An Ode to Rampart Road

Rita L. Jacob

This photograph shows Rose Casey and Nora Jacob standing in front of Number 16 Rampart Road when it was decorated for the VE Day celebrations. In 1953 these flags were brought out again for the coronation of Elizabeth ll; the VE being replaced by an illuminated picture of the new Queen.
Picture by kind permission of the Jacob family
I was about three when this picture was taken. At the time, I was probably walking home from my great aunt's house which can be seen in the background.
Photograph by kind permission of the Jacob family
In the 1920s, children played outside their homes in Rampart Road but, with the increase of traffic, it became too dangerous to do so. In the 1950s, my sister and I either played in our back gardens or in play areas like those in the Greencroft and Riverside Gardens.
Picture by kind permission of the Jacob family
Dad concreted the central part of our garden over and made raised flower beds using bricks that he moulded himself. When we played, we could hear music floating out of Invicta's window, the latter often being left open.
Picture by the kind permission of the Jacob family
Rampart Road boarded up ready for demolition to make way for the Inner Relief Road
Picture with kind permission of Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum © Salisbury Museum
When this photograph was taken, a number of the houses had been demolished showing the Invicta leatherworks and some of Culver Street behind.
Picture by kind permission of the Salisbury Journal
Ode to Rampart Road by Rita Jacob
Stand 15. 'Ode to Rampart Road' by Rita Jacob. (MP3 audio clip)

Take a trip down Memory Lane,

Where I am a child again,

And terraced houses can be found,

Instead of tarred and concrete ground,

Decked in flags as in fifty three,

Or, in front windows, a Christmas tree,

Then, behind each painted door,

Familiar faces appear once more,

Diddy, Elsie, Jack and Bill,

Mum and Dad with sister, Jill,

Mr Wilder who clears the drains,

Ruth and Betty, Mrs Bains,

All members of a community,

Consigned to the pages of history!


Race along the paving stones,

To the shop Miss Lanning owns,

Inside, the oil stove spits and flares,

Illuminating the feline stares,

Buy a comic, a toffee strip,

Four farthing chews and a sherbet dip,

Go out the door, back up the road,

Watch coalman, Ben, hump a load,

Pass Bertie, in his long brown coat,

Pulling the electric baker’s float,

Now, if it is a market day,

A herd of cows may come your way,

Driven by Percy, swinging a cane,

Bound for the Milford cattle train!


Each day Mum buys fresh food to eat,

So off you go, down Milford Street!

St. Martin’s Hall is at the top,

Further on, Ralph’s corner shop,

Goodfellow’s interior is dark and old,

Smells earthy like the produce sold,

Creep over to the barrel with metal bands,

And into the grape bran plunge your hands!

Michael and Doris sell fruit from a stall,

Just inside their cavernous store,

Across the entrance, Solomon sprawls,

A shaggy St. Bernard with massive paws,

Finally, to Foster’s, a patisserie dream,

Selling confections of jam and cream!


Visit the Greencroft or Riverside,

Bag a swing, whizz down the slide,

The carousel dips as it spins around,

Sweeping your feet high off the ground,

But if you have no wish to roam,

Toys and games await at home,

Create a theatre on the stairs,

A princess’s palace beneath the chairs,

Play Donkey with a rubber ball,

Against Invicta’s factory wall,

Or find a rope and twirl in time,

To a traditional skipping rhyme,

Marbles, jacks, cat’s cradle too,

So many things for you to do!       


Picture a star filled winter’s night,

Roofs and pavements frosted white,

Outside there is no sound at all,

As fluttering snowflakes start to fall,

Fast forward past much warmer days,

When the road bathes in toxic haze,

Fumes from lorries, cars and vans,

Caught in the weekend traffic jams,

Remember Easters with eggs and chicks,

Sunday school outings, picnic trips,

Annual fairs and Bonfire Nights,

Christmases twinkling with fairy lights,

The seasons come and the seasons go,

Following the pattern of life you know!


Forget about the awful day,

When friends and neighbours moved away,

Scattered all across the town,

While bricks and mortar came tumbling down,

The construction teams then moving in,

With huge machines and tremendous din,

Now, of the buildings there’s no trace,

But you can’t erase what’s taken place,

So let me take you down Memory Lane,

Where I am a child again,

And terraced houses can be found,

Instead of tarred and concrete ground,

There behind each painted door,

A lost community lives once more!

Rita Lynn Jacob












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