Tag Archives: Leicester

Scrap book Project – Houses, Tyndale Street, Leicester

16 Tyndale Street Leicester

My parents were married in 1953 and around the same time dad was appointed to a job as a clerk with Leicestershire County Council.  They moved from living in Catford in South London with my mother’s family to a house in Una Avenue in Leicester where they lived with my dad’s grandmother, Lillian.  Shortly after that my mother was pregnant and I was on the way.  I was born the following year and lived my first few months in that house.

As I understand it the domestic arrangements were less than perfect so Lillian’s sister, Aunty Mabel, stepped in with a loan for a deposit that allowed my parents to buy their first house.  It wasn’t a great deal of money, I don’t know exactly how much, possibly around £100.  My scrapbook records of dad’s employment reveal that his annual salary at that time was £240 a year just £4.60 a week!  The house that they bought would sell now for about £110,000 so in 1954 it probably cost somewhere between £300-400.

They chose a house in Tyndale Street, quite close to the Leicester City Centre.  Tyndale Street is in an area of the city called West End because it was outside of the western Braunstone Gate and on a previously marshy area west of the River Soar.  It was developed around about the 1900s when affordable housing was required to provide accommodation for the workers in the booming footwear and hosiery industries.  The land was acquired from a wealthy protestant landowner who had some residual say in the naming of the streets – Luther, Latimer, Ridley, Cranmer and Tyndale, all sixteenth century Protestant martyrs.

They lived there for two years.  It was a two bedroom terraced house with a front door that opened directly onto the street and with a small garden and back yard at the rear and typical of any Midlands artisan house of that period.

The house today is now well over a hundred years old but still has some of the original decorative features over the doors and windows, but the doors and windows are plastic and there is a refuse bin outside the front door.

Naturally I have no real memories of living in this house and we had gone by the time that I was two years old.  Dad had been promoted at work, he was working in the Education Department, he had an increase in salary and they aspired to move up a notch or two on the property ladder.

Whilst living there I did have my very first bike…

Tyndale Street Back Yard

Advertisements

Scrap Book Project – Ivan Petcher

March 27th is a very special day to me because in 1932 that was the day that my dad, Ivan Petcher was born.  He was the sort of man that you hope to be like when you grow up and then wish you had been like when you are old.

I don’t know anything about his childhood of course and there is no one to give me any clues so my story fast-forwards to 1947 and the year he met my mum.

From the way dad used to talk about being a teenager I have always imagined the post war years to be an almost idyllic existence, Enid Blyton sort of days with long hot summers, blue skies, bike rides, ripping-yarn adventures and picnics, where young people were polite and had good manners and didn’t spend their evenings hanging around Tesco Express with a bottle of cider, frightening the old folk and no one had heard of the concept of anti-social behaviour.

These were surely days of optimism with a country led by a Labour Government that had been elected in the summer of 1945 with a landslide majority and a promise to make everything better and which had embarked on a radical programme of nationalisation including coal mining, electricity supply and railways.

These were the days of the new National Health Service and the Welfare State all based on the optimistic principles of socialism.  And to add to all this good news the United States announced the Marshall Plan to pay for the reconstruction of Europe and that meant over three billion dollars was on the way to the United Kingdom to rebuild its bombed-out cities and its shattered economy.

This was the year of the inauguration of the United Nations which meant peace for ever more and the year that Princess Elizabeth married Prince Mountbatten.

Life was not so idyllic however in the big cities just after the war so I suppose it was nice to have a holiday and that summer mum left London for a few days with a friend in Rushden in Northamptonshire and at some point during that week she met my dad.  He was sixteen but looked younger, he hadn’t finished growing so was still quite small, his nickname was Pid as in little piddy widdy, and he he had boyish face and an impish grin with piercing cobalt blue eyes and a distinctive hairstyle with a fringe that flopped over his forehead in a Hugh Grant sort of way.

He obviously made an immediate impact on the young girl visiting from London and they spent the next sixty years together.

Not straight away of course because his new girlfriend had to go back to London to finish school and here is something else that I find absolutely charming.  These were days before mobile phones, skype and instant messaging, even before regular telephones so the only way they had of keeping in touch and keeping the romance going was by sending each other letters and photographs.

They kept this up for three years before dad was called up for national service in the RAF and he moved to London where he stayed until they married in 1953.

In 1948 dad left school and went to work for his father in the family business, a grocery store in Rushden, but they sold that sometime at the end of the decade and they all moved to Leicester and dad got his first proper job at Jessops.  I don’t know how much he earned, it couldn’t have been a lot, but from photographs it would seem that he spent quite a lot of it on clothes and he was always a smart, well turned out young man with an impressive wardrobe.

