Visitors e-mails 2006



From Ron Parker........................ Eastbourne, East Sussex...........................4th December 2006

Hi Richard,

I was introduced to your website by my very good friend Don Sheppard in Perth, Western Australia, and I thought you might be interested in a few of my memories from the early years.

I was born on 9th July 1928 and I lived at 51 Frith Road, Leyton, just off the High Road near the Temple Mills Marshalling Yards. I went to Goodall Road Infants and then briefly to Downsell Road School when in the summer of 1938 we moved to 10 Park Road, Walthamstow, a small turning some 400 yards through Willow Walk and under the railway bridge, from the High Street.

I finished my junior schooling at Mission Grove School, just off the High Street passed Palmerston Road. Can anyone remember the big mulberry tree in the playground? -- and yes, we did keep silkworms.

At the age of eleven I should have gone to George Gascoigne Central School in Queens Road, but that and the other central school, William Morris, were closed indefinitely because of the outbreak of war.

At this point I was evacuated to the village of Stewartby in Bedfordshire, but came home after 2 months and spent the rest of the war in Walthamstow. When I came home from Bedfordshire both Central schools were still closed, and the only schooling I had at this time was some weekly homework which we got from Marsh Street Youth Centre every Monday.

William Morris eventually re-opened in April 1940, and I attended there until I left in July 1943. I am sure George Gascoigne did not open at all, and became an ARP depot for the duration of the war. As a matter of interest I can still recall most of the teachers at William Morris during the period I was there, viz. Mr Stallard (Headmaster), Mr Ayres, Mr Barker, Mr Corduroy (affectionately known as "Bill Bags" ), Mr Dodds, Mr Gachet, Mr Vassierre and Mr Cyril Burton who with another teacher, Mr Taffy Davies, was instrumental in administering the re-opening of the Athan 31 Club after the war at its new premises in Grove Road in 1946.

I belonged to the club, and for 3 or 4 months before I went into the RAF in November 1946, helped, with others, to clear and tidy the much overgrown garden at the rear.

Nearly all contributors to your website have mentioned the High Street market, and I'm no different. I wonder if any of the following jogs the memories of some of your readers?

Going to see the magic lantern shows in the Conway Hall Congregational Church at the top end of the High Street. Coming out of swimming at the Walthamstow Baths and crossing the road to Holdstocks the Bakers to buy 2d. (2 pennyworth) of yesterdays cakes and rolls to eat on the way back to school. Drinking a glass of Sarsaparilla from the stall outside the old Carlton Cinema. Playing a frame or two of snooker in the snooker hall opposite the Walthamstow Palace. Seeing Harry Secombe before he became famous with the Goons, doing his hilarious shaving routine at the Palace in 1946. Buying one shillingsworth of Whiskey (more than 2 doubles) for my Gran from the OffSales Bar down the side of the Chequers Public House. Doing night fire watching at Marsh Street Youth Centre (now Sainsbury's Supermarket) during the doodle bug and V2 period for 2/6d (12 1/2p) a night.

The Howard's Dolls Hospital toy shop right opposite Willow Walk where many a girls doll was repaired. Admiring the lovely old Queen Anne period house standing in gardens on the corner of Palmerstone Road. Manze's Pie and Eel Shop of course (still there today) and opposite, next to the alley that led down to the Salvation Army Hall was Smiths (real name Schmidt) the butchers who made the most delicious savaloys, peas pudding and faggots, but, being German, his shop was closed and the family interned for the duration of the war. Many a time I went to Manze's and/or Smiths with my pudding basin and bought our evening meal (takeaways started earlier than you think).

Further down the market opposite the Cock Tavern pub on the corner of Buxton Road was Clare's wet fish lock-up shop and stall (quite a family the Clare's). Right next door was the offal shop - many a mum during the hard times would buy a sheep's head, cow heel, pigs trotters, tripe, etc. to make a cheap tasty meal for their families - I know mine did! Rosin's the bakers and Rossi's Ice Cream Parlour, where nearby was Strutt's home made sweets stall. Cough candy, candy twist, coconut ice, slabs of nut and raisin toffee, etc. All these made in their shop in Markhouse Road near to the school, and down to the bottom end with Burtons the Tailors with the snooker hall above, and Lidston's the Drapers and Woolworths on the opposite side.

