Friday, 9 March 2012

Evington St, Mere Rd

Steve  Beatty’s father went to America in 1910 and his mother, Kate, joined him the following year. They married and then lived in Boston, Massachusetts.

Steve’s father Michael worked in a warehouse and he and his wife returned to Galway in 1920.
Steve was born a month later in The Cladagh, Galway, on May 25. Steve’s father bought a small lorry and started his own business transporting pigs, sheep and flour. He later put a seat on the back of the lorry and would carry passengers around the town.

Steve had previously worked as a mechanic in Galway but his boss had had to make redundancies. Being single, Steve and another man were let go.

He left Ireland in 1939 and arrived in Coventry September 15. He found digs at 2 Rolloson Rd. and went back home in 1947 for his honeymoon.

Due to the petrol shortage after the war there were very few cars and therefore few jobs for mechanics. He got work driving in Coventry for £3/10s and £8 if he worked nights. After 2 years in the country Steve became eligible for National Service in the British Army but was exempt because of the work he was doing. Another brother, Johnny was also called up and served in Arnhem.

Steve transferred to Leicester in June 1945. His brother Martin, who had been living in Coventry, had then moved over to Leicester. He wrote to Steve saying that things were better in Leicester and to come over.

Martin saw an advert for a flat in a post office on Mere Rd and Steve got the ground floor flat in a 3 storey house at 37 Mere Rd.

He remembers needing a reference to get the flat and had one with him from his old boss in Ireland.
Steve got a job night driving for a transport company and then started doing car repairs. By 1947 he was selling cars and building up his own successful business.

In 1954 Martin bought a piece of land at 88-92 Sparkenhoe St and they set up the Beatty Brothers’ forecourt selling cars. He also bought a workshop at 1 Evington St. which was two terraced houses knocked together. He lived opposite at No. 2 Evington St. and could walk through the back door and into the office.

The piece of land had been the site of 2 houses bombed in 1941 which had lain disused for years. (Steve recalls that the council in Coventry were much more efficient when it came to clearing rubble from bombsites.)  It took 104 lorry loads to take away all the old brickwork, rubble and rubbish that had accumulated. Steve and Martin cleared the land and used it to display and sell used cars. Local people were very grateful that they had cleared the land, erecting a fence and putting up flower boxes!

The Beatty brothers built a car showroom in 1959 which could hold 30 cars with 14 cars in the car park. Steve describes himself as first “in the overalls”, in the workshop. Martin was Managing Director and Steve had a quarter share in the company. Because of the shortage of cars he would later travel around to car auctions in Hull and Lincolnshire looking for cars to sell. They sold the business in 1988 and Martin retired back home to Galway but was in bad health. Steve retired although he carried on dealing in cars for another 9 years: he says he feels very lucky to have been able to keep working as he did.

The brothers later became a Fiat Agency but it seemed that the public weren’t ready for foreign cars.

Steve and his wife Julie, nee McGrath, lived at 2 Evington St until he retired from the motor trade in 1956. They were married for 61 yrs. Julie was a nurse at The Towers Hospital and had come from a family of 9 children.

Martin had two daughters, Maureen, and Rosemary.

Steve and Julie have two sons: James and Geoffrey. James, born in 1947, went to Scared Heart and Gateway. Geoffrey, born 1961 went to Sacred Heart and City of Leicester School. 

Steve’s two sisters came over to Leicester because their brothers were here. Nora (married name, Robertson) bought a house in Aylestone for £3000 in 1950 and Ann (married name, Parker) lived at 92 Victoria Park Rd. for 30 years 

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

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  1. I went to school with Maureen and Rosemary Beatty at the Evington Hall convent. I am trying to find Rosemary who I know married and returned to Galway but I do not know her married name. Can you help? Judy Evans nee Soars.

    1. I will find out for you Judy, she is a distant cousin of mine

    2. I have only just found your reply! Thank you for offering, I do hope you are successful. She knew me as Judy Soars. A shared friend of ours was Gael Thomson, who I know she met up again with some years ago. Gael now lives on Islay.

    3. Rosemary's married surname is 'Flyne' You prob kno her Sister is Maureen who didn't marry till about 3 years ago to Tom Curry, she's about 66 so RoseMarie may be 64, They both in Ireland near to Galway now.

      Olivia Blankley

  2. Steves sisters were
    Norah Robinson nee Beatty married John had children Anna,Kathleen,wayne and Georgina
    Anne Parker nee Beatty married George had son Steven
    Julie Redmond nee Beatty had children Cindy and Karina
    Mona Horobec nee Beatty had son Charles

    My grandma was Norah my mother is Georgina.

    Natalie Kent