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Messages - Vic

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General Discussion / Re: Happy Christmas!
« on: March 09, 2019, 09:13:36 PM »
Dear Mike and Brenda,
I, too, have not been on line here for a very long time. However, I wish everyone a belated Happy and Prosperous 2019. As always, I sit and ponder - When shall I go and visit dear old Downham again! The nearest I've got to it is to go to You Tube and 'cab ride' a train from Charing cross to Sevenoaks and back. I was surprised at all the changes en route - New Cross station unrecognisable, high rise flats where there were allotments near St Johns (where I went to school), all the housing at Grove Park which used to be carriage sidings. I enjoy a glimpse of the Downham Estate between Hither Green and Grove Park just past the footbridge, which we called 'the footer', and the backs of the line of houses in Reigate Road just beyond which I was born at No 10, Ballamore Road 87 years ago! I hope that all that read this remarkable forum are well. Long may it continue.
Warmest regards, Vic Dabin

General Discussion / Re: Bromley Court Hotel/Jazz Club
« on: January 03, 2016, 07:42:22 PM »
Oh Dear!
Thank you for giving me the link to see all my earlier posts Mike, but I feel a bit embarrassed at my latest repetition of all the things I wrote in 2009/2012-3; sometimes almost word for word! I must try to think up some anecdotes which are original and not repeats of earlier thoughts. Bren, you must have wondered what was going on! I'll give my next contribution some thought before I post again.
'bye for now.

General Discussion / Re: Bromley Court Hotel/Jazz Club
« on: January 02, 2016, 10:25:41 PM »
Hello Brenda,
When I was at Ballamore Road School I recall that it was sometimes necessary to visit the LCC Clinic at the bottom of the path down through Durham Hill Park, for medical and dental inspections - near Glenbow Road I think. Also, we were sent there by teachers if we had bad cuts or bruises, often sustained in the playground during a particularly fierce game of British Bulldog or Release or Buzzing Up. It was a good skive to get out of unpopular lessons - and I developed a schoolboy crush on the nurses  Of course, my journey would have taken me past your address in Durham Hill - but I would think that by the time you were there I was in Germany with the RAF! My two elder brothers went to Durham Hill School. The eldest was killed in an air raid at Forest Hill on 2nd October 1940 - my father's birthday. Like all kids in those days he had a pocket money job - his was with Neuk Laundry of Ladywell. He's buried with all the other children killed in the Lewisham area, including those from the school at Hither Green when 32 children and 6 teachers were killed during WW2, in Hither Green Cemetery  You may remember that I wrote quite a lot about my childhood to the forum some time back - but the new format has defeated me in finding it! I know that I wrote a lot about building carts and scooters, all with ball bearing wheels that made a grand growling noise over the pavement! I also promised you I would send you some pictures of Woodbank Road and the surrounding area - did I? As I said previously, I shall try to visit Downham this year and hope to see my old china Splinter. I'm determined to have fish and chips 'up the top' with him.
I know the foregoing has absolutely nothing to do with the Bromley Court Hotel/Jazz Club, but it's good to write about Dahnum again!
Regards to all,

General Discussion / Re: Bromley Court Hotel/Jazz Club
« on: December 30, 2015, 10:18:05 PM »
Good to hear from you after me being away from the forum for so long. My friend's name is Gordon Wilton. He was one of four brothers that lived at 116 Durham Hill - I think it was! Anyway, it was where the 124 bus used to turn back for Catford/Forest Hill when it was a Downham only service - opposite St Luke's Church. We, about 10 boys in the gang, played football or cricket, depending on the season, on the green between Durham Hill and Shroffold Road; or roared down the hill on our carts, on the pavement, from the church gate to the bottom of Roundtable Road by Dagonet Gardens. Anyone walking up Shroffold Road from Grove Park station had to jump for their lives as we swept past!  Gordon's father was an LT bus driver and drove his 47 or 138 or 126 bus, he was based at Bromley Garage, with great style and panache! It was always good fun to catch any bus that he was driving. Gordon, like me, has moved away from Downham , but we still like to visit the place with its many very fond memories. I went to Downham just a couple of years back and walked all over the dear old place. I was standing outside the flats in Ballamore Road - where I was born - talking to a couple of blokes building a garage in a garden on the corner with Reigate Road (a private garage on Downham!) and I told them that when, as a tiny tot, I was sitting on the kerb, just by where they were building I saw my first aeroplane fly over. 'Gaw blimey!' they said, 'you gotta a good memory!' I agreed and then walked to 'up the top' for a coffee in a café where 'Home & Colonial' used to be!
Ah, sweet memories.
God Bless all ex-Downhamites.

