LIKE HEINEKEN, LOSTWOLVERHAMPTON REACHES THE PARTS OTHER BEERS CAN NOT REACH.
I’m sitting in a small Bar in a Town called Wilderness on the Indian Ocean. The sun is shining and the temperature in the low 80’s, I have a cold beer in front of me along with my IPad. I have already read the Daily Mail and The Telegraph. Preparing to call up lostwolverhampton as I do daily, I’m a little perturbed that there’s been nothing from Bill for a few days, particularly as I’ve posted a couple of items and always expect a comment. The Lostwolverhampton site comes up and Bill’s by-line appears, click on it and I am transported back a lifetime by a photograph of New Hampton Road, West. This was the view across the road from our house in 1947. Not only that but it was there I did one of the more stupid things of my youth. In those days most play things were mundane items that your imagination transformed, mine that day was a bamboo bean stick that was in my eyes a Gladiators spear. Cycling down the road were two young girls who lived close by and I performed the stupid act of casting my Gladiators spear along the ground. Of course, the spear/beanstick went through the front wheel of the bike, which stopped dead and the young lady flew over the handlebars to finish up a crumpled heap in the road. I ran. I know not where but retribution was both swift and merciless on my return home.
Speaking of the photograph the shed to the right of the advertisement hoarding is the entrance to the Wolverhampton Steam Laundry and was just across the road from Barlowes Garage. Bill, you are right in your facts. When I lived at 345 New Hampton Road, West, number 347 was Shacklocks Garage; I was friendly with the son, Tommy. We lived there from 1946 until 1951 and when we moved Shacklocks still owned the business. There was no showroom as I remember, just an entrance into the yard and next to that was another set of advertisement hoardings. There was a petrol pump that was hinged to swing over the pavement and the heads of any unfortunate passersby when serving petrol. Not much Health and Safety there. 343 New Hampton Road, West, was lived in by a family called Cox, who had a son my age. I remember his mother kept a cane, punishment for the use of, hanging from the picture rail, which we all had in those days. A picture rail that is. My mother didn’t need artificial aids when it came to punishment; back of the hand was good enough and it gave her the element of surprise. Looking at the picture, which I hadn’t seen before, you can pick out two shops, one was the Fish and Chip Shop, coal fired fryer, how did they control the temperature of the fat, and a Sweet Shop, which was run by a little old lady. I remember saving up with a friend, Reggy Thurgar, for when they stopped the rations on sweets. Never trust mates when it comes to sweets. I got done. Housing on that side of the Laundry were, as you can see, two up, two down terraces, the other side were the more substantial terraced villas with small front gardens behind a low wall or privet hedge.
As a movie buff I’m surprised you haven’t filled us in on the Adverts, Bill. The first one is for Ovaltine but we were committed BournVita drinkers over the road in No. 345. The next is for the Hippodrome, top of the bill being Big Bill Campbell and the Rocky Mountaineers. My Granny took me to see them at the Hippodrome in 1946/7. A sort of poor man’s Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey, who were the Silver Screens Singing Cowboys. The Gaumont is advertising Ramona, a drama starring Loretta Young and Don Ameche, while the Olympia is showing Old Hutch with Wallace Beery as the main character. I seem to remember Noah Beery Jnr., his nephew playing opposite James Garner in the Rockford Files. I think the photograph could be a bit earlier than the 40’s as IMDB date both films as being produced in 1936, even allowing for the war four years seems to be a bit long for the films to cross the Atlantic. The last set of ads have got me lost though, perhaps someone can throw some light on them. Both ads are headlined Hospital Sunday. The Net tells me that it was some form of fundraising for the Hospitals, remember this was prior to the NHS but does anyone know any more.