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83 Argyle Street

History of 83 Argyle Street

1939:

John Crow, b 1871, engine driver retired

Ivy Thompson, b 1907

Frederick Thompson, b 1930

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Frederick B Thompson, b 1905, University Library Assistant

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In 2003 Mrs B Edwards sent her reminiscences of Romsey Town to the Museum. From her description and other details in the 1939 census, it seems that she  most likely lived at this address:

I was born in Argyle Street in 1931 so my earliest memories are of Romsey Town. We lived in a terraced house with just a cold tap in the kitchen and an outside toilet. Mother boiled her white laundry in a brick built copper in the kitchen. The water was also heated once a week for baths in a tin bath. We had a sitting room with a coal-fired range and a front parlour.

It the wind was blowing from the wrong direction the ‘white’ washing couldn’t be hung on the washing line because of black smuts flying about from the steam engines nearby.

I can remember all the shops along Mill Road and I can even remember the brick wall from Sedgwick Street to Cavendish Road, behind which was “The Lodge”, home I think of the Smith family. This stretch of road is now the Broadway; in fact when the new shops were built a wool shop on the corner of Cavendish Road was named ‘The Lodge Wool Shop.”

St Phillips Church is on the corner of Thoday Street and then came four bay windowed houses, but these have now been incorporated into the Co-op supermarket.After Catharine Street came Whiteheads green grocery shop, then Kitt’s sweet shop, where I have stood for hours deciding how to spend a half-penny. Then came Mr Foster’s shoe repair shop.

On the opposite side of the road o the corner of Campbell St was Livermores hardware shop, Mrs Harvey’s wool shop and then Mr Hammond’s sweet shop. Next to Mill Road Baptist Church was Sennitt’s butchers, Doreen’s dress shop, Jellings greengrocery, Hunt the jewellers, Webb’s radio, Norman’s drapers. Just after Cockburn Street was parker’s butchers and North’s bakers. Mr Palmer the chemist was at 206 Mill Road. If anything was ailing us Mr Palmer always put us right.

Rather along the road was Warboy’s grocery shop, Miss Amey’s hat shop and ladies underwear (not lingerie in those days.) I can still see the combinations and corsets exhibited in the window. Mrs Butler’s dress shop was next door and I well remember the Rayner family keeping the Post Office for many years.

I started my school days at St Phillips Infant School. Miss Jackson was the head mistress. She taught the girls to knit and our first job was to make squares of cotton yarn to make dusters to clean our slates. We had to make two – one for ourselves and one for a boy!! After that we went onto something difficult!! We made what turned out to be an envelope, thus showing us how to decrease to make a point. We made a knitted strap and these were to keep a clean hankie in!!

When I was seven I ent onto the Romsey School. Soon after war was threatened and the school was used as a distribution centre for gas-masks.

When war started, the air raid shelters were still to be built and we were told to get under our desks if bombs were falling. Eventually shelters were built at the back of Romsey House.

We had a battery / accumulator radio. I often had the job of taking the accumulator to Mr Webbs radio shop to have it charged up and I was warned to keep it away from my clothes because the acid would burn. Never mind about my skin!!

Backing onto our back garden from Hope Street was Mr and Mrs Curtis’s cow sheds – they having a dairy herd. During the summer months, when they had grazing rights, one of their sons would take the herd across Mill Road into Catharine Street and onto Coldham’s Common and bring them back in the evening – he riding his bicycle behind them. I’d like to see it happen today.

I started work in 1945 but by this time we had moved to Perne Road. However I cycled into town everyday, still going into Romsey Town. Oh, the joy of cycling over Mill Road bridge just as an engine went under and getting covered in smoke.

I’ve lived in Landbeach nearly fifty years now but I shall always treasure my memories of Romsey Town. It was truly a ‘working class’ district – my kind of people.

 

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