March – Ash Grove

Intrigued, as ever, by the 1939 register, I picked a random street in March to see what occupations the residents had at the beginning of the Second World War.

2 Ash Grove : Charles Hopkin (Ironmonger’s Store Manager)

4 Ash Grove : Sarah Marriott (Unpaid Domestic Duties) – I think that this is the mother of Frank Marriott, who died in the First World War

6 Ash Grove : Bertie John Casey (LNER Fireman) – born in 1903 and died in March in 1980

8 Ash Grove : Flora Parsons (Unpaid Domestic Duties)

10 Ash Grove : Alfred Nichols (Local Government Clerk and ARP Warden)

12 Ash Grove : Edward Martin (LNER Shunter Operator)

14 Ash Grove : Walter John Houlgrave (LNER Engine Driver) – born in 1895 and died in March in 1975

16 Ash Grove : Sidney Culpin (LNER Lampman)

18 Ash Grove : Charles Woodbine (LNER Goods Guard)

That doesn’t seem untypical for the period, there are nine households and in five of them the main wage earner worked on the railways. All five of the LNER workers had different roles, some of which, such as lampman and fireman no longer exist, and I’m not sure that the goods guard role still exists either.

I also noticed the below in the Victoria County History:

“The sidings at Whitemoor on the Spalding line, constructed in the 1930’s, are the largest in England and among the largest in Europe, and in its industrial structure the town is more akin to Peterborough or Wellingborough than the other towns of the Isle, whose industrial interests are closely tied to the land. In 1921 a remarkably high percentage of the population (22.3 per cent. of occupied males) was engaged on the railway. Proportionately, this was three times as many as in the railway town of Swindon.”

All of the houses are still standing, but I imagine the stories of the men and women who lived on this street have mostly been lost to history….