Friday, 9 October 2015

Walking down Nunhead Lane on Christmas Day 1958

Now I was reminded of that oft quoted line “you can wait for a 21 from Lewisham and then three come along at the same time” which could apply to any bus anywhere in the world at some point, usually when it’s raining and you are late.

All of which is a contrived way of saying thank you to Adrian Parfitt who sent me  a shedful of new pictures from his mum’s photo album including heaps of Peckham Health Centre, the park at Rye Lane and Austin’s furniture store.

And among them was Banfield’s depot on Nunhead Lane which I had written about only recently and will lead someone to mutter about waiting for a coach garage and finding three in the same day.

Despite lots of thinking I still don’t remember the place although I must have seen it almost every day during the year I was at the annexe on Old James Street.

And I will have passed it on a Christmas Day morning sometime between 1957 and 59.

Now I can be pretty sure of those dates because I remember being fascinated by the newly rebuilt St Anthony’s church which was finished in 1957 replacing the one destroyed in 1940.

Although to be accurate it was the figure of Christ beside the church notice board which attracted me.

Looking back fifty seven years I could of course be mistaken but I am fairly sure that is what I saw.

It is an image that has stayed with me and like so many recently has bubbled up to the surface.

I was with my dad, and Uncle George and I think also my twin sisters who would have been two and it was one of those pre Christmas dinner walks that people went in for at the time.

We will have walked up to Rye Lane Park in the morning after opening the presents and the trip was mother’s way of emptying the house so she could prepare the dinner.

All of which will have placed us at the corner with Carden Road around 11.

Any later and we would not have been back to have settled down had dinner and cleared away ready for the Queen’s speech which I am also fairly confident we would have watched on the telly.

Like so many of the memories from when we lived at Lausanne Road I had begun to think many were just my imaginings but Adrian’s picture has brought it back and confirmed what I thought.

Added to which it also brought back one of those more shameful episodes when not much older and in the company of two friends I shocked an elderly couple on Nunhead Green with a series of foul outbursts which even at the time I knew were wrong and in the face of their disapproval I blushed.

What interests me more than the memories is that simple fact that as more pop up each in turn is confirmed by an old picture or by someone else.

So the cocoa factory on Kender Street, the tally man who called on a Friday and the wool shop on New Cross Road have all been vouched for which means more than a little of my life in Peckham and New Cross really did happen the way I thought it did.

Nor is this some silly little piece of nostalgia because it points to that important lesson in sharing our history especially if that history happened a long time ago and for some of us those memories are separated not just by time but also geography.

We left Lausanne Road in the spring of 1964 and when I returned six years ago much of the area was unrecognisable which I know is only to be expected but I bet with that change much has been lost.

Still that said the clock tower of the garage is still as is the church even if the ownership has changed and that row of houses don’t look so different.

Picture; Nunhead Lane, date unknown, from the collection of Adrian Parfitt

1 comment:

  1. I think the picture with the clock tower is mid 70s as the Mk1 Fiesta was introduced in
    1976 and the car on the forecourt looks like a 76-78 Ford Mustang.