Downham Online Discussion

Forums => General Discussion => Topic started by: Jane on June 14, 2009, 02:58:48 PM

Title: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Jane on June 14, 2009, 02:58:48 PM
Does anyone have memories of the Goldsmiths Community Centre on Castillon Road (adjacent to the Excalibur pre-fabs) and the North Downham estate? The centre celebrates its 70th anniversary this year and I am helping to create an exhibition and website showing how it has been used over the years. It is an amazing building and one of the few purpose-built community centres in the country.

Specifically I am trying to find out about the people that used (and the groups they joined) the centre and hoping that someone somewhere has photos from its early days! As the centre was officially opened in 1939 I guess it was requisitioned during the war and any clubs and groups started up after 1945.

Please contact me if you have any information. With thanks, Jane
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: JSmith on June 14, 2009, 08:52:48 PM
Hello Jane.  I lived in Downham and I was a postman at Catford sorting office, castillon rd is in SE6, but I cannot give you much info about the centre. So here is the phone number of a friend of mine, Ray Thorogood who lived on Castillon rd for a time and may have gone to the centre. My name is John Smith and I live in Canada so if you mention this he will know how you connected. His # is 698-9885-0208. Please take it slowly as I have not informed Him that I have given you His phone Number.  John
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on June 15, 2009, 07:47:49 AM
Gosh, I am totally ignorant of this.

Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Jane on June 15, 2009, 09:08:27 AM
Hello Jane.  I lived in Downham and I was a postman at Catford sorting office, castillon rd is in SE6, but I cannot give you much info about the centre. So here is the phone number of a friend of mine, Ray Thorogood who lived on Castillon rd for a time and may have gone to the centre. My name is John Smith and I live in Canada so if you mention this he will know how you connected. His # is 698-9885-0208. Please take it slowly as I have not informed Him that I have given you His phone Number.  John
Gosh, I am totally ignorant of this.

Bren

Dear John and Bren,
Thank you for your replies. I've met people in the area who never knew of its existence either! For such a large building it is quite 'tucked away', blending in with its surroundings, but the 124 bus stops outside on its way to Catford. I've been doing some research and a people of all ages use it every week for education, sports and leisure activities. Maybe it is just a well kept secret!

I will contact Ray as you suggested John, and thank you very much for the information.

best wishes, Jane



Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on June 15, 2009, 02:40:57 PM
Hello Jane, How long has the 124 bus been going through the North Downham Estate? It used to go Down Northover into Verdant Lane Left into Hazlebank and then right into Torridon. Then again the last time i caught a bus they were Double Deckers it was about 1970.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Jane on June 15, 2009, 05:37:03 PM
My son used to drive the 124 bus about 14 years ago and it comes off Verdant Lane at Waters Road, goes via Battersby to Boundfield, Castillon and Baudwin then on to Hazelbank Road for at least as long as that (I just asked him!). When I first worked in North Downham about 19 years ago there wasn't a bus through the estate; you had to go to Verdant Lane.

I have unearthed some interesting stuff about the pre-fabs and the estate, including the 'Boundfield Festival' which was a sort of summer playscheme as far as I can make out and a youth club going back to 1942. Any further contributions will be gratefully received - I can scan in photos and would like to interview anyone who has memories of the community centre - past or present.

Jane

Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on June 15, 2009, 09:33:55 PM
John,
Now there's a coincidence! I knew Ray Thorogood very well as a boy. He lived in Shroffold Road,along the 'Bank', between Merlin and Dagonet Gardens. His father was a bus conductor at Catford Garage. Ray lives in Shroffold Road now, but not at the same address. I visited him, with a mutual friend, a few years ago. I recall that, when young, Ray couldn't walk anywhere - he had to run! He ran and jumped all the time. I know it's the same Ray Thorogood as the Tel No you gave Jane checks with the one I have on his card in front of me now.
Regards,
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on June 16, 2009, 12:32:54 AM
I remember in the late 60`s that the school had a summer playcentre and Forster Park had a sports day. Was it Boundfield Road that had a small parade of shops ? I loved the cakes from the Bakery. I had a Boy Scout Mate who lived in the Prefabs he had a leg iron due to polio i found out later that he decided to have the leg off !!! I wish i could remember his name.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: JSmith on June 16, 2009, 01:49:18 AM
John,
Now there's a coincidence! I knew Ray Thorogood very well as a boy. He lived in Shroffold Road,along the 'Bank', between Merlin and Dagonet Gardens. His father was a bus conductor at Catford Garage. Ray lives in Shroffold Road now, but not at the same address. I visited him, with a mutual friend, a few years ago. I recall that, when young, Ray couldn't walk anywhere - he had to run! He ran and jumped all the time. I know it's the same Ray Thorogood as the Tel No you gave Jane checks with the one I have on his card in front of me now.
Regards,
Vic.

Vic   I hope you will get in touch with Ray, He has not got a computer, but I know He would love to here from you. He is a fantastic guy, He is permanently in a wheel chair now because He has a flesh eating disease. I worked with Ray at the post office at Catford, He often phones me here in Canada and we talk of old friends and old times.  John
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on June 16, 2009, 03:52:45 AM
Well, doesn't this site come up with some amazing twists and turns.  I love all these new connections to old connections.  How ironic that a lad (Ray Thorogood) who 'ran and jumped all the time' should end up with such a disabling disease. Poor man.

Look forward to the next episode.

Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on June 16, 2009, 02:34:41 PM
John,
What sad news about Ray. I shall contact Gordon, the mutual friend who re-introduced me to Ray, he lived lived in Durham Hill when we were young but now lives at Bexley. I'll ask him if he is aware of Ray's problem. I shall pop in to see Ray when I go to Dahnum.
I was in the garden yesterday pruning Red Robin and some other small bushes and I was reminded of the gangs of men that went round the estate from time to time cutting the privet hedges. They did a fine job. On reflection, it was the overall symmetry of Downham that appealed to me. The same bricks, the very well laid pavements and the privet hedges. There were some clever variations of architecture in the shapes and sizes of houses and, I believe there were about four different types of porch way. A quick glance at 'Street View' confirms it.
Cycling is all the rage in the UK at the moment, but we were way ahead of them. There was a mixed cycling club on Downham in the forties. It was run by a Winne Mae who lived in Tristram Road. We met in a big house on Mason's Hill in Bromley, but spent most week-ends on the road youth hostelling with the YHA and CTC. Members I remember were the Dean brothers from Rangefield Road, their Dad had an Auto Cycle to do his insurance collection rounds on - we thought that very posh. There was Les Manton who lived on the corner Of Durham Hill and Woodbank; Wam Millington from Ivorydown and two brothers, one was a bit dwarfish but managed very well on a bike, from Valeswood Road. There were a few from the 'White City' at Marvels Lane including John Manning. I remember that we all aspired to Deraillier gears - when we could afford it, and the ultimate was a Claud Butler 531 frame sports model. Most of us had 'bitsers' made different by having 'fixed wheels'. OK until you forgot and tried to stop pedalling and over the top you went! At one stage me and my brother had a tandem - he on the front being older, me on the back - trouble was, after a night shift on the railway he was pooped and I did most of the work!
Enough reminiscing, must go and do some more pruning.
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on June 16, 2009, 11:05:39 PM
I used to cycle all over the estate to see various mates, we would all go off together to places, didn`t think about how safe it was. Best outing was to Biggin Hill Airshows ( had 2 each year then). I couldn`t even think of it now with the state of the roads, traffic and parked cars, i wouldn`t last a week. PS I`m off to Biggin Sunday week for the show havn`t been for 3 years.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on June 17, 2009, 12:04:00 AM
Fantastic reminiscences, Vic.  Yes, the council workers came along regularly to trim the privet hedges.  Whenever I smell privet, I am immediately taken back to Downham days. I was delighted to find a privet bush on this property (maybe the single token of a past owner's attempts at a hedge) and it has thrived.  When it flowers, I am in heaven!  

We decided on a native bush hedge (grevillea) in the early days of our residence here and got quite a nice one going.  The flowers attracted the native birds, in particular the lovely blue wrens. However, the penny dropped that it was also attracting the long wigglies and we removed it.  Happily, they self-seeded and now there are two nice bushes on the other side of the road so the birds are still happy and the snakes no doubt are also happy.

My friend and I cycled a fair bit when we were in our teens.  We always said we'd join a cycling club but never did.  Didn't ever get too far. I suppose the farthest we went was to Biggin Hill and Greenwich.