Tony Freshwater from Wellington, N.Z. in his article mentioned he could not remember the name of the Jewish tailor near the swimming baths. I think he refers to Lew Rose who had a double fronted shop adjacent to the old Monoux Grammar School.

As a matter of interest, Richard, after I married I moved into 291A Lea Bridge Road, a Warner's flat in the block just down from Markhouse Road, and lived there from 1957 to 1963. Our shared garden backed onto Sybourn Street School, and we used to pay our rent weekly in the Warners rent office - the first flat on the left in Markhouse Road. Small world, isn't it?

I could go on but I think this is quite enough for now.

All the best then Richard. Please keep the memories flowing, they are so interesting to read.

Sincerely, Ron Parker

From Don......................... Perth.......................Western Australia.

Hi Richard,

I am sorry that this has turned out so long, but the more I wrote the more I remembered, and the more I remembered the more I wrote!
Anyway, do with it what you will. Select bits or serialise, it's your call. I hope you do not find it boring, and that there might be something of interest in it for you.

I have just spent a very pleasant couple of hours when I came across your site while "surfing".

John Sheppard(b 1868) and Henrietta Lacon (b. 1869), my paternal grandparents, were married and living in Cuthbert Road by the 1891 census, and had started their family. By 1901, their family had grown and they had moved to Linford Road. My father was the youngest of two sons, and they had six daughters. I have no memory of my grandfather, as he died in the early 1920's, but I well remember my "gran" and spent quite a lot of time with her during my younger years. I have fond memories of the family card evenings, when she was considered too old to play and I was too young, and we used to keep each other company.

My mother and father were married in 1933, and although my mother was from South East London, they set up home in Walthamstow. They first lived in Turner Road, then moved to Randolph Road. I was born in that house in 1942 and lived there until I was first married in 1965. I can recall many of the things that your other correspondents talk about. I went to Maynard Road from 4 1/2 years, and can certainly remember the afternoon "naps" on the little canvas beds. Then on to the Infants school with Mr Garrett as headmaster, and I believe we had two Mr Green's, also a Mr Holdsworth, a Mr Frost and a Miss Lodder. It was while in Miss Lodder's class that I can remember the Ice Cream factory in Shernhall Street. To us it was the Shales Ice Cream factory, and as a part of our Christmas "party", Miss Lodder somehow managed to fund ice creams for all of the class from that factory. Dicky Birds Ice Cream was also an out-of-school favourite, and we used to get ours from Mr Barrick's sweet shop in Orford Road. I can remember the afternoon that the announcement was made by our class teacher that "The King Is Dead - Long live the Queen" on the passing of King George VI.

I can also remember playing for the school soccer team. Our colours were those of the old Walthamstow Avenue team, light and dark blue, although our shirts were "quartered". I was the goalkeeper, and was very proud of my yellow jersey. On match days, when we used to go to Salisbury Hall to play our matches after school, we was allowed to wear our football socks to school on those afternoons.

During my growing years, my father worked in the City for a haulage company, Suttons, that was eventually to become part of the British Road Services when road haulage was "nationalised". He used to leave home at 5,30am, returning around 6pm, and worked a half day Saturday until noon. On Saturday afternoons, it was the thing for my mother to take me "down the High Street", and as a little lad, I would walk with her from home the length of the High Street, and back again, between "dinner" and "tea" as our main meals were known in those days. I don't know why my father never joined us on those afternoons, but I suppose that our outing was, to use a modern term, to "give him space". Often, we would walk back to the High Street again in the evening, to see a show at the Walthamstow Palace.

If I had my mothers attention for six days a week, then Sunday was the day I spent time with my father. In the morning we would always go out somewhere. In his younger years, he had played both cricket and soccer, so depending on the season, there were visits to Leyton's football ground at the rear of the Hare & Hounds pub in Lea Bridge Road, or for cricket the Xylonite ground in Highams Park or Walthamstow's ground at Bucks Walk off of Wood Street. With five married sisters all living in Walthamstow, there were family visits, and most of the time we would walk wherever we was going, because at that time there were no cars in our family. In her later years, my gran needed a wheelchair to go out in, and we often took her out in the summer. One of her favourites was the walk along the Woodford Road to the Rising Sun pub, where she was able to enjoy a glass of Mackeson. As with all children in those days, I was outside, with a glass of lemonade and a bag of crisps!