The picture above was taken in 1947 and his clothes look a bit shabby and worn through and they are in total contrast to the one below taken two years later on holiday in Skegness.  It’s a bit of a surprise to me because I don’t remember him being particularly interested in clothes and he would make most things last much longer than they could be reasonably expected to but for a couple of years in the late 1940s he obviously cared a lot about his appearance.  Or perhaps, judging by how much he had grown in two years, replacement clothes were a regular necessity during that time.

I like this picture, dad was eighteen and looks smart, self assured and full of confidence, mum was sixteen and looks really happy to be with this really special man.

 

Scrapbook Project – Baileys Nightclub, Leicester

Although we lived in Rugby and it was a fifty mile round trip a couple of times a month throughout the 1970s we would visit Baileys night club in Leicester.  It was on the Haymarket opposite the clock tower and it had all sorts of top acts on the programme which made the trip worthwhile.

The entrance was at ground level and then there were sweeping steps to the cavernous room upstairs where there was a stage, a dance floor with a revolving mirror ball, a seating and dining area and a few more steps to a couple of bars.  This felt like a grand night out and we would wear our best 1970s clothes, velveteen jackets, bell bottom flares and platform shoes.

Platform shoes were good for me because this was the only time in life that I have known what it is like to be a bit taller, unfortunately everyone else was wearing them as well so this immediately cancelled out the advantage!  If the fashion police had caught us we would still be doing time even now. It was a really popular place and at the best events there was always the chance of rubbing shoulders with a Leicester City footballer and if one of the big names was performing like Engelbert Humperdink then it was a cocktail dresses and evening suit job.

In March 1978 the now disgraced Garry Glitter performed a series of shows in the week beginning March 21st and I remember going to one of the performances that week.  As well as GG we also went to see Showaddywaddy, Mud, Slade, The Drifters and the Three Degrees but it wasn’t just music because there was comedy too and we went to see Bernard Manning (I apologise now for considering him to be funny) and the best show I can remember there – Tommy Cooper.  Cooper was paraletic drunk as usual and about an hour late coming on stage but I recall it being the funniest possible performance with the whole place rocking with laughter.

Sometimes we just went along on the regular night club evenings and this involved a basket meal (chicken usually), several pints of Skol lager and a lot of dancing.  In actual fact it was at Baileys that I perfected my peculiar ungainly and jerky dance style which I have been forever unable to shake off ever since and the reason why no one ever wants to dance with me now.

27th March, Ivan Petcher

March 27th is a very special day to me because in 1932 that was the day that my dad, Ivan Petcher was born.  I don’t know anything about his childhood of course and there is no one to give me any clues so my story fast-forwards to 1947 and the year he met my mum.

From the way dad used to talk about being a teenager I have always imagined the post war years to be an almost idyllic existence, Enid Blyton sort of days with long hot summers, blue skies, bike rides, ripping-yarn adventures and picnics, where young people were polite and had good manners and didn’t spend their evenings hanging around Tesco Express with a bottle of cider, frightening the old folk and no one had heard of the concept of anti-social behaviour.

These were surely days of optimism with a country led by a Labour Government that had been elected in the summer of 1945 with a landslide majority and a promise to make everything better and which had embarked on a radical programme of nationalisation including coalmining, electricity supply and railways.  These were the days of the new National Health Service and the Welfare State all based on the optimistic principles of socialism.  And to add to all this good news the United States announced the Marshall Plan to pay for the reconstruction of Europe and that meant over three billion dollars was on the way to the United Kingdom to rebuild its bombed-out cities and its shattered economy.  This was the year of the inauguration of the United Nations which meant peace for ever more and the year that Princess Elizabeth married Prince Mountbatten.

Life was not so idyllic however in the big cities just after the war so I suppose it was nice to have a holiday and that summer mum left London for a few days with a friend in Rushden in Northamptonshire and at some point during that week she met my dad.  He was sixteen but looked younger, he hadn’t finished growing so was still quite small, his nickname was Pid as in little piddy widdy, and he he had boyish face and an impish grin with piercing cobalt blue eyes and a distinctive hairstyle with a fringe that flopped over his forehead in a Hugh Grant sort of way.  He obviously made an immediate impact on the young girl visiting from London and they spent the rest of their lives together.

