Friday, 9 March 2012

Mere Rd, Holmfield Rd Sileby.

Mary Warrener (maiden name MacCarthy) came to England  in 1956 with her parents when she was 15½. Her father was a business man who had been unsuccessful in Ireland and came over to Birmingham  to find paid work. He then went to London where he lived in an Irish boarding house and worked in the Post Office sorting office.

Mary’s mother and sister came over to join him in summer 1956 and Mary stayed at home with her Grandma. Mary herself arrived at Euston, 11 Nov 1956, on the same day her grandmother was buried and was sent to a convent school in Harrow.

She married at 23. Her husband was a civil servant from Lincoln working in London and she was a stenographer.  Geoff Warrener applied for a new posting in the Civil Service and was offered Crawley or Leicester. They chose the Leicester post where Geoff worked for the Official Receiver; it was also convenient for visiting Geoff’s family in Lincoln. They married in Harrow-Weald on 12 September 1964 and the Polish priest who married them was the only person they knew who had been to Leicester.

Mary came up first by train in early January 1965 to find accommodation. She went to Holy Cross Church for advice and a priest suggested an Irish landlady on Saxby St. who gave her lodgings while she looked for something more permanent. This was a lodging house mainly for Irishmen working in Leicester but Mary was able to share a room with another woman for a couple of nights. The landlady turned out to be a distant relative of Mary’s from home!

Mary and Geoff’s first place together was 131 Mere Rd, the top floor of a 2 storey house with a tiny back yard facing Spinney Hill Park. The landlady was a Mrs Keeley from the Isle of Man. A kleptomaniac, single Irish woman lived downstairs on one side of the hall door.  The kleptomaniac lady was an attendant at daily mass.

Mary and Geoff had first looked at a house in Clarendon Park but hadn’t got enough money for a deposit.   A few months later, they were able to put down a deposit on a not-yet built house, enabled by an Irish Free State Bond Mary had inherited from her grandmother.  And so they bought their first house in Sileby Leicestershire, 168 Homefield Rd in August 1965. It was a 3 bedroom semi-detached house, up a hill, with a view over to the Charnwood Hills, 15 mins. by train from Leicester. It cost them £2,400.  Mary’s father, working for the Co-op in Harrow, gave them a second hand bed and Geoff’s parents emptied their attic to provide them with furniture in their new home.

In Sileby in the 1960s Mary remembers having a grocery book from the local Co-op, leaving a shopping list in the shop on a Tuesday and the groceries being delivered before the weekend. She would then go in on Saturday to pay.

Mary started working for East Midlands Gas shortly after arriving in Leicester, in mid January 1965.  About three years later, Geoff also started working for East Midlands Gas because he would otherwise have had to return to London to continue working for the Board of Trade.  Both preferred living outside of London.

If you'd like to be involved contact us on 0116 276 9186 or pop in to: 

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.
Click here to view a map of The Irish in Leicester.

No comments:

Post a Comment