NNWFHS Meetings & Events

Memories of Oaston Road and Train Spotting - Vic Terry

I am a Coventry Kid thru & thru but I spent many happy hours in Nuneaton when younger.  Mum used to take me to see her Uncle George Westall who lived with Aunt Ada in Oaston Road opposite the Cemetery.

We travelled by single decker 'Midland Red ' from Pool Meadow to the bus station in Nuneaton and then walked, crossing the railway via a road bridge after watching the trains going under us, sending up plumes of smoke and steam, what a smell, great. A number of the engines were  'first timers' for my Ian Allen register as they were often Express trains on the Main line.

When we arrived at Uncle George's we went down the 'JITTY' and round the back to avoid the best [Front Parlour] room, The back door opened from the blue brick yard into a red tiled Kitchen with it's spotless white 'Belfast' sink and wooden draining boards either side; the right hand one stretched over the fire heated boiler with it's wooden lid, on the opposite wall were all the cooking utensils and work tables.

Next to the boiler was the larder stocked with home made jams, pickles, lemonade and beer, the bag we carried home was very heavy, but the effort was worth it for such delicious goodies all made from Uncle's huge garden and made by Aunty Ada.

george and adaUncle George and Aunt Ada

The cooking was done on the black polished fire-grate with side ovens and lift-up lids, in the LIVING room which was so cosy and shiny clean. In the center of the room was a large scrubbed white top dining table with six high backed chairs and a vase of flowers from Uncle George's garden in the middle. On the opposite side of the room from the fire was a large dresser with crockery and other china on it, whilst either side of the fire place was a floor to ceiling cupboard, the left hand one was full of bed clothes, shirts etc and dresses along with under-clothes [long johns etc],the right one contained a made up bed, a very tight almost double for use in the winter or during sickness. The wall at right angles had a door in it with a velvet curtain which was the staircase to the two bedrooms.

One thing that sticks in my memory was the loo arrangements, these were situated down the yard towards the garden after the coal and timber store and consisted of LARGE scrubbed pine seat about 2 ft off the floor with TWO bum size holes about 2 ft apart and a door on the front give access for emptying the pails when required. They were emptied into a large tank down the garden used by three or four neighbours, which was emptied once a week by a man from the Council with a horse and tanker.  The 'luxury' toilet paper consisted of newspaper torn into approx A5 size pieces and hung on a nail on a piece of string through a hole in the corner.

We are always saying :- "Things were different in those days " and they really were in my case in Nuneaton because whilst Mum spent time with Uncle George & Aunty Ada, I [about 9/10 years old] went 'Train Collecting' about a quarter of a mile away ON MY OWN and sat on the top of the embankment INSIDE the 5 ft fence accessed via a loose fence rod shown to me by one of the railway workers that lived near to it.

OH what happy times.!!!

George Westall and his brother John Henry originated in CORLEY as part of the WASTRILL 'Clan' which I am still trying to get to the root of, perhaps this will help nudge a few thoughts

Best regards
Vic Terry.

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