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Owen Owen

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Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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181 of 183  Fri 22nd Nov 2019 11:30am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3196

Prof, Your post #168 I believe you were referring to the open well of the basement of Owen’s, about 15ft deep, I think the surround was boarded but it could have been iron sheets In 1945 time Owen’s burnt out store opened some of the ground floor, but I think the building had a ghost-like atmosphere that put off shoppers. Coventry were never going to build something solid before the war ended. After the big raid, Coventry had a mammoth task of clean-up, there was no need to knock Owen’s down when we might have had more raids. First they cleared the streets - in places like the market they just put the rubble in heaps until the war ended, they made sure there were no un-exploded bombs and no one buried. Then dozens of little wooden shacks appeared as shops. Owen’s, Burton’s and other shops cleaned the ground floor rooms and opened with little stock. Earl Street had a number of Nissen huts on one side only, with a temp face the other side, loose walls were knocked down and the buildings left to wait for the end of the war. By late ‘41 the war had changed, Coventry had a lull, I believe London did too. By Sept ‘44 London was attacked by new weapons, the doodle bug and rockets, and Coventry held its breath, but they were not capable of reaching Coventry. By early ‘45 Coventry thought rebuilding was not far away and down came some of the barriers. The new Owen's I believe was only roped off while work was in progress, late ‘48 I think. This is sheer memory on my part.
Owen Owen
Prof
Gloucester
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182 of 183  Fri 22nd Nov 2019 7:58pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1179

Kaga, I think I would agree with that!
Owen Owen
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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183 of 183  Sun 1st Dec 2019 12:00pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3196

I was walking up Trinity Street sometime in the late forties. The site to the new Owens was roped off, several men were digging out the trenches for the foundations - several people were looking on. I spotted two teenage girls watching so I crossed the road and stood by them. but an irishman stood by a barrow of dirt polishing an old shrimp paste bottle, a lot of banter began. At that time the centre of the town was a large expanse of waste ground, the feeling was he was going to use it (for you know what!) A voice called “You wouldn't dare” - he smiled, still cleaning the bottle with a piece of rag, suggested he would. A woman screamed “You dirty old sod. I'm fetching the police”. The girl next to me put her hand over her mouth with a gasp. Someone shouted “Go on Paddy, I dare you”. By now a crowd had formed. I laughed - all this in the centre of the city. He lowered the bottle. Screams and gasps. He lowered his right hand. Some kid shouted excitedly “Oh my god, he's going to do it”. Clapping started, but Paddy put his right hand in his trouser pocket, pulled out an Irish coin, placed it in the bottle. Now, a lot of ohs, then someone offered him a tanner. He placed it in the bottle. I said to the girl at the side of me “Well, that’s saved you a lot of blushing”. She said "You reckon?” Then people caught on and all sorts of coins were offered of all values. He filled the bottle, screwed on the metal lid, took out a spade of earth in the trench then filled the hole with soil from his barrow, stamped it down and the crowd dispersed. And I had a date fixed with the girl that said “You reckon?”
Owen Owen

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