Teenager In 70s Chatham - a Memory of Chatham.
I was born at Luton Chatham as was my Dad and Grandparents. I used to sat around the cafe with my mates in the paddock watching the Pentagon being built. After going to Fort Pitt my first job in 1976 was working as an office junior at Brown Brothers in Clover Street. I rented a bedsit in Rochester Street up by Chatham station the following year for £4 a week, half of my £8 wages and had a slot meter TV that ate 10p's and another slot meter for the gas. 6 bedsits shared one bathroom and, yes you guessed it, another slot meter for the bathroom boiler!). I spent all my spare time just window shopping in Platform Nine in the high street and Snobs boutique opposites Bates department store, then bought the cheaper version in Rochester market on a Friday when I could get a lift in my lunch break, I was always late back and no one minded at all. If you wanted to try clothes on at the market you had to climb in the back of a van whilst the stallholder held up a blanket! Weekends were danced away at the Central hotel on the top road Gillingham in the disco hall which always ended with the Moody Blues singing "Oh You had better go now, go now" as the lights came on then a great swarm of us would head back along the top road to Chatham all with linked arms and cut down sugar loaf hill (known as the 101 steps) in Ashtree lane. I remember all the old spit and sawdust pubs of Chatham, many of the landlords were relatives, some old cousin of my Dad's or a great aunt and uncle, but I wasn't a drinker, a bitter lemon lasted all evening, they were just places to hang with the boys who liked snooker and darts. I had a lovely childhood, it was great being a teenager in the 70s, nothing bad ever happened and everyone was always smiling and laughing even though we had little money to spend, it was all about friendship.
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