The Talbot was always known to us as The Arch. Young men used to meet the young ladies at the Arch. It was a place where people congregated. I believe that was because at the Front of the Talbot, there is an archway - which is now filled with doors and windows. Legend says that it's probably where the stagecoaches used to drive through when they stopped on their way from London to Birmingham. There was ample stabling at the back(now all part of the restaurant). I can't remember stagecoaches. The people could get off and have a drink , go to the rest- rooms, perhaps-probably out in the garden.
Question - Do you remember when there was water outside the Talbot?
Answer - Yes. Where the entrance to the car-park of the Talbot is, there was a big drain-about 2'6" in diameter, that went through from that point to what is now the fly-over. As children, we used to have dares as who dare furthest up it. You didn't have to go very far before it was pitch dark and very smelly. You had to stop under there a little while, otherwise you were a chicken. There was pole over the top, some sort of a guard, to stop people and horses falling in. Children called it the tippling pole. The girls used to hitch their skirts up into their knickers.
In those days, the crossroads, seemed to be a very dangerous and busy crossing. Although, by modern standard the volume of traffic was small, but not controlled by speed. The AA Man-who lived down the Bradwell Road, (officially or semi- officially-I don't know) was looking after the children when they went to school at 8:30 a.m., to make sure they could cross the road. Eventually in the 1930's, I have recollections of a Belisha Beacon going up opposite the Alm's Houses. An orange ball on top of a pole-a crossing for children.
LONDON ROAD GARAGE
Up the hill from the Talbot was the garage started up by Edgar Daniels as a young man His father was the local chimney sweep. Edgar was very entrepreneurial who had the1st big American car in this area. I can remember him taking us to the station once, when we were going on holiday, and he boasted about this American. During the planning of the Bypass, Mr. Daniels bought lorries, and he made money as a mover of soil. Eventually he did employ a mechanic. I think he had the 1st petrol pump in the area. It had to be hand-pumped.
I can remember as quite a little boy, Mrs. Daniels Senior, the chimney sweep's wife, had been to hospital to have a gallbladder operation, to remove her gall stones. I can remember quite distinctly visiting her with my mother, and my mother being told to lift this jam jar full of stones. I thought it was a terribly gruesome thing. That's another thing that is stuck in my mind. It's funny, the things that stick in children's minds, isn't it?