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Messages - Brenda

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General Discussion / Re: Christmas again??
« on: January 01, 2020, 09:11:04 PM »
Hallo Mike,

Bournemouth eh?  You must have itchy feet!

I have to say I felt such a pang of sadness to see that Downham online will soon be a thing of the past.  I cannot begin to describe how excited I was when I first found it and how much pleasure it gave me to find old friends and make new ones and to share in nostalgia for the Downham of my early life.  I do thank you very sincerely for your work in keeping the site going and for so long.  I don't suppose any of us really expressed the appreciation we felt. 

I am not a fan of Facebook. I registered only to be able to keep in touch with the children of a dear friend of mine who passed away many years ago but I never put anything on there and feel a lot of bad stuff comes up on it.

Anyway, I do wish you and your family a wonderful 2020.  May you all keep happy, healthy and safe in what seems like a fraught world at times. 

Thanks again, Mike, thank you.


General Discussion / Re: Happy Christmas!
« on: July 02, 2019, 11:47:29 PM »
I confess that what with one thing and another, my visits to Downham Online have been few this year.  Coming back to it this morning gave me the great pleasure of seeing you here, Vic.   I shall take a look at that video and will, no doubt, be horrified by all the changes I see!  In my memory, I can still walk the streets of Downham as they were but I know it's unrealistic to expect  things to stay the same as they once were.  I looked at a short  YouTube video of Lewisham recently and the only thing I recognised was a short clip of the fruit and veg stalls of the market.     

I hope all is well with everyone.  The years take their toll but I trust you are, as am I, still enjoying life! 


General Discussion / Re: Happy Christmas!
« on: December 30, 2018, 10:29:22 PM »
Too late to wish everyone Merry Christmas but I hope you all had a good one.  I do wish you all a happy, healthy and safe 2019.


General Discussion / Re: News Shopper
« on: June 21, 2018, 10:05:12 AM »

Thanks for that, Tony, I'll follow that up.


For those interested I have just come across a UK website called News Shopper it covers up to date news from the following areas.
Bromley.Bexley.Greenwich.Dartford.Lewisham.Southwark. etc.

Cheers Tony Cross.

General Discussion / Re: Where has everybody gone
« on: February 22, 2018, 07:59:55 AM »
I found things very quite on the site, so I been on a Catford Lewisham Site, for a while. What with our internet system changing, and Windows 10 its been a challenge, good to see some of the long time members, I will use again

Good to see you back again, Hutch.  I hope all is going well with you and yours.


General Discussion / Christmas
« on: December 19, 2017, 08:43:21 PM »
Wherever in the world you are, I wish you all a wonderful Xmas and a safe, happy and healthy 2018.


General Discussion / Re: It has been a while...
« on: November 28, 2017, 08:48:55 PM »
It's good to see the boss's name come up, Mike!  Obviously everything is still going okay for you in New York - pleased to hear it.
Very different from life on Downham, I'm sure.

Look forward to seeing something from the new members soon.


General Discussion / Re: Where has everybody gone
« on: November 25, 2017, 09:41:14 AM »
Well, I'm still here - but very surprised to see my last post was in August.  And I agree, we must have something to contribute to keep Downhamonline and old Downhamites going.l  So, greetings from our little place in rural Australia which, at present, is far too warm for my liking and I get emails from a friend in Crofton Park describing the cold of November there - and it sounds lovely to me!

I suppose most of you are preparing for Xmas - not me, I ignore it as much as possible!  But can you believe it's that time of year again?  Never did a year go so fast!


General Discussion / Re: Where has everybody gone
« on: August 28, 2017, 12:07:45 PM »
Very interesting indeed, Joanie.   My mother worked in Robertson's Jam Factory for a while.  I think - but may be wrong - it was in the early to mid-60s.  How absolutely wonderful that so many people were generous enough to let you into the old places.  I imagine that revisiting your past places were very emotional occasions.   My husband, two kids and I came out to Australia in 1974 and have never returned.  I think it is too late now as so much has changed.   The house in Durham Hill (opposite the school where my mother was a cleaner for many years when I was a child) where I was brought up was demolished several years ago due to its condition.  When I found that out, I was very, very sad and it was and always will 'home'.  Having said that, I love my life here in rural Victoria where we have a smallholding of 36acres, a few sheep and cows and far too many venomous snakes!  I find it interesting that all the old Downhamites, most of whose families struggled to make ends meet, nevertheless retain such a very real affection for the estate.
So glad your son came through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I don't doubt that would have been an ordeal for you too! 


General Discussion / Re: Where has everybody gone
« on: August 25, 2017, 11:59:38 PM »

It was certainly a quieter and simpler world for us, wasn't it? As say, no cars and we all played safely in the street: marbles, rounds, hop-scotch, hide and seek etc. What fun we had!

What schools did you go to Joanie?  I went to Pendragon Infants and Junior Schools and then to Churchdown.

And whereabouts in America do you live.  There are a couple of my old classmates from Churchdown who live in the USA.


