Downham Online Discussion

Forums => General Discussion => Topic started by: Vic on April 07, 2009, 07:13:08 PM

Title: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Vic on April 07, 2009, 07:13:08 PM
Hi Everyone,
Please excuse me, I started straight in answering a post about the bombing of Sandhurst Road School without introducing myself on the website.
I have read the various forums and quotes about Downham with great interest. I grew up in Merlin Gardens having moved in there in 1935 and finally moved away in 1949. As a lot of the posts describe, we played all the childhood games: Aligobs, marbles ( in the kerb whilst going to and from school. high jimmy knacker against the lampost where Durham Hill meets Shroffold Road plus all the usual seasonal games: football on the green opposite St Luke's Church, cricket in the road where the game had to be temporarily halted whilst the 124 bus turned round before returning to Catford. On the green in Merlin Gardens a long brick air raid surface shelter was built for the flat dwellers, those living in the houses had an Anderson Shelter each in their gardens. We used to chalk a wicket or a goal mouth on the side of it and play long, furious games well into the twilight. No worries about children staying out late then. We also tore along the Council Ground on the 'bank' in Shroffold Road armed with imaginary machine guns and hand grenades 'killing' any enemy who got in the way.
I remember playing knocking down ginger along the bank where we tied two knockers together. However, Mr Beldham, heard us whispering in the porch and when we ran away he gave chase and followed us right up Durham Hill, along Moorside Road across to Lancelot Road through to Ivorydown and into Downham Way. We eventually gave him the slip by squeezing through the railings at St Barnabas Church! It was lucky that there were a lot of us about the same age to knock about together. Some names I remember: Jimmy Cole, Jackie Wormley, Gordon and Alan Wilton, Terry Lucy, Ginger Hill, Dickie Waterhouse, the Whybrow brothers, Roy Syrett, Peter Heaney, Bertie Fowles, Peter Crozier Kenny Clark and Johnny Walters. There were girls too! Betty Clark, Iris Eustace and Janet Pease. We all lived in either Merlin Gardens, Shroffold Road or Durham Hill. I also remember Billy Steel in Dagonet Gardens and Ronnie Pearson in Vanoc Gardens. Our rival 'gang' was the Dalton Gang in Roundtable Road.Of course, we were no threat to anyone and the confrontations we had usually amounted to a bit of name calling - we were never rude to adults and we respected policemen - if we ever saw one on Downham!
There, that is enough for openers. I look forward to reading lots of posts about Dah'num!
Regards,
Vic.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Splinter on April 07, 2009, 10:45:41 PM
Hello Vic nice to read from another newbie. Whereabouts do you live now. It seems a lot of men left the esate when they went into the forces.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Brenda on April 08, 2009, 09:59:09 AM
Welcome Vic - and lovely to see all your memories.  What a marvellous description of all the fun and games you boys had.  Keep the reminiscences coming.

Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Vic on April 08, 2009, 07:35:57 PM
Thank you for the welcome. I now live in Devon, but as I said in my last post I went back to Downham last year. I wrote to Merlin School (Ballamore) and asked if I could visit and look around the buildings I first saw 70 or so years ago. They took a bit of persuading, but eventually agreed. My old mate from childhood days, Gordon Wilton, came with me - he still lives in the area but not on Downham. We parked the car in Roundtable Road and walked back to the Admin block of the school which was once the girls' entrance. I was dismayed to see that an 8 foot high fence had been erected all round the school premises and we had to be camera identified before going in. The whole visit turned out to be utterly charming. A young black girl and a small white boy, Kia and Jack, took us all round the school, into every classroom and all the children were invited to ask us questions. They mainly wanted to know what it was like at school in our day. By prompting, one of the teachers got a small boy to ask me what happened in my day if we misbehaved. When I told them that we would probably have got the stick and our names placed in the headmaster's black book, a gasp went up from the class. I showed them a photo of me when I went to their school and was asked 'did you have to wear a tie?' I asked them what games they played in the playground - did they still do 'buzzing up' when two boys run along side each other arms linked behind with a third acting as driver? They hadn't heard of that but they still play release, British bulldog and statues. I went to my very first classroom at the road end of the single storey block and, of course, it had changed out of all recognition, but it still had the original corridor door!. I remembered that the caretaker in those days was a Mr Lawrence and he lived in the house next to the school going towards Shroffold Road. His daughter was in my class The best part of the visit was when we watched a singing lesson in the upstairs hall of children from nursery to year 1. They finished by all marching out smartly and  in line singing 'I can sing a rainbow' beautifully in tune - I was in tears! Sadly, we were not allowed to photograph the children, but I took plenty of the buildings and playgrounds. We had coffee in the teachers' common room and then finished the visit with more classroom questions. After that we went 'up the top' for something to eat. I hardly recognised the place. When I lived there, starting from the bottom of the shops on the right hand side were the post office, Wilsons - the various goods prices used to be written on the shop window with soluble white paint and we, as boys, loved to run past and wipe it off as we went - Gunners the grocers, Hammets the butchers, Boltons the sweet shop, Morrell and Dixons the chemists, United Dairies, Clarks and, on the corner, Whites lemonades nd ice cream. On the other side it was Snooky's Snack Bar, All Needs, Mr Witty the Barber, Pearks and the Maypole on the corner amongst others - as far as I can remember. We had a very good snack lunch in a cafe where Clarks , the greengrocer, used to be. I was amazed to see that the Downham Tavern had gone! Also, the library. It was good to see that the estate was relatively litter free and quite quiet. Merlin Gardens now has an electricity sub station in what used to be Jackie Wormley's garden and the two big oak trees that grew on the council ground out side Dickie Waterhouse's have gone, a car parking area built in its place. Some of the windows in the flats were boarded up and a boy at the school told me that Merlin Gardens was going to be knocked down! The broad, symmetrical pavement and neat privet hedges of my day have largely gone. It seems to be all wheelie bins and parked cars. However, I believe that the general state of all the houses, gardens and roads are better than when I lived there.
I returned home with many happy memories. Now, on Street View, I walk from Merlin Gardens down Shroffold Road, up the Green Steps, down Downham Way to Grove Park station then down Chinbrook Road, past Amblecote in to Chinbrook Park - or 'dahn the Chinnie' as we used to say!
'bye for now.
Vic.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Splinter on April 08, 2009, 08:22:44 PM
Hello Vic, I went to Ballamore in the late fifties and things have changed since then. I`m not sure if the high fence is to keep people out or the kids in.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Brenda on April 08, 2009, 11:17:23 PM
A wonderful account!  I'm going to print out all these things - yes, yours too Splinter -and keep them in my Downham file along with dear Dickie's wonderful contributions.  And I have to say it is encouraging to read how enthusiastic the children were about your visit and that the estate generally looks clean and still nice despite the changes.  I thought that when I visited Google Streetview.

A Pendragon schoolfriend of mine recently went on a sentimental visit to our school and was shown around by the headmaster.  As with your experience, she was shocked to find high cyclone fences and security and had to go through a rigorous process before being allowed in.  It must be a sign of the times.

