For the first sixteen years of my life from 1950 I lived in Wood Street. The first
years in upstairs rooms at no. 5 with my mother and father, then when my grandfather
died we moved to no 11 with my nan. The house clearly appears in the VE day photo.
It's the house by the lamppost. There were three houses together and they were the
oldest in the street. I can't be certain who, if any of my family are in the picture,
as my Uncle Bob Bishop was at the time a Japanese POW although they had no idea at
that time he was later to return safe after four years of uncertainty. So they may
not have felt like celebrating until VJ day.
My mum was born there and my nan & grandad Bishop raised their eleven children in
that house. Regretfully in late 1965 the notice came to move and the house was demolished.
In our new maisonette we had all luxuries of modern living, but after over 50 years
in Wood Street for my nan and mum it was not a happy time.
The stage in the VE day picture is at the top of the road, it's along the side of
the corner shop building which was a sweet and tobacconist’s shop. There they took
the empty fizzy drink bottles back, 1d or 3d for the return. The owners sold penny
drinks, made in old sauce bottles with a sherbet tablet. I think the choice was red,
green or yellow. On the opposite side at the top was a greengrocer. He owned a barrow
which he pushed to Stratford wholesale vegetable market and back. My dad borrowed
it occasionally. No cars then to move stuff.
Wood street was a cul-de-sac and we were always playing in the street. The ladder
bar on the lamppost was bent with the amount of swinging by the kids and the bottom
was our cricket wicket. ‘What's the Time Mr Wolf’ was played across from one side
of the street to the other. The house across the end of the street (the front faced
the High Road) had large gates onto Wood Street at the back and made a good football
goal area. I think this was the back of the old police station that served until
the new one was built near the fire station.