Author Topic: London smog 1952  (Read 4460 times)

billbaker

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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 didn’t 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 I’d 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.

Frank (hutchsky)

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Re: London smog 1952
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2013, 11:43:52 PM »
Hi Bill, not much happening on the site, hope every one is Ok, Yes I remember it well  I was 10years old at that time, and its not missed, have walk up Downham Way a few time in the fog and was pleased to find the four posts leading me home in to Keedonwood Rd, never had to walk to Grove Park Station, but remember some hairy bus rides. Frank.
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

billbaker

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Re: London smog 1952
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2013, 09:25:35 PM »
Hi Frank, perhaps I should say Hi neighbour!! looking on Google maps number 84 Keedonwood Rd. backs on to 47 Goudhurst Rd. so your back garden backed onto my parents house, I moved back there again in 1953 on leaving the army...Small world.

Bill.

Frank (hutchsky)

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Re: London smog 1952
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2013, 02:07:50 PM »
Hi Bill, yes what a small world, I went into the army in 1960, and my parents moved to the Brangebourne Estate (Flats) in Old Bromley Rd around 1962. So before that we must have crossed paths, I had a 3T Triumph motor cycle and had it in bits most of the time and took it around the block many a time, pass your house road testing, to see if I had made it go faster. My Father was away in South America in my teens so I played up some, Mum worked full time at Woolworths. I worked for Brownie the green grocer till 1957,( Should have been at school) I got to know a lot about the Downham Estate. Frank H
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

billbaker

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Re: London smog 1952
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2013, 05:05:40 PM »
Hi Frank, so it was you making all that noise over the back!  ::) I had a Triumph Thunderbird in 1953 then in 1960 bought a Ford Zodiac which a year later was stolen from outside my house in Goudhurst Rd. :'(  was it you who did that walk through the tunnel that went from the playing fields behind the council yard, under Bromley road and came out in Old Bromley Rd? I did that same run when I was 12, years later I was telling my son about it and he told me he had done the same.
Was Brownie the greengrocer opposite Woolworths? I gave him two pet squirrels in a cage at one time.
 Do you remember when you could buy bags of broken biscuits from Woolworths?

Bill.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 12:18:25 PM by billbaker »

Frank (hutchsky)

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Re: London smog 1952
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2013, 11:27:49 PM »
hi Bill, Well not sure about the tunnel, cannot remember it. Brownie the green grocer came around the streets every week with a lorry, He also had a stall at the Northover Pub which I work on a Sunday morning. I also worked for Tooley's of Lee a "Velocett" Dealer, was right into my motorcycles. Had a bike shop here for a few years, use to hang out at the at the Salt Box Café at Biggin Hill. Good days Frank
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

billbaker

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Re: London smog 1952
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2013, 11:55:48 PM »
Hi Frank, John Surtees was a customer of ours when I worked at the garage opposite the Catford bus garage, he lived in Callender road, Bellingham with his mum and dad at that time, I went with some of the lads from the garage to his house a couple of times when he raced motorcycles to look at his bikes, he was a really nice guy, he and his dad had a motorcycle shop in Forest Hill, he told me his mother had been a dispatch rider during the war.

Bill.

Frank (hutchsky)

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Re: London smog 1952
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2013, 02:07:20 AM »
John Surtees was a big fan for me, I was at Brands (Johnsons Café, was another of my hang outs)when he beat world champ Geoff Duke, Yes I remember his dads shop in Forest Hill, did not know he lived in Bellingham interesting family? My uncle Chas got me into bikes at about 13 years old, he would pick me up from home on his 197cc Excelsior and we would travel all around the south with trips to Devon/Cornwall. Then he got a Triumph sprung hub 500cc, which he sold to my dad, who broke his leg in two places in Keedonwood Road avoiding a Dog. I rode bikes up to about 2000, then got a 4x4 and caravan and travel all over OZ. Going back to the fog, we only get a sea miss, which does not stay long, them smoggy days have long gone.  ( Sunny 31 deg. today) Must be something in the water, John Surtees. Cooper Bros and David Bowie living around our area. Bowie went to the same school as me, Burnt Ash Primary, a few years behind me. Regards Frank.
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

billbaker

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Re: London smog 1952
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2013, 12:08:44 PM »
My son restores vintage motorcycles as a hobby, this is his website http://crispyduck.zenfolio.com/  not doing bad for an old Downham boy. I often saw Henry Cooper and his brother George with their manager Jim Wicks in Bellingham when I worked at the garage, and saw him again occasionally when he moved to Hildenborough after he retired. I didn't know David Bowie was a Downham lad. My brother Harry lives in Brisbane, he moved there back in the late 50s. we keep in touch on Skype.