Once upon a time I could have talked you through the High Street shop by shop, even stall by stall, but the memory now is not as good as it was. Why is it that everybody remembers Manze's pie and eel shop? And the man at the stall outside cutting up the eel's while the customers waited? And the man that sold the Sarspirella? And the chestnuts in winter? How about the man that sold the china, with his very practiced "patter"?

Do you remember that, on Hoe Street, just near the junction with High Street, there used to be a charabanc (coach) stand? Company names were Black & White, Grey Green, George Ewer, and I think Classique. Maybe not all at the same time, but over the years. These would be made use of by my parents for an occasional day out in the Summer.

I, too, did a paper round from Desborough's shop in Orford Road (1953 -1961), Other shops in that part of Orford Road were Scott's the bakers, Field's the barbers, Greys the chemist, Mr Blyth had the sweet shop, somebody called "Reg" had the Off Licence, and Frank Ison had "the oil shop" which would nowadays be called a hardware shop. I can recall that my aunt had a radio that was powered in those early days prior to the modern batteries by an "accumulator" that had to be taken to Mr Ison for recharging.

Sunday School for me was at Folkestone Road Hall. My mother used to recount the story that I "so liked going to school I was disappointed that there wasn't any on Saturdays and Sundays". I can't imagine where she got that idea from, but off I went to "FRH" as a 5 year old, and was still in attendance there until I left school at 16. I formed some terrific friendships in those days, and it is still my great pleasure to catch up with some of those lads and lassies when I return to England for "family" holidays.

Our last visit was in October 2004, and while staying for a short time with my old school friend, Alan Jones, got him to take me back to have a look at the old place. To my surprise, Randolph Road was still intact, exactly as it was when I left it 40 years ago. I was able to make a purchase in Desborough's old shop in Orford Road. 50 years later, it is still called "Desborough Newsagents" although there have been several changes of ownership, and Scotts old shop is still a bakery, the barber shop is still there although not trading these days, and Mr Isons shop still had the same facia board, although it had recently been sold, and my information was that the block it stood on would be converted to housing.

From Maynard Road I went to William Morris Technical School in Gainsford Road, which was accessed from either Erskine Road or Palmerstone Road off of the High Street. So my association with the High Street continued. Yes, school dinners have always had that reputation, haven't they.? We didn't like them either, and chose to spend our "school dinner money" in either Rossi's Ice Cream Parlour, or in the then "new" Wimpy Burger Bar.

As I say, the more I write, the more I remember, but think it would only be fair to stop at this point. I hope that some of the things I have written about bring back happy memories to some of your readers.

Best wishes, Don Sheppard

From Robbie Patterson...............Kent......................24th June 2006

Hello Richard
Fantastic to see someone with a passion for a place with such a lively & eventful history... I finally moved from my beloved Walthamstow to Kent after 27 years last year..But my family have lived there for ever (& continue to do so) I'm putting together an historical site of my own at the moment & would love to put your great site on my "links" section if that's OK?

A couple of queries that cover Waltham Forest in general that someone might be able to help with: Does anyone remember "the interesting shop" on the Lea Bridge Road? It lived there for years & years, selling d.i.y goods...

Does anyone have any information on the importance & age of the original St.Mary's C of E school (living in the grounds of the church itself towards Vestry house)? ..Years ago I read that it was one of the first in Britain but don't have any idea of where or if that's correct...

Great site!


If anyone can help Robbie regarding The Shop or School, please contact me and I'll pass the infor on. Thanks

From Ed.........................Auckland...New Zealand..................11th March 2006

Hi Richard What memories your web site have opened.

I am Ed Day , I attended Markhouse Rd School, think I left in about 1950? I was in the same class as Viv Murthet . Well remember Headmaster George Easton (he lived in the same road as me Belgrave Rd)

Tom Blumson our Music teacher, which I found peculiar as he must have been deaf (wearing a hearing aid as he did) Aggy Townsend, Malyon and Pearce who as Christine said scared everyone.I was probably the most timid boy in the school although do remember being made a prefect, with the school head bow (Cox) I was conscripted into RAOC in 1955, hated every minute but must admit it gave me confidence in myself ( insisting I was school teacher material? )

Although Athan Boys Club was for George Gascoigne boys somehow I was admitted, becoming a committee member and helped in the formation of Athena Girls Club where I met my wife Jill Baldock she lived in Somers Rd (near the High St Market)

We emigrated to New Zealand in 1975, settling in Auckland. We owned a fruit & veg shop for a few years eventually closing it down and turning the premises into a takeaway , selling Hamburgers & Fish & Chips etc. We finally retired about five years ago when I turned 65 ( I’m now 70) .

