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.
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.
I had, I think it was chicken pox and the first time I remember, I was about sixteen, before I ever saw a doctor, we never had a doctor. Granny Sanders, she used to have sort of natural remedies and we used to have those and I can remember Mum calling in the District Nurse just to look at me, that I’d got chickenpox. I don’t know if it was a notifiable disease then, I don’t know, possibly it was. Sixteen before I ever went to a doctor, because I can remember I had ringworm… Mum was quite upset, because […]
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 […]
The other brother, the younger brother, Wilfred, he started just after the war a building business and he traded under the name of W Stevens of Ham Limited and he employed about 20 men and he was in business up until about 1990 and then he passed away and the business got sold on and the chaps who had bought the business they never kept the name very long and I’ve got a feeling they went bankrupt or whatever or moved on I can’t remember exactly what happened. He had a good successful business with a big clientele within about […]
My dad’s brothers, two of them were bookmakers and they had a business in Ham which they used to run from the house in 1 Lawrence Road in those days because betting was illegal although there was all sorts of things going on, people were exchanging bets in pubs and sort of things but it was illegal really, but they had a proper licenced office at the top of the house where they lived at 1 Lawrence Road and that went on for quite a number of years and they employed two or three people working there. When the farm […]
While I was at school, following in my Dad’s footsteps of hard work, I did various jobs. My Dad got me some gardening jobs and I used to do the gardening for some of what we call the big houses, the posh houses. I did a couple of houses down in Bute Avenue which is off Sudbrook Lane. The people must have been quite pleased with me there because, when they moved – actually to Sheen – they asked me to carry on doing the garden even in Sheen and they used to pay my bus fare to go there […]
My Dad worked in Ham – it just about comes in Kingston – in the Cellon’s paint factory that was opposite the Hawkers Aircraft factory. I think that just about comes over the border into Kingston. My Dad worked there for 42 years although he did his stint in the RAF duringthe war. I’ve got to give Dad my credit – a lovely man. He worked very, very hard. He worked 5½ days in the week, he would work Monday to Friday. He would do a half day on Saturday morning overtime in the factory but as long he can […]