Memories of Bracken Avenue, Shirley

I was 3 when we moved into Bracken Avenue in 1947. I remember the evening we arrived sitting in deck chairs listening to Dick Barton Special Agent with its evocative music. We were right at the left side end on the bit of cul-de- sac. No traffic then, spent the next 10 years playing in the road with all the other children and hopping over the fence into the woods at the back, building camps and climbing trees. Happy days….Went to newly built Spring Park Primary School, can still smell the awful dinners!

We certainly did have luxury for the time. In the kitchen a fridge, a clothes wash boiler [gas?] with mangle attached, a gas cooker, fitted units.

I wonder if others remember the Witch’s House. It was a large old house at the back of a big plot just before the Spring Park Primary School. We all used to run past it as the story was that an Old Witch lived in it!

I remember the School being built in so far as I was taken to look around the site one w/e and seeing all these small size white lavatories all ready to go into the Infants section.

Every afternoon in the Infants, mats were laid out on the floor so we could all have a sleep. Classes were big then with the war Baby Boom, getting on for 50. The teachers no doubt need a snooze too.

Talking of lavatories, by the time I was in the Junior section, there was just one roll of loo paper, the hard shiny stuff, hanging on a length of string on the wall for all the cubicles! Then the Head Teacher decided even too much of that was being used and it was removed. We had to ask the Class Teacher for a sheet from her cupboard after asking permission to “go”.  Maybe he thought all those prefab kids were stealing it and taking it home!

Looks like Spring Park Primary is now an “Academy”. My final teacher there at age 11 was Mrs Miles. I saw her walking down the field from my garden once and called out “Hello Mrs Miles”. Next day at school she said, I didn’t know you lived THERE. Snobbery was certainly high on the gender of folks who didn’t live on the Council Estate and a prefab one at that. The current Queens Jubilee brought back my memories of the Coronation. There was the whole Bracken Avenue Street party with races held on the open grass at the back of the fences of the gardens. I won a tin of toffees with the Queen on the lid which I kept [empty!] for decades after. Sweets were like gold dust at the time with sweet rationing.

Comments about this page

  • I lived in bramble close 29 also went to. Spring Park infants school we used to play in the woods at the back. Of our garden wonderful place for kids to grow up

    By Roger Green (05/11/2022)
  • Interesting reading your memories. I was born in 1947 Bramble Close. Went to Spring Park Infants and Junior school. I remember the Witch’s House. As children we used to dare each other to knock on the door. Nobody was brave enough to do it!

    By John (14/08/2022)

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