Author Topic: Life on DOWNHAM  (Read 19049 times)

Splinter

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Life on DOWNHAM
« on: March 31, 2009, 09:43:58 PM »
 Well i gave you the out line of my early life on the estate, so i thought i would start a new forum for this as it will be easier. AS i stated  i went to Torridon Road school, Had to get the 124 Bus from the Northover Opposite St Lukes Church, But you don`t  understand how nice a life you have on the estate because you just live it. I went to Cub Scouts at Pendragon School and then went onto Scouts it was 22nd Lewisham South it moved to Ballamore School by then. We mainly played in the street then. Getting together on street corners where their was a small green. And going to PLAYCENTRE, which i loved.  People in the street were always friendly and would help each other out. Mum and Dad were both at work so i was mainly looked after by my Nan & Grandad. In 1965 we were watching Sir Winston Churchill Funeral on TV when Grandad Fell over broke his hip and went to Lewisham Hospital, He never came home. My first of many heartaches. I then passed my 11 plus ( i dont know how!!! ) So i went to London Nautical School in Waterloo.( Dad was in the navy during the war and knew the Headmaster) So from the age of 11 i was up and down on the train from Grove Park. The estate changed very little then. People left and new ones arrived and i could not believe that they were happy that they had a toilet indoors. I didn`t know any different . Leave it now next chapter soon as i can if you wish . BUT PLEASE IF THIS IS BORING YOU PLEASE TELL ME. I WONT BE OFFENDED. Best wishes to all JOHN.
Born in Pendragon Road 1954 Family lived in house since 1935 Bought in 1970/1 Still own it.

Brenda

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Re: Life on DOWNHAM
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2009, 10:01:36 PM »
Never boring, believe me, because anyone's reminiscences bring back lots of other memories. 

I was working at Lewisham Hospital in 1965, but on the female geriatric ward at the time Churchill was dying. I do remember how sad everyone was, particularly the ward sister.  She was an elderly lady herself (or so it seemed at the time) and has probably been put out to pasture, as it were.  Sadly, the broken hip is often the beginning of the end for old people.  Unlike you, I never mourned the passing of my grandfather who was a horrible man and never uttered a word to my sister and I when we saw him.  He had also been a violent man and my mother died hating him still.

Playing in the street is something that just doesn't seem to happen these days, does it?  Although, having said that, both my daughters lived in a cul-de-sac, and the children there were always out in the street playing. Of course, on Downham, the car had not yet arrived and it was therefore much safer. 

Keep up the good work, John.

Bren

Splinter

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Re: Life on DOWNHAM
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2009, 11:11:47 PM »
Thank you for those kind words Brenda. I was very lucky, My grandparents brought me up. I still think of them to this day. i think it was their kindness that made me who i am. Mum and Dad were busy working so although i still loved them. Nan and Gramps were very special to me.( Nan lived to 1975 but didn`t see my 21st birthday )
Born in Pendragon Road 1954 Family lived in house since 1935 Bought in 1970/1 Still own it.

Splinter

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Re: Life on DOWNHAM
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2009, 12:36:50 AM »
I went and saw an old neighbour who lived next door to my mum During the war today. We have never met before and Bill (who i have recommended this site to him had some lovely memories) made me remember a few things of those yearsago. As i was growing up on the estate you remember special times i can remember that on new years night i was allowed to stay up ( Big thing in those days ) and see the new year in and at midnight the front door was opened to let the new year in. and neighbours would come in for a drink or we would go into their house. Also you could hear the ships horns blasting away from the docks. We also went to parties. Not many then so when they came they were very special. We went to some big occasions at the BAL TABERIN (not sure of the spelling) That was the hall attached to the Downham Tavern Pub. Or the REsidents Association Do. Normally held in the hall above the Green Man Pub in Bromley Road Opposite Peter Pans Pool.Peter Pans Pool eh!! Had some fun there. Not sure in other peoples time but we had motorboats on the lake and a funfair behind it. As iv`e said before because it was the norm, you didn`t realise what a privaledged time you had living on the estate. Oh well i suppose i had better get to bed, had to put this down before i forgot it. Keep well all of you. speak to you soon . Best wishes John.
Born in Pendragon Road 1954 Family lived in house since 1935 Bought in 1970/1 Still own it.

