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Topics - billbaker

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General Discussion / May bring back some old memories.
« on: October 03, 2015, 12:28:49 PM »
 There is a board on Facebook with many old photographs and messages from people, many from Downham, it's called: Catford and Lewisham way back when... and at:
Just spent hours looking (I can't spell 'reminiscing') at this site, you can put your own photos on too.

Sadly one unfortunate Dolton evacuee, Barbara Woodland, who had to return home earlier in the war on reaching fourteen years of age, was later killed along with her mother when a German V2 rocket landed on New Cross Woolworths killing 168 people and injuring many more, Barbara was only seventeen years old at that time, a tragic end for a lovely girl. Barbara had been a school friend of mine and although four years older than me would sometimes grab hold of me in the playground and make me kiss her before letting me go; I still can see her face and hear her laughter in the playground.
Barbaraís name is remembered here along with her mother on the list of those killed at New Cross.
 BARBARA WOODLAND, (1927 - 1944) aged 17 Daughter of Charles William Woodland, of 39 Shroffold Road, Downham, and of Violet Kathleen Woodland. Died at New Cross Road. And Mother Violet Kathleen also died in this incident

     VIOLET KATHLEEN WOODLAND, (1904 - 1944) aged 40, Wife of Charles William Woodland, of 39 Shroffold Road, Downham, Kent. Died at New Cross Road. And daughter Barbara also died in this incident.

General Discussion / As the board is quiet.
« on: June 15, 2014, 08:14:58 PM »
Some may remember back in the mid 40s on the little island in the centre of Peter Panís Pool among the trees there was a small hut with coloured statues of Snow White and the seven dwarfs, one Sunday afternoon a friend of mine named Kenny who also lived in Goudhurst Road and I hired one of the little paddle boats and were happily paddling around the pond when Kenny had the bright idea that one of the dwarfs would Ďlook really good in his mumís gardení, so we paddled round to the back of the island out of sight, Kenny stood up in the boat and attempted to jump ashore, slipped and landed up to his knees in the water, he managed to clamber ashore onto the island and with all thoughts of acquiring a dwarf now forgotten, tried to step back into the boat but only managed to push the boat further away and slid back into the water, after managing to haul him back into the boat, we paddled the boat back and started walking home, I couldnít stop smiling, Kenny kept saying over and over again that it wasnít funny and that his mum would give him a good hiding, on the way home Kenny was beginning to dry out and his legs, socks and trousers were turning a light brownish grey colour, I said goodbye to him at his gate and dashed home to tell my mum all about it.
Kenny didnít come to school on the Monday; apparently his one and only pair of school trousers were still drying out.

General Discussion / The padded cell.
« on: May 06, 2014, 12:23:20 AM »
In 1945, across the Beckenham Road from Peter Panís Pool there was a large partly bombed building called Flower House, it was at one time the home of one of Lord Forsters sons. Vic Greenwood who lived on the corner of Goudhurst and Glenbow road and I were exploring the ruins like twelve year old kids do, one of the rooms still intact oddly enough was a padded cell, it had a small leather flap on the door and a large rusty spring loaded bolt on the outside, being curious I stepped inside to take a closer look and Vic, for a lark, slammed the door behind me, I yelled at him to stop messing about and let me out, I had visions of my mortal remains being discovered many years later, after what seemed like ages he managed to open the door saying he couldnít pull the rusty bolt back and swore he never heard me shouting, being locked inside a padded cell I suppose that was understandable.
I discovered some time later that Flower House had at one time been a lunatic asylum.

