Growing Up In Belvedere

A Memory of Belvedere

This relates really to the mid 1950s and early 1960s. We lived in Upper Belvedere in the prefabs. I went to Bedenwell Nursery School and then we moved to Lower Belvedere opposite the railway station and I too had a great view of the football ground from my bedroom window. I went to St. Augustine's Primary School and we would always buy a penny bun from the shop on our way. Also remember the sweet shop next to Davies and further on, the Co-op. I used to save up my pocket money and buy Beatles records in there. I have strong memories of setting off to school in thick smog with scarves wound round our faces. It was so thick and yellow you couldn't see a thing and I can still hear the sound of my mum's heels rapping on the pavement because she would take us to school on those days. I probably hated it then but now I remember our uniform which was light grey with touches of purple which I think now is quite smart. I remember Miss Parker who played the piano, and taking our cards to the Headmistress's office when it was our birthday. I have lived in Greece for the past 38 years and have lost touch with the way things work in the UK now so don't know if things like that still happen. Once, when there was a jumble sale in the church hall, we were allowed to buy things and then we showed the Headmistress. I had bought a cheese dish for my mum and the Head (whose name I can't remember - was it a Miss Hudson?) was very impressed.
Our house was opposite the platform at the station. We got flooded on at least two occasions and the Fire Brigade took up residence with pumping equipment for a couple of days at a time and we would supply them with cups of tea. The ditch opposite the house was a great place for catching newts and frogspawn. There was a slaughterhouse on the dirt road at the end of our road. We often went walking down on the riverbank, passing the electricity pylons which hummed ominously and we pretended that the Daleks would be hiding all around! What a great time it was to be growing up and what a great place too!
I went to Picardy Girls' School which was separated from the boys' school by the woods and we were absolutely forbidden to go into the woods in the direction of the boys' school. However many boys used the woods as a short cut to get to school and we would watch them. At one point there was a programme where girls who wanted to do woodwork could go one day a week up to the boys' school and I remember one boy who came down and attended domestic science (cookery) with us.
I have driven through Belvedere on occasion when I come back to the UK.  Some things have changed beyond recognition but others have stayed the same which evoke strong emotions when I see them. If I ever came back to the UK I could easily see myself living somewhere in Upper Belvedere - the village. It was very quaint in those days and I hope it hasn't changed too much.

A memory shared by Kim Preston , on Jul 13th, 2009.

Comments & feedback

Mon Feb 16th 2015, at 3:52 pm

cjstoneham commented:

Hi Kim don't know if u remember me but I was your sister Jill's best friend from St Augustines school till I left Picardy girls school. I was Christine Ward then. I lived in Coleman Road lower belvedere then moved to Matfield Road in upper Belvedere. They were great days. Remember making a den not far from your house and spending a lot of time feeding the horses that were near Belvedere Football club. I am still in touch with Carol, Lynette and Sue. Know u saw Sue last year on her trip to Athens. Always went to the Rec in upper Belvedere and splashed about in the lake when there was water in it. Have Recently visited area lots of changes.

Mon Jan 18th 2016, at 6:15 pm

Peter Harris commented:

Hi. Kim. I have only just found this site but was interested to read your memories of Belvedere in the 50s. I lived at No. 1 Elmhurst. Opposite Bedonwell school which you went to. We moved there from Northumberland Heath in 1953I stayed at Brook Street school and left in 1958. I went to my first job aged 15 at the menswear department of the old co-op shops at the bottom of Sheriden Rd just up the road from where you lived.Although we never met, I am sure we share many good memories of the area when the world was a much better and safer place to live. I knew two families that lived in the prefabs, Frank and Joan Howard and a daughter Catherine and the Speights. Both lived is Osbourne Road. Love to hear from you, Hope you are keeping well.

Fri Sep 30th 2016, at 2:07 pm

Steve Deveson commented:

HI Kim, I think I remember you from all those years ago. I went to St Augustines and then onto Picardy Boys. I also remember some other people from the class I was in that you might remember. I think there was Linda Dove and Kathleen Harrison I think. I lived in Elstree Gardens at the time of going to St Augustines but later moved to Upper Belvedere when I went to Picardy. One of my favourite teachers at St Augustine was Mr Jarman. I think he had a cool car when we were there and we went in it a couple of times when we played football against another school.
Take Care
Hope al is well.l .

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