John and Annie Moran lived at 54, and then 52, Mere Rd. Anne Moran (nee King) was from Dublin City and John Moran was from the Kilkelly and Midfield area of County Mayo, north of Knock and Castlebar, south of Charlestown. John had been over here a little while, working his way down the country in various mines. He stayed in St. Helen’s for a while but stopped moving around when he got to Leicester and worked at collieries in the south of Leicester, such as Ellistown. Annie (nee King) had been looking after her mother back home until her younger sister “took over” which allowed her the freedom to come here. She came to do her nurse training at The General Hospital and lived in the nurse’s accommodation. She would later have to leave there when she got married as it was only for single women.
John and Annie met at a dance at the Secular Hall, Humberstone Gate and later went back to Dublin to marry in 1946. They had 3 sons: Pat, John and Brien. Pat and John were born in a flat at 33 Lincoln St: Brien, at a bigger house at 88 Upper Conduit St. The house on Upper Conduit St. was owned by the butcher next door and they shared a yard with the shop and another family, the Howards and their son Frankie at No. 86. Brien remembers the Callaghans at 104 Upper Conduit St, who they were related to on his mother’s side, and was best friends with one of the Flannery’s, Rob, on Lincoln St.
When the Morans moved to Mere Rd they first lived at no. 54 which they rented from an English lady. The woman at 52 moved out when her husband died and John and Annie moved the family next door! This house was owned by a lady who lived on the South coast. Mr Quinn of Waring Street had worked at a firm of solicitors who managed the rent collection from the Morans at 54 and then 52 Mere Road. Both of these houses were owned by the same person.
The Jolly Miller was a kind of “local Irish embassy” where strangers to Leicester would arrive and find about work, lodgings and to find friends and family.
John remembers going out to the shop but refusing to take Brien with him: Brien went anyway and got lost. Annie had the neighbours and police out looking for him before he was brought home by the police! He also remembers Roger Iceson who lived two doors down. The house was one of those that had a large shop front window and inside he had a great model railway set.
John remembers that Anna Feeney, a neighbour the same age as him, would come to pick him and Pat up in the morning and they would walk down Upper Conduit St, meet Mrs. Veal and other children on the corner of Berner’s St and on to Scared Heart School. Mrs Veal was a formidable and well known teacher there.
Living so close to the railway station gave the boys plenty to do: Pat and John would go train spotting down on the platforms of London Rd station. Everyone would cut through a pedestrian walk way from Hutchinson St to Swain St. bridge: it was called 'The Bird Cage' as there was a pet shop on the corner and the boys would look through the gaps in the wooden slats running along the mesh fence to see the trains and identify the numbers. They would also go down to the Rally Banks at the bottom of Beal St. Rally Banks overlooked the locomotive sheds and was a good location for recording loco numbers.
There was a kind of shed that would hold amateur film shows that local kids would pay to go to see, this was opposite the fish and chip shop and next was a grocers and the Co-op.
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The Emerald Centre, Gipsy Lane, Leicester. LE5 OTB
We're now also on Twitter: follow me on @irishleicester or join The Irish in Leicester group on Facebook.