Author Topic: Downham Bromley?  (Read 29319 times)

JSmith

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Downham Bromley?
« on: May 23, 2009, 08:12:22 PM »
So roaming through google streetview I noticed the roads in Downham as listed as say churchdown rd Lewisham, now I know we come under Lewisham in the registry, so MIKE do you still use Bromley as your address. I guess we were not good enough for the bunch in Bromley remember valeswood rd wall, so they shoved us over to Lewisham. Lewishams postal address is SE13, then comes Catford SE6 before you get to Downham. So it all seems odd to me, I remember the address as Downham Bromley Kent so we are all people from Kent a luvely county, but I guess we are too common for them.  :)  Smiffy 
Born 1945 Churchdown road.

     You can take the Boy out of Downham,but you cant take Downham out of the Boy.

mike

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Re: Downham Bromley?
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2009, 07:59:53 AM »
Ah now, well there's an interesting question. It would be very shallow of me to say "depends who I'm talking to, and whether I am worried about their perception of where I live"!

The Bromley/Lewisham border cuts through the estate, although the majority is in Lewisham. There may not be a wall any more, but there are some interesting differences. For example, the Lewisham part of the estate has a 20 MPH speed limit, and speed bumps, because the roads are narrow, were never designed with parking cars in mind, and full of children. As soon as you get to the Bromley part, drivers are welcome to speed up and the children there have to take their chances.

We live in Kendale Road, which is in Lewisham borough, but our postal address is in Bromley (much of the estate has BR1 as its postcode), so we can variously say we live in Downham/Lewisham/Bromley. Of course we are proud to say Downham (otherwise I wouldn't have built this website!) but for people who have never heard of the place, we'll then say "between Bromley and Lewisham", or "where south-east London meets Kent"

I grew up in Sydenham, but the poorer end, near the Penge border, which is another place that Bromley owned part of, but would love to have disowned and pretend that it was all in Lewisham. Bromley councilors like to imagine that their borough is only leafy lanes and stockbrokers...

Brenda

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Re: Downham Bromley?
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2009, 08:02:38 AM »
That's right Smithy, we might have been only a step or two away from SE6 (Catford) but we could rightly say we lived in Kent, couldn't we?

It's odd, you know, but it is only in the last few years that I've heard stories from people who lived in, say, Bromley, Sydenham etc that their parents didn't want  them mixing with us children from Downham.  Yes, even though they went to the same schools.  I was amazed. Perhaps I was naive.

Bren


Brenda

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Re: Downham Bromley?
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2009, 08:06:51 AM »
Have just read your post, Mike.  How very peculiar the divisions seem to be.  How did this happen?

I must say, I never felt any discrimination when I told people I lived on Downham.  But then, as I said, maybe I was naive.

Bren

Vic

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Re: Downham Bromley?
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2009, 06:22:00 PM »
Eve'nin All,
Just read the interesting contributions on the topic of the 'Downham Factor'. In the pre-war and immediate post war periods there was a definite stigma about coming from 'Danhum'. I was as guilty as the next in writing my address as 17 Merlin Gardens, Bromley, Kent on forms and applications. This was mainly because in those less enlightened times if you came from a big council estate you were automatically grouped with ne'er do wells. Yet, whilst I lived there as a youth I cannot recall any really nasty goings on, but the fact that the estate was classed as a 'slum clearance area, for Deptford, Greenwich and Bermondsey' automatically made it undesirable to those living around the outskirts. As boys we definitely got up to all sorts of mischief, but nothing which affected other people's property. I recall that Mr Dean, who lived at 22 Merlin Gardens, had a beautifully polished Morris 8 saloon car, the only car for miles around, which he parked on the left hand side of the cul-de-sac. We never touched it and always kept well away when playing 'Buzz' or 'Tin Can Copper Knob' or any of the other rowdy pastimes. He and Mrs Dean looked, and behaved, in what they considered to be a middle class manner - and we respected them for it. They had no children so Mr Dean was often to be seen standing in his porch casting worried looks at his car - especially when a game of cricket, with a hard ball, was in progress on the green!  But he needn't have worried. When I first went to Secondary School in Lewisham there was a definite feeling against Downamites, but I learnt to ignore it.
In the RAF nobody really cared where you came from so the problem went away. In later years, after I had contacted an old childhood friend from Durham Hill and visited Downham, I became very proud of my roots. Mind you, I sometimes find myself thinking the old adage you can take the boy out of Downham, but you can't take Downham out of the boy is very true!
Incidentally Mike, my almost daily forays on Street View around the estate has made me keen to visit Downham again. I intend to make a two or three day visit in July.

JSmith

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Re: Downham Bromley?
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2009, 10:52:31 PM »
Vic   Thanks for the interesting post. I hope you do not mind but I have copied that old adage "The Boy and Downham". As my signature.
I have often thought of it after over 20 years in Canada, I cannot persuade myself other than that they where the good old days. :)
Born 1945 Churchdown road.