Not straight away of course because his new girlfriend had to go back to London to finish school and here is something else that I find absolutely charming.  These were days before mobile phones, skype and instant messenging, even before regular telephones so the only way they had of keeping in touch and keeping the romance going was by sending each other letters and photographs.  They kept this up for three years before dad was called up for national service in the RAF and he moved to London where he stayed until they married in 1953.

In 1948 dad left school and went to work for his father in the family business, a grocery store in Rushden, but they sold that sometime at the end of the decade and they all moved to Leicester and dad got his first proper job at Jessops.  I don’t know how much he earned, it couldn’t have been a lot, but from photographs it would seem that he spent quite a lot of it on clothes and he was always a smart, well turned out young man with an impressive wardrobe.

The picture above was taken in 1947 and his clothes look a bit shabby and worn through and they are in total contrast to the one below taken two years later on holiday in Skegness.  It’s a bit of a surprise to me because I don’t remember him being particularly interested in clothes and he would make most things last much longer than they could be reasonably expected to but for a couple of years in the late 1940s he obviously cared a lot about his clothes and his appearance.  Or perhaps, judging by how much he had grown in two years, replacement clothes were a regular necessity during that time.

I like this picture, dad was eighteen and looks smart, self assured and full of confidence, mum was sixteen and looks really happy to be with this really special man.

Ivan died in October 2003.

Baileys Nightclub, Leicester

Although we lived in Rugby and it was a fifty mile round trip a couple of times a month throughout the 1970s we would visit Baileys night club in Leicester.  It was on the Haymarket opposite the clock tower and it had all sorts of top acts on the programme which made the trip worthwhile.

The entrance was at ground level and then there were sweeping steps to the cavernous room upstairs where there was a stage, a dance floor with a revolving mirror ball, a seating and dining area and a few more steps to a couple of bars.  This felt like a grand night out and we would wear our best 1970s clothes, velveteen jackets, bell bottom flares and platform shoes.  Platform shoes were good for me because this was the only time in life that I have known what it is like to be a bit taller, unfortunately everyone else was wearing them as well so this immediately cancelled out the advantage!  If the fashion police had caught us we would still be doing time even now. It was a really popular place and at the best events there was always the chance of rubbing shoulders with a Leicester City footballer and if one of the big names was performing like Engelbert Humperdink then it was a cocktail dresses and evening suit job.

In March 1978 the now disgraced Garry Glitter performed a series of shows in the week beginning March 21st and I remember going to one of the performances that week.  As well as GG we also went to see Showaddywaddy, Mud, Slade, The Drifters and the Three Degrees but it wasn’t just music because there was comedy too and we went to see Bernard Manning (I apologise now for considering him to be funny) and the best show I can remember there – Tommy Cooper.  Cooper was paraletic drunk as usual and about an hour late coming on stage but I recall it being the funniest possible performance with the whole place rocking with laughter.

Sometimes we just went along on the regular night club evenings and this involved a basket meal (chicken usually), several pints of Skol lager and a lot of dancing.  In actual fact it was at Baileys that I perfected my peculiar ungainly and jerky dance style which I have been forever unable to shake off ever since and the reason why no one ever wants to dance with me now.

A Life in a Year – 5th May, Dr Beeching closes Rugby Central Railway Station

Rugby Central railway station was opened in 1899 and had services between London and Manchester via Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield as well as various cross country services to places such as Southampton and Hull.  The station was under the management of the Great Central Railway until it was grouped into the London and North Eastern Railway in 1923 and it then came under the management of British Railways in 1948.

Rugby Central was located roughly midway along the Great Central line, and was a stopping point for express services, as well as a changeover point for local services. Until the early 1960s the station was served by around six daily London-Manchester expresses, and was the terminus for local services from Leicester or Nottingham from the north.

After we moved to Rugby and before dad could drive we used to use the line to get to Leicester but 1963 was a bad year for railways and the Beeching report in March proposed that out of Britain’s then twenty-nine thousand kilometres of railway, nearly ten thousand of mostly rural branch and cross-country lines should be closed.  The name derives from the main author of the report ‘The Reshaping of British Railways’, Dr. Richard Beeching, and although this report also proposed the development of new modes of freight service and the modernisation of trunk passenger routes, it is best remembered for recommending the wholesale closure of what it considered to be little-used and unprofitable railway lines, and the removal of stopping passenger trains and closure of local stations on other lines which remained open.

