News, comment & ill-informed opinion for the Twickerati of Twickenham



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

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”

175 thoughts on “Nostalgia

  1. I wonder if anyone remembers Victor Lowndes Estate agency in Strawberry Hill in the 1970’s/80’s run by Gary Jenkins and Tony ? Gary, in particular, was a lovely old friend of my Dad’s and they lost touch after our family moved further west to the wilds of Berkshire. Gary was married to Kay and had a daughter called Catherine/Katherine who was born around 1978. Any snippets gratefully received.

    I live in Oxford now but I think a big piece of my heart floats in the ether over Twickenham. We lived in Craneford Way from the early 70’s to around 1978 where I recall Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking at our door wanting to rent a room when their annual convention was on and I loved hearing the roar of the crowd from the stadium on match days. Went to school at Heathlands in Wellington Road South, Hounslow at this time. My best friend Kate lived in Popes Grove.

    Fondly remember the Mucky Duck (White Swan) which my Mum and Dad drank at (I think Hughie Green frequented it around then too); bike rides along the towpath to Richmond when you had to squint and keep your mouth closed because of the swarms of gnats you had to ride through and country dancing on Twickenham Green and the general arty, bohemian ambience bubbling under the surface. Lots of memories too of Richmond, Kew right up to Kensington High Street when my friend Kate and I would go on the tube on Sat morning to have an ice-cream floater in the Biba rooftop restaurant but that’s not Twickers is it. I also remember walking over Twickenham Bridge in massive flares in a high wind and them flapping so much I thought I’d take off – vowed never again – went home and cut them to make the legs straight and stapled them – well it was 1976!

  2. Does anyone remember Mylos Ice cream parlor on the top of Richmond bridge and their ice cream vans selling large soft ice cream cones? Also the Walls ice cream man that rode around the neighborhoods on a blue tricycle selling his triangular frozen lollipops in the forties? Also in the fifties the coffee house at the top of Richmond bridge where the beatnik’s used to hang out? I think it was called, Le Berge?

    1. Hi David,
      I do t actually remember those things myself, as I was born in 1961, but I do remember my mum telling me she used to sit me on the juke box in lauberge, I’m trying to find someone who knew my mum, her name was Pamela Alderson, she died 25 years ago, and never told me who my father was, but I was led to believe he was something to do with ‘an ice cream place, and went by the name of Giovanni Primovato, but he went by the name of ‘Fred’ I don’t suppose you could elucidate on that could you?
      Many thanks!

    2. Hi Jackie I’m sorry I don’t remember much more than I said. Thanks for confirming Lauberge.I did meet girl there who looked like a model and was surrounded by a bunch of university boys. Somehow she took a fancy to me and we dated for a while Even went to her home and met her mother who had a strong eastern European accent. But I was from a working class background when she met my folks at our council house our relationship didn’t last much longer.

    3. Yes, That was indeed L’Auberge and a favourite hang-out place for many interested in the local music scene(i.e. Eel Pie Island or just hanging out!) Do you remember that round to the right and right again, there was a galley area called “The Goldfish Bowl” where you could watch your mates arrive and view down the hill? After Eel Pie, or on a Saturday it was the place to go. In answer to Jackie, your last corespondent, Giovanni was known as Fred. No idea why.Used to have a party trick of putting a coin in change down edge on and spinning it by flicking. Very happy times and memories.

    4. Hi Kim,
      Thank you for your comments about ‘fred’, I don’t suppose you know any more about him, I believe both he and his wife have sadly past, but I would like to know more about the ice cream shop/cafe he owned/worked at, do you recall what it was called, and I believe he had two daughters Lydia and Loretta, do you know of their whereabouts? Somebody suggested they opened a barbershop opposite later on, any clues appreciated!

    5. My Mum & Dad used to frequent the L’Auberge several times a week and always enjoyed their mushroom & tomato burgers! My Mum even made them for us as kids!

