Visitors e-mails 2004



From Brenda Conway................Queensland Australia.........26 December 2004

I have enjoyed browsing through your website........I was born at 117, Winns Avenue, Walthamstow in door to Freeman's the off was a maisonette, we had the downstairs one and the folk who lived above us were Mr and Mrs Peachy...we shared the back garden but Mr Peachy had a shed on his half and used to sit in there for hours banging his hammer on a piece of wood whilst reading to get away from his wife I think......she was always yelling at name then was Brenda Ann Birchall, my 'Father' worked for Hitchmans Dairies as a Driver and would stop off at the house to leave a couple of pints of Gold Top....I went to Winns Avenue Infants School, Headmistress Miss Sarson and I remember the Headmistress of the Junior School Miss Hurry..........revolting school dinners, Tapioca pudding with Jam which I was made to eat regardless of how cold and conjealed it got... I think it was one shilling a week for school dinners..Lloyds Park, the playground, the Umbrella swing, the rocking horse and the Slide........I recall the Prefab houses down one end of the park and how I was not allowed to play with a girl called Joan Able who lived there as this was not considered 'proper'. I had two half brothers, John and Michael Denton, both older than me.....There are two teachers that I remember well, Miss Reynolds and Mr.J.Horner....I remember class mates Norma Fox and Maureen Day who I think lived in Carr Road, right at the end.

I remember a building that burned down that was in the fields opposite the playground equipment in Lloyds park. I think we went there sometimes with the school........I recall seeing Tommy Steele in Half a Sixpence at the childhood was a particularly unpleasant one and I am in the middle of writing about my life as a child and the time since then,if anyone remembers me I would dearly love to hear from them..........I know little about my childhood as in school details and such........I now live in Queensland, Australia.

Regards Brenda Conway ( nee Birchall)

From Tony Freshwater...........Wellington New Zealand..........13th October 2004


Whatt a nice web site. Though born in Plaistow, I was brought up at 64 Brettenhan Rd (after Jerry bombed us out twice over nearer the docks) from about the age of 2 or 3 (born 17/08/1938). My Mum and Dad were married at St Mary's. My Dad's Mum lived in that house to the left of the "Ancient Houses" in your photo (the one with the Georgian columns) Her name was Martin then.

I was in the Walthamstow Sea Cadets from age 14 to 19+ when I went into the Royal Navy for my national Service and then on to the Merchant navy as we were want to do in those days. I've been here for 42 yrs, having brought a dredger out from Glasgow and not bothering to go back (except for numerous visits over the yrs) My Mum's dead now, so the call is not as strong as it once was. We had good times "over the Park", in the forest, scrumping lovely pears from an orchard that used to be alongside where the "Guardian" used to be in Forest Rd, down from Thorpe Coombe where my brother was born in 1948. GREAT dances at the Assembly Hall where the Master of Ceremonies ALWAYS wore white tie, tails and white gloves and was quite a dancer. We used to go to ballroom practice over by old Walthamstow 7 days a week and twice on Saturdays when the big "hop" was on. Fights aplenty, usually with the Clapton boys....vicious bunch, but us Sea Cadets were just as hard!!! Drinks at the Bell half time, tho the "Brooke" as our favourite as the "Guvner" did keep his IPA a bit well. My mate who came over with me lived in The Drive. All his but his family was posher than mine !!!! (name of Walters...his Dad Wally was our Sea Cadet C.O., dead now)

What can I say about the High St !! My Mum used to take me to the gods at The Palace and I remember Jane the stripper I think she was (cartoon character fm The Mirror) and the velvet ropes that were an integral part of any theatre then. The saspirella man. One visit home I bought 4 bottles and brought them back with me. I have NEVER been able to find one of it's equal. Cant remember the Jewish tailor nearby but we gave him the elbow early in the piece as we found another great tailor. I remember the night Jerry bombed the Palace. It looked like it was in our back yard and lit up the sky. Mum calmly went down to get her washing in cos of the soot!!!!!!!! In later years it was an interesting "monkey parade" and there were a few pubs we used too. Rossi's ice-cream. Kiwi i/cream is great but not a patch on Rossis and they dont do the little swirl like Rossis. For some years whilst at Grammar School, I used to put the barrows out for the stall-holders. Earned more than my poor ol Dad. Sat evening, take in the barrows and then home on the bike, change into me clobber (had had a bath previously cos we'd been "modernised " by then) and rush down to Chingford Rd to catch the bus the the Drill Hall in Chingford. Cant remember the name of the pub. Charington Hse...good IPA.(not the Albert, the other way)
Lloyds Park. Every kid should have such a place to grow alongside. Shooting the rats in the moat with our catapaults, getting stuck in the mud after the war when they demolished the air raid shelters (we never used them !!) and b4 the swings it was a quagmire.

