Sunday, 9 July 2017

Magic nights in Well Hall

I can picture the poster now.

It featured a guitar and a set of unlaced boots, was finely drawn in black ink resting on a white background, and advertised a folk and blues night at Well Hall Peasaunce.

Its design and the event perfectly appealed to a 16 year old and it ended up on the wall behind my bed and stayed there  long after I had left Well Hall Road.

As for the concert it was all the poster promised and while I have long ago forgotten the names of the artists the evening has stayed with me.  It was one of those memorable nights which began with the setting.

To the right of the stage was the southern side of the Tudor Barn with the moat running alongside it and to the left were the gardens with the railway station beyond.

And as the dusk turned into night the odd break in the performance was filled by the sound of trains passing through Eltham and the noise of cars coming down Well Hall Road.

I remember the concert being full and while I did go to a few more  nothing compared with that one.

And that got me reflecting on what makes a perfect memory.

We all have them bits of our past however trivial which stick with us and bring back home.

Going back even further and before we even moved into Well Hall Road I can still remember laying in bed and watching the night sky lit by the blue flash of what must have been a train at Queens Road Station.

I say that but the blue flash may have been caused by something entirely different but it remains with me even now.

As does the day sometime in 1964 when on a first adventure into Woolwich I discovered by sheer chance the ferry and like so many others before and since it caught my imagination.

Now there is nothing unusual in any of these memories.  Since I first posted a story about the concerts in the Pleasaunce others have told me of their magical nights on those hard metal seats listening to the music by the Barn.

And in the same way the Ferry remains one of those bits of so many peoples’ past along beside the market stalls, a traffic filled Powis Street and of course trips to Hind’s in the High Street.

Not that this is not  just another bit of nostalgic tosh but an appeal for those memories, with if possible a picture and better still a story, like the one from my friend Jean on a tram heading home to Eltham with a live eel bought by her grandmother on the market.

And these memories however episodic and disjointed are all part of our history.  Put them together and you have a set of stories to tell your grandchildren.

Location, Eltham & Woolwich, London

Picture; Tudor Barn, Well Hall courtesy of Scott MacDonald, 2013 and the floral display 2014, from the collection of Chrissy Rose

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