The town in the late 1930s

Living conditions for the average Darlaston family had greatly improved since the end of the First World War. The cramped housing conditions in the early 1920s had almost become a thing of the past thanks to the council’s municipal housing schemes. Large numbers of council houses had already been built to the south of George Rose Park and at Rough Hay.

Employment was plentiful, the larger factories had recovered from the recessions in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and were working flat-out. Shops of all kinds could be found in King Street, Pinfold Street, and Church Street, providing all of a family’s weekly needs. There were plenty of good schools, and places to go in the evening, in the form of cinemas, pubs, and work’s social clubs. Life in the town was better than ever, and people were generally happy and contented.

The onset of war

To many people war seemed inevitable. Bad news continued to come from Germany, where Hitler clearly had his own vision of the world to be, and showed no sign of wishing to compromise his plans.

On 31st March, 1937 Britain and France guaranteed to defend Poland from any attempted invasion by Germany, which had been interested in acquiring the country for some time. The Poles greatly distrusted Hitler and his motives, after a long dispute over the ownership of a strip of Polish land known as the Polish Corridor, which ran alongside the German border. In 1938 alarm bells sounded when Germany invaded Austria, and sounded again in March 1939 when Germany took over Czechoslovakia.

 

A government booklet from March 1938. Courtesy of Christine and John Ashmore.

On 1st September, 1939 Germany invaded Poland, so war was now unavoidable. Two days later Neville Chamberlain declared war with Germany.

The initial effects on family life

Most people were not surprised when war was declared. A feeling of comradeship in the face of adversity prevailed, along with the determination to do all that was necessary to support the country in winning the war. The first major impact on local life occurred in October 1939 with the introduction of conscription. The government announced that all men between the ages of 18 and 41, who were not working in reserved occupations, could be called to join the armed forces. They would receive their call-up papers in the post, which included details of where and when they had to attend a medical, and begin military training.

   
Read about
conscription
   

Employment was plentiful and people worked long hours to support the war effort.  At the outset of war, factories came under the control of the Ministry of Supply, a department set up to coordinate the supply of essential arms, ammunition, and equipment for the armed forces.

Large amounts of weapons, tanks, military vehicles, and equipment of all kinds were necessary. This work would keep British industry hard at work during the whole of the war. Some factories concentrated on military vehicles, such as Old Park Works in Wednesbury, where Valentine tanks were built. The factory also produced 435 Churchill tanks, 75 Cromwell tanks, and tank hulls for other manufacturers. Rubery Owen made aircraft wings and frames, steel helmets, lifeboats, and carried out all kinds of machining, Wellman Smith and Owen manufactured shell forging machines, bridge laying equipment, cranes, and shot furnaces.

Atlas Works, owned by GKN was asked to double the output of cold-forged nuts and bolts, and the factory was greatly extended. Half the cost (£29,000) came from the government. By the end of the war Atlas Works covered an area of over 20 acres and employed about 3,000 people.

Garringtons, also owned by GKN produced shells. In July 1940 a shell forging plant was built at the works by the Admiralty at a cost of around £100,000. £261,433 was also spent on hammers, presses and other plant by the Government.

F. H. Lloyds who had the largest foundry in Europe, made all kinds of castings, especially for tanks. Large numbers of women worked in the factories to replace the men who had gone to war. They carried out all kinds of work, and were essential to keep the factories operating.

Some women joined the Women's Voluntary Service (WVS), and carried out an essential job, doing whatever was needed from providing tea and refreshments for fire fighters, collecting scrap metal for the war effort, and knitting socks, balaclavas etc. for service men.

The first part of the war

These were worrying times, due to the continuing bad news from Europe. In April 1940 Germany invaded Denmark, followed by Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg in May, and Norway in June. On the 12th May the German army entered France, and on the 27th May, the evacuation of 340,000 British and French soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk began.

On the 10th May Winston Churchill replaced Neville Chamberlain as prime minister, and on the 10th June, Italy declared war on Britain and France. Eleven days later Italy invaded southern France, and on the 22nd June France surrendered to Germany.

Gas Masks

The British Government believed that some form of poison gas attack would be inevitable and so gas masks were issued to everyone living in Britain. By 1940 about 38 million had been issued.

Adults’ masks were black, and children’s masks were in bright colours of red, blue, or green, with bright eye-rims. They became known as “Mickey Mouse” masks, to make them less frightening and more appealing.

Each mask came in a strong cardboard box with a long string handle, which would be used to carry it over your shoulder. People were expected to carry them everywhere, but in practice few did.

