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Joan Doling Reminiscences.

I was born in March 1943 and I lived at 50 Lakedale Road, Plumstead.


In the bottom right photo of me you can see part of our Anderson Air Raid Shelter situated in our back garden. It was handy to keep the coal in after the war ended.

Conway Road School was my primary school and Waverley was my secondary school.

Approximately in 1950
I think it was my cousins and I took my nan's wooden scrubbing board up to Plumstead Common and used it as a sledge to sleigh down the hills in the snow. Needless to say, it broke and we couldn't take it home for fear of the consequences. We never owned up and, despite her searching and her inquiring, she never did find her scrubbing board!

1946

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.

Approximately 1949
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 went again.

Regarding the Co op Hall.
I remember standing with my mum waiting for our 'divi' cheques to be counted, to claim our dividend pay out.

1947
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 it.

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 between them.

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.

Every 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.

Florence 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!

1953
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. Nicholas Hospital.

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.

New year
I remember all the noise from the hooters of the ships along the Thames and the colourful fireworks display.


Joan Smith (nee Doling)



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