was a frequent visitor to the school.

There was a cane for use on naughty children. Many families expected the discipline at home to be carried forward to school. On many occasions I remember saying that I had been disciplined at school and was told “I expect you deserved it”.

Harry Pettie, the person who told me about the 1920s, told me that he had been Little Boy Blue in a panto. He also said that Mr Merry had a favourite saying, “You little B…..Button”. Across the road was Fleetwood`s yard with stables and shire horses. Clifford Fleetwood (the son) would be 73 now. He had a pony called Dinah. In their yard was Carrol, the blacksmith. Before Fleetwood’s owned it, it was Noah Fisher’s yard.

Jean Harris
August 2000

I attended Cotteridge School for a year in 1938, when I was 12, after my family moved to Birmingham from Gloucestershire. We rented a flat over Eden and Son, the butcher’s shop, opposite the Grant Arms. My younger sister Sylvia also went to Cotteridge School, but my brother Sidney had to go to Stirchley School. At Cotteridge School I was issued with my gas mask, ready for the war. I remember that one of the teachers was called Mr Major.

One of my most vivid memories is that we were given free dinners because my dad was ill and couldn`t work. Each week the school gave us a little white ticket and we had to go by tram to a house in Cartland Rd, Stirchley for a revolting dinner. The tram fare was 1/2d (1/4p) each, so each day the “free” dinner cost us 2d (1p).The fares for the whole week cost 10d (4p).It doesn`t sound much, but we only had 9 shillings (45p) to live on. It wasn’t worth it. I would have much rather gone home for a sandwich. One day I lost the tram fare and we had to walk all the way, instead of just from the Co-op. I don’t know how it was decided that we should get these dinners, in those days nobody asked children their views or explained things like that.

We had family ties to Cotteridge. My grandparents lived at 9 Holly Rd. My grandfather, Sidney Boston, was a painter and decorator and went to work with his handcart. All of his 7 children attended Cotteridge School. The eldest, Thomas Boston, served in the 1914-1918 war and his name is on the Honours board in the library. I also had an aunt and cousins who lived in Laurel Rd. These photos show the street party in Laurel Rd, in 1935, for the Silver Jubilee of King George V, the decorations put up on the house in Holly Rd for the coronation in 1937 of King George VI and the Cotteridge football team of 1915, where Thomas Boston is 2nd from the right, standing up. I enjoyed living in Cotteridge and I remember some things very well.

Near St. Agnes Church was a shop called “Treasure Trove” that sold all kinds of things, many from house clearances. It was a wonderful place to look round,you could find anything from a large stuffed animal to a tiny button. It was owned by a Mr Cecil Vincent.

Lawton`s Cooked Meats, next to the Midland Rd railway bridge, sold delicious meat and such delights as pigs` feet, tripe, chitterlings, black pudding and a-la-mode beef, which was a big round of cooked beef in jelly and they would cut off slices for you to buy. I often got sent on errands for my gran.

An old lady, Mrs Grant-Ferris, owned a big house near the school, where Grant Court is now. She owned lots of property in Cotteridge and I remember that she often wore a fur coat.

Number 1 Holly Rd was the fire station. The station master was called Mr Cox and he had a horse-drawn fire engine, wore a shiny brass helmet and rang the bell loudly on his engine.

On the corner of Dell Rd and Pershore Rd was a sweet shop that had rows of sweet jars in the window and we could buy gobstoppers, sherbet fountains and liquorice rolls, if we could ever make up our minds with so much choice.
Opposite the school on the corner of Breedon Rd was Fleetwoods Haulage Yard, where they used horses to pull the carts.

If we wanted to travel to Birmingham we caught the 36 tram along Pershore Rd. The terminus is where Beaumont Court is now. Where the Jet garage now stands used to be a small factory in the early 1940s.

On Saturday mornings we used to go to the pictures at the Savoy Cinema, (opposite the Breedon Bar) and see films with Shirley Temple or Alan Jones.
On Sunday afternoons we went to Sunday school at the Gospel Hall in Dell Rd.
Sometimes there would be a fete or carnival in Cotteridge Park. It was very exciting to watch the jazz bands marching through Cotteridge to the park where they were judged to find the winner. The Blue Belvederes often seemed to be the favourite.

I have seen a lot of changes in Cotteridge, I wonder what’s next?

Mrs Kathleen Marsh, née Tainton
Acocks Green, Birmingham
July 2000

I attended Cotteridge school from the age of 5 in 1925 until I was 14. Our school day started at 9am and we would have lessons such as reading, writing arithmetic and needlework. At breaktime you were allowed a drink of milk which you collected from the caretaker and it cost 1 penny (½ p).We would play games such as skipping, statues and whip and top. There were no school meals so we all went home for dinner.

The rest of the day would be taken up with lessons and we went home at 4.30pm. The school uniform for girls was a gymslip and blouse. No shoes were allowed in the hall, so each child had to change into pumps for assemblies and change back afterwards to go back to the classroom.

At the age of 11 the girls went to the annexe for senior girls and the boys transferred to Stirchley School. In the seniors we had a netball and swimming team which I was part of. My brothers and sisters also attended the school. Teachers were much stricter then and had to be treated with the utmost respect. My days at Cotteridge School were very happy and I was sad to leave aged 14 to start work at Cadbury’s.

My own children have attended the school as well as my grandchildren and my great-grand-daughter still goes there today, she is Jessica Keane in 5R. Four generations of my family have passed through Cotteridge School and all of them have had happy times there. I have seen the school go through many changes and it`s great to see it celebrate its centenary. I hope that it continues for the next 100 years and that the children enjoy their time there as much as I did all those years ago. I have very fond memories of my time there from 1925-1939.

Mrs Edith Morris
June 2000

I was first aware of Cotteridge Park in 1930 when I was 6 years old. The Park was a Children’s paradise, full of fun and laughter. There were rules of conduct, enforced by a uniformed park keeper. The park was enclosed by iron railings and at dusk the bell rang and the gates were locked. Cycling was prohibited after 10am.

There were both concrete and grass Tennis Courts, very well maintained, with an hourly fee charged; a putting green where a golf club and ball could be hired for a small fee, and a Crown Bowling Green.

There were two shelters, one large and one small, very useful in bad weather, and a bandstand, sadly all vandalised and demolished.

There were various annual events, Ten Acres Co -Op Society organised for their members children a tea party, with a small cardboard box full of things to eat, an orange squash drink and an ice cream. Cotteridge organised a carnival, floats and tableaux lined the streets and jazz bands from other areas competed for a prize. they were dressed in exotic costumes and played bazookas and beat drums as they marched around the streets, before gathering in the park. A fairground with dodgems, roundabouts and side stalls attracted a large crowd, who paid a small entrance fee. All of this ended in 1939 with the start of the war.

Air raid shelters were dug on the higher ground and the WAAF arrived with a barrage balloon.

The fair returned to the Park after the war, but this was not organised by the local people and it attracted a yob element, so at the request of the locals this ended.

Later the railings were removed, and some vandalism occurred to the young trees. The red may trees a feature of the Park grew old and died, and were never replaced, neither was the drinking fountain…

John Eynon
Heathcote Road, Cotteridge
March 1997