     You can take the Boy out of Downham,but you cant take Downham out of the Boy.

Brenda

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Re: Downham Bromley?
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2009, 10:56:16 PM »
Well, I can only say again that I never noticed such attitudes.  Must have been a bit dozy!   

Bren

Pauline

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Re: Downham Bromley?
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2009, 03:10:25 AM »
Well, I can only say again that I never noticed such attitudes.  Must have been a bit dozy!   

Bren
My other half (Pete) was born in Greenwich, lived for a while in Deptford,  and they later moved to Blackheath.  I asked him about the Downham thing, and he tells me that you didn't cross anyone who came from Downham.  He said it was considered a 'rough' area.  And when I said "What do you mean 'rough'"?  He said that we seemed close knit, and there would always be someone guarding your back.  Fair enough I said, as long as he didn't mean we were slummy.
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: Downham Bromley?
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2009, 09:48:16 AM »
If you look at an old map, the london and Kent border goes up the centre of Whitefoot Lane then straight on to the Footbridge and then along the railway to Grove Park Stn. I was told by my Nan that a small river ran along the top of Whitefoot between Northover Pub and the shops and overflowed on a regular basis, It`s probably still there but deep underground.
Born in Pendragon Road 1954 Family lived in house since 1935 Bought in 1970/1 Still own it.

Brenda

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Re: Downham Bromley?
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2009, 03:49:50 AM »
That is really interesting, Splinter.  Give me a clue where you found such an old map, please.

Pauline, I am amazed at the 'rough' reputation of Downham in days gone by.  I always thought most of us were rather nice people!  Okay, so there might have been a villain or two around. There was always someone who had something on offer going cheap and of dubious origins, I suppose. But most of us were hard-working honest folk, weren't we?  I don't remember people getting beaten up or that sort of thing.  Mind you, an old schoolfriend and ex-Downhamite (who visited me in January) said his grandfather and a certain Bermondsey rock and roll singer's (better not say the name in case I get sued!) grandfather used to drink together at the Tavern and described them as being: "Two vicious men who would knife you over the price of a drink.'  Not sure that's verbatim but as best as I can remember. 

Bren


Splinter

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Re: Downham Bromley?
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2009, 07:03:52 AM »
Brenda, I cant find old site but if you go to www.maps-of-london.com/catford.htm that map shows the boundary going up Whitefoot lane on the left/ north side then cuts across into Whitefoot terrace, then back through the crem to the railway. hope you find it. 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: Downham Bromley?
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2009, 07:05:50 AM »
That is really interesting, Splinter.  Give me a clue where you found such an old map, please.

Pauline, I am amazed at the 'rough' reputation of Downham in days gone by.  I always thought most of us were rather nice people!  Okay, so there might have been a villain or two around. There was always someone who had something on offer going cheap and of dubious origins, I suppose. But most of us were hard-working honest folk, weren't we?  I don't remember people getting beaten up or that sort of thing.  Mind you, an old schoolfriend and ex-Downhamite (who visited me in January) said his grandfather and a certain Bermondsey rock and roll singer's (better not say the name in case I get sued!) grandfather used to drink together at the Tavern and described them as being: "Two vicious men who would knife you over the price of a drink.'  Not sure that's verbatim but as best as I can remember. 

Bren



Probably because the place was so big!
I remember being in the Witch Doctor one evening (under the Savoy Catford) and two blokes came in and told us girls and boys to go elsewhere, so we went, and read the next days that someone had been shot in there, something to do with the Richardsons I think.   But in those days they settled the scores amongst themselves, and left us ordinary folk alone.
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.

Vic

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Re: Downham Bromley?
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2009, 05:38:00 PM »
I'm sure you are right Brenda, most people living on Downham were hard working and law abiding. I believe that as the original tenants from Deptford etc were superseded by their children and an influx of those who were artisans and public service workers, the whole atmosphere on Downham changed. We had a fair number of bus and tram drivers and conductors, living around us plus lots of building workers and railwaymen. My father was a carpenter and joiner for the LCC; but I have to admit that his forbears were mainly Deptford costermongers and were very clannish. A lot of the original tenants on Downham - from when the estate was first completed - couldn't stand the relatively wide open spaces and scuttled back to their back to back terraced houses.

Brenda

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Re: Downham Bromley?
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2009, 11:49:17 PM »
Thank you John, I will follow the link to the maps.

Vic, who were the Richardsons?

One of my classmates from Pendragon was said to have been connected to the Kray family. I didn't know it then, but only knew he was a 'naughty boy' and always in trouble. I did hear he'd got into big trouble after he left school, and I was recently told he met an early end that may have had something to do with crime. But it's hearsay.

Bren

Vic

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Re: Downham Bromley?
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2009, 05:58:16 PM »
I'm sorry Brenda, I don't know - except that I recall that they were an infamous duo around during the immediate post war period. I don't think they were on the Downham scene, but I could be wrong as I left there in 1949.

Vic.