Well, I could go on all day and you certainly have me in very nostalgic mood. Last time I was there(1997) I visited Brettenham Rd but as Mum was then in sheltered accom back in her old manor (Docklands, she was a Custom 'Ahse girl) all I could do was get my brother (lives in Chelmsford) to photograph me with 64 in the background both in B/Rd and in the Park. Never did feel like I'd been "home" that trip !! Luckily my 2 sons experienced 64 before Mum moved out so that pleases me immensely. So, there you have it . A few recollection from an old Walthamstow lad (Johnny Burgess ex Dave Clark 5 was a neighbour and I loved it when "E17" made the big time) I havent even touched on my mates, several of whom are now STGP millionaires. Enjoyed talking "at" you. Kind regards and have a decent pint of IPA for me.....

Tony F

From Kara Graham.............14th September 2004


I am trying to trace anyone who knew anyone by the name of Ludkins.

My Grandfather was born in Walthamstow - John Ludkins, he married Rosina Edwards also
born in Walthamstow.

The Ludkins apparently ran a coal merchants between 1920 and 1940.

Do you know of anyone who may be able to give me more info on this family.

Thank you


I have placed this email here in the hope that someone out there can help Kara.

If you can, please email her directly at

From Pete Richardson.............Leytonstone...........14th September 2004

Hi there,

What a great site, especially the stuff about Markhouse Rd. school. I briefly attended there in 1964, don't have too many memories about it but I do remember a few things.

I remember the sweet shop behind the school, and was there one on Markhouse Road?

Going to the Granada Cinema, especially the Saturday morning kids stuff (the Granadiers I think?).

I had a Saturday job at Glady's the florist by the station, and going to the chippies for saveloys which was just up the road.

I used to live in Hove avenue. There used to be comic exchange shop just round the road from Hove Avenue (Selborne Rd?).

I remember the No.38 bus route. Used to go on it lots.

Sorry this is all jumbled up somewhat but I was pleasantly suprised to see the photos!

Did there used to be a schools dentists the town hall?

( My reply re: dentist "Ah the Town Hall Dentist. I was trying to forget about that! The horrible smell of rubber gas masks, and the rubber wedge to keep your mouth open. The "nice" nurse who would say after the treatment "Run along to the sink dear and rinse your mouth out, and be sick for me" YUK..........................")

Best wishes, and keep up the good work, thanks again,

From Ted Price .......Nashville Tennessee................7th July 2004


I would like to thank you for the website and what it has been able to give some of your cousins in the US.

I have been
trying to find some information on the family of Charles Henry and Ellen Ball Barrell. The only thing I could learn was the village. So from I found Walthamstow.

I have been able to show the website to the grandchildren and they are very encouraged to continue the search. The father in his US Army paperwork said he was born in Walthamstow and came to the US in 1930. If some of your readers may know of the parents of Leonard Henry Barrell our immigrant, I would appreciate being able to contact the family. I am to understand that Charles Henry Barrell did work for the Royal Mail...The grand children are happy to see the home of their father and appreciate what you have made available to the world.

Thank you and appreciate if you could pass this along.

Ted S. Price

From Peter Brook.......Yorkshire................11th April 2004


Hello Richard

I was doing a little research into Walthamstow and found your very interesting pages. Although I am not from that part of England my friend upstairs in the block of flats where I live is. He lived in Albion Road , Wyatts lane but moved to Yorkshire during the war and has never returned but often speaks about the area although he was only a lad at the time. He is 72 now. Interestingly, his sister Betty has still a hint of london accent although she lives in Bradford .

Thanks for the pages I will see that Robert gets to see them.

