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Messages - Jane

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General Discussion / Re: Richard Edward Eagle
« on: June 23, 2014, 07:10:51 AM »
Those of you who have been members of the forum for some time will be sad to learn Dickie Eagle passed away
on March 12th at the age of 90.  I'm glad I got to know him a little more through his postings and his yearly Christmas card.  He'll be missed.


I am very sorry to hear of Dickie's passing. Although I didn't have the privilege to meet him, he painted a very vivid picture on this forum and in emails to me of what Downham and the community centre were like before and during the second world war, which I've been able to pass on.

Thank you Brenda. The museum has brought back many fond memories for people like your aunt and uncle who lived, or knew someone who lived, in these oh-so-modern homes for the time with their fitted kitchens and bathrooms. Young people from all over London have commented on the space, light and good design compared with contemporary homes. I hope that some Downham Onliners will be able to visit and share their stories of the local area!

General Discussion / Prefab Museum open until the end of September
« on: June 07, 2014, 02:06:46 PM »
Hello Downham onliners

It's quite a while since I posted on the forum!

If you're in or around the Downham area do call in to the Prefab Museum, at 17 Meliot Road, SE6 1RY

The Prefab Museum is set in the heart of the UK's largest surviving prefab estate - in a prefab - on the Excalibur 'bungalow' estate in Downham.  Described as Catford's only Museum by the Evening Standard it is organised and curated by photographer Elisabeth Blanchet, and this fascinating slice of 20th century social history, domestic life, hopes and dreams is a show case for artists', photographers' and videographers' work, memorabilia and artefacts.

The museum is open on Saturdays only from 11am - 5pm, on week days by appointment, and on Saturday and Sunday for London Open House on the weekend of 20-21 September. It is free but we welcome donations to support the cost of running the museum and contributing towards the tenants' association who have kindly made the empty prefab available. 

You can read more about the museum at this link:

For up to date information on events throughout the summer, please visit Prefabs - Palaces for the People on Facebook or follow Prefab Photo Project on Twitter.

General Discussion / Re: Bring a plant day!
« on: April 16, 2012, 06:04:34 AM »
Hi all

Thanks for your interest - I'm the same Jane who asked for info some time ago about the history of the community centre! It's a very sunny spot Brenda so some of the Australian exotics may well flourish...

best wishes


General Discussion / Re: Demolition of Prefabs
« on: February 16, 2011, 08:31:44 AM »
Some memories of the community centre and the prefab estate are now online

Please let me know if you have any memories and photos of your own by emailing or posting them on this site.

There will be a launch of the project on 1 & 2 April at Goldsmiths Community Centre in Castillon Road - all are welcome and I will post more details once the programme has been finalised.

with very best wishes


General Discussion / Re: Demolition of Prefabs
« on: January 19, 2011, 07:05:07 AM »
Thanks very much Jane for the U R L,s It was quite something seeing the old streets again. I was a Postman at Catford sorting office, and although I did not deliver to that area very often, seeing the road names with the numbers of the houses, reminded me of how you had too know the lay out so as that you would not spend all day trying to figure out the quickest way to do the walk. Without going around in circles. I hope they are not demolished. Smiffy.
It's only recently that I've been able to find my way around (and out) of the estate! A maze of alleyways, roads turning back on themselves and everything at the same height. I think the road layout and the scale is is what gives the estate a special feel, no-one can drive through unless they are visiting or delivering. That will change if the planning application is approved as a road to link Battersby and Castillon Roads is planned. Bye bye kids playing out. I hope they keep the trees, they are beautiful.

General Discussion / Re: Demolition of Prefabs
« on: January 17, 2011, 06:10:08 AM »
Just browsing through, and there is an article which looks like the prefabs on Boundfield Rd Catford are going to be knocked down. I thought they where going to keep some up as an Heritage program.. Have a look.  Smiffy   :(
Hi Smiffy
You're right that some have been listed Grade II - six in total, all on Persant Road, which runs parallel to Boundfield Road. I believe that four are owned by Lewisham Council and two are owner-occupied but I may stand corrected. More information about the listing of these prefabs can be found on Clicking on the Bing Map/Birds Eye View tab shows an aerial photo of the estate and its proximity to the community centre (large square building and tennis court on far right of the picture). Four of the listed prefabs are in a row at right angles to the centre.
We're working with community centre users and residents of Excalibur to document their lives on the estate through film, photographs and sound to try to capture what is so special about the estate and its community. A little video tour of the centre and estate can be viewed here If anyone has any connections to or memories of the estate please let me know.
There was also a big article in the Daily Mail on Saturday
and one in the Guardian the previous week
The Daily Mail article is more balanced, the reporter canvassed opinions of residents who do want to move and the vicar of St Mark's, in Baudwin Road.
best wishes

General Discussion / Re: Downham - a place in the country
« on: December 11, 2010, 08:05:33 AM »
We are making a series of short films about the area around the Excalibur pre-fab estate which is due to be demolished after a residents' ballot. It feels like the country and many younger people have said that too.

best wishes, Jane
Please take a look at work in progress on the new website
It is still in development but we aim to showcase what we have so far to give people an idea of how they can be involved in producing local news and history.