    6. My dad worked for Mylos a chap called Ernie Pacitto own Mylos in Twickenham
      It was one of his best Pitch specially after the Second World War when American soldiers

    7. I sold Lyons ice cream at weekends from a trike in 1961 while I was at school. The company was owned by a guy called Laurie Kreiger whose yard was off Church st in Twickenham.

  3. (Editor: As sent in by John Barnes and moved to this thread)

    Don’t think I’ve seen any mention of Thames Valley County (Grammar?) School and Old Thamesians in your columns to date. Am quite surprised. Where are they all? Mind you, it’s been a long time. I was a pupil from Sept 1940 to July 1945. It opened in 1928 (year of my birth) as the very first mixed-sex grammar school in Middlesex, and a cracking school it was too. Headmaster HW Bligh. I left Twickers at 17 in 1946, and only managed to return for one School Re-union, in 1987 or 1988, renewed acquaintance with several old friends, John Hathaway, Peter Cain, Jim Jarrett, Ron Smithers, Eileen Smith, Ray Corser, Millie Wood, and many more. Have retained names and faces of all thirty of my classmates, which somehow amazes me, an ‘ancient’ as I am, now living in North Yorkshire. Of the above listed, I know that several, sadly, have passed on but others, even older than I must still be kicking.
    Regards, John Barnes

    1. My mother June (nee)Tooke 1926-2000 was at Thames valley too. By the time I “arrived” she was married and living in Lisbon Avenue – rented from Wates as I recall. Mr Bligh was still headmaster when my sister attended in the mid 60’s (afraid I was a Hamptonian lol).

  4. Hi I grew up in Kenley Rd St Margaret’s and I went to St Stephens Junior School in Winchester Rd and after Orleans Secondary. I remember one year in the 60s The Beatles were making a film at Twickenham Film studios and they were using the hall next to the Turks Head for catering. We couldn’t get out of school for all the screaming girls outside. The police had to hold them back so that we could go home ha ha

    1. Hi I grew up in Kenley Rd St Margaret’s and I went to St Stephens Junior School in Winchester Rd and after Orleans Secondary. I remember one year in the 60s The Beatles were making a film at Twickenham Film studios and they were using the hall next to the Turks Head for catering. We couldn’t get out of school for all the screaming girls outside. The police had to hold them back so that we could go home ha ha my name was Christina Jerram then.

    2. I remember St Stephens School on the corner of Chertsey Rd and Winchester Rd. My grandmother and aunt lived at 57 Winchester Rd. I would visit them on Sunday after church.This was back in 1945.

    3. Hi Chris

      I was interested to see your comments about Kenley Road and surprised when I saw your name as I realised you were my friend and next door neighbour. I hope you are well?

      I remember the Beatles filming at Twickenham Film Studios but I missed out on the screaming girls outside St Stephens as I was still at Orleans infants at the time.

      Well done for posting a good memory.

    4. Oh wow lovely to hear from you. I remember you and your Mum and Dad well and how your Dad used to take us out for days out in the school holidays. Yes very well thanks. Now living in Dorset and enjoying my grandchildren. Visited Kenley rd a couple of years ago and was amazed at the changes 😀

  5. I grew up in Twickenham, Chertsey road. My name was Janet Maiden and I went to school at Trafalgar, Chase Bridge and then Kneller. I finished there in 1961 I think I would like to know if anyone knows anything about a post war ‘Rest Centre’ which were places to house people until permanent places were found. I was there till 6 months old so have no personal memories but it was near Twickenham Green maybe Wellesley Rd . My brother went to Briar Rd scool while we were there. Done loads of research but can’t find anything. Later my best friend was Helen Syrett, also Chertsey Rd, opposite the Winning Post, while we were in the prefabs. Also, a long shot, does anyone remember a cake called a Valentia? It was made of something different to the usual sponge, jam filled, icing top and a cherry. It was our Saturday tea treat and I think it cost 1/11. Lovely to read everyone’s memories – mine are all good thankfully.

