Our move to the new estate in Castlecroft was not without
it’s dramas. It was
quickly realised that the furniture in the flat over the
butchers would not pass down the winding staircase and out into
the road. (Heavens
knows how they got in the flat in the first place).
In order to extricate the said furniture the window
overlooking the main road had to be removed and the furniture
lowered by block and tackle onto the waiting transport below.
Castlecroft and all that
In those day’s,
there were very few shops or services in Castlecroft.
Woodisses shop in the dip between Castlecroft and
Finchfield was the food shop, Kytes (or Kites), coal yard on the
canal at Windmill bank was the source of power and the local
pubs were the Castlecroft hotel and the Mermaid.
Pop, sweets, eggs and crisps could be brought from the
cottage by the railway bridge, which was home to Mrs Farley, who
also cleaned the local telephone exchange, which is still there
on the opposite side of Windmill lane Mrs Farley’s daughter,
Jean, carried on in her place for several years until well into
the 1970’s. Bread,
was delivered by a chap called Bobby, in his van.
He later went on to open up a general shop in Castlecroft
in the row of shops by the bridge.
Other shops in the row included a shop that seemed to
sell everything from batteries to buttons, which went by the
name of “the dolly shop”; this was later replaced by a butcher,
and a hardware store.
Next door was later turned into a paper and sweet shop.
This was firstly run by a chap called Ray, and later by a
family by the name of Couse.
There was also a cake and pie mobile van, which I think
was known as “cookery nook”.
As a shop of the same name existed in Bradmore and this
may have been a spin off.
An old farmhouse or row of cottages stood on the site of what is
now the Firs public house.
I remember the demolition, as it was a natural playground
for a small boy.
The gardens of this place were overgrown with large
The shops were built early in the 1950’s.
The local primary school was Castlecroft County primary
in Windmill crescent and most senior age pupils attended the
Regis school in Tettenhall.
They were transported by a fleet of old busses from
Castlecroft, through Finchfield and Compton, up the Holloway and
into Tettenhall wood.
These busses were the worse that Wolverhampton transport could
find and it was not unusual for the passengers to have to help
by pushing them up the Holloway.
As I recall there was the local civil defence
organisation that used to give displays at the local fete, which
was usually held on the field, by the Castlecroft hotel.
Other activities included an “ox roast” and various
gymkhanas held at the rugby club.
The Castlecroft estate during development.
|Living in Windmill
crescent in the early 50’s meant that the view from the front
bedroom was not of the comprehensive school, but across the
fields looking out towards Compton and Tettenhall.
The chimneys at the Courtalds factory were clearly
visible and the factory’s hooter could be heard in the early
morning air. As
goods trains still ran on the branch line through Castlecroft,
to Oxley, the steam and smoke was also visible on the horizon as
the engine steamed into Tettenhall.
At first, living in
Windmill crescent was slightly confusing.
All the houses were all new and there was no difference
in a lot of them and as a nipper it was easy to get lost, a feat
I managed on more than one occasion. It was a wonderland for a young explorer as the fields
opposite our house afforded endless hours of fun, especially at
haymaking time, as we would build dens out of the rectangular
bales of hay. At the bottom of the field was a small stream that ran into
the canal or brook.
This gave us chance to dam the stream and play in mud, as young
lads are wont. As
our confidence grew, we moved on to the woods that lay between
the bottom of the crescent and the canal.
Here we could climb trees and roam free.
This was our wild west and our space ship.
Most of the tenants were gardeners and soon a co-op of
them got together and on a Sunday morning they would gather at a
wooden hut at the bottom of the road to buy seeds etc.
For the first few years, the traditional bonfire night
bonfire was held in front garden’s as the gardens were full of
rubbish from the building of the estate.
We moved in, in
coronation year and I can still remember the “Ecko” radio that
stood on a table in our living room with it’s illuminated dial
full of names of faraway places such as Hilversum, Berlin and
Reykjavik, (no T.V in those days).
After breakfast I can remember cycling on my tricycle to
my granddad's house in Rayleigh road to watch the coronation on
the Philips T.V that took up a large portion of the back room.
A large box although I think it was a 12-inch screen.
primary school”, in Windmill crescent was naturally enough my
first encounter with the education system.
The teachers included Mr L.T Guest, Mrs Pilsbury and Miss
headmaster was Mr Park, a Scot who lived in Chelmarsh Avenue.
He gave me my first and only caning.
He ran the Local Boy’s Brigade Company, at the
Presbyterian Church in Merridale road.
During my time at Primary school I contracted whooping
cough, which required many weeks of staying at home, taking
period of confinement covered Christmas and as a result I was
going to miss the Christmas party.
As they did not want me to miss out on the fun and food
the teachers sent someone to our house with a brown paper bag
containing a few sandwiches and a cream cake.
I think the junior postman was a bit shy as he pushed the
bag through the letterbox with inevitable results.
School sports days were something else.
I am not and never was athletic and so sports day was
academic to me although I do remember that we were given ice
cream from a box filled with dry ice.
Raspberry ripple flavour ice cream still brings back
memories of summer days at sports day.
Harvest festival was another time well remembered as we
all had to take food in that would be displayed on a table in
the foyer and later distributed amongst the local needy.
The morning assembly saw us singing “we plough the fields
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