‘Mick’ and the Lansdell Family

For this and next month’s offerings, I’m going to relate a story as given to me by my friend, Avril Lansdell.

‘Mick’ Boyce Barrow was born in New Zealand in the early years of the twentieth century. In 1929 or thereabouts he was brought to England by a wealthy New Zealand race-horse owner, to ride for him as a jockey in the classic English race meetings. They came to stables at Appleton, near Oxford, to acclimatise and train the horses brought from New Zealand.

During this time Mick fell ill (probably with pneumonia) and was dismissed from his job and accommodation. A farming family in the village of Appleton took him in, nursed him back to health and he then worked as a labourer. During this time he met the niece of the farmer’s wife, Mrs Winnie Lansdell, who spent summer holidays in Appleton at the farm with her husband and small son.

At home in Teddington

William and Winnie Lansdell took Mick back to their home in Teddington, where he lived with them for the rest of his life. In the 1930s Mick did a variety of jobs involving animals including driving a horse and cart, delivering pet meat to wealthy dog owners and kennels, and working at a kennels that bred Chow dogs and showed them at Crufts. At this time, the Lansdells lived at 119 Munster Road, a small house with a small garden. Further down the road was a larger house with a very long garden with a small orchard at the bottom and a group of wooded outbuildings beside the orchard, which turned at right angles from the main garden. There was also a long drive, the full length of the garden down to these outbuildings.

This was No. 128 which, at that time, had been turned into two flats. In one of the flats lived Mr and Mrs Smith; he was known as ‘Smithy’ and she (we think) was known as ‘Bubbles’. The Smiths were 1930s motoring enthusiasts, customising small cars (always second-hand) to boost their performance and then selling them on after trying them out for themselves. The Lansdells and Mick were part of a group of friends and neighbours that included the Smiths and the other couple who lived at 128 Munster Road. These were happy times – they were all young people in their thirties, most with no children. The Lansdells had one son, Howard, born in 1923.

The outbuildings at No. 128 were a hive of industry with the men meeting there to work on cars and other projects. But with the outbreak of war, things changed. First the Smiths moved away, followed later by the other couple, and the men who were not called up became involved in civil defence work.

A master butcher

During the 1930s William Lansdell had prospered. By 1938 he had his own business as a master butcher in Claygate, travelling there every morning from Teddington. The business consisted of two shops, side by side, in new buildings in Hare Lane, opposite The Parade leading to Claygate Station. One shop sold fresh meat and the other was a delicatessen. There were several shop assistants and a manager for the delicatessen, who lived above the shop.

However, by 1940 all the shop staff, including the delicatessen manager, had been called up. William Lansdell was left to run both shops, with the part-time help of a retired butcher. Winnie Lansdell worked on the cash desk, which served both shops, and Howard had to leave Hampton Grammar School and work for the business, making deliveries. Much of the Claygate business was ‘carriage’  trade from the big houses in the area. Back in Teddington, William bought up the freehold of 128 Munster Road when the Smiths left, although there were still tenants in the other flat for another year.

Old road, new house

Eventually William’s health broke. After Howard went into the Merchant Navy in 1941, William was forced to sell his business. Early in 1942, after the remaining tenants left, the Landsells and Mick moved across the road into No. 128. The move was accomplished in one weekend when Howard was home on leave and with the help of several neighbours. All their household items were either carried across the road or pushed across in wheel- barrows.

William and Winnie went into poultry production in the orchard, registering as egg and poultry meat producers. At one time they kept over 100 hens and a few ducks in the orchard and supplied eggs to local Hampton Wick shops, as well as poultry at Christmas time. Mick used the outhouses as a workshop, repairing anything and everything – a great service to the community in wartime with all its shortages and breakages.

To be continued…


Ken Howe is a local historian and author of several books.

howe64@btinternet.com 

020 8943 1513

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