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15th April 2021





This photograph shows Johnson's, Family Butchers

on the corner of

Essington Street and Ryland Street



16th October 2011

3 July 1962


White’s Garage, Essington Street - July 1965

Memories of Barry Bevington

I am 66 now, I lived in Essington Street in about 1947 to 50.


We lived in a 2up 2down, back to back house in a yard off the street. It had gas lighting and who remembers those mantels one touch! New one needed, black hob constant need of blacking, cooking stove in the corner of the living room, big brown crock sink in the scullery area with cold water tap which sometimes froze.


I remember ice on the inside of the bedroom window, where we 3 brothers slept, 2 at first then 3, mom and dad with the new baby in the back room. I went to St. Barnabas School; first the infants then across the road to the juniors with its sloping blue brick play ground. I remember the harvest festival in the church, my mom sent me with a contribution it was a lump of coal.


One day I some people came to the school, I assume must have been social workers, who asked the children "who was wearing the only pair of shoes they had?” so I put my hand up, gave my name, never thought any more about it, mistake!


When the man from the Daily Mail came with a pair of boots with hob nails, did I get it when he had gone "disgrace to our family and all the school will think we’re hard up" the fact that nearly every body was didn’t matter, our family could not be thought to be. Those boots were great to slide in the blue brick schoolyard and made sparks the lads thought they were great.


I can only recall a couple of names from St. Barnabas, Mrs Powell, I think was head of infants, a couple of lads Kenny Nash and Jimmy Ingram; girls I recall Pat Caldicott, Margaret Simmons and Needle, they sat behind me in class, Jennifer Weaver always had plaits.


I remember us at school going on the tram from Navigation Street to Manor Farm we all had labels tied to us with our names on. How they kept it organised I will never know!

In our street there was a coal yard and I can remember going with my dad to fetch some coal from there in a big wooden barrow to drop down our cellar, I can’t remember the year, but the snow was nearly over them boots!


While we were there, my dad with a little help from me, probably more hindrance, helped load some other peoples barrows, the lorries could not get out to deliver.

My best friend in the street was Dennis Raferty, he did not go to our school because his family were catholic. He had an older brother, Tommy who one day had a "dinky" toy lorry and trailer, how I wanted that toy, I got my dad to try and buy it off him but he would not sell ,I hated that Tommy.

I have always been interested in trains; this got me and my brother John in trouble. Not far from where we lived was Monument Road railway engine sheds, so I talked John into going to see the trains, bad move. We stayed watching for some time, no idea how long, then started back up Sheepcote Street, who’s coming down the road looking for us, DAD.


I said to John he hasn’t seen us, we step down this side road and let him go past, big mistake. He had seen us, we had gone down a road to the canal side, John’s first words when he brought me home after that it was mainly monosyllable ringing ears and painful backsides. When home no help off mom “7 and 6 year olds don’t go by canals or by railways never mind how far out of my sight now get to bed out of sight”.

Not long after the houses were fitted with tiled fireplaces and a lot of those black grates were smashed up. How much for one now. Shortly after we moved out into what was to us the countryside with a posh name Turves Green.


The great thing about it was at the bottom of the garden was the main Birmingham to Bristol line on a bank level with the rear bedroom window.


At first we had to go to school by coach, but that’s another story.

Barry Bevington


A. Seers, Essington Street - September 1964