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Colin Beckford Remembers

I was born in 1943 and attended Conway Road from 1948-1954. From there I went to Wickham Lane (Wack'em college).

I lived at 29 Glenside Road, Plumstead, until I married in 1963. My wife's name is Lillian Osborne, known affectionately as Josie, who lived round the corner at No.4 Marmadon Road. Josie was the only girl in her family. She had five brothers,John, Derek, David, Ronald and Raymond. Her parents were Lillian and Jack. They worked in the Matchless motor cycle factory.

I started courting Josie when she was aged 13, although we must have played together as children! We were married in 1963, and are still very happy together.

Some other names of children who lived in Glenside Road I can remember were, The Bartholomew's (Barts), Mickey Daws, Roger Dowset, Arthur Chapel (A.K.A. 'Arfa-apple) Jill, Joan and Jimmy Salter and Pearl Denahay.

My earliest recollections of Conway Road School were in 1948, when I was five years old. The thing I remember most was the enforced rest time in the afternoons. The assembly hall was turned into a giant nursery filled with folding camp-beds, and we were made to lie still, even if we weren’t the least bit tired. Then there was the teaspoon of malt, which I thought was the tastiest thing in the world, and of course the small bottle of milk and straw. I tried some malt recently, and it was revolting!

When I was six I suffered from tonsillitis and was admitted to Saint Nicholas Hospital for an operation.

When I returned to school I remember my teacher asking the class a question. She asked,“Hands up all those who don’t receive any pocket money.”
I put my hand up, simply because I wasn’t sure what ‘pocket money' was.
She glared at me, at the same time asking, in a very loud voice, “What is your hand doing in the air, Colin?”
“I don’t know, Miss”
“Don’t you receive any pocket money at all?”
“No, Miss.”
She raised her voice a bit higher. “Do you remember me visiting you in hospital?”
“Yes Miss”
“Did I give you a three-penny bit to buy some sweets?”
“Yes Miss.”
“You put that three-penny bit in your pocket, didn’t you?”
I grunted.
“That, Colin Beckford, was pocket money. Now go and stand outside until you are ready to tell the class that you are a liar, and a tiresome boy.”

That was the first of many punishments I received at school. They ranged from writing lines, getting whacked with the plimsole from the P.T. teacher, to getting the cane on the backside, or on the hands, all were probably well deserved.

Colin aged 9 (Conway school)

Other, more pleasant memories, from that time were, playing marbles, or fag-cards, in the playground, playing on Plumstead Common, at the top of Lakedale Road, rolling dried leaves in any old paper and smoking them, (or trying to,) collecting dog-ends from the gutter and smoking them, (with better results than the dry leaves.)

Empire Day was when we dressed in our Cubs uniform, complete with sheath knife and proudly paraded round the school playground.

I remember buying fireworks and having friendly fights with by best mate, Mickey Daws. The idea was to stand facing each other, on opposite sides of the road, and aim Roman candles at each other. It amazes me that we were never hurt. Another 'game' was standing on a penny banger as it exploded, it didn't half make my foot numb!

I'm thankful political correctness wasn't even thought of then, it would have spoilt all the fun.

A final memory, how many red-blooded, under elevens, remember the adorable, Miss Weeks. Wow!!!

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