Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Green, Syston

This is The Green, Syston, as I remember it from my childhood. The Toon's house is the one in the centre, the lighter-coloured building. That's my grandad Fred Toon's painting and decorating business in the room to the left of the front door. While I remember this as being the Toon family home, my dad, Ted Toon (born 1928)  thought of the house on High Street as his original home, the place where he grew up. It was on the land where the Methodist Church Hall now stands, on the corner of High Street and Upper Church Street, Syston.

But this is the house on the Green. A few years back, it was for sale, and I was in England on a visit. I persuaded a local estate agent to give me a tour. The building had been used as offices; the building that used to be a big workshop, behind the kitchen, had been converted into an extra bedroom and bathroom. It was still a lovely house, with lots of memories of exploring the secret stairs from the kitchen, the ghost of Grandad's budgie, Knobby, Auntie Marjorie's birds in the garden, snapdragons...

The little coach house with its arched gateway to Lower Church Street, where grandad Toon and Uncle Cecil and Uncle George used to store paint had been converted into a separate little house or maisonette. Grandad's allotment, of course, had been long gone: it's under the car park, behind the Church Hall.

To the right of the Toons, behind the black, shiny car, was the optician's office, where I first had my eyes tested. To the left, it's Borderick's greengrocery shop.

There was another thatched cottage to the left of the one in this photo, as you head towards Bath Street. It caught fire... 

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