Linda’s memories – Clapham Road, Brixton Road, Freeman’s

Linda wrote to me in September 2012, sharing her memories of Clapham Road, Brixton Road and of working at Freeman’s. She writes:

I lived in Clapham Road.  We left because the house was so big and only 3 of us lived there by 1999, also because the area had deteriorated so much and my 15 year old son was having real problems with local thugs. I have been back to visit over the years and think the area has improved again. I still miss it as it is much more cosmopolitan than where I am now.

I forgot to mention to that I spent nearly a month in Belgrave Children’s Hospital when I was about 10 (that would have been in 1958).  The staff were so good I didn’t want to come home!

Freemans was a wonderful place to work, very friendly and very family orientated. The retired staff association still organise holiday breaks throughout the year and many of us take advantage of these. There were 2 beautiful rooms inside the building which were used as Board Rooms – lovely panelling with concealed cupboards – and at one time the larger had a table tennis table as one of the Directors liked a game at lunchtime! The Boardroom table easily seated 26 people and I arranged many lunches, dinners and parties in these rooms. 

I remember my mother telling me that she used to go and buy hot doughnuts from the doughnut factory when she was young (before Clapham Road she lived with her family on Brixton Road where they ran a cafe).  During the war the army used Kennington Park and they supplied the cafe with supplies and used it as their NAAFI.

My father worked at Decca TV and Records which was opposite the cafe on Brixton Road, that’s how they met.

One Response to Linda’s memories – Clapham Road, Brixton Road, Freeman’s

  1. Pearl Catlin says:

    I remember the dreadful morning after Freeman’s was bombed. We were told a lot of girls had been killed. I was 10 at the time and used to help a young lady VET who had a houseful of bombed out cats and dogs on the corner of Albert Square and Clapham Road.
    Her name was IRIS and she helped everyone. I still know how to give animals pills because Iris showed me how. I lived in 23 Albert Square – on the corner with Wilkinson Street with St Stephens Church at the end of that. Roger Moore live a few doors from me and there were lots of children who played together. I remember Doris Fenn and the 2 Italian girls Enrica and Gioconda Zucchini who lived in number 19. Their father had been sent to the Isle of Man for the duration. In my house was an acrobat act called Rolls and Falls who appeared regularly at the Empress, Brixton, and in the basement was “Baby Sylvia” who also did weird things with her body in the theatre. Our school in Hackford Road got badly damaged and we moved into the corner part of it, which was named Brixton Central and then that took a direct hit and we were sent to Cowley Road, a nice modern school where there were quite a few male teachers who’d been invalided out of the army. But we never missed lessons. I look back and know perfectly well that today’s pupils would never be able to put up with what we did. And all the subjects we had that seem obsolete today. Nature study (we were taken on rambles as far away as Barnes sometimes for this) art, cookery, geometry, French, English Literature, Arithmetic and Algebra. I had extra tuition from 4-6 for shorthand and typing. What an education and so many things learned and used today. (Not the shorthand but it has always come in handy)
    Lovely to remember all these things and people in one’s early life and the impression left after so many years.

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