Hope you are going to share your photos Vic.
Bren
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: birdie on April 09, 2009, 09:45:49 AM
Hiya Vic ..i dont know when you were at Ballamore school.I was there from1939 to 1944 .. a few teachers i remember were Mr Warner...Mr Rickets...the head Master was Mr Leavesley..and yes Mr Lawrence was the care Taker ..The school use to have a Night centre when i was there ...to let the people who were bombed out stay ((short term..))Yes i also Remember the Daltons (Wally Dalton). But  My freinds mainly lived in Pendragon Road .. I myself lived at 25 ((Next door to Splinters Family @27 )).. we all got on well together to..((But Splinter was Only a Twinkle  in his mums eyes then ))  haha she was 14 and me 9..a few names that lived in Pendragon was....Florrie Carrington..Silvia and Ronnie Smallwood.. Derik and Connie Langford..Bobbie and Beral Knight...Jeanie Barratt... Roy and Ray Carpenter...Alfie and Betty Donavon..Lennie Buck..Malcomb Williams...Googy Marshal.....((Winnie Carrol Splinters Mum))Terry and Silvia Swanson...(( Bill Starlings Me)) ((and John Hatton He died last year))...so where are all these people now ..does anyone know???  lets hear if you do ..
                                           By now take care Bill...
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Vic on April 09, 2009, 09:38:35 PM
Hi Birdie,
I went to Ballamore School in fits and starts through the war because of evacuation. I was sent to Burwash Common, in Sussex, with my sister who was 16, on the 1 Sep 1939 - I was considered too young to go with my two brothers to Folkestone. We came back in time for the Battle of Britain and then I was sent away to Chard, in Somerset, with my brother Ted. My father came down and took us home when he found out that our foster mother was entertaining many and varied men friends on a nightly basis! I saw a lot of the Blitz before going off to Northampton, then back home again when things quietened down in London. During the times I was back in London I went to Ballamore Road, Pendragon and Durham Hill schools. I remember Mr Bellamy and Mr Hookey at Ballamore, also a Miss Brett - a young student teacher who Paul Holmes (he lived opposite the school next door to the McQuades, Eric M was a very good boxer and his brother Brian was a good friend of mine) and I had an 11 year olds crush on her! There was a Miss Blake who was a bit of a Tartar, but a very good teacher. I remember Mr Ricketts. He used to read a book called 'Shep' to us and 'Emile and the Dectectives'. He always wore a very smart brown suit. Come to think of it, all the teaching staff looked smart. Nowadays they seem to slouch around looking like a lot of unmade beds! I ended up at the Central School in Churchdown and then the Doodlebugs started and I was sent to West Yorkshire. I found that a south London accent was a very dangerous thing to display to the local bullies and I went home from school with many a bruise and black eye whilst there.
During the Blitz, St Luke's Church was burnt out to shell when a few incendary bombs landed on the roof. during the 'mini Blitz in 1943 a huge canister of explosive incendaries landed behind No 20 Merlin Gardens. It was supposed to have opened at about 1000 ft and shower the area with bombs, but luckily it didn't. But it made a very big crater and a large lump of our living room wall fell off when it blew up!
When I came back from Yorkshire I went to the South East London Secondary Technical School in Lewisham Way on a 3 year building course.I joined the school ATC and spent most of my weekends at Biggin Hill - I was 15 by then of course.
I don't recall any of the names you mention Bill, except Wally Dalton of course, but I knew Charlie Hart, Raymond Henshaw, Norman Grace and Norman Whitton who lived in Roundtable Road near Pendragon.
Bren, I'll put some photos on line when I find out how to do it!
Cheers for now.
Vic.
 
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: mike on April 10, 2009, 02:40:01 PM
Hi Vic - a belated, but very warm welcome to the forum. What brilliant memories, and the school visit report is fascinating. I have lived on Downham for around 18 years now, and have seen some changes in my time, some for the better, some perhaps not, so it is always marvelous to hear someone's perspective whose memory goes back that much further.

If you visit again, please do drop me an email and you would be more than welcome to pop in for a cup of tea, a chat, and I'd be fascinated to go round the estate with you.
Mike
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Vic on April 10, 2009, 06:11:52 PM
Thank you Mike. I'll sort out a couple of photos that I took on my last visit and email them for inclusion. I'll certainly take you up on the cup of tea offer on my next visit!
Vic
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Vic on April 10, 2009, 07:31:21 PM
Mike,
I've sent a few photos that I took on my last visit to Downham. I hope they turn out OK. Since starting to post on your website all sorts of memories have come flooding back. I remember that before the big surface air raid shelter was built on the green in front of the flats in Merlin Gdns the flat tenants used to congregate in the porch at the top of the flat entrance steps  during air raids. - I notice that there is a coded lock door there now. If things started to get a bit hot with the odd bomb whistling down we cowered in the big meter cupboard under the main stairs. I recall that we passed the time - usually about 3 - 4 hours talking and singing! Mrs Searle of 16 Merlin Gdns (top flat) usually led and we sang such ditties as 'Back home in Germany, a Plane would like to be, but British gunnery brought it down you see.......'
There was never anything rude; lots of old music hall songs and popular songs of the times. We never actually used he surface shelter except for a short time when Doodlebugs were very frequent.
As for home security.The front door Yale key was kept on a string hanging behind the letter box so you just put your hand through and drew it out. At night the string was looped over the Yale lock knob. In the time I kived on Downham I never heard of a break in or an affray of any kind. I suppose we were all at the same level and everyone looked out for everyone else.
Till the next time,
Vic
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Brenda on April 12, 2009, 05:47:14 AM
There is - or was at any rate - a BBC website where people have shared their wartime memories.  Food for thought for those of you who remember so much of those days.