    1. Hi Janet
      My mum grew up in those prefabs too. She was Carol Wylds back then… Brothers Kevin and Colin… Sister Sam. Her mother was Betty. Mum was the oldest born in 1944. Just wondered if you would have known if them?

    2. Hi Diana. Don’t remember those names and I have most of the people I knew in the prefabs named. They could have been lower down near Gladstone ave. Think they werent occupied till 1946 but could be wrong. Janet (Maiden)

    3. Hi Janet, I used to sit next to you at Chase Bridge, Your friend Helen Syrett was my girlfriend when we both attended the Court School of Dancing in Twickenham. I can still picture you after all these years. Wonderful Red hair and a “proper” sense of humour! God bless and it’s good to see you are still with us. My Daughters tell me I still have a “Schoolboy sense of humour”, but I just pull faces at them and then run off and hide!

    4. Hi, can you tell me anything about the history of the houses built on the Chertsey Road (numbers 99-133) just after 1933?

    5. Did your friend Helen Syrett used to go to Bishop Perrin? If so I used to sit next to her. I started there in 1951, born in ‘46. If so that’s a real blast from the past!!

  6. Very interesting to read other people’s memories of the Twickenham area. I grew up in Whitton in Milner Drive close to Kneller Hall and the Twickenham Rugby ground.

    I remember the day war broke out, gas masks rationing, the black out and of course the sirens. In September of 1940, I stood on Whitton Bridge and looked towards London, no tall buildings then, just a sea of barrage balloons, above which wave after wave of German bombers flew. You could hear the throb of hundreds of aeroplane engines and the rumble of anti aircraft guns. Overhead flights of British fighters from Northolt and Heston? flew to intercept them. Sometimes we stood in our back garden and watched the odd dog fight taking place way above us, never saw anything shot down. The returning fighters would sometimes waggle their wings if they had shot anything down, then you would hear cheering and clapping from the gardens not that the fighters could hear.

    After 2 weeks the daylight raids stopped and the night raids started, it was the end of us just being spectators, night after night for the next six months German bombers would fly over head dropping bombs. Every day on the way to school or the high street we had to pass bomb sites. Later on, it was the V1 & V2 rockets.

    I remember the Eel Pie Island “Acker Bilk” Trad band, the chain ferry, and of course, Cockles, The Castle Ballroom, “Richmond”,York House, The Crown, Hammersmith Pally. It was all live bands in those days, and everything had to stop at midnight on Saturday.

    “Kneller Hall” used to have a lake. I fell in on a number of occasions. It also had Italian prisoners of war, I think (?). I went to Nelson School – Whitton Boys, Twickenham Secondary Modern which is now a housing estate. I have a photo of the school swimming team in the late 1940’s when Mr Ellis was Headmaster.

    At Twickenham swimming pool, late on a Sunday afternoon we used to take over the diving boards. We would do all sorts of lunatic antics, that would get us banned for life now, including diving between someone’s legs from the high board.

    I used to go to Richmond Ice rink and wonder if anyone remembers the speed skating at the end of the evening “when it was all slushy”. Someone in these comments mentioned “The Polio scare”, my friend Colin, died in that, and at the time we were not allowed to go swimming for fear of catching Polio.

    “The dip” at Twickenham Green used to flood at times and I remember a bus stuck there. Next to the dip was a motorcycle shop, Blays of Twickenham. My friend’s and I used to stare at the bikes and dream of one day owning one, which in our early 20s, after National Service, we did. We would race each other down the Chertsey Road, from the Hope and Anchor roundabout to the Powder Mill Lane roundabout. There was very little traffic in those days! We all had British bikes then, sad to say they are no longer made.

    “Heatham House” was where we used to gather to meet up with friends and decide what to do next. I think it was run by a “Miss Hird” then. She organised a holiday to Lake Como by coach-boat-train. No planes then in the mid 50’s, for most of us it was our first holiday abroad. I still have a postcard sent to my mother from Como dated

    I wonder if any of my old friend’s will read this. I hope so.

