I started Sunday school at Cage Lane
Mission, Lakedale Road.
At the Christmas parties there was
a lovely big Christmas tree and we had doll's furniture made
by Mr and Mrs Wood of Edison Grove.
For fourteen years I attended this
church and they were very happy ones. Later I became a Sunday
school teacher with my friend, Jeanette Stapleton, who to this
day remains a dear friend.
Each year we went to the seaside, i.e.
Margate, Broadstairs; and I can remember sitting in the hall
waiting for our coach number to be read out, whilst my mum ran
down the baker's to get fresh rolls for our lunch. Each week
we had paid a few pennies to save up for this event.
We held our sports days with Cage Lane
Mission near Mr Bull's house on Winn's Common.
The Girls' Life Brigade was formed
by Mrs Wright and we went with the People's Hall Church to Broadstairs
and we slept on straw mattresses in St Mildred's School.
I remember attending the Co-op Hall to
go to a playgroup run by a Mrs Whines of Lakedale Road. I only
went once, I did a head over heels and broke my arm. I never
Regarding the Co op Hall.
I remember standing with my mum waiting
for our 'divi' cheques to be counted, to claim our dividend
I started school at Conway
Infants' School. On that morning I remember having a bath
in an old tin bath in the kitchen and my mum putting a drill
slip on me. It was green. We wore long brown stockings held
up with elastic bands, a thick vest and some kind of white coat
with buttons down the front.
My mum and I stood in the hall and waited our turn to be registered.
At school I remember sleeping in a
little bed in the afternoons. The teacher said, "Look for
a camp bed with a squirrel on." I had no idea what a squirrel
looked like! If you did sleep you were rewarded with sweets.
Later, in another class, we collected
tins of beads and we used to exchange them. We were also taught
how to knit and sew.
I was in Miss Moyes', Miss Nicholson's,
Miss Lloyd's, Mr Mockeridge's Mr Legg's and Mr, Jenkins' classes.
Miss Widger and Mr Bull being the head teachers.
During the polio outbreak I remember
a boy from our school caught polio and, unfortunately, he died
From my house, which was just a few
doors up from the Cage Lane Mission Hall, you could hear the
school bell, rung by Mr Harrison, every morning at 8.45 am.
I met my friend Molly Smith here, who
is still a close friend. We went to tap and ballet classes and
performed in the annual school show at Christmas. We tapped
to the tune of the 'Black and White Rag' by Winifred Atwell,
and Mr Jenkins, our teacher, played the piano. He never did
get his fingers around that music.
Mr Mockeridge and Miss Weeks were fond
of each other and I often had to take and deliver written messages
We went to Sandown, on the Isle of
Wight, for two weeks and it cost 6 pounds ten shillings. Each
week we paid a few shillings towards the cost of our trip.
Every Friday we watched films in the
Art Room. They were 'stills' and Mr Jenkins ran a commentary.
I remember sitting on the hill on the
Common and watching the staff of St.
Nicholas Hospital playing tennis. I also remember
the fair on Plumstead Common, near the paddling pool.
Sunday my dad took me for a walk, whilst my mum cooked the Sunday
roast at home. We also went to the rock gardens (Rockcliffe
Gardens) near Plumstead Cemetery. Then, when we returned home
and had dinner, we would listen to the Billy Cotton Band Show.
I went to the Cage Lane Sunday school at 3 pm and then, back
at home after tea, we would listen to the Archie Andrew's show
with "Educating Archie" on the old valve radio.
Later on, when I was married, (at St.
Mark's Church in 1966) my dad used to take my two daughters
over the Common to the swings every Sunday for many years (I
now have three little granddaughters).
I remember, when I was about six, having
a second hand pram from Wright's of Plumstead High Street for
Christmas. My dad had spruced it up and my mum made all the
covers and so on for it. It was dark blue and beautiful. The
first time I wheeled it up Lakedale Road some boys at the top
hurled a tyre down the road and it bowled into the pram, squashing
it down like a concertina knocking me over with such great force,
the pram also hitting me and the heavy lorry tyre rolling over
my stomach. As I lay there hurt and stunned, I remember hearing
a neighbour, who had came out from the back door of their Tewson
Road house, call out to my mum "Give her a strong cup of
tea with plenty of sugar in it."
My dad made me a scooter. It was painted
green and made of wood and I would ride it to the corner and
back. He also made me a wooden duck and a black board and easel.
My first pram was made from a wooden
crate. My first doll was made out of rags by my mum.
Terrace had a shop at the bottom of our road and there was a
paper shop just past the Brewery Tap.
I also remember the Salvation Army marching down Lakedale Road
to White Heart Lane where their headquarters were.
Saturday mornings were when all the
kids went to the pictures at the bottom of Lakedale Road. But
my parents wouldn't ever let me go because they said that the
place was full of germs!
We bought our first television on H.P.,
from a shop in Plumstead High Street, to watch the Queen's Coronation.
We invited some of the street to come and watch it with us.
I remember my friends from Lakedale
and Tewson Roads always attended Firework Night on the bomb
site at St.
In the summer, as kids, we used to take
our jam sandwiches and water and have picnics round the big
tree at the top of Lakedale Road and paddle in the pool at the
top of the Common. Later on, as young growing girls, I remember
the summer times on the Common, watching the cricket on the
cricket pitch, Sunday afternoon walks through the tennis courts
and Saturday afternoons spent with my friends playing with a
bunch of lads near St. Mark's Church.
I remember all the noise from the hooters
of the ships along the Thames and the colourful fireworks display.
Joan Smith (nee Doling)