Memories of Braunstone – Sheila Pike

Transcription of Interview with Sheila Pike on May 27th, 2004

Right can I just, so we know who it is, asks your name and when and where you were born so we can check the machine?

Yes, yes I’m Shelia Pike, 79 Gooding Avenue, right that’s my address now right? And I was born number 19 Calber Road, Braunstone

Okay I’ll just switch…

Tape switches off

Oakey doke, so you’ve lived in Braunstone all your life?




What are your first memories of life here, your earliest memories?

What over that side or this side? The other side, over there? The first memories is going to Bendbow Rise School and they’d got a big air raid shelter, we used to go in the air raid shelter

When was this?

How old was I? I can’t go back em; they used to take you at 5 then at the school so I must have been 4 or 5

Yes so that would have been 19…?

Yes pass! Yes, yes. I used to be in the nursery and then they used to have the little camp bed and sleep on the little camp beds and the little laundry bag to bring your overall and that home you know from school on a Friday, every Friday. And we used to have rusk in the morning you know like thick slice of bread, used to get a great big piece of that and it used to be as hard as, it used as brown as (inaudible), as hard as (inaudible) you know. And it was…

…put it on this side

…and then after that we used, then we went from that school some went Hamelin Road, some went Braunstone Hall, I went Cort Crescent down there, down at Cort Crescent

Was this during the war?

Yes and then we used to go in Webster Road and we used to go and get the coal and the coke from the coal shop that used to be there right over, where we used to go I was there on Monday on the bus, and I looked and the walls still there you know where we used to go and get the coke, queue for hours for that you know

Did everyone on the estate?

Everyone on the estate went there and if they couldn’t get none from down there they used to go down Rawdykes Road and get it from down that end

It’s a football ground now is it?

Yes where the football ground is, used to get it from down there. You couldn’t jump the queue because people would throw you at the back! You had to definitely be in the queue no what I mean? You know you couldn’t like jump the queue in buses like you know

So who used to buy the coke?

My brother he used to work down the pit, down there, my dad were a coal miner and that you know they used to be down the pit, they used to work down there

Did they have to go, this is still just, still in the 40’s?

It is yes, and they used to go from Calber Road where the new doctors is being built right there used to be a path, it used to be what they’d made ’em like a mud path or something but eventually it was that war, it was the main path what used to get the bus. It used to go to Ellis town, MerryLees, Coalville all the mining places we used to do you know

So the buses used to go out there?

Yes the bus used to go at the top of the road and the driver used to wait for the regulars you know always regular you know wait for them. You used to see them coming off Hand Avenue, coming up there on to Hinckley, top of Hinckley Road you know

Did a lot of people, a lot of Braunstone people were coal miners were they?

Oh they were most of them


Yes, yes most of them were, yes some of them were in the shoe trade and all that type of thing, some worked for the council painter and decorating because the council used to come round and decorate your rooms and that. And they used to come round painting the outside of your house and then after they’d done all the outside in the winter they used to come and do the inside of your house and that you know. It was pretty good you know yes, got some good memories really because we used to all go in a gang and we used to go down onto the park, down on the park here and we used to jump the brook, do fishing. Not like the park is now I mean it’s all altered to how it used to be you know, yes it’s unbelievable you know

Did you used to play as a child a lot on the park?

No because we weren’t allowed to come down from off the Bendbow Rise area you know from Calber Road you to come down. We used to, on Hand Avenue before the road got split there used to be a police box; we used to open it right? And there used to be a woman or a man, a policewoman or a policeman at the end of the line saying you know, as soon as you pull that door open the blue light used to go on! You know we used to pull it open just to see the blue lights go but the police used to come on their bikes, that’s when they used to ride their bikes and no cars like they have today. They used to come round you know, and one day we were there and we didn’t see the policeman in this door because you used to open the box like that there used to be a small little door and we didn’t know the policeman were there and we went to go like that as he went like that he opened his door “Got you!” we all flew off like the clappers you know! Yes we used to have you know it was alright, I mean the neighbours and everybody used to be, you could leave your doors and your windows open, go uptown, neighbours used to come borrowing a cup of sugar and that. And if the rent man come down the road you used to say “My mam said she ain’t in” and she was but we used to say “My mam ain’t in” because that’s what we got told to say you know what I mean? You know yes, yes

When was, where abouts was the police box?

