Wedderburn Road extras
More memories have been sent via the website from former Wedderburn Road residents, and three all relate to the same house! One contributor grew up in the road in the early 1950s and has provided some very interesting photographs as well as more recollections about how the young neighbours entertained themselves.
Rex and his family moved to the large house at the bottom of Wedderburn Road in the mid 1950s. The house was called Cartmel then and had originally been known as Monterey. There had been a lot of land, mostly put down to orchard, but almost half was wanted by Malvern Urban District Council to build the new Moat Way estate. According to the 1945 Register of Electors, which lists both owners and temporary residents of voting age, a Miss Piercy and William Cubben resided at the address. It has not been established who actually owned the house but 6 or 7 years later, it is thought that Mr Cubben was offered something in the region of £200 for his land by MUDC. If he refused then the land would have been requisitioned for about £50. Does anyone else have more background to this transaction?
An early photograph has been provided by Rex showing the narrow passageway connecting Wedderburn Road to the new estate on Moat Way. It is clear that pedestrains were using this access at least 60 years ago!
Rex has many fond memories of playing with other young boys in the road. He and his brother had a marvellous tree house built in a pear tree. This stood at the front and looked up towards the hills. The boys could remain in the tree house virtually undetected and watched the comings and goings of many unsuspecting neighbours. Fortunately a photograph taken from this vantage point has survived and gives a unique image of Wedderburn Road from its lower end.
Rex also recalls the trolley racing that all the boys seemed to enjoy. They were made from old prams, and were variously known as buckboards or go carts. The boys set off from half way down the road and there were quite a few spills and grazed knees and arms.
Another activity was even more daring and equally unsafe! A zip wire was fixed to a tree above some pig sties next to John’s garden, now No. 49. It linked to a pole half way across the garden and had a pulley that the children hung on to. One young male was not so sure fingered and unfortunately fell, crashing down on to the pig sty roof. This was a traditional corrugated asbestos roof and understandably, the owners were not at all impressed. The boy was not badly injured and was certainly scolded!
Rex recalls several of the local families, especially those with young boys, such as the Gardners and later the Lloyds at Summerlea, and the Collens family followed by the Garfitts, who lived in Oaklands. Oaklands occupied all the corner land on the south side of the road, opposite Cartmel. Today much of it has been sold off for the building of a small social housing estate (Five Oaks Close). The small lane that ran along side the property down to Bellars Lane can only be accessed by deviating round Shirley Close nowadays.
Oaklands in the 1950s was a very exciting area for young children to play in. It had a large orchard and a number of outhouses, with standing for two caravans next to the little lane. In the 1960 Street Directory published by Kelly, the caravans were named as Yer Tez Caravan, occupied by E Field, and Green Caravan where Dr P Forrester lived. There were also tennis courts belonging to Oaklands which provided sport for a lot of local people. The courts were surrounded by 6 foot high chain fencing. Tennis nets and posts were obtained by Mr Garfitt. The fruit trees in the orchard also offered a source of income to the boys. Each year they would pick the excess fruit and either sell it to the shop at the top of Wedderburn Road, or on tables outside their garden gates.
One of the most interesting photographs from this 1950’s collection is the view looking down towards the end of Wedderburn Road. Note the gas lamp which Rex and many others remember being lit daily. The road has quite a uniform appearance with no suggestion at this point in the 1950s that part of Wedderburn Road would remain unadopted. The brick sets that follow the kerbstone line can still be seen today. A large gate across the road where the gas lamp stands, is recalled by several residents.
Rex has described some vivid impressions of childhood in Wedderburn Road in the 1950s. Many support the stories told elsewhere. His father tragically died when Rex was still quite young and he remembers the fortitude shown by his mother having to care for her two sons and a large property on her own. Rex has paid tribute to the many families who rallied round and offered practical and emotional support. To support her young family, Rex’ mother offered bedsit accommodation to scientists working at RRE. A converted outhouse provided a cosy and private environment.