My brakes once failed on the big hill down into Lee Green and I rammed into the back of a car.  Ouch!  The driver was actually quite forgiving but might not have been had I caused any damage.  Had bruised fingers for a while.
Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on June 17, 2009, 02:50:59 PM
Here come more past connections Brenda! I presume that the hill that you lost your brakes on was Burnt Ash Hill - leads down to Lee Green. My first girl friend, Sylvia Jeffries lived at 53 Burnt Ash Hill. I was the tender age of 9 and we were evacuated to Old Duston near Northampton. I never saw her again after we returned to London!
I hope your privet bush continues to thrive. I cut out a large bush of unknown identity yesterday afternoon - it needed pruning every year, was slowly increasing in size and didn't look very nice. This morning we bought a slow growing New Zealand phormian to take its place. I'll plant it when it stops raining!
Both you and Splinter mentioned Biggin Hill. I belonged to my school ATC squadron and  I spent just about every week end there as an ATC cadet helping with refuelling and covering/uncovering the Spitfires on 600 (City of London) Squadron. It was an ad hoc arrangement whereby three of us cadets stayed on camp on Saturday night. I can't remember how we fixed it, but it was unofficial. On Saturday mornings I collected money for paper bills for W H Smith's in Grove Park station from my rounds in Baring Road, Amblecote Road, Kynaston Road and Chatsworth Avenue right round to King's Meadow took it back to the stall manager, he was ex Navy, was called Fred and lived in Gareth Grove. Then I caught the 94 to Bromley then 410 to Biggin Hill. We slept in a barrack block and mostly ate in the NAAFI as the food in the Airmens' Mess was awful. This went on for some time and on one occasion Winston Churchill visited Biggin from nearby Chartwell, he was Honorary Air Commodore of the other squadron at Biggin 615, and during his walk about he stopped in front of me and asked what I did in the war! I said I was evacuated for a lot of it, but I had been mostly in London. His eyes glazed over and he moved on without comment. One gruesome event comes back to me: a Spitfire of 615 Sqn crashed near the pub on Leaves Green - well it hit the ground in a flat attitude at high speed, shot through a high wall and ended up against the front of the pub. The pilot, a Flt Lt Benson, was thrown out backwards and ended up hanging in the tall tree by the pub in his parachute harness, very dead with his left leg rammed up into his torso. I was due to go to the RAF Aircrew Selection Centre on the following Monday and all the experienced old ex-wartime airmen said to me that sort of thing happened often to pilots! Food for thought! The pilot was buried in Downe Cemetery.
Still on Biggin Hill. On weekday evenings our cycling club often visited the Old Jail pub in Jail Lane, just past the airfield. They sold very strong cider and I remember that the ride home was great fun. It was downhill most of the way, except for the climbs at Bromley South and at Southover, and every week we tried to beat our previous best time home. On some evenings we would venture as far as Westerham or Sevenoaks, but that involved climbing either Westerham Hill or Polhill on the way back. As Splinter says, traffic then was light enough not to make cycling a dangerous pastime.
A final note about Biggin Hill. I remember seeing from the bus a mock gravestone in a wall in the village which said 'In Loving Memory of Ten for Sixpence'. Woodbines I suppose.
I hope you have a good day for your visit to Biggin Bump Splinter.
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on June 17, 2009, 08:07:13 PM
Enjoyed reading your last comment Vic,410 bus eh! the good old Green line bus, all gone to the big bus stop in the sky now. Further to Aircraft crashes i was at Biggin a few years ago and the day before, a crash killed 2 pilots i think it was a Meteor, we had a min silence then within 30 mins an old american plane crashed in front of us killing the pilot, then a F16 came fast over the airfield he must of been told what had happened so flew away and they stopped the show. I`m going there to see the Vulcan Bomber which is now flying and the two Folland Gnats. There will also be a special flypast to celebrate Vigin Atlantics 25 years they will have the new 747-400 in formation with the Red Arrows i just hope for good weather. Back in the late 60`s i belonged to 22nd Lewisham South Scout Group based at Ballamore School (Now Merlin) and we became Air Scouts. We went on many trips to Biggin, had a few flights and then went to Heathrow and went on a simulator of a VC10 (still a lovely plane). But i never went in a helicopter, until 1999 and then it was the Kent Air Ambulance. I was in a Go Cart race had a crash and got taken to Maidstone Hospital, looking down at all the houses i didn`t realise how many had swimming pools in the back garden. I was OK a few broken ribs and a sore neck. So i do a bit of Charity work for them.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on June 17, 2009, 08:44:04 PM
Yes, I hope you have good enough weather for the Air Show Splinter. We can discuss it if we meet when I come to Dahnum in July.
Regards.
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: derrick Durrantgoudhurst1 on June 18, 2009, 02:21:23 AM
Interesting to read your comments on "Biggin Hill" Splinter.My oldest brother Ernest,served there during the "Battle of Britain"in the RAF.Sometimes he got home in the evenings,I can remember my mother being worried about him,it was a much targeted area by the Luftwaffe.
Derek D.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on June 18, 2009, 10:00:21 AM
I Have always loved that area of Kent, i would also go fishing in Keston Ponds and later go to some of the pubs up there. The Jail did do some strong cider in fact you got some of the strongest in a wine glass as a pint would blow your head off. Vic i really hope that we meet up i will have to juggle my work around. Are you still coming by train?
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on June 18, 2009, 04:03:49 PM
Yes, still coming by train. Due into Grove Park at 1451 on the 21 July and I leave from Grove Park at 1116 on 23 July.
On the evening of 21 July I intend to go walkabout on Downham and take photos at various places including Bren's requests.
On the morning of 22 I am going up the Top, further walkabout and hopefully meet Mike Burn and visit Ray Thorogood. Last time I was there I ate in a cafe up the Top during the day. I shall probably do the same this time. On the evening of 22 I hope to meet my mate Gordon from Bexley. Of course, all these things depend on the weather, although I shall catch a bus from Chinbrook to Northover so that should minimise the chances of a soaking!
I hope you can fit around that somehow Splinter? I'm nothing if not flexible so if you want me to change things to fit in with you I would be delighted.
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on June 18, 2009, 10:28:05 PM
And may your cameras be with you all the way!  A picture from the corner shop (the old Whites) look down towards Northover would be smashing.  Hint Hint

Loved Keston. That was one of our family outings from time to time.  Always crowded though, even all those years ago.

Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: JSmith on June 19, 2009, 02:23:18 AM
Vic. Your reference to up top (Downham) living on Churchdown we called it down the bottom, probably not unusual. Loved going to Biggin, air shows etc, took a  whole 1 Hour flying lesson with one of the clubs, to expensive 5 Pounds an half hour. Gosh I am jealous, working on  spitfires uncovering them,my favourite, it was the best. John  ;)
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on June 19, 2009, 07:03:03 AM
In Pendragon we called the shops by the Tavern up top or top shops, the shops by Northover pub down bottom or bottom shops and the shops at the bottom of Downham Way the Broml;ey road shops. Vic i got your dates and will tell you nearer the time if i am ok. I have enquired if i can see the Gnats close up, at Biggin and talk to the owners of them as my Great Uncles Aircraft Company designed and built them (my surname is Folland) hope its ok to put your full name on this site, as i dont mind and i feel all on here are FRIENDS. (Some sites they slap your wrist for putting to much info about yourself. So i have got my hand out Mike !!!).
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Dickie eagle on June 19, 2009, 09:48:04 AM
sorry Smudge,no Spits. in my collection, got some Spits with hooks at the stern only we called them Seafires    Tha little marvel I have a soft spot for was the Tiger Moth . Just to think Amy Johnson flew England to Oz in a little thing like that on may 5th. 1930 ,11,100 miles in 20 days.....with an open cockpit    dickie....................
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on June 19, 2009, 11:18:35 AM
Brenda,
Certainly I'll take a shot looking down Northover from outside where Whites was once. I've already taken a picture of that scene from outside what was Clark's the greengrocer. It takes in the sites of United Dairies, Morrell & Dixons, Boltons, Hammetts, Gunners and Wilsons. I e-mailed it to Mike, with a caption, and asked him if he would pass it on to you by e-mail. I suspect that he is very busy and hasn't managed it yet. However, I'll repeat the dose plus a lot more photographs
I remember that at Clark's they had a central payment kiosk and the chap serving would sing out the cost of articles bought like 'six and half the lady' as he shot the spuds into shopping basket or leather bound shopping bag - no plastic bags of course.. I remember how all the mothers in the war had to queue for ages, on a daily basis, outside all the food shops waiting to get the meagre rations. There was always great excitement if a small amount of tinned fruit became available 'on points' of course. Ration Books were as valuable as credit cards are now. The 'under the counter' practice was rife and if you were not a regular customer you didn't get the goods regardless of how long you had queued. It was the practice to send children off to join a queue at say, the Maypole (on the corner of Lancelot Road) to get some sugar whilst mother queued at Gunners to get the weekly bacon ration then she would hurry to take her place. What a fantastic generation of adults they were, those that kept the home front going through all these trials and tribulations; and they saw to it that their kids were brought up properly and their husbands had a good meal and a tidy home to come home to after work. Then, probably, half the night would be spent in the air raid shelter.
My mother lived to be 100. Like many others she had worked hard all her life (including war work at Woolwich Arsenal) and had more than her share of sudden grief through enemy air and ground action.
Perhaps we should place all parents of that generation in a 'Special People' Forum?
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on June 19, 2009, 04:25:06 PM
Vic. Your reference to up top (Downham) living on Churchdown we called it down the bottom, probably not unusual. Loved going to Biggin, air shows etc, took a  whole 1 Hour flying lesson with one of the clubs, to expensive 5 Pounds an half hour. Gosh I am jealous, working on  spitfires uncovering them,my favourite, it was the best. John  ;)
Yes, I suppose it depended on where you lived relative to the hill in the middle of the estate as to whether it was 'bottom' or 'top'. The amazing thing was that all your neighbours knew exactly where you meant!
A little more on the Spitfires at Biggin Hill when I went there at week ends. There were several marks; the Mk 14, Mk 21 and the Mk 22. All with Griffon engines and some of the Mk 22s with contra props and Seafire after fuselage and tail. The identifying letters for 600 Sqn was RAG. one side of the fuselage roundel and the individual aircraft letter the other side. Most were still in wartime camouflage with the duck egg blue band around the rear fuselage and yellow outer wing leading edges. One Mk 22 was repainted sliver with a red mid fuselage band, highly polished, it was entered in the King's Cup Air Race. I never tired of hearing them start up (Coffman cartridge starter) and the beautiful rumble of the Rolls-Royce engines. As cadets we were allowed to refuel and replenish the cartridge magazines! Imagine that now in this crazy age of Health and Safety! Sometimes, but not often, we were given a trip in the rear seat of a Harvard. Each squadron had one for instrument flight training and examining.
Banging on as I was earlier about wartime shopping, I found a scrapbook with details of mid-war weekly ration entitlement per person. Check this: 3ozs sweets; 2 ozs of tea; 2 ozs of lard; 8 ozs of sugar; 2 ozs of butter; 2 ozs of marg; 4 ozs of cheese; 4 ozs of bacon; 3/4 lb of meat and one egg (if you were lucky). There are a lot of people in the UK who would benefit from such a rationing!
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Pauline on June 20, 2009, 03:21:04 AM

[/quote]
There are a lot of people in the UK who would benefit from such a rationing!
Vic.
[/quote]

You are so right Vic, in Australia the number of obese people is amazing, and their children too.  How can parents want their kids to suffer as they do?  I am told the reason the so called 'poor' people get takeaways is because there is no wastage, they don't have to buy all the other foods to make a meal, and so takeaways are cheaper in the long run. When I were a gel the only takeaways were from the fish and chip shop, and then very few and far between.  Mum wasn't the greatest cook in the world, but the food was fresh - no frozen stuff in those days.  I remember it took me ages to convince Mum to buy frozen peas.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on June 20, 2009, 06:49:47 AM
Well on Downham all our Kitchens had Larders and food was bought every day, so no problem about sell by dates or use by dates. Also you ate what was there or go hungry. I find takeaways not very filling, i am hungry within a few hours so thats why all those who live on them you see eating crisps or other things to fill them up. no wonder they get fat. I suppose i am lucky, i can eat anything and dont put on weight.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on June 20, 2009, 07:35:04 AM
Keep those war reminiscences coming. I love 'em.

Vic, the big hill I sped down was coming from Blackheath down to Lee Green. I have no idea what the name of it was. 

Yes, Up the Top and Down the Bottom and, for my friend in Whitefoot Lane, Over the Road which was the group of shops in Verdant Lane.  And yes, we all knew what we were talking about, didn't we?

I think the less financially stable folk (e.g. the unemployed/unemployable/not-so-smart (perhaps) folk, have a tendency to fill up on bread  (probably white)  and potatoes rather than meat and veg and fruit and that adds to the weight problem. Also, there seems to be at least one generation that has no idea how to cook a meal with fresh ingredients and nobody seems to have learnt how to make a good, tasty

I have to say that I have been horrified by the price of meat in the shops. We grow our own beef, as you know.  If we didn't, I can assure you we'd be having a few more vegetarian meals because the cost of meat is horrendous now. Again, there is a whole generation that doesn't know how to cook the less expensive cuts.

As for takeaways: I can say without a word of a lie that I have never had a Big Mac. I have had Kentucky Fried twice in 35 years and I hope I never have to endure it a third time.  It is years and years since I had fish and chips. Last time I went into a fish and chip shop was when Syd and I had been on a long journey and he wanted to eat.  I looked at the food, smelled the fat, bought Syd's and went off into another shop to buy a banana for myself!

And if you think, having read that, I am thin - think again.

Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on June 20, 2009, 03:13:14 PM
Brenda,
That was Lee Road. It runs down from Blackheath Village to Lee Green past Priory Road - and lots of other side turnings.
I was in our local Mac Donalds this morning. I don't eat their food, but they serve very good coffee (from beans) with organic milk - not that I'm an organic freak - at a very reasonable price. For the same size cup in Costa Coffee - a quasi Italian set up - it is nearly three times as much! Being from Dahnum, I watch costs carefully! There was the usual gaggle of obese couples and kids in there, and a surprising number of what are known as 'Senior Citizens'. If you close your ears to the dreadful music it's an education to observe the present and up and coming adult generations!
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on June 20, 2009, 08:12:24 PM
Brenda,
That was Lee Road. It runs down from Blackheath Village to Lee Green past Priory Road - and lots of other side turnings.
I was in our local Mac Donalds this morning. I don't eat their food, but they serve very good coffee (from beans) with organic milk - not that I'm an organic freak - at a very reasonable price. For the same size cup in Costa Coffee - a quasi Italian set up - it is nearly three times as much! Being from Dahnum, I watch costs carefully! There was the usual gaggle of obese couples and kids in there, and a surprising number of what are known as 'Senior Citizens'. If you close your ears to the dreadful music it's an education to observe the present and up and coming adult generations!
Vic.
I don't know what happened here, but only a bit of my last narrative was posted - the rest has disappeared into thin air.
I'll try again!
Having seen some estate agents adverts for 'apartments' on Downham I wondered how the interior of the flats have been updated. I remember the larder. It was over the coal bunker which was on the balcony. The scullery, my mother never called it the kitchen, had just a cold water tap, a large white sink and a wooden draining board. We had a largeish Hotpoint cooker; smaller flats had the Jackson cooker with three hotplates and cooker. The scullery table was the clothes wringer folded down.The bathroom had just cold water and on bath nights my father carried hot coals through from the living room on a shovel to start the fire in the copper in the bathroom. We never used the rather hopeless pump, but scooped the water from the copper into the bath using a large saucepan. The WC was on the balcony it had plain brick walls and it was absolutely taters out there in the winter - no one lingered for long. Somehow, the cistern never froze up. I would like to have just a peek into No 17 Merlin now. I could just ring the bell on the off chance I suppose, but the main flats entrance has a coded security door now so I wouldn't get past it. We left our bikes and tandem in the passage behind the door years ago. No one objected and nothing was nicked. For all its unsophisticated, cold and draughty nature, I can't remember ever feeling that we were really roughing it in the flat even after I had got use to more comfort and convenience in foster homes on wartime evacuation.
 
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on June 21, 2009, 11:17:21 PM
Ah, Lee Rd. That sounds right.  Thank you.

I've found estate agents good for seeing how the houses and flats on Downham have been renovated.  Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a kitchen renovation!

I remember the non-functioning pump well!  Ours didn't work for a long time and we bucketed water into a galvanised tin bath which was either in the kitchen or in front of the front room fire in winter.   When the pump did work, it was jolly hard work!

Like you, Vic, I never felt  we were roughing it and even when my horizons widened and I went into what I regarded as posh houses (e.g. Whitefoot Lane), I never compared my Downham home unfavourably to them. 

Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Pauline on June 26, 2009, 07:58:57 AM
Fantastic reminiscences, Vic.  Yes, the council workers came along regularly to trim the privet hedges.  Whenever I smell privet, I am immediately taken back to Downham days. I was delighted to find a privet bush on this property (maybe the single token of a past owner's attempts at a hedge) and it has thrived.  When it flowers, I am in heaven!  

Bren
My memories of privet hedges are falling into them when learning to roller skate.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on June 26, 2009, 05:21:14 PM
That reminds me i must go back to Pendragon tomorrow and cut the privet hedge.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on June 26, 2009, 07:12:59 PM
To my shame I must admit to causing gaps in the privet hedges for making short cuts. One example was at the end of the 'bank' where Dickie Waterhouse lived. Rather than follow the path round and down the steps to the gate and Shroffold Road, we made a path and a hole in the hedge straight on to Merlin Gardens just above Shroffold Road. From then on every one took that route. When I visited last year I noticed that the area around Dickie's house had been turned into a car parking area. The gaps didn't happen when the hedges were being cut regularly, but during the war when there were no hedge trimmers. A similar trick was to walk through the council grounds to cut corners. If I was sent on an errand 'up the top' I would sometimes go through the back gardens of the flats, climb the fence into Vanoc Gardens and then come out in Northover. That route had its dangers as Mr Pearson, who lived in the corner house in Vanoc Gardens, would holler at us to 'get back to Merlin Gardens' as we sprinted across the grass and made good our escape.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on June 26, 2009, 10:44:25 PM
I thought i would bring this up. Do you remember that at the corners of most roads, there was a small green that was open to all. well most were sold off to the nearest house that wanted them.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on June 27, 2009, 02:11:46 PM
They are the very areas I meant Splinter. On most road corners and in front of the flats there was an area of small trees and shrubs - it wasn't grass then - and they were known as 'council grounds'. They had 3 strand wire fences around them with black channel section posts, but they were no obstacle to a gang of small boys! Of course, the biggest example was the 'Bank' which I see from Street View is still such an area. From time to time, the council workmen came round and pruned the trees and dug the ground over. In the top right hand corner of Merlin Gardens we built a smashing camp, shielded by trees, with the very stout, high garden fences as the back walls. It was handy there as, if the Dalton Gang got a bit too close, we could climb over the fence into mine or Ronniee Hill's back garden!
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on June 28, 2009, 01:04:44 AM

Bren
My memories of privet hedges are falling into them when learning to roller skate.
[/quote]

And they were an essential part of my braking system when roller skating down Durham Hill.  Many is the time a tenant came out to tick me off for landing in their privet hedge but hey, would they rather I had come to a sticky end with a  124 bus?
Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on June 28, 2009, 01:08:25 AM
I thought i would bring this up. Do you remember that at the corners of most roads, there was a small green that was open to all. well most were sold off to the nearest house that wanted them.

Oh, that makes me quite sad.  I always thought it quite wonderful that nobody was very far from a little bit of green and the shrubs.

Now, I have asked this question before but before our newest members arrived. Does anyone remember 'vinegar leaves'.  We picked them from the bushes on these little greens and they were brownish in colour. I have no idea what the shrubs were called or how we ever learnt we could chew them and not be poisoned. I would love to know what they were.

Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on June 28, 2009, 11:06:27 AM
I thought i would bring this up. Do you remember that at the corners of most roads, there was a small green that was open to all. well most were sold off to the nearest house that wanted them.

Oh, that makes me quite sad.  I always thought it quite wonderful that nobody was very far from a little bit of green and the shrubs.

Now, I have asked this question before but before our newest members arrived. Does anyone remember 'vinegar leaves'.  We picked them from the bushes on these little greens and they were brownish in colour. I have no idea what the shrubs were called or how we ever learnt we could chew them and not be poisoned. I would love to know what they were.

Bren
I'm sorry, I can't help you there Brenda. I recall bushes which I now know as Budlea, Laurel and Red Robin. Also, some very prickly bushes with powdery blue berries. But the favourite was the lilac because the stems made good arrows and the branches good swords. It's odd, but small memories occur when I read the postings. eg As a very small boy in the playground at Ballamore a friend,Terry Holmes, told me that if I scratched the name of my girl friend on to the pale back of a (laurel) leaf and then put it inside my shirt top and the letters went brown - she loved me! I don't recall any girl friend at the time, but there were lots of laurel bushes where the entrance to the Merlin School is now and we left a trail of discarded leaves as we tried different names. Of course, they always turned brown! 
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on June 28, 2009, 11:20:54 AM
Brenda,
Having just logged off, I asked 'Her indoors - the fount of all knowledge' about possible names for the leaves you asked about and she suggested the name Sorrel or Wood Sorrel. They are light brown to yellowish leaves with a slightly acid taste grown for hedgerows and for use in making sauces, so they are edible. The plant came originally from North America. I hope that helps.
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on June 28, 2009, 10:43:54 PM
Brenda,
Having just logged off, I asked 'Her indoors - the fount of all knowledge' about possible names for the leaves you asked about and she suggested the name Sorrel or Wood Sorrel. They are light brown to yellowish leaves with a slightly acid taste grown for hedgerows and for use in making sauces, so they are edible. The plant came originally from North America. I hope that helps.
Vic.

Oh wow!  I shall see if I can find a picture.  The description fits i.e. light brown.  I will let you know.
Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on June 29, 2009, 12:19:43 PM
Brenda,
Having just logged off, I asked 'Her indoors - the fount of all knowledge' about possible names for the leaves you asked about and she suggested the name Sorrel or Wood Sorrel. They are light brown to yellowish leaves with a slightly acid taste grown for hedgerows and for use in making sauces, so they are edible. The plant came originally from North America. I hope that helps.
Vic.

Oh wow!  I shall see if I can find a picture.  The description fits i.e. light brown.  I will let you know.
Bren
There's quite a lot of information about the Bush Sorrel on Wilkepedia. If you follow the links there's a picture of some Sorrel Soup!
It seems to stress the acidity of the leaf when chewed and it appears to be used in a lot of medicines.
For a picture we need to run down a copy of 'The Observer's Book of Plants,.
We seem to have them on a few  subjects, but not plants!
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Pauline on June 30, 2009, 05:54:46 AM
Brenda,
Having just logged off, I asked 'Her indoors - the fount of all knowledge' about possible names for the leaves you asked about and she suggested the name Sorrel or Wood Sorrel. They are light brown to yellowish leaves with a slightly acid taste grown for hedgerows and for use in making sauces, so they are edible. The plant came originally from North America. I hope that helps.
Vic.

Oh wow!  I shall see if I can find a picture.  The description fits i.e. light brown.  I will let you know.
Bren
There's quite a lot of information about the Bush Sorrel on Wilkepedia. If you follow the links there's a picture of some Sorrel Soup!
It seems to stress the acidity of the leaf when chewed and it appears to be used in a lot of medicines.
For a picture we need to run down a copy of 'The Observer's Book of Plants,.
We seem to have them on a few  subjects, but not plants!
Vic.


There is a picture of bush sorrell at:
http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Bush%20Sorrel.html

But it doesn't look like Brenda's description at all.

There is also a page at:
http://www.aluka.org/action/showMetadata?doi=10.5555/AL.AP.UPWTA.4_64&pgs=

Which suggests it's of the Hibiscus family.

I do recall in the playground at Churchdown there was a 'lemon' tree, well at least the leaves smelt of lemons when you rubbed them, it certainly wasn't a citrus.


Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on July 01, 2009, 07:14:13 AM
Thanks for looking those up Pauline.  I've had a peek but no, my leaves aren't the same.

It's so many years ago that if I attempt a description, I'm likely to be wrong. Memory does alter things, doesn't it?  I am confident they were light brown in colour and not large leaves. Definitely on a bush as opposed to ground cover or climbers.  But that's about it really.

There were a few along the bottom end of Shroffold Rd and some along Capstone Rd outside the flats. 

