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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 Charles (Chas) Joyce on Jun 1st, 2013.
Send Charles (Chas) Joyce a message.

 Comments & Feedback

Thu Nov 7th 2019, at 11:02 pm
Hi Paul. Charles (Chas) Joyce here. Greetings to you from Henderson, West Auckland, New Zealand. Although I don't remember your family, I do recall Barry McCabe, and his sister, Monica, (whom I believe was older than Barry.) Strangely enough, about 20 years ago, I got talking to a West Auckland bus driver, who, in those days, lived nearby. He too was from Wimbledon, and knew of the McCabe family!! If you're interested in catching up with other old "Wimbledonians", there is a site called "Wimbledon Group Reborn," I joined it recently, and that site, plus the excellent Francis Frith site, have been great to catch up with longg-lost friends, and acquaintances. Warm regards Paul. Chas Joyce.
Thu Nov 7th 2019, at 7:39 pm
pedmunds5 commented:
My fathers family have deep roots in Wimbledon as so do I. My grandparents, along with their children, (my father Roger, Ellen and Jack) lived a 11 Effra Close. My grandad Edgar, was a train guard and nan was a lollipop lady at Haydons road school for years! She seemed to know everybody in Wimbledon! Eileen was a chippie on the buses from Putney garage and Jack joined the RAF. As a family we lived @ 88 Gladstone Road from around 1963 until moving to 88 Russell Road in 1972, the same year as I left Pelham Comprehensive school. 2 weeks later I started work for Zeals thermometers in Lombard Road Trading Est, I was 15! I remember Elys, Richard's the toy shop, Walkling Cycles, Woolworths, the pet shop in Stanley Road, Packers grocers at the end of Gladstone Road, etc, etc.

I now live in France but have very fond memories of Wimbledon and would love to hear from anyone who may have known the Edmunds family.

Best regards

Paul Edmunds
Thu Nov 7th 2019, at 7:39 pm
pedmunds5 commented:
My fathers family have deep roots in Wimbledon as so do I. My grandparents, along with their children, (my father Roger, Ellen and Jack) lived a 11 Effra Close. My grandad Edgar, was a train guard and nan was a lollipop lady at Haydons road school for years! She seemed to know everybody in Wimbledon! Eileen was a chippie on the buses from Putney garage and Jack joined the RAF. As a family we lived @ 88 Gladstone Road from around 1963 until moving to 88 Russell Road in 1972, the same year as I left Pelham Comprehensive school. 2 weeks later I started work for Zeals thermometers in Lombard Road Trading Est, I was 15! I remember Elys, Richard's the toy shop, Walkling Cycles, Woolworths, the pet shop in Stanley Road, Packers grocers at the end of Gladstone Road, etc, etc.

I now live in France but have very fond memories of Wimbledon and would love to hear from anyone who may have known the Edmunds family.

Best regards

Paul Edmunds
Wed May 23rd 2018, at 11:13 pm
Hi Jacqui. Chas Joyce here, writing to you from Henderson, New Zealand. I recently read your wee story about Wimbledon, and it brought back memories of an old school mate of mine, Bernard Peterson, (his Dad was Norwegian) , who lived on the corner of Deburgh rd. and Haydons rd. In fact, l took a look on Google Maps prior to writing to you. My, how it has changed. I took a "walk" along Haydons rd. (courtesy of Mr. Google!). I have so many fond memories of Wimbledon and the surrounding suburbs, and the friends with whom l spent my childhood. I see that the old house in which l was born, at 51 Effra rd. has changed enormously. But then, my Dad, earnt very little back in 1943 when l was born. And l believe he paid £400 for the house back then.eventually selling it for £1500. I believe that same house is worth over £900,000 now.
This site (Francis Frith) is so interesting, for example reading about folks such as your parents etc, along with their memories, as well as your own, along with members of your family.
I do hope this will be of some interest to you, and that you will keep us informed as to things happening in my old stamping ground!!

