30 September 2015

22nd-23 October 1945: rough going

22 Mon. Mild for season but very rough wind. Alternate bright sunshine & showers. Took counterpane cover to cleaners but they could not take it. To Morden in afternoon to buy fish.

23 Tues. Rather cool, alternate sunshine and heavy showers; very rough. More playing of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. Along rail path to buy fish in Wimbledon.

29 September 2015

20th-21st October 1945: hard work breaking up matress

20. Mild fine sunny morning, cloudy afternoon. Cycled to Cheam but no meat so bought fish, also bought a cake there. Gwennie, Laurie and Aunt Liza called. Finished breaking up the old spring mattress.

21 Sun. Very mild, 65 degs: very dull rain. Dad, Alb, Lily and Anthony came to dinner and tea. Laurie called and went with Anthony to Sunday School. Mrs Akroyd also to tea.

28 September 2015

18th-19th October 1945: "I am 57 today and feel 107"

18 Thur. Cool, dull, slight rain. I am 57 to-day and feel 107. Anthony sent me a birthday card. Did a little shopping locally in morning. Made another effort to scrap the old spring mattress – heavy going. Gwennie and Laurie called. Gave Laurie 1s 6d as his birthday was last week but he was at Oxford then.

19 Fri. Cold at each end of day but fine and bright throughout; the sun temperature rising to 91 degs. in afternoon. Got the week-end joint and all the usual Fri. morning shopping locally: bought a large cabbage for Aunt Liza. To Morden in afternoon to buy fish. A letter from Alan Spooner who is in the army at Maidstone.

27 September 2015

15th - 17th Oct 1945: Italian PoWs farming

15 Mon. Mild, pleasant sunny afternoon. To Morden, thence to Wimbledon to buy fish, returning along rail-path. Gwennie and Laurie called with some percussion caps to let off. A very charming little girl who said she was Sheila called selling picture of children for one penny; the proceeds going to the National Children’s Home and Orphanage. Paid the Slate Club. Aunt Nellie called bringing me a birthday cake and card and a tie.

16 Tues. Cold and foggy night and morning but a mild, pleasant, sunny afternoon even though hazy. Walked beside the Beveleigh* Brook from Coombe Bridge to the bridge on Common extension. Took another briar cutting. Saw Italian prisoners of war lifting potatoes and putting them into clamps.

17 Wed. Cool, cloudy all day; more wind than of late. Got the groceries as usual and then bought fish at Martin Way. Re-fitted the oil-cloth on the little room floor and re-erected the bedstead.

*Spelt Beverley, in the C21st

26 September 2015

12th-14th Oct 1945: 1,000s of turns on homemade radio transformer

12 Fri. Very mild, a nice soft sunny afternoon. Got the meat, cakes and other provisions; oh, and the sweet ration – all locally. Finished winding the primary of output transformer. It is in six sections and has thousands of turns of very fine wire.

13 Sat. Rather mild, some hazy sunshine; misty later. To Wimbledon along rail path to buy fish. Bought birthday card for Edie Bennett. Took message to Jean Child.

14 Sun. Cool, dull, hazy becoming rather foggy. Gwennie and Laurie called after being away three weeks. Played some more Beethoven Sonatas.

25 September 2015

10th - 11th October 1945: the adopted cat... more post-bomb work

10 Wed. Mild, lovely sunny day for time of year; could hardly be better. Got the groceries in morning. Scraped blobs of plaster from the walls and woodwork of little room and swept the walls and floor. Then started to lay oil-cloth, some we had left over from the sitting room, it is sufficient for the little room. Mr. Bradley called; I had not seen him for a long time. He was slightly injured when one of the first flying bombs damaged his house at Worcester Park. He saw Dinky who was his cat at 72 Chestnut before we adopted him.

11 Thur. Rather warm; lovely day of genial sunshine. Did some shopping locally in morning. Walked to Wimbledon along rail path in afternoon: bought fish. Finished laying the oil-cloth in the little bedroom. Wound a few hundred turns of wire on primary of output transformer – a lot more to go on yet.

24 September 2015

8th-9th October 1945: wire, fish & cotton

8 Mon. Cool, cloudy morning, some hazy sun in afternoon becoming misty, calm. Started winding primary of output transformer it requires a great many turns of very fine wire and will take a long time. Along rail path in afternoon bought a .05 mfd fixed condenser in Wimbledon.

9 Tues. Cold to begin with becoming milder with much hazy sunshine; more wind to-day. Wrote to Uncle Tom. Did some shopping locally including buying paraffin for Aunt Liza. In afternoon bought fish in Morden, thence to Merton branch of Boots. Bought blue cotton and blue webbing locally. Met Arthur Swift.