I don't remember the lemony leaves at Churchdown, Pauline, but I do remember the bush with white berries that we used to pop.  It wasn't until I came out here that I learnt it was part of the solanum family. 
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Dickie eagle on July 05, 2009, 11:43:16 PM
yes Jane, I could not find the reply source so I sent you a personal mail shot , hopp you got it Dickie..............
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on July 08, 2009, 07:35:56 PM
As it all seems to have gone very quiet on the postings front I thought I would contribute a small donation!
How did the Air Show go at Biggin Splinter? I believe you had good weather.
Reading about using privet hedges as a brake for roller skating remeinded me of the days when we made our own scooters and carts. The scooters came first and consisted of two 4"x1" planks about 2' 6" long, two ball bearings, a lump of 4"x2" about 6" long and a bit of 2"x2" wood about 2' long. A 'bird's mouth', or V was cut into one end of each plank and a ball bearing fitted into each using a bit of the 2"x2" as an axle - the wood was pared to fit tightly into the centre of the ball bearing. The block of wood was fitted to one end of one plank with several large nails - or screws if you could get them; this part would be the bit you scooted on The other plank with the V in the bottom and a rough handle bar fitted at the top was the front and steering method of the scooter. Pity I can't sketch it
Two screw eyes were fixed in the block and two into the front plank; a large bolt was pushed down through all four eyebolts forming the pivot for steering. We usually got the wood from scrounging round the back of the shops up the top; the ball bearings were a very strict source of currency amongst small boys in my day. We had about 5 such scooters in Merlin Gardens at one time and a stirring sound they made as we swept down Shroffold Road in close formation. I recall that one of us fitted a side car using a fish box and another ball bearing. People walking home from work up Shroffold had to jump clear as we thundered down the hill. There was a competition: we would start at the corner gate to St Luke's Church with just a gentle shove. The idea was to coast down the hill round the corner into Dagonet Road and as far as possible up Roundtable. Those with acces to lubricating oil usually won!
The other activity was using a short plank, or even a library book, as a seat on a single roller skate. That could be a bit hard on the knuckles as you tried to steer the thing away from the curb! The carts came later and were not that much more sophisticated still using ball bearings for wheels.
More later.
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on July 09, 2009, 12:29:24 AM
Wonderful!  I always envied the boys their carts actually.

Will today's children look back on their young lives and say, "Wow, I had such fun on the computer and watching the television"?  Don't think so somehow.

Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on July 09, 2009, 12:47:26 AM
Yes Vic, the weather was great at Biggin. We saw some great flying, but the Vulcan had a problem so could not fly ( iwill have to see it later in the season). Only one of the Gnats displayed as they also had problems and as they were busy i never got my invite but i was promised a private look soon at their base at North Weald. So thats something to look forward to. Sorry that i have not been on site for a while, but its a busy time of year for me. Speak to you all soon so keep well. John.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Pauline on July 09, 2009, 09:23:17 AM
Wonderful!  I always envied the boys their carts actually.

Will today's children look back on their young lives and say, "Wow, I had such fun on the computer and watching the television"?  Don't think so somehow.

Bren

You are so right.  We have a young lad staying with us from England - he's 20, and the son of some friends, he works at a video shop, brings home 2 videos every evening and watches them.  When he isn't doing that he is playing games on the computer or his Wii/Playstation.  If he were my son that wouldn't be allowed, but his Mum thinks it's OK.  He arrived in January and is going back to UK at the end of the month because Australia is boring!  Give me strength!!!!

On a sad and deprived note - I wasn't allowed a scooter because they wore one shoe out!  Everybody AAAHHHH!!!!
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on July 09, 2009, 11:54:09 AM
I realise that this forum is getting further and further away from the subject of Goldsmith's Community Centre, but I'll press on anyway!
I'm sorry that the Vulcan and one Gnat were unserviceable Splinter - that's the trouble with vintage aeroplanes, they take a lot of work to keep going and spares are difficult to come by.
Finalising the cart story. A Mr Gatehouse lived at 19 Merlin, he worked at Surrey Docks for the Port Of London Authority and wore a very smart uniform. He cycled to and from work and I can see him in my mind's eye walking round the green in Merlin G pushing his large roadster bicycle. We all rode our bikes round the crazy paving, but Mr Gatehouse always walked grasping the handle bars firmly in the middle. Well, he had two daughters, Joanie and Kitty who never came about with us, but Mr G decided he would build us (the Merlin boys) a cart. It turned out a beauty; six rubber shod wheels and a large boxed in compartment which could seat three with one steering. This really swept down Shroffold, but the only snag was that you couldn't hear it coming so he fitted a rubber bulb horn! That soon got broken so we all shouted loudly as we went along making home coming pedestrians either take to the privet hedge or walk out in the road. Sadly, Mr G died during the war at quite an early age. I recall that we had a tall flag pole in our garden - which was next to his - and we lowered the Union Flag to half mast in respect for him. Sounds a bit tacky, but we meant it.
Pauline, as to wearing out your shoe, we tried changing feet every so often - it was not successful. AAAHHHH!
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on July 09, 2009, 11:42:40 PM
My 'Aaaaaaaaaah' for Pauline! But hey, shoes didn't grow on trees, did they? I was always told off for sliding in my shoes and for forcing me feet into them instead of undoing them properly.  It mattered in those days when it was hard for parents to find the money to replace them. 

Oh, every child should have a Mr Gatehouse!  And I reckon lowering the flat was  a fitting and nice gesture.

Pauline, that lad who found Oz boring is probably the most boring lad!
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Frank (hutchsky) on July 10, 2009, 03:01:56 AM
Corn Flake packets worked well  in your worn out shoes until it rained, I hated telling my dad I had a hole in my shoe it was always world war 3 and a boot up the backside for wearing them out. My first year at work was a pair of brothel creepers and a pair of drain pipes my dad went mad and a Tony Curtis hair cut (could not win) my mum would get me out the house before he could see me, (wot fun! ) I won't go into my "rocker" and motor bikes days, now that was fun. I have ask mike to undate my photos, the interesting one is a christmas day one with my bro/sis, the amount of food on the table for those hard times
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on July 10, 2009, 07:56:22 AM
Just to come off subject, because i have still got all the paperwork on my house in Pendragon i found out that she will be 83 years old on Sunday (ie released to LCC from builders for habitation). So Happy Birthday number 27.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Pauline on July 10, 2009, 08:25:58 AM
Corn Flake packets worked well  in your worn out shoes until it rained, I hated telling my dad I had a hole in my shoe it was always world war 3 and a boot up the backside for wearing them out. My first year at work was a pair of brothel creepers and a pair of drain pipes my dad went mad and a Tony Curtis hair cut (could not win) my mum would get me out the house before he could see me, (wot fun! ) I won't go into my "rocker" and motor bikes days, now that was fun. I have ask mike to undate my photos, the interesting one is a christmas day one with my bro/sis, the amount of food on the table for those hard times

My dad would repair my shoes himself, I still have the upsidedown foot (can't remember it's name) that he would use.  In fact we still have Pete's dads kit too.  He would acquire the rubber from conveyor bests and use that on the boots and shoes.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on July 10, 2009, 04:06:51 PM
Pauline, you've opened up other memories about mending boots and shoes. As I recall it was known as 'snobbing'. I can see my father now sitting on the floor in the scullery with the last - the upturned foot - in front of him mending our shoes. Cheap leather was bought from 'All Needs', the shop next to 'Snookies Snack Bar' up the top. Almost without fail my Dad would realise that he was short of heel ball - that was the stuff which, when heated, was spread around the edge of the sole, and I was sent to get more before the shops shut. It had to be part melted in a glue pot and stank the place out. My father, having cut the sole to size, then nailed it to the shoe using brads (small nails), holding them in his mouth until required, and a large rasp file to knock them in. When fixed down he used the rasp to shave the soles to fit. Luckily, our scullery was over the downstairs passage through the flats so it didn't upset the neighbours too much. With four kids he would take all evening to repair our shoes. Some of the leather was very thick and the shoes would sometimes look like Alan Ladd Ad Hites! I've a photo of my brother and I taken at the back of our 'billet' in Chard, Somerset during our evacuated stay there and my father's snobbing activities are visible! I seem to remember that snobbing activity lessened when 'Phillips Stick on Soles' came on the market. Trouble with them was that the front bit often came unstuck and tripped you over as you ran for a bus or something!
Incidentally, lasts go for a tidy sum at Flea Markets in UK nowadays.
Vic
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on July 11, 2009, 03:10:11 PM
I am laughing my head off here, particularly at the flapping soles that - yes Vic - always tripped us up!  Hilarious.  I had forgotten about those and the brothel creepers too.  Vic, I hope you're going to share the aforementioned photograph with us.  Will take a look at the photo gallery in the hope your photos are there too, Hutch.

But really, what wonderful people our parents were to do so much to keep their kids from going barefoot.  Will we ever see a generation like them again?

Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Pauline on July 13, 2009, 03:02:41 AM
I seem to remember that snobbing activity lessened when 'Phillips Stick on Soles' came on the market. Trouble with them was that the front bit often came unstuck and tripped you over as you ran for a bus or something!
Incidentally, lasts go for a tidy sum at Flea Markets in UK nowadays.
Vic

Yes but where are these stick on soles now when I need them.  I have a pair of red boots that are at least 25 years old, everybody lusts after them, but I need sticky soles for them, the boot repairer won't do them any more, he said they've had it!
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on July 13, 2009, 12:18:20 PM
I seem to remember that snobbing activity lessened when 'Phillips Stick on Soles' came on the market. Trouble with them was that the front bit often came unstuck and tripped you over as you ran for a bus or something!
Incidentally, lasts go for a tidy sum at Flea Markets in UK nowadays.
Vic

Yes but where are these stick on soles now when I need them.  I have a pair of red boots that are at least 25 years old, everybody lusts after them, but I need sticky soles for them, the boot repairer won't do them any more, he said they've had it!
You can get them on the Net Pauline. Just Google 'Stick A Soles' and Timpsons will come up with a variety of soles. Gents, Ladies, Black, Coloured and so on. I think Phillips have shuffled off their mortal coil!
Vic
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on July 14, 2009, 04:02:29 AM
Yep, pretty sure you can still get them. Down here, I think Lyall Eales or George Taylor stores do them. 

Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Pauline on July 14, 2009, 07:16:14 AM
Yep, pretty sure you can still get them. Down here, I think Lyall Eales or George Taylor stores do them. 

Bren

We don't have either of those stores on this side of the country.  I did find some once in Kmart, but not recently.  I will have to tell him-indoors to sort something out.  Those boots are my pride and joy.  That little cobbler at Grove Park near Fords would have done them, I think these new fangled places in the shopping malls find it too hard, although the sole is cracked right across. :o
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on July 14, 2009, 10:29:34 AM
Yes, you need someone with the old skills.  Must be fantastic boots to have lasted so long and to be so well-loved!

Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Frank (hutchsky) on July 15, 2009, 09:03:08 AM
Yep, pretty sure you can still get them. Down here, I think Lyall Eales or George Taylor stores do them. 

Bren

We don't have either of those stores on this side of the country.  I did find some once in Kmart, but not recently.  I will have to tell him-indoors to sort something out.  Those boots are my pride and joy.  That little cobbler at Grove Park near Fords would have done them, I think these new fangled places in the shopping malls find it too hard, although the sole is cracked right across. :o
Pauline there is a old style of shoe shop/repairs, near the corner of Council Ave/Goddard St (in Goddard St) Rockingham might be worth a try. They have repaired some of my old boots in the past.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Pauline on July 16, 2009, 02:09:23 AM
Yep, pretty sure you can still get them. Down here, I think Lyall Eales or George Taylor stores do them. 

Bren

We don't have either of those stores on this side of the country.  I did find some once in Kmart, but not recently.  I will have to tell him-indoors to sort something out.  Those boots are my pride and joy.  That little cobbler at Grove Park near Fords would have done them, I think these new fangled places in the shopping malls find it too hard, although the sole is cracked right across. :o
Pauline there is a old style of shoe shop/repairs, near the corner of Council Ave/Goddard St (in Goddard St) Rockingham might be worth a try. They have repaired some of my old boots in the past.

Thanks Frank - will take my beloved boots there and see what they can do.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on July 17, 2009, 02:51:28 PM
For John Smith,
Just to let you know that I have contacted Ray Thorogood. He sounded in good spirits and tells me that he is in no pain - it's just that his mobility has gone because the disease he has eats away the muscles. I've fixed up to go and see him next Wednesday when I'm on Dahnum. I had a long chat with him and we covered a lot of the things I've talked about in my posts. Particularly, the building of scooters and carts and the long run from St Luke's to Roundtable Road, and about all our contempararies from those far off, but halcyon, days.  After he prompted me I remembered that he became a telegram boy after he left school; I believe he worked from a SW London Post Office. He stayed on Downham all through the war and was not evacuated. Also, he was married in St Luke's Church, and of course, he still lives in Shroffold Road which he says is now 'very cosmopolitan'. I'll let you know how he is after I get back from Downham next week.
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: JSmith on July 18, 2009, 02:17:56 AM
For John Smith,
Just to let you know that I have contacted Ray Thorogood. He sounded in good spirits and tells me that he is in no pain - it's just that his mobility has gone because the disease he has eats away the muscles. I've fixed up to go and see him next Wednesday when I'm on Dahnum. I had a long chat with him and we covered a lot of the things I've talked about in my posts. Particularly, the building of scooters and carts and the long run from St Luke's to Roundtable Road, and about all our contempararies from those far off, but halcyon, days.  After he prompted me I remembered that he became a telegram boy after he left school; I believe he worked from a SW London Post Office. He stayed on Downham all through the war and was not evacuated. Also, he was married in St Luke's Church, and of course, he still lives in Shroffold Road which he says is now 'very cosmopolitan'. I'll let you know how he is after I get back from Downham next week.
Vic.

Thanks very much Vic, I have spoken to Ray on the phone recently. He is a super guy, please say hi for me, and ask him if the Lady who needed info on the community centre got in touch with him.   john.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Jane on July 18, 2009, 06:17:37 AM
yes Jane, I could not find the reply source so I sent you a personal mail shot , hopp you got it Dickie..............

Thanks very much Dickie for all the info you supplied about the early days of the community centre - I have replied to your email and would very much like to talk to you as you are the first person I've heard from who used it from the beginning. I loved your comments about local comedians!

I went to the Goldsmiths Company library and they had all sorts of fascinating information in their archives, including newspaper clippings, drawings and correspondence. Goldsmiths provided 13,500 and the National Fitness Council 2,000 for the building costs.

It was planned in 1937 and opened in May 1939 with gymnastic, wrestling and Ju-Jitsu displays, the first flower and vegetable show was held on August Bank Holiday of that year and the dramatic society was formed in the autumn. I imagine the youth club was there from the start. The building is probably unique, certainly in London, for its sheer size (over 17,000 sq ft) and that it is still in existence and being used for its original purpose. The centre was designed with two wings for adults and juveniles, with a communal hall (then the gymnasium, now the sports hall) between. I've been told about the dances on the famous sprung floor in the 'concert hall' as it was referred to when it was built; Peggy Spencer's formation team used to practice there on Sunday mornings and various theatre groups still use the hall for productions. Part of the centre was designated for a maternity and child welfare clinic, and the health visitors only recently moved to the new Downham Leisure Centre.

Here are just a few of the activities that went on: Spartan Barbell club, Goldsmiths Boxing Club, Caged Birds Society, Goldsmiths Gardeners Society, Cycling Club, Savings Club, HSA Club and there are many more. What is so interesting is that not only are some of the groups still going but the activities are basically the same, catering from 0 to 100+. Some of the people who went to the dances and the youth club have grown up, had children of their own and now volunteer or work or use the centre in some way. New initiatives are tried out, only to find there has been a precedent 20, 30, 40 or even 70 years previously - boat building and baby massage being just two of them!

Please, if anyone has more information I would love to hear from you. I am compiling a history of the centre which will be available on our new website (to be launched in late September) and in booklet form.

Jane
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Jane on July 18, 2009, 06:20:40 AM
NB. I will be contacting Ray this week. Thank you very much for the information

best wishes

Jane
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on July 18, 2009, 08:38:29 PM
Vic i sent you a message but not sure it went through so hope you read this . I will know my work situ Sunday PM so will leave a message then witha contact number. John
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on July 18, 2009, 10:35:44 PM
Yep, pretty sure you can still get them. Down here, I think Lyall Eales or George Taylor stores do them. 

Bren

We don't have either of those stores on this side of the country.  I did find some once in Kmart, but not recently.  I will have to tell him-indoors to sort something out.  Those boots are my pride and joy.  That little cobbler at Grove Park near Fords would have done them, I think these new fangled places in the shopping malls find it too hard, although the sole is cracked right across. :o
Pauline there is a old style of shoe shop/repairs, near the corner of Council Ave/Goddard St (in Goddard St) Rockingham might be worth a try. They have repaired some of my old boots in the past.
Pauline, What we all want to know, I'm sure, is - have you had your boots fixed?
For Splinter, Roger on your message. Vic
Thanks Frank - will take my beloved boots there and see what they can do.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on July 19, 2009, 10:51:11 PM
Hi Vic, It looks like i will be off on Tuesday, could you phone me on 07881987650 to confirm details sometime on Monday. Looking forward to meeting you. PS will you be on your own ? Regards John.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on July 20, 2009, 02:37:08 AM
I look forward to seeing the website in September.  Lots of pictures, I hope. Perhaps I - many of us - will recognise the building and wonder how we could have forgotten it.

Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Jane on July 20, 2009, 07:14:50 AM
I look forward to seeing the website in September.  Lots of pictures, I hope. Perhaps I - many of us - will recognise the building and wonder how we could have forgotten it.

Bren

Thank you Brenda, I am amassing plenty of photos and documents and will put as many as I can on the website. I will also be incorporating some of the Downham Originals material from their website, which I helped to construct a few years ago.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on July 20, 2009, 05:44:27 PM
Just to let you know that I am off to Dahnum tomorrow for two days. I'll be busy having made arrangements to see Mike, Splinter, Ray Thorogood and an old school time mate from many years ago. The weather forecast is not good, but it'll be good enough to walk the pavements and take photographs!
I'll report on my return.
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Pauline on July 21, 2009, 02:13:58 AM
Just to let you know that I am off to Dahnum tomorrow for two days. I'll be busy having made arrangements to see Mike, Splinter, Ray Thorogood and an old school time mate from many years ago. The weather forecast is not good, but it'll be good enough to walk the pavements and take photographs!
I'll report on my return.
Vic.

There was a Madge Thorogood at Churchdown when I was there, any relative do you think?
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on July 22, 2009, 01:59:09 AM
I am amassing plenty of photos and documents and will put as many as I can on the website. I will also be incorporating some of the Downham Originals material from their website, which I helped to construct a few years ago.
[/quote]

I see, and that's a website I have often suggested people have a look at.  Great stuff.  I have been in touch with Queenie Mortimer, one of the Downham Originals,  for some years now.

Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Jane on July 22, 2009, 09:11:37 AM
I am amassing plenty of photos and documents and will put as many as I can on the website. I will also be incorporating some of the Downham Originals material from their website, which I helped to construct a few years ago.

I see, and that's a website I have often suggested people have a look at.  Great stuff.  I have been in touch with Queenie Mortimer, one of the Downham Originals,  for some years now.

Bren
[/quote]

Queenie is very frail now. She used to answer all the emails that people sent to her, but it is difficult for her to do now and she has decided not to renew the hosting of the Downham Originals website. I will put a temporary re-direct on it before it expires. A few years ago she wrote a booklet about Downham and I remember her standing outside the Co-op using her powers of persuasion on shoppers to buy it! The money raised from the sales was divided between the community centre and St Christopher's Hospice.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: mike on July 22, 2009, 04:35:57 PM
Hi Jane - if we could have permission, I would love to copy all of the content from the Downham Originals site and preserve it here for posterity - we would give whatever credits necessary of course.
Let me know if that's possible!
Kind Regards
Mike
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Jane on July 22, 2009, 06:22:24 PM
Hi Jane - if we could have permission, I would love to copy all of the content from the Downham Originals site and preserve it here for posterity - we would give whatever credits necessary of course.
Let me know if that's possible!
Kind Regards
Mike

Dear Mike

That's a great idea - I'll contact Queenie and ask her.

best wishes

Jane
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on July 22, 2009, 10:39:30 PM
Hi all, I saw Vic Yesterday (Tuesday). I drove him around the Estate, i think we covered about 75% of all the roads but the weather was bad so Vic could not take any photos(hopes to do it today). We had a great discussion (a very interesting man). I am sure that he will tell all on his return home. PS. I hope he met up with Mike.?.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on July 23, 2009, 06:11:49 AM

I see, and that's a website I have often suggested people have a look at.  Great stuff.  I have been in touch with Queenie Mortimer, one of the Downham Originals,  for some years now.

Bren
[/quote]

Queenie is very frail now.

I sent Queenie my usual card and letter at Christmas. I did not expect a reply as I know her vision is very impaired now but I hope she has someone to read her post to her. I will get something off to her shortly. 

She sent me the booklets she helped produce and I was thrilled to bits with them.  We ex-Downhamites are a sentimental lot, aren't we?
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Jane on July 23, 2009, 09:51:41 AM
I hope to be able to find some money to reprint the booklet as they sold out long ago! Periodically we are asked for copies. I have put some photos of the community centre on this site under the album title Goldsmiths Community Centre etc - hopefully it will jog people's memories.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on July 23, 2009, 08:49:16 PM
Just returned from what turned out to be the marathon task that I had set myself for my two day visit to Downham! I'll write in some detail tomorrow, but for now I'll say that I managed to do everything, and meet everybody I had planned to see. It started with Splinter who did a great job driving me around the estate - he says 75% was covered - I reckon we covered every road with about two exceptions. Thank you very much Splinter. The rain prevented the photography, but I managed to fulfill that task next morning. I also did a lot of walking around the estate - if you were with me in spirit Bren, you should be feeling tired!  I called on Ray Thorogood and had a long chat. He is incredibly cheerful considering that he is chairbound and obviously wasting away - he pulled up his sleeve to show how much muscle he had lost; and yet he says he feels fine and he doesn't moan at all. There is no known cure and no treatment for the disease which apparently starts like MS. He has a special velcro covered pen to use as he can't hold anything in his fingers. I went and visited Mike and we had a long chat and he showed me how to upload to the Picture Gallery. The photos I took should be on the gallery now, but as yet un-captioned. (You may recognise Durham Hill, including shots taken in the park, and Downham Way by St Barnabas' Church). I went to Bromley and Catford, by bus passing the Goldsmith centre on my way on the 124. As I said, I'll give a more detailed account tomorrow.
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: JSmith on July 24, 2009, 01:30:54 AM
 I called on Ray Thorogood and had a long chat. He is incredibly cheerful considering that he is chairbound and obviously wasting away - he pulled up his sleeve to show how much muscle he had lost; and yet he says he feels fine and he doesn't moan at all. There is no known cure and no treatment for the disease which apparently starts like MS. He has a special velcro covered pen to use as he can't hold anything in his fingers. As Quoted:

Thanks very much Vic for the info on Ray. I will phone Him soon.  John Smith.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on July 24, 2009, 03:36:36 AM
I also did a lot of walking around the estate - if you were with me in spirit Bren, you should be feeling tired! 

 The photos I took should be on the gallery now, but as yet un-captioned. (You may recognise Durham Hill, including shots taken in the park, and Downham Way by St Barnabas' Church). I went to Bromley and Catford, by bus passing the Goldsmith centre on my way on the 124. As I said, I'll give a more detailed account tomorrow.
Vic.

Well Vic, I must say that when I got out of bed this morning, my ankles were aching! 

Thank you so much for taking the photos and sharing them with us.  My impression of Durham Hill (the street) was that it has narrowed considerably!  Maybe that is because of the parked cars but goodness me, how narrow the road looks now.  I have got too used to wide open spaces, methinks.   The street lamps are also different and I swear the rise is not as steep as it used to be!  How often did I stagger up that hill after a hard day at work and wonder if I was ever going to reach the top.  But for all that seems that little bit different, seeing that view has done this old heart good.

Up the Top: ah, definitely some changes there, including a crossing.  And the old chemist shop doesn't look as classy as it used to. In fact, it looks positively tacky.

Lovely to see the park (the Hill)  which, I note, has more trees in it these days and that can only be a good thing.

You've done us proud, Vic. Thank you so much.  Look forward to hearing all about it when you've got your strength back!

Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Pauline on July 24, 2009, 05:13:53 AM
The rain prevented the photography, but I managed to fulfill that task next morning.Vic.