Regards, Bill.

Brenda

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Re: London smog 1952
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2013, 10:16:38 PM »
I had just thought I'd come on to write something/anything and found Bill had beaten me to it.  Jolly good.

Re: the smog.  I was walking home from Pendragon School when it rolled into Downham.  It was like a thick, green stinky monster following me and actually scared me.  But then, lots of things scared me!  It covered everything, didn't it: curtains, furniture, got in our hair and up our noses.  The grime got inside through every door and crack and turned day into night.

Amazingly, we all kept going, didn't we?  Buses crawled along but they still ran and people got to work and school despite it being a struggle.  No-one would have thought of doing otherwise. 

Yes, sound was muffled to the degree one couldn't even hear the buses coming.  I used to find my way down our road by counting the gates I passed and saying who lived behind each one.  Crossing Northover was a worry and I think there was more than one accident.

I don't know how my father survived: he (a heavy smoker) suffered from what was called chronic bronchitis but what I  suspect was really a degree of emphysema and we thought he was going to cough himself to death.   He still went to work though!  A tough lot.

Bren


billbaker

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Re: London smog 1952
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2013, 07:03:43 PM »
Hi Brenda, Re: the smog, I remember watching a tram conductor walking in front of the tram with a flaming torch, when the trams reached Grove Park, because trams were unable to turn round, the driver would go to the other end of the tram to drive back, the conductor then had to reverse the seats and swing the arm on the top of the tram around and connect it to the overhead cable again, it took her ages because it was impossible to see the cable above in the smog, many old people died with breathing problems that year, but at least after that it did cause the government to introduce the clean air bill.

Bill.

sixtieschick

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Re: London smog 1952
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2013, 10:50:39 PM »
John Surtees was a big fan for me, I was at Brands (Johnsons Café, was another of my hang outs)when he beat world champ Geoff Duke, Yes I remember his dads shop in Forest Hill, did not know he lived in Bellingham interesting family? My uncle Chas got me into bikes at about 13 years old, he would pick me up from home on his 197cc Excelsior and we would travel all around the south with trips to Devon/Cornwall. Then he got a Triumph sprung hub 500cc, which he sold to my dad, who broke his leg in two places in Keedonwood Road avoiding a Dog. I rode bikes up to about 2000, then got a 4x4 and caravan and travel all over OZ. Going back to the fog, we only get a sea miss, which does not stay long, them smoggy days have long gone.  ( Sunny 31 deg. today) Must be something in the water, John Surtees. Cooper Bros and David Bowie living around our area. Bowie went to the same school as me, Burnt Ash Primary, a few years behind me. Regards Frank. ........     Not sure how to reply to this...But I live in Beckenham, and David Bowie's Mum used to live across the road to me...I also went to BuRNT ASH PRIMARY and this is the first I've heard of David attending the school.
John Surtees was a big fan for me, I was at Brands (Johnsons Café, was another of my hang outs)when he beat world champ Geoff Duke, Yes I remember his dads shop in Forest Hill, did not know he lived in Bellingham interesting family? My uncle Chas got me into bikes at about 13 years old, he would pick me up from home on his 197cc Excelsior and we would travel all around the south with trips to Devon/Cornwall. Then he got a Triumph sprung hub 500cc, which he sold to my dad, who broke his leg in two places in Keedonwood Road avoiding a Dog. I rode bikes up to about 2000, then got a 4x4 and caravan and travel all over OZ. Going back to the fog, we only get a sea miss, which does not stay long, them smoggy days have long gone.  ( Sunny 31 deg. today) Must be something in the water, John Surtees. Cooper Bros and David Bowie living around our area. Bowie went to the same school as me, Burnt Ash Primary, a few years behind me. Regards Frank.
 

sixtieschick

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Re: London smog 1952
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2013, 10:58:24 PM »
I used to go to Burnt Ash School, and dont remember that David Bowie went there though he is younger than me.I didn't even know he was a Downham boy??? His Mum used to live opposite where I live in Beckenham, about 30 odd years ago. I believe he used to perform at THE  3 TUNNS IN BECKENHAM. :)

Frank (hutchsky)

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Re: London smog 1952
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2013, 08:14:45 AM »
On Friend's Reunited a note/school photo was put on and David Jones (Bowie) in line at Burnt Ash School. Frank
« Last Edit: December 02, 2013, 08:18:28 AM by Frank (hutchsky) »
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

sixtieschick

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Re: London smog 1952
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2013, 12:29:55 AM »
Owww really Frank... :)  As I said,it's the first I'd heard of that!! :o