Maureen Greenbank Road.mp3


Interview with Maureen and Charles Davies, Greenbank, February 25, 2014

Maureen Davies (born 1938) has lived in Greenbank most of her life. Together with her husband Charles, who grew up in Wales and moved to Bristol in 1969, she quite literally re-walks Greenbank Road in her memory and recalls the numerous shops and other spaces that have now disappeared from the street.

-Maureen: Just let me think... Start with the pub at the bottom of the road, that used to be the pub, the Greenbank Hotel. Well there was... the pub was on this side, and the post office was that side, like there, coming up this way. And there used to be a bakery next door to the post office. -Marcel Thomas: Oh really? -Maureen: Yeah, yeah. They used to [?] when they put them out for cooling [laughs]. And on the next corner on the bakery side there was a sweet shop, a fish and chip shop and a butcher shop. Then houses, that’s on the left-hand side here, then there was a greengrocer’s, a sewing shop bit farther, there was Line’s the dairy, after Line’s... what, I can’t remember, I got a feeling it was... not quite sure, but there was a newsagent's, then the off-licence, then Spar on this side. After Spar was the church, then there was the co-op coming up here. From the co-op to the houses up to the corner of Carlyle Road, which was Frank Pavis, the sweetshop. No shops then until you’d come to the corner of Camelford Road. -Charles: That was up the next street. -Maureen: What? No! That was a sweetshop as well. Frank Pavis, next door to where the boys used to live, on the corner. -Charles: Oh, that’s right. -Maureen: He got set about one day, they found him the next day, tied up in a chair... you know. Oh yeah, there was like... the church next door to the school, because that was a boys school just down there, yeah. And an infant school, then there was the vickarage just opposite. -Charles: That’s where the houses are, going down that way. -Maureen: Where the houses are, that used to be a school. -Marcel: Oh. -Charles: And they demolished that and put all the new houses in. -Maureen: Yeah. And then there is the cemetery, the cemetery stretches right up to the top of the road. And this way, it was market gardens at the top, then the car park for the chocolate factory. But in front... the car park was round the back, and it was all greenhouses, which the cemetery had and they used to grow all their own plants. -Marcel: Oh ok. For the people living there? -Maureen: Yeah, but there’s now houses there, you know. -Charles: Just here at the top of the road. -Maureen: Then that kind of lane, there was Michael Boucher’s, his father was the monumental mason that used to do a lot of the stones. And that one in the middle, this up in the middle on the island there by the church, fell over and broke his back, nearly killed him, you know. So that was him finished. -Charles: That was the one by the needle, wasn’t it? On the top? -Maureen: Yeah, yeah. By the church, just up the alley... -Charles: The top, the top, if you could look over there, you could see it. The top is missing of it. It’s come off. -Maureen: But this side, there was, as I say, Michael Boucher’s, Mister Remmins, he was another mason, on to the corner here... that was [?] house, she had nothing to... that was houses. But this corner here, that is now flats, that used to be an ordering office for monumental masonry and a florist. And they kept this... and then the rest is all houses. But... it was quite a good life. And the cemetery stretches right round to the little nature reserve. The railways used to run along the back of the factory, up here, and that was years... -Charles: We took all the fencing off the walls during the war. -Maureen: To make weapons, yeah. But they put it up after, because... when the war was over and, well, we as kids... they had quite a lot of sex attacks. You know... so to keep the safety, they put barriers back up. But you know, as I say, it was quite good. -Marcel: There used be quite a lot of shops around. -Maureen: Oh, there were a hell of a lot of shops here. It was quite like a little... thing. You know, as I say, come along this side, there was the pub at the bottom, then you’d come up and there was the newsagents... -Charles: Lots of them are gone. -Maureen: It’s all gone now, even the newsagent’s is gone now. That’s being turned into a suntanning thing, is it? Or something or... you know, for... on the corner of Greenbank Avenue, that is now that. Then come up and there is Jim’s, the off-licence, then the Spar, then the church, a big co-op, that was quite a big co-op, about... I don’t suppose you remember that, they used to put the money in across tubes and... [?] -Marcel: Oh yeah. -Carles: They do it today in Tesco’s, don’t they... when it’s “shhht” and it’s gone. Up a pipe. -Maureen: Yeah, uhh, no, not a pipe, it was just a chain on a wire, and you used to put... -Charles: Only the co-op used to do that. -Maureen: Yeah, and it was quite a big co-op, quite a thriving co-op. And as I say, you would come up the road again, and there was Frank Pavis on the corner of Carlyle Road, there was no shops on these two roads, so these two, except for this next one down here, and that was, as I say, she used to take flower orders for the cemetery and orders for monumental stones and then monumental masons... and then there was the market gardens, or the cemetery gardens, where they used to do... And that side of the road was church, Charlie Horton’s sweet shop, I forgot his name... Line’s the dairy, then a sewing mistress, and... what was their names? The veggie shop, Sumphry's I think it was. Down there again, it was the butcher’s. But it’s all changed now, I mean the butcher’s is now a couple of flats, I don’t think the Chinese shop... the Chinese shop hasn’t been open very long, the fish shop, next door that was a sweet shop, then the bakery, and the post office. And across the bottom of the street was the hardware store. So yes, it was quite a lot of shops. And that at the top of the road just across the road was all orchards.