Headington Reminiscences

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Pauline Gibbs (Mrs Dean)

Pauline Gibbs lived in Old Road as a girl during the Second World War

Jewellery box

The Italian prisoners of war at the Old Road camp were not very popular up Old Road and in Tilly's shop.

I remember the Germans there. Strangely they were much more liked and my Granny bought herself and my mother a fancy jewellery box each, made of wood by one of them. I was also given a plain, perfectly made one with my initials on it.

The German POWs were apparently nice to me and ruffled my hair as I reminded them of their little children at home. They also used to go to Tilly's shop.

Right: jewellery box with Pauline Gibbs's initials,
made by a German prisoner of war at the Old Road Campin the Second World War

I did not like the Americans who had a guard post at the junction of Old Road and the Churchill Hospital. I remember one of them saying “I’ll come back for you in ten years, blondie”. I had no idea what it meant but it felt threatening, even as a child.

There were also the Land Army girls up The Ridings, in the house just past the Furze Wood on the left, going to Open Brasenose. I remember they used to come to the houses in Old Road and sell patchwork aprons which they made in the spare time.

More information about “Tilly's shop”

Kislingbury shop

“Tilly's shop” was a general store run by Miss Matilda Kislingbury (1886–1975). Her shop was at the present 123 Old Road (left), which was numbered 109 prior to 1949. It is immediately opposite Titup Hall Drive, which was the new exit from the camp after it became temporary council housing.

Miss Matilda (Tilly) Kislingbury was living here at the time of the 1939 Register and was described as the shopkeeper, and by 1952 she was aged 67 and helped by her brother Frank Kislingbury. The shop would have become much busier because of the 34 flats in the camp and the first 116 houses erected in Wood Farm, not to mention the demand for sweets from Wood Farm Primary School.

Judith Wright in Melbourne adds:

I remember the sweetie shop. It was almost opposite The Crown and Thistle. just along from Wood Farm Primary and Junior. Something that really sticks in my mind is all the jars of lollies served up in little paper bags. Sherbet dip wrapped in paper, cinder toffee was my favourite.  I think I started Junior in 1959. It was threepence or sixpence back in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  I think the shop was called Tilly’s. Crisps came in a packet with a twist of salt in blue paper.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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