Was your Mrs Searle the lady known as Ginger Doll?  If so, I have been in touch with her niece who lived in Woodbank Rd.  Ginger is still going strong - or was last time I heard.  Also think Ray Carpenter was in my class at Pendragon.

Got to keep this short. I keep losing internet connection and/or the computer turns off.  The gremlins are having a wonderful time.

Bren
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Frank (hutchsky) on April 12, 2009, 08:45:41 AM
Vic, an old friend of mine, John Nunn Ex Downham, Keedonwood Road and Durham Hill, is living in Devon, you might be able to contact him either here or Friends Reunited.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Splinter on April 12, 2009, 10:21:07 AM
Brenda was that the Carpenter Family who lived in Pendragon they moved to the house in Roundtable but on the corner of Pendragon.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Vic on April 12, 2009, 03:06:29 PM
Bren,
I hope I'm not beginning to bore you with my war stories! I'll dredge up some memories about the times just after the war when I was a teenager to tell later
I don't think Mrs Searle was called Ginger Doll- as far as I can remember she was dark haired. The Searle family lived above us in the flats at Merlin Gardens. Mr Searle (Fred) was in the army and there were two children, David and Phyllis. David was working and Phyllis went to Aske's School. I recall that Phyllis was a very attractive girl and all the older youths around Merlin Gardens had a great crush on her
One thing I remember was that Fred Searle brought his rifle home on leave with him - I believe they always carried their arms in those days - and after the Searles had been down the Northover pub for a few bevvies Fred Searle did some  practice rifle drill above us! It was about midnight and the thumps and bumps were terrible; my old man went ballistic hammering on the ceiling with a broom. All ended well however when Fred came down and apologised.
Vic.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Brenda on April 13, 2009, 05:28:37 AM
Brenda was that the Carpenter Family who lived in Pendragon they moved to the house in Roundtable but on the corner of Pendragon.

I couldn't be sure where he lived, I'm afraid. He was a small but stocky lad.  I should put my class photo onto the site, shouldn't I?  Raymond is in it.  The other pupils from Pendragon Rd were Christine Valance, Mary Petrou, Sylvia Croft.  No doubt more but I can't remember.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Splinter on April 13, 2009, 07:04:26 AM
Brenda, I am sure that Birdie (Bill) mentioned the Carpenter`s to me when i went to see him. He has a photo of a gang of children taken on VE day in the front garden of a house in Pendragon. Its rude to ask a Lady her age but would you know any of them. Or even be in the photo ???
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Brenda on April 14, 2009, 04:27:23 AM
I have absolutely no objection to anyone knowing how old I am.  I was born in 1943 and don't have much in the way of memories prior to the end of 1946 when I was 3. 

Bren
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Pauline on April 14, 2009, 08:38:46 AM
I have absolutely no objection to anyone knowing how old I am.  I was born in 1943 and don't have much in the way of memories prior to the end of 1946 when I was 3. 

Bren

I've often wondered why some people are so funny about their age.  It's there, and there's not a lot you can do about it, unless of course you have the money for plastic surgery, even then you are still the same age.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Brenda on April 14, 2009, 10:22:47 AM
I have a friend who is manic about not divulging her age but always asks other people how old they are.  I simply don't understand this.  Even now, and in a nursing home with Parkinsons disease, I could see she was ready to kill her daughter when she revealed  - drum roll here - she was 82.  I would have thought that people knowing this would be the last of her worries!

Bren
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Dickie eagle on April 14, 2009, 09:43:59 PM
I too have no problems with anyones years BUT I draw a line to the "Wait till you get to my age "  Brigade who take pride in having gone to school with Noah, or were flying when Pontius was a Pilot.      How pleasant it is to be in the 21st. century.with everything it has to offer including computers without which we would be Sans "Downham Online " eh? couldn'tbear the thought of missing all you lovely people  (wheres Smudge these days, I hope all is well mate                dickie ...............
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Brenda on April 14, 2009, 10:43:20 PM
Yes Dickie, and those people who ask you to guess their age. Straightaway, you know they think they look younger than they do.  It's really cringeworthy, isn't it?