Pauline

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Re: Life on DOWNHAM
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2009, 01:53:28 AM »
Never boring, believe me, because anyone's reminiscences bring back lots of other memories. 



Bren

I noted on one of these posts about there being a collection for flowers when someone on the street died.  One of the neighbours would be the instigator, and co-opt others to help.  I believe everyone gave something.  Then when the funeral cars arrived, anyone who was at home (and I think most of our Mums were homebodies in those days - forgive me if not) would stand in the street to pay their respects.  Doesn't happen these days.
Born 1944 in Geraint Road.  Launcelot and Churchdown Schools.  Moved to Western Australia in 1988.
Two children, 6 grandchildren, 3 dogs, hundreds of snakes, spiders and lizards.

Splinter

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Re: Life on DOWNHAM
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2009, 07:09:37 AM »
Yes Pauline.There was always a collection for flowers but we all new our neighbours then. But now you hardly see or speak to anyone. I think that is the biggest difference on the estate. But its like that everywhere in Britain. Is it the same in Oz?
Born in Pendragon Road 1954 Family lived in house since 1935 Bought in 1970/1 Still own it.

Brenda

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Re: Life on DOWNHAM
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2009, 11:17:25 PM »
Oooh, I am embarrassed to say that whenever there was a collection for a dead neighbour, my mother would send one of us to the door to say we weren't in so she didn't have to contribute.  I was always mortified and was sure the person collecting would know I was telling porkies.   I do understand, of course, that financial constraints made her the way she was (but she was probably no worse off than any others on the estate) but charity began at home, according to her, and she made sure it stayed there.  Perhaps that was why there were no flowers from the neighbours when my father died!

The near neighbours did come to their gates though, as the cortege left the house and I was very touched by that.  Whenever I see a funeral car, I always feel I ought to acknowledge it somehow. But then, of course, we're nearly all in our cars these days, so it makes it all a bit different.  What should we do?  Honk the corn, flash the lights?  Would probably be misinterpreted anyway. 

Bren
Bren

Frank (hutchsky)

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Re: Life on DOWNHAM
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2009, 08:13:23 AM »
We use to live at 42 Palace Road Bromley and I remember a visit to 84 Keedonwood Road, were Mum and Dad had secured a council house.  The person living their at the time who was being chucked out, repaired his motor cycles in the kitchen, I can still the chips in the walls where he had moved his bikes around. but it was better that the place we lived, the Gas lighting was a worry, but it did not seem long before we had electric, the pump up, to the bath room was a marval from the copper in the kitchen (we had Bath's in front of the fire with every one using the same water in a zinc bath (5) at the old place) we were pretty flash with a side entrance, which caused conficks with the nabours with a shared entrance. Even worse when I was 16 and the owner of a noisy motor cycle. They seem the only family in our group of houses who seemed to make trouble with all. Not sure of the reasons, but Mum & Dad decided to move to the Brangbourne Flats at the end of Downham Way, they were new, and mum had worked in Woollies for a number of years, so that might have been the reason. Dad worked for Otis Elevators at the time and was overseas most of the time, another reason maybe.
Born 1942 at Farnbrough Hospital Kent now living in Rockingham WA been in OZ since 1968. Ex Durham Hill School left 1957 lived at 84 Keedonwood Road 1948-1960

Splinter

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Re: Life on DOWNHAM
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2009, 06:07:27 PM »
I`ve Forgotten what chapter we are on but here goes. In 1970 the council being GLC allowed tenents to buy their houses. Dad had his name down and his name was drawn (Bill reminded me that it was a lottery who was allowed to buy. ) The first on the estate. For some reason it was bought from Kingstone upon thames council!!! (still on the deeds). So my house was the first bought. Then a year or two later the council decided to put new Bathrooms in and Central Heating and to do this they would attach a Pre fab section to the house in the Back Garden. All was going well with this conversion until one day in Northover the crane that lifted these sections over the house toppled over crashing into the roof and bedroom. I think that only the Dog was Killed but very lucky. I was just leaving school then and worked in the City and Part Time i worked in the Northover Pub. And thats another story so i will leave it there .Speak to you soon Best wishes All. John.....
Born in Pendragon Road 1954 Family lived in house since 1935 Bought in 1970/1 Still own it.