General Discussion / Re: Bromley Court Hotel/Jazz Club
« on: December 30, 2015, 02:43:00 PM »
Hi everyone,
I haven't subscribed to this excellent forum for some time, but whilst investigating the maternal side of my family history I discovered a very surprising fact. I am related to Geoff Bates! He is my second cousin once removed! His Great Grand mother Clara Alice Oliver (1864 - 1929) was my Grandfather's
(Arthur Edward Oliver 1870 - 1942) sister. When I lived in Merlin Gardens as a boy, I recall that I often went with my mother to visit an Aunt Clara who lived with her husband George, in Lancelot Road. Aunt Clara had two sons one was in the RAF and served in Canada - his Canadian fiancé Jean, and a Canadian friend (female) were in UK and often came to see my family at Merlin Gardens - I'm not sure why she was here in the UK whilst he was in Canada! As you can imagine, it took some time on the computer to establish this relationship, but well worth it. I left Downham in 1949 to join the RAF, and I do try to visit the place again from time to time, and with a boyhood friend who once lived in Durham Hill, like to wander around from the 'Chinnie' (Chinbrook Park) to 'Up the Top' (Northover) for a fish and chip meal in a shop where the Maypole used to be on the corner of Northover and Lancelot Road - near where Lancelot School stood. At the ripe old age of 84, I like to remember all the good times I had growing up on 'Dahnum.
Regards and the COmpliments of the season to all ex and current Downhamites.
Vic Dabin. 

General Discussion / Re: All quiet again
« on: October 26, 2014, 07:15:39 PM »
Good to hear from you Brenda! I've been watching and waiting for somebody to break the silence! I haven't seen anything from Splinter for ages; I hope he is OK. Have a good summer Bren - the clocks have just gone back here so we must now hunker down for winter.

General Discussion / Re: Richard Edward Eagle
« on: April 18, 2014, 09:58:19 AM »
Thank you for passing on the sad news about Dickie Eagle Brenda. When I first started on this website we exchanged notes on the McQuade brothers, Eric and Brian, who lived in Ballamore Road opposite the school (now called The Merlin). Eric was an Express Dairy milkman, but also a fine boxer - at one stage he won a very prestigious bout at the Albert Hall; Dickie knew him. Brian was a particular pal of mine at school, but I lost track of him when I was evacuated - for the fourth time - in 1944 when the 'Doodlebugs' blitz was on.
I hope things are going well for you and your family 'Down under'.

General Discussion / Re: Downham Tavern to close
« on: April 18, 2013, 07:29:07 PM »
Hi Everyone. I can't really comment on the antics at the Downham Tavern. Having left the estate in late 1949 I only remember the original tavern. I know that we used to hurry past the open bar doors on our way to the library or the swimming baths; the noise from the smoke filled bar was ear shattering , and also that the Tavern reputedly had the longest public bar in England. If my Mum and Dad went out for a drink they went to the Northover - now a filling station is on the site. They only ever went for about an hour.
I'm glad to say that the weather here is at last warming up! Some tulips are out, the daffs are rampant; magnolia is in blossom; my apple tree is showing signs of life and the acers which I thought had succumbed to the dreary winter is showing the beginnings of blossom; just waiting for the bluebells.I've even ventured out on my bike!
I'm starting to think about a visit to Downham! How about late May Splinter?
I hope that all you ex-Downhamites in your far flung parts of the world are fit and happy. As I said before, make the most, and appreciate what you have now. God Bless.

General Discussion / Re: SNOW SNOW SNOW
« on: January 30, 2013, 09:24:59 AM »
I thought Brenda might be interested to hear that there has been a big public protest about the intended closing of the A & E and Maternity departments at Lewisham Hospital. I believe that thousands have taken to the streets to protest.
The unofficial reason, claimed by the protesters, is that the finance for those departments is to be used elsewhere in South London where they are not so efficient. Patients may find it necessary to travel to Bromley or up to London.
I've always thought that Lewisham Hospital is synonymous with Downham and the surrounding area - seems a shame to close things especially as there has just been a big refurbishment.
I know that this website is apolitical, but I thought that our overseas brethren, especially Brenda, would like to know.
I shall go out now - it's stopped raining for five minutes!

