Wimbledon As I Remember It From 1943 Until 1969 - a Memory of Wimbledon.
I spent approximately 2 years as a messenger boy with the then GPO, based in two gracious old homes along Wimbledon Parkside. Their names were Gayton, and Martholme. I seem to remember the address being No's.74 and 76. I understand that one of these homes belonged to one of the Huntley-Palmer families, and the other to members of the Tate and Lyle families. How true these statements are, I wouldn't know. I believe that both of these homes have long since been demolished. Later, as a postman, one of my 'duty walks' was to deliver mail to people on Wimbledon Common. Often in winter, there would be a beautiful hoare - frost covering the trees, real Christmas card scenery! My other walk comprised delivery along High St. and roads off there. I was born in Effra Rd. in 1943, and was evacuated to Middlesboro, Yorkshire, for a short time. In 1944 a V1 flying bomb landed on Faraday Rd killing ,I believe, a few people. The bomb also damaged a large part of the school at the top end of Effra Rd. In Effra Rd was a corner dairy owned by a Dai Price, his son was a good mate of mine. We would have mock 'sword fights' using the long round packets of cardboard milk tops (the type with a hole punched in the top). Next door to Prices was a builders named (appropriately) Gates. Old Mrs Gates lived directly opposite us and one day I broke a window in her front room using a catapult made out of a paper clip. I remember quickly running home, and pushing the catapult into a hole in Mum and Dad's bedroom wall! As a matter of coincidence, I had occasion to help a friend of ours with a garage-sale, in Henderson, West Auckland, New Zealand (where we emmigrated to in 1969). An elderly man called in to see our friend, and would you believe, he used to be a builder working for Gates builders. Directly opposite Prices dairy was a newsagent and sweet-shop, owned by Tom Price, Dai's brother. A part time job of Toms was working at the old speedway/greyhound stadium at Plough Lane. Tom would give us entry tickets to the speedway. In those days, Ronnie Moore, Barry Briggs, and Ivan Mauger, were Dons riders. On one occasion, Tommy Price (no relative) came over and gave me his pair of disposable celluloid goggles. Right next door to Tom, was a tiny general store, owned by a Mr Juster, I can still smell the paraffin he sold for heating purposes. Opposite the newsagents, was Hayters butchery, later to become a TV and radio-repair shop, also owned by Mr Hayter. Opposite Hayters, on the other corner, was a cobblers (a shoe repairer) for those to young to remember! I attended All Saints Primary School, All Saints Junior Mixed, then finally Queens Rd. For a few years I was a choir boy at All Saints Church, eventually becoming head-choir boy. As a child, I would go to any one of three cinemas in the Broadway, namely, the Kings, Elite, and the Gaumont, where I learnt to dance at the then Victor Sylvester dance studio, and later at Patric Plumbs school of dancing. Eat your heart out Fred Astaire, not! I seem to remember that the then Kings cinema, became the Queens on the death of King George. It was then turned into a roller-skating rink for a time, before becoming a night- club named Tiffanys (where we eventually held our wedding reception years later). Does anyone remember the laundry that used to be in York Rd? And the old horse and cart that used to take the solid, lumpy slag from the laundry boilers, and spread it along the pathways on Wimbledon Common? In early 1950's the old tramlines were removed along the Broadway, and the tarred blocks which comprised some of the roadway was eagerly grabbed by the locals as firewood. I seem to remember that soon after the war, one of a chain of restaurants, namely British Restaurants, was set up in the Wimbledon Theatre. If anyone out there can verify this, or indeed tell me exactly where it was, I would be most grateful. Also, am I right in saying that there used to be an Italian ice-cream shop on the corner of Hartfield opposite the Alexander pub, named De Marcos? I can remember even now, the delicious taste of that ice-cream. What joy we had as kids, buying a platform ticket for threepence at Wimbledon station, and watching the Atlantic Coast Express, and the Bournemouth Belle tear through the station at what seemed to we kids as 150 mph. As a child, many a happy hour was spent drooling over the TriAng, and Hornby train sets in the toy shop in the Broadway. There used to be a china and crockery shop just down from the toy shop. We still have, and use much of the crockery bought at that shop 45 years ago! Although we have been in New Zealand for nearly 44 years, we still keep in touch with a friend, living now in Merton Park, but then in Florence Rd. I often use a certain website to view Wimbledon, and look at many of the places I knew so well. I do hope that the above memories of mine will be of some interest to your members, and perhaps jog the memory of those who may wish to respond.
A memory shared by on Jun 1st, 2013. Send Charles (Chas) Joyce a message
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