Hi Bren:
Yes, the memories continue. When I was young I spent a lot of evenings sitting on the back steps at our place to see the mother hedgehog and her babies come up the path to feed on the saucer of milk I put out for them. Such lovely little critters. When not in school I spent a lot of days roaming around Beckingham Place Park sometimes climbing the large trees while the park keepers weren't looking. When my folks had the money we went to the pictures at the old Splendid. Remember horse carts delivering coal for the fireplace too. No one in my neighborhood had an automobile. Dad rode a bike back and forth to work. No telephones back in that day. We did get a radio (battery operated) for entertainment. Those were simpler and good times!

General Discussion / Re: Where has everybody gone
« on: August 25, 2017, 11:56:29 PM »
You've had an interesting life, Tony.   Interestingly, my father was a postman for many years and then sat exams to join the Civil Service.  He got a clerical job in the War Office after that.  He died in 1963 after a massive stroke suffered as he got ready for work, he was 53yrs old.  Yes, many regrets about not getting to know more about him but he was a kind man and had a good brain but, being brought up in the Bermondsey slums at the beginning of the 20th century, he never had the chance to reach his potential.    He joined the Army aged 17 and stayed in for 11 years before going back to Civvy Street.

General Discussion / Re: Where has everybody gone
« on: August 12, 2017, 10:09:27 AM »
Hallo Joanie,

Lovely to read your post and share your memories.  Yes, I too, remember the gas-lighting, the copper to pump water up to the bath - hard work, wasn't it - and the coal cupboard which later become where Mum kept the brooms, brushes and carpet sweeper  which was later replaced by a vacuum cleaner.  Other memories are of the excitement when a chimney caught fire and we all watched in awe when a chimney sweep's brushes appeared at the top of the chimney.  I don't remember Gus the policeman but do remember Ginger the milk-man.  And I will always remember the smell of putty when council workers came in to mend a window.  Gosh, lots more memories e.g. roly-polying down The Hill etc.  Simple fun and games we had, and all precious memories.  It seems to me that all of us who spent our early years on Downham have never lost our affection for the place.  Hope to read more from you.


General Discussion / Re: Where has everybody gone
« on: August 10, 2017, 02:12:41 AM »
Good to hear from you, Tony.  What extraordinary coincidences you share with your neighbour!  You wouldn't believe it unless you experienced it, would you?  I did meet a couple in a shop in Ararat (Victoria) and said, on hearing their accent, "I bet I know where you come from," meaning London, of course.  It turned out they were from Shortlands and knew Downham well, especially the Downham Baths.  However, they didn't seem at all interested in having more than a desultory conversation.  I also met a man who was from Grove Park but he, too, wasn't interesting in reminiscing with me.

I was born in 1943.  My father, being 30ish, was called up in the second wave (he'd been a regular soldier from many years previously) and I should know what year it was but don't.  I don't know how often he might have come home on leave but according to my mother, he came home from France on leave and just avoided the Dunkirk debacle.  My uncle was captured there and spent the rest of the war as a POW.  So many tales to tell but nobody really spoke much about it and I was too young to have all the questions I now do. 

Did you and your father manage to develop a good relationship eventually despite being virtual strangers to each other?  I had a friend who came home to a new daughter but could never really 'take' to her somehow.  Rather sad and I think it was not an isolated case.

You are correct, in my opinion, about all the suicides and depression that go on now.  But I think the challenges in modern day life are different to those of our generation and certainly of the generation that got through the war and simply had to get going.  I think, also, that many marriages that might have otherwise succeeded, failed because of the war and separations.  If my own parents were happy when they first married, they certainly weren't after the war.


General Discussion / Re: Where has everybody gone
« on: July 14, 2017, 11:46:54 PM »
I suspect, like me, people call in fairly regularly to see if anyone has posted and then, finding nothing of interest to say themselves then leave without posting at all!  It takes one of us to do what you've done i.e. say 'Where has everybody gone?" to start something off again.  So, well done for giving us a prod; it would be a shame for the site to fold for lack of participation.

I found a short video on YouTube the other day: it was the bus ride from Bromley to Grove Park and a trip I made often in the past.  What a thrill of anticipation I  experienced but on viewing it, I found almost nothing recognisable except - possibly - Bromley Square and a little bit of Burnt Ash Lane.  Otherwise - nothing at all!  A
very great disappointment indeed.    Silly, of course, to expect things to be the same as they were 40+ years ago but my goodness, all so very different now.  And did I really see a high rise building somewhere along Burnt Ash Road?!


General Discussion / Re: 2017
« on: January 12, 2017, 10:16:39 AM »
Our old house in Durham Hill was demolished many years ago as the foundations were collapsing.  It was always on the shift even when we moved there in 1948.  I was very sad to hear it had gone and then, of course, so has the old library (I loved that place even as a young child) and swimming baths.
Pendragon School as I knew it is no more and I would have liked to have seen all these places again..

 And old friends have gone as have all the aunts and uncles and some of the cousins.  I think I've left it too late to visit now.  Actually, I often do visit 'home' in my dreams and as I am walking around looking for places and telling people I used to live there but 'I belong in Australia' and I wake up knowing I am in the right place.

As you say, Smiffy, change is inevitable and it's daft to think anything can stay the same for ever.


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