My first Job was for British Railways – by GS

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 […]

Building a home in Ham – by VG

Then my husband had a friend who was the architect for the London County Council and he said why don’t you look for some land and have it built.  It won’t cost anymore and it would be appropriate and so my husband wrote to every London borough.  The only two replies he got were from Wandsworth where there was a bomb site, one small space in a terrace of houses that was £1000 and Richmond, it had the whole one side of a road, Sandy Lane, where the plots were £500 each.  So we thought it would be lovely to […]

Fierce headmistress at the Russell School – by VG

So back to the 1950’s, well Paul went to Petersham Russell in 1957 the other two went a year later because of when their birthdays came, they were 21 months younger and I had these other two who were four years younger so they went, they all went through those schools. Well it was a lovely little school but, all the mothers would say the same, the headmistress Miss Anderson was very fierce and very strict with the parents as well as with the children.  And then Mr Mc Call? at Orchard School which they went to when they were […]

Ham and Richmond Park during and after the war – by GDS

Mainly I suppose, those caused by the war because I didn’t know that it was war time and I thought that that was normal life. Just across the road where the grass is wider we had a public air raid shelter and some nights we would have to go and sleep there. We had a British restaurant in South Lodge on Ham Common and we would go and have lunch there, sometimes. I thought that was normal life. I didn’t realise that was not the normal state of affairs. It was a very busy, of course, and probably a very […]

Compass Borstal Club – by TH

My father founded the first Borstal Club in Great Britain in Feltham Young Offenders after the War and got Margaret Rutherford, Dame Margaret Rutherford, to be the Patron and she was very fond of my father and in her autobiography,  she had my father as her adopted son as such so she was a great family member, she was at my mother and father’s wedding,  Because he started the Borstal Club up and on a Thursday and on a Sunday night he, on a voluntary basis, cos when he went to see the Governor  he said “can I start this […]

Our Police Box, Murder in 1953 and the Barclays raid – by EB

There was a Police box in Ham, do you remember it? Yes, that was in the garden of 1 Lock Road on the junction with Ham Street and Lock Road so it was in that top corner and it was blue like a Tardis and it had just a little window where you could open it and call the police.  We never had any police in Ham, it was very rare that you saw a policeman, in fact the only one you did see was the Common keeper, Mr Wooldridge, who you were terrified of because he was always telling […]

Nov 5th bonfire, Ham Common – by HS

I always remember one, one of the things that I regret doesn’t happen now, as kids, there used to be an enormous bonfire on the Common for Guy Fawkes night and people used to contribute stuff for that over the rest of the year and it was quite an occasion.  Unfortunately had to be stopped because vandals were setting it off, setting it alight long before November the 5th and it was a bit of a hazard so they stopped that

Nov 5th bonfire, Ham Common – by PP

Bonfire night on Ham Common was wonderful. The locals used to start building the bonfire at the beginning of November or even before and people used to take down an enormous pile. They would take their fireworks down and everybody got together. Everybody from the village went down there on Bonfire Night and had great fun and then people started to come in from outside. “Let’s go down to Ham; they have a huge bonfire on the common”. There was a lot of trouble and so it was forbidden.  No more Ham Common bonfire. That was the end of that […]

Ham Lands, plant life and threats to its existance – by GH

Well, it was a builder’s rubbish dump in those days and the local population used to refer to it as the Wastelands.  It was a thoroughly unpleasant, untidy heap of old plaster, bricks, baths and general debris and only slowly did it start to get cleared. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the then newly appointed Liberal council, for the European Year of the Environment, cleared it completely and skimmed it with topsoil, which absolutely transformed it from an eyesore into an area of considerable interest and significance for botanists, dog walkers and the population generally. Tell me more about […]

Filling in Ham Lands – by MW

You used to get the Ham River Grit Company, they must have been filling it up then.  They used to come past 24 hours a day down our road and I can also remember my sister and I, when the lakes were there, we used to go tadpoling over there.   Well, I suppose, when you’re small, it seems much bigger, doesn’t it?  It covered a good area, like it still does, really; it’s still interesting over there, though, isn’t it, with all the wildflowers.  I think there used to be pigs over there, didn’t there, on Ham Lands at some […]