Air raid wardens would carry out inspections and anyone who lost their mask would be required to pay for a replacement.

They were also available for young babies in the form of a respirator, which totally enclosed the child. They came complete with an air filter and hand-operated air pump.

Fire watching

In September 1940 a law was passed which required factories and businesses to appoint employees to undertake fire watching. They had to keep a look out for incendiary bombs which were dropped in vast quantities at night. They were quite small, and ignited on impact to start a fire.

Fire watchers were a common sight in Darlaston, often seen on flat roofs which were a good vantage point. Many people were involved in the activity. Some local factories also had a number of employees who were trained in fire fighting, and would be on hand in case of an emergency.

Identity Cards


An adult's identity card. Courtesy of Brian Groves.

Identity cards were introduced under the terms of the National Registration Act of 1939.

Everyone, including children, had to carry an identity card at all times to show who they were, and where they lived.

Initially they were buff coloured, but after 1943 Adults' cards were coloured blue.

  
Anderson Shelters

The Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain placed Sir John Anderson in charge of Air Raid Precautions in November 1938. He asked William Patterson to design a small air raid shelter that could easily, quickly, and cheaply be erected in people’s gardens. This became known as the Anderson Shelter.

It consisted of 6 curved sheets of corrugated, galvanised steel, bolted at the top, with corrugated sheets at the back, and an entrance at the front. The shelter was half-buried, then covered in earth, and measured approximately 6ft. 6in. by 4ft. 6in. It could accommodate six people. They were given free to the poor, and could be purchased by anyone earning over £5 a week.

The shelters were distributed to towns and cities that were perceived to be under threat from air raids. Within the first two years, two and a quarter million Anderson shelters had been erected. Many families spent long and cold nights in their shelter after hearing the air raid warning sirens. The winters of 1940 and 1941 were especially cold.


The inside of the identity card. Courtesy of Brian Groves.

A child's identity card. Courtesy of Brian Groves.
The inside of the card. Courtesy of Brian Groves.

Anderson air raid shelters in a back garden in Ward Street, Walsall. Courtesy of John and Christine Ashmore.

Because the air raid shelters were cold and damp, it could be an unpleasant experience to spend a night there. Sometimes water would seep through the earth floor, adding to the discomfort.

Benches to sit and sleep on would be built around the inside walls, and candles and matches were a necessity for lighting.

Due to the blackout, no light could be showing at night, and so Hessian sacks were often hung across the open doorway. Sometimes a family would prefer to stay in the house during an air raid to avoid the discomfort of the shelter. They would crawl under the stairs where possible, or even sit under the kitchen table.

Although few Anderson shelters have survived, some of the corrugated steel sheets are still in use as garden fencing.

There were also public air raid shelters near to public buildings, school air raid shelters adjacent to schools, and factory air raid shelters for factory workers.


An Anderson shelter in a back garden.


An invoice from the local council for an Anderson shelter.


An impression of the air raid shelters built for Pinfold Street School.

   
Read about how to use
an air raid shelter
   
Rationing and Shortages

The German U-boats, mines, aircraft, and surface ships sunk vast numbers of allied merchant ships, which led to shortages of all kinds, and the introduction of rationing in 1940. Everyone was issued with a ration book, which contained coupons that entitled the owner to buy food and clothes, and helped to prevent people hoarding things. The coupons were cut out and signed by the shopkeeper.

Everyone had to register with local retailers, whose details were stamped in the book. Items could only be purchased from their shops. Rationed items included meat, eggs, fats, cheese, bacon, sugar, and clothes. Each person was allowed a new set of clothes each year. Food retailers had to register with the Ministry of Food, and were provided with a list of what they could sell.

Although rationing was strictly adhered to, the more wealthy members of society could supplement their food allowance by eating out. Restaurants were exempt from rationing, which caused resentment amongst the working classes. To minimise this, new rules were put into place. A meal could cost no more than 5 shillings, and consist of no more than 3 courses. Meat and fish could not be served at the same sitting.

Due to the German blockade, citrus fruits and bananas were not available. Coffee was also scarce and so alternatives were made from roasted barley seeds and acorns. People often kept chickens in their garden as a source of meat and eggs, and also rabbits. Because milk was in short supply, most people relied on powdered milk. Powdered eggs were also popular.

The “Dig for Victory” campaign started early in the war, and helped people to cope with the shortages by growing their own fruit and vegetables. Some schools also took part by encouraging the children to cultivate a small piece of land near the school.

