Monday, November 18, 2013
MERIDEN GREEN, WARWICKSHIRE, ENGLAND...THEN AND NOW
This is the centre of Meriden (my husband Phil's home town) taken probably prior to the turn of the 20th century and these next two were taken by Phil's cousin's husband this year and emailed to us (Leslie incidentally is now 92 (it his birthday day in fact) and quite a dab hand with computer technology):
As you can see not a lot has changed in over one hundred years; just been prettied up a little and these boys are, of course, wearing modern clothing, and it still seems a popular place for the youngsters to get together. The road showing on the left has now been bitumenised whereas in earlier times it was a dirt road. It was a little further along that row of shops where Phil's dad had a greengrocers shop for a number of years.
Meriden is said to be geographically the centre of England. Whether this has actually be physically proven is not really known but until it has been proven otherwise, the people of Meriden will stick to that theory and be proud of it.
Life was very different in England when Phil was a boy; their house in Meriden was 5 miles outside the city of Coventry. He has so many happy memories of his youth and I am always trying to get him to write short stories of those memories. Some of them are quite funny about people he knew who were so different to the people we know today.
He was of course there during the dreadful blitz of Coventry and they were very fortunate not lose friends or loved ones during those air raids. He was 11 at the time and remembers it all very well.
He emigrated to South Australia with his first wife, Susan, in 1960. The ship had berthed at Fremantle on the way to Adelaide and Phil and Susan went on a bus tour while here. They fell in love with he little they saw of Perth and determined that when they had spent the obligatory 2 years in Adelaide they would return to Perth. They both had good jobs in Adelaide but decided to try their luck in the West. This they did in 1962 and eventually built a house here. It appears Susan was not happy in their marriage and they were divorced in 1966. Now he has me to contend with. : ) I must admit I've always been glad he decided to make Perth his home or how else would I have met him?
He has never returned to England and my mum's step-mother (remember me mentioning Mary's visit from England?) told Phil to remember England as it was when he left and not to go back. I feel it was very sound advice and he has never regretted not going back for a visit. At the time of the deaths of his mum and dad we couldn't afford for him to make the trip and now he feels there is nothing left there anyway.
Through me now being on the internet and doing lots of genealogy I have discovered some of Phil's cousins who still live in Warwickshire and we are in touch with them via email. They have sent numerous family photographs which has given him an insight about what has been happening with family members over the years.
This is a photograph of the green in Berkswell (also near Coventry) where his maternal grandparents lived all their lives.
This is of Blind Hall Farm in Berkswell where Phil used to help out on weekends when he was a boy.
I always comment to Phil about how green the countryside always looks and of course his response is "Well, when it rains as much as it does over there, of course it's green!". It was partly because of the weather. among other things. that he decided to leave England. He has certainly been a lot healthier in Australia so I guess he had a point about the weather.