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The Gosling Family, Plumstead

Bev Connolly (nee Gosling)

My family moved to Brewery Road Plumstead from Lower Pelliper Road, Charlton, just after the first world war. They lived in number 43 until 1957 when they moved to Orpington. The photograph shows the Scout troop on parade in the road outside our house. My gandmother, Florence Gosling, was very active in the WVS, both during the war and afterwards. She ran a Darby & Joan club in St Pauls church hall. She had a great sense of community responsibility. She worked in the Arsenal during WW1, in munitions, and at some point, I believe, she was also a prison visitor. My father Jack and his brothers, Leonard and Arthur, attended Earl Street School, but my Uncle Bert (Herbert) attended the Open Air School at Shooters Hill, which later moved to Charlton Park.
Both my mother and father worked at the Seimens factory, which is where they met. Dad was a keen motorbike rider. They married in St Paul's church, in October 1940, and I remember them telling me that there were several air raid warnings that day. They set up home together in the basement of number 43. In 1943 my sister Hilary was born at Moatlands, in Paddock Wood, where mum had been evacuated to have her baby. This is now a golf club and my sister tells me that she was born in what is now the shop!

My father and his brother's all served in WWII, Dad and Uncle Len were in the Navy, Uncle Arthur was in the Army and Uncle Bert in the RAF. My grandfather, also Arthur, had been in the RA during WW1 and was an air raid warden in WWII. Uncle Arthur lived with his wife Lily in Congo Road. My eldest son lives in this house today.( 2007) I was born after the war, in 1946, at the British Hospital for Mothers and Babies. We moved to the Coldharbour Estate when I was two We visited Plumstead to see my grandparent's every week and I well remember the bomb sites and the air raid shelters on the Common. I remember a shop in Brewery Road run by Mr & Mrs Lambert. I think you could buy almost anything there. When I was eleven I passed the 11 plus and was accepted at Kings Warren School. My grandparent's had always wanted me to go to this school so I used to make the long journey each day, by two buses from Mottingham. I used to love walking through Woolwich market coming home from school, especially close to Christmas, when the lights would be lit on the stalls and everything seemed so bright and cheerful.

My uncle's and my father all survived the war but their cousin Jackie (John Frederick) did not. He was a pilot on the Lancaster bombers and was reported missing, presumed dead, after a minelaying raid on the Frisian Islands, in March 1943. He was the only child of Emily and John Atkins who lived in the school house at Charlton Park Open Air school. Great Uncle Jack was the caretaker for many years until they retired.


(Click on photos for a larger view)

This is my grandfather’s Wardens Service Certificate.

My father’s Life Saving Certificate, awarded in 1929 when he was 13, from the Borough of Woolwich Lifesaving and Swimming Club.

My parents, Jack and Ellen Gosling. I would think this was taken about 1938.

This is a photograph of my uncle and aunts wedding in 1936 – Arthur John William Gosling to Lilian Margaret Last, at St. Paul’s Church, Plumstead.
It shows all my family apart from my mother.

My father’s testimonial from Earl Street School in 1930

My Aunt Lily Last’s testimonial from Earl Street School in 1927. It is hard to read so here is a transcript.

Lily Last has attended this school regularly and punctually for six years and is leaving from Standard CXV11 at the age of 14 years.

She is a girl of very good mental ability and excellent conduct. Her handwork is especially good and she has just been successful in passing the Preliminary Trade Scholarship Exam. I can most strongly recommend her and am sure she will do her best to give satisfaction to her employer
N Pyle, Head Mistress.

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