Memories of Sandy Ellis - a former Garden Suburb resident

In 1932, my parents lived on the Wavertree Garden Suburb, a new "village" style development on the then outskirts of Liverpool, some five miles from the City centre. I was born at home, as was the common practice in those days, on 2nd August, just an hour after the death of my maternal grandfather, "Pops" Evans. This was an age of the extended family, when one's relatives grew up and lived their lives in the neighbourhood - or at least in the same City - where they had been born.

This was certainly true of my mother's family. Her elder sisters, Auntie Gertie and Auntie "Sissie", living less than ten minutes walk away, and her brother John Evans, lived probably twenty minutes away. Mum had been born nearly twenty years after them, her twin sister dying from diphtheria as a baby - a not uncommon occurrence in those days. Her mother did not long survive the loss of "Pops" Evans, and I have no recollection of her, nor do I recollect the other brother, Jack, who together with John had spent some time in America before returning to Liverpool. Gertie was married to Robert Thompson, a keen Freemason, who worked in a shipping office in central Liverpool. With a strong Scots accent, he had served in the Liverpool Scottish during the First World War. They had two adopted daughters : "Bunty" and Vilma and lived close by, in Thingwall Road. Her other sister "Sissie" was married to Willie who worked as a docker along the six miles or more of docks which then graced the waterfront of Liverpool. He was profoundly deaf and kind but not over bright, except when playing draughts, at which nobody could beat him. They had a large family : Jackie, Robbie, Peter, Teddy and Ella and lived in Shenley Road, again less than half a mile away.

My father's family was more dispersed, his parents Robert George Ellis and Fanny Ellis, living initially in Beaconsfield Street in the Toxteth area of Liverpool, some two miles from the city centre. In those days it was not the run-down area which it is today. In 1935, we moved to a new house at 24, Wavertree Nook Road, with a much bigger garden, for both parents were keen gardeners. Some two years later, in 1937, the failing health of my father's parents,  persuaded him to buy a house for them on the opposite side of the road at number 17, Wavertree Nook Road, so that help was more immediately available. His younger brother Roy, married to Betty, lived at Mossley Hill, some three miles away. Tom, the eldest brother, worked for Vestey Brothers, the big meat wholesalers and had moved to London to work at Smithfield Market and lived at Carshalton in south London. In 1937, he was sent to Genoa in Italy to join their Italian Branch, and lived at Santa Margherita on the Ligurian Riviera. With the second world war looming, he married his house-keeper, Angela and returned to London. He was then seconded to the Ministry of Food and was evacuated with them to Colwyn Bay in North Wales.

LEFT: 24, Field Way - the house where I was born

RIGHT: 24, Wavertree Nook Road

© COPYRIGHT Sandy Ellis 2001                            Read MORE ...

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