    Peter Pratt

    1. Hi Peter, I also remember many things you mentioned. I lived in Marlow Crescent apposite All Hallows church where the German planes used to circle around the white tower with the spitfires chasing them during the blitz. I remember Lord Haw Haw broadcasting on the radio saying, “This is Germany calling’ also at one time saying “how did you like that Richmond and Twickenham.” after we had bombs dropped. Later after the war I went to Heathen House to meet girls and then I played Table Tennis in the basement. That’s where I met Ralph St John. He used to play boogie on the piano, surrounded by girls. He lived on Milner Drive I used to go to his house a lot. I wonder if you knew him or remember him. I used to go to Twickenham baths and sometimes my mum wouldn’t let me go because of the polio virus. Also Richmond ice rink where my uncle Jim worked. Castle ballroom, where I met plenty of girls, Hammersmith palace. where Lita Rosa and Dennis Lotas sang with Ted Heath’s band. Luxor Cinema just before Twickenham Green. and the Ritz Whitton. And many other things too long to mention. I went to St James Catholic School just behind Twickenham Police Station where they had the air raid siren on the roof. I now live in the U.S.A.

    2. Hi,
      I am not very good at writing but here goes.
      I remember most of what u wrote went to Briar Rd school then Archdeacon onto Kneller for 1 year then evacuated to Penzance.

      I went to the rink nearly every night except Thursday, that was for figure skaters, I bought season ticket for £1. Blays was where I bought my first bike.

      My brother, sister and myself went to the Baths all the time the temperature of the water was posted outside where u paid to get in regardless how cold it was we always went in.

      I really enjoy reading what people write about what I remember, my sister still lives in Twickenham, l am in Nashville Tn have been for years that’s why I enjoy Nostalgia.

    3. David Walters, Rita Roden Pettry, Kathie Walters. How lovely to share the memories of our childhood, and youth growing up in the Twickenham area. Here a few memories. Do you remember the Winning Post, Barmy Arms andTthe Nelson, well known pubs. How about the Hovel at Shepperton, where you ate off coffin lids, through the middle of the place grew a large tree, with a dead snake in its branches, also a lion skin with a shoe hanging out with poor soul written on the bottom. A most unusual place to go to. The youth centre at Heatham House, seems to have played a part in many of our memories. Thanks Kathie Walters for David’s email, I will drop him a line. Peter

    4. Hi Peter
      My Mum remembers fondly Heatham House and also she remembers your friend Gerald Dance and his brothers.
      She lived at 2 Gravel Rd from 1939 to 1961 and her maiden name was Joan Collett
      Best wishes

    5. Hi Peter
      My Mum remembers very fondly Heatham House and she also knew your friend Gerald Dance and his brothers very well from Gravel Rd. Her name then was Joan Collett and she lived at 2 Gravel Rd from 1939 – 1961
      Amazing coincidences!


  7. Mecca Casino
    I worked at the casino 1968-9. I remember some of the other staff, especially my mate Johnny Trump, who lived close by. We had a bouncer on the door called Charlie who was the brother of boxing champion, Freddie Mills, who became quite notorious. We had some regular customers who were given nicknames – Fag ash Lil was one, she used to bet on American roulette tables for very low stakes and always had a long piece of ash on her cigarette that was just ready to drop. Another character ran a local antique shop. He was overweight and often had a youngish man with him – a bit controversial in those days. We had a female dealer who also worked for Caledonian Airways, she had a nose job while she was there, wow what a difference and well worth the pain and expense. I was pit boss on the American roulette tables – Brian.

    1. Brian William’s…..very interested to read your story for 2 reasons….
      1 you mentioned Freddie Mills??? Do you know any thing else about him? I’m asking becourse he Might be related to my family?
      2 you talked about a girl who was a dealer but also worked for Caledonian Airways….wondered if you remember her name cos I also worked for British Caledonian mid 70s for a good few years would be funny if I knew her?

