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Brian Rake (Rakey) Remembers...

I can remember joining the Conway School in 1953. In the assembly hall there was a large wall display for the expedition to Antarctica, but my old brain cells cannot remember who went. I seem to remember something about giving money to buy a Husky to pull the sledge.

I didn't like Mr Bull (Headmaster) as I was always in trouble and my name appeared too regularly in the 'Cane Book'. I have no old school photos but still have my reports. My children particularly like the comments from Mr Reeves, “Brian is a noisy and fidgety boy and a nuisance to others around him.” I hope I've changed, but I doubt it.

As I said, I have no old photos. I had the original wicked stepmother and when my father died she wouldn't pass anything to me. But I still have those school reports.

Memories are not so good and I have forgotten most of my home life, which was, for the most part, hell. School is a distant memory although I can remember quite a few old names.

Never had money to go into corner shops, unless I bunked over the wall of a local pub, 'borrowed' a few quart bottles and took the empties round the corner for the returns money. That was basically how I got into Saturday morning pictures. Greathead's used to run the local shop on the corner of Parkdale Rd and Chestnut Rise. They had a son but I can't remember his name.

My brother followed two years behind me and was in Mr Givens' class. On his first day in class, Givens showed him the cane register with my name all over it and told him that he had better be an improvement on his elder brother!
I went on to Bloomfield Road School afterwards, leaving Conway Primary School in 1956 from Olive Hancock's class: a great lady.

I did not attend any clubs and other activities and was not allowed (wicked stepmother again) to play sports for the school. That, together with my two years' probation at approx age 9, for something that I did not do, seemed to make other parents not want to let their children associate with me anyway. Hence I did not have many friends and therefore not many happy memories.

I lived up the top of Parkdale Road, last house on the right. I was easily recognised by my ginger hair, patches in trousers, holes in shoes, stuffed daily with cardboard; but always known by my clowning around, whistling or singing. Three things that have caused annoyance to many people over the years, and still do! Sod 'em!

I remember that I used to love going to Bostall Woods and also to the woods in the golf course on Shooters Hill, where I went across the Common and up through the allotments and across into the golf course - peace and quiet - it was great!
I also used to hunt for slow worms in the ferns behind where Mr Bull lived on Wynn's Common.

I also got stuck up a tree on the steps leading from St Mark's to the bottom of the hill at the two ponds and had to have the fire brigade out to get me down!
I also used to be able to get into St Mark's church hall and camped out in there on many an occasion. Was never caught out either.



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