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Rangefield Road, Downham, Kent.
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Approx. 1925-1930

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It was sometime in 1925 or 1926 that we moved from 106 Westmoreland Road, Walworth, the family home where we had lived since birth, to our first new home "in the country". This house was on a council estate run by the London County Council at Downham, near Bromley, in Kent.

I travelled in the removal van - I clearly remember sitting in the back of the van with dad, looking out over the tailboard watching the traffic. I remember seeing a funeral procession travelling in the other direction; dad took his cap off, I was puzzled but obviously impressed. Fred, who was only about one or two years old, must have travelled with mum, probably in the front of the cab with the driver, or they may have travelled by public transport.

I remember we arrived to find that the milkman had left some free groceries with the milk as a welcome gesture. Within a few days, mum took me to the school near to where we lived in Rangefield Road, but they couldn't register me because I was under five years old; my fifth birthday wasn't until 2nd August 1926.

My longest memory is that I previously attended school at Westmoreland Road, near to where we lived at Walworth. Apparently it was a nursery school and I had started there when I was about three and a half or four years old. Mum also had attended the same school when she was young.

Sketch of a gramophone circa 1908
A few memories of Rangefield Road: The house was No. 151, and it was terraced. We had a small front garden and a fair-sized back garden, where dad excelled at growing sweet peas, and we also had a pet rabbit.

Sketch of a barrel piano circa 1900

When I eventually started at Rangefield Road School at five years old, Fred, who was aged about two and a half at the time, would run after me up the garden path wanting to go to school with me. I remember the school well; one of the subjects that they specifically taught was "how to read the twenty-four hour clock".

Empire Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm at that school and I can still recall some of the activities in the playground, a day when all the parents would come and watch. Fred joined the school when he was aged five and we both stayed there until we moved out of the district in 1930.

Other things I remember about Downham is that there was a large field near to where we lived in Rangefield Road, with a stream which I once fell into. I also remember the street traders who regularly pushed their barrows up and down the road; one I particularly remember was the fishmonger who called every Sunday with shrimps and shellfish.

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A point of history: John Logie Baird gave his first demonstration of television on 27th January 1926, the British Broadcasting Company became known as the British Broadcasting Corporation and the annual fee for the wireless (radio) remained at 10/- (£0.50, €0.76) in March 1926.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

Text by Alf Allen 1999. Edited and spell-checked by Mike Allen 2003.
Most photos taken by Alf and most illustrations drawn by him; scanned from his albums, etc., now in my possession and digitally edited 2003-2005.
Yes, yes, the photos and layout need updating - the website was first designed in "dial-up days", before any sort of broadband, and everything had to be small so it uploaded and downloaded fast. Work to do, I know.

Website produced 2003-2013 by Mike Allen - a fatuous platitudes production.

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