The Broadway Bexleyheath 1953 On

A Memory of Bexleyheath

I used to live in Grace Avenue, Bexleyheath and one of my earliest memories is of first viewing the house when I was 2 years old. We moved in about 6 months later. I can remember seeing Fairfield Road marked out ready to be built and I believe there were allotments next to it. The Broadway was the hub of the area. I remember the department stores Jennings and Hides on the opposite side. There used to be a young man manning the doors to the lift in Hides but later on there was an automated message in the lift "Stand Clear of the Gates!". I can hear it now in my head. I remember walking to the park or wasteland on Gravel Hill and picking blackberries there. My friends and I used to go to Windmill Park and climb trees and there was an empty house next to it which had an old pond where I used to catch newts. The house was fairly derelict and we climbed on top of the lean-to conservatory and got into a window at the top. Quite dangerous when you come to think of it but things like that made my childhood exciting. The neighbour used to chase us out of the garden if he saw us! I remember the open air swimming pools in Danson Park and Martens Grove and Saturday morning pictures at the cinema. I now live near Maidstone and there is a Grace Avenue, Palmar Road and Hyde Road (just as in Bexleyheath). The houses are very similar so they must have been built by the same builder Arnold Palmar. In Pickford Lane there was an area of wasteland with some public toilets next to which was a cigarette machine (!). In Long Lane there was a milk carton machine outside the fish and chip shop - that milk was delicious! I remember the shops in Long Lane - Cowells, Pricerights, Clarkes Bakers, the Co-op etc. We used to go dancing above the Co-op in Pickford Lane but later on Welling was the place to go dancing. I also remember going to school in Church Road and sitting next to John Coleman who has also posted a memory here. We used to giggle helplessly in class! My friends and I used to roam for miles to our favourite haunts, one of them was to cross the old Rochester Bypass (now the A2) and play by the stream not far from the road. We also used to walk down towards Erith to a little playground which had wonderful 2-seater gondolier swings. I also remember the swing park in Oaklands Road. I had a wonderful childhood in and around Bexleyheath. I am often in Bexleyheath these days but I would imagine the area is not nearly as exciting for children now.

A memory shared by Josephine Taylor , on Mar 11th, 2009.

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