Nostalgia

YOUR TWICKENHAM MEMORIES: A SOCIAL HISTORY

If you’ve read this before, just scroll down to the comments. If not, read on.


Here’s a mini-project that needs you to get involved, write a few words and make it happen. Yes, you read that correctly.

The project
Quite frequently, but perhaps not frequently enough, we ask twickerati readers if they want to contribute to the site. And some of you do. Thanks! Now, imagine what it would be like if we could have more contributions about Twickenham life – personal memories, if you will – that would not only make great copy on here but also become something of a permanent record of Twickenham past and Twickenham present.

Various social history projects have captured people’s memories on audio, video and online. For example, the BBC’s “People’s War” project in 2003-2006 recorded huge numbers of personal testimonies about WW2. Did you know that Pope’s grotto was used as an air raid shelter by St Catherine’s School or about the V1 landing in the town centre? First hand accounts make for fascinating reading. If you want something more recent and less traumatic, check out our Memories of Twickenham Baths article and the comments on it to hear about rushing down to the pool on a summer’s day or the time the lady fainted in the queue. Remember?

But it doesn’t always have to be memories that make compelling content, current events fit the bill just as well. TV, radio, newspapers and websites all record the big stories of the day but sometimes miss the smaller detail, the stuff that makes up everyday life.

So what could you do?
By writing just a few hundred words about “Your Twickenham”, you could play a part in creating a collection of first-hand articles about the town, past and present, that could develop into a social history of Twickenham actually written by its people. Who knows, it could become something that goes beyond this website.

The content?
Whether it’s what you did when Bradley Wiggins rode through Twickenham in 2012 or your memories of the town in the war, let’s hear them. Whether it’s a story about watching blues bands on Eel Pie Island, your memories of one of the long-gone cinemas or of breaking your ankle at Richmond ice rink, or just an insight into school life from the 40s to the noughties, let’s hear it. Or perhaps you want to write about when Twickenham didn’t have any charity shops (is that possible), how you came here to study at St Mary’s University but never left, the day you moved into your first Twickenham house or the day snow brought Twickenham to a standstill, that’s all great too. Recent is good! After all, today’s personal accounts become tomorrow’s history.

Serious, funny, thoughtful or even a little bit ranty. As long as it fits the brief, it’s your call.

Who will see it?
The potential scope is broad (but needs a little help to fulfil it). How about plotting articles on a map, adding video and audio, or creating a timeline? Getting a town to produce its own social history of the last few decades could be fascinating. Are you in?

How do I get involved?
If you want to contribute a short piece (200-800 words) add it below, or to just discuss this idea drop an email to twickerati@gmail.com.

LINKS:
Mentioned above:
* Twickerati: Memories of Twickenham Baths
* BBC History: Pope’s Grotto as St Catherine’s School air raid shelter
* BBC People’s History: a V1 flying bomb lands on Twickenham

Examples of social history projects:
* City of Memory – New York
* Murmur – Toronto (audio memories)
* US “Digital humanities project”

52 responses to “Nostalgia

  1. Andrew

    Hi Helen,
    I’m so sorry I haven’t picked up your message until now.
    I would be happy to send you a scan or copy of the Swan Magazines that you mentioned. I hope I am not too late for your project!
    I was at Orleans from 1960 – 1965.
    Teachers from memory: Mr Evans Deputy head; Miss Joslyn RE; Mr Jenrick Geography; Mr Walters RE and Maths; Mr Oddy History; Miss Holden English; Mrs Hudson Cookery; Mr Simmons Games (Boys); Mr Russell Maths; Mrs Thomas French; Mr Wearing Music. (I have the full list in the Swan Magazines).
    I’ve still got fairly vivid memories from those days, both good and bad!
    I look forward to hearing from you.

    • belgrefugeestwickenhamrichmond

      Thanks so much, Andrew – I’m not surprised it took you a few days to see this comment (in fact, I was wondering if you would ever see it at all).

      I’m not sure what to ask you to make available, but whatever they are, would you give consent to me using anything in publications and/or online for local historical purposes (with youself acknowledged as source)?

      That asked, I’d be interested in anything showing the outside of the school, preferably showing the whole building. In order to reproduce properly, I’d need them scanned at pretty high resolution, which probably means professionally – at my expense, of course.

