Before The Traffic Lights - a Memory of South Woodford.

My family moved from Goodmayes to South Woodford in 1927 and my first memory was of my father waving welcome to 31 Lansdowne Road as we arrived in a Daimler hired car! At Churchfields School, headmaster Mr Walford, we were warned by our teacher Mrs Pettit of the arrival of the new traffic lights at Gates Corner and told just how they worked! This meant the disappearance of Constable George Clements who, until then, had ensured our safe crossing of the Southend Road four times a day. He kept us safe from the horse drawn vehicles and the occasional steam traction engine when crossing the road. Sometimes we'd stop there to watch the number 145 bus slowly boiling up the Southend Road with steam from its radiator on its solid, not pneumatic, tyres! On 7th September 1940 a large formation of German 'planes flew right over this area and was engaged by the 3.7" guns from Gants Hill to be followed that night by a long raid which started at 8.10pm and ended only at first light! We had 3 incendiary bombs at our front gate from the same Molotoff 'Breadbasket' that set fire to Page Calnans timber yard in Marlborough Road!

A memory shared by Ralph Smith on Jan 22nd, 2014. Send Ralph Smith a message.

 Comments & Feedback

Wed Mar 9th 2016, at 5:58 pm
norbet commented:
Hi Ralph, what a wonderful picture of Gates Corner. Both my elder Brother and myself lived at Woodford Bridge and worked for Frank G. Gates at different times, he before the war and me sometime after. I also used to use the 145 bus that ran from Ilford to Chinghford Mount., those were the good old days.

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