THE article about horse-drawn trams (Oxford Mail, July 18) brought back memories of Park End Street.

In 1939, I took up employment in Park End Street, Oxford next door to Rodnight’s Cafe. On one occasion, Miss Rodnight started to tell me what a brilliant businessperson my grandmother was.

Because I wondered how she came to know my grandmother, I asked my mother.

Apparently, my grandmother moved her business from Woodstock to Oxford, her first business address being next door to Rodnight’s Cafe. I don’t know the date of this move but, since my mother was born in 1895 and went to the Central Girls’ School, she must have been old enough to be a pupil.

According to my mother, the area had a strong smell of horses generated by the tram horse stables in the street, rather different from the smells that I knew which were of brewing from Morrells and, in season, of oranges when Coopers were making marmalade.

It seems that my mother would sit at the front window and watch the horses being driven hard up from the station to have enough speed to clear the hump-back Paces Bridge.

Failure to do so meant turning the horses to the other end of the tram to tow it back towards the station for another try.

The hump on Paces Bridge was, no doubt, to give headroom for barges to get to the Castle Mill or Park End Wharf but by my time, the bridge had been lowered to be level with the road.

Fortnam Close