Oh my, having Downham Online is my first port of call when on the computer.  It continues to bring such pleasure as more and more people find the site.

Bren
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Vic on April 30, 2009, 07:55:00 PM
'Evening All,
This is my third attempt to add to my few posts! Each time, just as I have got to the button pressing bit to post a long narrative, I've dropped off line! I live right at the end of a very long Broadband line and when all the kids come home from school and log on, I drop off. Hopefully, I'll get this one away before that happens again.
As I said last time, I will try to keep off the war experiences and write about the period just after in the mid to late 40s.
There was a lot of posts on trains and buses recently. I recall when it was still possible to get a 6d All Day tram ticket which allowed you to roam anywhere on the network. My brother and I would catch the tram at Northover, 54 for Victoria, 52 for Blackfriars or 74 for Victoria via Brockley. We'd change trams in London so that we could catch the one that went under Kingsway subway and do the whole of north London. With just a packet of sandwiches, the day was bliss! Like Splinter, I always stood at the front end of a bus lower saloon on the flywheel cover watching the driver's every move. I remember some of the adverts pasted at the front:
'A note from you
a call from us
the date is fixed no worry or fuss
a Pickford's van, a gentle giant
the work is finished a satisfied client'
Another about tea was '......... while poor Aunt Jane poured out pure rain, but Mother sees we've Co Op teas!'
'Knit with Emu and stop thinking about shrinking' was another.
A good day out was when a gang of us went to the Woolwich Free Ferry. We'd catch the 94 at Grove Park, change to the 75 at Lee Green and then on arrival at Woolwich spend the day toing and froing across the Thames. You could stand and look into the engine room - I remember that my favourite ferry boat was 'Will Crooks' Sometimes we'd wander into the housing estate on the other side of the water, but would beat a hasty retreat - the kids there were too tough for us.
Getting whippies on vehicles was another good game. When the 124 turned round at St Luke's we would jump on the platform and ride round, or at least until the conductor came down from changing the destination blind - no electronic signs then -  he'd shout 'Git ah't of it you bleeders!' and aim a swipe with his ticket rack. The United Dairies horse drawn cart used to turn round right at the bottom of Shroffold Road, near Bedivere Road, then old Gangster, the horse, would plod all the way back up right to the 'top, with Mac the milkman dozing on the seat. We could get a good long whippy on that! The South Suburban Dairy float and Grooms bread came in for the same treatment. If we saw any Dagonet Gardens kids on the back we'd shout 'Look be'ind guv'ner!' Old Mac would curse and shout at them throwing doubt on their legitimacy.
Elmstead Woods was good for a day out too. We'd walk 'dahn the Chinnie', (Chinbrook Park), through the big railway arch then up Portland Road to the woods. There we would race around all day playing the 'Shadow' or Robin Hood or something similar. Sometimes we would go by train. We knew there was no ticket collector at Elmstead Woods station so it was a matter of getting through at Grove Park for a buckshee ride. I had a couple of paper rounds with WH Smith in the station so most of the ticket collectors knew me. We would walk through with me talking loudly to my mates and making as if to go where the papers were made up then dashing down to the platform. Coming back was a bit tricky as there were few passengers so we'd wait on the platform until a London train came in and then mingle with the crowd of passengers and push through.
Some years later, when my brother was a railway man, I found out that all the collectors knew what we were up to - we were let through on the premise that boys will be boys!
A final tale: One day, me and a mate decided to go scrumping. We crossed the 'footie' by Reigate Road and crossed Baring Road to Coopers Lane. I had my Dad's brand new Hercules Roadster Bike and my mate had a 'racing bike with drop handlebars. Incidentally, the area of land near the footie which was all allotments, is now called 'Grove Park Nature Reserve', or something like that.
We parked our bikes in the kerb by a house with a big garden and went through a hole in the fence - a lot of fences had sufferred bomb blast damage - and started filling our pockets with apples. After a short while, to my horror I saw a policeman's helmet just above the fence top coming our way. We dashed out of the other side of the garden into the next road. Now we had the problem of getting our bikes back! We hit upon a strategy of wandering along the joining road shouting the name of a fictitious friend. When we got up to the rozzer we asked him if he had seen said friend? He looked down at us and said 'You.ve been scrumping, and that's stealing, if you go on that my lads you could end up in Greenwich Juvenile Court - now get your bikes from behind that fence and bugger off back to Downham'. We broke all records getting home. In a loose moment I told my Dad what had happened. He gave a cuff behind the ear!
That's all folks!
Regards,
Vic.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Splinter on April 30, 2009, 10:53:57 PM
Nice to hear back from you Vic. Wondered where you`d gone. You will have to tell the kids that you have important information to put on the net and can they stop using it until you have finished. I have the same trouble here. I have to on very early or late like now or when Eastenders is on. I really enjoy your stories, most of the things you did i got up to but a few years later. I think in my day to travel on a bus all day was called a "Red Rover", can`t remember how much but i could travel all over the place. Another place i went to was Hornimans Museum at Forest Hill went anywhere that was free. I also used to help by walking the donkeys at Blackheath, they were stabled in a field near the Dutch House Pub just behind the horse riding stables. I went passed Blackheath a couple of weeks ago and they still do rides there.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Frank (hutchsky) on May 01, 2009, 02:19:39 AM
I was always sitting behind the driver and when I could not  I make a bee line for the top deck up front, In my teens we would  upset the driver by rubbing a matchstick under our shoes over his cab on the top deck, came unstuck a few times with getting chucked off and having to walk the rest of the way. I sold newspapers out side the "Splendid" for a while and ice cream on a bike type thing, calling out "Ice cream choc ice" around the Downham and Flower house Estates, and did a stint at Blackheath Fun shows with my ice cream bike. The one penny platform ticket was a good way to travel for near free, had some near misses with the ticket collectors. I also did a bit of time with BR before going into the army, a porter at Honour Oak Park Station, with an old school mate, Kenny Hackman, we had some fun catching people for not paying , we knew all the tricks. The Dutch House was a place to be in my Motor Cycle days (Rocker) the "mad mile" pass the pub around the bend and under the railway arch, you had to reach the 100mph to be a Dutch House King! but sadly a few lost their lives hitting the bridge. My Father worked for LT, Bromley Garage, so I also go into big trouble when it got back to him about me and mates unsetting the bus crews, its funny how I landed up driving buses here for 30 years, but the problems are more serious now, with some of the teens.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Brenda on May 01, 2009, 08:51:10 AM
Your anecdotes are hilarious!  I must say, you boys had far more adventures than I did.  What fun you had and how I enjoy reading about it all. Keep it coming.

