I remember one year (it must have been after the war was over) being brought over to Ham Common one 5th November, and enjoying watching an enormous bonfire, which I believe was an annual event.
My Dad, he worked for a time with Eckett & Ellis, the builders on Ham Common. They had a yard opposite Vine Cottage, that looks onto the pond and that was the local builders and my Dad worked for them for a time. They were great friends as well… and then my Dad, he was called up – the Second World War – he went in quite late, because he was Reserved Occupation, being a builder. But I spent quite a lot of my childhood at Vine Cottage, because they didn’t have any children, my godmother, she desperately wanted a […]
I didn’t mind the early shift because I’d always been used to getting up early for morning paper round, so I didn’t mind that, so I was finished by half past two and I’d be home just before three o’clock and that would give me early evening and afternoon to go out on the Common and play football with my mates and just sort of mess around in general on our pushbikes. When I got put on this other shift, not every week, it was alternative weeks I go on this other shift, start at 12 o’clock finish at half […]
Charles I gave the villagers of Ham when he enclosed the Park, he gave the villagers of Ham right of turn-out so they could put their horses and their cows on the Common, also they could take rabbits and things like that it was still their land to use, the villagers of Ham. But of course it still belonged to the Earl of Dysart and people took a lot of gravel, I mean you can still see the holes in the second part of the Common, you can still see some holes, it’s not all bomb craters, there’s only two […]
My sister and I used to play on Ham Common, which you wouldn’t allow these days, would you? We both had our own little camps – they were silver birch trees each – and I suppose they were our houses! So we played there.
Tell me about how Ham Fair has chamged. Great memories and great change; A bit like Ham Pond really. It is very different compared with how it used to be – very, very up-market and civilised now. It was a much more local thing, the Ham Fairs and Ham events when I was growing up. We are probably talking maybe early 70’s. Certainly the Ham Fairs were much more local and smaller events. One could really go the fair and walk round and say hello to almost everyone there. It was nice in that way. Today it is a huge […]
I’ve just remembered a friend, we all had bits of old bikes we used to build up from war damaged bits down in the gravel pits, there was all bits of stuff about and you all made up bikes without brakes you know you put your foot on the front tyre to stop it. But my mate and he normally had my brother on the handle bars one sitting on the handle bars and Mick was on the handle bars and my brother was riding it and they went up the Common towards the Inn direction, up that way, and […]
The common is overgrown with bushes and the trees are much taller. When the children were little there was a big group of them staying in Beechrow, and they use to play all together on the Common. The group would come here for a glass of orange juice or a snack and go home at about 6 o’clock in the summer. A little path was made by the children through the Common, which has now disappeared. There are no children playing in the woods any more.
They had various things on the Common and there was the Ham Horticultural Show which was the highlight of the year. It had a huge, well it seemed huge to me, a huge great tent on Ham Common and it was a flower show, it was a cake show, all the .. and my mother was convinced that it was a fiddle .. cos she didn’t win! The one time she went in for it she didn’t win so she was convinced it was manipulated. One of the first things I got involved with was Ham Pond which was in […]
Well, I mean, things like the Common is much better kept now than it was in those early days. It’s very, very well kept now and the pond, the pond used to be filthy and uncared for and the surroundings, the fields, the Ham Lands, everything is now much better and more revered and cherished than it was in the ’60s and ’70s.