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29 September 2013

29th Sept 1943: Fred revisits boyhood haunts... happy times

19 Faunce Street, Kennington some 70 years later.
 (First door on left behind the lady with the pushchair.)
This is a few hundred yards from Surrey's famous cricket ground,
 The Oval - no wonder Fred is so interested in cricket!
(Photo: Google Street View)
29 Wed. Mild, very dull; calm. Did small amount of shopping locally in morning. In afternoon I paid a visit on my cycle to Kennington the land of my boyhood's day. I had not been there for a very great many years. I went particularly to see the old house 19 Faunce Street. It had previously lost its windows in the raids but these have now been replaced and the house is occupied. I felt as though I had returned home at last and that here was the haven of my desire, but I had to look and pass on as though I had no connection with it. I also saw St. Agnes Church and Schools, so dear to me but now a blasted, burned out wreck. I spent all my school days there and I owe much to those who conscientiously taught me. The Church was a magnificent building which I remember well, especially the mighty organ. It is now a roofless empty shell. I picked up two pieces of red brick from the school as a memento. Also I saw the Primitive Methodist Chapel & Sunday School hard by. These also are devastated. I looked into the lower school-room through the glass-less window; I had been to many a Band of Hope meeting there. I then went into Wareham Street to see the Chapel and stood bare-headed just inside the porch. I remembered the happy times we had had there, particularly the anniversary services and I picture myself a small boy singing with the others on the platform. I thank God for the labour of those who taught me and who helped mould my character there. I picked up a piece of lath which had fallen from the ceiling and brought it home. I cycled round all the once familiar roads, the destruction is terrible; this neighbourhood suffered much in the raids. Some roads are obliterated. I saw too the factory of T. & W. Judge where Dad worked for so long and where I worked for nearly six years; these works were undamaged, so too was the house in Ravensdon Street where we lived once, but I was so small then I hardly remember it. I saw many destroyed Churches; Kennington Theatre is gone. This district suffered greatly at the hands of the Nazis and many parts are now open spaces or masses of rubble. Let us hope that one day a nobler London shall rise, never more to be blasted into heaps of ruins by high explosives.
'Girls and Infants' it says in stone over the entrance to the present day
Keyworth Primary School at the end of Faunce Street, Kennington.

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