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 on Feb 13th, 2012. Send Colin King a message
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