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John Talbot was intrigued by George Evans’ account of High Street and although he didn’t live there he neverthe- less has happy memories of the street.

4 Crown Street, Wellington, Telford TF1 1LP

Saturday autumn and win- ter evenings, groups of men would gather outside Austin’s and Ward’s the newsagents – waiting! World War II was over and these men were waiting for the ‘fast van’ a big engined job with ‘Express & Star’ writ- ten on it. Having raced from Wolverhampton loaded with ‘Pink-uns’ (the Sporting Star) and all the Saturday football results! For season after season (wet or dry) I was there at Ward’s – a ritual male mur- muring of expectancy, and then, all action. The fast van stops, rear doors open, string-trussed packs of pa- pers thrown onto the pave- ment. And, in seconds Mr Ward was cutting the string and coins were exchanged

and the ‘Pink-uns’ doled out. In a matter of minutes the crowd is gone and peace returns to the High Street. I return, like a homing bee to a waiting dad – ‘had Villa won?’ By now that van must have been in ‘Salop’ Soc- cer results were our Saturday night fever – no kidding! My magazine ‘habit’ (still as demanding today) was nurtured most positively at Ward’s in High Street with pe- riodicals such as: Aeroplane Spotter, Boys Own Paper, Beano, Meccano Magazine, Railway Magazine – all on order, no casual buys so as to avoid any forms of disap- pointment.

There was no television in those day and reading was a hobby. Pocket money was essential!

One of some most mem-

orable personal interface experiences was at Ward’s in High Street, circa 1948- 49, a school teacher from a (then) fairly recent past, Mrs

Willcocks, ex-Wrekin Road School. She had in 1942, Warship Week (savings for HMS Shropshire etc) offered out class of ten year olds – a shilling – for best poster. In time she announced to

class – “Talbot’s won it – I owe you a shilling!” In 1942 that was big money! However, despite silently waiting, she never handed over the dosh!

So, as she gushed to a ‘shop audience about me be- ing an ‘old pupil’ of hers, I politely reminded her that she owed me a shilling.

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Jean (?) and much later a gents barber Joe Allen in whose chair I enjoyed a fi- nal time at Joe’s skilled snip, during our very final days at Wellington (1964) to be smart on the mailship which took us to South Africa later in that very week!

As I recall, Harry Edwards was in John Street?

One of my favourite Wel- lington Grammar School classmates was clarinet-play- ing Kenneth Edwards and, like too many more to be mentioned here, often seen and saluted in High Street.

Thanks for the memory (and yes, we do know about Rollason’s and Twinney, and, but like train spotting, nostal- gia is a never fading pleasure, and it is great for George and Wellington News for prompt- ing our ageing, but happy minds.)

The silence was only sec- onds, but palpable! Without a word that lady scurried from Ward’s, people looked at me, strange expressions, but, she still owes me a shilling! Yes, even though we did not live there, High Street meant much to our junior lives, especially as a ‘New Street Methodist – the fami- lies Frosts, Sumnalls and Ida Price, a songstress the voice,

Keith needs some help

Keith Pritchard writes to us requesting information, hopefully one of our read- ers can help.

I can appreciate that both you and your team are extremely busy to pro- duce such an informatory and interest- ing monthly Wellington News. I wonder if yourself or perhaps a team member can give an old man some guidance.

I have just completed my late father’s ancestry with the exception of a seven year void between the years 1904-1911. I would appreciate any help you could give me on the following: 1. Between 1904-1911 was there any

22 22 Letters.indd 1 26/03/2012 12:30

such documents as electoral rolls taken for the Old Park area? If so where could I obtain them?

2. How would I find out what schools where open 1904 - 1911

3. My Grandmother is listed as be- ing a coal-pit labourer on my father’s birth certificate, would it be possible for me to establish which colliery she worked at.

I would be very grateful if you could give me some help. As usual, we have Keith’s contact details so if you can help, please get in touch with us, our contact details are as usual on page two.

In 1854 a strange event took place in a clay pit in what was to become the Telford area. Mr. Bathurst, the owner of the clay pit, was watching one of his workmen who was digging some clay to be used in the pottery. Mr. Bathurst noticed something in the recently dug clay and called his workman’s atten- tion to it.

He had seen something that had been exposed by the removal of a spadeful of clay.

They both looked through a small opening in the clay that the cutting tool had made. They were stunned when they realised they were looking at a living, breathing toad! The toad was embed- ded within the clay and both men were careful in ascer- taining that there had been no tunnel or vent through which the toad could have crawled.

plete with

The lump of clay, com- toad, was re-

moved. The toad appeared

to be fully grown, with a closed mouth and clear eyes, the colour of his flesh being described as “dusky.” Other similar incidents of toads being found em- bedded in clay have been reported in other parts of Britain, one as recently as the 1960s.

Have you heard of the local clay toad? Have there been other toads or frogs found in similar circumstanc- es, locally? Please let Wel- lington news know.

A very hard - but happy life for Brenda

I was very interested, writes Brenda Parker, nee Dolphin, to read about Mrs Beryl Dumbell in your pa- per. Would it be Beryl Ad- ams from Long Lane? She had sister called Brenda I remember them well, be- cause I too was brought up in Long Lane. My name was Brenda Dolphin. I and my brothers were brought up by our grandparents Mr

and Mr Morrey of Sleap- ford Lane. Our grandmoth- er worked on the Midland Red for 27 years as a con- ductress. We had a very happy childhood. Talk- ing of the old Wellington, when I left school I worked in Isons Grocery shop in New Street. I worked there for three years. It was a very clean and friendly shop. Those days I earned

£1.50p per week. (Ed: £1 10/-!) Grandma had £1 and I had 10/- to pay bus fare and my clothes. A very hard but happy life.

I could write a book about my upbringing


Wellington. Maybe I will, one day. (EDITOR: Please keep your letters coming, Mrs Parker! And perhaps you should write that book?)

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