Memory Lane - Remembered with great fondness

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THANKS very much to the Mail for publishing my query regarding the former Johnson’s garage in Victoria Road (Memory Lane, May 21).

And thanks indeed to all of those readers who wrote in response.

Alan Hodgson, John Robson and Ron Wilson all wrote very interesting accounts of their memories and knowledge of the garage’s location and activities.

The evidence still in existence on the pavement for vehicular access is particularly interesting.

Thanks again to the people who wrote in.

Speaking of cars, I enclose an old photograph of Percy Street in 1963.

The boy in the picture is myself, playing cricket in the street where we lived for many years.

We always played out in the street and had many happy days with the other boys and girls in the neighbourhood.

I think it’s interesting to note the lack of vehicles in the street around that time. Nowadays it is lined bumper to bumper down both sides with parked cars.

In the picture the car in the foreground is a Hillman Husky, while in the background is a van which belonged to a Frank Welford, who owned a wholesale business. I think it was based in Lowthian Road in Hartlepool.

Apropos Percy Street, my family lived at number 102 in a house my father had purpose-built when he was the manager of the building company, W W Brazell Ltd.

The gate to our house is in the picture just to the right of where I’m standing in the picture.

There were some very nice residents and families living in Percy Street at that time.

I remember them well, and with great fondness. Further down from where I’m standing was the house of Jacky and Nancy Bloom.

Jack was the proprietor of J Bloom, fishmonger, and had a shop in Raby Road. His son, Ian, was my closest friend.

Other friends were Katherine Hall, who went on to become a journalist and worked for the Hartlepool Mail at one stage I believe, and Joan Hanson, who I still see quite often as we both work at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

There were some characters too.

Further up lived Mr and Mrs John Holmes. Mr Holmes worked for The Hartlepools Laundry and Dye Works and he was a most engaging entity. He was, as I recall, in charge of the millinery department of that company, the section that made and/or repaired hats.

He wasn’t “mad as a hatter”, but he had a lovely sense of humour.

Right at the top of the street lived a man who worked for – or possibly owned – the chain of grocery stores, Walter Willson, whose corporate slogan I seem to remember as “smiling service”.

Moving down the street again toward the entrance to the back alley there lived an interesting elderly couple, Mr and Mrs Worley.

Mr Worley was a chauffeur, so he always had a black car outside the house.

So, not many cars at that time. Maybe that’s the biggest difference between then and now.

Thanks again for publishing my letter about the garage.

Kevin Marwood,

St Luke’s Court,

Hartlepool.