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.
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
Once a month we had the working men’s club as it is now isn’t it and we had a dance and these two middle-aged ladies used to teach us how to do ballroom you know.
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.
He’d started this U3A play reading group that met here. He’d organised it really well. I was the tea lady for that because I didn’t want to do plays but I had joined the U3A. Well I did start off with that but we left it and became an independent group, a sort of singing for pleasure group, nothing to do with .., I mean I played the guitar for the accompaniment but it was separate from my guitar playing lot up in Ham and we used to meet fortnightly, alternate fortnights. It was play reading or singing, Kenneth came […]
It was terrifically loud and crashing but Paul could sing very well, one played bass guitar and one played lead guitar and Gareth did drums and percussion and they were good, just too loud, but they were actually very good and they taught themselves it was all, Paul could sing. I’ve got a record of it … for somebody’s birthday, an hour in a recording studio so they just went up and recorded four songs, improvising while they did it.
We had carols on the Common every Christmas for about six years we were doing that and also in the summer. Was this in the 80’s, 90’s? The last one was 2005 and then the year of the centenary of the view from the top of the hill we did a very big one it was sponsored by Jason Debney, yes, anyway and we did a programme it was called Aspects of Richmond, obviously you couldn’t find enough songs and poems about Richmond itself but with some judicious altering of words they became about Richmond (laughter).
There used to a lovely ice rink in Richmond and there were dance halls and there was always loads to do, you know, coffee shops. So how did you get around, was it all by..? Bus, yeh. I mean no-one owned a car. The dance hall, was that in Richmond? It was in the same block as the Town Hall. I think there’s a little road and Palm Court used to be down there and it was right on the corner and above. I can’t remember what it was called now but, I mean, it was just so totally […]
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 […]
I think as well, you having worked at the Castle, that the Castle had quite a dance hall? Yes, it did, Palm Court Orchestra and all that, yes, the Palm Court they used to have in the evenings there, yes, I was never part of that because a member of staff but I never saw what was going on there but I do remember people, an atmosphere, there was always people used to talk about how famous the Palm Court used to be, yes.