Best wishes, and kind regards to you Jacqui from New Zealand .

Chas Joyce
Tue Apr 3rd 2018, at 1:49 am
jm.katie27 commented:
Wonderful memories you have shared,my parents born in Wimbledon ( Fry & Whittington & popple. North rd , deburgh rd and west side Wimbledon common.they to attended all saints school and married at the church.grandmother was supervisor at the sunlight and grand father grounds man at gap rd cemetery.
They moved in 1961 after I was born at st Theresa’s , West side
Alan my brother tell me of similar memories you have of the common also the music shop where he purchased his first Beatles record in Merton high st.
Recently found vintage photos from broadway studio’s and receipts from Ely’s department store.
Gramophone and records & receipts from same music store.
Thank you for your post it’ has been most uplifting to read and share my parents memories with you .
Kindest regards Jacqui
Thu Dec 17th 2015, at 9:18 am
Hi Barry. For some reason I've only just read your comments dated March 16th. Like you, my mates and I would stand on the bridge just west of Wimbledon station, and dare each other to stand there with the steam shooting up at you. Many is the time that I would arrive home with black smuts on my clothes, great times, weren't they!! I'm not sure about the traffic in Wimbledon, but where we live in Henderson, (about 18 km from Auckland city) New Zealand, the traffic is quite horrendous, and becoming worse. But then I guess it's progress. I wrote my piece about Wimbledon about 2 and a bit years ago. I have had a few comments posted about it, which is quite interesting. So now I have fully retired, I can spend a little more time on this great site. Hoping this finds you well. Have a great Christmas, send a great new year.

Regards

CHAS JOYCE

Mon Mar 16th 2015, at 5:26 pm
besafisher commented:
Chas,
Not sure when you made your Comment on the Frith/Wimbledon website, but I've only just discovered it.

I too was evacuated to Middlesbrough in the autumn of 1944 (aged ten months) when a bomb landed about 100 yards away. This was in Merton Road, just north of South Wimbledon tube station. It landed opposite a garage which is still there, and if you look nowadays there is a block of three storey flats, obviously not of Victorian age like the rest of the road. Our house, incidentally, is still there - I suspect it had a good shake-up, losing roof tiles and windows, but was for a while un-liveable in. We returned from Middlesbrough to a ground floor flat in Park Road (later changed to Parkwood Road, between Alexandra Road and Woodside.

I recognise the names of the speedway riders, and although I've always lived in a speedway town (Wimbledon, Swindon and currently Wolverhampton) I've never got round to going!

I, too was at Queens Road Primary, before moving on to the now demised Pelham Road Grammar School.

I don't think the Kings cinema changed to the Queens after 1952 - it used to be on my way to Pelham Road, but I could be wrong.

Yes, I too saw the tramlines come up, and I'm sure my dad scrounged some of the blocks!

I don't remember the theatre becoming a British Restaurant, but would add that these existed during the war, but I don't know how long afterwards. Must look it up in Google!

Did a platform ticket cost 3d? We went there sometimes, and am not sure we could have afforded 3d. We generally went to the footbridge a couple of hundred yards to the west of the station. And who dared stand there unmoved when a steam train went through?

But overall, wasn't life different then. I would love to go back to a time when there were hardly any cars on the roads.

Best wishes,

Barry
Tue Dec 2nd 2014, at 10:38 pm
46appleair47 commented:
Oh how nice it is to remanise at now 67. Do you remember the leather shop where they repaired umbrella. Up from there was a small shop that had lots of dinky cars in there window it was opposite a large pub. There was a sunlight laundry & they came around and picked up are white laundry in one of their laundry bags. The postman called 3 times a day and then we where able to offer a nice hot tea in the winter. Opposite the town hall was a shop with a side alley where I would buy primroses and violets for my mother at Easter. I could go on & on , oh yes my father was the dentist above the sweet shop of Alexander road opposite Elys department store

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