I’ll tell you the story and you make up your own mind.
Ranji and Laura on their wedding day outside Bill Bottomleys house in Newtown.
The Story goes Punch’s wife Sarah was walking to register the birth of her as yet unnamed baby . Alfred was by the side of the road digging a trench . Sarah called out to him asking if he had decided on the name yet. He said you’ll think of something by the time you get there . Then out of the blue he shouted the name of the world’s best batsman Ranjit Singh . Wether he was joking or not we will never know , but that was his registered name.
Ranji was Alfred “Punch “and Sarah’s youngest son.
Punch Allen Jean’s granddad was sports mad he used to go up the Asylum and watch all the football and cricket matches. Sometimes he used to take Jean with him and she was happy as a young girl to play up there. Punch even died up there in his 70’s watching a football match.He collapsed while celebrating a goal .A good way to go.In Punch’s later years his daughter Lilian got them a house down asylum road and paid the rent. Jean used to go to the True Briton with a jug and get her nanny Allen some Ale to go with her penny roll.It was her pension day treat . Sarah Allen died after the coalman had just delivered some coal. He heard a thud as he was walking away , turned round and found her dead.
I started interviewing Ranji’s daughter Jean nee Allen Crawley by asking her wot Ranji was like.
Not like Dads today was the answer.
I know what she means by that , they were pub frequenters , smokers , pretty strict with their daughters , but the sons got away with murder , and never gave their wives much house keeping money.
I found out later that Ranji agreed to bring up Laura’s sister’s daughter Barbara cos her mum couldn’t look after her.
No mean feat to bring up a relatives child. People did this in the old days you looked after your own .
That also describes my granddad Herbert. Jean said all the men were like that. Ranji also allowed them to have a terrier bitch even tho he didn’t like pets. Wen she had 3 puppies he even reluctantly allowed them to keep them for 6 weeks until new owners were found , so is a softer side to Ranji emerging?Even tho he kicked a puppy out of the door after it had messed in the kitchen . It was a black dog and it was at night . Jean went to look for him and luckily found him 3 doors down.
The Allens occupied 2 , 4 ,and 6 Hospital road or Asylum road , all next door to each other. Jean Goss (Jean nee Goss Murphy’s mum was Lizzie Allen) in 4 , Herbert in 6 and Ranji in 2. When Ranji got offered a newly built house at Jubilee Crescent , Jean Goss’ mum wanted them to wait for her to get one so they could still be neighbours.
As they were over crowded they couldn’t wait. Laura Allen was still alive when they moved to Jubilee Crescent in the early 30’s and Jean was 9yrs old. Jean Goss’ mum ended up getting a Jubilee crescent house across the road.So that would have been 1932.
Les Allen also got house in Jubilee crescent as well. Les was Norah Allen’s son.His granddad was Punch Allen .(there were 2 Norah’s the other one was Big Jim Allen daughter . Bill Soley once hit the cricket ball so hard it hit the clockface , a massive six.
Lizzie nee Allen Goss , Jean Goss , and Margie Goss in Jubilee Crescent.
Les Allen’s wife Lizzie Allen at Jubilee Crescent they lived next door to the Legates.
After Gill Allen was born in 1941 her mum was found to have a ovarian tumor. When the baby was six weeks old mum Laura had an operation to have it removed . All went well for 18 months then the tumour came back.
They took her into hospital and opened her up but this time it was found to be inoperable. Six months later poor Laura Mary nee Jordan Allen died tragically young aged 39 . She left a very young family behind. Gill aged 2yrs , Sheila 4yrs , Ken 5yrs , Pam 6yrs , Barbara 10yrs , Paul 16 yrs at work , and Jean 20 yrs. The family wanted to farm out the kids to different family members , but Jean said not while I can do it. The family said you won’t be able to do that , but Jean insisted and she said you just watch me.
It must have been a monumental task , and steep learning curve to go from a young working girl to a mum of 6 overnight. All that cooking washing and cleaning for a family of eight. Only when the family had grown up, 18 yrs later did Jean think of herself , get married and move out.
