Alice May Hyde (nee Priday) - My Mom

Alice was born on 28th May 1917 in Weobley, Herefordshire. mom70-2

The following is both an introduction to her and a potted hsitory of her life. I will be writing seperate articles about the various featured events.

Her Mom & Dad

Her Mom (grandma Priday) was a little lady in stature with a heart the size of England who, unfortunately, I only really remember in her dying days.

Mary Louisa (grandma) was born illegitimate and therefore there is much dispute about her early years (and much more research to be done). My mom always said her mom was born into the Sheward family and research via Ancestry.co.uk has thrown up a family containing a Mary Louisa with the right connections. Assuming that information is correct, she was born in 1880 in Doverdale Worcestershire and baptised in 1881 at Bredenbury, Herefordshire. She married Joseph Priday in 1910 and went to live in Weobley, Herefordshire.

Joseph Priday (grandpa) comes from a long line of Priday's going back in history and is related to cousins who had the flour mill in Gloucester docks and the saw mills in Cardiff docks (site of the Welsh Assembly). Joseph was a gardener both professionally and at home although he died in 1954 before I ever had a chance to know him. But I like to think my greenfingers probably come from thats ide of the family.

Moved to Birmingham

In 1921 the whole Priday family upped sticks and moved to Balden Road Harborne. Mom was 4 years old and remembered the open fields surrounding her home. They moved because her Dad had got a job locally, as a gardener. More work again is needed to pin down exactly where but family folk-lore says at the Industrial School that later became the Martineau Centre.

St Peters Schhol

Mom went to St Peters, initially making the daily walk with her Mom but she also remembered walking there and back on her own or with local friends. Then the journey would have been down Balden Road to the Court Oak, then down to Queens Park and through it to Tennal Road. Down Tennal Road to Northfield road and then probably straight across and up Vicarage Road - a fair walk to make twice a day, no matter what the weather!!!

Mom told me about her days at St Peters, about Billy Harding the then Headmaster and about family walks down to the Hillyfields and beyond (it was not a pub back then but lovely, open farmland).

World War 2

Mom joined the Womens Royal Air Force at the start of WW2 and was put into the R.A.F.'s clerical service. Initially she was based near Hounslow London and shared some rooms with a friend in Hounslow.

Later on the branch of the service she worked for moved to "temporary" huts on land alongside the Hagley Road on the Harborne/Bearwood border. These huts were there well after the end of the war and eventually the land got developed into the Hamilton Avenue/Fitzroy Drive estate.

Married my Dad

On returning to Harborne after WW2 Mom again took up the friendship of my Dad - they had met pre-WW2 and she once told me they would have married in 1939 if it wasn't for the damn war !! (She rarely used profanity, its why I remember it so clearly).

Mom & Dad did their post war courting at dances first at the Junction pub and later at the RAFA held at the barracks in Tennal Lane.

Once they were married, they moved into the accommodation above 17 High St (the Shop) and Mom became part of Dad's family business, helping him run the shop right up to the last day it opened. Of course in 1953 she also became a Mom to me.

Presedents Wife

Dad was heavily involved in the Harborne branch of the Club & Institute Union and swiftly rose through the ranks of the Committee to become the clubs Preseident, a post he held for over 25 years. Mom's role was to support him in any way she could and that often ment foregoing their Sarturday night dances at the club to organise Raffles and sell the tickets.

Over the years she raised £1000's for both the clubs internal funds and also for local charities like St Josephs, Acorns & Birmingfham Childrens Hospital.

Welsh Railways

I, like my Dad, had a fascination for industrial and narrow gauge railways, perhaps fuelled by the Harborne line. When I was a kid the Harborne line was run by Chad Valley and was used to move timber into their works and finished goods out. But my Dad remembers it as both a goods & commuter service.

Because we spent so many holiday periods in Wales - it was the best place to get to in the short time available whilst still running the shop - the preserved railways of North Wales took our fancy. And because Dad had been to Fairbourne when he was a young boy it was the 15-inch gauge Fairbourne Railway that we initially became associated with. After that got bought out and radically changed in 1984, I moved on to the Bala Lake Railway and the family followed on quite soon too.

Whilst I worked on the lines, guarding or driving my Dad did DIY type jobs and Mom got involved in various ways. At Fairbourne she "manned" the shop at times but often at weekends was in the mobile Canteen wagon at the Ferry station.

At Bala Lake Railway Mom had, for many years, a second hand book & jigsaw stall on the platform at the railways base Llanuwchllyn raising money to help with overhauling the steam locos and latterly, for improving the carriages.

Aberdovey & Criccieth

As she got older Mom suffered terribly with her legs and found walking great distances difficult - a result of all those years stading behind the counter in the shop for 10 hours a day. So Dad and Mom tended to take the car to places they could park up and watch the sea. Aberdovey was always a favourite because the car park was on the level right by the beach and the small harbour. Mom could spend some time wandering around the harbour with Dad - they liked to see the Outrward Bound school boat & the small fishing boats and they would always go to the Lifeboat station and leave a few bob to pay for the good deeds.

At Criccieth they parked up on the sea front, Dad usually took a stroll up and down the promenade whilst Mom sat in the car and read her books or just dozed. When she was able, they visited a cafe in Criccieth for lunch but often Mom had made them some sandwiches and a flask of coffee which they consumed in the car.

Died 2009

Mom passed away in Selly Oak Hospital in April 2009 after battling with various ailments form most of 2008. I managed to get to her bedside just before she actually passed on, although she had no idea I was there.