Mick Crowther


I was born in Richings Park in 1929. My late father had come here in 1926 when he qualified as a Chartered Accountant to work as Company Secretary for the Sykes brothers who developed Richings Park. He had completed his articles with the firm of Shaws in Dewsbury who were business associates of the development company set up by the Sykes brothers who were also from the Dewsbury area. After the company went bankrupt in 1931 he subsequently worked for successive receivers until 1938, when he moved to Tyson Chambers in Slough. My father bought 17 Wellesley Avenue, which was conveyed on 11/10/26. He was greatly involved in the local community that developed and was a keen member of the Cricket Club, both as a player and as an umpire.

I was 10 when the war started; throughout the war and after we could safely take a map and a pack of sarnies and roam the area on our bikes; cycle out to Watford to train-spot; ride through Stanwell (then market gardens) across Staines Moor and on through Ashford for a day out at Hampton Court. No-one had heard of Heathrow! During the war it became a hobby for my friends and me to spot new barrarge balloons as they rose on evening exercise from their lorries. We would guess where they must be and set off on our bikes to see if we were right.

I recall a Latymer boy being billeted on us when his school was evacuated to Sough during the war and he and I having to take down the blackout and open the windows in the evening to clear the cigarette smoke before my parents returned from the Plaza cinema.

For quite a while we had an auxillary fireman - Mr Aurther Reeves - from Hawker's billeted on us. He was a tough little middle aged man from Brixton, ex-Merchant Navy, Thames tugs and Sieman's at Woolwich. He claimed that the best turn anyone had ever done for him was by the Magistrate in a juvenile Court, who had sent him onto a training ship. Mother received 7/6d a week from the Post Office to cover his costs. He proved very appreciative and a great amusing raconteur. He was also a dab had at finding things "lying about unwanted" which he thought would be useful round the house.

During air raids we slept on mattresses on the floor under the stairs as there was less risk of flying glass there.

For my parents, although not personally hurt, the war brought grief as their friends and friends' sons were killed or imprisoned. As a result my father was very much involved with the Community Centre scheme and I can still

remember him in August 1951 when I was back home from college in the 'long vac', depressed as could be, sitting at our dining room table working out the percentage interest due to each subscription from the invested capital and writing out the cheques in repayment. For most of a week he sat there after our evening meal, employed with the mechanics of what was, for him, a great disappointment.

I attended Richings Park School for Boys starting in 1935 and moved on to the Grammer School in Slough (in Lacelles Rd) in 1939.