Visitors e-mails 2014


Hi Everyone.

I am putting out an appeal to anybody who has emailed me in the past.
I've had a major computer failure and have lost hundreds of emails and email addresses.
If you have a minute, could you please just drop me a short email so that I may recover at least some of the lost addresses. THANK YOU

Thanks for visiting the email pages.







From Margaret Mills......................Billericay.........ESSEX..............26th May 2014


Hi Richard,
As an ex-Walthamstow resident of long ago, I've known about your website for quite a while, and enjoy looking at the comments and the wonderful collection of pictures you've accumulated!

Probably like many others on your website, I was born at Thorpe Coombe Maternity Hospital - in my case in 1948 (according to my mother, the hospital left quite a lot to be desired, and I think she wished she'd had me at home!!). I had an elder brother, David (11 years older than me) and a sister, Eileen, (4 years older). We originally lived in Acacia Road, Walthamstow, but in 1959 moved to Myrtle Road, just round the corner. All 3 of us children attended St Saviour's Primary School followed by Mark House Senior School, (although I'm unclear how long my brother was at St Saviour's, because his early education would have been during the Second World War and I know my parents moved house a few times, always to roads in Walthamstow or Leyton, though, due to the bombing).

Of the teachers at Mark House, I remember with particular affection Miss Townsend (a great favourite of mine), Miss Palmer, Mrs Dawes, Mr Bowling, Mr Malyon, Mr Griffiths, Mr Hart, and Mr Jones, also Mr Gizzi, not forgetting Mr Smith, the Head. Sadly, my brother David died suddenly last year, but he had kept in close contact with John Jones since he was at school, which was quite an achievement as David had lived all over the world in connection with his work.

My father worked for many years at the London Electric & Wire Company in Leyton (?Church Road), but I think this company are long gone; my Dad, born in Leyton, was one of 9 children - and I think all of the 8 boys worked at London Electric at one time or another - possibly even his father (my paternal grandfather) worked there for a time. I think it was known by a variety of different names, having been taken over by other companies during its' history. My Dad was there for the whole of WW2, and like all the other workers he worked terrifically long hours, as the factory had been taken over for "war work" and they were engaged on vital work for the war effort. My mother often told the story of how once, entering the factory, Dad was spot-checked by a policeman, questioned and searched, and his sandwiches, brought for the night shift as there was no canteen, were also searched!! Whether Dad ate them afterwards, or went without after the policeman's hands had been all over them, I don't know, I was always laughing too much to pursue the story.

Since my late parents moved away from Walthamstow (in about l980) I have not returned - I know from those who have that it is a lot different to how I remember it (what is it they say about 'treasure your memories, never go back'? Well, I took their advice!.

Your website is brilliant, and I'm certain you've put in an enormous amount of work on it. With best wishes, Margaret Mills (nee Mead)



From Tony Hatfall...................................Torquay........................29th January 2014


Hi Richard.Only came across your site today otherwise I wold have been in touch before.My name is Tony Hatfull,and I was borne in 1946 in Thorpe Combe,in those days before the N.H.S. it was a private ante-natal hospital,I gather it is now a place for the aged & senile which is poetic justice I guess.I had an uncle who was sent there in the mid 1970`s must be long gone by now.My father was an officer in the merchant navy,Australia and back from Tilbury in those days, but we only saw him about three times a year.We lived at 12 Morgan Ave
overlooking the Wood St. cricket ground in flats newly built in 1938 and my parents were the first to move in.My dad was a keen cricketer and played for the P.& both in England and Australia depending where his ship was,and he was able to watch the cricket from our front window.

I first went to school at Snaresbrook College,then to Maynard Road,now Henry Maynard,and also now knocked down.Then to Joseph Barrat, now Warwick Secondary School, for the sons of gentlefolk. Let me give you a few memories as they come to mind,so perhaps not accurate in time line,but should be familiar.Trolly busses.661 from Leyton to Stratford via Whipps Cross. The 581 from Bloomsbury to Napier Arms.We used to catch that one at what we used to call the Dip`s Filled in in 1958 opposite Forest School to go to the Kingfisher swimming pool,now long gone, ( The site is now a Counyt Arms Hotel), but the turning circle for the busses is I believe still there, minus the overhead wires. Also opposite the Napier Arms was the Romany Tea Gardens then a seemingly magical place when we were four or five years old.Now a garage.I remember just before that on the left going towards Woodford big lumps of concrete,that were put there to stop German tanks.We used to get the steam train from Wood Hoe St. and go to the Walthamstow baths, a dreadful place where your clothes got wet,and at the school gala`s hundreds of us were packed into tiny club changing rooms.You can imagine the smell,as most kids got a bath once a week ( perhaps) ! I remember one kids feet were so filthy that we thought he still had his socks on.

We were considered posh because we had a bathroom and the toilet was actually indoors. One of my mates Ronnie Smith lived in a condemned four storey house in Wingfield Rd. They had a cold water kitchen and toilet in the basement, then up two floors past boarded up doors to two rooms on the top floor,with everything electrical running off the ceiling light with those adaptors that are now illegal to sell. They were moved to the new (in 1958) flats complete with coal cupboard in Collard Rd.

I used to do a paper round for Jefferson` those days the rounds were sorted in the walkway at Wood St station that leads to the Chingford side. My round was Valentin Rd, Collard, Marlow, then mostly pre-fabs but now flats. Havant, Turner, Prospect, Wyatts Lane and a few more that I can't remember. I then got a new round Upper Walthamstow Rd and surrounding streets Bistern, Avon etc. It was more money but in those days it was a
select area and everyone had the Sunday Times so the round had to be done in two halves.

