THE regular Worcester Life Stories feature has proved extremely popular with readers who grew up in the city and they often get in touch when changes are under way to places they lived in their childhood.

Frances Hawker, of Nunnery Lane, got in touch with us with some memories prompted by the demolition and redevelopment of the parade of shops and homes in Rose Avenue.

Frances grew up with her two sisters and brothers when her mum and dad opened the newsagents and tobacconists in Rose Avenue.

She said: “It was a month before the war broke out in 1939 that my parents, Fred and Grace Rayers, opened the shop in a newly built parade of eight.

“My eldest brother Fred was 12 and I was four, and there was also Don, Eileen and Edna.

“If I remember rightly, I don’t think there were children in any of the other shops.

"Very soon after we moved in it was decided that my Dad, as far as the Government was concerned, did not do an essential job and so he went to work nights in the canteen at [engineering company] Heenan and Froude and it was left to Mum to run the shop.

“I have memories of a very happy childhood – yes there was rationing, blackout, going to Gorse Hill School with your gas mask, but we had playing in the street, playing marbles in the gutter and hopscotch.

Worcester News: Fred Rayers with his children, from left, Fred, Eileen, Frances, Edna and Don, pictured in 1939

Fred Rayers with his children, from left, Fred, Eileen, Frances, Edna and Don, pictured in 1939

“Sometimes the sirens went off but there was lots of freedom with my friends.

“I particularly have fond memories of climbing on to open lorries outside Jeynes at about 7am to go pea picking and hop picking.

“It felt as though we travelled miles, but we probably only went to villages just outside the city.

“Looking back there were not so many material things around but we had so much freedom and safety did not seem to be a problem.

“Soon my old home in Rose Avenue will no longer be there. The whole parade is being demolished to be replaced by much-needed houses – another change to the face of Worcester.”

Do you remember the newsagents run by Fred and Grace? Why not get in touch?

Worcester Life Stories is a collaborative project bringing local people together through shared stories of the City of Worcester.

It is co-led by Dr Natasha Lord, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust and Sheena Payne-Lunn, Worcester City Council and funded thanks to National Lottery players.

To share your stories, visit, our Facebook page or Twitter @worlifestories. You can also email or call 01905 721133.

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