      Thanks again, Helen

      ________________________________

  2. John Leach

    Just to correct a few comments. the cinema in Whitton was the Ritz when it opened, it became an Odeon later on.
    “Flash Gordon” serial was shown at the Regal Twickenham, not the Odeon. I used to enjoy them.
    Main difference between the Regal and the Odeon Saturday morning pictures in Twickenham was that the Odeon had a Compton organ and Ena Baga would play for a sing song at the beginning of the show.
    Coco the Clown (from Bertrand Mills Circus) appeared on the stage at the Regal one Saturday morning.
    Her signature tune was “Smoke gets in your eyes” and as she played it one Saturday the house curtains (tabs) started smoking and the theatre evacuated. A old cigarette caused the fire.
    I cannot recall the butchers opposite Twickenham Woolworths but maybe Dewhursts was the name as they had lots of butchers shops back then.
    John

  3. Does anybody remember, or have information about, the BAKERY at 93 Lion Road, Twickenham. The ovens were downstairs, and my wife remembers playing there (despite being told not to!). She lived at 93 with her parents in the 1950’s although by that time the bakery was not in use.

    • Beverley knight (Ash)

      I lived next door but one to the Bakery,it had two entrances,my entrance was Gould Road,it was known as Coombe Bakery, my house backed onto the bicycle shed.the other entrance there also was a laundry can’t remember the real name but think it was Victoria.

  4. John stairs

    I mean Framptons!

  5. John stairs

    Was it Framotons?

  6. Carolie Green

    Please could someone tell me the name of the butchers almost opposite Woolies in Twickenham in the sixties?

  7. John stairs

    Hello,as a child I remember walking along Twickenham high st in the late sixties and there was a stuffed ostrich in a shop window! I think it was a restaurant.

  8. Kay Pape (nee Harle)

    I went to the old Orleans School in Napoleon Rd in the 50s, BUT, cannot find any pictures, or ANYTHING to do with the school which was eventually demolished. The head master was Mr Regan, and I remember MOST of the teachers names, but, can find nothing!!

    • Ron Phillips

      Try google images in chrome, there was a lot on friends United but that has gone now.

    • Anonymous

      I was there in the 60’s and have vivid memories of those days. I have a couple of copies of the Swan Magazine which show a photograph of the old school building. Would be happy to exchange emails. – Andrew Hughes

    • Are you still there, Andrew Hughes? I’ve only just picked up your message about a photo of the old Orleans School in Napoleon Road, featured in Swan Magazine. I urgently need a photo of the school for a local history project. Could you please make contact? Thanks, Helen

  9. Ian

    I don’t suppose anyone has any pictures that show Beazleys Toy shop on Heath Road in the 60s-70s ? Living just round the corner from it on Grove Avenue till I was about 8 years old it was always where I stopped to look in regadless of where we were going. Even if going towards the cinema we had to look in Beazleys first !!

    • I kind of remember that toy shop. Also there was a men’s hairdressers on Heath road run by an Italian guy called Tony Manzi. He used to drive up to London to cut and style Max Bygrave’s hair. Tony eventually immigrated to New Zealand.

    • John Stairs

      I remember that shop,it was fantastic,lots of scalextric,horror models like King Kong,Dracula,Godzila,air fix models galore,have no pics,seem to remember the shop front being fire engine red then later it advanced to a aluminium front.The guy who run it looked like the prof from the 1970’s kids show “Roberts Robots”.

  10. David Johns

    As a kid I used to visit my grandmother in Constance Road, Whitton and walk through the underpass and down the road to the pool. We used to freeze and defrost with cups of Hot Oxo (really) and then go back out to start again. Many years later moving back to see the changes of lost entertainment (two cinemas gone – three if you include the old Regal) no Swimming Pool but still the same type of people (mostly) live in Twickenham. We are all slightly barking, all tolerant and friendly, and all staunch believers in whatever happens to the UK as long as Twickenham is OK, we are Happy.

