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Happy Youthful Days - a Memory of Woodford Bridge.

I was born in 1934 and my first home was 15 Stoneycroft Road. We lived there until 1937 when we moved to 19 Claybury Road. I remember going down the air raid shelter under the Woodford Bridge Green. It was a damp, claustrophobic place comprising a series of concrete tunnels and I have the impression it was always crowded. I remember standing on the top of Millman's Hill or Drapers Hill as it was sometimes called,(it is now a park), with a lot of the neighbours and watching the East End of London burn all around St Pauls. It is now covered in trees but in those days cows grazed in the hill and there was only a small spinney of trees. We used to toboggan down it in winter and for teenage lovers it was a paradise place in summer. It was also used by the Home Guard for training. At the top of Claybury Road was the Bluebell Dell where we used to paint the canvases of our childhood imaginations and fight endless battles against imaginary German armies.I was in the choir at St Pauls church and we used to sing extra loudly when the doodlebugs came over to drown out the sound. In my teens I moved into my grandmother's house at Dalton Holme by St Pauls church. It was a wonderful old house with 16 rooms and a garden of about an acre and a half full of fruit trees. My Grandmother used to sell the fruit to Mr Day the greengrocer in the High Road. During my teenage days we would spend every Saturday morning drinking tea in the Village Rest cafe and discussing the conquests we were going to make that evening at the Manor Hall dance. What optimists we were. My mother worked during the war at Chigwell Grammer School. I remember an effigy of Hitler hanging from a tree on the village green on VE night outside the Three Jolly Wheelers Pub which was then burned on a bonfire also on the Green. Groceries were purchased from Mr Taylor's shop halfeway down the hill opposite the Green also sweets from Mr Parry and our hair was cut by Roger Taylor hairdresser. We scrumped apples from the orchard belonging to Dr Barnadoes over the fence in Roding Lane and when the Fire Station was being built (later a school) in Roding Lane at the start of the war my ten year old friends and I broke into the builders hut and scribbled all over the walls for which we were put on probation for a year; my only offence in 77 years. We all went to Ray Lodge School where Mr Moss was the Headmaster and after the eleven plus some of us went to St Barnabas and the clever ones to Wanstead or Buchurst Hill High. Another shop I remember was Mr Guntons in the High Road He sold us our bikes and repaired them. Hamlets was the chemist. Mr Martin was the fishmonge. Some of them I believe are buried in St Pauls churchyard. There used to be a Hall behind the Village Rest cafe and it was there that our mothers renewed their ration books among other things. I remember Mr Churchill driving through the village during the election of 1945 and giving the V for victory sign and my mum saying that he was a terrible old warmonger, a view she never rescinded from for the rest of her life. So many more memories like fishing in the River Roding and roller skating down the hills of Roding Lane and Claybury Road. Like belonging to the Youth Club and later Woodford Green Athletic Club on the Ashton Playing Fields. Playing football for the Crusaders of Snakes Lane and Cricket on the Gas Light and Coke Company Ground at the bottom of Snakes Lane. Happy Days. Colin King Wokingham Berkshire 2012


A memory shared by Colin King on Feb 13th, 2012.
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 Comments & Feedback

Thu Feb 9th 2017, at 11:52 am
There is a facebook page to share old memories about woodford Bridge as well....Please join https://www.facebook.com/groups/718448588211662/
Mon Feb 1st 2016, at 7:32 pm
norbet commented:
Hi Colin, I too was born in 1934 and lived In the estate agents next to the chemist shop. I also used to go down the shelter with it's bunk beds and damp musky smells. Millman's Hill was one of our favourite haunts, our being Dicky Mason, Peter Watkins, Jimmy Walledge, Cecil Bedford and myself. I remember the A.F.S. fire station in Roding lane and helping the firemen polish the brasses on the back of the pump trailers and scrumping in the orchards of Dr. Barnados and keeping lookout for Police Sgt. Dignan. I remember Mr. Moss at Ray Lodge and The Head at St. Barnabas was Colonel Branston, Welsh maths Teacher Dai Davis sent me to him once or twice. I only recall Audrey Gunton working in the Cycle shop. I too remember Winston Churchill coming to the Bridge but he didn't drive through, his driver stopped outside Watkings newsagents and he walked along shaking hands with the shop keepers and my Mother and me, a lot of people did call him a war monger but if it wasn't for him, we would all gone under the Jack Boots of the German Army.

Glad to have read your comments Colin and I'm certain I knew you all those years ago.

Norman Partridge.
Wed Feb 4th 2015, at 4:56 pm
mhmarvell commented:
your family probably sold number 15 to the Moreton . John the son is still alive living off a road in Snakes Lane. My father was born in1918 and lived at no 23 Stoneycroft until the house was demolished to make way for a block of flats --- in the 1970's when my parents moved to number 13 Stoneycroft. My fathers surname was Maylin. i was born in 1946 but have memories of Woodford much the same as yours. Mr Parry and his sister frightened me for many a year but as l grew older l learnt to understand them. I too went to Ray Lodge School and later St Barnabas . My three children went to the old fire station building which became Roding Lane School .Were you in a maisonette in Claybury Road? I would imagine them to be new when you moved there.

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