Peter Brook

From Gloria.......Ash Green, Surrey................18th March 2004


Dear Richard
I found you web site through Friends Reunited, it was really great to read about your life in Walthamstow but unfortunately I cant remember very much even though I lived in 163 Boundary Road near the Cambridge Pub from birth (born in the same house) to the age of 21yrs when I left to get married and move to Kent my surname was Nicholls it would be good to hear from anyone who new my family there was 10 children - 5 girls & 5 Boys the only recollection is our neighbors Mrs Clark who had 3 children. I know I went to Gamuel Road school when i was small then on to Capworth Street School for Girls, I also remeber my Mum and Sisters taking me to Walthamstow Market for Pie & Mash at Menzies so it was really great to read all your memories it stirred my imagination on finding out about my early years.
Thanks once again & best wishes
Gloria Wetherill (re Nicholls)

From Eric.......Trowbridge Wiltshire................18th March 2004


What an interesting and nostalgia inducing site you have. I have been researching my family history and came across it by accident.

I lived in Beulah Road from 1946 until 1958 when I went to do my national service and I never returned to London apart from a short spell in Canterbury Road Leyton

I have not been back since about 1960, but by now I doubt I'd recognise the place having read some of your other emails.

I went to the Henry Maynard Infants then primary school and then to Joseph Barrett in 1950. Mr Garrett was head of the primary school and A A Maxwell was head of Joseph Barrett.

I was in the St Marys sea scout troop, (I think it was 22nd Walthamstow), when K H Druitt was rural Dean

I remember all the Walthamstow schools being marched down to the Granada cinema to see The Ascent of Everest. I also have vague memories of a school trip, (also to the Granada) to see Julius Caesar with Marlon Brando as Marc Antony

I was at secondary school when Gypsy Rose Lee came to the Walthamstow Palace. My parents thought it was scandalous. A few of us kids tried to get in pretending to be 18, but they wouldn't have any of it. (kids seemed to look like kids then)

I learned to swim in the Leyton Baths and my Mum was an usherette in the Century cinema and also at the Ritz. When I went to the pictures I always used to get a free ice cream.

I used to go with the school swimming in the Walthamstow baths in High Street and I remember getting my clothes wet because of leaving them on the floor of the changing cubicle. I also remember grazing my knees and elbows on the bottom of the pool after diving in too steeply because the water was quite shallow even in the deep end (about 6 foot I think).
The Brylcreem machine, if it was manipulated carefully, could give multiple squirts if you didn't let the button right out but pushed it back in before it clicked.

I used to swim in the Lido at Whipps Cross which only opened during the summer, and I remember it as always being cold . Back then it was often closed due to the periodic outbreaks of polio because this was in the days before vaccination.

I have always liked reading and I had tickets for the main library in High Street and also the branch next to Wood Street School. It was against the rules of course. It worked out alright, but I had to be careful to take the right book back to the right branch.

My Grandfather, (Maternal), was a gate crossing keeper at Chingford Hatch and I spent many hours with him in the little hut there during my school holidays. I used to ride my bicycle out there and keep him company, drinking sweet tea made with condensed milk and watching the trains go by. He must have walked miles, opening and closing those great big gates. I remember that once when the crossing gate posts had been painted, ash from an engine set one of them on fire. It burned like a giant firework.
I saw a web site containing a 1971 photo of the crossing and that old hut and it brought a lump to my throat. It's gone now of course, but I remember it was a dangerous place and there were several nasty accidents there over the years.
When I see film of steam trains it recalls the smell of smoke and steam mixed, a smell like no other. When I was small used to stand on the bridge in Orford Road by Connaught Hospital and try to get enveloped in the cloud of steam as the train went beneath and then move on to the tuck shop at the St Marys end of the bridge for spanish wood or liquorice sherbet or whatever was the favourite of the day. What an unhygienic place that would be considered today.

My other Grandfather was an upholsterer and worked at the bus depot near Knotts Green repairing bus seats.

When I started work I used to get the train from Hoe Street into Liverpool Street. I think my season ticket then cost about 10 shillings a quarter and was referred to as an apprentices ticket which I was only allowed to use to go to and from work, not for pleasure
I recall that the train frequently failed to arrive due to breakdown of the engine or trouble at Wood Street where the bridge was often damaged by high vehicles trying to get under, and failing to.