By Andrea Martin-Banks
The other day I was mooching in a second hand book shop in Newport, Shropshire, when I came across a tome about my old home town of Wolverhampton.
As I leafed through page after page of grainy black and white photographs of places I recognized – The Wolverhampton Airport at Pendeford, where I spent lots of time with my dad who was a keen pilot, I bet we were the only family to live in a council house and had half shares in an airplane – The West Park, where again I spent lots of sunny Sundays on the boating lake with my dad, also the Royal London Buildings where I started my first job in an Insurance Brokers.
Then I came across a picture of the Central Arcade, just as I remember it where my favorite toy shop used to be, a glorious place with a glass domed roof. My eyes kept being drawn to a tall slim young man on the left hand side of the picture. And I thought I recognised him.
It’s my brother Paul waiting outside Rachel’s hairdressers for his girlfriend Chris who worked there. The picture according to the caption was dated 1966 (the year they married 50 years ago) and Paul had just joined the police force. Paul doesn’t remember the picture being taken, but many, many years later my mother had seen it in the Black Country Bugle.
But sadly, like so many family memories the paper must have been thrown away, I never thought we would come across it again.
My sister-in-law Chris said it wasn’t difficult to spot him as he is tall, but the give-away was the notorious size 13 winkle picker shoes he was wearing at the time.
What a joy it was to see this picture after all this time, the book is called Memories of Wolverhampton, by Alton Douglas and published by Beacon Radio and radio WABC