Wilshere Avenue childhood memories – Brian Gilson

2013-08-21 09.57.18Brian Gilson was born in 1943 and spent most of his childhood living in 66 Wilshere Avenue. He has many fond memories and anecdotes of playing in St Stephen’s field where cattle from St Julian’s farm grazed. He remembers the coronation, playing behind the shop fronts in Vesta Avenue, the King Harry pub, playing in a disused air raid shelter in the garden of the Nicholson family, and even finding stolen goods in the hedgerows. He talks about father who worked at the gasworks. His talks about his mother who was born in Albert Street.

Interview date: 21 August 1013. Interviewer: Sandy Norman.


  1. sheila greenall

    Hello Sandy my grandmother was one of the frist people to move in to 30 wilshire ave i was born at 30 wilshire ave they passed away in that house i have so many memories growing up there regards sheila shears Greenall

      • sheila Greenall nee shears

        Hello Sandy sorry for not getting back to you about my memories of living down Wilshire Ave, they were great. My grandmother lived at 30 Wilshire from the 30s till her death in 1982. We played on the back field to her house: cowboys, hide and robbers, and nick the coal from the gasworks. I used to swing on the bars on Wilshire going down to Doggett’s Way with my best friend who used to live on Wilshire Ave – sorry I cant remember her name. I remember coming down the hill in the snow and falling off around the bend by the brids house and broke my arm in two places – boy did I get it from my mum and gran then. How are you? I was born at 30 Wilshire in 1945. My dad was in the army then. I miss them days thank you Sheila Shears Greenall

  2. George Nicholson

    I´m George Nicholson of “78”, probably the sole survivor of Wilshere. my recollections of our air-raid shelter are, after the sirens sounded we were bundled into it, together with the “Lees” next door, and the family Cookman from “51” across the road bringing with them their portable gramophone for singalongs We used to play cricket in the field described by Brian (dubbed by us older ones as Muir´s field, and football at – known as the bottom end near Mercers factory. Most of our time we played “up the alley” where there were numerous hushes – we played Cowboys -Soldiers -Robin hood, depending on the film of the week at Odeon. We used sticks as rifles to march with on our shoulders or to “shoot our opponents, also used as swords to play Robin Hood Games.In the bushes we ambushed or were ambushed by our “opponents”. In the winter during the snow, we lugged our sledges up as far to “88” and tobogganed down the hill as far as Doggets Way, and had snowball fights.Myself with lads form Wilshere and Vesta Ave were in the Choir at St. Stevens Church. From there, later we joined the 11th Scout Troop. Meetings were held in Cavalier Hall part of St. Stevens Church. On V.E Day Wilshere (up our end) celebrated with bunting strung across the road and dancing to my dads accordion, and somehow (during rationing) food and drinks on tables cordially provided.

  3. Derek

    I lived at 55 Wilshere until 1985. My father was born in the countryside at Daneswick Farm, Noke Lane, So being the son of a Farm Bailiff he knew lots about the “country ways”. Our front garden always had lovely flowers and plants in it. Sheila Greenall has told me it was mostly so lovely to walk past on her way to the Vesta Avenue shops. I reckon to her it was like walking past the Chelsea Flower Show. In our back garden my father grew vegetables, you name it he grew it. Potatoes, Cabbage, Carrotts, Runner Beans, Brussell Sprouts. There was also an apple tree. He even had an allotment in Cottonmill Lane. I don’t think my mother even visited a greengrocers. She didn’t need to we had everything in our back garden. Sadly my father’s “green fingers” were not extended to me. Also sadly when I look at Google Street view of 55 Wilshere Avenue now the front garden is paved over for a car and overhead on satitlite view the back garden is all grassed over


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