The Family Home

38 Perrins Lane

The House




House description

The garden

The garage




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The house was 2 stories high at the front but the sloping ground at the back allowed for a basement. A part of this was designed for capturing the rainwater from the roof and storing it. The floor of the store room leading off the kitchen had a hinged floor and steps leading down to the water.  There was a pump by the kitchen sink which allowed the water to be pumped for doing the weekly wash.  Later this was drained and a door cut from the main basement so that the space could be used for storage. 



VE Day 1945


Under the terrace about 1953

On the ground floor were two rooms connected by twin doors that could fold back to open up as one room.  These were glazed with leaded lights, by Bill of course. 

1949 - note the art deco style furniture

The initial decoration theme was very art deco to complement the design of the house, particularly the front room with sturdy rectangular chairs, clock over the fireplace and other fittings. As we grew up the use of these rooms changed.  At first we used the room at the back of the house and the front room was just that, kept clear and tidy and used only for special occasions and to entertain visitors.  Bill had 4 sisters two of whom lived locally.  They would visit about once a month and were entertained in the 'front room'.

There was an overhang at the back of the back room which was later filled in and a large picture window put in to take maximum advantage of the view.  On a clear day, with binoculars, it was possible to see as far as the Wrekin.  This room became the dining room with the front room becoming the one in daily use.


About 1956 Bill came home with a TV set and aerial.  The TV was set up in the back room (before it was extended) and the cable led out through the window to the aerial mounted temporarily on the garage roof.  After some trial and error a signal was obtained and we had the wonderful choice of two channels, as commercial TV had just started.  Eventually it was properly wired in and the aerial mounted on the roof of the house.

about 1962

The kitchen had quarry tiles on the floor and a range fired by coal for cooking.  A Belfast sink with wooden drainers and cupboards completed the built in appliances.  A washing machine, with a mangle which clipped on the side, was stored under the stairs and wheeled out every Monday for the weekly wash.  This was the first electric washing machine in Perrins lane in 1948 - all the neighbours apparently came round to marvel. Even the mangle was electric.

Both Darroll and Arlen were born at home, quite typical at that time.  Arlen was born with an affliction known as pyrolic stenosis.  A stomach valve was not working properly and this caused projectile vomiting.  For the first few months of his life Nora would feed me and he would then spray the surroundings as the feed came back again.  She said she used to cover the kitchen floor with paper before feeding began.  They must have read a lot of newspapers!  The doctors were amazed that, even with this problem, Arlen put on weight.  Eventually a small operation corrected the problem, though it is now done more often by external manipulation.

The house had originally 4 fireplaces, 2 downstairs and 2 upstairs and the range in the kitchen.  Of course, not all were in use all the time.  In fact, most of the time only the range would be in use, and in winter whichever room was in use for living would have a fire in the evening.  When we started to use the front room more Bill had put in a deep grate which held a lot of ash - saving having to clean it out every day!  When extra heat was needed in the time before a heating system was put in we used electric fires and fan heaters.

Upstairs were two main bedrooms, one at the front and one at the back.  The wall between the two rooms was made to be wardrobes, the two centre doors opening into the front bedroom and the two outer doors opening to the rear bedroom.  There was another small room at the front of the house with an attractive tall leaded window which was originally a box room but later used as a single bedroom. A small storage room and a separate wc to the right of the stairs led to the bathroom at the rear of the house. In our occupancy there was no permanent shower, just an attachment to the bath taps.

There was a basement used to store coal, garden tools and as a workshop. It also housed the house electrical distribution (though not the fuse box which was in a cupboard by the front door).

Trouble in the basement - about 1954

Just after the war was one of the worst winters of the century.  It must have been very cold for many weeks.  We all survived!

Early in 1947