On Hand Avenue on…

Near the lane?

No, no in the middle, in the middle of – you’ve got Bendbow Rise and Gallards Hill it was in the middle, in the middle of Gallards bang in the middle there you know there it used to be. And Peter Shilton the goal keeper for Leicester he used to come in your house and play with this other lad named Tony, he used to come and my mam used to be there with them like you know give them threepences and sixpences and all that lot you know, oh yes, yes

Going back to the war, can you remember Braunstone during the war?

Yes as I said before on the park they used to have the great big huts, the solders used to be on the park, airplanes used to fly right low across, just chimney high you know the airplanes used to come and, like that. They used to walk the streets the soldier had and they used to give us chewy and what have you and that you know, “Where have you got that from?” “Oh the soldier” all that sort you know

Were they different, were they British?

No they were Yanks, they were Americans, they were Yanks, what we call Yanks in them days you know. But they were on the park for ages and ages on the park, they were like a great big dome, black domes they used to be and they used to be on the right hand side of the park, the soldiers were on the left hand side and all that lot. There used to be all tents all up and fires and lord knows what you know we used to get a good hiding because we used to come down and we shouldn’t have been down. And I knew the family that lived on there the Whiteman’s they lived and born and bred on the park and then she moved into Calble Road over the road from where we lived she moved there Joyce did with all the children and all that lot. But all the children was all born on the Braunstone Park


Yes, yes

So it was, other people lived there as well as the soldiers?

Oh yes, yes there were families like me and you sort of thing you know all in er…oh there were loads of them, oh there must have been about 10 houses, 10 families living in them like. There used to be like a curtain sort of saying “Oh we live this side and they live that side” and what have you, you know and then it went further down the dome and further down and what have you. There were loads and loads of families oh there must have been what…

Why were they living on the park?

Because they were – to be quite honest I never knew why they lived on the park, they lived on the park for donkey’s years you know all the while. Then there used to be the park keeper on the park he used to have his own hut on the park where you could leave your bike and go paddling in the paddling pool and if anybody touched your bike you used to come out and give them a clip round the ear you know what I mean? And I mean today there’s no respect at all is there you know I mean no discipline today you know. Yes you know I mean as I say you get born and bred over there, the neighbours and the children that I grew up with we still know them and what have you, you know, And their parents used to know our parents sort of thing and a lot of them used to get shop outings up, well the mam’s, their mams used to get bus trips up and all that lot you know. Then we had a big party in the street for, it was a big celebration for a big party in the street, we had it from one end to the other end in the street

What celebration was it?

Em it was, oh I weren’t very old when it was

VE Day or something?

It could have been something like that, yes, yes

What’s it like, can you remember the blackout and things like that?

Yes we used to have the black curtains up at the window, yes. It used to have a big black, black piece of cloth at the window right and if you dared move it that was it. And at night time all the lights were out, there used to be a man come round and do the lights, turn the gas lights off. He used to come round in the street and turn them off and say to us “if you put them on the police will be here to, you know for you, take you away like” you know and everything yes? He used to do, but the black outs once they were up and the lights were out you wouldn’t even know apart from the chimneys that anybody was there you know on that. And then they had the epidemic up there, it was oh TB, a big load of them had, everybody all had TB and they used to go Groby Road hospital not the one down Glenfield it used to be a bit further up I think it’s LOROS now I think I’m not too sure but they used to be there isolated hospital and you used to have to get gowned all up before you go like you know. Yes that was something else what happened up there you know, yes

Was that quite common in (both speak)?

That were common, that were common that was TB, yes common, very common that were yes. Because you went to the doctor because the doctors then used to down Western Park down the hill right? Used to be on the corner there before it even moved up here on Winstanley Drive it used to be on the corner, a massive, massive great big table in there and they all the chairs and if you went at 2 minutes to 10 that lady wouldn’t let you in even if you went out to go to their toilet she would not let you back in.. 10-0clock the door were locked and you couldn’t get out no matter what you’d done until you went in to see the doctor and he let you out the side door but nobody could get in after 10-0-clock you know, she made sure of that yes. And if the kids jumped in the chairs “Get Down” you know always had a white coat, short hair frit you to death you know

Gosh, is there anything else about the war that you particularly remember?