I am amazed at how alike the streets look.  There were no captions, but the views could have been anywhere on the estate.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on July 24, 2009, 09:14:17 PM
Brenda. the hill looks less steep now because of two things , one you were smaller then, and two you dont have to walk (struggle) up it anymore. I have found that all the hills seem less now than i walked years ago, but now i walk up them for pleasure and considering i was younger then, i thought that i am fitter now (some hope!!!).
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on July 25, 2009, 11:21:40 AM
I'm sorry I didn't post yesterday, but I wrote a long and involved screed about my visit and just as I was about to post it, the internet dumped me and I lost the lot.
There was some very old fashioned Dahnum language floating about for a time!
I shall write again tonight. Right now I'm trying to prune the Wisteria back a bit so we are not engulfed. The constant wet weather has produced monster growth in the garden.
Changing the subject, I'm with you Brenda, I'd rather stay at home than journey far and wide on 'holiday'. I had my share of world wide travel before retirement.
I'll be on again later.
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: JSmith on July 26, 2009, 12:40:48 AM
Hi Vic   Phoned Ray Thorogood today Saturday, the first thing He mentioned was your visit, He was very glad you had made a contact and went to see him. Maybe one day when things improve I'll go and see him. Thank you for going to see him.  John.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on July 26, 2009, 03:46:23 PM
Oh dear! I thought I had been successful in getting a post away last night, but checking the forum, obviously not!
Rather than bore everyone rigid with details of my movements, I thought I would just pass on my impressions of the various places I visited last week.
On Downham the overwhelming factors are speed bumps, parked cars and traffic! At rush hour, the queue to get into Baring Road at Grove Park Station started at Whitefoot Lane! ie right up Northover and along Downham Way. If there wasn't a bus lane in Downham Way I'd probably be there yet. Because of the overwhelming numbers of cars most front gardens have disappeared to be replaced by concrete parking ares; private ownership has caused some alarming modifications to the exteriors of some houses; privet hedges, where they still exist, are now generally unkempt and very tall - I was told that leaving a hedge like that could be a slight defence against burglary. All these changes have taken away the symmetry of the all the roads that I used to like. The shop fronts, in the main, are a bit tacky, especially up the top and at Grove Park. Down the Bottom still seems to be as conventional as I knew it when young.
On the positive side, the parks were delightful - if absolutely deserted. I saw very few people whilst walking on the estate - I certainly never felt threatened. Of those I met, all seemed friendly and returned a greeting - all except one man walking two dogs at the top of Durham Hill. I made some remark about his fine looking dogs and he replied 'Whaaa! Glowered at me and pulled the dogs away. Perhaps he was hard of hearing. The whole area down by the 'Footie' has been landscaped with proper paths and lighting (Hither Green Cemetery comes right up to the edge of Reigate Road). It's all part of a footpath that completely encircles London. All in all, I wasn't disappointed with what I saw on the estate, but things are really different! Bromley certainly made up for Downham in  numbers - it was absolutely crowded. There is a very large shopping mall called the Glades and all the shopfronts appeared conventional. Even Bromley Gardens has been renamed.
Catford is horrible! 'nuff said! The general impression one gets looking from the train in London is of dismal neglect.Every vertical surface is covered with graffiti! I don't know how the culprits got to some of the places - and all along side electrified lines. However, away from the railway there is a lot of building activity with large blocks of modern apartments in places like Deptford and Bermondsey.
Finally, travelling on the buses was great fun and there are so many different routes now on Downham. Gone are the halcyon days when the conductor sang out the name of the stop - I remember one on the 124 who, when stopping at Hither Green Cemetery, would call 'Hither Green under ground station' - now there are illuminated, moving information signs in the bus. A cultured voice tells you of every stop and which service you are on every time it moves off. The bus stops tell you which side of the road to stand for say, going to Catford or to Eltham. In my day it was a lottery or local knowledge that made sure you got on the right bus. No one on the bus would tell you!
No folks, I'm glad I went on my visit, but ''fings 'aint wot they used ter be"!
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on July 26, 2009, 11:39:06 PM
Hallo Vic,

It's been marvellous reading about your impressions of modern Downham.  I am really pleased to know you felt safe walking about the estate.   Cars were already causing parking and traffic problems when I left but I am sure it would be a great deal worse now.  What a shame most of the privet hedges have gone.  They did contribute a great deal to the green look of the estate. 

Bromley was already pretty crowded with people when I was last there in 1974 and I don't think Catford has ever been anything but grey and grim and horrible. 

I am intrigued by the footpath that encircles London. Can I google it?

As for the buses, well, I could have done with automatic announcements in the past as many a time I found myself going the wrong way when in strange parts!

Well, I wonder if I will ever see Downham again. Perhaps though, the changes will ruin my pleasant memories.  Dunno.

Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Pauline on July 27, 2009, 07:18:56 AM
  Even Bromley Gardens has been renamed.

I remember spending some Sundays running around Bromley Gardens playing hide and seek.  I just googled it, and it looks smaller than I remember, have they taken some of it away?  I don't think I could see the boating pond or the rose gardens at all.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on July 27, 2009, 02:55:48 PM
Bren,
If you Google 'Green Chain Walk' you'll get some details of the projected path. Believe me, Durham Hill, the road, is just as steep as it used to be! The path down towards the clinic still makes you want to break into a trot near the top.

Pauline,
It seems that a lot of space around the entrance to Bromley Gardens is now taken up with the Churchill Theatre, although that may have been there in your day. I'm not certain, but I think the Gardens are now called Church Hall Gardens.

Incidentally, I have now put captions to the photos I took last week.
Vic
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Vic on July 27, 2009, 03:02:49 PM
Further to my last about Bromley Gardens, according to Google they are named named, Churchill Gardens, Church House Gardens and Bromley Gardens!
Vic.
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Brenda on August 02, 2009, 07:11:20 AM
Bromley Gardens (as I used to know them) was a magic place in childhood.  It was like stepping into another world as soon as one went through the entrance.   I believe some of it was 'stolen' to make way for the new library.  I paid a visit to it just before we came out to Oz and one of the areas had gone. Still seemed like magic to me but it was far too tame for my girls (8 and 10).

Bren

Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Dickie eagle on August 04, 2009, 07:27:16 AM
Bromley Flower Gardens eh?  jut inside the gardens on the left was a lovely large Goldfish pond , my other favourite spot was the "Odeon" where I could take the latest acquisition to See the latest Bing Crosby features or go Dancing at the "Bell"     dickey........
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Pauline on August 04, 2009, 09:15:33 AM
Bromley Flower Gardens eh?  jut inside the gardens on the left was a lovely large Goldfish pond , my other favourite spot was the "Odeon" where I could take the latest acquisition to See the latest Bing Crosby features or go Dancing at the "Bell"     dickey........

Down the bottom was the boat pond.
Title: reply
Post by: HelenJames on July 30, 2010, 10:18:58 PM
Something alike was discussed on the Yahoo! Answers last week, i can share a link if you want some
Title: Re: reply
Post by: Brenda on August 04, 2010, 02:46:10 AM
Something alike was discussed on the Yahoo! Answers last week, i can share a link if you want some
Yes, please share Helen.

Bren
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Dickie eagle on August 04, 2010, 09:25:27 PM
You mentioned "Ten for a tanner" but you guessed wrong with the Brand as Ten for sixpence would have been Players Mrdium, "Wild Woodbines" and "Players (Savage) Weights" were Ten for Fourpence (4d.), and I will go through my old papers Jane and send them on  dickie X.....................
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: Splinter on August 04, 2010, 11:46:35 PM
I remember reading on the back of my Nans packet of Weights that they were called that in the old days because they were sold by weight and not by the amount in the packet. Another piece of useless information i know !
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: sspaull on January 18, 2014, 06:27:21 PM
Sorry to reply to a topic that hasn't been touched for a while, but it seemed appropriate and I hope this might jog someone's memory! Can you help?

GARY BOYLE AND THE GOLDSMITHS COMMUNITY CENTRE

The Goldsmiths Community Centre is where it all started for guitarist Gary Boyle, whose biography I am researching and writing.

The Boyle family moved to Castillon Road in the early 1950s (between '52 and '54, it seems), when Gary was between the age of 11 and 13 (he was born in 1941). He would have been playing guitar at that time and was certainly playing it by the mid-late '50s. In the early 1960s, he became a professional musician, playing gigs in Hamburg, and later backing Dusty Springfield; after his stint with Dusty, he joined the Brian Auger Trinity with Julie Driscoll. Later, in 1972, he formed Isotope, a jazz fusion band and then pursued a solo career after Isotope disbanded in 1976.

I would be most grateful for any memories that Gary's contemporaries may have, especially if you played in a band or socialised with him at the community centre. When I mentioned the Goldsmiths Community Centre to him, he said: "That's where it all started!"

Many thanks,
Stewart Spaull

http://on.fb.me/1ayjuOb  (My Author Page)
stewartspaull.wordpress.com (My Blog)
Title: Re: Goldsmiths Community Centre and North Downham estate
Post by: royf on February 10, 2014, 10:23:12 AM
Hello Jane,
Do I remember the Goldsmiths center well as a lad in the mid 50s I did some boxing there and had a great time with some good mates,, But in 1964 when I got married we had our reception there as it was the 11th Jan it was bloody cold and the caretaker had not put the heating on so we lit some fires with a load of broken chairs and such and soon got the party going