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Special constables Streetly WW1

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thanks, Pedrocut. (Is that 105 or 106?) Whichever.....it's apparently the other sequence, a couple of miles back down the Chester Road from Streetly and near to the Beggars Bush etc. I think that part is/was called Chester Road North.

Chris
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thanks, Pedrocut. In fact this is yet another Chester Road, the one in Kidderminster!

I had an aunt who lived just off it and it used to confuse me mightily as a small child, leaving MY Chester Road in Streetly, travelling for ever with my mother on at least two Midland Reds via New Street and eventually getting off in a road called "Chester Road". There was so much I didn't understand then about life - it's still a problem - and this was just another mystery to add to the list, never to be explained.

Chris
 

Glennys Jean

master brummie
105 was Foden + Lyons, as George Henry Foden married a Lyons. Never mind, there's a lot of Fodena virus about just now. :)
Chris, You must disregard what I say above about George Foden marring a Lyons which in incorrect.

In fact at number 105 is Ada Foden and Frederick Richard Lyon. There may be others there but I am not allowed to see that.

When Ada died in 1940, her beneficiaries were (her brother) George Henry Foden, (her sister) Alice Emma Foden / Lyon, and (her brother in law) Frederick Richard Lyon.

Chester Road in 1939:
91 Darlington, 93 Richards, 95 Farrington, 97 Jessop, 99 Behague, 101 Myers, 103 house empty,
105 Foden + Lyon, 107 Morgan, 108 Bassford, 109 Parkes, 111 Stainsby, 113 Markwick

I can go on if til 160 if need be, but I didn't find any other Fodens. :)
 

Glennys Jean

master brummie
Glennys Jean

I am sorry to bang on about this very minor aspect of the Foden history - and move away from Special Constables - but there is now the suggestion that it impinges to within about 20 yards of the house where I was born.

That is, if we are talking about the right 105 Chester Road.

The occupants of "my" number 105 were, I am 95 percent sure, there in 1939. (If not they must have moved in not more than a year or so later, but I have no recollection of such a momentous event as the moving-in of a new family so close to us). They were a couple in their mid to late sixties, Frederick and Alice Lyon/Lyons. I am pretty sure about their Christian names and absolutely certain about their surname. They were childless. Mr Lyons had retired from a job in a leather goods shop in the Great Western Arcade in Birmingham and had used a large area of land behind his house, beyond the garden, to create a small market garden. There he raised chickens in a series of ramshackle sheds and grew large quantities of vegetables which were regularly shipped to Rose's, the greengrocers on Kingstanding Circle. I spent much of my spare time as a young child "helping" him – he was a kind and, obviously, a very patient man!

I am of course suffering from the Fodena virus and it causes me to have the strong feeling that there was, somewhere or other, a Foden connection in one of these houses. I went off on the wrong track with Mr and Mrs Richards and am now wondering whether there was something connecting the Lyonses. A relative perhaps? Although the only relative I recall was the sister of one or the other of them whose married name was Eldred.

What is critical is the correct identification of the number 105 house. Is the name of any of the neighbouring families readily available from the 1939 census so that we could pin it down? It is fascinating that there is a Lyons/Foden connection here somewhere. I feel that the Fodens are closing in on me......

Chris
Lovely memories of your childhood, Chris
 

Glennys Jean

master brummie
I have tried to find out where Ada Foden ties in with us.

She was the daughter of John Foden b1847 Erdington . He was the son of Matthew Foden b1821 Gravelly Lane, Erdington.

Looking back on the thread 'Children of William Foden' #92, MWS tells us there was a Matthew b1820 to the elder couple John & Sarah, I think not to mix with John & Sarah 'younger' !
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
This is all a bit distant from Specials in 1915 but I think we are still in the spirit of the thread, which is Foden family history. So....

Thanks, Glennys Jean, the information about households ties it down wonderfully. In summary:

At no.105, Chester Road, Streetly, there lived in 1939 Frederick Lyon, his wife Alice Emma (Foden) Lyon and Alice's sister Ada Foden. Ada, presumably a spinster, died in 1940, the beneficiaries of her estate being Alice, Fred and her brother George Henry Foden.

Fred and Alice continued to live in the house for several years until their eventual deaths, probably in the 1950s. I was born next door but one to them. Unfortunately I have no recollection of Ada, of her presence or of her passing. The latter would have been a major event locally but I was only four and was perhaps protected from it. I imagine that Ada can only have been in her sixties when she died but that, to me, would have been a very great age.

