Sunday, 2 November 2014

Our new Ridgeway house

Even in the earlier days of photography, at the beginning of the 20th century, moving to a new house – meaning a different home for your family or a newly-constructed dwelling – was a reason for celebration.  If the house owner did not have a camera, a photographer might be hired if this could be afforded.  The result would be a record of at least some of the family at their new abode.  There was an explosion of camera ownership after WW2, and more informality too.  Opportunities arose to take a photo or two "to finish up the roll".

The rear of 189 The Ridgeway in 1959
Last week Martin contacted the blog because he had spotted the feature about The Quadrant.  This in turn alerted him to a photo he still has which was taken at the Ridgeway house (number 189) his family moved into in 1958.

"It shows the back garden, not much more than a bit of farm land enclosed by a chain link fence, and the rear of the house.  The house under construction next door is the detached corner property (187) at the junction with Packhorse Close.  My father spent a year or so landscaping the garden to combat the slopes, much of which is still in evidence today and can be seen via Google Earth."

Previously Martin had said, "I remember the early days of The Quadrant well. Butler's butcher's shop had sawdust on the floor and a separate payment booth at the back of the shop.  The shop boy then brought your newly-acquired joint on a bike direct to your door later in the day.  I later did a paper round for Martin's, the newsagent, from 1970 to 1974, when Mr Thompson was the proprietor.  Most of the proceeds was spent in Drummonds on Airfix kits.  Great days."

I am pleased that more recollections are appearing about Marshalswick, so here are a few more prompts.  Maybe someone will remember  the old concrete scout building, youth club activities, adventures in Chandlers Wood, the old farm house, ponds, the controversy over the nearby waste tip and the greater controversy about proposed new housing at Jersey Farm and a supermarket (Key/Sainsbury).  Oh, and the early years at Marshalswick School, and Wheatfields, St John Fisher and Skyswood schools.

Dearman Gomms just before the closing-down sign appeared.
The closure notice of Dearman-Gomms in Camp Road coincided with the discovery last week in an issue of Herts Advertiser in 1970, of a feature article titled "Everything for the Keen Handiman"

"Just over 11 years ago John Dearman gave up a secure job in his father's firm, sold the house he had built himself, and with the proceeds bought some broken-down shop premises in Camp Road.  That was the first of two major decisions which changed his life.  He and his wife ran the shop as a grocery for the first three years [similar trade to the Tuckett's who were there previously].  It became more difficult to make a living out of the shop as competition from supermarkets increased.  Finally, Mr Dearman made the second decision which changed his life.  A practical man himself he foresaw the do-it-yourself boom which has materialised in the last few years."

That success story lasted until 2014!

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