|Memories of Stock - Jim Sargant
|As the Garage site was redeveloped
several years ago, I thought you may be interested in the following piece.
|The Sargant family moved to the Garage soon after
World War Two started in 1939 and the sketch shows the layout ofnthe property -
all very much from memory and certainly not to scale. The bungalow was probably
built in the 1920s, definitely before the petrol pumps were in place and maybe
before there was a garage at all. The original bungalow consisted of four
rooms, each roughly one quarter of a square, linked by a central tiny lobby,
the entire walls of which were taken up by the four doors. A fifth room, the
kitchen, led off the living room. Before the advent of mains water, the kitchen
was served by a hand pump from a well in the back garden.
Click on picture for full size
|When the petrol pumps were installed, the
kitchen and living room had been on the opposite side of the dwelling, so
another kitchen was built onto the opposite side of the bungalow and what had
been a bedroom became the living room. The new kitchen was a lean-to
construction of brick with a corrugated iron roof. It was long and very narrow.
A brick-built solid-fuel copper and an old deep sink were permanent fixtures.
Behing the copper was a stained glass window, which had originally been on the
outside wall of what was now the living room. The window had been in a shallow
recess, now enclosed by a pair of doors in the new living room, and this was
our medicine cupboard.
|Outside the kitchen, you entered a
lean-to glass-covered structure - rather like what would today be termed a
conservatory. We called it 'the glass place'. The original living room became
our drawing room and doubled as a bedroom. It was different from the other
rooms in that it had french doors leading to a small verandah overloking the
|The original kitchen became a small
bedroom, but there was a distinct hazard if you sat up in bed suddenly. You
tended to whack your head on the pump! This room had originally had a window
looking onto the back garden. As part of the rebuilding, a lean-to bathroom had
been added, so this window now opened into the bathroom. Pretending to open the
window while my sister Kath was having a bath was a sure way of getting her
annoyed! Further building work had enclosed the yard outside the old kitchen,
bringing the outside toilet inside.
|The sketch gives a better idea of the garden
that a written description but a few points are worth expanding upon. In the
back garden, with one end butting onto the wall of the garage, was a very small
'swimming' pool - only about 10ft x 4ft. A little way into the garage was a
vehicle inspection pit. This was in a direct line with the pool, so maybe the
pool was originally larger before the garage was erected. In the centre of the
back garden was a raised circular rockery, in the middle of which was a manhole
cover - the lid to the well.
|To the east of the bungalow was a fir-sized
side garden. Towards the front and behind the petrol pumps was a line of small
trees and large shrubs. Much of this garden was enclosed by a thick laurel
hedge, although nearer the bungalow bounding on the garage yard was an espalier
apple tree which produced huge very sweet eating apples. The troube was that by
the time they were fully ripe, the wasps had usually invaded them.
|The forecourt in Mill Road on the corner
of Well Lane consisted of a D-shaped bed in the centre of which grew a large
monkey puzzle tree. A two-way shingle drive was flanked by three hand-powered
petrol pumps, plus oil dispensing cabinets - Castol and Pratts were two I
recall. Between the pumps and the line of trees and bushes were the manholes
giving access to the underground petrol storage tanks.
|The entrance to the garage workshop and
yard was in Well Lane. The main building was brick-built with two pairs of
large double doors and a pedestrian-sized side door leading to the bungalow.
Alongside the main building at the far end was a large wooden workshop which
had seen better days. Between the garage yard and the side garden, alongside
the hedge, carboys of acid and distilled water were kept for topping-up
batteries and accumulators.
|On the opposite side of the path
alongside and partially overhanging the kitchen, was a gage-plum tree which
produced delicious fruit - really large and very juicy. Like the apples,
however, the were particularly attractive to wasps. As I grew older, i used to
climb the tree and scramble onto the kitchen roof. In the wall above the
kitchen was a window - the only source of light into the attic.
|The Sargants left the garage in