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Guide to Pinehurst
By Kenneth L Bryan
Starting from Whitworth Road coming towards the centre of Pinehurst you meet the junction of Pinehurst Road and Whitworth Road. At this place a large Water Tank was built for the storage of water in case of bomb damage.
Pinehurst Road runs in a southernly direction and after about 1/4 mile meets with The Circle. In 1939 when the war started, Pinehurst was still being built, but this had to stop because the male population, unless they were on important 'war work' were enlisted into the Armed Forces.
Afterwards, because of the lack of labour and the costs this had to stop and The Circle finished at Chestnut Avenue where The Labour Hall was built.
Pinehurst Road continued until it reached the split between The Circle, Beech Avenue, Pinehurst Road and rejoined the other end of The Circle.
Pinehurst Road between the two splits of The Circle became a dual carriageway and, half way down, on the left hand side, a large pond was built to hold water that could have been used in an emergency against fire during air-raids.
In Linden Avenue a 'Communial Dining Room' was built to provide meals for the workmen to have their meals because they lived in surrounding villages and were on shift work.
There were lots of Old Age Pensioners' houses built in Pinehurst, the bungalows off Beech Avenue, and several on streets off Poplar Avenue.
Except for Whitworth Road and Pinehurst Road, most of the streets were named after trees: Acacia,Hazel, Limes, Laburnam, Chestnut, Hawthorn, Willows etc.
There was one hospital at the rear of Poplar Avenue (Isolation Hospital for Diphtheria etc).
Pinehurst Schools were built in 1934, they consisted of Infants, Juniors, and Seniors. In those days, your schooling ended on your 14th birthday or as near after it as possible.
When the war ended in 1945 and the servicemen were demobbed, labour and money became available and so The Circle and surrounding streets were continued.
The hardstanding and foundations were built on the rubble etc that had been dumped there from the bomb damage from Kembery Street/Cricklade Rd etc.
The first houses were temporary prefabs that were put up so quickly that they were put up "the wrong-way round" with the bedrooms and the kitchens facing the road way instead of the back gardens. These were not altered until they were demolished and replaced with permament brick built buildings.
Going off track a little, Cricklade Road was the eastern boundary of Swindon until the first house was reached that had no front garden. Back on track now, Beech Avenue was then built, and it reached as far as Cheney Manor Road (St Mary's Church, which, incidentally is a lot older than it looks!)
This part of Cheney Manor Road runs until the junction with Whitworth Road and was counted as the border with Moredon. This junction was built as an island from which Vicarage Road / Akers Way was built. After about 500 yards a slip road was built that became the continuation of Cheney Manor Road until its junction with Vicarage Road.
One of the things that I can remember is, that because my father was a member of Morris Street Club in Rodbourne, every Boxing Day we used to walk to the club where we were given an orange and a bag of sweets.
There was not a great amount of damage done to Pinehurst during the war except for a few air-raids, namely one big raid where Beatrice Street, Ferndale Road, Northern Road, Ipswich Street and Whitehouse Road were damaged, and another separate one where the GWR Gas Works was hit in the Gas Holders. (Lord Haw-Haw broadcast this information on his "Germany Calling Germany Calling" programme that evening except he said it was a petrol refinery).
Bombs were also dropped on other separate targets that seemed to be factories being used by Short Bros, manufacturers of aircraft parts. These were Hyde Farm at Kingsdown, in line with Vickers at South Marston, a stick of bombs at what is now Dorcan Way (no factories near), Dudmore Road, off Drove Road and the final one at Haydon Wick/ Blunsdon that was another one of Short Brothers.
I can remember that, just prior to D-Day a glider crashed on the grounds just above what we called, the hills.
I left school in 1944 before the war ended and had my name down on the list for GWR but I had to wait for a short while whilst my application went through. In the meanwhile I was employed as a Butchers Boy, delivering individual orders to houses.
I then started work in The Great Western Railway in Vshop (the boiler shop) as a Rivet Hotter. The war finished in 1945 and then I started my training as a Machine Operator. I was working in R shop when I was involved in a disagreement with the Foreman and I lost my temper and punched him in his mouth. This was not a thing done in the railway and I was marched straight out the gate escorted by two watch men that seemed about 10 foot tall.
After I left the GWR. I started working for The Plessey Company until I was 18 years old when I was called up as a National Serviceman in the R.E.M.E. Whilst I was serving there I Iearned to drive every vehicle from a motorbicycle up to a tank. When I finished my National Service I went back to working in Plessey's but as I had reached the rank of a Staff Sergeant, I did not like taking orders from someone else and so I left and started work as a bus conductor for The Borough of Swindon Passenger Transport. As soon as I was 21 I obtained my PSV driving licence and started as a driver.
This was in January 1951 and it lasted until April 8th when I was involved in an accident with another bus. But I am going off track a little and I have stopped talking about Swindon.
Swindon started expanding and became one of the "London Overflow Towns" that took all the excess people. Swindon started building several new estates: Walcot, Park North, Park South, Covingham etc.
Pinehurst Memories by Les DanielsI was born at 11 Chestnut Avenue in 1938 and lived there until 1960, when I left to do my National Service. I remember seeing a glider land at the top of the hill. When we saw the tow rope break, we ran following its flight path and were there just after the glider landed. I recall that there was a very large branch hanging from a nearby tree, which the glider had hit seconds before landing.
I remember a water tank at the top of Chestnut Avenue, which one of my friends tried to walk across wearing wooden clogs, he failed!
Another young boy from Chestnut Avenue lost his life in the pond at the Circle. You can still see where this pond was today by looking at the different kerb stones about half way down the circle. I also remember the Home Guard experimenting on this pond. Rifles were placed on a sheet of canvas. With the wooden stocks at alternate ends, the canvas was tied tightly around the rifles and cast off. The AFS was called in to drain the pond in order to recover the rifles. The pond was eventually filled in with the rubble from the shelters built on the Circle. There was one on the grass outside the shops and another alongside the road, half way up to the Circle on the left - this one had an observation post built on top. There were more on the opposite side of the road by the pond.