  8. Does anyone remember Briar Road School? I lived in Gravel Road and made the one minute commute every day! And the Mereway ‘Rec’ or Kneller Gardens & Eagle’s the barbers in Staines Road? Happy days.

    1. My brother went to Briar Rd circa maybe 1946. The Eagles at the Barbers later became friends, George and Lily. We loved Crane Park, I’ve revisited and it’s nearly the same only the willow trees are huge. We had total freedom to wander the park as children and sometimes went into the ‘big Craney’, which took us under the Chertsey Road and into exciting territory. Here we would ‘scrump’ rhubarb from back gardens to eat later under the bed clothes dipped into a paper bag of sugar! Happy days and the sun always shone!

    2. Hi Janet I remember Crane Park. In 1942 It was my birthday I was 8 years old. My mom, older sister and younger brother went to my uncle Gordon’s house for tea It was a beautiful sunny day. He and his wife Phyllis lived at 7 Willow Way in Whitton just across from Crane Park. We had tea in the garden then we went for a walk in the park. We kids ran around up and down the sand hills, jumping over the streams from the river Crane. I remember saying to everyone, “This is the best day in my life.” Fond memories.

    3. Hi Richard Lawson-Taylor, my friend Gerald Dance lived in Gravel Road with his 3 brothers, Graham, Malcolm and Gerry until 1990’s. I think they lived at no.20. Gerald now lives in the USA. I knew the Rec very well, I got up to all sorts of antics on the swings and slide. Do you remember a third of it was dug up for allotments. Talking about barbers, do you remember Leonard Poutney’s of Hounslow the in place, for lads hairdressing. Thanks Peter

  9. Just happened to stumble across this on You Tube, I think it the oldest footage I have ever seen of Teddington and Twickenham.

    1. My Mother lived on Eel Pie Island in a bungalow in the late twenties where she met my Dad.He came down from London and rented a punt at Richmond with his brothers.They moored their punt and knocked on the bungalow door asking if they served teas.My Grandmother opened the door invited them in and had my Mom and her two sisters take the ferry to the bakers to by some cakes and served my dad and his brothers afternoon tea. They were married in 1929. One of the sisters ended up marrying Charlie Hammerton whose family owned the ferries.

  10. In reply to David Walters posting, the Billiard hall in King Street was the Temperance Billiard Hall and it was above Burton’s the Tailors shop. (which was on the same side of street and to the left of Woolworth).
    Temperance had a chain of billiard halls and there was another in Richmond where the building is now used as the Odeon Studio cinema.

    1. Thank you John for the info. Years later, when I was I’m my mid teens, my friends and I used to buy our suits at Burtons, then Brylecreem our hair before going to find girls to dance with at the Richmond Castle. I remember when liquid soap was first introduced in the men’s toilets. One of our friends put it on his hair thinking it was hair cream.That messed him up somewhat.

    2. There was also a dance studio across from the Temperance Billiard hall call “Ricky Burkes.” I when I was fifteen I went there with my friend to learn to dance. I got back home at 10.30 half an hour later than when my Dad went to bed. He came down the stairs furious, and slapped me around. So I never went back to Ricky Burkes again as they finished too late.

  11. I remember a Billiard Hall on King Street in Twickenham opposite the river. There was a man called Cyril who had an ice cream cart. He parked it at the top of Water Lane and my friend and I took care of his cart and sold ice cream for him. while he stayed over the Billiard Hall and drunk beer and played snooker for two or three hours. We weren’t allowed to go in there, so we had to wait until he came back out before we could leave. He would give us a shilling or so for minding it. We were about 13 at the time. Does anyone know if that Billiard Hall is still there?

    1. Hi David

      I remember Cyril, tall thin guy. He worked for Laurie Kreiger who had an ice cream trike business down by the river. I worked there on Sunday’s along with lots of other teenagers, we were paid on commission. 5 shillings in the £ for the first 6 pounds you sold and then 1/6 in the £. On a damp cold day you earned sweet FA. This is all around 1960.

