Fairs Cinema And Hides

A Memory of Bexleyheath

From the lates 50's I remember going to Danson Park fairs. My brother would take me when I was quite young and I seem to remember him winning a large dog on the air rifles - I think it must have cost him quite a bit to win it, but my mother was pleased with it and the dog 'lived' on the window ledge for many years. As I grew older Bexleyheath became such an important Saturday place for me. When the ten pin bowl opened I spent many happy hours there, I bought my first single record in the co-op in 1963 (I think), it was Jimmy Justice's Ain't that Funny. The co-op had a deli, the first I had ever seen, and it sold, would you believe, chocolate covered ants - does anyone remember them?

I remember the new cinema opening and I occasionally used to go there. I can't recall the name of it, but the other one, the large one was the ABC. When I was about 16 I remember waiting for girlfriends outside Hides on Saturday afternoon or evening.

For shops there was, opposite the new cinema, an army surplus shop where they sold so much 'junk', like an Aladdin's cave. A few shops along was a little cafe that had a threepenny juke box (5 records for a shilling). Around the corner was a shop that sold guns and as a youngster I would spend many happy hours with my nose pressed against the window. I also remember cheap shoes from a new shop called Curtis, they really were quite awful shoes, but so cheap.

I used to love the trolley buses that ran all the way from Dartford through Bexleyheath and down through Welling. I remember there always being loads of buses along the Broadway, especially on a Saturday afternoon.

The bus garage - nearby were some shops and one, called Smiths, was a particular favourite of mine, not least because you could buy penny bangers all the year round. Going up from the bus garage to the crossroads, traffic lighted I believe, turn left and a little way along was a junk shop. A haven for young lads with very little pocket money to spend.

So many memories of such an amazing place. All changed now I believe, I have not been there for nearly 30 years having moved away in 1969.

One last memory must be Danson Park open air swimming pool. Many summer holidays were spent there. Remember the water temperature being written on a board at the entrance to the pool? I seem to remember it generally being quite cold. Even now, egg sandwiches remind me of the pool - and those diving boards.

I know everywhere changes over the years, but does anyone else remember the sort of thing that has stayed with me all these years? Perhaps I did the right thing when I moved away, at least it kept the lovely memories of all the area alive and in tact.

A memory shared by Alan Roberton , on Sep 20th, 2007.

Comments & feedback

Sat Aug 9th 2014, at 9:27 pm

Carole Hanmer commented:

Your memories almost reflect mine Alan although the trolley buses no longer ran when I lived in that area..I lived in Northumberland health..but we went to Danson Park on Sundays thru the summer...sometimes queuing for ages to get in...loved it there...do you remember the little narrow gauge train that ran around the pond?
My Mum worked at Hides ..and I used to go in the Wimpy...we hardly ever paid to go in the pictures and we used to hang around the bowling alley...loads of really happy memories x

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