Yes we used to have the gas masks, you know the gas masks, we used to have, there was the gas masks what we used to have and the gas masks and what the – what did our Norman have? Our Norman had, we had the gas mask, our Norman had a mask from down the pit what the pit gave him a different one altogether to what we had because ours used to be like a big piece of rubber on your face with the eyes and a great big round thing underneath here and all that lot you know, yes, yes

Yes sort of (both speak)?

Yes like a, yes that’s what it used to be, after then we used to put it on and I wished I’d have saved ours now because it would be worth a few bob now to what it would have been then in them days you know, yes

After the war if we move on a bit can you remember what were the changes on Braunstone estate just you know after the war?

Well after the war all the, well most of them went and joined up the land army, a load of them all you know joined the land army and all that lot you know. Then everybody as I say then myself I left school and then worked in the wool industry you know that type of thing you know, yes I worked in the wool industry. And the others as I say all left, went work in the land army, most of the men emigrated and all that type of thing you know

Oh really a lot of people emigrated?

A lot of them emigrated

Right, gosh, oh that’s interesting where did they go do you know?

Some went Australia, Canada. They went on this cruise thing what you could go on I think it was 5 pound or 10 pound on that cruise, on a cruise and you could emigrate then for that, I mean if I’d have known then what I know now I’d have gone, I’d have been way gone like you know. But as I say at the time when we were kids we never, we used to have bread and jam for us breakfast, bread and jam for your dinner, bread and jam you know what I mean? You used to have the ration books, you know the ration books we used to have those and go up the shop with them and take the coupons out and what have you. And then we used to, mother used to give us a list and we used to go up the Co-op on Braunstone Lane, it still exists now that co-op and we used to get the groceries and my mam used to say “Tell him I’ll pay him on Friday.” Well when Friday came she used to send us again for another load and never paid, you know money were really tight to some people like and others you know yes, yes. I was just trying to think what my brother had, what our Norman when he come out the pit, he had to come out the pit, he come out the pit to serve National Service but he hadn’t been down there long when they issued him with a gas mask and my dad did as well, he had a different one he did

When, because if they were miners, when did they stop mining? When did the miners stop mining?

I don’t know my husband will tell you because he used to be a miner so he’ll most probably know that more than I would do you know. Because he was still mining when my brother was in the army. My brother came out of the army to do national service but he was still down in the mines I think Tony was I’m sure he was, yes because Norman came out. And my dad he was part time miner then he did I’m sure he was

So people did all sorts of jobs, some went into the hosiery?

Oh a lot went into the hosiery, went into the shoes, some went into banks, everybody was sort of one minute we were all there then everybody all sort of split up and moved house and went different ways you know. Yes

What did you do for a night out or anything?

A night out, we weren’t allowed out a night out.
[Hello Kate!
That’s my granddaughter]

There used to be, the Bendbow Rise School used to open at night time where you could go like a youth club and things. But you had to go Sunday school on Sunday and if you didn’t go Sunday school then you couldn’t go there you know. We used to sort of make our own entertainment up in the street you know on our bikes and whips and tops and all that, tin can alley and things like that you know put a tin on the line and you used to kick it as far as you can and you used to hide and they used to get the tin, put the tin there and if nobody seen you, you used to go and kick the tin again so at the end of the day you wouldn’t get a chance to hide because you’d got to keep fetching the can back like you know. We used to make fires in tins, get a tin knock all holes in it, we used to go round the streets winter warmers we used to do, that’s what the soldiers on the park learnt us to do. We never had rope on there always had like a wire sort of thing and knotted thing they used to do and shown us how to do fire in one of them you know, you used to go round the street burning all the bits of paper lolly pop sticks and things you know. But the ice-cream man that used to come round up there he had, it was Esposito’s and you know all the Walt Disney characters? Right we used to get lolly pops and they used to be Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, Goofy and we used to have a book what we used to stick them in and all that lot you know if I’d have kept them all do you know what I mean?

