Michelle wrote to me in June 2012, sharing her memories of growing up on Morat Street and of the surrounding area, she writes:
Regarding Reay School, I went there from 1982 to 1988 and the football pitch (which hasn’t been there for very long) used to be part of the main school building as a playground (we used to call it the new playground/big garden). In the big storm of Oct 1987 the old oak tree that used to be in the middle of the playground fell over (got a day off school for that!). The vegetable patches/garden towards the town houses used to be the infants playground. The townhouses on Caldwell Street have not been there very long, it used to be an old peoples home when I went to Reay School, every year at Christmas time we would go and sing carols and put nativity plays on for the old and disable people that lived there. It was a sad day when they sold it off and it got knocked down.
I remember there being a murder on Hackford Road, the side of Reay School when I was younger, and us all being very excited that the school was shown on Police 5.
The housing along Hillyard Street (opposite Cranworth Gardens) is also quite recent, around the early 90’s it was built and became a care home for disabled and mentally challenged people. This was partially built (much to the opposition of the local people) on a piece of natural garden/woodland next to the building which houses an African church now. I remember going to a friends birthday party, held in the club house of the grounds, as a child.
Londis used to be called Charlies or Roses and it was two separate shops before the head of the family passed on and the family joined the shops together. There also used to be a small Jamaican shop opposite them which has now been redeveloped into part of the house on Brixton Road The Russell Hotel pub used to be one of the roughest in the area, lots of fighting and shootings while I was a teenager – very odd and sad to see it as a Tesco’s now, would have been nice to be refurbished and re-opened as a nice pub but for some reason they just don’t seem to do well around these streets. Hence the Dorset Arms/Kellys and the Cheeky Chappie on Vassall Road all shutting down.