Greencroft Street memories

Contributed to the website by Michael Safe

Michael Winterman’s contribution brought back many memories. I was born in 1934 – our house in the early days comprised a front room, a kitchen with a coal-fired range ( which had to be regularly black-leaded) and a scullery, with a “copper” in one corner for boiling up the weekly wash, a yard with an outside toilet, then up steps to a small back garden. Baths were taken in the scullery in a tin bath. Things started to improve late on or after the war: a gas cooker for example, but still an outside loo and no bathroom. The street came off lightly during the war, although some incendiary bombs and bullets did find their way there. Two bedrooms and a small boxroom upstairs. At No 12, my grandmother brought up seven children in a similar house, but with an attic.

As Michael says, there was a great community, us children could happily play in the street and then, when we were a bit older, there was the Greencroft and the wartime wilderness which was the “Council Grounds”, aka Dr Bourne’s, the park behind the new Police Station, formerly the Council Offices. I mentioned the Greencroft – one of the attractions was exploring the air raid shelters which were installed for the war. Very creepy and exciting for young lads.

I remember the “lodging house”, which was entered from Winchester Street. On the corner was Marshall’s Bakery with an open yard on one side of which fresh bread was stored in racks. Naughty boys (not me, of course) would creep in and pinch tasty bits of crust.

One vivid memory is the celebration of VE Day, largely stoked by the Barley Mow. Dancing in the street, fancy dress competitions etc,. I still have a handsome octagonal pint glass, found on the blast wall outside our front window the morning after. We always pronounced it as Maow not Mow.

Always in the background was the noise of the saws of the Salisbury Timber Company. Oh, and I must mention Acton’s Garage and body repair shop on both sides of the end of the street towards Winchester Street. On the corner of Guilder Lane and Milford Street was Foster’s Bakery, which was considered to be superior to Marshall’s Bakery, rightly in my opinion.

As to Milford Street, I remember visiting the very old building on the corner of Rampart Road and Milford Street as a member of St Martin’s Wolf Cubs. I’ve since learned that at one time this corner was known as “Safe’s Corner”.

Those are my immediate recollections, but if they are of interest I’ll happily search again down memory lane for more.

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