The shortages in the shops continued for many years after the war had ended. Rationing remained until 1954.

 

A clothes rationing book and one of the 4 pages of coupons.

Germany’s ruthless expansion programme continued in 1941 with the invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece in April, and the invasion of Russia in June. In December of that year the United States formally declared war on Germany, Italy, and Japan. In September 1940 the three countries had signed the Tripartite Pact, agreeing to support one another in the war.

The bombing campaign

By the summer of 1940 Hitler had decided to invade Britain. In July of that year the German air force, the Luftwaffe, began making daily bombing raids on British factories, ships and military establishments, particularly airfields. On the 7th September the London blitz began, when the Luftwaffe destroyed many houses, killing 430 people and badly injuring 1,600 people on the first day. Hitler believed that he could lower people’s moral by bombing civilian houses, and force the country to surrender.

Due to the large number of factories in Darlaston, the town could have been a prime target, but German intelligence on British industry was poor. Birmingham suffered badly due to its many factories and large population. Around 2,000 tons of bombs were dropped on the city, killing 2,241 people and seriously injuring over 3,000 people. Coventry also suffered, but to a slightly lesser extent. The government tried to confuse the German bombers by enforcing a 'blackout', during which street lights were turned off, car headlights were covered, and people had to use blackout curtains to prevent house lights being seen. It became dangerous to go out at night, particularly on dark nights. Place names were removed from buildings to confuse any enemy paratroopers, and road signs were often turned round to further increase the confusion.

Luckily Darlaston got off very lightly, only 3 bombs were dropped on the town. The first bomb fell on the 5th June, 1941 when a German bomber attempted to drop a bomb on the Rubery Owen factory. The large bomb fell short of its target and badly damaged 5 houses in Lowe Avenue, killing 11 people in the process. Several other houses were damaged to a lesser extent.

The aftermath of the bombing in Lowe Avenue.

Courtesy of Brian Groves.

 

My mother recalled seeing it pass over Moxley Road, where my family lived, glowing red at the front, and making a whistling sound as it travelled through the air. After a short time it went quiet, then there was a loud explosion, so the bomb had obviously detonated.

My grandmother lived in Berry Avenue, and as the explosion appeared to come from that direction, my mother hurriedly went there to see if everyone was OK. On discovering that the bomb had passed over Berry Avenue she thought of her brother and sister-in-law who lived in Lowe Avenue, so she continued her journey and saw the devastation.

The houses destroyed were numbers 34 to 42. No air raid warning had been given, and so the occupants were in their houses rather than in the air raid shelters.

Although it was a terrible and sad event, it could have been much worse. Had it landed on its target, hundreds could have been killed or injured.

    
The casualties were as follows:
Number 34 Lowe Avenue - Henry John Mumford, age 44, married to Emily.
Number 34 Lowe Avenue - Emily Mumford, age 44.
Number 36 Lowe Avenue - Ellen Mills, age 60.
Number 38 Lowe Avenue - John Woodward, age 26, married to Mary.

Number 38 Lowe Avenue - Mary Woodward, age 25.

Number 40 Lowe Avenue - Ethel Cross, age 41.
Number 40 Lowe Avenue - Elsie May Prestidge, age 23, mother of Malcolm.
Number 40 Lowe Avenue - Malcolm Thomas Prestidge, age 4 months.
Number 42 Lowe Avenue - Richard Perrins, age 47, father of Henry and Frank.
Number 42 Lowe Avenue - Henry Perrins, age 15.
Number 42 Lowe Avenue - Frank Perrins, age 12.
    
Within a few weeks almost all traces of the bombing had gone. The council quickly stepped-in and repaired the houses.

The Groves family who lived at number 43 Lowe Avenue, from the mid 1940s. This view of the family is taken in the garden behind the house. Left to right: John, Mary with Peter on her lap, Tom junior, Tom senior, Derek, and Brian. Courtesy of Brian Groves.
Another bomb fell on All Saints' Church in Walsall Road on the 31st July, 1942.

The church was completely destroyed, leaving a crater 50 feet deep and 40 feet across. Luckily no one was hurt.

The bomb’s intended target was the nearby Atlas Works where around 2,000 people were on the night shift. My father worked at the Steel Nut and Joseph Hampton Limited, in All Saint’s Road, known as ‘The Woden’. He remembered being shocked at the unexpected sight of the crater and the destruction.


All Saints' Church, Walsall Road.

The interior of the church.
What was left after the explosion.