    My grandmother ran a cafe/restaurant on Heath Road (now Chuba Rossa and then ended up working in Greggs in Whiton). Twickenham will never be perfect until ALL of our councillors and representatives live in the centre of town where they can be easy targets. Until then it will do, as it has for the last thirty-odd years of living here and 50+ of visiting.There are more soapboxes in Twickenham than I remember as a kid, and no hospice (Oak Lane) or any other “facilities” of that type but we stagger on. Business boom or bust, road improvements from the council deny access to the cheapest shops to OAP’s by closing central bus stops (is that still a trial?). We go from no “American themed bars/Restaurants to at least three too many smokehouses (and shouldn’t that only happen outdoors? But still we are happy!
    Twickenham will never be perfect until ALL of our councillors and representatives live in the centre of town where they can be easy targets. Until then it will do, as it has for the last thirty-odd years of living here and 50+ of visiting.

  11. ALAN BISSELL

    DOUBLE DECKER CLUB (DDC)
    This is a story which takes us back to the mid 60s when a holiday across the Channel was something of a dream for many young Brits. However, the CliffRichard film “Summer Holiday” gave 22 yr old Tim Lewis of Twickenham an idea that captured the spirit of the time – he bought a red London double decker bus from London Transport and placed a small advert on the front page of The Times. It attracted 40 young students from across the country and in the summer of 1964 the bus set off for foreign shores for a 3 week camping holiday through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany to the Swiss border – around trip of about 2000 miles.

    So successful was it, that the Double Decker Club, popularly known as the DDC was formed and a series of european holidays followed, that continued throughout the 60s. The club also had a lively social life which included dances, parties, bring-and-buy sales, day trips by bus to Brands Hatch, and the Isle of Wight and weekend trips to Wissant, Pas de Calais. But it was the continental holidays that left the indelible memories.

    The DDC has long since ceased to exist but now, 50 years later, a small group of us who were the original drivers etc are organising a reunion which will take place on 16th April in Twickenham.

    To date we have traced 58 former members from across the country who will be joining us to ‘roll back the years’ – the original bus will be there too, having been lovingly restored by one of them. However, we are convinced that there are others who still live in the local area (or who have family members who can contact them) who would love the opportunity to join us.

    If you were a DDC member and would like to join us at the reunion, do please get in touch
    ALAN BISSELL

    • Alan Bissell

      For further information about the DDC reunion on16 April 2016, do please email me at: ddc.alan@yahoo.co.uk
      ALAN BISSELL

    • ALAN BISSELL

      The original red London bus (RTL 1050) with the number plate LLU 829 was affectionately known as ‘Lulu’ by many of those who travelled abroad on holiday in it in the 1960s.
      Now fully restored, this lovely old bus will be driven down from St Helens to the DDC reunion in Twickenham on 16th April 2016.

    • Alan Bissell

      The Double Decker Club Reunion

      Were you one of the 300+ members of the Double Decker Club who travelled abroad on the holidays in the red London bus between 1964 and 1969?

      Five of the original organisers have arranged a reunion in Twickenham on 16 April 2016, and would like to invite as many former members as possible to join them and roll back the years. ‘Lulu’ the bus, now beautifully restored will be there too.

      Please write to Alan Bissell, Elmswood, Allt Goch, Flint, Flintshire CH6 5NF or email ddc.alan@yahoo.co.uk

  12. I remember Twickenham baths as a kid when the sunbathing areas were large pebbles. They were comfortable to lie on as they were heated by the sun and moved with the shape of your body. Later they were taken away and large flat pink paving stones were installed. They felt hard compared with the stones. Lyons Polo Maid ice cream sold at the little cafe was a favorite. . I loved the fountains at each end of the pool and all the diving boards and the slide in the deep part which was in the middle. During the Polio outbreak, my mother wouldn’t allow me to go in case I got infected. The first and only time I played truant was one Friday sunny afternoon instead of returning to class after lunch I sneaked off to Twickenham Baths. When some of the younger kids came in after four pm I threatened them if they told anyone. I think it was a tragic when the pool was closed but knowing English weather I understand that the sunny days in the sixties were far and few between than they appeared to be when I was much younger in the late forties. That’s why I finally emigrated to the USA .

  13. Anonymous

    At Twickenham Prep in the 60s (opposite the Green on First Cross Rd) I remember when my mum came to the school to teach
    us all to do a play with a dance in called ”The Sailors Hornpipe” as mum had been on the stage in the Twickenham area
    as ‘Phyllis Day’ dancing and doing impressions. I have a lot of pictures from the play (if I can find them) and also
    the school pupils and teachers photo with the Headmaster Rev. Hill from I think the late 60s but cannot remember anyone elses names unfortunately.
    Thinking about my mums early years in Twickenham she worked on the trolley buses as a clippie (have a picture somewhere) and also at the Ritz cinema in Whitton (now demolished) as an usherette and as mentioned before also at Regal Motors (also demolished) on Railway Approach.
    I’d still like to see any pictures of Regal Motors if anyone has any.
    Thanks.