Social history and personal reminiscence alert..... Skip as appropriate!

And so I only remember their home as occupied by Fred and Alice Lyon. Perhaps Ada had been part owner of it. The house was a little older - perhaps 10/15 years or so? - than those adjacent to it which were built in the early 1930s. It had running water but was lit by gas with its gentle hissing sound (and occasional pop!) There was one of these ceiling lights over the table in their living room. It was there that we played cards, my mother and I and the two of them, on many a winter evening and these were occasions when I recall laughing to an extent which I think I rarely experienced again. Fred would trump Alice and she would turn on him and yell "You miserable old BUGGER"... Music to the ears of a five or six year old from a household where the strongest language ever heard, in the times of greatest frustration, was "Damn!" or "Blast!".

The very fragile gas mantles had to be carefully removed from the ceiling lights from time to time and replaced, being handled with great care. The precious wireless set was powered by an accumulator which had to be taken from time to time for recharging – possibly at a local garage like Cutler's. And in the hall stood a massive aspidistra plant which towered over me. Part of Ada's legacy, perhaps?

I have mentioned before that Fred and Alice ran this market garden operation which required considerable physical effort. Alice played her part but she was moderately disabled, physically, and walked with a stick. I remember, to my shame, hanging out of our bedroom window, looking across at her as she hobbled up their garden path and shouting "Hurry up, Slowcoach!" My elder sister was horrified and instructed me on the error of my ways, the importance of other people's feelings and so on - a lesson which I took on board. The incident never affected Alice's attitude to me, however, and she and Fred always treated me with kindness and patience, however much a nuisance I must have been to them. It is strange that Alice was a Foden, although of course I didn't know it. From a very early age - hence the "slowcoach" reference, perhaps - I always likened her to one of those late 1920s/early 1930s Midland Red buses as she walked, swaying from side to side, cheeks puffed out and huffing and puffing more than a bit, labouring up the garden path.

It's a shame I cannot provide an image of either of them. The best I can do is show you their bedroom window! (Left hand third of image, from July 1942)

LyonBedroom.jpg

And a glimpse of Fred's market garden (top left hand edge of image from 1936 – you can just see the chicken sheds; and the land on which Fred grew his vegetables stretches right down to the distant hedge and by the side of the ploughed field. I wonder if he is there, somewhere.

WindyridgeGardenca1936img05.jpg

It will be good to know for definite how Alice, Ada and brother George Henry fitted into the vast Foden family and connected with those following this thread who are part of it.

Chris

PS
Finally, just for the record and whilst it's in my mind, I'll make a brief comment about most of the households which have been mentioned, just to show how the War affected many of the families in a typical suburban row of houses at the time.

91 - Darlington, an older couple with a married daughter, son-in-law and young child living with them. Son-in-law away in the Far East (perhaps Burma?) for most of the war and the child did not knowing him on his return

93 – Richards. An elderly couple, the wife known as Nurse Richards and undertaking voluntary community work never seen out of her grey uniform.

95 – Farrington, a younger/middle-aged couple, the husband, a civilian, died on a business trip to the Middle East, probably Egypt, in 1939 or 1940.

97 – Jessop, unknown but succeeded 1940-ish by Holt, a youngish family with a baby, the husband owning an engineering business

99 – Behague, a younger couple with, during the war, two young children, the husband full-time in the AFS/NFS throughout the war, in Birmingham and other cities subject to air raids.

101 – Myers, middle-aged with three children, husband Home Guard 1940/44, wife WVS, elder son from 1942 Royal Artillery, 8th Army North Africa, Sicily, Italy.

103 – Bacon, from late 1939/very early 1940, one daughter born March 1940, husband from shortly afterwards until the end of the war Royal Artillery in Malta.

105 – Lyon, elderly, feeding the nation, as above

107 – Morgan, middle-aged with son who probably served in Army later in the war

109 – Parkes, unknown to me

111 – Stainsby, unknown to me

113 – Markwick, younger with children, husband our local ARP warden.


Chris
 

Glennys Jean

master brummie
So glad the thread has helped you bring back so many memories. I've really enjoyed hearing about Fred & Alice and their way of living, and thanks for the photos of his market garden - which made me think about gt grandad James who would have had his nurseries so near there too.
 
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