On the 4th August, 1942 the church council formed a restoration committee and made plans for the rebuilding of the church. Services continued to be held in the All Saints' Day School, which survived the blast and suffered only minor damage. Over the next few years they raised £10,000 towards the new church and also received £28,320 from the War Damage Commission.

On the same night as the bombing of the church, another bomb fell by the Railway Tavern at James Bridge, hitting the cinder wall in front of the pub. Luckily it did not explode, it just sank into the soft earth. The bomb had been aimed at one of the factories in the area, possibly F. H. Lloyd & Company, E. C. and J. Keay Limited, or the Darlaston Nut and Bolt Company’s factory in Cemetery Road, known locally as ‘Bogie Wilkes’. Had the 500lb. bomb exploded it would have not only destroyed the pub, but also the railway station, the nearby cottages, and much of Wilkes' factory. When a bomb disposal team arrived the next day, they discovered that the bomb was buried several feet under the ground, due to the soft earth. This complicated the whole process, and it took many hours to safely defuse and remove it.

By the time the German bombing campaign had ended, over 43,000 civilians had been killed, and over 1,000,000 houses were destroyed or damaged.

Darlaston people greatly enjoyed the fun fairs that were held on the Wake Field by Pat Collins. There was always something new to look forward to, because Pat was a great innovator. It is easy to imagine that the enforced wartime blackout would have prevented such fairs taking place. It may have stopped others, but not Pat Collins', he found a way to overcome the restrictions. In April 1940 he introduced his blackout fair at Darlaston and Walsall. It was a completely covered fair, with all of the usual attractions undercover. It must have been a great source of enjoyment, especially at a time of so many restrictions, rationing, and shortages.


From the Walsall Observer, 30th April, 1940.

The mid-war years

The British Restaurant

British restaurants were run by local authorities, and local committees to provide cheap meals for the community. They were essential in areas that had been badly hit by the bombing, and essential for people who had run out of rationing coupons. Workers who had no canteen also used them. The restaurants were set up by the Ministry of Food, and run on a non-profit making basis. The maximum price for a meal was 9 pence. By the end of 1944 there were 1,931 of them in the UK, some of which had been set up in schools and church halls.

 

In Darlaston, the Women's Conservative and Primrose League Hall in Bilston Street, built in 1930, was converted into a British Restaurant. It acquired the nickname of "The Trough", and after the war became the Civic Restaurant, which remained open for many years. The restaurant was extremely popular and attracted customers from many surrounding towns. The building still survives today on the corner of Bilston Street and Cramp Hill, and is used by the Darlaston Sons and Daughters of Rest.

The British Restaurant building in Bilston Street, as it was in 2006.


Fund raising and collecting for the war effort

The War Savings Campaign was initiated by the War Office in 1939 to support the war effort. Several saving schemes were introduced, the first being the National Savings Scheme where you purchased savings stamps and stuck them onto a card.

The scheme became a great success, large numbers of people purchased the stamps, at banks, post offices, and savings kiosks. Other options were war bonds, savings bonds, and defence bonds, advertised with the slogan “Lend to defend the right to be free.”

People were also asked to contribute to various money raising schemes such as Warship Week, Wings for Victory Week, Spitfire Week, all raising much needed cash for armaments.


Courtesy of Christine and John Ashmore.

Although we tend to think of recycling as something new, it became an important way of dealing with the many shortages. People collected silver wrapping paper, empty toothpaste tubes, and even unwound wool from old jumpers and socks. Housewives were urged to hand over their aluminium pots and pans to become the raw material for aircraft production.

Wrought iron gates and fences were removed and taken to factories to be melted down. Paper was in short supply, and so newspapers were only a few pages long. People kept the paper which was either burnt on the fire, or recycled.

Because coal was in short supply, salt water would be sprinkled on it to make it burn more slowly, and fallen tree branches could be collected to supplement the often meagre supply.

Preserves such as jam were an important way of preserving fruit when it was plentiful. Similarly eggs were preserved by storing them in a solution of isinglass. The shortage of petrol led to the government asking all drivers to observe a 40mph. speed limit to help conserve fuel.


The programme for a concert in April 1943 that was held at the Regal Cinema to raise money for the Air Training Corps Welfare Fund. Courtesy of Christine and John Ashmore.


The programme details. Courtesy of Christine and John Ashmore.
 

Albert Peters - Darlaston's Artist Sign Writer
A once well known and well respected figure in the town was Albert Peters, who turned sign writing into a form of high art.

