Sunday, 11 June 2017

Home thoughts from abroad nu 1 ................. Well Hall Road on a warm spring day in 1965

An occasional series on what I miss about the place where I grew up.

Now I don’t do nostalgia.  It’s over rated and too often offers up a view of the past which at best is deceptive and at worse downright wrong.

But having been away from Eltham for over forty years I have bit by bit been drawn back.

It’s partly those bouts of reflection that come from someone in his sixties but also because it was one of the places I was happiest.

That said for most of that last forty years it is somewhere I only came back to on flying visits.

In the early 70s Well Hall was home between term time, and then a place to catch up with family and friends and later still where we brought the children for short holidays.

During those early visits I have to confess to a mix of feelings.  It was always nice to be back amongst familiar places but when you are 19 it is easy to be over judgemental.  After all I was living in the heart of Manchester which was vibrant and new, offering up a wealth of experiences and Eltham seemed small beer.

But I never entirely lost the pull of Eltham and in the last few years have begun digging deep into its history and remembering so much from my childhood.

So this is the first of those memories and it is nothing more than that walk I took from our house up to the High street.

We lived just beyond the roundabout and so on a warmish spring day it was no hardship to stroll down past the Odeon and the parade of shops taking a detour into the Pleasaunce before going under the railway bridge up past Spencer Gardens and that second parade of shops before reaching Willcox’s and the parish church.

More often than not there was no real purpose behind the trip which meant you could take your time, be delayed by looking in the window of the electrical shop near Wells the Chemist, gaze at one of the guitars in Norman’s before  deciding on a book from Willcox’s.

And then with the whole High Street ahead of you an hour or two could pass just looking at the shops and visiting the library.

Like others I have very fond memories of the library which offered up plenty to do, from digging out those obscure old volumes from the reference section to choosing an LP and a couple of books.

Of course Well Hall Road offered up more than just a route to the library and on other days when the sun shone it was the way up to the woods and on to Woolwich.

Now I know others will have their own favourite road and I have to concede that Court Yard and Colepits Lane had their attractions but sitting here just 4 miles from the centre of Manchester I will go for Well Hall Road.

Location; Well Hall Road, Eltham

Pictures; Well Hall Road, & Eltham Library, 2014 from the collection of Chrissy Rose

1 comment:

  1. I loved that Library - my favourite place! We lived up on the Horn Park Estate and the mobile library came there but the day I was old enough to go to the proper library was like heaven! Also Eltham Baths. My brother bought his guitars from Normans (the band was Lynx 4)and my aunt lived at The Castle Pub (her parents owned it). Many many happy memories of Eltham.