Going on from my last blog entry ‘Green to mud or bricks’, a certain ‘Fred Leeds’ appeared to me in the vision of this battered old photograph, taken in the mid-1960’s to validate some of my previous points, and to highlight that not all of those little spaces have been filled in as of yet.
This fantastic picture was kindly loaned to me by Sheree Leeds, who grew up on the Estate (and currently works in the Mile Cross Library) and is of her father, Mr Leeds, stood in the Raby family garden and posing by a car he’s about to give a driving lesson to one of the Raby Family in. I’m not sure what the make or model it is, but no doubt one of you magical internet pixies living out there on the other side of this monitor will be able to fill me in!
The picture was taken at some before the summer of 1965, or at least that is when it was printed and I think it’s a wonderful image. The estate looks as I remember it as a child, with many mature Sorbus trees and extensive privet hedging throughout, everything also looking a little (lot) tidier than it does now.
Mr Leeds has a cheeky smile and a likeable and somehow familiar face, although I am too young to have ever met him.
Another great element to this photo is that there are two young scamps exiting the alley riding “two’s up” on an old blue bike. To me they look like they’ve been up to no good and are rapidly leaving the scene of some boyhood misdemeanour, or they could be simply off to the sweet-shop to get some sugary treats, who knows…
It took me a while to locate where this image was taken, even though Sheree had kindly written the road name on a post-it note for me. The Raby’s house was/is on Kirkpatrick Road, but the houses in the shot aren’t the style of housing to be found on that road. It turns out his house is on the roundabout that joins multiple Mile Cross Roads together outside what is now the newer Mile Cross Primary School and the road in the background is in fact Oxnead Road. The boys on their blue getaway bike are exiting an alley wide enough to drive a car down that leads to one of those green areas purposefully left clear for allotments that I talked about in my previous blog entry.
I never knew this particular area existed until today and I like to think I know the estate and it’s maze of alleyways quite well. So, curiosity getting the better of me this morning, I decided to drive my car down there for a snout. What I found were a selection of those nasty asbestos-roofed garages that I also touched-upon in the previous blog entry, it seems that they haven’t all been knocked down, but judging by the look of them it won’t be too much longer until they make way for homes of some description. What I also found whilst I was down there was another cut-through alleyway leading to Woodward Road that I’d somehow missed on my childhood explorations of the Estate.
In a final nod to those two young lads scarpering from the scene on their blue ‘getaway’ bike I found a battered-looking OFO bike sitting on the roof of one of those garages, and that a few of those garage were had broken doors and were obviously being used as dens of some sort (I didn’t see any signs of drug usage), just going to prove that youths will always get up to no good, no matter what the year.
Sheree told me – as she handed over the photos – that she herself used to play down by those garages, smashing up asbestos sheeting and admiring the way the particles ‘floated like snow’. Oops. We’ve all been there…
Some things never really change it seems.
Sheree and her sister outside the chicken coop in the back garden of their Grandmother’s Bacton Road home:
Thanks again for reading, and thanks to Sheree for loaning me the lovely old photographs,