General Discussion / Spitfire crash at the OXO grounds.
« on: February 27, 2014, 01:03:07 PM »
Does anyone remember the Spitfire that came down on the cricket pitch at the OXO grounds in Calmont road on Sunday 20th September 1959? it was returning to Biggin Hill with a Hurricane after the flypast over London, my brother and I saw it coming down low over The Garden Gate Pub and the engine was misfiring, the Hurricane circled low over Downham and we could see the pilot quite clearly, by the time we reached the OXO grounds which only took us a couple of minutes, the spitfire had crashed right across the cricket pitch and the pilot was out and standing on the pavilion in his shirtsleeves having a cuppa with the cricket team who fortunately had stopped playing for tea, there were pieces of broken propellor scattered around and pitch.
The pilot was Air Vice Marshal (Paddy) McGuire KCB DSO OBE and the Spitfire was number SL574. it was later  repaired and is now in The San Diego Air Museum in California.
 Read about in at:!


General Discussion / London smog 1952
« on: November 23, 2013, 03:51:45 PM »
Remembering the London smog in December 1952. I came home on leave to Downham on a 48 hour pass, heading back to Aldershot on the Sunday evening the smog was so thick it was impossible to see the pavement and the smog made it deadly quiet, I left Goudhurst road, made my way up through the four posts and crossed over Downham Way thinking if I kept one foot on the pavement and one on the road I could walk to Grove Park Station, I crossed over Moorside road and heard the noise coming from The Tavern, (the smog didnít appear to have stopped them drinking), then crossed over Capstone road, eventually I heard more noise, thinking this must be from the Baring, it turned out to be the Northover pub, still walking with one foot on the pavement and one on the road Iíd forgotten about Northover road, finally I managed to reach Grove Park, surprisingly the trains were still running and soon after leaving Waterloo Station the smog had cleared.

General Discussion / Strange 'goings on'.
« on: October 03, 2013, 11:24:51 AM »
when they were building the Bromley Road library, next to the Catford bus garage in the early 60s I was working shifts at The Car Mart Ltd. the 24hour petrol station that was across the road at that time with Billy Eagle who lived in Capstone Rd. and three other men. The workmen digging the foundations must have gone down 15 feet or more, many lorry loads of concrete were being poured into it every day and eventually the library was built above it, we were curious to know why such a deep hole had been necessary, to add to the mystery, late one Saturday night I was working a night shift when workmen arrived in lorries, they closed off half of Bromley Road and began digging a trench,  they laid a huge cable from the Telephone Exchange next to us under the road, filled that half of the road in then closed the other half of the road, the cable went under the library, by early Sunday morning the road was back to normal. Some time later I asked a Lewisham Councillor, who was a regular customer of ours, what they had built under the library, he tapped the side of his nose and said "no one is supposed to know about that". The library was pulled down in the early 90s...roughly about the same time as the cold war ended. ???

General Discussion / Sandhurst Road School Memorial.
« on: July 15, 2013, 12:39:09 PM »
In May this year (2013) my brother came over to the UK from Brisbane with a woman friend, we visited my sister's grave at Hither Green Cemetery, not an easy task locating it as the grass in the whole cemetery is over 12 inches high and appears to have not seen a lawnmower for years, as usual we walked over to the Sandhurst School Memorial which is close by, you may be pleased to know that  the Memorial is now in a pristine condition which is some different to when I last visited it some years ago when most of the paving slabs were broken and sunk down and overgrown with weeds. The woman with my brother was visibly moved when she saw the ages of the children.

General Discussion / Newest Newbie.
« on: July 12, 2013, 07:26:54 PM »
Hi everyone, still finding my way around the forum, my family moved to 47 Goudhurst Rd. in 1935, I went to Rangefield infant's school at the junction of Rangefield Rd and Glenbow Rd and from there was evacuated first to Rolvenden in Kent in what later became known as the 'Phoney war', in June 1940 I was again evacuated to a village in North Devon where I stayed till 1945, then returned again to Downham, finished my education at Downham Secondary school leaving at 14 years of age, then in 1948 returned to Devon for three more years until joining the 17/21 Lancers for two years National Service. On leaving the army I returned to 47 Goudhurst Rd and some years later moved to 45 Glenbow Rd and stayed till 1999.
I now live in Tonbridge.
My main hobby is photograph restoring.

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