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Very Fond Memories

A Memory of Belmont

I was born in Ewell in 1945 and lived with my family at 156 Banstead Road South from 1950 to 1966. My first school was Miss Attrel's at the top of Station Road opposite the garage. I used to walk from home and back although a bit later I caught the 213 bus from the station to the top of Downs Road. We used to go to Belmont every Saturday in my grandfather's 1936 Hillman Minx for my dad to go to some of the shops. I remember the butcher's shop with its sickly smell, sawdust-sprinkled floor, and the butcher himself who was very loud, particularly when he shouted meat names and prices to a lady who seemed imprisoned in a box with a window in the front. At about that time I discovered the wonders of Brown's sweet shop - amazing what you could buy for 1d. As I grew up I came to know most of the shops in Station Road including the barber at the back of the shop near the station, the Post Office, Roberts the grocer, Belcher the florist and many others.
After school in Belmont I went to Sutton High School for Boys opposite the Curzon in Cheam Road, Sutton. My brother had already been there for two years. I used to get the 213 bus there and back until I started cycling there. All through this period Belmont was our shopping base apart from trips to Sutton main shops and dozens of calls to Deeprose, the little shop halfway up Downs Road. Banstead Downs was absolute heaven for boys with bikes and we used to explore the chalk hills on both side of the railway.
Years passed by very happily and eventually I went to Ewell Tech to take my O levels. At this time I was a paper boy for Rex's and I would get up and cycle to the shop, collect a huge bag of papers and deliver them to roads on the other side of the bypass (including some of the posh houses with private drives), then back to the shop to get my other round which was mostly Banstead Road South, then back for breakfast then cycle to college.
My brother had joined the choir at St John's and I joined myself when I had a very learnerish immature bass voice. I loved the choir, it really played a large part in my life until I got married in 1966. We all learnt so much thanks to David Harding and we did a lot of extras such as singing occasionally at Southwark and Guildford Cathedrals. My brother also played the organ at St John's. I also joined St John's Players and was in a few plays which were performed at the hall in Downs Road. I also used to play the flute for the odd orchestra and my brother and I used to do some concerts. We had both been Junior Exhibitioners at Guildhall School of Music in London and whilst he went on to full time at Guildhall, I got a job in London hoping to become a Civil Engineer. I spent about five years commuting from Belmont to Victoria and experienced the silence on the crowded platform which was only broken on the days when the train was late, on which occasions there would be a general grunting or even words from those nearest to you.
I got married to Sheila my wife in Oct 1966 at the same church that my parents were married in in 1939 - St John's, Belmont. We are still married and now live near Peterborough.
So you may gather that I have a large portion of my memory labelled Belmont,
they seemed to be such tranquil and stable days though I expect I have forgotten the bad bits like having Polio jabs, and Mr Tinsley the dentist in Sutton.
Thanks for reading my little ramble.
Hugh Soper

A memory shared by Hugh Soper , on Sep 6th, 2009.

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