Bren
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Splinter on May 01, 2009, 06:08:28 PM
Hello Frank. The problem was that most of the bikes couldn`t do a ton, the speedo might say it but in those days my 650 Bonnie wpould need a downhill a following wind and me crouch over the clip ons and burning my shin with the rearsets to get nearly 95MPH. As i said on a previous forum. My son in law had a Fireblade and frightened the life out of me, you know that it would do the speed limit in 2nd only had another 4 gears to go !!!! . I remember a bloke (didnt know him) hit the wall at Dutch House and he had a skid lid on. when it was taken off it killed him as half his head was split. Not nice thoughts now, he was older than me so would still be in his late 50`s. God we thought we were INVINCIBLE.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Vic on May 01, 2009, 06:15:11 PM
Bren, you mentioned St Lawrence Church in Rushey Green in one of your recent posts. On my visit last year I was amazed to see that it had gone! There's a huge block of flats on the site. If you Google Street View you will see them. You will also see that The Plaza Cinema on the opposite corner has gone. We had a very good choice of cinemas when I lived on Downham. There was, of course, the Splendid - long gone - The Gaumont Bromley, the Odeon Bromley, The Gaumont Lewisham, the Plaza at Catford, the Queen's at Catford and the Savoy at Lee Green. At the Splendid it was possible to bunk in at the side door if one of your number paid to go in and then 'accidentally' pushed on the panic bar bolt on the doors either side of the screen to let us creep in. We managed that a few times until the manager stood the usherettes in the way. I was sorry to note that the Hippodrome was no more. They had some very good acts there - I remember seeing Laurel and Hardy and Max Miller ( the Cheeky Chappie) there, and it was very cheap to go in the 'Gods'. After a performance we would go to the mobile snack bar which was between the tram junction on Catford Bridge Road right opposite the Black Horse pub and Timpson's garage and eat super dog sandwiches.
Incidentally,if you Street View Rushey Green you can travel up Sangley Road and then up Sandhurst Road hill and catch up a 124 bus!
Recalling Blackheath, we used to go up there when the fair was on, mostly over bank holidays. I remember when we were riding the dodgems and one of the staff jumped on the back to collect payment. We gave him a ten shilling note and no change was forthcoming. We waited until he was back in the little box at the side of the track and then surrounded it - there must have been ten of us. The threat to turn him over produced the required change. We beat it before he got more of the fairground hands to come and sort us out!
I notice from the estate agents' ads on Downham that a two bedroomed flat may be rented for 185 per week! At 17 Merlin, my Father paid 17/- per week for a 3 bedroomed flat. Mind you, he earned only about 4 10s a week! How times have changed. The rent had to be presented , with rent book, at the estate office in Northover. There was often a long queue whilst someone in front wrangled over why they hadn't paid for a couple of weeks. (Just called away for a few minutes to see Harold, in Neighbours, leave Ramsey Street for the last time).
It's the first day of summer in the UK today - you wouldn't think so as it is still quite cool and has been very wet!
'bye for now,
Vic.

Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Dickie eagle on May 02, 2009, 06:01:16 AM
First time I ever did more than a "Ton up" I was petrified,but as it was an amphibian with a top speed of 95 knots  ( roughly 105 m.p.h) after a while it was obvious we weren't exactly all that speedy. most bikes seemed to be around 75 with a following wind  dickie.............
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Splinter on May 02, 2009, 03:10:09 PM
Blimey!!! What boat does 105MPH. Your Surname isn`t Cambell or Seagrave by any Chance. St Lawrences Church has moved to Bromley Road near to where the Double decker Bus Toppled over. Where it used to be is now Lewisham Council Offices and their Car Park.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Dickie eagle on May 03, 2009, 05:18:13 AM
sorry splint didn't mean to confuse, just a speed comparison. The amphibian in question is the lovely "Supermarine "Sea Otter" which I think is in the Phot. gallery I could put some more in. Incidently at the Boot Fair at Denham yesterday I met an interesting character who resurrects old bikes and spent his time advertising for old bits & pieces of bikes he had just finished a lovely old 1912 sguare tank thing that looked like a Flying Squirrel           dickie...................
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Splinter on May 03, 2009, 04:27:34 PM
Was the Sea Otter built in Southampton or Isle of Wight. My Uncle worked for them in Southampton Before and during the War.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Dickie eagle on May 04, 2009, 08:47:15 PM
 The Supermarine "Sea Otter " was the successor to the older "Walrus " ( aka " Shagbat " as it was more cmmonly known .). Most of them were, as your dad said, built in Southampton. they carried a crew of three, had Scarte mountinge fore and aft to facilitate machine guns for self protection, and had light series bomb racks under the lower wings port and starboard plus a bed stretcher, they came into their ownas Air/Sea rescue aircraft      dickie..................
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Splinter on May 04, 2009, 10:33:19 PM
Thank you for that bit of info Dickie. It was my Uncle who worked there, then during the war due to bombing it was moved to Salisbury, where he met my Aunt. My Dad was in the Royal Navy during the war, he was on HMS Rodney for a while and was there during the sinking of the Bismark and then he was posted to U.S.A.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Pauline on May 06, 2009, 08:50:40 AM
Bren, you mentioned St Lawrence Church in Rushey Green in one of your recent posts. On my visit last year I was amazed to see that it had gone! There's a huge block of flats on the site. If you Google Street View you will see them. You will also see that The Plaza Cinema on the opposite corner has gone. We had a very good choice of cinemas when I lived on Downham. There was, of course, the Splendid - long gone - The Gaumont Bromley, the Odeon Bromley, The Gaumont Lewisham, the Plaza at Catford, the Queen's at Catford and the Savoy at Lee Green. At the Splendid it was possible to bunk in at the side door if one of your number paid to go in and then 'accidentally' pushed on the panic bar bolt on the doors either side of the screen to let us creep in. We managed that a few times until the manager stood the usherettes in the way. I was sorry to note that the Hippodrome was no more. They had some very good acts there - I remember seeing Laurel and Hardy and Max Miller ( the Cheeky Chappie) there, and it was very cheap to go in the 'Gods'. After a performance we would go to the mobile snack bar which was between the tram junction on Catford Bridge Road right opposite the Black Horse pub and Timpson's garage and eat super dog sandwiches.
Incidentally,if you Street View Rushey Green you can travel up Sangley Road and then up Sandhurst Road hill and catch up a 124 bus!
Recalling Blackheath, we used to go up there when the fair was on, mostly over bank holidays. I remember when we were riding the dodgems and one of the staff jumped on the back to collect payment. We gave him a ten shilling note and no change was forthcoming. We waited until he was back in the little box at the side of the track and then surrounded it - there must have been ten of us. The threat to turn him over produced the required change. We beat it before he got more of the fairground hands to come and sort us out!
I notice from the estate agents' ads on Downham that a two bedroomed flat may be rented for 185 per week! At 17 Merlin, my Father paid 17/- per week for a 3 bedroomed flat. Mind you, he earned only about 4 10s a week! How times have changed. The rent had to be presented , with rent book, at the estate office in Northover. There was often a long queue whilst someone in front wrangled over why they hadn't paid for a couple of weeks. (Just called away for a few minutes to see Harold, in Neighbours, leave Ramsey Street for the last time).
It's the first day of summer in the UK today - you wouldn't think so as it is still quite cool and has been very wet!
'bye for now,
Vic.