The report was a reaction to the significant losses which had begun in the 1950s as the expansion in road transport began to transfer significant passenger and goods traffic away from the tracks and British Railways continued making increasingly large losses despite the introduction of the railway modernisation plan of 1955.  Beeching proposed that only drastic action would save the railways from increasing losses in the future.  Thousands of kilometres of railway track were removed and hundreds of stations were closed in the decade following the report and many other rail lines lost their passenger services and were retained only for freight.

Most of the Great Central line was closed in September 1966 and on this date, the line south of Rugby Central and north of Nottingham Victoria was closed. The section between Rugby Central and Nottingham (initially Victoria, later cut back to Arkwright Street) remained open as self-contained branch carrying a local passenger service until 3rd May 1969; the station formally closed on 5th May.

This was significant for us because the Beeching Axe closed the Great Central Railway that ran from London Marylebone to Manchester Piccadilly but rather critically for us connected Rugby to Leicester and my grandparents.  Every other Saturday we used to use the steam train to Leicester via Lutterworth, Ashby Magna and Whetstone to Leicester Central and then a bus to Narborough Road (if we were lucky) to visit the folks.  With no convenient alternative route available to visit them, or to get to the football matches, this must have been an important factor in dad’s decision to learn to drive and join the motoring age.

A Life in a Year – 27th March, Ivan Petcher

 

March 27th is a very special day to me because in 1932 that was the day that my dad, Ivan Petcher was born.  I don’t know anything about his childhood of course and there is no one to give me any clues so my story fast-forwards to 1947 and the year he met my mum.

From the way dad used to talk about being a teenager I have always imagined the post war years to be an almost idyllic existence, Enid Blyton sort of days with long hot summers, blue skies, bike rides and picnics, where young people were polite and had good manners and didn’t spend their evenings hanging around Tesco Express with a bottle of cider, frightening the old folk and no one had heard of anti-social behaviour.

These were surely days of optimism with a country led by a Labour Government that had been elected in the summer of 1945 with a landslide majority and a promise to make everything better and which had embarked on a radical programme of nationalisation including coalmining, electricity supply and railways.  These were the days of the new National Health Service and the Welfare State all based on the optimistic principles of socialism.  And to add to all this good news the United States announced the Marshall Plan to pay for the reconstruction of Europe and that meant over three billion dollars was on the way to the United Kingdom to rebuild its cities and its economy.  This was the year of the inauguration of the United Nations which meant peace for ever more and the year that Princess Elizabeth married Prince Mountbatten.

Life was not so idyllic in the big cities just after the war so I suppose it was nice to have a holiday and that summer mum left London for a few days with a friend in Rushden in Northamptonshire and at some point during that week she met my dad.  He was sixteen but looked younger, he hadn’t finished growing so was still quite small, his nickname was Pid as in little piddy widdy, and he he had boyish face and an impish grin with piercing cobalt blue eyes and a distinctive hairstyle with a fringe that flopped over his forehead in a Hugh Grant sort of way.  He obviously made an immediate impact on the young girl visiting from London and they spent the rest of their lives together.

 

Not straight away of course because mum had to go back to London to finish school and here is something else that I find absolutely charming.  These were days before mobile phones and instant messenging, even before regular telephones so the only way they had of keeping in touch and keeping the romance going was by sending each other letters and photographs.  They kept this up for three years before dad was called up for national service in the RAF and he moved to London where he stayed until they married in 1953.

In 1948 dad left school and went to work for his father in the family business, a grocery store in Rushden, but they sold that sometime at the end of the decade and they all moved to Leicester and dad got his first proper job at Jessops.  I don’t know how much he earned, it couldn’t have been a lot, but from photoraphs it would seem that he spent quite a lot of it on clothes and he was always a smart, well turned out young man with an impressive wardrobe.

The picture above was taken in 1947 and his clothes look a bit shabby and worn through and they are in total contrast to the one below taken two years later on holiday in Skegness.  It’s a bit of a surprise because I don’t remember him being particularly interested in clothes and he would make most things last much longer than they could be reasonably expected to but for a couple of years in the late 1940s he obviously cared about his clothes and his appearance.  Or perhaps, judging by how much he had grown in two years, replacement clothes were a regular necessity during that time.

I like this picture, dad was eighteen and looks smart, self assured and full of confidence, mum was sixteen and looks really happy to be with this really special man.

Interesting footnote:

Tiddy Widdy Well Shiraz-Cabernet Savignon-Merlot is a Red wine from Hillsview Vineyard in Langhorne Creek, Australia. Tiddy Widdy Well Shiraz-Cabernet Savignon-Merlot is a Fruity & Medium Bodied Red Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot wine.