Interpreting the Greencroft Street Mosaic

1) Bonfire and fireworks.

The children of Greencroft Street celebrated Bonfire Night by building a huge bonfire on the Greencroft. People would come from across the City to watch, or set their own fire, and to let off fireworks. There was also competition between the Greencroft Street children and the gangs of other local streets as to whose bonfire was the best!

Phyllis Maple (born Rampart Road 1919) remembers “We used to have our bonfires in the Greencroft every bonfire night. Boys and girls used to go round and collect all the rubbish from the different households and burn it all up in the Greencroft and they pinch somebody else’s bonfire to make their’s bigger while they was gone to get some more from somewhere else, and it was good fun.” Ken Edwards (born on Greencroft St in 1944) remembers “… come bonfire night people from all over town used to come to the Greencroft and bring their own fireworks and you’d have circles of groups of families all setting off their fireworks… from about six o’clock to ten, eleven o’clock at night people up there and it was quite a community, quite a gathering.”

2) Jim Smith’s frog.

Jim and Mary Smith ran the popular ”Little Junk Shop” on the corner of Greencroft Street and Salt Lane between 1960 and 1988. Jim wrote and illustrated a wonderful series of children’s books about “The Frog Band”. You can read more about The Little Junk Shop here

3) A typical back garden!

Jan Truckle (grew up on Greencroft Street in the 40s and 50s). “In Greencroft Street we had a sitting, a front room, a middle room and the middle room just had the cooker in it and the old fashioned fire place which you stoked up and it had its own oven and then the back door just opened out onto a yard with a sink and a tap with a corrugated bit and we used to wash out there and everything, well except when it was iced up. And then you went up four steps up to the top of the garden and there was the loo at the top of the garden, and even when we were children on a cold wet night we would just get our coats, open the door and go up the garden to the loo without even thinking about it.”

4) Children playing on karts.

Michael Winterman (lived on Greencroft Street from 1942) “I remember that we used to have little trolleys with four wheels on with string on the front wheels that you could steer it by and there was almost a competition to have the best trolley in the street and we would rush around Greencroft Street and Salt Lane and St Edmund’s Church Street and back up Winchester Street and go right round this block to see who could go round the fastest.”

5) Iris and her “curtain” dress!

Iris Evans was born on Greencroft Street in 1942 and lived with her Grandparents. Iris’ Grandmother was obviously a talented seamstress: “And I thought it was very funny because every year they bought new material for curtains, for the front of the house, but extra material was bought so that sundresses could be made for me to wear, through the summer holidays. So, I can remember one year I had tulips to wear all through the holidays, and another time it was apple blossom. So whatever new curtains came to the house, I had to wear the sundresses to match.”

6) Ron and his tank pop in for tea.

At the end of the 2nd World War, two Churchill tanks had to be delivered to Wilton from Bovington camp. Ron Holloway, who has lived on Greencroft Street for 81 years, arranged a slight detour and the two tanks were parked outside number 54 so that Ron and his mates could pop in for a cup of tea with Ron’s Mum!

7) Street parties.

“Street parties were wonderful and of course we had a very special one for the Queen’s Coronation and they had a big party right down through the street for the children…” Iris Evans

8) Chatting outside.

Many former residents remember the women of the street bringing their chairs outside onto the street at the end of the day to knit and chat. In the 1930s Miss Roberts from number 33 would provide musical accompaniment on her accordian.

9) The Salisbury Timber Company

The Salisbury Timber Company was situated between The Barley Mow and the Methodist Church. It provided a constant whirring background noise to life on the street, as well as being a source of kindling for open fires!

10) Nelson Morris

Nelson Morris horse meat dealers was situated at the Bedwin Street end of the street. You can still see the “NM” on the building today. When they had horse meat to sell they would put out their “Meat Today” sign. Our mosaic has a couple of dogs waiting hopefully.

11) The Barley Mow pub.

Described as the hub of the street, The Barley Mow was situated between the Timber Company and Salisbury Printing. Ken Edwards remembers as a boy being sent over to buy beer from the “Jug and Bottle” at the side of the pub. A thriving pub from the 1830s to the 1960s, it was converted to 2 houses in 2005.

12) Rats!

In the 19th and early 20th Centuries this area was one of Salisbury’s poorest. There was a rather snide saying that the only things plentiful in Greencroft Street were “rats and brats” – a reflection of the large numbers of children who would have lived here.

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