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1. The Art School, Ford Street, remembered by Liz Bayly
2. Schoolday memories of Pauline Bearcock
3. Little Park Street & Spon Street, by Mick Billings
4. Voyage on the Queen Mary with Cecilia Cargill
5. Schoolboy fun around town with Patrick Casey
6. Dunlop Rugby Union Club, by Lorraine Clarke
7. Pre-war memories of Norman Cohen
8. The Life of Riley, by Ron Critchlow
9. Wartime memories of Wyken, by Alan Edgson
10. War and Workplace memories of Mike Fitzpatrick
11. 1940s & 50s remembered, by Ken Giles
12. World War Two memories of James Hill
13. A selection of 1940s and 50s memories, by Rod Joyce
14. Pictures of a Coventry ancestry, by Lesleigh Kardolus
15. Innocence, by John Lane
16. A plane crash over Exhall, by John Lane
17. Post-War memories of Keith Longmore
18. Growing up in Willenhall, by Josie Lisowski-Love
19. The thoughts of a younger Coventrian, by Paul Martin
20. Growing up in Hillfields, by Jan Mayo
21. Winter before central-heating in Hillfields, by Jan Mayo
22. Viewing the Blitz from Birmingham, by Mavis Monk
23. Family memories of Eric Over
24. Early working days of Barry Page
25. Band life with Derick Parsons
26. Brian Porter, A Coventry Kid
27. Experiences of the Coventry Blitz, by Joan Powell
28. War-time memories of Brian Richards
29. War-time memories of Jeanne Richards
30. Coventry Remembered, by Andrew Ross
31. The Coventry outings of Brian Rowstron & family
32. Time Gentlemen Please! - Jo Shepherd's Family
33. The life experiences of Mike Spellacy
34. Humber Works photographs of Peter Thacker
35. Early Coventry memories of Lizzie Tomlinson
36. Post-war decades remembered, by Mike Tyzack
37. Fireman Frank Walduck, remembered by Peter Walduck
38. Early memories of Coventry, by Muriel Wells
39. Family memories of Burt West
 

Growing up in Willenhall, by Josie Lisowski-Love


I went to St. Thomas Moore then Corpus Christi then Bishop Ullathorne Girls. We lived in Eskdale Walk in Willenhall then on Tintagel Close, Willenhall Woods. I was born in Kersley hospital and we lived at 5 Brookville Terrace (gone now for the new Police station?) There was a bicycle shop on the main road, and at the top of the Terrace was what seemed to me to be a 'big house' and it was walled. Under five and already a romantic! Beyond the wall was an apple orchard and we would go scrumping!

I loved the river that ran through Willenhall, and there was a special tree I would climb and dream and be very happy in. From my perch I looked out to the railway bridge. The bridge had a ledge on the outside and we would cross the bridge on that outside ledge! God knows we could have plunged into the river at any moment - the worst was when a train came and one was on the ledge - it's a long fall! I loved the meadows too - wish Google Earth would wonder from the public road sometimes. I also loved the Willenhall woods and in the spring how blue it was with bluebells! I would pick them by the armful and bring them home. Now I'm told they are on some protection list because most are gone. So sad, I do so love bluebells.

Owen Owen in Broadgate, 1955 Owen Owen in the new Broadgate, 1955

I left Bishop Ullathorne in 1964 and worked at Owen Owen. I saw an article that claimed they had 'found' a subterrian world beneath Owen Owen. I could not believe it because anyone my age would remember that world. We would enter from the back and clock in, and that world was beyond, with our lockers and beyond that lots of display stuff and old and new mannequins. From Owen Owen I went to Coventry Motor Mart as a telephonist then on to secretary. I left to work in the typing pool at Roots Group in Ryton-on-Dunsmore because three was more money and I was saving for the USA. I worked part time in a pub at the bottom of Remembrance Road at the Willenhall Precinct. It was inside the roundabout and I worked in the lounge. It's gone now and my Dad, the late Aleksander Lisowski, had his doctor there in the new building. My Auntie and Uncle lived in a flat over the shops in the Precinct, they and my 2 cousins. I remember the Precinct and the laundromat where we did our laundry on Saturdays and there was a vegetable shop next door. After we came to America I asked my Mother why she never cooked these vegetables in England, and she said she saw the foreign ladies buying them but she had nobody to ask how to prepare them!

