Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Moira St

Susan Quilter was born in Leicester to an English mother and Irish father.  Her father, William Greally (called Bill in Leicester) was born in Roscommon in 1922. He was the eldest  of 7 brothers and a sister. His grandparents had a small farm but, although there was plenty of work to be had at home, the money was better in England. He first came over with three or four other fellas when he was 17 in 1939.They came to Reading where he got a job as an apprentice electrician. This was a reserved occupation which meant he was not conscripted when war broke out.

He later moved up to Leicester to work in the mines at Desford and had rooms at 2 Moira St.
Bill Greally's pit tag.
Susan’s Mum, Irene Lismore, had come to Leicester with her family when they moved from Bisceter, Oxfoshire. They lived at 4 Moira St!
Bill and Irene met and were courting for about 2 years before they married in 1944.
Irene’s parents moved back to Oxford and, after they had married at Leicester Registry Office, Irene and Bill lived at no. 4. They had 5 of their 6 children here: Pete, Sue, Maggie, Dette and Gez. It was a 3 bedroom rented house and Irene’s Mum came back to live with them after she was widowed.
Pete Greally in the backyard of Moira St.
 The older children, Dette, Sue and Mags went to St. Patrick’s school on Harrison Rd and Sue later won a scholarship to go to Wyggeston Girl’s school.
There was one other Irish family on the street called Quinn, and Kathleen Quinn went to St. Patricks School too.
Sue can remember Griffith’s shop; potatoes in sacks, sweet jars full of collar studs and buttons, slabs of cheese and bacon. She says “Even though they might be closed you could always knock on the door and they’d serve you.”
The family used Our Lady’s Church on Harrison Rd. which is now a Hindu temple. She remembers the May Day procession which went down Moira St, along Melton Rd, up Canon St and back along Harrison Rd to the church.

The picture below is taken on Coronation Day, 1954 under an archway on Moira St. There had been a street party to celebrate the Coronation with tables set out in the street. Unfortunately it started to rain and the women pulled the tables in out of the wet. Susan's mother, Irene, is left of centre wearing a swagger coat and expecting Maggie.

Moira St. Coronation day 1954.

Her uncles followed their brother Bill over and would often stay with the family. They might then find their own rooms or even go back to Ireland and come back again. Sue remembers that her Uncle Pat, known as “Black Pat” would pawn his suit on a Monday morning and get it out again at the weekend. “He’d come round on a Friday night with a steak to be cooked and a tin of Lucky Numbers sweets.”

Bernard Greally's Travel Identity card.

Click through for more about the original St.Patrick's school on Royal East St.

 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.

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