The youth club is making a documentary about their club, which is threatened with closure next March, and the area. The youth club has been in existence since 1939. We are collecting more stories and any contributions you have will be most gratefully received! I will be at the Downham Christmas Fair aka Winter Festival at the Leisure Centre today from 11 am

with very best wishes for the festive season, Jane

Celebrate the festive season at Downham Leisure Centre, Moorside Road, on Saturday 11 December. Lots of activities and information for all to enjoy!

Watch the lights go on in Lewisham this Saturday 27 December (lantern procession, followed by switch-on at 4.45pm)

General Discussion / Re: Downham - a place in the country
« on: September 25, 2010, 09:00:14 AM »
Bren you're right the pre-fab estate is between Hazelbank and Boundfield/Castillon Roads, near Evans Road. The plan is to replace the pre-fabs with a mix of housing types; low rise flats and houses which will more than double the density of the estate. The plans were set back by English Heritage listing six of the pre-fabs on Persant Road last year, they are the least changed from when they were constructed in 1946-7. As I understand it there will be phased redevelopment over a period of years. There are mixed feelings about it as you will see:

best wishes, Jane

General Discussion / Downham - a place in the country
« on: September 24, 2010, 02:19:43 PM »
I've been fortunate to get a copy of the above named film made in the mid 1980s by Mel Wright and which I think was part of the Downham Reminiscence Group. There are not only very poignant and funny memories of life on the estate and elsewhere but film of Kay's Drapers and the dance hall attached to the Downham Tavern.

We wondered if there is anyone out there who appeared in the original film? I copy this information about the Reminiscence Group and hope it is familiar!

The late Norman Smith, who resided in Rangefield Road, had the inspiration to form the Reminiscence Group during one of his periods in office as Mayor of Lewisham. This coincided with Downham’s official Diamond (60 years) Anniversary in 1986. ...Downham Memories which the late Arthur Andrews and his wife Vera, nee Wallis, guided us through from 1988 to 1998; having taken on the task from Mr Mel Wright; 1986 - 1988.

If you were part of this group, know someone who was involved in the making of the film can you get in touch with me please? I can arrange a viewing of the film, subject to the filmmakers' permission, at Downham Library or Goldsmiths Community Centre.

We are making a series of short films, with the same filmmakers, about the area around the Excalibur pre-fab estate which is due to be demolished after a residents' ballot. It feels like the country and many younger people have said that too.

best wishes, Jane

Notable Downham Residents (past and present!) / Queenie Mortimer
« on: August 17, 2010, 06:56:10 PM »
Dear all

I have some sad news, that Queenie Mortimer passed away this week. She had moved to a nursing home after living in the house she was born in, in Fieldside Road. I knew Queenie for a number of years through her work with the Downham Reminiscence Group, she used to come to our computer group to type up her memories and scan in her photos.

Queenie was a mine of information about Downham and published a book, Downham Pride from its original cubs, which sold out with proceeds going to St Christophers Hospice and Goldsmiths Community Centre - people still ask if there are copies available. Extracts from her book can be read online at

best wishes


General Discussion / Re: Downham Reminiscence Group
« on: March 09, 2010, 09:26:26 AM »
Queenie is still with us but is very frail and her vision is very poor. Sadly Brian Rabson, who contributed so many photos to the Downham Originals website, passed away last year.

A link to some of the material from the Downham Reminiscence group and the website can be found here

General Discussion / Re: The Baring
« on: November 19, 2009, 09:39:13 AM »
It was firebombed a few months ago and notorious for drug dealing, which moved from the Green Man to the Tiger's Head and finally to the Baring Hall.

General Discussion / Re: The closing of favourite shops.
« on: November 13, 2009, 07:54:38 AM »
The Goldsmiths Company hold a copy of 'The Centre News Sheet', published by the Downham Community Association (Valeswood Road) in May 1936, Vol 3, No 3. I copy here the notes I took yesterday from advertisements, including their mottos, I wondered whether anyone remembers these?

C Donovan of 650 Downham Way. Newsagent, lending library.
Pearks Stores, 440 Downham Way. Grocer. Holiday and Xmas Club. 'The firm that never sells a bad egg'. Try our Goldtips specialities (apparently there were coupons in them).
Clark Bros, 408 and 439 Downham Way. Greengrocer. 'A Good Potato'.
F A W Carver, 448 and 457 Downham Way. 'The Tender Butcher'.
H E Hills & Son, 481 Bromley Road. 'The Cycle Specialist'.
South Suburban Co-operative, 426 Downham Way.
Gayne's Cycles, 646 Downham Way. Cycles, Prams & Battery Service. 'You Gain at Gayne's'.

In addition the South Suburban Gas Company offered the Electrolux Gas Fridge LDB at 2/6 per week.

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