Well you don’t do you?

Well you don’t as you getting older you don’t, when you move on “Oh you don’t want that, I ain’t taking that” and that was it like yes, yes. As I say them huts on the park they were right on the water where you go on the park near the oak tree, there. The water, because there use to be toilets on the park all the toilets used to be on the park there loads used to be there. The park used to be fenced off all fenced and everything and that you know and even now if you go up there now although it’s been raining on a very dry day, really dry day you walk and the waters coming through where the toilets used to be, you can still smell “Oh our toilets here” know what I mean you know (Dog barking) Harvey be a good boy, you know yes. No I didn’t I moved off the estate and then I got married to my first husband you know and what have you I didn’t go back on to the estate after that

Can you remember when you moved off the estate?

Geoff is 41, Anthony’s 43 this July em I still lived on the estate before Anthony was born, say 43 yes, because I got married in the March and Anthony was born in the July you know.

When did you move back to Braunstone?

I haven’t only here, only over this side

This side yes, how long have you been here?

30 – Michaels 32 this December, 32 years yes we moved from King Richards Road


…demolition houses come the demolition. Then we moved back here you know back, so my brother lived up the road and he moved there so oh my sister-in-law said, “Oh well move here” so I did and when I moved on here, down here they moved off you know so I get lumbered you know, yes

How about, so is this you grandchildren you…?

Yes, yes I’ve got my sons Anthony he’s 43 in July, the other one Geoffrey he’s 41 and Julie she’s 34 this year yes, yes

Up to sort of the last sort of topic what you remember about St. Peters

The church? I just c’t believe how it is you know

What are your earliest memories of St. Peters?

Well the earliest on that is when we used to go up there. We used to go and there used to be sections where you could go and play and all that lot you know like in the graveyards, we used to go round there and say that they’re coming out and getting us like you know what I mean you know. And we used to go fishing, there’s a fishing place at the back we used to get tadpoles and all that lot

The pond?

Yes the pond that’s been there since day one like you know yes, but the church itself I didn’t actually go regular enough day you know what I mean?

Did you go to Sunday school at all?

Not there no, Bendbow Rise we used to go Sunday school

So did you go St. Barnabas?

Yes St. Barnabas Hall down in Winifred Crescent?


Yes we didn’t go down there because we lived there to go Bendbow Rise, now the other half of Goddard’s Hill they went there you know

It was a Sunday school in Bendbow?

Yes a Sunday school in Bendbow Rise because you go, if you went on the Sunday you could go on the outings but if you didn’t, if you only went once then you couldn’t go you’d got to go about 3 or 4 Sundays to go on to the outings like you know. That’s what we used to go barbequing, not barbequing rambling and all that lot, burning sausages on a stick and stuff like that you know that’s what we used to do

Did you have regular outings?

Yes we used, yes but you had to go Sunday school though to do it

Yes, what sort of age were you a teenager or ..¦?

No I were only young about like my granddaughters age now 11 you know 12, 10 something like that you know

So it was (both speak) was it?

Oh yes we used to go to the sea-side but as I say you could go if you went Sunday school, if you didn’t go Sunday school you didn’t go. But you used to see that bus go by “Oh I’m going Sunday school next wee” you know what I mean you know. But they used to mark you off if you were regular enough to go that’s what happened like you know. Because we didn’t pay no money in them days to do it you know, it was all like funded perhaps by somebody else I don’t know you know, yes. But you know for the life of me when I went in Braunstone church and seen it, they said “Oh it was this way originally” but it’s never been that way it’s always been the main entrance, never been round the back, never

It was in the very early days everything was (background noise)

It could have been then you know. I mean the houses that got built up on Braunstone up there when we lived in Calgal Road there used to be an old green in between us and then they built 4 houses on the old green because we used to dig dens and all that lot you know

(Inaudible) when they built the street they left a gap of green and now they’ve built?

