Downham Online Discussion

Forums => General Discussion => Topic started by: tonywarran on January 01, 2014, 10:23:16 AM

Title: First newcomer in 2014 !!
Post by: tonywarran on January 01, 2014, 10:23:16 AM
Well it has taken many years for me to discover this great site but now I have I am glad to say that it is a lot of fun having read thorough many of the previous posts.

I now live at West Wickham but then I lived at 23 Ivorydown for 23 years from 1943 until I got married in 1966. My parents lived there for many years afterwards. They had moved there in the 1930's.

It was a great place to live in those days and I have many happy memories.

Thinking back there were just so many boys who lived within a short walk , in Ivorydown , Geraint and Galahad and lots of other roads. Great guys. Still in touch with quite a few.

I went to Launcelot Road Primary which was a good school and who managed to get me through the 11+

I had two older brothers , Len and Arthur. Len was nearly 15 years older than me and Arthur 10. Arthur is still alive and well and is living in Crawley.

Back in the '90's Len wrote a book basically about our family but it also covers his early years in Rotherhithe during the 1920's, then moving to Downham before the outbreak of the Second World War. It covers his time on Downham from the age of about 5.

It covers his and my other brother's evacuation to Devon in 1940 and then onto Scotland working on a ship as a galley boy via a spell back on Downham and being bombed out of his Ivorydown house in 1944 when he was (and I was too ) there.

It's a fascinating account of how austere life was in those days but also how simple and happy it was. The book is about the hardships of those times as well as the fun for a young boy on a farm in Devon for two years and playing amongst the bomb sites of the area around Grove Park.

Lots of the stuff in there I remember myself so I found in very interesting.

If anyone wants to read it the name is  "The Road from Rotherhithe" by Leonard Warran- and is available as an eBook via Amazon.

After he died in 2002 his wife had about 20 copies made and as it was (IMHO) so interesting to the wider public I decided to make it a kindle which I have just done.

Ok that's my advert done , hope you did not mind me posting it. Think you can read for free if you go to the Amazon site but I only put it on for a small sum in any case.

Ok that all for now.


Tony Warran

Title: Re: First newcomer in 2014 !!
Post by: billbaker on January 01, 2014, 07:27:54 PM
Hi Tony, where in Devon was your brothers Len and Arthur evacuated? I was evacuated to a village in North Devon, no doubt Len would have had to return to Downham on reaching fourteen years old as all evacuees did regardless of the bombing, one girl who was evacuated with us had to return home to Shroffold road on reaching fourteen and was killed along with her mother when a V11 landed on Woolworths in New Cross. I loved living in the country and stayed till 1945.

Title: Re: First newcomer in 2014 !!
Post by: tonywarran on January 02, 2014, 06:47:52 PM
Hello Bill
Thanks for making contact. Len and Arthur were evacuated to Devon and I quote from his book " we stepped down to the platform and we found ourselves at a small, quiet railway station which, we saw from the name boards, was called Torrington.  We had no idea at all where Torrington was.  The teachers who had accompanied us lined us up and ordered us to board small single deck buses that were waiting.  We were then driven to a village hall which, we much later learned, was at a place called Lower Frithelstock.

You are quite right that they did come back when Len would had been 14 . He and my other brother Arthur were living in Ivorydown ( as was I) when the V1 hit the houses opposite. It was then that  we were all evacuated again first to near Lytham St Annes and then to Greenoch and Gourock in Scotland where Dad was working on the ships having been bombed out of the London Surrey docks. From what I read in his book we stayed for a while with an uncle who lived in Ballamore Road after the bomb fell.

While Len was in Devon he mentions Harry and Freddie Francis a couple of mates from Ivorydown who were on the next farm.

Where were you located and did you know any of theses names? They would all have been Launcelot boys.

On a different note I keep seeing the name Pauline Morbey. I do know that name from Geraint. I knew loads of people in that road. I remembers the Larges on the corner then after they moved , one of my best mates John Church moved in. I remember the Vince twins ( who did not look alike) and a girl called Marie Moyse who was in my class at school. Opposite I remember Bernard ( Dizzy) Day who married Janet Taylor from Ivorydown  and on the corner of Geraint and Gareth I remember Ronnie Vaughan and opposite Pete Whybrow.

