- Rear of Houses in Leroy St, Swan Mead, (left) & Guinness Buildings (background) . 1930. My bedroom window is the one on the left, second from the top. I still can't believe that I used to step across from my bedroom window and go into my mates bedroom window. At that height one slip and good-night Vienna.
Yesterday & Today
How we lived then & How we live now
How we lived then & How we live now
kiwi wrote:Picture 2017. When I lived in Guinness’s Buildings (1942 to early mid-60s) my bedroom windows looked over the park too these buildings, Stewart House. The entrance by the red van was where the Book-maker stood to collect the bets. Any sign of the Law and he would disappear into the buildings. Tobies Club was further down, near to where the small building is now (Toby Noble). Tower Bridge Road is at the far end.
LEROY STREET,STEWART HOUSE.jpg
The book-maker was Percy Newell and he lived in a flat on the ground floor of Stewart House. His 'spotters' (including a one-legged chap) stood over the road on the corner so they could see towards both Tower bridge and Old Kent roads. I always remember Percy as being always smart and well dressed, and wearing galoshes in winter.
My grandparents lived in the corner top-floor flat of Stewart House and I had other relatives living in some of the other flats in the block. The flat had no bath back then so a weekly bath was at Bermondsey Baths. In the 1950's I spent my first few years of life in another flat up the road in Leroy Street but during the 1960's I had to live with my grandparents for a while (over that bad winter of 1963), which was why I got to know a little bit about Percy.
Hi Boyzie, Percy Newell book-maker, that's jogged a few memory cells I would never have remembered that. My mum would send me round there with her bets, trying to remember if it was sixpence each-way,which at the time would have been a lot of money for us or three-pence each-way, did they take three pence each-way bets at that time. I can't ever remember her going round to collect her winnings so that is telling you something.
Looking at this picture brings back so many memories for me, this was my home & playground, as a little kid growing up. To start with if you look at Guinness’s Building on the right and the windows facing this way, the window second from the top on the left was my bedroom, I could have been in that bedroom when this picture was taken (7-8yrs old). That room was so cold in the winter that the windows would freeze-up, sometimes you would have a hot water bottle but it was shared,one night we would have it the next night the girls would have it. Every bit of heavy clothing you had would be put on the old iron bed to help keep it warm, you never took your socks off, clothes under the pillow to keep warm,trouses under the mattress which you laid on to try and keep the greases in the legs and of course we had the Guzunder,the pot under the bed.No way could you walk out of the flat onto the landing and go to the shared toilet in the middle of the night,to bloody cold. I spent so much time in that bedroom when I was young, mainly playing games, reading Football Annuals and when Mum was out playing with a ball, kicking it at the wall and diving onto the bed to save it, heading it against the the wall to see how many times I could keep it going, great, until you hit the gas mantel then you knew that you was in trouble with your Mum.
When I was older I would be in there listening to Radio Luxemburg on the radio,was it Radio Rentals? Lots of the time you would never hear all the song because it would crackle with interference but for us it was good.
You can just see the tin shed on the left, with the slopping roof, in-between Guinness’s and Harold Estate,boy did I have fun climbing up that and sliding down the other-side with George Horton(cartaker Guinness’s) shouting at me to get of the roof,or words to that effect, along with my Mum and my Nan who lived in Swan Mead. The buildings on the left was where the bookmakers runner stood to collect the bets,any sign of the law and he would disappear into the buildings.
The park was fun especially at night when no one was there. The little building in front was for the park keeper and the building behind a little shelter. The wall at the back of the park backed onto Guinness’s, they did have a gate there but all the time I lived there it was never open. So most days I would climb back and forth over the wall, mostly on the left as it had railings that dropped you into Swan Mead, saved walking to the alley passed George Hortons House, I can still hear the park keeper shouting at me.
On the right is John Street Youth Club, which provided many of us with things to do,sports,indoor games and also trips away.I have many happy memories of that club,also one of the helpers Jean Brett, nice lady. The bombsite was not that tidy years before and we would have some really fun times playing there.
In later years when I worked for Beaches in Rouel Road I would park my lorry right by the park keepers hut on my dodgy nights out.
It doesn’t seem possible that it is 68-69 years since that picture was taken,yet it still evokes memories of people who where around at that time but sadly are no longer with us and places that meant so much to me and in a strange way still does.
I would like to add to those friends who have asked me why over the last couple of years I have continued to post with Bermondseyboy, most of the time on my own. Well first because I enjoy it, secondly because I think this time our time and the places we played, lived and worked should be remembered. Steve (BermondseyBoy) gave me the chance to keep those memories alive, yes it is for me and I hope for many other people. Sometime in the future I will run out of information to post or no longer be able or around to post anymore but the BermondseyBoy site will/should still be here for anyone to look at and maybe bring back memories of their past, and if in the future someone looks at the site and says I wonder who Kiwi was, though I will not know, that’s good enough for me.
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