Trevor Hipgrave

Read about Trevor Hipgrave's memories of living on the Oxford Road!

Trevor Hipgrave

'I have so many memories of living in Oxford Road and will try to share some of them.

I lived at 831 Oxford Road for about 20 years when I left for New Zealand. We lived just opposite the fish and chip shop which was run by a guy named Arthur. I worked there as well for a while, next to there was a chemist and then a greengrocers. At the other end of the row of shops was Kirkhams grocery shop. One back from there was the newsagents/sweet shop where I had my first job as a paperboy. A lot of the local children used to deliver the morning paper.

The pub at the end was called The Bell back in the day and was a place where we drank when we turned eighteen (or before if we could get away with it)! Further down the road was The Roundabout pub. The other way, in towards town, was the Pond House, another watering hole'.

The Pond public house, 783 Oxford Road, Reading, in 1986 (c) Reading Libraries Local Studies Collection

'Out further on the Oxford Road was The Roebuck which had a railway bridge down to the river. Boats would tie up at the jetty and cross the bridge to the Roebuck for a drink. As kids we used to go trainspotting from the bridge and it was exciting when a steam train went under where we were standing and we got covered in steam and smoke.

Back from The Roebuck was Tilehurst Railway Station which also had a walk-way to the river with a gate that needed a penny in the slot to open it. But as kids we just climbed over it! Further back towards Reading were the railway goods yards where we played as kids. It also had a huge water tank to refill the steam trains. We would play hide n' seek in the yard and get kicked out if spotted. 

Scours Lane was off the Oxford Road which led to the Lido in the River Thames where lots of us kids learned to swim and also went fishing. Next to Scours Lane was the greyhound race track, which was also used for speedway at a later date. As kids we would go under the stands at the back and search for money dropped through from the stands into the dirt below. Was quite lucrative at times!'

Greyhound Racing at Reading Stadium, 1945 (c) Reading Museum

'Most of the children in the area went to Govelands School which was a great school with Mr Chandler as headmaster and I had a Mr White as one of my teachers. There was a police box next to the school and a toilet block next to that with penny in the slot toilets which us children went over or under!

At the shops near Norcot Road there was a hairdresser which all of us kids called the "blind barber" as he had really thick glasses. When sent for a haircut we would say, 'Can we go to Golds hairdressers?' This was further away and not the "blind barber"!'

The shop of B. Gold and Sons, gentlemen's hairdressers, at 517 Oxford Road, Reading, in 1986. Photograph by Sidney Gold (c) Reading Libraries Local Studies Collection