Woolwich & Districts
of Eglinton Road School 1943-1949
area and life in that era.
Day Celebration, Donaldson Road, Shooters Hill, Woolwich.
I am on the first bench from the left fourth from the front,
that is the left hand side of the bench nearest the edge of
the photo. My brother Eric is on my right hand side and next
to him Peter Gale and his brother Derek. Opposite Derek on the
same bench is Keven Walker and 3 along from his right is Howard
James. My parents are amongst the adults and this photo is i
think typical of street photos depicting a war weary nation
especially the adults.
was born in a nursing home at Blackheath and lived in Donaldson
Road, Shooters Hill. Incidentally I was only recently informed
that Shooters Hill was so named because Archers trained there
in days of yore. My first day at school I particularly remember
because I was feeling very insecure and during a break my elder
brother Eric, who was in his last year at the school, sought
me out to check that I was alright and cheer me up a bit.
strongest recollections I have though were the time spent in
Miss Fisher's class. She was a very strict no nonsense lady
and I don't ever remember anyone stepping out of line. There
were about 34 in the class and I believe something like 30 of
us passed the 11 plus exam which is some testament to her teaching
ability. Miss Richards was the headmistress during my time .
Road School - Nativity play 1948 Photo: Roy Earnshaw
(Click on photo for a larger view)
L to R:Alan B?, John Tunstall, Roy Earnshaw,
Note: I did not perform in the play but stood in for the "real"
King for the photograph as he was absent, sick.
of course was spent playing football and cricket in the playground
and I particularly remember one lad bringing three stumps in
a wooden block as a wicket which was some advance on the usual
wicket using chalk on a brick wall. We also had very occasional
school trips after the war and I remember a day out to London
and also a local visit to Eltham to a horticultural centre .
In my later stages at the School in about 1949 I ran in the
Woolwich Schools District sports held at the Royal Academy Ground
and finished second in the 10-11 age group in the 100 yards
children were all from working class families and initially
the war was still on and the early years after the war were
still very lean times. Ration
books still dominated shopping and my parents kept chickens
and rabbits to supplement our food supply. We also benefited
from the occasional food parcel from an aunt living in Canada
and as children we were told about exotic fruit such as bananas
and could only wonder what the taste would be like.
also had an air raid shelter in the back garden known as a Morrison
shelter I think but many of these became water logged and
I remember in the middle of the night going to the dry shelter
of a neighbour. Later in the war we were supplied with an indoor
one called I believe an Anderson
shelter which we had installed in the living room. We were
very lucky that we were never bombed out of our house but Doodle
Bugs came very close and I also remember a Barrage Balloon called
Maggie getting loose from her moorings.
saw my first professional football match during the war, aged
about aged five I was taken to the Valley by my father and brother
to see Charlton Athletic. For me it was the beginning of a love
affair with the "Addicks" which lasts to this day
and although I have long since left Shooters Hill, since retirement
I am now able to attend home games on a regular basis. Crowds
were vast all over the land in those days as very little other
entertainment existed. We always walked over Woolwich Common
to the Ground although sometimes Dad's shoulders carried me
dominated many lives and we were fortunate to have Shrewsbury
Park not that far away and played there for hours and hours.
The Shrewsbury Park area was also memorable to me for another
reason. The first bike I ever had was a very old secondhand
bone shaker which my Dad renovated for me, but I was forbidden
to ride it until the brakes were fixed. However when my dad
was at work I could wait no longer to use it and went up to
the Shrewsbury Park flat area with a friend to try it out with
the intention of getting off and walking down the very hilly
part back home. However my judgement was faulty and I before
I could dismount I had gathered too much pace and was soon speeding
down Eglinton Hill. I knew at the bottom it was crossed by Herbert
Road and its traffic. On the way down a lady stepped off the
kerb to cross the road and I managed to swerve a bit and avoid
her calling out an apology as I sped by. Fortunately the traffic
along Herbert Road in those days was very much quieter than
by modern day standards and I shot across unscathed gradually
slowing down near a Convent school I think. I did not remain
unscathed when my Dad found out though.
house also backed onto Shooters Hill Grammar School and playing
fields which was a regular illegal playground for nearby children.
We were often chased off by the school keeper and his Alsatian
dog but always lived to tell the tale. Saturday morning pictures
was hugely popular and I used to go to the Granada Woolwich
which would be packed out with children watching Cowboys and
Indians with much cheering and booing. Powis Street, Woolwich
was the main shopping area plus Beresford St market. But daily
shopping, no refrigerators or freezers in those days, was carried
out in Herbert Road.
source of entertainment, although very modest by today's standards,
was a trip on the Woolwich
Free Ferry and to marvel at the workings of the big engines.
It was all pretty simple stuff but we were also fortunate to
have several other parks and woods as nearby playgrounds.
things of course about those days are long forgotten but very
few of us, if any would ever have imagined what our lives would
be like in the 21 first century. Thank you for reading my recollections
and I very much look forward to reading those of others to rekindle