  14. Ian Parry

    My most vivid memories of 60s Twickenham when I was there are, Sir Winston Churchills coffin on the train passing by, the baths (where Nan worked), Twickenham Prep school at the end of the green, The Three Kings, The Red Lion (both courtesy of Dad !!), going to the Odeon cinema to see Buck Rogers each weekend, Beazleys Toy Shop. Regal Motors on Railway Approach (where mum worked) run by Bill Ashby, There must be more but it’s all a little hazy !!

    • Ian Parry

      Ah thinking about it it was Flash Gordon at the cinema !!!! it’s an age thing I think !!

  15. Ian Parry

    Hello everyone, I was born in Ealing and lived in Twickenham between 1963 – 1970ish in Grove Avenue at No.48 . My mum (born 1924) worked at Regal Motors in the 60s run by Bill Ashby on Railway approach (if anyone has any pictures of Regal Motors i’d love to see them). My Nan who we lived with worked at the baths. I went to Twickenham Prep school at the end of the green and later Kew, my fondest memory was Beazleys toy shop on Heath Road is it?

  16. Nuala Orton

    Does anyone remember the car repair business and petrol station that used to be in front of Ryde House in Richmond Road? – I think it was called Grand Garages

    • I remember it well! I grew up in Cresswell Road (1962 – 82) opposite their car showroom. My friend’s grandmother worked in the office there and her husband worked in the garage as a foreman I think (John & Camille Collins). I seem to remember Ryde house was the office and the eagle on top of the entrance was there over the building as it was in Grand Garages’ time. Happy memories.

  17. Pauline Curl

    A shot in the dark , does anyone remember my uncle Victor Sworn of Chase Gardens ? He was a groundsman at the Rugby Stadium . I am going back a few years mid sixties into the seventies. I live in Sussex , we were frequent visitors and often used to meet him after Saturday matches.

    • Dot

      Hi Pauline Curl, sorry I can’t help with your query, you may get a response on the Face Book Twickenham Teddington Hampton or Whitton sites. There are several groups that you could ask your question on. Regards, Dot

    • Pauline Curl

      Thank you Dot for your kind response , as I said it was a shot in the dark. I will certainly try your suggestions. Thank you again. Regards Pauline

  18. Charles Marshall

    Does anyone remember the band that played at the York House ballroom in the late 50’s? It was the Hugh Douglas Band and they were very good and I understand that in later years Hugh emigrated to Canada.

    I was a young lad in 1956-7 who worked at York House for the Borough of Twickenham as a junior cashier and rent collector. Along with my friend Alan I believe we were the youngest rent collectors in England!

    Lots of fond memories of going to Eel Pie Island for the trad jazz and to the Crown pub near Marble Hill for the modern jazz as well as the Castle in Richmond and of course L’Auberge or the. “Old Buggery’.

    Richmond and Twickenham were grand places to live and play in those days.

    All the best from Canada.
    Charles (Chas) Marshall

  19. My memories on kenelmes.blogspot.co.uk

  20. In the 1950’s I attended St.Mary’s school, Twickenham I used to walk there along Whitton Road, over the railway bridge which only had a pavement on one side,the Rugby Tavern stood near the brow of the bridge, (the railway station was not where it is now but was nearer the Albany public house) and turn left after passing the Regal Cinema on the corner of Aymand Park Road. In the afternoons after school we would go round the back of the Regal and we could hear the films sound track through the back stage area. The site around the Regal was just open land and we would play there. Sometimes in the summer we would go to Twickenham Swimming baths, it was a lovely pool and I always feel sad when I visit Twickenham nowadays and see what has happened on the site. The water at the baths was normally cold, but a cup of Oxo from the cafe afterwards would warm one up. In baths ticket hall, which was at the Embankment level, there was a master lock which controlled the large clock visible from the pool. It was nice to pass this master clock and watch pendulum swinging. The pool sunbathing area had two fountain type aerators at either end. The pool itself was shallow each end and deep in the middle.

