I lived in Richmond Park for a while as my wife had a job with Princess Alexandra and we had a flat up there for about 4 years I think and then came here.
Well, there was a problem after the war, what do I do now. I’d got no real skill behind me which was going to be of any use and I went back to Bentalls again but this time went into the carpet department where I stayed for quite a number of years, over 20 years. I became a buyer there eventually and then I realised that I wasn’t going to get any further so I moved away from Bentalls then.
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.
You said you father was a driver for someone who lived in the park. Was he around a lot or was it a very busy job? Very funny hours, never sure whether he was going to be there or not. I went on trips quite often with them, in fact every year they went to Scotland for grouse shooting in August and he, of course, had to go with them and we went, the family went as well so that meant a couple of months off school every year.
Do you know the story how the Cavendish Bentinck ladies decided that all these girls in Ham had to go into service cos there was nothing else for them to do so they started a dressmaking establishment, it must have been quite close to Ham, I believe in Richmond. Well my aunt went to be apprenticed and as a young woman she was making evening dresses for Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and after was engaged to be married. Elizabeth wanted Ethel to make her evening dresses, so my aunt lived for the rest of her life that she was a court […]
Anyway to cut a long story short I got the job of being the Adult Literacy teacher, I was taken on to run the Adult Literacy Scheme and we were supported to a certain extent by the scheme for two years and then the Borough took me on to continue it.
Anyway I learnt all about this because I went back to college, I was rather snotty that I hadn’t had the opportunity to take A levels and O levels so I went to the Adult College and I took an English O level and an English A level and a History O level and a French O level and I learnt that they were recruiting middle-aged women or women with children to be teachers. So I applied and I sat an exam and I got in. I was rather pleased about this because they didn’t tell me until I’d left […]
But anyway it was really, they were training us for office work and when we were 14 they really gave us a grammar school education and then we were taught shorthand and typing and commercial arithmetic, bookkeeping, all very useful stuff for the times and for getting a job that kind of thing, and we left school at 15 and were paid next to nothing and gave it all to our mothers, but there were still clothing coupons there was nothing to spend our money on really, yes 1945. I worked up in London for a couple of years but got […]
I decided that I would go back to my roots where I came from and the nearest prison that was available to me was Latchmere House or Ashford Remand Centre and I was lucky enough to get Latchmere House. I worked in Latchmere House on and off for twenty-two years.
Well what I did was, when I took Andrew to school at Meadlands and the headmaster realised I was a teacher, an infant teacher, he said well when can you start because he had more children than he could cope with and an empty classroom and he was desperate to divide his reception class so I think I went home from registering Andrew and reported for duty within a week, and um I taught for a couple of terms there until they got a permanent teacher, and I really enjoyed being suddenly tumbled back into teaching. I had taught before […]