by Michelle Fisher [Part 2]

What is your earliest memory of Ethelburt Avenue (continued)?
The hedges were much lower then and there weren’t many cars. It was impossible to walk down the road without bumping into neighbours. The garden fencing was all open trellis which was again sociable, although I was scared of the two Alsatians next door.

Where did you go after boarding school?
From 1946-49, I was at the Girls’ Grammar School in Southampton (now Richard Taunton College) and then I was at Cambridge University from 1949-52 studying Natural Sciences. After that, I completed a teacher training qualification and worked in Horsham and Maidstone teaching biology, before taking a Head of the Science Department position back at my old school in Southampton until I retired in 1989.

What was your father’s job?
He was a District Organiser for the Workers’ Education Association (providers of adult education). As he had to travel for work, we always had a car, a Morris 8, which fitted easily through the arch and into the garage.

He was Leader of the Labour Party on Southampton City Council. He was involved with Southampton University and Southampton Institute, which became Solent University. He was given Freedom of the City in 1958 for services to Southampton and was knighted in 1966. (You can read more about his work for Southampton in

There is a Solent University building named the Sir James Matthews building in the city centre (formerly Plummers Department Store).

What other memories do you have?
We had a Morrison air-raid shelter at home which was the indoor equivalent of an Anderson shelter. It was like a large tin table under which we could take cover.
Our house was struck by lightning in 1975, causing a fire and extensive damage. We were initially put up by neighbours in the road before staying with Quaker friends, whilst the repairs were completed.

What is special about living here?
The sense of neighbourliness. The Avenue is well designed and the greens make it easy to get to know people. We were always playing out as children and I remember the green space, where numbers 97-111 now stand (not built until after the war), as a wilderness of wild flowers and brambles where I would explore. I also remember playing in the fields on Bassett Green Road before the prefab housing was built there.

From a personal point of view, over the years we have valued so many of the older residents who lived in Ethelburt Avenue and their stories of life on the estate. We wish you well Margaret and will miss you. – Michelle Fisher

Comments are closed.