    On summer Sundays Cockles the Tin Can Diver would sometimes perform his underwater stunts in river opposite the baths.

    • Excellent.
      And there’s more about Professor Cockles on the Twickenham Museum site here:
      http://www.twickenham-museum.org.uk/tour_detail.asp?TourID=41

    • William Webb Ellis

      There certainly is. And the Professor Cockles display is currently being refurbished. There’ll be a new Cockles dummy, donated by the RFU Museum, which was originally of Nigel Starmer-Smith (younger readers may choose to Google him) holding a microphone to his mouth!

    • michelangelo

      Mr Leach (and others) – have a look at the recent history project Memories of Twickenham Riverside, with bags of background and nostalgia
      http://www.memoriesoftwickenhamriverside.com/

    • Alfred Taylor

      I went to Orleans School (Nelson Road) back in the 1940s. and had our Swimming Gala in the pool, it was a great place to be on a hot day aswell, you always looked at the Temp. before you went in above the entrance where you paid to get in. My Sister taught me to swim there., and that stood me well for the future. I often wondered what happened to the the pool, as I now live in the West Midlands. Really hope that something gets done to bring it back to what it was. Mr Cockles was a big attraction on a Sunday Night , diving in the Thames and coming up smoking a fag, under his helmet.
      When they drained the water out , between RICHMOND AND TEDDINGTON we use to go down an see what we could find , because people would lean over to watch him perform, and money, pens, and all sorts would fall out of the pockets, for us to find.

  21. Ken Iles

    Ken posted this comment on our photo of the old diving board (taken before the site was renovated). We’ve added it here as it’s a good one.

    Twickenham Baths and Big Bands at York House – by Ken Iles
    Sad indeed to see Twickenham Baths in such terrible shape. I remember when the premises there was used to officially distribute gas masks to the local population during the early part of WWII. And I remember how intimidating the top diving board was for me. I also remember how bloody cold the water was one day when the wind was so strong that it blew the water coming over the top of those big water tube columns at the pool ends to land halfway down the pool.

    Those were the days of dances at York House on Saturday nights to big bands like Ted Heath, with Dennis Lotus and Lita Rosa, even the R.A.F’s Squadronairs played up a storm there to crowds, many of whom just stood there in front of the band simply to enjoy the great music. At The Casino, another dance venue on Eel Pie Island, I met the daughter of the Rugby Ground’s Head Groundsman. Married her, and 58 years later we are still together, but living in California, where private outdoor swimming pools abound with warm water. But we still have fond memories of Twickenham. Miss the pubs, dancing at The Winning Post, the Castle at Richmond, Red Lyon at Hounslow, and all those happy places. Ah to be that age again.

    • jimbo

      Cheer up Mr Iles. The diving board is still there, for everyone to see. The site has been made into The Diamond Jubilee Gardens, where community events take place. There is more work to do, but the Gardens are great, andf the layout reminds people of what used to be there (after Richmond House was knocked down 90 years ago)

  22. Bettybamalam

    This isn’t a memory but may spark off a few. Today I went to the Local Studies Library in Richmond and bought a soft cover book called ‘Twickenham’s Pubs’ by Kenneth M Lea. (£5). Well researched and documented, it is a fascinating insight to the public houses that were and are in Twickenham. The cover shows an 1820 painting of the Red Lion (now Tesco Metro) in Heath Road.

  23. We’ve already featured this as a ‘guest blog item‘ on the front page but have included it here too because with this particular tale we’ve got all the classic ingredients: childhood memories, a long hot summer and a great local pub. In this item, long term Twickenham and Teddington resident Dominique sketches a portrait of school holidays 1970s style in…

    Cola, Rafts and Ladybirds

    The White Swan

    The White Swan

    During the long hot summer of 1976 I spent as much time as possible at the White Swan pub in Twickenham; not because I was a kid who liked a pint in the heat, but because my best mate Vicky lived above the smoke-filled bar with her family.

    There was a lot of fun to be had and mischief to get into over the river, away from grown-ups, and fuelled by bags of crisps. Another year and I’d be embarking upon the much trickier secondary stage of schooling; but now I had 6 weeks of glorious carefree holiday stretching ahead of me. Nothing could be better than spending it with Vicky at the pub. So I took myself off regularly at weekends, sometimes during the week too, and almost certainly outstayed my welcome.