His signs could be found throughout Darlaston and the surrounding towns. They varied from simple name signs, through to pub signs, and the large signs that he produced for the local authority, which became landmarks in their own right. They were works of public art, that were greatly appreciated by the local population.

I have included photos of some of his better known signs below. They came from the collection of the late Howard Madeley.


Albert Peters.


Albert Peters standing below his poster to advertise Darlaston's part in 'Salute the Soldier' week, a national scheme to raise money to equip the army for the final push into Germany. It took place in 1944, and encouraged people to provide much needed funds for the war effort. Cash could be deposited in banks or post offices.


A larger view of the poster.


The poster was placed outside the Town Hall. The photograph shows the opening event on Saturday 3rd June, 1944.


Another of Albert Peters' wartime posters, also hanging outside the Town Hall.


Albert's poster for the National Savings Scheme.

Another wartime poster. This one, from 1941, features Albert Peters' brilliant characterisation of the well-known scrap collector Billy Muggins.


Albert Peters standing beside one of his many masterpieces.


Another of his road safety posters.


A view of Campbell Place, as seen from Blakemore Lane. Albert Peters and his family lived in the shop in the centre of the photo. From the collection of the late Howard Madeley.
 

Royal visits

The Royal family played their part in boosting people’s morale by visiting many of the military, and industrial establishments that were essential during the war. On the 26th February, 1941 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited GKN’s Atlas Works in Station Street, and on the 14th January, 1943 the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester visited the Rubery Owen factory.

The final part of the war

During the last few years of the war it finally looked as though things were going our way, although we still faced an intense struggle with the German forces. Good news arrived in November 1942 when the British and American troops won the North Africa campaign. In September 1943 Italy surrendered, and in October declared war on Germany. In June 1944 British and American troops landed on the Normandy beaches (known as the D-Day landings) at the beginning of the campaign to free France from the Germans. In August the allied troops landed in Southern France near Nice, and on the 20th of the month reached Paris. On the 11th September, American troops entered Germany.

The years of hard work and shortages now seemed worthwhile, the threat of German invasion was over, and people started to look forward to the return to normality. With this in mind, the government passed new legislation which was designed to improve the education of young people, and prepare them for their working life, and career after school. This was the 1944 Education Act which introduced the Eleven Plus examination. For the first time, pupils were allocated a suitable secondary schools, best suited for their abilities and aptitudes. Three types of secondary school were available, grammar schools, secondary technical schools, and secondary modern schools. The Act also allowed for the creation of comprehensive schools, and created a system of direct grant schools, under which a number of independent schools received a grant from the Ministry of Education for accepting a number of none fee paying pupils.

Also in 1944 it was made compulsory for local authorities to provide school dinners, which were free for children from low income families.

Good news continued to arrive from Europe during the early months of 1945. In April Russia launched its final offensive on Berlin, and Adolph Hitler committed suicide.

In May, Germany surrendered, and on VE Day (Victory in Europe Day) everyone celebrated the end of the war. There were street parties, and bonfires, and families looked forward to the return of their loved ones who were still on the continent.

Working life soon returned to normal because of the huge demand for steel goods, and nuts and bolts. Rubery Owen also benefited from the shortage of housing by producing large numbers of pre-fabricated houses. Many of the women who worked in the factories during the war were replaced by men returning from the forces. People’s expectations for the future were high, but the shortages in the shops continued for many years, the final rationing books being issued in 1954.

Fighting finally came to an end on the 14th August when Japan surrendered to the allies. This was universally celebrated as V-J Day (Victory in Japan Day). The war had lasted almost 6 years, we were in a poor financial state, and much of the country’s infrastructure was in tatters. It would take many years and a lot of hard work to recover.


The VE Day street party that was held in Lowe Avenue. Courtesy of Mavis Young.

Some of the people in the photograph above

1. Louise Bumford   41. June Bumford
2. Mrs. Harris   42. Janet Bumford
3. Margaret Holdcroft   43. Edna Hartshorne
5. Iris Rigby   48. Mavis Bumford
6. Mrs. Clifford   50. Margaret Rose Harris
7. Mrs. Boffee   51. Jeanette Clifford
8. Mrs. Evans   52. June Clifford
9. Jack Hartshorne snr.   55. Les Bumford
10. Mrs. Stokes   58. Ron Bumford
13. Mr. Clifford   59. Jack Hartshorne jnr.
14. Mrs. Richards   60. Leslie Bumford
15. Bill Holdcroft   61. Dennis Evans
16. Ethel Stokes   62. Daniel Richards
26. John Lawton   68. Ria Rudge
32. Betty Hall   70. Jack Rigby
The dog, a mongrel terrier, belonged to the Hartshorne family and was called Mick. If you can recognise anyone else, please send me an email. Thanks must go to Jack Hartshorne, Anthony Holdcroft, Mavis Young, and Florence Wilkes for supplying the names of the people above.

