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email the Editor: Letters “ Your 4 Crown Street, Wellington, Telford TF1 1LP

When I was seven, my par- ents decided to relocate from Shrewsbury to Wel- lington. My father was a painter and decorator and had several contracts in Shrewsbury - he needed to continue working in Shrewsbury so he travelled by train each day and back home for tea time.

He usually came home with a quarter of pear drops for me and my sister, Gil- lian. It was the highlight of the day for us even if we did have sore gums from sucking the gigantic sweets most nights!

I was just seven and my sister was five, so we were enrolled into Constitu- tion Hill School and I duly held my little sister’s hand and escorted her to school every day.

The headmistress at the time was Miss Baume, a la- dy who did her very best to exude a strict persona but was subject to a strange affliction when she got an- gry. Her neck, which was unusually long, tended to come out in a red rash as she got angrier and angrier. She also had a stick for

George Evans’ article on High Street got our editor, Dave Gregory, thinking. He spent the early years of his life in King Street which ad- joined High Street. Dave writes about his early memo- ries of King Street and High Street.

extremely naughty children. My form mistress was a Mrs Evans.

I seemed to avoid cor- porate punishment at junior school but that changed when I went to Wellington Secondary Modern School and I came up against Mr Shimeld!

102 King Street was a wonderful place for a seven year old who was into eve- rything. Our double-fronted cottage was surrounded by lilac trees and our garden backed onto most of the gardens in King Street and High Street. My parents were friendly with all the lo- cal families, but that’s how it was in those days – you re- ally could leave your house unlocked without threat of

intruders. In reality we were all pretty poor and nobody had much to steal!

The next building to our house which separated us from the rest of King Street, was Edwards potato ware- house which fronted King Street and backed on to our garden. Moving up King Street towards the junction with High Street, you would find Magnesses the plumb- ers and further up the road on the corner with High Street was Mrs Magnesses sweet shop – a favourite haunt for us kids. We were now in High Street but for us kids there was a shortcut through the gardens which brought us out by the side of the King’s Head public house. My


One of our regular corre- spondents, Pete Johnson, has written to us congratu- lating us on our latest issue of Wellington News but also asking us to get involved in another campaign for the town. Pete writes:

Can I congratulate you and all the Wellington News team on a very interesting

14 14 Letters.indd 1 26/03/2012 13:24

and informative March is- sue of Wellington News. It was an interesting read and the story about the Inter City rail service was most important.

Could I urge you to keep

local Wellington issues in the news and could I al- so suggest that you start a small campaign to get

the old Edgbaston House kept for the community – perhaps as a museum or even a small cinema for our town. There are some very interesting ideas on the Wellington Soup e-maga- zine which can be found on which covers the Walker Street revival thread.

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best friend, Stuart Nadal’s parents, Ken and Thelma kept the pub and we had regular treats when Thelma would always have a bottle of Vimto for us and some Smiths’ crisps with the op- tion of a small packet of salt inside the package. Further round High Street were several of the shops that George men- tions including Owen’s the butchers on the corner which had its own slaugh- terhouse at the back. Many is the time that a rogue pig managed to flee to freedom and on occasions end up in our back garden!

A regular occurrence on a Saturday night was for us to have a fish supper. This was an exciting treat for us kids. Being the old- est – I had an older sister, Margaret, but she was old enough to be going out socialising so it was me that had to walk up High Street to Case’s fish and chip shop.

It opened at 7pm and I was usually outside the shop ten minutes early. Old Mr Case usually took pity on me and opened early so I could sit down and wait while he completed his first fry up of the night. Then it was a swift walk home for mum to dish out the treat for the evening. I have never lost my love of fish and chips and I think it was down to them being such a treat for a struggling family. High Street just about had everything most peo- ple needed. We had a gro- cers, a butcher, we even had Briscoe’s hardware store for broom handles

and just about everything for the house. Whatever did we do before supermarkets were invented? Thinking back, we never had munici- pal skips because nothing went to waste.

Most people had veg- etable gardens and reared chickens, some even had pigs which they fattened up on domestic waste. Most of us had rats because of the foodstuff in gardens they were still scary but not such a social stigma as today! Every shop had its own smell and individuality and it seemed (for a seven-year- old at least) that every day was an adventure.

Our cottage had no bath- room, but my father had plans to extend the house with a third bedroom and a bathroom. Our toilet was a fifteen yard walk from the front door and bath night was a tin bath which hung from a nail at the side of the house. Everyone lived with the same basic facilities but 102 King Street had a fu- ture because my father had enough land to develop the house and he was keen to get started.

That was until 1958 and the mood in the country was for taller and more cost-ef- fective housing (a nice way of describing flats). King Street and High Street was to be developed in such a way and 102 King Street, right opposite the Girls High School (now New College) was in the way.

A compulsory purchase meant that our beauti- ful house and many more in King Street and High Street would have to make

way for the bulldozers. I don’t know what was go- ing through my parent’s minds at the time, but Ar- leston was being devel- oped and a lot of the local residents moved in the new Arleston Estate devel- opment. This meant three bedrooms, bathroom and far better facilities for all the families.

My parents chose the home ownership route and with their meagre ‘pay-out’, put a deposit on a house in Preston Grove in Trench. That meant a new school for me – my sister had passed her eleven plus and continued attending the Girls High School.

In reality, the heart was pulled out of King Street and High Street by this corporate vandalism. No more visits to Cases’ fish and chip shop, no more trips to Magnesses sweet shop, the smell of Briscoes’ hardware shop were shuffled to the back of my mind - for me and for many families a new chapter in our lives was about to start.

They call it progress but the Gregory family was very happy in their little double fronted cot- tage and we loved our neighbours in High Street. The tree house that my fa- ther lovingly erected in the elderberry tree at the bot- tom of the garden would have received the same treatment as the old house – brought down by bull- dozers and carted away with the rest of the memo- ries of 102 King Street!

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