Reveries Of Blindley Heath In 20's, 30's And Later

A Memory of Blindley Heath

I spent my first five years 1924-1929 in Blindley Heath, possibly the nicest years of my life. I may have gone to the school there. I clearly remember Gibb's store when I spent six glorious weeks in B.H. in 1934,: a very modern shop with lime (?) trees and a chain fence surrounding the periphery. It had a modern overhanging spring-loaded carrier system, whereby payments could be shot to a central bookkeeper.
My father in the early days was a theatre organist who biked to Caterham and took the train across London to Finsbury Park and later to Sydenham. We lived on Hare Lane. Our original bungalow has been replaced by a modern structure.
I am sorry to see the changes. My family went to a dance at the White Horse (or similar name) Hotel in about 1927, supported by an old gramophone with one of the old horn or bell speakers; the hotel burned down some time ago. I think I had dinner there alone in about 1963. The cricket field and the memorial cross have been removed.
Some names I remember; the Dixons on Hare Lane, the Paynes in the old 1525 half-timber house, the Wilsons with their dog plantation, a retired Indian Major and his wife, the Bryants, someone who lived in a used railway carriage, the vegetable nursery on Hare Lane.
One thrill as a boy was to get, by post, a periscope which I had ordered, but a real adventure
was when I left the bungalow one moonlit night and walked up Hare Lane to the Eastbourne Road, just to run into a batch of policemen returning home on their bicycles.
One remarked that at age eleven I deserved a severe "tanning". I quickly took off and raced home. In 1929 we moved to Brighton, where my father became resident organist at the Regent Cinema (now a bingo hall).
My wife, son and I last stayed a B.H. in 2000 at a red brick 18th century hotel facing the
entrance of Hare Lane from the Eastbourne or A 22 road. I have the 'phone number somewhere.
1934 was a nice year. I would walk into B.H. and get my copy of the "Magnet" and read it back at the bungalow. Lovely sunny days with an occasional heat wave. We came to Alaska in 1970. I always dreamed in the early days of the "wild west" and played at cowboys with lasoos, but never dreamed that I would end up here.

Regards, S&H Austin.


A memory shared by Stanley Austin , on Jul 22nd, 2012.

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