Kings Heath, Birmingham. It reminds me of how East London felt 20-odd years ago.
I was born in the front room of a house in Hollybank Road on a council estate housing project in Kings Heath. Although we later became Billesley. No idea why. One day we were B14. The next B13. Didn’t really change our lives much! And our family didn’t have much of a pub culture. I think my Dad used to drink quite a lot as an Irish young man in Leeds. although, as the story goes, Mom said to Dad, “it’s the drink, or me.” And fortunately for me, Dad chose her! Dad told me how his Dad was a drinker and brutal with it. He’d come home sometimes after a night in the pub and get his belt off to beat his kids. I never met my Grandad, although my older brother did and said he seemed like a nice man. And I can’t condone his brutish behaviour, but I had some element of sympathy for him, when I realised Dad, as the youngest of seven kids., lost his Mom, my Grandmother, when he was seven years old. So my Grandad, who was an Irish labourer from County Mayo, was suddenly responsible for bringing up SEVEN kids, on his own, in the 1930’s (No NHS or welfare in those days either!) in a one up, one down house in a slum in Leeds.
I might share a bit more about the Hare and Hounds later. It’s a great music pub… I often used to have a drink with the late, lovely Brian Travis from UB40 there. But for now, what do you think about my Grandad’s situation?