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Memories Of St Peters And Broadstairs

A Memory of Broadstairs

I was born at 19 Church St, St Peters, where my grandfather owned the butchers shop. My first memory is of playing on the lino floor just inside the front door. My father, who served in the RAF during the war; worked as a carpenter in the area building many of the house that are around the Westover Road area. In 1950 we moved to Westover Gardens where my parents still live to this day. From here I went to St Peters boys school, the Headmaster being one Dickie Bird, along with Tom Usher, Mr Haydock and Mr Ellis. As a church school we were carted off to St Peters church once a month for our souls to be cleansed by the Rev Prichard. As this was a boys school we formed little gangs and kept ourselves amused by playing football, going to the local rubbish tip, scavenging wheels from old prams to make carts or bicycles; some of these strange contraptions - no brakes, odd wheels, no matter as long as they went. One popular thing do to was to build a cart and then race it down Joss Bay Hill, across the road straight down into the sand. We would come back battered, bruised and cut, clothes torn, to the welcome of a clip from mother for getting in such a state. In those days all mothers kept an eye out for all youngsters, I had so many aunties I didn't dare put a foot wrong. Also, we had the village bobby, Mr Good, a very tall man who knew all the boy's names and was not adverse to dishing out a clip round the ear for minor indiscretions, a man who at the same time would spend 5 mins kicking a football around before his lunch and who had a queue outside his house on a Saturday to take his dog for a walk.
A move to Charles Dickens School and into puberty, girls etc. Whilst there I had two jobs, one delivering papers for Smiths at the railway station, the other as a butchers boy for Warrens in St Peters. The head at Charles Dickens was Bunny Warren, along with others like, Messrs Gettins, Taylor, Saunders, Waltho and Sutherland, along with ladies like Miss Seabright and Mrs Dubre. Time was spent swimming, frightening OAP by jumping off the awning on the pier, much to Jack Croomes annoyance, hanging around Morrellis, the arcade, or St Lo's in the hope that you might find a girl friend. Going pungering for edible crabs off Joss bay, fishing off Broadstairs Pier. Going to Dreamland in Margate to the dances, lots of top groups then. I remember the Jean Pierre Et Phillip going aground off Broadstairs and watching the crew being winched ashore. I still have one of the glass floats from that boat. The jet that crashed into the Iron mongers shop in St Peters one Sunday, the sabre jet that killed a maths teacher and his family at Manston, the American serviceman that went on a rampage before shooting himself at Joss Bay, and the murder that occurred in St Peters. The sea freezing, the beach before they put in the sea defences, the little rock pools where as kids we would look for blennies and shrimps; winkling, boiling them up then eating them with pins. Going to the local flea pit, cow boy films and the kid's Saturday morning shows, uncle Mac on the beach along with punch and judy. The old Bohemia theatre where my father acted in the christmas pantos with other members of the RAOB. Working as a typewriter mechanic at Lanes in the High Street.
I left Broadstairs in 1964 joining the RAF and serving in Malaya, Borneo, Singapore and Hong Kong before coming home after nearly 5 years away. Either I had changed or the town itself had; it didn't have the same appeal after the Far East. I do have fond memories of the town and the fact that my sisters and parents still live there draws me back.
Confession time: the local MP had a stone lion in his garden, this was daubed with spots of green paint, if my memory serves me well I was involved. The little fountain on the front - a small packet of Daz added made lovely bubbles. I never married a Broadstairs girl, I ended up finding one from the other end of the country, Aberdeen, Scotland. A £5 bet and we are still together after 44 years. We are infact now looking to finish our days in Broadstairs. There are so many happy memories I have with the town and surrounding areas.

A memory shared by Ronald Taylor , on Nov 27th, 2012.

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