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Forest Hall Remembered (1930s)

Houses had no numbers, they were all named or known by the people who lived there.

I was born in Briar Edge and moved to Forest Hall Road in March 1930.  This is how I remember Forest Hall then:

Houses had no numbers, they were all named or known by the people who lived there.  We started with Mrs West’s draper’s shop, then Forest Hall Road East.  Someone’s garden in Forest Hall Road East faced the main road, then we had Cramlington Co-op, the Hadrian and Mrs Mitchison had a general dealer.  A road went to Sanderson’s Chapel, now entrance to Meadway.  There were then two shops, one was a shoe repairer, but I can’t remember the other one.  Horners owned the next shop, they had seven sons and one daughter (Christine).  They sold bread and sweets, loose syrup and pop.  They had a covered hand cart (square) and Charlie delivered bread, cakes etc.  Next, there was The Alders – 4 houses – and Mr Taylor’s Killing Shop and Butcher Shop.  Mr Hall owned the large stone house entrance to Ivy Street.  Then Teddy Brown’s little shop, Harker’s, a very small whitewashed cottage, and two newly built houses.  Mr Cairns charged your wireless batteries and Mr Nelson was a retired miner.  Polly White’s drapery shop was last before the entrance to Earlington Cottage and Earlington.

But in the field where the horse grazed a marquee was erected every summer – well, a tent, and Bethseba Chapel held gospel meetings in the evening.  I think it stayed a week.

On the other side of the road, starting at the cinema (called the Bog Hot – penny admission for kids on a Saturday morning) was Barker’s fruit shop.  Both were demolished by a heavy fall of snow.  Mr Porritt lived in the cottage.  There were semi-detached houses, the second one was where Mr & Mrs Taylor and two sons lived.  There was an entrance to Mowbray Road, then Bethseba Chapel, a Methodist Chapel.  Storey’s garage, then a saw mill owned by Mr Hall.

The colliery crossing came next with a little cabin manned by Mr Archibold and Mr Hedley.  There were always other men there chatting.  The next seven houses were where Dr Roberts, Mr & Mrs C Thompson (the builder who built Charles Avenue, houses on the cricket field).  The Pringles came next and Mrs Thompson, Snowdon and Steven were in the other semi.  Two sons were builders and built Kelvin Place, Palmersville.  An entrance into the allotments and then the Ortons – they were foreigners and spoke to no-one.  Wanless were next, Somerville also lived there and the detached house was the Pugh’s (Manager of Waddington’s Pianos in town).  There were allotments and Brown’s paper shop.  The last seven houses now, on the odd side of the road from the railway were Piermont, Beaumont, Ardlui, Delmore, Grangeville, The Woodland and The Oaks.  All the names were above the front doors.

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