I see there is somebody on this web living in Wellington NZ, but alas name is unknown to me.

I could waffle on because as each memory comes so it raises still more. Ed


No.2 Mail................................................13th March 2006

Hi Richard its nice to realise the world is shrinking, how many people think NZ is still part of Australia? I used to teach photography and process member’s films in the darkroom which I mainly equipped, at Athen Club before my departure into the army.

I joined the police in Essex whilst we lived there. And after we sold our business in NZ I went as a volunteer to the NZ police , but what did they do –offer me a full time job (too old for uniform) but re-entered the work force as the Exhibits /Drugs officer for this district. Lots of fun knowing more (usually) than the young beginners. I still work one day a week. Could do more but enjoy the freedom retirement offers.

Yes please add me to the "Your Memories" page–might find someone who knows me. Ed

From Roger..........................Formby-Merseyside...................10th January 2006

Hi Richard,

What a lovely website you have created which has evoked many memories of someone born and raised in Walthamstow and now living far away in the north west of England. I was born in Thorp Coombe in 1947 and we lived in Edinburgh Road. Upstairs with Nan and Granddad as people did in those days. Dad worked on the railway and Mum was a GPO telephonist. I went to St Mary’s Infant School in Vestry Road and then to Henry Maynard after we moved to Granville Road near Boundary Road, before moving back to Edinburgh Road and attending George Gascoigne School in Queens Road. I remember walking down on summer evenings and Sundays to the allotments with my Granddad, at the back of St Saviours in Markhouse Road and even going into the ‘High Church’ just once as Mum called it. I also had relation living in the Warner Flats towards the junction of Markhouse Road and Lea Bridge Road. Reading through your site and peoples email memories brought so many memories back. Seeing Vestry Road leading up to St Mary’s Church brought back the stirring memory of the 22nd Sea Scouts marching proudly to church on Sunday with the cubs and guides on church parade. Being chosen to carry the flag was a great honour to a young boy. I also remember St Athan House a youth club in Grove Road where ones adolescent was developed and guided to giving young people a good grounding in life along with adventures. I left Walthamstow to join the Navy in 1962 and finished in 1997 so I must have liked it. I returned to Walthamstow regularly as I had an aunt and uncle living in the Drive and watched how Walthamstow changed. Mum and Dad are still active and live close to me and love to remember things about their past which is more distant than mine but always so very interesting. Dad remembers working for Hitchmans Dairies as a young man and I also worked there as a delivery boy along with doing a paper round all before going to school. No wonder I ran off to join the navy.

Sorry to ramble on but as I talk, many of the lids of memory open. Hope this is of interest to you and thanks again for a great website.

Regards Roger Tapson

From Pamela...................................................9th January 2006


Hi Richard,

I came across your website today while browsing and found it very interesting and humorous and entertaining to read.
I have a niece living in Theydon Street off Markhouse Road. Those houses look the same from the exterior as they have ever done but there has been much modernisation of the interiors.
Keep up the good work Richard. You are encouraging important historical documentation.

From June.......................Spain....................9th January 2006


Hi Richard,

A Happy New Year

Hope you are well.

I decided to put my name on the Friends Reunited- My husband kept urging me to have a look!

From this I looked at your website on Walthamstow, and lo and behold, there was my husband, on the video photo doing Chemistry in Mr. Testro’s class. I regognized him immediately, as he was the image of our grandson, who is 7 yrs!

His name is John Burgess and I am June formerly Henderson. You probably will not remember my name, but many of the names are familiar to me.

How nice to look back, I guess that is what we do now!

We have been living and working in Spain for 18 years, although John does not work now, since a heart attack in 2003. I am working in my daughter’s insurance office.

We have two children here Nicola 34 and Darren 31, and three Grandchildren Jade 10, Jamie 7 and Adam 2.

Just wanted to let you know who the person was in the photo, in case you did not know! I know John knew many people through Cycling and Marsh St. Youth Club.

Kind Regards

June Burgess (Henderson)