When we asked for memories about the Castleward area in the Derby Telegraph recently, Frank Nix , of Kelmoor Road, Alvaston, rose to the challenge. Here, he looks back to his youth in the area bordered by Siddals Road, Traffic Street, London Road and Midland Road.
SOMEONE famous once said that if you remember the 60s, you weren’t there. Well I was – and I remember everything – so here goes. I was born in 1939 in John Street, Derby. In the 1940s, Patterson’s paint factory caught fire and was gutted. It is now the council’s Harper Gardens, opposite the flats.
There were 22 pubs in the area. The Black Swan at the end of Siddals Road was the most notorious. That’s where the ladies of the night did all their trade. At the end of the football season in 1946, when Derby had won the FA Cup, some friends and I sat on the wall at the DRI and watched the players with the cup go by on a flatback truck. It was magic. Rollerskating was all the rage at this time and Siddals Road was the place to be. There was no traffic, just nightshift workers going to the Loco Works, so it was very safe.
During the summer holidays, everybody went down to the River Derwent to learn to swim. It was packed at weekends. When we could swim, we got very brave. We stole lorry inner tubes from Bob Storer’s security scrap yard, blew them up at Bob Minnion’s cycle shop and then floated down river from Five Arches to the train bridge at Alvaston Lake. It was brill. There were two open-air swimming pools on Bass’s Rec at this time, but no longer in use. Someone stocked the pools with fish from the river, then all the pensioners had fishing matches on Sunday mornings. Continue reading