Developments from Rural Ham in 1953 – by PP

I came to Ham in 1953. We used to live in the little cottage next door to the Royal Oak, as it was then, and behind us, in what is now being redeveloped, the district nurse lived in what was the old stableman’s cottage with … she had her various instruments and things in the ground floor and the big house, Grey Court, was then a day nursery – which I think was started during the war but I’m not sure.

It was quite a good place to live and it was very rural. We had the cows going up and down the street twice a day. It was where those flats are and shops and things opposite the library. There was just a narrow alleyway behind the library and the back of the farm house, which was a lovely old house. In the farmyard was the milking parlour and the bottling plant and every now and again they used to bring bull up.  Of course the children always used to go to have a look at the bull because it looked so fearsome, he rolled his eyes. It was quite an interesting place to live then. As I say, it was very rural.

When we first came to live here there were the four houses next door, which had virtually just been built and somebody I knew l moved in to one. Across the road we had a pre-fab estate which was absolutely wonderful because the children were safe in the middle. They were each built round a green square and there were nice broad walk-ways through but not wide enough for a car. So it was absolutely safe. Children could play in the green in the front and mothers could see them from their pre-fab windows. When they decided to pull down the pre-fabs and build these flats people were weeping. They didn’t want to leave them. Most of them had looked after the house very well indeed, so the fact that they were twenty five years old didn’t really make any difference. That was the reason; they wanted to develop…and although these flats are quite nice inside they are nothing to look out. They are not nicely arranged though they are better arranged that the proposed development.