When Jean resumed work that is where she would work as an orderley and was one of the first women to be allowed into the men’s ward. She told me if you treated them right you didn’t ever get attacked . One woman spoke sharply to them and was attacked for the second time!!
Ranjit worked at Arlesey Cement works . Jean used to take his tea up there with Jean Goss her cousin , one week to Ranjit , the next week to Mr Goss. If their dads were in a good mood they would let them ride up to the Pitts on the empty trucks , then walk back home again.
Ranjit was one of the last to be kept on at the cement works , maybe cos he was friends with the Cox’s as Herbert Allen was. But this made other family members bitter cos it was the thirties and the Depression. I thought when the Cement factory closed they took on the workers . But Jean said no they had to turn up at the Brickyard every morning and a few would be given a day’s work , to cover any sickness.
Ranjit eventually got another job at the Brickyard in the kilns on alternate shifts , early shift ,6-2 , late shift 14-22 and nights 22-06 until her retired in 1965 .Ranji liked technology and was one of the first down Jubilee crescent to have a TV. Tv wasn’t on all day like it is today there was childrens hour 17.00 -18.00.Then one day it started at 20.00 and the next 20.30 and on Sunday it started at 17.00 . Jean used to let Jean Murphy and her baby John watch childrens hour on their new tv John is now 70 so that would have been about 1953-4 .Before this Jean Goss and Jean Allen used to go down Aunty Nellie Allens at Gothic Farm. She had mains electricity and a new mains radio. Jean Allen only had gas lights and an accumulator for listening to the radio.
Ranji got another girlfriend , and although Jean liked her she was a big drinker and not family orientated and was always in the pubs every night . Jean told Ranji if she moves in , Jean will take the young uns and move out. Ranji relented and finished with her.
In 1953 the youngest Gill became Arlesey Coronation Queen , she and her sister Sheila were keen ballerinas as well.See photos below.
Sheila and Gill Allen
Ranjis son Ken followed in the family’s sporting history. He was a very good Goalkeeper for Arlesey , all the big clubs were after him including a trial with Manchester United, Wolves , and Luton. While he was waiting to hear the result of the trials he broke his leg and that was the end of his sporting career.
A later photo of Jean at a wedding with favourite Aunty Lilian Allen
Ranji and the late Pam Allen
Jean and Sheila Allen Sheila could just as easily have been the Coronation Queen as the lovely Gill Allen
The niece Jean brought up as well as her brothers and sisters.The Bishop of St Albans allowed Barbara to get married as Barbara Allen. Ranji gave her away and brought her up as one of his own.
Ranji’s sister Lilian’s wedding day
Ranji met another woman thro’ Charlie Cox’s wife.Mary Francis was a dietician and cook at Hitchin Lister Hospital ,and worked there with Charlie cox’s wife. Ranji’s girls never really got on with Mary Francis , but that is often the case with stepmums and dads. I think Mary eventually fell out with all of the daughters at one time or another.Neverthe less when Ranji was 80 Jean arranged a family reunion which they eventually got them to go to. Once they were there they thoroughly enjoyed it.
Jean arranged Nobby who never marrieds funeral.
Nobby was Alfred Punch Allen son Alfred James Allen. Nobby wasn’t very popular , but his neighbours , liked him, and he did take in Allen family when they needed shelter. He died about the same time as my Granddad Herbert Allen. They were the same generation.
Jean showed she was no flash in the pan when her sister Pam, then Bob her husband died young leaving a daughter Kym 16 and Kelly 14. Jean was dreading having to tell the girls that their dad had died. She went round there and Kym said what can I do for u Aunt Jean.
Jean said no its what I can do for you now and for the rest of your life. Jean was supposed to be going on holiday the next day as well. She was in her sixties now but still took the girls under her wing until they were grown up. Kym and Kelly exchanged their house for a relatives council flat where they still live now over the road from AUNTY Jean ,who lives in an old peoples bungalow. As she is registered blind Kym says now its my turn to look after u aunt Jean.
Like I said earlier familys look after their own……………
Sadly Aunty Jean has now deceased 2013 , boy could she tell a story.