My father, Albert Edward Hill, was born in the 'Smallest House in England', 95 High Street, Wavertree. He was next to youngest of a large family, so I imagine it was more than necessary to get out of the house when it became a maternity ward. He went to Cow Lane College (Holy Trinity School) and was apprenticed at Kellitts on the High Street. Eventually he worked at Brookes, a large grocery firm in Clayton Square. With this job he used to bicycle through the Wirral and parts of Liverpool, collecting weekly grocery orders from the cooks/housekeepers of numerous wealthy customers.
Pye Street and Bowers Buildings were 'out of bounds' to me, as they were 'rough' and I was a very-protected only child. There were similar properties at the top of Wellington Road (behind the like-named public house). The Hill family had association with Hicks, the bakers. Uncle Will, when he came back with TB after the first world war, was 'married' to Polly, the wife of John Hicks - I never did find out if married was the operative word - and they lived over the shop in Lawrence Road. My grandmother and her daughter, Jane, lived over the shop at the bottom of Southdale Road until they eventually moved to Eastdale Road. Kenneth Cope, the actor who appeared in many TV shows, was a resident in Eastdale Road and I can remember him as a lad going to the Holt School - which was then in Smithdown Road, almost opposite the hospital.
White's shop was always popular, as when my mother and I had been on our daily walk to Greenbank, Calderstones, Sefton Park or just Smithdown Road, looking at the shops, we called there for a rewarding whipped cream walnut, priced 2 pence! I can remember paddling in the Lake, and was most curious as to what went on in the Lock Up. In fact I remember being threatened with an inside view if I misbehaved. My father, his friend Dave Matson (the joiner's family, he made coffins) spent many Saturday nights dancing at the Town Hall in Wavertree. Mrs Hamilton from the Garden Suburb, a friend of my mother's, gave me a ticket for the Mayor's Party at the Town Hall in Liverpool. It was a great occasion, and I was the envy of my friends.
I attended Hey Green Road School from the age of five till I got my scholarship to Blackburne House in 1928. Miss Summers was the Head Mistress, and I can recollect preparations for Empire Day, which was a very special occasion and all were decked out in their Sunday best. My teacher in the junior school was a Miss Emberton, very strict, but I suppose it was necessary as we were a very mixed bunch. After the examinations we were presented with a copy of our attainments - I've still got mine!
The opening of the Abbey Cinema was a great event, as the Magnet (beside the Gem Laundry under the Picton Road railway bridge) was considered a bit of a 'flea pit' but for many years it was the only cinema apart from the Grand on Smithdown Road. I also remember my visits to the Blue Coat School - on maybe monthly Sundays - for the service and then adjourning to the balcony to watch the orphans eat their meagre tea. I found it all very sad, and often dissolved into tears. Later, after 11+, my son attended, so I was able to re-visit in more happy circumstances.