  12. Hi there,

    I too am looking for my birth father. My name is Charlotte Lee.
    My family lived on the corner of Gainsborough Road. Years before I was born Gainsborough School was opposite my Nan’s house.
    My name was Gwendoline Lee – Gwen. My mother’s name is Josephine Lee – Jo.
    My mother used to work at a warehouse – 283 Sandycombe Road. Apparently it was Rawlings Food Distributors . Does anyone remember this company? I’m hoping to find staff records. As yet I can not find any information regarding this company. If you have any information please let me know.
    My biological father worked there in the warehouse, my mother in the office.
    Apparently a fire destroyed the warehouse in July 1978.
    Many thanks


  13. Does anyone remember Jimmy Knode a local bookmaker? He wore a top hat and always wore a rose. He lived a 2, St. Margaret’s Grove around the corner from my grandmother who lived a 57 Winchester Rd. St. Margarets. They knew each other and often met for a pint at the Turks Head local pub. Just after the London Blitz Jimmy took my cousin Peter and I on a parade in London. He had a green car with a sun roof and we were dressed in Sailor Suits and at on the roof with one of his bulldogs whose name was Queenie.

    We saw a lot of the results of the bombing, but the parade was to keep the people spirits up. I was about six at the time. My Sailor’s hat was named H.M.S. Ark Royal. But I was embarrassed, as people were jeering at me shouting, “Hey Kid! Don’t you know the Ark Royal was torpedoed and sank by the Germans.” It happened the day before we participated in the parade. We had a photo of Me, Peter and Queenie on the roof of the car, dressed up our sailor suits and hats.with Jimmy Knode on the ground. But it got lost. I would love to see that picture again if anyone had a copy.

    1. I remember Jimmy Knode, he had an advert in the Richmond and Twickenham Times very week with these words, “Every one knows Jimm Knode, -pays like lightning and always wears a rose”

    2. Good to hear someone who still remembers Jimmy Knode. The only John Leach I knew was the British and world champion table tennis player, back in the late forties early fifties. I assume that’s not you.

  14. I remember seeing Petula Clark driving through Kings Street Twickenham in a red open top sports car. I remember seeing Tommy Cooper walking through Richmond High Street. His head towered above the other people. I remember seeing Haley Mills having afternoon tea in “Maids of Honour” cafe opposite Kew Gardens. All these were in the mid to late fifities.

    1. Funny you should say that – I’m pretty sure my father mentioned seeing Petula Clark driving round in a red sports car, probably around the Wimbledon area back then!

    2. Our Doctor was Dr Wheatley, not sure if the spelling whose house and surgery was on Staines Road we always understood he was Petula Clark’s cousin

  15. Hi,
    I wonder if any of you lovely people could help me find my birth father, I was born in 1961, and apparently there was an ice cream shop over richmond bridge called ‘The Ice Cream Parlour’ run by an Italian family, and I believe the owner called himself Geoff. My Mum Pamela Hogan (Alderson, from Dancer Road, Richmond) lives in the flat above the ice cream shop, the owners also had an antique shop in Cobham.
    Please contact me if you have any information on Geoff or his family.
    Jackie 07766015353

    1. Hi Jackie, I remember your Mum from Richmond/school days. I certainly remember the Ice cream parlour from skating. Lots of Biker boys went there too.

      I’m afraid I can’t help you but there are 2/3 RIcgmond area Face books groups with lots of members of your Mums age. If you post on there you might get some help.

      There’s…. Who Remembers Richmond in the 6o’s and all other stuff.

      Richmond and Twickenham Memories.

      Richmond Twickenham Whitton Barnes Sheen and Ham groups.

      Good luck, if you can’t find these groups and you want me to post your message onto the groups ,just put another message on here.

      Dot. I was dot Swan from Sandycombe Rd and Gainsborough school.