    The familiar 281 bus journey from Teddington was stickily hot. People fanned themselves or hung out the back of the route-master to catch a draft of two-strokey air. I arrived at the pub, just a carrier bag in hand with a nylon nightie in it and a toothbrush. The wonderful prospect of sitting on the slipway steps, a bottle of coke in hand was only minutes away. Vicky and I would sit there, flares rolled up, legs in the water to cool off, surrounded by the reassuring smell of the evaporating murky river, that rose in feathered waves as flies nipped at our sweaty heads.

    On one particular day, we decided to bother Mr Hastings the ferryman who rowed the huge wooden ferry-boat from the bottom of Lebanon Park over to the concrete steps on the opposite bank. Mr Hastings was a flame-haired, kindly man with huge forearms, and a sprinkling of freckles across his smiling face. He wore suit trousers, a waistcoat and a clean white shirt with rolled sleeves. He was often accompanied by 3 red-headed sons with similar freckles and good natures.

    “Can we row the boat today Mr H?” we asked.
    “What’s that funny smell, Mr H, is it your oily rollocks?!”
    “Now now girls,” Mr Hastings would counter, “Where’re you off to today then?”
    “Dunno, just over the water please, we’re collecting ladybirds,” we told him.

    Vicky and I had the foresight to bring two takeaway trays to collect the ladybirds. There was a huge abundance of them that year; they were everywhere, perhaps brought on by the heat and additional sticky aphids. They’d land, do an orangey coloured poo and bite you surprisingly painfully – all part of the charm. Once on the other side amongst the tall dry grasslands, dotted red with the insects, we quickly collected dozens in our trays, and as they started to escape because we’d neglected to bring lids, we pinned the upturned trays full of glistening bodies to our tummies, getting bitten by escapees. Mr Hastings rowed us back and waved away our promise to pay him back because we’d lost the fare in the long grass.

    Later, on the shore opposite the pub, we found a wooden loading-palette, and decided to make a raft. We collected some old tyres from the garage, a length of frayed rope, a big lump of cracked cork – which we sawed in two. We added a scuffed buoy and began to piece our raft together. We were aiming for the sort of craft Robinson Crusoe would have been proud to sail away from his island on.

    Vicky’s little brother helped out too, until he got fed up with our girlish bossiness. Some of the White Swan punters came over to lend a hand, and at last it was finished. We were assured, by ourselves, that it would float a treat. Before launching our wonderful raft on the waves, we fashioned a name-sign out of hardboard and lashed it to the tail end with elastic bands.

    “What shall we call it then?” Vicky enquired.
    “How about The Raft? No, no, I know – The Swan!” I said waving a hand at our creation.
    “Nah, that’s silly,” Vicky scoffed. “It should be something personal, like The DV after you and me.”
    “But that sounds like we’re saying it’s divvy or stupid, we can’t call it that!” I moaned.
    “Well then, it’s obvious,” Vicky said, “It’ll just have to be… The VD,” she said importantly!
    “Brilliant,” I said, “Got any paint?”

    Back in the garage we found some old bitumen and a brush. We returned to the shoreline and daubed in big letters The VD. The lettering dribbled blackly down the board.

    “Let’s show your Mum,” I said enthusiastically, noticing her watering the flower boxes in the upstairs windows.
    “Mum, Mum,” Vicky shouted across the road. The drinkers in the garden now looking round.
    “We’ve built a raft – it’s really cool,” I proclaimed.
    Vicky added “And we’ve given it a name and everything. It’s called…”
    The VD!” I piped in.

    Vicky’s mum was silent for a moment, then stuck her head further out of the window. In a loud whisper she responded, “Erm, you can’t call it that, think of something else. How about The DV?”
    Crest-fallen we explained the genius of the name we had chosen.
    “It’s better as The VD,” we insisted.
    A few punters jeered.
    “No,” Vicky’s Mum whispering more loudly, “You really, can’t call it that!”
    “But why?” we wailed.
    Cue more merriment from the drinkers.
    “Well,” Vicky’s mum continued, “VD is a… a disease in your bottom!” she hissed loudly, watering can still in hand.
    “Oh!” we chorused, profoundly disappointed.