They’ve built on that green land yes because there’s 4 houses been built there now and that’s what, because we used to dig dens and all that lot and the council people when they used to come decorating your house they used to bring all the paint stuff putting up on there and all that lot used to be there and what have you. And then as I say then they built them 4 houses on Calgal Road and 4 houses on Wilmore Crescent yes that’s it on Wilmore yes

Just em, what about the shops in Braunstone and how do they compare to the shops today?

The shops at Braunstone, there used to be Hicklings in Cantell Road, a grocery shop right, then there used to be a shop called Mussons where you could go and your clothes and stuff from. There used to be a shop called Rags the butchers and then there used to be the other shop, that was a greengrocery shop as well em, no it weren’t Mores – I can’t think what that one was I can take you exactly where the shops was you know and then on Braunstone Lane there used to be the paper shop on Braunstone Lane that used to sell the papers they were a small paper shop and sweet shop and that. But the people on the estate they used to have the paper shop, the bloke down on Hand Avenue where we used to go and get it, there used to be a bloke that used to come round collecting your bets you know horse betting and all that lot you know


And then there used to be one for football and all that lot used to come round when city used to play they used to come round and see if you want a bet on the match to see who won and who didn’t. Then in our house my mam used to have the big wooden table and there used to be about a dozen playing cards all round the table they used to do you know, yes my mam used to have that you know. But what me and sister done and one of my friends cut the tablecloth so that the money would go underneath so when everybody had gone you lifted the tablecloth up and we used to share the money between us you know! A big thing that was on a Sunday afternoon that was regular that was at my mams house yes, oh a really big thing then you know like in them days you know. My dad used to clean all the packs of cards, he used to get the cloth and some warm water and he used to rub all the cards clean and if we touched them a clip round the ear hole know what I mean? Yes

(Both speak) cards?

And to go in anybody’s house you sort of knocked on the front door, let you in and when you went in the living room you used to knock again not like now everybody all walks in you know what I mean you used to knock on all the doors and all that lot you know. You couldn’t call people by the first names you used to have to call them by their married names sort of thing you know

Yes different (both speak)

Yes different thing yes, oh yes

Did you, did Braunstone people do you know did they have to go in to town very much?

Yes they used to go, well yes because there used to be the L1 and there used to be the L2. The L2 used to come from the Newark in the town it used to come up Hinckley Road, go along Hand Avenue right that way and then it used to go from there up to Braunstone Lane at the top and the bus stop’s still up there now that’s still there – go on either them buses and it used to be a penny to go into town and that you know it used to be, yes, yes three pence for a grown up I think or sixpence for grown ups and then a penny for us and that you know, yes that’s what I say if I knew then as much as I know now I’d have saved all my pennies and halfpennies and what have you, you know yes

Is there anything else about that you thinks important that we should know for the local Braunstone history?

…local history

Or things that you want to say about local history?

The only thing I would say you know like for the history was all the people at Braunstone was all one big community you know and when the girl Dianne got murdered everybody at Braunstone were out looking for her and that would be I think today if anybody went missing up there


Like that family that died at the sea-side, my granddaughters doing a concert next week with, you know for it and everything. I mean Braunstone itself, there’s good and bad on all the estates but if the council put the right people in right, I think you’ll find that Braunstone then would be a better estate to what it is now you know. Because I mean there’s still some good people up there that I know what still live over there…


…you know that I’ve been born and bred with like that still live there you know and what have you but as I say it’s people that move in it that spoils it for everybody else like you know, yes. But I would say it’s the, the public and all that lot that live up there you know the community itself and what have you, you know

It’s always had a strong…

It’s always been that if anybody were in a mess right they would go, you know Braunstone would help you out sort of thing even if the police were after you. I mean years ago there was the red caps come years ago looking…

Red caps?

Yes oh yes it was red caps not like it is in this day and age. This bloke went on the run from Borstal right and they used to have these white Macs on so you knew exactly where they come from because the Macs gave you away and this bloke went missing and the red caps Bendbow Rise and Gallards Hill both, the Calbel Road and you know in your lofts in your roof? They walked, used to go through to make sure they weren’t there, they’d crawl in your coal house but everywhere where you think “Oh they won’t find me here” and you know…

So the red caps were they police?