    2. There used to be an ice cream parlor on Richmond bridge called “Mylos” ice cream. They also had ice cream vans. Opposite their parlor on Richmond hill was a shop called “The Milk Bar” which also sold ice cream. That was back in the forties and fifties.

  16. On the 10th April 1964 the Beatles were on board our privately owned red London double decker bus (number plate LLU 829) in Arlington Road, Twickenham to film a brief traffic sequence for their film “A Hard Days Night”. The filming took place on the upper deck and after the sequence was over the ‘Fab Four’ all prominently autographed the upper deck ceiling.

    Regrettably, the traffic scenes never appeared when the film was released, having apparently ended up on the cutting room floor when the film was shortened by 15 minutes. Even more sad is the fact that the Beatles autographs were also lost forever, when several years later the bus roof was repainted.
    If only we’d realised the significance of the autographs back then.

    We do however, have firm evidence that they existed because they appear briefly in the 1964 British Movitone news clip of the bus departing from Arlington Road on its first holiday abroad.

    We still have that original bus and wonder if any of your readers recall that day with the Beatles in Arlington Road ? It would also be interesting to know if anyone still has any press cuttings or photos that show ‘our’ bus in them ?

  17. Gravel Road
    My grandparents and mum all lived in Gravel Road, no2 . We used to enjoy summer holidays there in the 70’s and always loved hearing about the blitz etc
    Anyone else remember Gravel Road ?

    1. My great parents by the name of Simmonds lived at number 2 Gravel rd, great gran died in 1946 & left Bill Collett & family there.. what a coincidence! My mum Rita Lovett lived in Fielding Avenue, so it was her grandmother’s house at no 2.

    2. Hi Debbie!
      I can’t seem to reply directly to your message so I hope you read this! Blimey what a massive coincidence…your Mum Rita is my Mum;s cousin and I believe they are still in contact! My Mum is Joan Collett. She remembers all your Mum’s family fondly and she is still very fit and well

    3. Hi Ali,
      Thanks, my mum Rita was thrilled when I told her you had replied, she has contacted your mum Joan, you may of heard!
      Seems we have something in common, seeking out our family’s past. . Do you happen to remember the pet shop on Twickenham Green, owned by the family, that had a monkey ? My brother Andy remembers going after school & can’t remember the monkeys name .. any thoughts, any one !!!!
      Guess it would of been before 1962 when I was born.

    4. Hi Debbie
      Yes I love digging into the family past, I’m lucky enough to have quite a few very old documents from my Dad’s side of the family. I don’t actually recall the pet shop I’m afraid but I’ll ask my brother & sisters! Funnily enough I had a weekend in London last year with my Wife and we ended up in an Italian restaurant by The Green, after the meal we wandered round to 2 Gravel to have a nose and the current owner was outside and after a chat invited me in to look round. It was lovely going back in and we arranged for me to take Mum back there a few weeks later which was absolutely brilliant for her. She and Aunty Yvonne were both born and married in that house so great memories.

    5. My father in law John fifield and his brothers and sisters were born in gravel road, and my husband Derek and his twin sister, they left there in 1958 and moved to teddington mays road. Can anybody remember the school uniform shop in Heath road what was the name?

  18. Hello to all. I was born in Ealing and lived in Grove Avenue Twickenham till the early 1970s yet still class it as home for some strange reason. Obviously over the years many things have changed but what relly shook me on my return to Twickenham a good few years ago was Railway Approach shops and estate agents having been demolished. I know it’s a long shot and I myself have searched for 3 years but has anyone got any pictures of Railway Approach before I hate to say it was ruined ?

    1. There are some old photos of Railway Approach on the Twickenham and Teddington Memories page on Facebook

  19. 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.

