Beckenham, High Street c.1960
Memories of Beckenham, High Street c1960
I was born in Palace Road in 1940. I remember the bombing and in particular sitting on the steps watching a doodlebug fly over. The area was eventually evacuated and we, with others, were sent to Wimslow, near Manchester. On returning to London we were housed in St. Hughs Road, Anerley. I stayed there until I was 19 and then set out to seek my fortune. After a 'round the world tour' paid for by you the, tax payer, I now live in Thailand. The years of cowboys and indians we played in the Palace grounds were great fun. Of course, sadly, we had to grow up. But, for me, life was still fun and having just celebrated my 73rd year, it still is.
My Uncle Dink (Thomas Younger) who was an invalid, used to make cardboard tanks and planes and used to sell these at Crystal Palace and Beckenham in 1920 and 1921. He was helped by my grandfather, Thomas Lang.
My mum worked at the Prompt Corner Coffee Bar for many years and my sister and I used to go in for our tea most days. We knew many of the regulars, but as I was pretty young most of the names escape me now. Mum also worked as an usherette at the Regal, and we went to the cinema regularly. She also worked in the greengrocers near to the Importers Coffee Shop (not a cafe) but what it was called I don't recall. We lived in Fairfield Road, opposite Christ Church, and spent hours and hours playing with the local children in the car parks (where there were never any cars) and in Kelsey Park, where we made dens in the bushes, and caught sticklebacks in the stream.
I remember going into the Prompt Cafe with my parents along the High Street. As a young child, I can recall seeing loads of little mats or coasters on the wall. Yes, I also remember the strong smell of the roasted coffee beans. Every Friday in the 1960s my parents had lunch in the Regal, now the Odeon, by the roundabout. My dad used to say the lunch was very cheap there. I used to love Kennedys and their meat pies, such a shame they have now closed down. My mother worked in Boots in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Next door to the George pub was a furrier, several real fur coats in the window. My mother took me to the dentist which was held in the Town Hall of all places. The ...Read full memory
The house you can see straight ahead (was Gordon House) was the house I was brought up in. My neighbour lived above the coffee shop that you all remember, I have lovely memories of that house, of that time. It's such a different place now....
I too have wonderful memories of walking down to Beckenham High Street, from Elmers End (seemed like a million miles to a four-year-old with little legs!) and passing by the toy shop and putting in a penny to watch the train go around... then walking down past the coffee shop with its pungent odor (which smelled horrible to a little one!) and on to the end of the high street, stopping on the way at Sainsburys with the wood shavings on the floor... aahhh...good times indeed..
I also remember the lovely smell of the coffee shop when I used to walk there with my dad, he loved the smell and often used to go and buy some fresh ground coffee.
I remember there was a shop that sold all kinds of coffee beans. You could smell the coffee a few doors before you reached it. It's in the centre of the photo.