The following memories were kindly provided by former resident of Number 22, Jennifer (Jenny) Brading:
Grenville Road came into being in 1936. Crown and Cox commenced building and families slowly moved in, including my parents, Bertha and Harold Hawkes to Number 22. They married in February at St Boltolphs Church on Trumpington Street on the 22nd so it was a special number for them. They named their house ‘Alberta’. Dad worked at Laurie and McConnals in Fitzroy Street. Mum worked initially at Pyes at Chesterton before transferring to Laurie and McConnal during the early part of the war.
Dad’s interests were many but with only one half day a week how he managed to fit everything in seems rather hard to imagine. He was keen on playing football, cricket, tennis, singing in the church choir and was a very keen musician playing euphonium in the Cambridge City Brass Band. Mum at this time was a keen gardener and homemaker. During the early part of the second World War mum undertook fire watching duties at the top of Laurie’s in Fitzroy Street and took in evacuees from the East End of London. They were a mum and three by all accounts, raucous youngsters who on one occasion drew Hitler and other rude pictures with brown shoe polish all over mums cream distempered walls. The dad worked on the docks and came to stay at weekends and he and his wife would frequent The Duke of Argyle and then return in quite a state. The children’s names were Jimmy , Iris, and Sylvia. They returned to the East End and the piece of news that mum received was that one of the girls had been slightly injured with a V2 rocket attack.
On Christmas Eve 1943 I arrived on the scene, Jennifer Merle. Dad was in the Army stationed at Catterick with the Coldstream Guards and did not see his daughter until March 1944. Mum was not on her own as she had a young sister and her daughter Gloria staying as her husband was a prisoner of war somewhere in eastern Germany. It was a difficult time for all concerned as food and fuel were in short supply and families were uprooted for many years. Before we leave the war years I should mention that dad had a younger brother Stanley Hawkes who lived at 50 Greville. To me he was always known as Uncle Dan. Uncle and Aunty Jessie moved into their home about 1940. Uncle Dan was a carpenter and worked at Sindalls the builders who I believed built the University Library around 1936. Uncle Dan was also a talented musician and played trombone with Cambridge City Brass Band and dance bands round the county later in life playing with The Reg Cottage Band at the Dorothy Ballroom now Waterstones in the town. When call up papers came to number 50, Uncle Dan joined the Tank Regiment and eventually found himself at a place called Caen where he was very badly injured with severe burns down his right side. I was told it was touch and go as the Medics wanted to remove his arm. However, with a visit from my dad and some persuasion Uncle Dan kept his arm. As a musician playing amputation would have been out of the question.
Uncle Dan returned home and spent many years at Norwich receiving skin grafts to his arm and leg. He was a very determined young man and always cheerful and telling jokes. He returned to his carpentry and music at the weekends at the Dorothy as he could now feel able to play once again. Unfortunately his small daughter died at only six years old , which was tragic for the family. Basically in those days there were no welfare services to help and so most people just got on with their lives. In a few years Uncle Dan and Aunty Jessie’s marriage broke up. However in the 1960s Uncle Dan met Joan Suttle and remarried. He passed away in the 1970s and Joan died 2015 in Norfolk.
After the war my dad, who luckily avoided injury, returned to civvy Street and Laurie and McConnels once again where he stayed until retirement i n 1971. Dad died in 1977 age 72 and mum stayed on in the house until 1997 when she moved to live close by to at Brampton near Huntingdon. Mum passed away in 2007 age 92.
I was brought up in a very happy environment with good friends. Many are like me in our 70 and 80s now and hopefully enjoyed their time playing games in Greville Road. Amongst the names I recall are Janet Beck at no 2, Warren Dosanjh at 14, Josie Breed at 29, Ivan Docwra at 25, Derek Abbott at 38, and Angela Bloy at 60. Mostly we played rounders, hop scotch, cricket, hide and seek, riding our bikes up and down as few cars came through. The only ones I can recall are the CID cars coming to a couple of houses where policemen lived. Josie’s dad was in the CID as was Derek, who was a patrol inspector. No doubt Greville Road residents slept peacefully in their beds.
After leaving Sedley, Romsey and Coleridge we all went out into the big wide world of work. I started at Cambridge Tech then onto Pyes and then Brooklands Avenue as a civil servant before my marriage at 23 to David Brading, who just happened to be another policeman. David has been retired for 20 years and this year we celebrate our Golden Wedding. I hope you have enjoyed my memories of Greville Road as much as I have trying to recall all that history of times past. I could go on much longer but I think it’s time I said my goodbyes and good luck to to all. It was a real privilege to live in such a happy place.