At times, in life we all get preoccupied with the day-to-day existence and that is perfectly normal and natural. The initiators of The Southall Story love stories. We love sharing stories and experiences. Just open your front door and for a moment pause and take a deep breath. And ask yourself – what is this place about, what has happened here? This place that I live in or work in.
Now is a time to remind ourselves and once a gain share. Southall is one town, of many in the UK. This is the place to carry on with a very special and colourful heritage. What exactly, is your story? Tell us…! Get involved as an individual, an artist, a community or a group. But always as YOU.
A collection of personal stories from our readers:
CAROLYN HUME – musician
“I first came to Southall in 1987 to rehearse at Westar Studios in Priory Way. I didn’t realise then that Westar would be become my second home for the next 13 years until it’s closure in 2000.
Over those years I would meet musicians from many different backgrounds,religions and cultures,many of whom have remained lifelong friends. There was a special atmosphere at the studios,a creative outpouring and a desire to collaborate with new people..making a fusion of genres from Egyptian classical, bhangra, free jazz, soul, funk, rock..the diversity covered was immense.
Together we planned gig nights for musicians and the public..these nights were magical,giving people an opportunity to hear music that they had never heard before. One of the most memorable nights was the ‘Unity’ night in 1990.We set up in the largest studio and many musicians performed,of all ages and genres..there was a feeling of really bringing music from all over the world together,which had risen out of these rehearsal rooms and studios in the back streets of Southall.
Those years have become a very memorable chapter in my life,spending whole days and evenings talking,playing,watching world cups,eating at ‘Rita’s,drinking in the ‘Halfway House’, chatting with locals and of course spending many years creating music with other people,usually at the generosity of Graeme Tollitt who ran the rehearsal rooms.
I came back to Southall for the first time in 8 years recently..the studio’s gone and many changes,the visit was a mixture of sadness and nostalgia. But i was also reminded of the energy, creativity and friendships that had been born out of ‘Westar’ and felt very fortunate to have been a part of that time.”
I have lived in Southall all my life. It’s a place that’s busy, rich in cultural history and very vibrant!
Southall has certainly changed over the years. As a little girl, I didn’t have a care in the world and would feel very safe and secure in Southall.
Me and the local kids would hang out after school at The Dudley Road play centre In the summer holidays. Back then, your 6 week holidays would be filled with warmth and sunshine every single day until you had to return to school September. Gosh, I had some good times there!
I used to look forward to Saturday mornings to go to Southall Market with my mum. I remember my mum always stopping to talk to someone she knew every 20 minutes or so!
They would say, “Alison, look how you’ve grown”! I’d hear that at least 3 times in a shopping trip!
Back then, most would say hello and there was much more of a community spirit. People had more time for each other back then, sadly, this has changed over the years.
My mum came to Southall in 1966, there were more English people back then.
More places to socialise, more work, English cinemas, dance halls, more recreation facilities and a safer place for kids to play.
As a black woman my mum could feel the racial tension in the air, even though it wasn’t directly aimed at her.
Even though Southall has changed so much over the years, for me, it’s still an exciting and unpredictable place to live, it has It’s own energy. That’s what I love about it.
When I see tourists taking photographs on The Broadway or even outside The Glassy Junction, it makes me feel proud that they came to my town, Southall.
DAVID KNOWLES (musician and founder member of Keda Productions Ltd)
My first experience of Southall, in December 1980, gave me a real appraisal of a phrase that I’m not sure I’d even heard yet: Culture Shock. Let me explain. Four months earlier I’d moved home from a small northern industrial town called Widnes, aiming to make my mark in the gleaming metropolis of London. I was in a rock band and, as is usual in such circumstances, convinced that we were destined to be the next big thing.
The first stop in our inexorable rise would be a recording studio. Having set up camp in Acton, a perusal of our nearest (cheapest) options led us to a choice of one – Airport Studio, Priory Way, Southall. A grand name, we set off on that sunny, early winter morning with high hopes.
I don’t know whether you would be interested, but during my youth I was a prolific songwriter – writing songs for me and my guitar. It was mostly a personal thing – expressing my emotions and frustrations. Not sure they were very good, but they worked for me.
Most of my songs were written for girls – well, I was a teenager – but I did write about other stuff too.
When I heard about Gurdip Chagger I was upset at the senseless violence of it, the waste of a life. And I ended up writing a song about it.
I’ve attached the lyrics in PDF format, it’s a sort of Bob Dylan/Clash style song set to a sort of modern tango beat (bit like London Calling by the Clash).
Gives you a different perspective on the event anyway.
I later found out (although I haven’t been able to verify it since) that the thug that did the stabbing was Jody Hill, who I was in a big fight with in the school toilets when I was at primary school. He was not a nice boy even then.
My grandparents lived in Tudor Road Southall for much of their married life and I recall as a child visiting their home, this would have been in the mid 60’s.
I was always told by my family that they were the last” white people” to live in that paricular street.I am not sure if this is true or how it is significant but is always something I remember.
My grandmother aparently worked in the rubber factory and I am interested in finding out more about the area as it was in her day.
How about the peaceful and serene mornings as the sun rises, I recall catching the bus from outside Manor House and the birds happily chirped away, or how about the sounds of the cars with the sound systems pumping away, the butchers shop on a Saturday morning, Poonams on Diwali, the langar hall at Havelock road, King Street on Friday night, Lahori Karahi on Featherstone Road or Abi Shanti at the hall near the arches or the merry clinking of glasses at the Hambrough Tavern?
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