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.
I was totally unqualified for anything actually including the guitar completely unqualified, and they said they wanted somebody to do music with the boys at the Remand Home, 15-19 they were and she said oh yes I’ve got the person, so I worked at the Remand Home for a few years.
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 […]
Well you see in Latchmere Close we were a very close-knit community, we used to go in the prison club in the evenings, but it was only people that you’d worked with all day and you see them most of the day even when you were off duty you were still altogether in the environment, you just didn’t mix with the outsiders because there was no need to because we had all of your prison officers were mates and all that were there so you didn’t really know, of course we knew some people on the outside because it was […]
My brother didn’t, I suppose, play so much, but I used to play in the road a lot with children down the road. I remember that we had a bike, my sister and I, which we shared and we had a skipping rope which was tied to the lamppost, because there wasn’t any cars then, so those days we played outside a lot. We roamed around Ham! We used to go down to what was called the second Common, where the church is, a gang of us, and just sort of roam round. You can’t imagine children being allowed to […]
Let me again relate this to a Ham story and the part of the era. I grew up so my youth was mid ‘60s into the ‘70s and there were distinctly 2 types of youth cultures then: one was either a Mod and rode round on a motor scooter and they were Lambrettas and Vespa scooters or one was a Rocker or Greaser and they were on motor bikes. Most of my friends – all of my friends – were more on the Mod side and rode round on motor scooters as opposed to motor bikes. Outside the youth club […]
The large building which is now a youth club, I believe, on Ham Close – that started out just called Ham Hall. That was a hall for the use of the community in general. It wasn’t particularly just a youth club. It was quite a nice place when it started. It had a staging area. There was local guy, I guess he would have been in his twenties or so, from Petersham, a person called Geoff Ware, he and his friend used to run dances there on weekend. He used to hire bands. There were some really, really good dances […]
This woman came out of the end cottage, she said they’re after my chickens, so me and my mate panicked, sheer panic now isn’t it, we run along the top of this wall which is nine inch wide and we ran out into Back Lane and then there was a fence there on the end of it, I don’t know if it’s still there I never look now, and next thing I see a leg coming over and it’s this woman coming after us. They were all related that lot down there and she’s coming after us and chased us […]
It was very, very safe and peaceful childhood up to the war of course. We had an Anderson shelter, I can remember my father fitted it out beautifully and we slept there. Normally we went to bed there, we didn’t get up in the night. I can remember him getting us all up to see the fires of London, it’s an abiding memory is that. And watching the German planes coming over. So in your war years you weren’t evacuated? No I had the summer of ’44 away because my sister and her little friend along the road were sent […]
Of course where the prison was, Latchmere, that used to be a Prisoner of War camp. Can you remember much about that? No, not really, I mean we were forbidden to go near it and that used to be a Prisoner of War camp.