Family History of living in Ham – by JP

I’ve always had a home in Ham, I mean if you consider this part of the Tudor Estate as Ham still, yes I believe it is within the old boundaries.  I have occasionally been abroad for short whiles, but I’ve never sold my house, I’ve come back, I live in Ham really. 

Living in Ham starting in 13, later 37 New Road, was that the family home?  Yes, in a sense, my great-grandmother had died in 1929, and although she didn’t own the house she had a tenancy that she could pass on and she passed it on to my mother and so that she could get married to my father, so in that sense it was a family home. They got married in 1929.

We got married in the middle of his National Service and we’d been told when you get a house, you obviously can rent a house, people of our standard didn’t buy a house, the rent must not be more than a tenth of your salary, well he knew when he went back to the Admiralty that he would get £10 a week so we had a little house in New Road for 19 shillings a week and one shilling for the rates and that was number 13 again, it wasn’t the same house!  This was also notoriety, it was the first house in the road to have electricity, every other house was gas lit, so that would be 1954 so there’s a fact for history. It didn’t have a bathroom and we looked down our noses at that, we’d both been used to bathrooms you see, but Peter Rook the builder was my uncle or my mother’s uncle and he had his big shed with all his stuff opposite and he said “now Jean I’ve just taken a bath out of somebody’s house, I’ll put it in your kitchen, I’ll build a table above it, we’ll put an Ascot at one end”.  So the Ascot moved backwards and forwards to the sink or to the bath and the kitchen table came down and hid the bath and it was there but of course it wasn’t the same as having a bathroom, but we put upwith that for ten years before we could afford to buy and then we bought that house.