Monday, 28 March 2016

One hundred years of one house in Well Hall part 7 ........... celebrating New Year

294 Well Hall Road, 2014
This is the continuing story  of one house in Well Hall Road and of the people who lived there including our family.*

Now I have to say that I didn’t celebrate that many New Years at 294.

The first would have been in 1964 and a decade later I had left for Manchester but dad and was there for thirty years.

For most of the 60s we saw it in with my uncle George although as all of us grew up the attractions of the various pubs in the High Street and parties took us away from home.

But you always knew that dad would be there with a mix of food a few drinks and memories of how it was done in the 1920s and 30s.

A Happy New Year, 1921
All of which made me wonder about some of the people who lived there before us and how they saw in the New Year.

The first of those residents was Basil Nunn who had moved in during the Great War and I guess New Years Eve would have been a quiet affair tinged with the hope that the war could not last much longer.

Much the same must have been the experience of those that were there in the Second World War which may have been even quieter given the shortages and the threat of air raids.

These may have lessened as the war drew to a close but never entirely went away.

Nor I suspect were the celebrations in the years directly following the end of the war any more elaborate.

Well Hall in 1950
There was still rationing which lingered on in to the 1950s compounded by fuel shortages and the scars left by the bombing.

So anything resembling the familiar events of today with a rich variety of food, drink and of course the  special television programmes would have to wait until the late 1950s, when the country began to enjoy that post war prosperity.

In our case it would begin with an early evening meal followed by the big family game of Monoply before the table was cleared away and we sat down to watch the telly.

I can’t say I remember with fondness either Andy Stewart or the White Heather Club which gently carried us towards midnight with a mix of Highland dancing, music and comedy.

But perhaps that is me, because a full half century later I am no less engrossed by Jooles Holland and the many ways his guests tell me about their future hopes for the year ahead.

Opposite our house, Well Hall Road, 1950
And I suppose that makes me reflect on whther you are a Christmas person or a New Year person.

I have always been a Christmas person.  I love the tree the cards, and all the build up, while New Year just leaves me cold.

In fact with the passing of the years I have become my father.  The food is there with the drink but as the children are all out celebrating I slide gently and with little effort towards bouts of sleep woken briefly by the sound of premature fireworks.

In time I will go looking for the other occupants of 294 and try and see if I can reconstruct how they celebrated the night.

Pictures; 294 Well Hall, 2014, from the collection of Chrissie Rose, A Happy New Yeat, 1921, Tuck & Sons, courtesy of Tuck DB Well Hall Road in 1950, from Well Hall Estate, Eltham:  An Example of Good Housing Built in 1915, S.L.G. Beaufoy** 

Location;Well Hall, Eltham, London

*One hundred years of one house on Well Hall Road, 

**Well Hall Estate, Eltham:  An Example of Good Housing Built in 1915, S.L.G. Beaufoy, The Town Plan

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