What Work did the Residents of Wedderburn Road have?
After the rapid change of tenancies in the early part of the century, Wedderburn Road households tended to become more stable from the 1930s. Rosa spent her childhood here in the 1930s and 40s. She can recollect many of the families who appear on an electoral register for 1945. Una, who moved to the road in 1964, is also able to recall many of the same neighbours. The men are still generally from the skilled manual class; Harry Harris was still painting and decorating and refurbished rooms for Rosa’s family. Another decorator was William Stanton, who lived at St Mary’s. The Kelly’s Directory 1938 provides more information about occupations. Albert Davies from No 14 was a boot repairer and Philip Porteous who lived at No 18 was a clock and watchmaker. Thomas Preece from Beacon View is listed as a taxi driver. These men were self employed and most carried out their business from home.
Roy, Rosa and Una have added more information. William Pearce of Clarence Villas was a quarryman, while Mr Lanham was a road sweeper. (Streets like Wedderburn Road were cleaned weekly. Men used a hand cart, brush and shovel until the mid 1960s. Rosa can remember steam rollers arriving in the road in the 1930s after tarmac had been laid for the first time. She also has memories of socks being covered in black sticky tar!). Roy’s father worked for Kenwricks, the grocery stores in Barnards Green. He delivered groceries to outlying villages like Castlemorton and would collect the grocery list for the following week.
Mr Tummey from No 26 (Northfield) was a butcher and was responsible for slaughtering cattle and supplying meat to shops such as Cridlan and Walker and Spencers. The last named butchers had premises in Court Road next door to where the bakery now operates (on the right hand slide, if you are looking at the bakery). The slaughterhouse buildings behind the butchers can still be seen.
Another resident, John Hayes from Eastfield Cottages, was a chauffeur. After the war he regularly organised char-a-banc trips to places such as Blackpool to see the illuminations.
Taking in laundry
Laundry for local businesses was undertaken by several women in the road. In the early 1950s Mrs Cunningham (No 41) took in laundry for Malvern College and, helped by another lady called Kitty Clarke, specialised in washing socks. Next door, at Eastfield Villa lived Mrs Beard and she too operated a laundry; her husband would often be seen pushing a hand cart full of laundry to the house. Perhaps the most well known of the Wedderburn Road laundresses was Annie Stanton, a spinster living in Burnlea. Water was boiled in a copper heated by a fire below, and the water was tipped into a wash tub called a dolly. It was hard work which involved Annie starching and bleaching garments as well as using gauffering irons on pleated or fluted items of clothing. Rosa recalls a coke stove that heated at least 12 flat irons which Annie used in rotation once the clothes were dry. The finished laundry was placed into big wicker baskets and transported in Annie’s car, back to the large town houses and colleges. Once emptied they were filled with the next wash load. Rosa helped with the delivering. A fascinating footnote to her activity relates to what else she laundered, namely sanitary towels from the Girls’ College!