Brenda

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Re: Life on DOWNHAM
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2009, 06:26:26 AM »
I had never heard of the lottery business concerning buying houses on Downham.  Most interesting.

Awful accident - poor dog!

Yes Hutch, I remember well the old copper in the corner of the kitchen and the pump which got the water up to the bathroom. Well, it was supposed to but ours didn't for a while and was very hard work when it did.  Gosh, doesn't all that sound antiquated now and yet it seems only a blink ago.   And yes, bathing in the zinc tub in front of the fire is a very vivid memory.

One of my strongest memories, oddly enough, is of coming home after a family outing and walking in to the cold and dark house and that smell of a dead fire. After all, no-one would have dreamt of going out and leaving the fire lit, even with a guard around,would they?  Well, Mum wouldn't have done anyway. 

Then it would have been a cat's lick round the face with a cold, wet flannel while the kettle boiled for the stone hot water bottles, into the thick pyjamas and old cardigan used for bed, plus bed socks and then jump into an icy bed. But what a dilemma it was: should one clutch the hot water bottle to keep the top bits warm, or leave it down the bottom of the bed to keep the feet warm?  Obviously the answer would have been to have two hot water bottles, one for the top and one for the bottom, instead of which ...
Bren

Splinter

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Re: Life on DOWNHAM
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2009, 04:48:38 PM »
Do you know what kids today don`t realise. On a cold morning you scraped the ice from the inside of the window to see out, in our day.
Born in Pendragon Road 1954 Family lived in house since 1935 Bought in 1970/1 Still own it.

Brenda

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Re: Life on DOWNHAM
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2009, 11:13:52 AM »
Do you know what kids today don`t realise. On a cold morning you scraped the ice from the inside of the window to see out, in our day.

That 's right. I often tell that to Aussies who think it chilly when the temperature drops below 20oC!  By golly, I feel cold just thinking about it.

Bren

Frank (hutchsky)

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Re: Life on DOWNHAM
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2009, 12:30:23 PM »
Do you know what kids today don`t realise. On a cold morning you scraped the ice from the inside of the window to see out, in our day.
I remember the water in the Loo being frozen, I think that was the 1948 winter, I still think about how cold it was! on days when its 40 deg  I then stop complaning.
Born 1942 at Farnbrough Hospital Kent now living in Rockingham WA been in OZ since 1968. Ex Durham Hill School left 1957 lived at 84 Keedonwood Road 1948-1960

Brenda

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Re: Life on DOWNHAM
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2009, 10:57:55 PM »
I have a feeling we folk over here in Oz have forgotten just how cold the cold can be.

It is chilly here this morning but I haven't got any heating on.  Mind, Syd and I had rugs over our legs yesterday evening. What a pair of old codgers we have become.  It's probably time to lay the fire now, I think.

Bren

Pauline

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Re: Life on DOWNHAM
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2009, 03:35:17 AM »
I have a feeling we folk over here in Oz have forgotten just how cold the cold can be.

It is chilly here this morning but I haven't got any heating on.  Mind, Syd and I had rugs over our legs yesterday evening. What a pair of old codgers we have become.  It's probably time to lay the fire now, I think.

Bren
Yes Bren, chilly in the mornings and evenings, but 30 deg here today!

You know, even my children were unaware of just how cold it got, and I think I must have sheltered them too much.  I remember watching a programme on the TV when my daughter was about 8 years old.  It showed some of the terrible conditions people in London were living in, ice on the insides of the windows etc.  Her comment was "Why don't they move?".  How naive.  But by then we had central heating in our homes.
Born 1944 in Geraint Road.  Launcelot and Churchdown Schools.  Moved to Western Australia in 1988.
Two children, 6 grandchildren, 3 dogs, hundreds of snakes, spiders and lizards.