    Turning to each other we removed the sign from the twanging bands and turned it around. Somewhat less enthusiastically we re-painted it The DV, knowing in our hearts that this was indeed a ‘divvy’ name to call a raft; a raft which bobbed around slightly submerged as we pushed it into the water and climbed shakily aboard. Once we’d sat down, we felt it tip ever so slowly backwards, soaking our trousers and forcing us to lumber clumsily off the ailing vessel. Now sloshing in the shallows it was time to abandon ship, and go inside for Crispy Pancakes, oodles more cola and a game of Mousetrap with Vicky’s little brother.

    The DV‘s maiden voyage had been a failure, but whether The VD would have fared any better, I cannot be sure but somehow I think it’s highly unlikely.

    LINK:
    Dominique Holt: artist

    • That brings back memories, I recall the White Swan in the 70’s so well, My dad was a regular there and the publican went by the nick name of ‘Nobby’. I can remember being late home for Sunday dinner so many times when you couldn’t leave the pub because of the high tide – well that was our excuse anyway. The ferryman was also a great mate of dad’s as dad was one of the punts-men for the ‘Francis Francis fishing club’ and often used to fish off the end of Eel Pie island. The ferryman was affectionately know to me as ‘Bacon Bonce’ because of his bright red hair.

  24. Here’s a great link to a London website (although it’s a few years old now) of a ‘rave’ on Eel Pie Island in 1960. Some fine beatnik chic on display. Were you there? If you were, why not share some memories on twickerati:

    http://www.nickelinthemachine.com/2009/04/a-rave-on-eel-pie-island-in-august-1960/

  25. dot

    I worked at Teddington Open Air Pool as a locker lady in Vicarage Rd before it sadly closed down in 1975. The following year 1976 long hot summer (and 1977 ) I worked as a locker lady at Twickenham pool. We opended from the 1st Monday in May till early Sept, best job I ever had. We worked alternate 2 shifts early or late with a really great group of people .
    In ’76 probably during the school holidays, due to the heat we had to have pool sessions closing the pool for an hour or so to treat the cloudy water. Sometimes I see people who are now grown men & women in their 40’s who recognise me and say ” weren’t you that locker lady”

  26. Jo Matthews

    Twickenham Baths by Jo Matthews
    For the past 36 years I have lived in one of the flats above a shop in King Street and had a wonderful view of Twickenham Baths. My eldest daughter went swimming there regularly and I devised a code to signal her so that she knew when her supper was ready. When she saw a red bath towel hanging from the kitchen window she knew it was time to start packing her stuff and when a green towel was hung out of the window she said her goodbyes to her friends and made her way home. We made the move to Twickenham from Barnes in January 1976 little knowing that we were in for the hottest summer for years and the baths turned out to be a godsend in the sweltering heat.

    I also remember a devoted swimmer who turned up early every day and swam 50 lengths no matter what the season but one of my fondest memories involves Richard Burton, yes dear reader THE Richard Burton and although he wasn’t present the crew who filmed his last epic were. It was a TV mini-series set in the second world war and they filmed at night with a miniature WW2 destroyer and a wind machine to simulate rolling ocean waves. It took 3 nights to film and on the last night of filming which I had watched with fascination, I cheekily presented myself at their ‘chuck wagon’ and because they had seen me around each night were quite happy to provide me with a plate of delicious food! I was sad when it closed as by then I’d had 2 more children who adored the children’s paddling pool. Ah happy days.

  27. Alex

    Sherland Road Street Party by Alex R
    In 2002 I was living in Sherland Road. Like lots of other streets we had a big party in the road for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, bunting, trestle tables, games, music, kids in royal themed fancy dress, the works. In the evening we had music and dancing in the street and, in my memory at least, more than one incidence of The Undertones’ Teenage Kicks blaring out. Late on, my neighbour said to me (and I paraphrase for politeness), “I can’t bloody stand the Royal Family. I’m a republican. But this is great. We need to do it every year”. Although we moved house later that year, we’ve had a few parties in our current road, presumably with republicans, royalists and indifferents all getting stuck in. 2002 seemed to mark a bit of a revival in the idea of the ‘community get together’.

