Granny Rose Mason
Rose was Eric's mother. She was a country girl in domestic service
who married a Policeman, John Mason. They moved to Leicester where
John served in the City Constabulary. They lived in Newfoundpool
for many years.
John Mason PC 103 Leicester Constabulary
Rose was bedridden for the last part of her life and stayed at
Mabel's, Nora's and Olive's houses. She always had a tin of biscuits
ready for any nephews, or nieces who visited. I only ever remember
nice things about her.
When she stayed at Mable's house in Balfour Street,Woodgate,
her bed was by the downstairs window. The window was always open
even on cold days so she could chat to people as they passed by.
The house had no electricity at that time only gas and even the
radio was worked by a large accumalator. I never heard Granny
complain about life.
Grandma and Grandad Johnson
Olive's mother and father. They lived in a small terraced house/shop
in Conduit street in Highfields. Grandad was a shoe repairer but
he also had a taste for horse racing, gambling and snuff. According
to my mother, he led his wife a bit of a dance. Grandma was a
very tiny woman and the strain of having some eight children affected
One lasting memory of their house is the radio run off
accumalators, the smell of condensed milk she used in her tea
and the smell of leather. I always wondered how so many children
could have been brought up in such a small house.
Today although Highfields remains, the streets of house have
mostly gone, replaced by flats which though modern when built
are today showing their age.
Aunt Aggie, Uncle Ernie
Aunt Aggie was my mothers oldest sister and lived with her husband
in Coalville. Because of this we saw less of her. Her husband
was a coal miner and both were strong Salvation Army members.
I still remember visiting their tiny house and seeing the pit
from the back door. Life was very tough for both of them but Aggie lived to see her one hundreth birthday and get her telegram
from the Queen.
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Aunt Ethel was Olive's sister. She had an unhappy marriage
and eventually left her husband, something quite shocking at the
time. She came and lived with us for a time and while she was
of some help to my mother she had a full time job in Lewis's department
store and went out rather a lot with men my mother didn't always
To me she was a rather severe figure, a little frightening especially
in the black clothes she had to wear for work.
Today I have a lot more understanding of her and what she went
through and a lot of sympathy. Her daughter's name was Beryl
Aunt Edith, Uncle Harold, Uncle Percy, Uncle Bob
There was less contact with this part of the family although
I did sometimes visit Aunt Edith's house. I did not find her as
warm as her sister Gladys and prefered to go there. She lived
in Percival Street.
Harold, Percy and Bob I only ever really saw at family 'do's',
funerals,weddings and christenings.
Aunt Mabel and Uncle Harry
Without a doubt my favourite aunt and a second mother to me. Aunt
Mabel was Eric's sister and had two daughters. I was treated like
her son and could do little wrong where she was concerned.
To this day I think of her as a loving, warm woman who coped
with life despite so many difficulties.
She had quite a hard life, living in a house off Woodgate
with no electricity and only gas on the ground floor. Granny Rose
spent a lot of time at her house with her bed against the window
so she could speak with people passing by.
Daughters of Mabel and Harry. Peggy and especially Bernice were
great support for Olive during the war. Peggy was involved with
her boyfriend, Les but Bernice was younger and spent a lot of
time at our house. Without her I don't think my mother would have
Uncle Bill, Aunt Madge, Janet
My Father's brother, a teacher and later headmaster of
a school in Birmingham. Because Birmingham was almost as far away
as the moon we only saw him once or twice a year. He was a lovely
I did not see as much of him as I would have liked as Birmingham
was on the other side of the world in those days without cars.
The occasional trip we did make by bus or train was always a big
One of the highlights for me was seeing the tram cars in Birmingham
some of which had eight wheels while ours only had four !
Aunt Gladys, Uncle Oliver, Kath, Ron, Oliver and
Another favourite aunt, sister of my father. This family
lived on a small farm on the Groby Road, Gilrose Farm. Glady's
always saved comics for me, the Beano, Dandy, Hotspur and Wizard.
Water came from a hand pump. Glady's also had a hard life and
died fairly young. Their children, Kath,Ron.Oliver and Jack were
older than me but they were always nice to me.
The farm has long since disappeared under streets of houses.
I was brought up on milk from the farm which was delivered every
day in a horse drawn cart and measured out into jugs.
Aunt Gladys and Uncle Tom
My other favourite Aunt. Olive's youngest sister. Lived with
husband Tom in Mornington Street and had two sons John and Allen.
They were all regular visitors to our house and we to theirs.
They were never very well off and life was a struggle at times
but they were always cheerful.
Aunt Gladys I will alwys remember as the aunt with the photos
because she always had some new ones in her handbag to show around.
John and Allen
Tom and Gladys's sons who I spent a lot of time with as a child.
John went on the become a champion ballroom dancer.
Aunt Nora, Uncle Alf
Norah was Eric's sister and lived with her husband Alf
in Oban Street in the 'Pool' Being in walking distance of home,
we were regular visitors there and they came to see us a lot especially
on Sundays. Aunt Norah was a large easy going woman and I always
treated her home as mine.
She worked for a time at the Fosse cinema and was an active
member of St Augustine's church
Norah and Alf's sons. All slightly older than me but I
saw a lot of them.
Mr and Mrs Saunders and John
Neighbours whose garden backed onto ours and a gate led
through. John was my closest friend as a boy. Their house always
seemed a bit posher than ours and John was more strictly controlled
than I was. Mr Saunders used to cut local children's hair including
mine in the back garden.
Mr. Saunders was in the brick industry and this was a reserved
occupation. This did cause some jealousy I think to my mother.
John was my best friend but we lost touch when I left Leicester
at 18 to go into the Air Force.
Mr and Mrs Woodcock, Christine, Peter and Ray
Neighbours with a backing garden to ours. A nice family
and Mrs. Woodcock was a close friend of my mother and a great
help although she had three children of her own to cope with.
Mr. Woodcock was an insurance agent and after the war they set
up a bakers shop in Newfoundpool
Mr and Mrs Brown, Colin and David
Another family whose garden backed onto ours with a gate
through. Not quite as close as the Woodcocks but a nice family
all the same. Mr. Brown was in the Navy
Mr and Mrs Quinn and John
Mr Harry Quinn was a life long friend of Eric and they
were very close right up to my father's death. Lived in a house
in Barton Road which was a bit posher than ours. Mr Quinn was
one of the first people I ever knew who owned a car.
Next door neighbours who were no problem but my mother
did find some of Mr. Stevens comments on the war hard to take.
Next door neighbour disliked by all the local kids because
she would not return lost balls. Also kept a very scruffy dog
called RoRo. Held a grudge against our family for reporting her
to the wardens for having lights showing through her windows during
an air raid warning.
My dad's boss at Faire Brothers. My dad worked at Faire
Brothers all his life from 16 to 60. When he was made redundant
at 60, he considered that he had been letdown and his loyalty
to his bosses misplaced.
In fact he was an early victim of Thatcherism although he continued
to vote Tory. Fair Brothers was eventually swallowed up by a much
A boy about my age who was evacuated from London and
lived with a family across the road.
I would welcome information from present day members of
the extended families of people named in this web site, the
Johnsons, the Benifers, the Crookes, the Hardings, the Gills,
the Langdales, the Lanes, the Masons.
In the late seventies there was a family gathering at the
Cooperative Hall in Leicester at which 200 relatives turned
up to celebrate the birthday of Grandfather Johnson. Thirty
years later there must be hundreds more !
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