    1. 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. Hi Andrew, I am Tony Doubtfire just found this site wow you’ve bought back memories. We lived at 1 Montpelier Row in the sixties, VERY fond memories of Orleans and the teachers. I left in 1969 and worked at the film studios in the stills department doing the Italian Job, Paint your Wagon and a lot more. The Beatles came to a party in Montpelier Row (in THE Rolls Royce) and a lot of other groups and my sister WOULDN’T go and get their autograph! Leslie Crowther lived across the road and had a beaten up Volvo estate. Are there any of my old classmates out there, Aiden Smith, Ray Allen, Nicholas Minkley, Geoffrey Jones, Tony Parker, Christine Griffiths, Geoff Dadswell, Martin Jenner who was in the little garage on the way to Twickenham. So many memories! A big Hello to anyone that remembers me.

    3. Hi there only just seen this crickey youve bought back so many memories of OrleansTHANK YOU! do you have any old pics in your magazines of the teachers or us playing rugby.thanks again Tony.

  20. 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.

    1. I remember the Ritz Whitton Cinema. Back in my twenties I had a friend who arranged a blind date for a girl to meet at the Ritz Cinema. He said she was the split Image of Bridget Bardot, known as the “French Sex Kitten.” When I saw her, from the bus I was on standing outside the Ritz waiting for me, she looked nothing in anyway like Bridget Bardot so I stayed on the bus.

  21. 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.

    1. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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!!

    1. 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

    2. 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

  24. 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 !!

    1. 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.

    2. 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”.

    3. Oh yes…all kids liked looking in the windows of Beazley’s. They must have done well for a bit because they expanded into the shop next door. Long gone now.

    4. I lived at number 40 Grove Avenue late 60s to early 70s. I went to Archdeacon. I remember Beazleys. Wendy Sewell, who went to Archdeacon too was the daughter of the owner. I thought she was the luckiest girl in the world to have a dad that owned a toy shop!

  25. 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.

    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

    1. 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.

    2. 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

  27. 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 .

  28. 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.

    1. Hi, This is John Weir (brother Ian also at prep, we were the tall dark boys 🙂 , I was at Twick Prep from 1970-75. I now live in Australia since 1999.

      Curious to know who you are? for nostalgia. best John

  29. 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 !!

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

    2. I was working at Martinair by the railway bridge in St.Margarets. We saw Winston Churchill;s coffin go pas the building, in a train.This would have been after the service in London, on the way for burial.

  30. 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?

  31. 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

    1. 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.

    2. Yes I believe it was where our next door Neighbor Mr Levett worked. We lived at 93 Marlow Crescent of the Chertsey Road opposite All Hallows Church, where the German planes used to circle around the tower during WW2. Even got to watch a “dog fight” with the RAF spitfires when I was a kid.

  32. 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.

    1. 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

    2. 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

  33. 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

  34. 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.

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

    3. I too remember all that, with the hot drink of oxo we would have a very large biscuit, not sure what it was, but like a larger and thicker rich tea.Any one know what it was ?

  35. 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.

    1. 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)

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

    Dominique Holt: artist

    1. 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.

    2. I remember the ferryman. He kept cows in Ham fields and appeared in the film ‘A Man for All Seasons’ rowing somebody somewhere. Nice bloke. He used to take me and other kids over the river to pick blackberries in Ham Fields.


  38. 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”

  39. 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.

  40. 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’.

    1. Hi just seen your post 6 years on. I lived in Shetland road in 1945 and have a picture of the VE Day street party!

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

    1. They first I started my new job at 15 in a trade union head office in Nightingale Lane London SW12 I had to catch a train to Clapham Junction and then a 15 minute walk to the head office. I got on a Twickenham station and caught a fast train by mistake. When it didn’t stop at Clapham Junction I was about to pull the emergency cord to stop the train as I was so scared about being late on the first day. Fortunately a man in the carriage advised me not to, but to get off at Waterloo and get the slow train back to Clapham Junction. I was told off for being late by my boss on my first day, but after that It was OK. I paid 5 shillings and four pence a week for my travel card. My pay then was two pounds fifty shillings a week Later biked the eight miles and saved on the fare.

  43. 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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