I will list sometime all the people I can remember but in the meantime I'd like to hear from anyone who knows Ivorydown and indeed remembers me !

Title: Re: First newcomer in 2014 !!
Post by: Frank (hutchsky) on January 03, 2014, 02:43:58 AM
Hi Tony, My cousin Tina Hutchison lived in Ivorydown, I went to Durham Hill and left in 1957, not sure if our age group is far apart, cannot remember any of the names, Ken Hackman, Raymond Beech, David Longford, John Nunn and the Young family (Young Bicycles) a few of the Downham school boys/girls have found and made contact with some. My family came from the Cambellwell/Southwark area then to Bromley Kent, after the war. My grandparents lived in Downham before the WW2 One in Downham Way and other in Verdant Lane. We moved to Downham in 1948. After leaving school and had my motorcycle, I did not stay around Downham, I hung out at the Busy Bee, Johnsons,(Brands Hatch)Ace & Salt Box,(Biggin Hill) Frank
Title: Re: First newcomer in 2014 !!
Post by: tonywarran on January 03, 2014, 07:49:37 AM
Hi Frank

I don't remember Tina but as you know Ivorydown is quite a long road and I only really remember the bottom end ( Grove Park end). I went to Launcelot and then Catford Boys and left there in 1960.

My wife of 47 years lived in Brangbourne Road near Beckenham Hill Station. In fact my daughter now lives in that house so I have reason to go over to Downham fairly often. On the whole it looks pretty much the same I must say although it could be that I have seen it change slowly .

One lad I remember who went to Durham Hill and will be about your age is Bob Razell who still lives in Ivorydown. I still see him from time to time. Also possibly Peter Dockerell . I also still see him as his son lives round the corner from me.

If you want to know more about life on Downham I would urge you to look into my brother's eBook on Amazon ( The road from Rotherhithe ) which I am sure you can read for free if you don't want to buy it.

Title: Re: First newcomer in 2014 !!
Post by: Frank (hutchsky) on January 03, 2014, 11:36:37 AM
Hi Tony, When I went into the army in 1960, my parents move to the Brangebourne Flats, I did live there for a while when I came out of the army in 64 but got married to a Catford girl and lived in Brownhill Rd then brought a house in Wellmeadow Road Catford, till coming to OZ in 1968. I am going to order that book for sure, its quite surprising how many Downham people I have meet over the years. I think Tina lived the other end. Don't know them names. Frank  
Title: Re: First newcomer in 2014 !!
Post by: billbaker on January 03, 2014, 03:58:21 PM
Hello again Tony, I too finally arrived at Torrington station along with my brother Reg, carrying our gas masks and small suitcases, I was seven and he was twelve, we may even have been on the same train as your brothers, I too remember the small coaches lined up and heading off in all directions, around sixty evacuees from Downham finished up in the village of Dolton, I still keep in touch with several people in the village and with a couple of evacuees and have returned many times, all of us getting older now. I also put around fifty photographs on the Dolton village website, some with evacuees from Downham.
  Torrington station was closed by Dr. Beeching and became an inn and restaurant called 'The Puffing Billy'. I went to Torrington School from 1944 till 1945 and some children attending were from Frithelstock.
I did an interview about evacuation on Radio Devon in 2010 it's here at:
I can't recall any of the names you or Frank mentioned from Downham, I lived in Goudhurst Road which is a bit further down.

Title: Re: First newcomer in 2014 !!
Post by: Brenda on January 03, 2014, 09:42:52 PM
Hallo and welcome to the forum, Tony.  Your post is very interesting and I shall follow up on the book.  I do love reading everyone's reminiscences. My sister and I were born in Crutchley Rd, Catford (not far from the cemetery) and evacuated with my mother to Fleetwood in Lancs.  I remember nothing of this having been born at the end of '43 but Mum said she was so unhappy with living with strangers who expected her to keep a toddler and a baby quiet, that she moved back home saying it was easier to 'put up with Hitler and his bleedin' bombs' than the people she was boarded with.

