A little bit about yourself growing up in Bermondsey
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As far as I can remember, my time in Bermondsey was ok.
We did'nt have much, but then we did'nt need much.
It was a tight community aroundwhere I lived in Harold Estate, everyone new everyone. Every saturday the pubs were full of Bermondsey locals, playing darts, preparing for the next Beano, or just drinking and chatting.My Mum and Dad would drink in the Pagoda Tower Bridge Road, just at the end of Webb Street.
(Picture Above) Me and Terry Russell outside the Pagoda (probably a Beano Trip for the Women.
Myself, Brother and sister would sometimes venture down there for a lemonade and a arrow root (Biscuit) or crisps. we were allowed to sit just inside the entrance and warned to be quite and keep out of the way.
Sometimes the dart players would come over and sit next to me , how are you son, have you been a good boy today, they would say? well of course I have?
When they did have there beano's, they would set off with a coach load of beer throwing pennies and halfpennys out of the windows for us kids to pick up.
Saturday's were always the best, I would meet up with my mates and play football or cricket or just wonder around the streets, playing on the bomb sites, of course the war was well over by then, but the remains of the debries were scatterd all over Bermondsey and new developments were gradually going up.
Then down Tower Bridge Road for Pie and Mash in Manzes or Mum would go out early shopping and bring some home. She would do her weekly shop at Abi Levy's, a small grocer shop on the corner of Decima Street, just off Tower Bridge Road.
I started School at Webb Street, not much I can remember about my times there, except that I did not really like school to much, however it was an introduction to girls. One in particular I can remember, I think her name was Lela Morac, not sure if I have spelt it correct, but her family run or had something to do with the ice cream parlour in Tower Bridge Road called Rossies? just on the corner of rothsay street.
Another place down Tower Bridge Road we would frequent was Edwards the donut shop, ah! the smell of the donuts cooking was great, piping hot covered in sugar.
On Saturdays if we were late and Manzes had run out pies, which occasionally happened, we would go to Joyces pie and eel shop, at the bricklayers arms end of Tower Bridge Road. A little greasy for me but not to bad, there were metal trays out the front of the shop where the live eels swam about not knowing there fate at the hands of the pie maker with his greasy apron and large knife at the ready to slice and dice them. This is where Tommy Steele would eat, why he never went to Manzes I'll never know?.
Early evening we might decide to go to the cinema, depending what was showing and how much money we had.
There were a lot to choose from, the Trocette, Tower Bridge Road, my Aunt Mary worked there for a while as usher and ice cream lady.
There was always a break in the film and the ice cream lady's would walk down the ailes with there trays out in front of them and queues lining up trying to get there ices before the film started again.
Then there was the Odeon and the ABC at the Elephant and castle, always popular. and further afield was the Astoria (Pictured Above) and the the Regal.
Also the usual flea pits like the Globe, we would kick the back door until it sprange open then crawl on hands and knees to the nearest seat hoping no one would spot us. We used to do a lot of bunking in the cinemas, sometimes getting caught and being kicked out, but the danger was all part of the fun.
My best freind in Harold Estate at the time was Terry Russell, he live next door No. 58.his Mother Eileen Russell was a colourful character (nearly every other word was a swear word) but she did make us laugh, i thought she was great. His Dad George Russell was a quite man by comparison. He had a sister Maureen who sometimes went around with my sister Patsy, and an older Brother Phil Russell.
There wasn't much in the way of entertainment for us kids at the time so we had to make our own, unlike the kids of today, if its not linked to a computer or tv there stuck.
We would make our own toys, like scooters with ball bearing wheels and a couple of planks of wood, bottle tops nailed on to make it look cool. They were noisey but great fun, Box cars with pram wheels steered with string tied to the front axle. We also collected things like ciggarette cards and matchbox tops.
Other Freinds and Neighbours at the time were:-Lester Stacey, Brian Stacey, Johnny Whitnall, Tony Asplin, Peter Collins, Kevin Collins, Tony Treadwell, Michael Lambert, David Horton, Lottie Horton, Teddy Horton, The Pimms Family, The Button Family, The Woods Family and many more that i just cannot remember as yet.
There were plenty of buildings around Harold Estate where we could cause mischef, there was Clyde Buildings seperated by a wall from Harold Estate, entrance in Pages Walk, it had a flat roof and the stairwell went right to the top, it was always a good place to view across the rest of the estate, but you had to tread carefully so not to make any noise.
Then there was Swan Mead, between Webb Street and Leroy Street.
There was a little park in Leroy Street with a couple of swings, slide, and roundabout. Also Toby Nobles, a drinking club although I was a little to young to go inside.
Also down Pages Walk were the Guinness Buildings where my nan lived for many years.
By now i had left Webb Street school and gone to PARAGON Secondary School, every day i would go up to my Nans (356 Guinness Buildings) for lunch and after School for tea and a biscuit before my Mum and Dad got home from work. It was like a second home for me and my Brother, although dark and gloomy, two rooms and a gas mantle to light the place up, also in the front room was a coal cupboard and on winter nights she would have a roaring fire and sit listening to the radio (no tv). The toilets and laundry room was outside and shared with neighbours.
At this point my attention turned to Girls (it happens to us all in the end).
My first girlfriend was Ann Bryant, i think she lived around Law street.
To me this was serious until I met her Dads right boot up my backside?
still it didn't stop us from seeing each other.
Every weekend my Nan would get ready and venture out down Pages Walk to the Victoria for a few Guinneses and always bring back one or two for during the week, or if she wasn't there she would be in the George, Tower Bridge Road, on the corner of Leroy Street where in her younger days worked there doing cleaning.
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