Friday, 3 May 2013

Equity Rd

Bridget wasn’t yet 21 when she first came to England from Athy, County Kildare in 1956. In fact she had her 21st birthday in London. Her father had come over to England after the war and was working on the building.  He was already living in Hammersmith but her Mum was unable to join him. Bridget was the first of a long line of brothers and sisters to come over.
She met her husband-to-be, Martin Fitzgerald in London. She used to work in a supermarket and the Irish lads used to come in and have laugh. She also remembers working in an Irish cafe for half a day: it was full of Irish builders.

Bridget and Martin married in the Holy Trinity church, Brooke Green, London in 1960.  Martin had family up in Leicester so they moved up here shortly afterwards.
Bridget and Martin Fitzgerald
Their first home in Leicester was on Equity Rd. They had the ground floor of a house and she remembers it as being very damp (perhaps because there was a cold storage unit near by!). After a few months they got a council place in the brand new Rowlatt’s Hill flats. Rowlatt’s Hill was built between 1964 and 67. By 1969 they had bought a house in Aylestone, Keenan Close, which cost them £3000.
Like many others, Bridget remembers being able to pick and choose jobs. While living in Equity Rd she worked at Byfords, operating a machine by hand that printed labels and invoices.
She worked at the Co-op offices on Union St (now part of The Shires).
While living at Rowlatts Hill she worked as Watkin’s on Green Lane Rd. This was a wood machinery tool place and she worked in the office.
Coming from London Bridget found Leicester confusing: she was used to using The Tube to get around and Leicester buses would change numbers depending on whether they were going in or out of town.  She used the Clock Tower as a reference point to find her way around. She didn’t like the market as she thought the fruit was often bruised and the stall holders wouldn’t let you pick your own.
When she was first over Bridget remembers going to look at a room. The room only had one bed so it was clear she would have to share a bed with a stranger. When she said she didn’t want to do that the landlady said “You Irish, you’re expecting too much”.
Her 2 sons, Martin Jnr. and Barry were born in Aylestone: Martin Jnr. in 1974 and Barry in 1977. They went to Holy Cross on Stonesby Avenue and later St.Paul’s. Bridget was a dinner lady a Holy Cross school in the 80s when the boys were there, and later The Newry,  which fitted in perfectly with the children. She also worked voluntarily at The General Hospital.
The new Holy Cross School, Stonesby Avenue, opened in 1966.

Once Martin Fitzgerald himself died in 1986, Martin Jnr. dropped the jnr. was THE Martin Fitzgerald.

Thank you to Julia Christy, Head of Holy Cross school for the photgraph.
 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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Click here to view a map of The Irish in Leicester.

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