Mum was born Hospital Road and lived there from 1928 to 1933.
Station Rd Cosy cinema opposite the Lamb Inn
OLD victorian railway bridge three counties
Siding Primary school
Over the railway bridge then walking down a bit by the river Hiz
She attended the Arlesey Siding school next to the Three Tuns pub . She went to the Cosy Cinema for entertainment, a corrugated iron building at the end of Hospital Road .This shook when trains went passed and blocked out the sound of the film. Across the beautiful Victorian railway bridge,was a common where cows grazed and went down to the river to water and cool down in the summer. It was also a place for ball games and walks over to Henlow Camp. She also went for walks to Arlesey Pits as it was called then. There was an old Post Office in the High Street where you stepped down from the pavement to enter the dark interior , and they sold clothes upstairs.
old post office was it Howells in the sixties
goodwins the bakers
Most of the kids were clothed either here or at the Co-0p.There was also the baker’s where you could watch the dough being kneaded by a fascinating machine through the window. The cottage where she lived for almost 5 years had, at that time, only gas laid on, no water and no electricity. They used a combination of gas lamps and oil lamps . Water had to be drawn from a stand pipe in the back yard, one of two that served the whole terrace. All hot water was heated on the gas stove, whether for a cup of tea or a bathe in the galvanised bath in front of the fire. The toilet was across the yard and in winter continually had it’s lead pipes burst. The stand pipe also had to be thawed out in very cold weather. Next to the toilet was the wash house where a wood burning boiler was fired up to do the weekly laundry. Hard work for her mother, Polly but for Alma with no responsibilities, it was among the happiest days of her life.
London Brick and the common where the Halifax aircraft crashed
love this shot with the open gate saying come on in
Reverend Beavan and Ralfeleo buonogorio
Arlesey Siding School open air service
the original Flying Scotsman
Herbert and Polly Allen
Her dad Herbert worked at the nearby London Brick Company.It had several tall chimneys, none of which were illuminated during the war. One night I remember hearing a plane circling round and suddenly a terrible crash as it struck one of the chimneys. We learned later that it had been a Halifax practising dropping supplies at low level in Henlow. It was completely destroyed by fire which set off ammunition that she could hear from where it crashed in the common. Sadly all 13 crew perished. They later moved in with Herbert’s dad, Big Jim, who lived in the Gothic Farm House that was at the bottom of the yet to be built Lynton Avenue. One day her little brother George got out and was found cuddling the huge shire horse’s leg. This obviously frightened them, but she said the horse stood dead still and never moved a muscle, as if he knew it was a toddler down there. Herbert, Alma’s dad, then bluffed his way into the Foreman’s job at Arlesey London Brickyard. They the got the foreman’s house at the brickyard, handy for the pub. I remember mum telling me she always wanted to go with her older brothers and sisters, but being the smallest they used to put her in an empty clay carrying truck and start it rocking up and down. By the time it stopped and she could jump out they were gone.
I remember my brother and sister doing similar to me, go and get ur wellies on, they said, and when I came back out they were gone. They lived at the Brickyard until the family got a council house at St Peters Ave when Alma was 10 .
Halifax that crashed
Arlesey Common where the plane crashed
dad Peter Lombari
Arlesey siding primary school
That would have been 1938. The war then started and Arlesey was filled with London overspill. The classes got so large that St Peters hall was used as an extra classroom. Mum used to tell me she went here, and she never got taught much ‘cos all they did was sing songs all day long. That was her story anyway. They had a greyhound dog called Whitey who helped supplement the family of seven’s budget by catching rabbits over the fields around the lake and the sandpits. Rabbit stew was supposed to be very tasty. All the gardens were cropped to make the cost of living a bit cheaper. She used to keep chickens for eggs, that was quite common as well; then you could eat the chickens when the laying stopped. There were even gas lights at St Peters Ave in 1938, outside toilets and no washing machines. The schooling was very limited because of the very large classes, caused by the children evacuating London during the war. Alma left school at 14.
the old vicarage
granddad herbert allen and Polly Mary Mills allen
mollie , Polly and the twins daisey and jim
Primrose lane pump
10 lynton ave 1963
Mum on the float brother george in the pram nan holding the pram 1933 outside chemists
10 lynton ave 1954
Lynton Ave 1962
Alma Allen aged 10 and mum Polly and her brother George and 2 sisters Mollie and Daisey and lovely Whitey the dog
herbert allen died 1962
There were loads of jobs in those days, you could walk out of one job and start another the next day, as all the factories needed labour. Mum used to bike to work at Letchworth as did most people. Met dad at a dance in the W.I. hall. Dad was a prisoner of war. He had to go back after war. When dad was allowed back he lived at the vicarage with Mr Bevan the vicar. They got married and lived at 2, St Peters Ave with Herbert and her mum, Polly, her brother, George, her sister, Daisey and Daisey’s daughter, Lorna. They eventually got a council house in Lynton Ave, once mum was expecting her third child – me. Dad was doing very well at work and kept getting promoted, so he bought our own house at Davis Row. He then got transfered to Kenfig Hill in South Wales where they were building a very modern plant.