Remembrance Rd & the Precinct, Willenhall Above (top) is a 1950s postcard view of Remembrance Road, Willenhall, leading to the Precinct (bottom picture) in the 1960s.
Many thanks to John Russell for supplying these two images. For many more Willenhall memories, please visit www.virtualmuseum.co.uk.

The Precinct was a favourite for us as kids because at the roundabout end (where the buses turned round and headed back to town) there was a covered walkway through to the Precinct proper with a kiosk (all wood and 'posh' looking) in the middle that sold sweets and the Post Office was to one side. Next to it was the butchers, then another shop, the chemist, and then a walkway to St. Bernard's Walk. Across the walkway was the co-op where my Mother shopped. Down at the Mary Slessor end was the best sweet shop - you could buy sweets for a farthing! [a quarter of a penny] and a penny went a long way. The dress shops were down that end too, as well as a hairdresser's. Later there was a place next to the sweet shop where the kids hung out (the big boys). It must have been some sort of a cafe. Oh, and back at the bus end there was a youth centre in the middle of the roundabout too.

When we were really small Mother and Dad would take us swimming in the pool at Ryton-on-Dunsmore. There was a big 'art nouveau' building (a hotel I think) next to the pool. I really enjoyed the pool. We would go to the Swanswell too, because when I was born my Gran's house was at 39 Stoney Stanton Road. I have a picture of my Mum and Dad sitting on grass at the back of Stoney Stanton Road and the buildings half bombed out! I loved the Swanswell. Gran was a 'Target' from Birmingham and my Granddad was Randolph Charles Whale. My Mother was born in Meriden.

There was a street there where my Uncle John and Auntie Alma (technically my Mother's Uncle and Auntie Whale) lived, and they quite literally owned the street where they lived. They had a fish and chip shop in front and they lived above and in back. We would visit them there and they would feed us fish and chips! It's all gone now and as far as I can tell there is a new college there now. But the Swanswell is still there and that's good. I remember we might have had something to do with Fishy Mores too, but I don't know what.

I also remember Memorial Park, there was a paddling pool there which I loved. I also remember where the river ran under the London Road and Dad would take us there, and in the middle of the field there was this beautiful huge old tree and it had a white wrought iron seat circling it, and beyond there were more woods! Gosh I loved the woods and the river. I see on Google Earth the field is still there and there is a tree in the middle - I'd like to think it's that tree. And I remember the Carnivals! Once a year Mother would buy her china and us kids would get these silly big hats and ride all the rides and eat candy floss and they would buy me a coconut which was a favourite!

Temporary shops in Broadgate, 1950s The 'temporary' shops in Broadgate.

I remember when they were building the Precinct in town kind of, I was little. One would always meet one's date 'under the elephant' by Burton's men's shop. And the Locarno where we danced under a strobe light! Really cool. And when Georgie Best came to sing - Oh, and Geno Washington and all the cool bands playing in the school gyms! I left in 1969 and when I went back for my brother's wedding in '74 it was so very changed and I was really shocked. The subway from St. Michael's (where we would get our 22 bus home) to Owen Owen was still there but they were doing a 'dig'. They had found some ancient artifacts when they pulled down those makeshift shops on that side of Broadgate. I was upset that they had changed my city - they even had a 'freeway' (the Ring Road)!

I remember when they built the New Cathedral and when the Queen came to open it and they had Duke Ellington. I saw him again in LA with Ella Fitzgerald, and sitting at the next table to us was Neil Armstrong! I took lots of pictures in '74 and have an album somewhere in this house. My Mother, Hilda May (maiden name Whale, then married Ted Bastard from Nuneaton, then My Dad Aleksander Lisowski, and then in America Alex Bechthold), she worked in school meals when we were in school at Corpus Christi and then went to work at Wades Furniture Stores in the Precinct. She was a manager and so was her best friend Joyce James.


 
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Growing up in Willenhall, by Josie Lisowski-Love
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