Yes like police yes army police sort of thing…

Oh I see

…you know like that and peak caps and all that lot and what have you. And we daren’t sort of come off the front gate to go on the road you know what I mean? We had to, we daren’t, frit to death to move like you know, yes as soon as they pulled all up – terrible. They got the bloke in the end you know I don’t know whatever did it happen to him but they did get him in the end, yes they found him up somebody’s chimney breast that’s where he was hiding and they found him up there! If it wasn’t for the soot falling down he’d perhaps still be up there you know what I mean you know? Yes and I mean that’s a long while years ago that, I was only about our Hollies age, 6, I remember them plain as punch even now swinging the cars round at one end, the other end walking down the street like that you know and what have you and all of them together, across the road like that they used to be. You go in that house, you’d be in that house you know and you couldn’t say “No you can’t come in” it’s “We’re in” you know


They used to question the kids and…
Tape switched off
…have you seen this blokes name “Have you seen him?” So if the kids said yes, “Well tell us where you live and we’ll go and see your mam and dad” you know what I mean. But the kids got warned they’d come in but “Don’t say note else you’ll get a good hiding” you know what I mean so the kids never said nothing. But he was up the chimney yes, terrible

Hokey doke well thanks very much

You’re welcome; you’re welcome if there’s anything you know anything that you know

…you remember

Tape switched off

…about the mine more so than I would do like you know. I know my brother were there and my dad were there you know

Tape switched off

…farm and where there building that doctors there don’t go there, go the last piece what they’re doing and you’ll see a path going up there and if you were sort of in an areoplane you would see that path even more you know what I mean because it was a permanent thing that they used to do. My dad used to have a miners bag, a dark green bag a browny coloured with a clip and a Davey lamp and the miners hat and all that lot you know what he used to have. And he used to clip us round the ear hole for playing about with it like you know my brother as well you know. But as I say apart from everything else you know I mean I had some happy times over there it’s the people, half of it it’s the people that’s just neglecting it, couldn’t care less you know. But the community itself they all stick together. I mean when you go up the church up the road there there’s a lot of people there what were born and bred over there you know what I mean you know. And some of their families there were 9 and 10 in the family you know, you used to share the 3 bed roomed house, I mean today it wouldn’t be never heard of but in them days in was

So 9 people it would be quite common to…?

Oh ah yes 9 and 10 people living in 3 bed roomed house, used to sleep top to toe and what have you and all that you know

Were the families quite large?

Yes there were some large, large really big families yes the McManus’s they were large, the Paces were large, em the Curtis’s, the Nethercutt’s, the Ewedines they was all big, big family. And every Saturday this bloke used to come with his wheelbarrow and used to bring vegetables on every Saturday he used, on Pollard Road, he used to come every Saturday with his wheelbarrow and he used to come one day in the week as well he did. And then he used to come, then he got a friend of hissen to bring all fruit and veg on it, all fruit and stuff and there used to be 2 of them doing it

Oh I see they used to come.

Tricky Norman, his name were Tricky, Tricky Norman his name were and he lived in Pollard Road and he used to come regular as clockwork like the market stall bloke used to come you know, yes like that

And they used to come regularly (both speak)?

They used to come regular as clockwork yes, yes regular as clockwork every Saturday afternoon regular as clockwork. Then on Sunday morning there used to be a bloke come round with his lorry Downey’s, and that house is still on Braunstone Lane now but he used to come every Sunday and he used to sell all veg, fruit and there weren’t much you couldn’t get off him even tinned stuff and all that lot but he used to come every Sunday and all that lot you know

So the mobile shops were…?

Oh yes, yes you could get all sorts yes not like today I mean like now the shops of today don’t sell half what they did in them days you know I mean everything that’s like in a tin or in a fridge you know what I mean or frozen. We used to get cooked meat and all that lot, ham and bacon and all that lot and cheese and stuff, used to be all this great big wrapping stuff and everything you know yes, as I say not like it is today you know, no

End of Interview

This entry is dated Friday, April 8th, 2011 at 12.34pm and is filed under History.

Top of the page