My daughter was christened at St Lawrences.
I well remember the rent office, and the queues, and of course being but a small child I was a whining nuisance as my Mum waited to pay.
We used to go away to Kessingland holiday camp by Timpsons Coaches, what a wonderful place that huge garage was to a young child.  What is there now?
What about the REX (?) cinema in Lewisham across the stream near Cheismans. Took my daughter to see Jungle Book there, what a waste of money, she spent most of the movie trying to hide in my pregnant lap!
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Dickie eagle on May 06, 2009, 03:23:00 PM
have to start a new thread,my apologies, on May 8th. ,VE Day, and my Mums Birthday ,she would have been 103 ! and this year on Friday May 8th I and my wife Dorothy will be attending St. Paul's Cathedral to celebrate 100 years of Naval Flying  . lunch at the Guildhall afterwards and if any of you are attending and please if you would introduce yourselves     dickie....................
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Brenda on May 06, 2009, 10:59:06 PM
have to start a new thread,my apologies, on May 8th. ,VE Day, and my Mums Birthday ,she would have been 103 ! and this year on Friday May 8th I and my wife Dorothy will be attending St. Paul's Cathedral to celebrate 100 years of Naval Flying  . lunch at the Guildhall afterwards and if any of you are attending and please if you would introduce yourselves     dickie....................

You have reminded me, Dickie, that it is nearly my late father's centenary.  He only lived for just over half of that, sadly. 
Do hope you have a wonderful time at St Paul's and Guildhall.  Are you going to put a lovely photograph on the site?
Bren
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Splinter on May 06, 2009, 11:20:05 PM
Hope you have a lovely time there Dickie. As i stated before although Dad was in the Navy my family was into Aircraft design and then went on to build them. My Great Uncle designed the SE5A from the first War then went on to the Gloster Gladiator and his son Started his own Aircraft Company and they Designed and built the planes the the Red Arrows First used The GNAT T1 Trainer OH!! by the way my surname is Folland.
Title: Re: Introduction by a Newbie
Post by: Pauline on May 07, 2009, 02:45:24 AM
have to start a new thread,my apologies, on May 8th. ,VE Day, and my Mums Birthday ,she would have been 103 ! and this year on Friday May 8th I and my wife Dorothy will be attending St. Paul's Cathedral to celebrate 100 years of Naval Flying  . lunch at the Guildhall afterwards and if any of you are attending and please if you would introduce yourselves     dickie....................

You have reminded me, Dickie, that it is nearly my late father's centenary.  He only lived for just over half of that, sadly. 
Do hope you have a wonderful time at St Paul's and Guildhall.  Are you going to put a lovely photograph on the site?
Bren

My dad would be 106 on June 4th.