  28. Hester

    Twickenham by Boat – by Hester H
    I remember my first arrival by boat. I was a young 17 (?) year old. I had taken a bus to Windsor to meet up with friends who who were taking one of the Dunkirk little boats to Teddington to get repairs. Who owned it, I cannot remember, but she left us to it. Various breakdowns later, we eventually moored up outside the Barmy Arms to go in search of Teddington Lock, showers and food as the boat owner had something to do with the studios (these “artistes”). When we returned the boat was lying at a serious angle as the tide was out. Sleeping bags on the pavement, one local bobby asking us, “Hello Hello, or were we drunk when we moored?”. Waiting for the tide to turn we eventually made it to our destination. 13 years later I moved here and 43 years later I still live here.

  29. George

    The Twickenham Commute by George A
    Although we commuters like to moan about the trains, things have improved a bit over 15 years I’ve been in Twickenham. Certainly nobody could claim to miss the old slam door trains on their journey into Waterloo. For me, things didn’t get off to a good start. My very first visit to Twickenham by train involved me opening the doors on the wrong side and almost stepping out onto the tracks. Needless to say none of the other passengers deemed it worth the effort of saying, “Oi, the platform’s on the other side, mate”. They just looked at me with bemused expressions as if pondering why I’d want to fall onto the electric rail when there was a perfectly good station on the other side of the train.

    Those ‘slammer’ trains were awful: musty seats; ghettoised smoking carriages filled with a fug of rancid cigarette smoke (God help you if you had to sit in one with a hangover); doors where you had to fight your way in or out past the legs of people in the seats; even compartments on the older trains that gave the impression that you needed to be called “Mr Perkins” and wearing a bowler hat to sit in them. They were cramped too; the banks of seats on them made today’s cosy ‘three in a row’ arrangement seem spacious. They felt like a relic from the 1950s, which of course they probably were.

    And now what do we have? Progress! Modernity! Automatic doors, a ‘vestibule’ as they like to call it, folding bikes, overly loud iPods and endless automated annoucements. If I’m unlucky enough to get on a ‘semi-fast’ train, I also get to enjoy all those Putney types rapping on the windows and shouting at people to “move down the aisle”. I already have, but thanks for the reminder. The carriages may have changed over the last 15 years but some things on the Twickenham to Waterloo line remain constant, including the hordes of easily irritated commuters.

  30. Vanessa

    Twickenham Memories by Vanessa C
    As a small child living in a Mediterranean island I looked forward to our annual trip to England all year long. It all seemed so exotic to me, from my grandparents’ picture perfect suburban house with its neat front lawn to the majesty of nearby Hampton Court Palace and the Thames where I would marvel at the sight of swans and delight at feeding the ducks. On my return I would regale my friends with tales of spotting real deer and squirrels in Bushy Park and of ice skating in Richmond, so exciting as snow and ice was something we would never experience at home!

    Years later I moved to London and eventually once my husband and I were ready to start a family we found ourselves living in Twickenham, more by accident than by design. All those childhood memories I hadn’t really thought about for years came flooding back once I had children and it was wonderfully familiar and comforting taking my boys to play on the same trees and playground my grandmother took me to in Bushy Park, or trips to the Maze in Hampton Court feeding the ducks en route. Sadly as we all know the ice skating rink is no longer but it looks like we may get a winter ice rink in Twickenham this year!

    This summer many of these local landscapes that mean so much to me took centre stage during the London Olympics and gave me and so many other residents some unforgettable experiences and memories that will last forever. Seeing the Gloriana carrying the Olympic flame on the Thames on that dull and misty morning, knowing it was bound for the actual cauldron at the Opening Ceremony was surprisingly emotional, and for the first time of many those of us standing waiting by the river felt a real sense of excitement, pride and togetherness.

    However nothing surpassed the atmosphere in Bushy Park on the day of the men’s cycling time trials. We picked our spot near the Diana Fountain and waited for the individual cyclists to sprint by, armed with our newly bought Union Flags and Olympic T shirts, the sense of slight nervousness and uncertainty of the opening day gone and a general party atmosphere around us in the lovely summer sunshine. Between us we had a selection of different aged kids, from the very young to the apparently aloof teenagers, but when news came of Bradley Wiggins’ imminent arrival spread the excitement levels and noise around us went through the roof and the cheering when he passed was unbelievable – it took me days to recover my voice, and the kids found a new hero and a new interest in Sunday afternoon cycle rides in the park!

    I do hope my boys will move away from home one day, experience life living in different parts of the country or indeed different countries but a part of me would love them to one day settle back and take their children to the same spots I took them, although they will be able add their tales of “I saw an Olympic race right here in this park”.

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