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.
I can remember walking down to Teddington Lock along a narrow footpath with the gravel pits on one side. Later when I was part of a youth group from Richmond, we all came over to the ‘pits’ and lit a bonfire and had a ‘sausage sizzle’ one evening – that must have been in the 1950s.
As a family we came over to Ham, from Kew, every Sunday and often were invited to lunch with various people. I have memories of lunch at Secrett’s farm. The farmer was then Lewis Secrett and our families became friends. I remember his wife, who was a bit eccentric I think, feeding a mouse that appeared out of hole in the wainscoting while we were eating. It is difficult to remember exactly where the farmhouse was – although I believe that a bit of the wall (opposite the end of Sandy Lane) is a remnant of the original farm boundary.
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.
When my job was moved to Gunnersbury, the office block over Gunnersbury Station, we decided it was time to try and buy a house and we finished up almost accidentally in Ham, we wanted a modern house, we didn’t have a lot of money and we didn’t like the 1930s or the older stuff. Both us had grown up in 1930s houses and almost by accident we moved to the Wates Estate in Ham. This was a relatively new development, we must have been one of the first second owners, the house we bought was only 18 months old and […]
We used to like riding, so we came to Ham because we used to ride with Billy Walsh who had these wonderful polo stables on the Common which are now part of the estate of, I can’t remember his name even, an Arab prince, right by Ham Gate. This was the stable and we used to drive down from London, we lived right at Marble Arch in a lovely flat in the West End, but we liked the country. So whilst we were here we thought what about moving to a house, our families wanted to buy us a house […]
There was a garage on Richmond Road on that side of the Common, a chap there called Adams, I think built an organ there and he used to give organ recitals in the garage.
Oh, there used to be, I think it was, a weekly visit to the cinema in Richmond or Kingston. That was a bit of a regular thing. There was a Saturday morning children’s films and I remember particularly in Fife Road in Kingston was a cinema called the Super, the Super Cinema which isn’t there now, of course, and what I remember mainly about that is that they were mainly cowboy films and that sort of thing and the children on the ground floor got so excited dust used to rise up from the carpet.
I came home had a bath and went out to sing at Tiffin’s, cos Tiffin’s boys used to put on dances every now and again, obviously the headmaster thought these boys ought to meet some girls. I was about 17 then. At the time I didn’t think it was exciting enough you know but, looking back on it, it was a golden time really
We began to get dancing lessons and that sort of thing, the Castle at Richmond taught me how to foxtrot. I met my husband at a dancing school when I was 22. Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip had been in Canada and they’d learnt how to square dance so everybody had to learn square dancing so I went to this dance studio and he was there and that’s how we met.