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Memories of Cressage Road, Brentford, 1940s

In June 2024 Karen and her sister Sarah sent memories of their mother, Sheila Green, who lived at Cressage Road:
'Mum was Sheila Green, now Sheila Richens.  Both her parents and all the aunts and uncles have passed but her sisters, Audrey and Barbara, are still with us'.

The Greens lived at No5 Cressage Road, Brentford. It was a three bedroomed terrace house, with a front room (for best) and a dining room downstairs. The coal cellar was opposite the dining room. There was a cold water tap in in the scullery at the back of the house, and a cooker, but the toilet was outside in the back yard. Baths were taken in a tin bath in front of the fire in the living room.

As was common with all the houses in the area, the house was packed with people. It was actually Nanny Elizabeth James' council house. Elizabeth slept in the second bedroom; in the first bedroom was Tom (actually Alfred but everyone called him Tom) and Nellie Green (Elizabeth's daughter), and their daughters Sheila and Audrey. Nellie's brother Arthur slept in the box room; he was deaf and so couldn't serve in the war.

Next door at No6 were the Smiths. Ivy was their daughter; her father was a much older man than her mother. In WW2, he was too old to serve so he was a fire warden. Mrs Smith and Ivy would often come to take refuge in the Green's Anderson Shelter in their back yard, while Mr Smith was out patrolling for fires. During a bombing raid in (probably) 1944, no one had yet gone into the shelter (they liked to wait to see how bad the bombing would be!). There was a knock on the door of No5; it was Ivy. She said her mum had fallen and she needed help, but sadly her mother had actually died. As Ivy's dad was old, it was decided after that rather than send Ivy into a children's home she would come and live with the Greens. She was aged 7, the same age as Sheila, and she stayed with them until she was 14 years old.

Ivy shared Nanny James' bedroom. After the war, another of Elizabeth's sons, Robert (Bob) also moved into the house, having lost a lung while fighting in Egypt. He shared a room with Arthur. And then in 1949 Barbara was born to Tom and Nellie; this meant that Sheila and Audrey moved downstairs and used the front room as their bedroom, while Barbara went in with her mum and dad.

I make that a total of 9 people under the one roof! And as the Greens had three girls it was not considered 'overcrowded'.

At No4 Cressage Road lived the Heaths. Their son was called Raymond, and he served an apprenticeship at Sperry Gyroscope with Brian Richens. One evening, possibly around 1953, he took 17 year old Brian with him to the Gasworks Dance; there, Brian was introduced to Sheila for the first time. Brian and Sheila eventually married in 1957.

Other neighbours were the Murphys, Treadaways and Thomas's.

Cressage road was demolished somewhere around 1963.

More about the Green family at No5

Previously a bus conductor, after being demobbed Tom Green became a baker's roundsman, working for Pauls the Caterers in Ealing Broadway, eventually working up to being head of outside catering. Nellie worked in a factory, and was also an ironer (possibly in a local laundry).

Sheila went to St George's Primary and then to Brentford Secondary Modern. She left school aged 15, having learnt to type but taken no exams. She first worked at Middlesex County Council before moving into the offices at Paul's the Caterers. She helped at Sunday School at St George's Church, in the 'schoolroom', a small building next door. Sheila and Brian were married at St George's Church a couple of years before it was turned into a museum for musical instruments. Sheila said you could hear the bells ringing in the church from their home in Cressage Road.

Being near to Ealing Studios, films were often shot around the area. The Gentle Gunman starring Dirk Bogarde was shot in and around Pottery Road and the Gasworks (at the bottom of Cressage Road). Aged around 15, Sheila was a Dirk Bogarde fan: she waited in her lunch hour to see him, but eventually had to return to work, leaving Audrey (her sister) to get Dirk's autograph for her (which Sheila still has!).

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Notes

When was Cressage Road built? On the OS map published in 1873 this area was covered with orchards. The 25" to the mile OS map published in 1897 shows Cressage Road running east off Ealing Road across to Pottery Road. It had a terrace of 21 houses on its northern side and on its southern side Beach's jam factory at the Ealing Road junction, then a terrace of 11 houses. The 1960 map below shows house numbering.

Bacon's 1925 map of Brentford shows Cressage Road was the first road off Ealing Road after Albany Road (formerly Back Lane).

Searches of the British Newspaper Archive give more clues as to when Cressage Road was built.

The earliest British Newspaper Archive reference to Cressage Road as at June 2024 was in the Acton Gazette, 6 September 1884, when Mr Lacey, Surveyor, reported he had received plans for 11 houses in Cressage Road from Mr Thomson of Twickenham and (presumably another) 11 houses in Cressage Road from Mr Daniel Day.

Ordnance Survey map from 1960 showing Cressage Road house numbersThe Middlesex Independent, 3 October 1885, advertised a sale by auction of
'eight long leasehold houses, well situated in the Cressage Road, Ealing Road, Brentford known as Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, Mulberry Terrace, and opposite to Messrs. T.B. Beach & Sons jam manufactory, very near the High Street. The houses have neat forecourts, enclosed by dwarf walls and iron railings, and small gardens in the rear. All are let to good tenants, and produce a rental of about £140 per annum.'

Plans were submitted by Mr S Steel for seven houses to be built on the south side of Cressage Road (Middlesex Independent, 17 February 1886).

Brentford Local Board offered tenders for a contract for the 'sewering, levelling, paving, flagging, channelling and making-up' of Henley and Cressage Roads (Building News, 9 December 1887). The next road north of Cressage Road was called Kenley Road, but the tender states Henley.

The latest British Newspaper Archive reference to Cressage Road is a report on the wedding of Miss Kathleen Lilian Hannaford, daughter of Mr and Mrs S Hannaford, of 29 Cressage Road, to Mr Richard Victor Chick (Middlesex Chronicle 30 August 1968. No reference to the demolition found.

Links

Richard Heath's page includes a photo looking along Cressage Road, where the Heath family lived.

Stephen Privett was born at 30 Cressage Road in 1957: his memories.

The site has school photos for St George's Primary and Brentford Secretary Modern: see School photos.

Read other people's Brentford memories.

A search for "Cressage" on the home page will turn up other references, for example a list of men whose service records from WW1 survive includes some with a Cressage Road address.

Published July 2024