I first got involved in local politics at the 1970 general election just over 3 years after we had moved here. Ham had no Liberal Association, it was one of the derelict wards, to use the standard term, and I was asked would I go round and collect a few memberships, which was a gentle way of getting involved, collecting five shillings off this person and five shillings off somebody else, and nine months after I got involved were the local elections. As far as Ham is concerned what was good about Ham as a local Councillor particularly an active […]
Actually Ham is a combination of suburban and plentiful open space and it is a London suburb, it’s not rural, it has about probably more than half of the geographical area is open space, particularly if you include the half of Richmond Park that is in Ham and Petersham ward and this gives an open green environment which is unusual in London and very valuable. It also has because it is part of Greater London and part of a London borough, it has very good public services, the schools are excellent, it’s not like you’re in the country where you’re […]
The one big drama we had at the end of the 70s was the Petersham Hole. The sewer collapsed right in the middle of Petersham where there is no alternative route between Richmond and Kingston apart from Richmond Park and it was patched up in the Spring of 1978 and almost immediately collapsed again and the Council engineers and the transport people decided they had to replace both foul water and rainwater sewers, I found out a lot more about sewers than I had ever realised I wanted to know because of all this. For instance there is a brick […]
I have lived in Ham for over 50 years and have had connections with the area all my life. As a child our family used to come to Ham regularly and had friends here… My story really starts before I was born. My grandfather (who lived in Richmond) was lost at sea in 1918 near the end of the first world war and my father, who was 8, and his older brother were rather left to their own devices as my grandmother went to pieces and took to drink – nowadays she would be called an alcoholic, but then was […]
My father was sent to St Paul’s School but was rather a lonely boy, taking long walks on his own. When he was in his teens he walked along the river to Petersham meadows and sat in a field, reading his Bible. He was spotted by the local farmer, from Secrett’s farm, and after some conversation was asked if he would like to come to the small church in Lock Road (then known as Ham Evangelical Free Church) and help in the Sunday School. The church had recently been set up by various local people and representatives from local churches. […]
We made the journey over to Ham each week all through the war – my father was in the Home Guard and often came along in uniform after being on duty somewhere in the area. I was evacuated to Cornwall near the end of the war and when we (my brother and I) returned, things had changed and we did not come to Ham much.
So that’s when I went into radar which was a very new thing at that stage and in many ways I wished I’d done that from the beginning because it was very interesting and I enjoyed that, moved round the country quite a bit.
The one other thing I would say about local history which did have a very strong impact on Ham and Petersham was theclosure of British Aerospace. The factory there had started at the end of the first World War where Ham Urban District Council had very reluctantly said that if the Government really had to have this big emergency aircraft factory that they couldn’t really stand in the way but please would it be just for the duration of hostilities. Of course Governments as soon as they get something valuable at the end of the war they don’t need they […]
Yes, I left Grey Court at 15 and my first jo bwas with British Railways, you had to go for a medical up in London to make sure you were OK for the job. I started work in 1957 round about late January early February 1957. I started on the railways at St Margaret’s in East Twickenham and I did platform duty for a bit and went up in the signal boxes and I used to combine the two and sometimes I’d get shunted down to Whitton, sometimes to Twickenham and I did that for almost a year before I […]
My father was in the fire brigade and during the war they came to Ham and were at Ormeley Lodge which is on the other side of Ham Common, were the Goldsmiths live, and it was the garage and their fire engines in there and it was the garage, what would have been the chauffeur’s accommodation was for the firemen, but my father living so close, always came home. But at night, they used to do two days on and two days off. That’s another thing, my father on his days off he reverted to being a window cleaner and […]