Joan Williams's Memories:

In 1910 my mother's older brother was working at a building site which was to be the first suburb for rent to working class people with indoor bathrooms and electricity. He thought it was such a good scheme he went home to tell his father with the result that my grandfather with his wife, two sons and two daughters moved into 13 Northway as first tenants in 1911. He had to show good intentions with a £50 bond!

My grandfather (Thomas Martin) did not do things by half, so was soon very involved with the tenants committee etc. He also ran the allotment where Westway is now. Photographs show both sisters were very involved with the various activities before the war (1914-1918).

The elder brother was in the Territorials so was called up in 1914. He survived with the loss of one eye. The younger brother was killed in 1916. My mother was a student teacher and remained at home but her younger sister trained as a nurse and went out to France to nurse the wounded. She met her husband there and did not return to Liverpool to live.

My mother married a former shipping clerk in 1916. He was invalided out of the forces in 1917 with pneumonia so they stayed at No 13 with her parents. As he was an invalid my mother was allowed to teach. My sister was born in 1917 and I followed in 1919.

Like every child I got all the ailments. Scarlet fever was rampant - many died. I got the disease and spent 6 weeks in Mill Lane fever hospital. After I came home my sister got it and I was taken back as a carrier. While I was there I got measles then diphtheria. I was there six months in all. During that time my father died of TB so my mother, sister and I stayed on to grow up in the Suburb with my Grandparents.

We were very lucky growing up in the Suburb. We were surrounded by fields and there was hardly any traffic. In the summer we played skipping, hop scotch, top & whip, hoops etc on the road. Only a very few owned bicycles. Every Saturday we walked to the High Street to Picton baths and then changed our library books; we were great readers. In the winter we would play ludo, snakes a ladders etc in each others houses. Saturday afternoon was the cinema, the Magnet & the Grand (2d) and in the school holidays four rides for one penny on the trams to all parks. We were also blessed with numerous picnic places. The nearest pond was just up the road where the two "Northways" met (the flats are there now). The next, Harpers pond, (where Olive Mount School is now) was a bigger one and some winters we could skate there. The one by Monks Well (the swings etc are there now) was a favourite as the grass area was big enough for games. In winter Rocky Lane was fun. In those days it was a country lane with high sandstone embanments and with Pye's farm at the top.

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Page created by MRC 19 Oct 2003, last updated 5 Oct 2011