Memories of Eastern Terrace by Robert Layton

We lived in Eastern Terrace in Chapel Street, anyone remember it? The only greenery around was the bowling green at the back of The Gate pub in Booth Street, so we always tried to make friends with the landlords kids so we could go play on the grass. Does anyone remember Jean Owens fruit and veg shop or Teece`s, or Pop, the old chap with the pipe who stood in Booth Street next to the butchers shop?

We also used to go to the Regal cinema, who the hell decided to pull that place down? Mom worked as a cleaner there when it became one of those wonderful institutions 'Mecca Bingo' God help us! I have fond memories of being up on the stage and touching what used to be the screen that we watched endless films on as kids.Happy Happy days. Sunday afternoons in Black Patch Park with Dad and a football or Handsworth Park on the boats if it was sunny, how i long for those days again.

Further to my earlier comments regards Chapel Street Handsworth. Friday tea time Dad in from work with his pay packet Mom would then go 'round the corner' to Jean Owens and Higgins the newsagents and always came back with bags of sweets for us kids. Black Jacks, ha`penny chews, fruit salads, bazooka, bubble gum, flying saucers, liqourice, wood, mojos, lucky bags. Oh memories.

I remember sitting in front of the telly watching Take Your Pick with Michael Miles where the star prize was 50 quid. What would they make of who wants to be a millionaire nowadays?

We lived at 6 Eastern Terrace Chapel Street. Mom and Dad, Brothers Paul, Stephen, myself, Robert and eventually, the longed for daughter and sister, Pamela. Six of us one room, a kitchen 3 foot square and 2 bedrooms but happy as larry

Dad worked hard at Cox and Danks metal working then later at C H Fords in Tew Park Road Handsworth, where he eventually retired from with ill health, but still going strong at 80 and Mom still going strong too. We all attended Wattville Infants school then Junior School. Paul and I went onto Handsworth Technical School (later Hamstead Hall) Stephen went on to Wattville senior school and Pam went to George Dixon School for Girls.

Holidays were a day trip to the seaside via Flights coaches Soho Road, Weston, Weymouth, Rhyl were the favourite destinations, getting up at six in the morning to walk to the coach depot bleary eyed and excited for the coach to depart at about eight, picking up along the way and then eventually on to the seaside.

Our house in Eastern Terrace was one of twelve six facing six with the communal path down the middle and the toilet block at the end with six cubicles. Yes, not only outside loos but shared as well. Mr and Mrs Frennel and there son Paddy lived opposite us. Then there was Daisy and Cyril Hanson and daughters Brenda and Barbera. Mr and Mrs Pratt's sons Stephen and Nigel and a daughter Alison.

We had the end house and beyond the corrugated fence was the railway embankment and the Handsworth and Smethwick railway line. We spent many happy hours with our mates sitting on the roof of Dads shed watching the empty coal trucks "bumpin" as we called it. I think the proper term was shunting. I remember the Pullman, the sky blue steam engine as it roared past about four o'clock every day. Train spotting on Handsworth and Smethwick station putting old pennies on the line and watching the trains flatten em into half crown sized discs.

The boating lake at Handsworth Park on a sunny Sunday afternoon, bliss. We grew up and moved away Stephen and Paul to Halesowen as did Mom and Dad, me to Tividale. Pamela still lives in Handsworth. I have a wealth of happy memories wonderful Christmases playing footy in the street making go carts riding our three wheelers with that box on the back, remember them?

Ash Grove and Hampton Court were also on Chapel Street anyone from those terraces? There was an old lady who used to stand in the street in Booth Street wearing her pinny and with her purse clearly visible pushed down inside her stocking, does anyone remember who she was? The Sunday Scohol on the corner of Booth Street and Crocketts Road and the parades of Boys Brigades and Salvation Army marching through the streets on a Sunday morning. There was the Gate pub in Booth Street and another pub a little further up called The Nelson and who remembers the gents barbers next to it? The wool shop opposite and the leather factory just a little further up. I have so many fond fond and happy memories happy happy days gone but never forgotten.