We stepped over the border, as it were, into Downham in 1948 and it remained my home for the next 20 years.  I always thought it a marvellous place and still hold my memories of it dear.

I had friends in Ivorydown, Kathy and Kevin Mathews, and often walked round from Durham Hill to visit them.  They moved to Baring Road a few years ago.  I am still friends with them but long-distance as I now live in Australia

Look forward to reading more of your anecdotes.

Title: Re: First newcomer in 2014 !!
Post by: tonywarran on January 04, 2014, 10:13:09 AM

Bill,  that radio link was fascinating, thanks for sending. I have passed onto my brother Arthur and I'll let you know what he says but as he was just 6 or 7 he may not remember much.

They stayed at 'Harracott Farm' in Frithlestock and they also stayed in touch with the family , the Gilbert's for many years afterwards.

From what I heard Mum went and got them after two years as Mrs Gilbert who was childless was making noises about maybe keeping them !

I don't remember the Matthews family,  Brenda,  but as I said Ivorydown was a long road.

I'll look into posting some of the people that I do remember to see if they jog any memories.

Maybe someone can let me know if and how one can post photos on this site as I do have some that would be of interest.

Isn't it odd that I can remember the names of almost everyone in my infant class at Launcelot Primary school but can't remember what I did yesterday   :D

Title: Re: First newcomer in 2014 !!
Post by: Brenda on January 07, 2014, 03:20:16 AM

Isn't it odd that I can remember the names of almost everyone in my infant class at Launcelot Primary school but can't remember what I did yesterday   

Join the club, Tony!

Title: Re: First newcomer in 2014 !!
Post by: grindlestonker on January 07, 2014, 04:22:31 PM

Hi Tony

I saw John Church's (I'm his younger brother) name mentioned in an earlier post. Just thought I's let you know he's still around and living in Mottinham

Title: Re: First newcomer in 2014 !!
Post by: tonywarran on January 08, 2014, 10:03:26 AM
Sorry GS I think this must be another John Church as my one lived corner of Geraint Rd and Ivorydown and was an only child !

I was thinking about the days when I used to do a paper round . I worked for WHS at Grove Park station ( Mr 'Dick' Turpin was the manager) and my round was Downham Way , then the library (that was a round in itself) and then onto Northover, Keedenwood and Valeswood etc. Luckily they gave me a bike with panniers each side. But it was a tough job and I never let my own kids go out at that ridiculous hour of the morning in all weathers. Seems to recall getting 12 bob a week ( 60p today) at one time.

Must have had that job for about 5  or 6 years as I ended up working in the shop on a Saturday even when I had started work

Did anyone else work in any of the other shops ?

Title: Re: First newcomer in 2014 !!
Post by: Frank (hutchsky) on January 09, 2014, 03:44:19 AM
Hi Tony, I worked for "Brownie" the mobile green grocer going around the Downham Estate, also worked Brownie's stall on a Sunday at the "North Over" also sold Newspapers out side the "Splendid" (that look"s wrong?) did you know the Hoggs who had a flower shop next to Grove Park Station
 ( Rose & Jean) Jean was in my class. They had stall's at Lewisham Markets also. I also worked in a Army Surplus store just before the railway bridge heading towards Lewisham Clock on the main road from Catford. Also sold Ice cream on a push bike (ICE BOX ON FRONT) around the estate. Did not get to much schooling in. On Leaving school? in 57 and worked for "Revellie" Newspapers as a news boy caught the train every workday from Grove Park to Waterloo. Then my motorcycle days locked in when I worked for Tooleys of Lee.
Title: Re: First newcomer in 2014 !!
Post by: tonywarran on January 10, 2014, 10:11:51 AM
Well Frank I do remember the flower shop at Grove Park but not who ran it.

I certainly don't remember anyone coming round the streets selling ice creams other than Criterion who I always thought made the best ice cream I have ever tasted.

I did Grove Park to Charing Cross for more years than I care to remember. Used to think it was a long journey until I moved to Rainham in Kent for 5 years.