Growing-up in Murray Road
Mrs Cantwell, now living in Dublin, grew up in the Little Ealing area. When she saw a copy of our book she wrote with some memories of her childhood.
I grew up in Murray Road, born in 1936 in Clayponds Hospital near the Great West Road. My grandparents Mr and Mrs Charles Collis had moved to no. 75 Murray Road in 1912 and so my mother grew up in Murray Road also.
I was evacuated with my mother in September 1939 to Tring, with a lot of other Ealing people, but most of us returned before Christmas, and lived out the War in Ealing. My sister was born in Murray Road in 1942 (luckily no air-raids that day). I was at Little Ealing Infant and Junior Schools during the War and reading the 1944 extract of the School Log Book reminded me of the time when we kept going to the shelters with alerts, and all-clear delayed for hours on that day.
We had a great street party in Murray Road on VE day, and the "grown ups" danced to the late-night dance music from the BBC from two radios put side-by-side for volume.
After the street party we had a Magic Show and a Punch and Judy show, plus the bonfire was marvellous for the children. We didn't remember them before the war. We collected everyones old furniture to burn.
The shops mentioned in Junction Road were run by:
Mr Esling - Baker
Mr Pether - Butcher
Tom Studd - Greengrocer
Mr Rooke - 1st grocer
Mr Green - 2nd grocer, corner of Junction Road and 57 Murray Road
Mr Vinni Combe - Stationer and newsagent
Also on the corner of Ealing Park Gardens and Junction Road was "Madams" - a laundry agents and tobacconist shop. Madam was really Madame - a Belgian bride brought back by a local soldier after the First World War. After he died she lived for years working in the shop, speaking in her broken English. Very nice person.
Incidentally my grandmother Mrs Collis worked for years in the Ealing Steam Laundry pictured in your book. My Uncle worked in the foundry in Junction Road, and opposite was the fish and chip shop run by Mr and Mrs Jackson - Lancashire people who spoke like Gracie Fields!
"Dan's" sweet shop was next to the fish shop and then the church entrance to the Mission Hall, which had another entrace around the corner in Carlyle Road. We went to Sunday School there.
The streets had gas lights, but officially "Black Out".
My mother bought her coal from the South Ealing Coal Co. pictured in your book, around the corner in Carlyle Road.
I had four aunts and uncles in Murray Road houses, an aunt & uncle in Carlyle Road, and another in Junction Road.
Every picture in your book brought back memories. By the way, I can remember the railings being removed from Murray Road to be melted down for the war effort, and I remember the air-raid shelters being built.
One day my mother took me along the Great West Road, 1940, and we saw the camouflage being painted onto the lovely 1920s-1930s factory buildings. Green, brown and black paint so that from the air the Great West Road might look invisible, otherwise the white buildings would be a landmark.
Jean Foreham, now living in Wales, also wrote to us.
I was born at 46 Murray Rd in Jan 1951, my name was Byham, my parents Dennis and Kathleen. We lived there until 1961/62 when my parents, brother and I moved to Essex. I attended Little Ealing Junior School.
My grandmother, Ada Smith, a widow since 1954, lived in North Rd, not far from us. The houses in North Rd were pulled down many years ago. Both my grandmother and grandfather are buried in Ealing Cemetery.
I remember the public baths at the end of Murray Rd simply because we, as a family used them. We did not have a bathroom at 46 so a tin bath was used once a week until the public baths were built. Presumably all the houses have been redesigned with a modern bathroom now, not such good old days when I was growing up but we knew no different. I can remember to this day taking my toiletries and a towel to the baths each week.