Woolwich & Districts
leaving Bostall Lane School I went on to Wickham Lane School.
After school we would raid the local cake shop and get a bag
of stale cakes to eat on the way home. Sometimes I would get
a hair cut at Mr Pims; he looked like Capt. Mainwaring (pronounced
Mannering) from Dad's Army and had not a hair on his head, but
he had some magic lotion made by himself and the last I saw
him he had ginger hair sprouting out the top of his head.
local ice cream maker was Mokes' cornflower ice cream at Wickham
Lane; they used to cycle all around the Abbey Wood and Plumstead
While at Wickham Lane I was picked to sing in the London
Schools Choir, made up from London schools. We practised, I
think, at Conway Road School.The concert was held at The Woolwich
Tabernacle, Beresford Square.
Headmaster was Mr. Wale. He had one arm and one leg owing to
injuries received in WWI. In spite of this he still managed
to cane. Another teacher was Mr. Hack, very appropriately named.
There was Mr Griffin who was a very good teacher and a very
fair man. After the death of his first wife, Mr. Wale married
my cousin Betty, who was the local Girl Guide leader.
would go collecting conkers in Plumstead Cemetery at Fanny on
the Hill until we were caught coming out of the main gate;
why we came out the main gate I don't know, as we had climbed
the wall at the back to get in.
sister Joan, four years older than me, went to Church Manorway
School. She worked at Cuffs, in Powis Street, later. When I
left school I worked at the RACS in Powis Street. There was
a dentist in Powis Street by the name of Moss. I read somewhere
that his son was none other than the great racing driver, Stirling
father also worked for the RACS at the LINKS, Plumstead Common,
for many years, serving his time in the army during the war
years and then going back after the war.
time, during work at the Co-op in Powis Street, I was up on
the roof to watch the fly past over Buckingham Palace. I saw
two of the planes collide. One crashed into the Arsenal. It
all seemed to happen in a flash and to this day I wondered if
I had imagined it!
of my family have been connected to either the Co-op or the
Arsenal over the years. My mother, Ivy, worked in the Arsenal
during the war on munitions. My grandfather, Julius Breuer,
was an army man who finished his working life at the Royal Dockyard
Woolwich, after returning from St Helena, where the Zulus were
exiled after the Zulu war.
mother also worked at the Royal Artillery Barracks tailoring
for the Army. This was during the Army recruitment years. She
used to tell us how the new recruits would line up for hours,
in all weathers, waiting for their uniforms.
Sullivan, an uncle, was a Tug skipper and worked for Mitchels
on the Thames. He also only had one leg, which he lost when
his tug capsized and was lucky to escape with his life.
also used to go to Charlton Football Club. My sister was involved
in the social club and disco dances. Although not an ardent
supporter, I did go quite a few times, and also to their social
club. It was at this time that I got TB, for the second time,
and all the Charlton team signed a team photo for me. I am sorry
to say that I have not got it any more as I gave it to a young
boy who was less fortunate in life.
happened at the time that Sam Bartram was their goalkeeper.
I worked in the Powis Street Co-op, down in the basement, with
the pots and pans. One day at the shop I meet Mr. Morrison the
MP and carried his goods for him to his car parked in Hair Street.
I can't remember if I got a tip or not, but by the look of his
car I don't think he could have afforded it.
also worked at other branches, including the Lakedale Road branch.
My father and I used to cycle from Belvedere to work, in all
weathers, about five mile each way. Later, I bought a Vincent
Firefly motor, to fit to my bike, from a shop in Plumstead
High Street. It was a wonderful little machine; in fact I still
have one today. Latter on I passed it on to my dad, who rode
it for many years, as I went on to bigger things.
was on my journey to work one day that I witnessed an unfortunate
accident. A horse and cart, whilst delivering to the school
in Elmley Street, had the horse bolt and go through the
fence above Plumstead Station and down onto the railway line.
This was not the first horse that I had seen bolt, usually frightened
by a tram.