John’s memories – Morat Street, Hackford Road, Russell Hotel, Sweetings Funerals

John wrote to me in September 2012, sharing his memories of Morat Street, Caldwell Street and of the surrounding area. He writes:

I was born in Morat Street in the late forties and my family lived there until 1971. Early memories take me back to the bomb sites on the corner of Hackford Road and St Ann’s Road where I remember the fireworks on bonfire night where crowds of local people used to gather. In those days or maybe a few years later we used to be able to get into the cellar of the bombed house on the corner of St Ann’s Street.
 You mention ‘Sweetings Funerals’ which I’m sure were still in locality I think they were the first house in Brixton Road on the north of Caldwell Street. Over the road to the south of Caldwell Street was The Russell Hotel that had a big car park in front and a Newspaper kiosk ‘Charlies’ where I used to have a paper round in the sixties.

0 Responses to John’s memories – Morat Street, Hackford Road, Russell Hotel, Sweetings Funerals

  1. marian says:

    I have so many memories of growing up in Morat Street during 1950s and attending first Durand infant school and then the reay. I can remember most people living there at this time, but cannot recall John. I lived at no.34 upstairs and then no.54. Did you attend these schools John and can you remember teachers and pupils there. I am so interested

  2. john morrissey says:

    Hi Marion,
    I was born at 2b Morat Street 67 years ago today!
    I went to Durand where my teacher was Ms Philpot I remember John Mason and Janet Clayton both of whom moved out to one of the new towns. I then went to the Reay JM school where I think the headmaster was Mr Paraball. I remember Jimmy Bettie who was a pain and like a terrier because he used to tease me as I was one of biggest kids in our class and quite awkward at that time. I remember David Moorhouse who was the son of Sylvie and Jack Moorhouse who owned the tobacconist and sweet shop in Caldwell Streeet. Barry Slade,Rosemary Holland, Beryl Blow, Marilyn Oads, Leslie Rosanboam, Gregory Allan-Smith all of whom I think lived Morat Street.
    I moved to Oxford to work in 1968 and the rest of my family moved to Essex in 1971.
    It’s nice remember Morat Street thank you for for your message.
    Kind regards,

  3. David Moorhouse says:

    Hi there John.

    You remember me, but although I am familiar with your name I cannot for the life of me put a face to it. Your name and that of your brother Bob used to come up in conversation with my parents Jack & Sylvia.

    Yes I to remember Jimmy Beattie and a whole lot of others too. I live in Norfolk not far from an old friend from Hackford Road, John Wakeley, maybe you know of him? When we moved in the 60s it was not through choice but a council CPO (compulsory purchase order).

    Mum & Dad had no say in the matter and we had to move on. I cannot remember the date exactly but perhaps you can? I was told as a kid that when we moved to the shop it had a hole in the roof where a WW2 bomb had landed but hadn’t exploded.

    I remember Raymond Cubitt from Morat street whom I think had a brother. My grandparents Elizabeth & Benjamin Moorhouse, my fathers parents, lived in one of the top flats in Morat street and owned and ran the newsagents on the corner of South Island Place and Clapham Road. They sold and moved on before us, retiring to Blackpool where we all originated from, I too was born there in 1947 and we moved to Caldwell street when I was 9 months old.
 I suppose there is a lot more we could talk about but I don’t wish to bore everyone.

    To Chris whoever you may be, thanks for the memories.

    Kind regards and fond memories.

    David Moorhouse

    • john morrissey says:

      Hello David,
      I must apologise. I haven’t looked at the oval history site for months. I see my brother Bob sent you reply recently.
      You might remember our mum as she went to your parent’s shop at least once a day for her ‘5 Weights at a packet of Polo Mints’. Our dad sent me or my sister over most nights for ’20 Players and a quarter of fruit pastels’.
      I was born in the front bedroom of 2b Morat Street on 23rd February 1948. I think you were in the year above at the Reay school, I can’t remember my teacher’s name. I got to trouble for fighting Barry Slade who later became my best friend. I didn’t keep in touch with anyone from the Oval area after I moved from London in 1970.
      Thanks for your reply.
      John Morrissey

  4. David says:

    David Moorhouse here, son of Jack & Sylvia.

    Just came across this site by accident only a couple of days after your post it would appear. Coincidence? Sorry, I can recall your name but can’t for the life of me put a face to it.

    I remember Jimmy Beattie and a whole lot of other old friends. Two more from Morat street where Michael Penny and Raymond Cubitt. My grandparents Benjamin and Elizabeth Moorhouse lived in one of the top flats in Morat street and also ran a tobacconists shop on the corner of Clapham road and South Island place at the same time as Jack and Sylvia in Caldwell street.

    Our home and shop where subject to a CPO (compulsory purchase order) so we had no say in the matter and had to move on, although it appears that our shop stood empty for some years before the site was redeveloped. I started school at Durand infants then Reay primary and finished at Hackford Road secondary. School teachers I remember where Mrs Labette music teacher (not sure of the spelling) at Reay primary, Mr. Steptoe music teacher at Hackford Road who for every lesson would put on a 78 record of Peter & The Wolf and then fall asleep only waking when the bell rang for the next lesson. The record would be clicking away as they did when finished, and during the lesson it was mayhem!

    We had a very nice and perhaps too soft English teacher but I cannot recall his name, but I remember once asking him the time and he took out a travelling alarm clock from his inside jacket pocket explaining that he couldn’t afford a wrist watch. Our maths teacher was of Asian descent and would tell us ghost stories for much of the lesson. Oh the good old days! On another post on this site someone remembers Dad’s shop and the jar of sweets with the man sneezing into a handkerchief, these would have been Hacks cough sweets if my memory serves me correctly


    Nice to be in touch and hopefully hear more from you.

    Special thanks to Chris for your wonderful work, may you continue and prosper.

    Kind regards,

David Moorhouse

    • Veronika Andraskova Hicks says:

      Dear Mr. Moorehouse,
      I am a teacher student at Reay Primary School and we are currently looking at the local area with Year 3 class. Many of the pupils are interested in the past and how the area looked some years ago. I have found your response and read that you were a student at our school and that very interested me. I wonder if it would be ok if my pupils would write to you and ask questions about the school and the local area. I am myself interested in the history and I would like my pupils to have someone who could share the memories with them – like storytelling. I am sure that would enhance their learning experience, if you would not mind and they could tell you about the teachers that are there now (maybe we could compare – smile).

      Kind regards,
      Veronika Andraskova Hicks

  5. David Moorhouse says:

    Hi Veronika.

    Thank you for getting in touch.
    I would be pleased to assist you if I can but I will be 70 next and my memory is not what it was.

    Kind regards
    David Moorhouse.

    Thank you Chris for informing me of these replies.

  6. Linda Wadmore says:

    I have fond memories of the Reay school, l started there in 1955. Hi The headmaster was Mr Barraball who was an amazing head l remember he had a red Bubblecar. Friends l recall are Jacqueline Carr Richard Ridge Mark Potashnic and Maureen Rice. My name was Linda Wadmore, such happy days.

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