Sunday, 13 December 2015

Growing up in Pomeroy Street in the 1930s ............. Margaret Nash remembers

I was born into a house that was not only falling down but also over crowded.

This wasn't unusual for residents of Pomeroy Street but what was unusual was that the houses in the street were all different as if built at different times in the

Our house had two rooms and a scullery downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs and these were shared between my mum, dad, sister, two brothers, my Nan and
Uncle Jack.

My Nan had lived in Pomeroy Street since her marriage but in the early 1930's she left my granddad and crossed the road to live with us bringing Uncle Jack with her.

Uncle Jack wasn't a relative at all but a friend of my dads, he had no family and had lodged with Nan and granddad since his early 20's and stayed within the family until he died in 1988.

You may wonder how we all fitted into this tiny house well Uncle Jack and Nan had the front room as a sitting room which also doubled up as Uncle Jacks bedroom while Nan went next door but one to sleep at my Aunts house.

I can see her now putting on her coat, picking up her alarm clock and going out of the front door to go to bed. We had the back room as a living room and my two brothers shared the back bedroom while me and my sister shared the front bedroom with mum and dad.

Despite everything it was a happy house and everyone got along.

There must have been cold rainy days but I can only remember the sunny days which we spent playing on the bomb sites or hanging around the cocoa factory in the hope of getting a bit of cocoa which we would mix with sugar to make a 'dip' or getting some free crumpets from the crumpet factory.

Once we'd broken up for the school summer holidays it was time to get ready for hop picking.

A few families in the street used to go hopping so it wasn't unusual to see vans or lorries loading up with tea chests and bits of furniture ready for a summer in Kent. I remember one year my mum sitting in an armchair on the back of a flat backed lorry while us kids dangled our legs off the back.

We must have been a sight to behold as we drove through the Kent countryside.

Then in 1953/4 the Council condemned the houses on our side of the street and one by one families moved out and into the new flats that had been built since the end of the war.

Most families moved into the flats including Nan and Uncle Jack. My dad wouldn't live in a flat so we went to live at Bellingham which none of us could settle to.

I still came back to New Cross to go to school and to see Nan and my mum carried on working at the café in Kender Street.

When I got married in 1966 I left for the Church from Nan's flat and spent the first year of married life back in New Cross.

Whenever I've been back to New Cross in recent years there's very little left of the place I grew up in but the memories are a treasure to hold.

© Margaret Nash 2015

Picture; family pictures in the Pomeroy Street, from the collection of Margaret Nash,

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