A programme for one of the many celebrations that were held to mark the end of the war. Courtesy of Christine and John Ashmore.
Black country industries played a vital role in the war effort. Thousands of firm diverted much of their capacity to the production of armaments, which often accounted for 90% of their output.

One typical firm, the Wellman Smith & Owen organisation, built specialised machinery for shell forging, which was used in Canada, Australia, and America. The machines produced in excess of three hundred and fifty 3.7 inch aircraft shell forgings an hour.

By the end of the war some 80 million shells had been produced on the machines, using 2.125 million tons of steel.

Throughout the war years a feeling of comradeship prevailed in Darlaston, even though there were many shortages and hardships.

The large number of factories could have been a frequent target for the German air force, but luckily very few bombs fell on the town. A total of 11 houses were badly damaged, and 401 were slightly damaged.


The inside of the souvenir programme above. Courtesy of Christine and John Ashmore.

Out of the many hundreds of people from Darlaston who fought in the war, 93 were killed. The plaque on Darlaston’s war memorial lists 12 civilians killed in the war. 11 of them were the victims of the bombing in Lowe Avenue. Unfortunately I have no information on the 12th casualty, Annie Mitchell, who could have died from her injuries, sometime after the bombing.

The plaque on Darlaston war memorial dedicated those who lost their lives due to enemy action in the Second World War.
         
Read about a forgotten
war hero
  Read about Darlaston
war memorial
         
After the war had ended, Darlaston Council held an exhibition in the Town Hall to inform people of its many roles and activities.
 
 

 

Courtesy of Christine and John Ashmore.

The early post war years

The 1950s and 1960s saw Darlaston at its most prosperous. It grew to be the leading centre in the country for the manufacture of nuts & bolts, and its many products were exported all over the world. Darlaston's complete domination of this industry covered all types of nuts & bolts, screws and rivets. Thousands were employed in the industry and a very high degree of skill and craftsmanship was shown by them.

The many other engineering concerns in the town also prospered, producing a diverse range of products including forgings, cycles, machinery, castings, holloware, motor components, and structural steelwork. Other products included soap, candles, rope and twine.

A full and flourishing industrial and economic life appeared to be assured for the people of Darlaston, with many varied and interesting opportunities for the younger generation.


Darlaston war memorial.

In 1952 the new All Saints Church in Walsall Road opened as a replacement for its predecessor, which was destroyed by the German bomb in 1942. The new church, designed by Lavender & Twentyman of Wolverhampton was built by E. Fletcher of Kingswinford at a cost of £38,320.
The western end of Foundry Street in the mid 1950s. All traces of the street have now disappeared.

It ran from Catherine's Cross to Wiley Avenue, in parallel with Park Street. This view was taken from where the Aladdin's Lamp pub stands today.

The houses are identical to much of the town's cheaper mid Victorian dwellings, which were demolished in the 1950s and 60s.

Marion Turner, whose husband Malcolm grew-up in the late 1930s and 1940s at number 35 Foundry Street has kindly sent a list of the residents of the properties in the above photograph, during those years. They are as follows, from left to right:
   

Number 34 George and Sarah Turner, grandparents of Malcolm in number 35.
Number 35 George and Kate Turner, and their children Malcolm and Kenneth.
Number 36 Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd and their children, Jeffrey, Janet and Ann.
Number 37 The Palmers, brother and sister.
Coal Yard The Simpsons who also owned the adjacent shop.
Past the shop lived the families of Hawkins, Upton and Thomas.

Malcolm Turner went to Pinfold Street School, and his father George worked for many years as a machine bolt header for Guest, Keen & Nettlefolds.

The council's housing development schemes continued at a rapid pace. The older substandard houses completely disappeared by the mid 1960s.

Over 2,000 council houses had been built since the end of the war, including the Bentley Estate, which had shops, a library, a Parish Church, and two secondary modern schools.


An advert from 1954. Courtesy of Christine and John Ashmore.

The front cover of a 1954 council tenant's handbook. Courtesy of Christine and John Ashmore.
 
Kate Turner and her son Malcolm at the back door of 35 Foundry Street. The photograph was probably taken in 1936.

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Inter-War Years
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Post-War Years