We lived at the top of Buck Walk and we used to sit on the wall of Russell Carpentry who made ammo crates for the army and we used to help push them along the rollers with our feet.They let us have off-cuts of wood for the fire. We all had coal fires then, some people had old oil heaters that you could boil a kettle on and in Wood St., next to Hitchmans Dairy, was the oil shop run by an old man who sold parafin and firewood, I`ll never forget that smell.

Shopping was different in those days.I had to run errands in Wood St. The Co-op. opposite the 18th century butchers. 916557 I`ll never forget our number for the Divv`i. "Edwards", where one had to queue at various counters for different things. "Phamphilions" the ironmongers.Who remembers Jacks Bargain Stores and J&M the secondhand clothes dealer at the bottom of Valentin Rd.? Old Mrs Parker`s sweet shop on the corner of Wood St.and Roland Rd. She refused to sell me sweets once as I didnt have any coupons (rationing didn`t end till 1953).

A regular sight was tall vans,and the odd private double decker bus getting stuck under Wood Street railway bridge. The pubs in Wood St were The Plough, Flowerpot, White Swan and Dukes Head. The Flowerpot was my Dad`s favorite and when he came home it was straight down there.Them inside and me out on the step with a lemonade and crisps.Safer days then? Perhaps. At the top of Orford Rd was Conought Hospital,and opposite a building with big green doors.I can remember my mother taking me there to get me some orange juice (still rationed) came in a glass bottle with a cork.With my dad all over the world and smallpox a big deal then, the whole family had enough vaccinations to last a lifetime.

There were plenty of cinema`s then.The Kings, later called the Century, where we went Saturday morning pictures (We're one for one & all for one,we are the Century Rangers) used to get the bus by St.Peters Ave "penny-bakers mister" and watch Bat-Man,the original pre -lycra one in his baggy long johns with J.Carrol Naish as the villain in his hideout on the ghost train & trapdoor to the alligator tank.

If it was a birthday you went up on stage and got sweets. If me and my mates had all the birthdays we claimed I`d be older than Bertrand Russell! Then there was the Ritz opposite Leyton Baths. Expensive as they showed new releases.The Plaza in Hoe St. That was cheap, most of the films my Grandad would remember.The Granada next to Henry Tailors..Very posh with a tea room.The Empire at Bell Corner.We could get in to see X films when we were 13 or 14 they did`nt care,and the films were black & white obscure european with subtitles ,and you might have got a half second glimpse of bum,but we could brag that we
got in,and convinced the younger kids that it was hard porn.In the High St. was the Carlton at the top and the Dominion at the St.James Street end. There was the Rex by Leytonstone Station and another next to Bearmans by the church. There was the Regal Highams Park, one at the bottom of Chingford Mount,one in Wanstead High St. Alsothere was The Majestic Woodford and The Savoy Markhouse Rd wonder how many are still around. A short way
down The High St (Marsh St) on the right was the Walthamstow Palace. One of the last remaining music hall`s,and I can dimly remember being taken to a pantomime there by my big sister. It must have been in the late 1940s, so I must have only been three or four,but I remember a shiny coach on stage,so it was probably Cinderella. We used to go swimming at
the Hollow Ponds,and some enterprising person took over the small pond where they have the model boats. He put up a tea stall,and had sand delivered and spread round the banks.He was doing very good business for a while then the Polio scare started and that was his
downfall. After that we used Whipps Cross Lido,shame they had to fill that in,you could get an early morning swim free,and it was only a few yards from home.There was the Rising Sun boating pond next to the pub run by Mrs Sandy,whose family also had the tea stall opposite St.Peters Church. We used to wade over to the small island,and the forest keeper would shoo us off. The pond was fed by a small stream that was the overflow from the tanks at Waterworks Corner. I used to go shooting with one of the staff there,and he gave me a tour of the place,they still had the old diesel pumps from the early 1900`s and they could be used
in emergency but it was all electric by then.They moved the tanks to the other side of Forest Rd when they did the new layout ,and the stream stopped and as far as I know the boat pond has largely dried up. Top of Upper Walthamstow Rd were a couple of big old houses owned by a Mr. David Doctors. Another well known Wood St. trader between Snaiths stationers and the afore mentioned Jacks Bargain Stores.The inside of his emporium would make Steptoes Yard look like Harrods.We refered to these houses as Spooky Towers,and in the end the council made him sell them. There are flats there now.

Getting back to J.B.Stores, the owner Mr Jack Zimmerman lived just round the corner from me in The Risings. One day he got mugged at his shop,and he did his house up like a
concentration camp, barbed wire and all the trimmings on top of the walls etc.Think the neighbours were not too pleased with his security measures and I think he had to take it all down.

I left Walthamstow in the early 1970`s and lived in Hadleigh for a while,then Ilford then in
the early 1980`s the London Docklands.In 2001 I was offered a transfer to Torquay,so sold my house for a slight profit,and was able to move down here mortgage free.I worked 30 years for M.F.I.and retired in 2006.Most people think MFI went bust,but thats NOT the case,so to set the record straight. In 1995 MFI started a trade business called Howden Joinery,and this proved to be a far more profitable undertaking than the retail side. In 2006 the retail and name was sold to a private venture group for a nominal sum to avoid contractual issues. Many were
offered early retirement, so we took the money and ran. Howden`s now pay my pension.The P.V.G.took what they could then allowed the business to run down and fail,it went into administration same day as Woolworths,but nothing to do with the company that in the 1970`sand 80`s made a fortune supplying british homes with cheap furniture made in East German slave factories.In fact the agent for most of this trade with the Iron Curtain states was a local lad Philip Laite with an office in Loughton, an uncle of mine used to play golf with him at the West Essex Club near Gilwell Park. Probably loads more will come to
mind but thats it for now.