General Discussion / Re: SNOW SNOW SNOW
« on: January 22, 2013, 02:51:52 PM »
It's good to see some activity back on this great website. Talking of the weather - and it's all the media are talking about here at the moment - the rain came down like stair rods for about four hours this morning causing local flooding of the lanes around here. The land is so saturated that run offs from the fields cause the problem. This afternoon heavy snow is forecast for the south coast - the met man on TV was almost hugging himself with self satisfied glee as he glumly announced that ' The Met Office has issued an Amber Warning of severe traffic and travel disruption over the rush hour'! Big deal! I recall that as a boy the population just got on with it - schools weren't closed or revised transport timetables announced when there was a snowfall. Mac the milkman still delivered and Dad managed to get to and from work on the tram As is usual, many roads have been closed because of accidents eg the A38 main road to Plymouth. I agree with Splinter on this one, the trouble is caused by idiot motorists not adapting to the weather and road conditions. Even with deep standing pools of water at the sides of the roads maniacs will still overtake charging into the water at all sorts of speeds and then wondering why they lose control of their car. Enough moaning. I hope that all friends and acquaintances 'down under' are safe and their properties secure from the wide spread fires we've heard about at home.
Reading this back I realise that it makes me sound like a lot of the people at home - obsessed with the weather!
A quick message for Splinter - I hope to visit Downhanm again in late Spring

General Discussion / Re: The Green Man, the journey begins
« on: November 02, 2012, 02:18:04 PM »
Phew! I was beginning to worry that no one was posting on this remarkable website any more. Where's Brenda and Pauline, Smiffy and Splinter I thought? Happily, things are moving again.
Although I said after my last visit that Downham was looking a bit shabby there is still an indefinable atmosphere about the place that brings back, to me at least, a warm feeling of a happy childhood there. Just walking along Downham Way from Grove Park station to 'Up the Top' for my fish dinner - I felt that I still really belonged there. Despite all the cars and wheelie bins, the estate is remarkably quiet. I was the only person walking up Reigate Road from the footbridge to the Ballamore Road junction busily videoing the while. Mind you, it was pouring with rain! Along Ballamore Road by the flats there were two workmen cutting a driveway for yet another car hard standing. Seeing me filming one asked what was so interesting about the spot - I told him that it was where I was born many years ago and where I was standing was where I sat, on the kerb, as a small boy and saw my first aeroplane fly over.
'Cor blimey mate!' he said ' you've got a good memory'. We chatted on for some time and I learnt a lot about Downham today from him.
Splinter, I hope that we will be able to meet up on the estate some time early in the New Year.
To all my acquaintances met through this website God Bless and make the most of what you've got now.

General Discussion / Re: The Green Man, the journey begins
« on: September 29, 2012, 08:06:47 PM »
I've just returned home from a two day visit to Downham. Unfortunately, I didn't meet up with Splinter as he had a booked holiday for last week to Sharm-el-Sheik, but I went to the chippy on the corner of Lancelot Rd and Northover and had a very good cod and chips - Splinter was there in spirit. I visited the new library and swimming baths - they really are first class. I met up with a childhood friend who lived in Durham Hill when we were boys, but now he lives in Bexley. We went around Downham, but couldn't do much in the pouring rain. Next morning we went up Shroffold Road and called on Ray Thorogood, another friend from many years ago. If Smiffy is reading this, Ray sends his regards - Ray is virtually housebound, but he's as sharp as a tack and still very good company. On this visit I took some video of parts of Downham and If I can find out how to paste it on to this website I will. I'm sorry to say that the place was looking very shabby in parts. I tried to find some houses which were as near as original as possible, but it was all plastic front doors and replacement windows. I believe that now that the houses change hands fairly frequently there is little inclination to keep gardens and hedges neat and tidy. Despite my moanings, I enjoyed the visit and it made me focus on things other than the recent loss of my wife.
If I think of any other aspects of the visit I'll come back on the website.

General Discussion / Re: Coming to a Beach near You
« on: September 07, 2012, 11:11:02 AM »
I've left a private message for you.

General Discussion / Re: Coming to a Beach near You
« on: August 24, 2012, 11:40:16 AM »
I'm sorry, but I have had to cancel my visit to Downham. I hope to be able to make it sometime near the end of 2012 or in early 2013.

General Discussion / Re: Olympics
« on: August 21, 2012, 07:50:52 PM »
I hope the forum will excuse me for arranging a meeting with Splinter on this page! Splinter, I shall be on Downham from Tuesday till Thursday. Perhaps we could meet at the Fishbar at midday on Wednesday the 26 Sep? Please let me know if that is possible.
I hope the weather will be a bit kinder than last time!

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