Ham Horticultural Society – by MW

I mean, they’ve been going for years and years; we used to have one of the shows next to Cassel Hospital. There’s a hall in there, it was called the Lawrence Hall Hotel, so presumably that Cassel Hospital was at one time a hotel, but it’s other things as well, because I went down to the Richmond Archives to make enquiries. We used to have our shows in there.  Then we used to have them in – I don’t say it was the Thomas Aquinas then – we had shows in there; we had the June shows in there, because we used to have four shows a year, Ham Horticultural Society.

How long were you a member of that?  Oh, years!  I joined before my sister went… when Janet went to Switzerland, she was 21, so we must have joined before then.

Who were members of the Horticultural Society?  Oh, there’s various…  Well, when we first joined, there was a Mr Billingsley, who lived in Maguire Drive; he was the Chairman.  There was Cyril Thomas, used to live in Latchmere Lane… a Mr and Mrs Willis became Chairman, they lived next door to us at number 15 Dysart Avenue.  Then the Ham Horticultural gradually, as Dennis got older and wasn’t very well, it gradually sort of folded.  Do you ever remember the marquees on the Ham Common with the summer shows?  They were wonderful and Richmond Council used to give them a wonderful display of plants and flowers.   Oh yes, I’ve got cups upstairs, a lot of them.  There was always a Mr and Mrs Keates, they would put such a lot of work into it, they were phenomenal with everything: veg, fruit, flowers, the lot.  His sister, she used to win with the cooking and there was Brian Humphreys used to win a lot with vegetables. He used to live in Cardinal Avenue and then moved down near the coast.  You really used to put a lot into it.