Richard Adams

Scope and Content

Interview with Richard Adams.
Born 16th March 1922. Worked at Perivale (apprentice woodworker) bicycle shop. Bike Mechanic, specialist wheel builder. Bike shops around Ealing. Booleres Runners.
Address: 15 Belsize Avenue, Northfields W13
Recorded by John Gordon on 15th February 1996
The Questors Theatre PlayBack Collection.
See also OH138 for another interview with Richard Adams and photographs 2000.175/1-46
Born 16.3.22. Description of area of birth around Baker's Lane which made way for Ealing Broadway Centre and no longer exists. Description of one-bedroon family cottage, sanitary facilities. Family circumstances. Father window cleaner, eventually self-employed. Recalls names of shops. Recalls names of neighbours in Lancaster Road. Starting school. Street used as school playground. Schooldays: street games, cigarette cards, yo-yo, biff-bat. King. Organised 'exhibition' of Meccano models. Shoe box peep shows. Baker's Lane good for roller skating. "The Square": Lancaster Road, Wells Place, Oak Street, Charles Street - racing around on bikes. The 'stink pipe' meeting place in Wells Place. The Mission Hall, Taggs (or Pigeons) Alley. Mr Chance the chimney sweep. 1933 moves to Singapore Road, West Ealing. Description of housing in Singapore Road. Rent 15/- per week compared to 5/- at Lancaster Road (later offer to buy Singapore Road house after war for £377). Mother takes in washing, also works as cleaner in big house at Grove Road. Regards indoor lavatory as most insanitary. Also cleans in Eron Rise and later Westbourne Grove. Week's shopping for 15/-. Recalls prices of goods. Chickens, rabbits and other domestic animals. Leaves school. Evening classes. Recalls part-time job as boy delivering clothing from Morris Bros shop to Ealing Studios. Recalls seeing George Formby and Gracie Fields. First 'proper' job in Western Cabinet Works, Wadsworth Road, Perivale. Apprentice. Has to leave after one year because of effect of dust on lungs. Details of apprenitceship: pait 7/6, later 12/-. Worked on wood cutting machinery, noise, dust, no extractors. Had to sweep floor - more dust. Doctor advises to leave this work. Wonders whether later asthma associated. Terrible smell of wood glue. 1937 leaves cabinet works earnint 21/- per week. Gets job in cycle shop in St Mary's Road. Purchase of first bicycle on hire purchase for 2/9 pr week. Cost £6/2/6 to buy. Use of bike for getting to work and for pleasure. Journeys to Southend, Devizes, Salisbury. Joins Ealing Cycling Club. Common to ride 110 miles in a day. Send pistcards to prove they have been there. Journey to Portsmouth and back in one day on two bottles of Tizer - no food. Friend does similar journey to Bath and back. The cinemas in Ealing in 1930s. Recalls first films he saw as a child with sub-titles - sister required to read them for him. Friend has piano lessons. Dick takes up ukelele. the piano in many working class homes. Music lessons. Gambling, bookies' runners. Story of runner hiding betting slips in drainpipe.