Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Oaklands Road

At the northern end of Croft Gardens is Oaklands Road. In my childhood, this was a serious road, more serious than Croft Gardens, or Manton Avenue, or Seward Road, because it had shops, a pub - and most importantly, my school on it. Plus, more cars drove up and down Oaklands Road.

I will write more about Oaklands Primary School, which I attended for seven years (from the ages of four to 11). But Oaklands Road itself was a rather ordinary road of Victorian two-up, two-down terraced houses; "working class". I can recall seeing children without shoes on it and indeed the same children taking a dump in the gutter, but they came from a problem family - the only one on the street.

Just around the corner from us on Oaklands Road stood a parade of shops (still there), of which the most significant for me was Tanner's. A 'tanner' was sixpence (six old pence - two and half new pee), and in the mid '60s, it could buy a lot. Two small Cadbury's chocolate bars or 24 Blackjack or Fruit Salad chewy sweets (a farthing each). Or an tetrahedron full of frozen orange juice (with tuppence change). Or a Zoom ice lolly. Two tanners would buy you a Matchbox toy. I will write more about toys and play anon. At the near end of the parade was Lawrence's the Butchers, at the far end was The Grosvenor pub, a Courage house (today a listed building). A smell of stale beer and tobacco that pervaded the air around it. My parents rather looked down upon it and upon those who frequented it.

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