23 September 2015

6th-7th October 1945: new shirts & braces

6 Sat. Cold, dull, misty morning, milder and some hazy sunshine later. To Cheam to buy cats meat. Also bought something locally. To Wimbledon along rail path in afternoon. Bought two shirts 7/11 ea. and a pair of braces 2/3 at Fosters. Also bought dried green peas and two dish cloths. Aunt Liza called; she is very unwell. Put the clocks back one hour; they are now G.M.T.

7 Sun. Rather cold, dull, misty morning; milder with some hazy sun in afternoon; becoming cold and foggy. Did a heavy morning’s work preparing dinner for ourselves, Dad, Alb, Lily and Anthony who came to dinner and tea: they came back from fortnight’s holiday at Herne Bay yesterday. Short walk in afternoon.

22 September 2015

3rd-5th October 1945: the cost of coal

3 Wed. Cool, dismal all day, misty calm. Got the groceries, also paraffin and buns. Laugh. Took three accumulators. Received two cwt. Of coal @ 4/- per cwt. Took a shilling to Jennifer Child who is six; her birthday was yesterday but the party is today. She had a wonderful tea and a lot of little guests. There was a cake with six candles on it.

4 Thur. Rather cold, very dismal, misty becoming foggy: calm. Played Beethoven piano sonatas in morning and made encouraging progress with this difficult music. Did shopping locally. To Wimbledon in afternoon to buy fish, returning along rail path; did not see a single steam train.

5 Fri. Rather cold morning becoming milder and pleasantly sunny in afternoon. Did all the usual Fri. morning shopping locally. There was such a large ice-cream queue at the paper shop that I called three times during the morning before I could get in to pay for the week’s papers and buy the sweet ration. To Malden and Coombe in afternoon. Walked beside Beverleigh (sic) Brook in soft sunshine which was pleasant. Took a briar cutting from the hedge and planted it in the garden.


Beverley Brook Walk

Beverley Brook Walk pictureA walk of 6.5 miles, closely following the Beverley Brook through Wimbledon Common, Richmond Park and Barnes Common to the River Thames upstream of Putney.
The walk goes through some of South London's most varied and beautiful countryside, and takes about 3 hours at a gentle pace.
For details of the walk, please download the Beverley Brook Walk leaflet (1.6MB)

21 September 2015

1st-2nd Oct 1945: wireless set complete

1 Oct. Mon. Mild, dismal; calm. Uncle Tom called to collect his crystal set. I put up a better aerial and got splendid results on it and he was delighted. He brought us some soap which was invaluable as we are almost without. I also gave him some mint and tomatoes. Bought cats meat at Morden – not very good. Alan Spooner called in evening to say good-bye. He is going in the army and will go at first to Maidstone. Got good results on the short waves but identified one only, it was American.

2 Tues. Cool dismal all day; calm. Spent the morning making an alteration to the wireless set so that it is more efficient and easier to tune on the short waves. The set has been in use since 1929 and is still first rate. Did some shopping locally in afternoon.

20 September 2015

28-30th Sept 1945: 'the nicest young lady I could well imagine'

28 Fri. Very cool becoming mild, dull, calm. Did all the usual Fri morning shopping. Completely failed to buy fish to-day. To Morden to Perrin’s where I bought Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas complete in one volume: I was served by the nicest young lady I could well imagine and whenever I play from this book I shall remember her.

29 Sat. Cold, white morning frost, foggy morning but sunny afternoon becoming milder. A fruitless journey to Cheam and Morden but bought a few fish pieces in Martín Way for Dinky. Bought a few things locally in afternoon. Thence to cricket match where I saw Merton make 152 for 6. Fishlock* the Surrey and England left-handed batsman made a hard-hit 82 including a six: it was worth watching. Met Mr. Knight and Micky there: they now have a flat in Seward Road, their house in Chestnut Road was destroyed. There is such a risk of frost that I picked all the tomato crop – a heavy one from only seven plants: dug up six beetroots and picked enough beans for two days.

30 Sun. Mild, dull, very calm. Mrs. Hopkins, Edie and Mrs. Matson came to tea and stayed till 8 o’clock. Short walk in afternoon.

*Laurence Barnard "Laurie" Fishlock (2 January 1907 – 25 June 1986) was an English cricketer, who played in four Tests from 1936 to 1947. A specialist batsman, he achieved little in those four matches, but might have had a much more substantial Test career, had he not lost six of what should have been his best years to World War II. - Wikipedia

*Wisden Obituary
Laurie Fishlock died peacefully in hospital after an operation on June 26, 1986, aged 79. For years he was one of the mainstays of the Surrey side; the first left-hand batsman of any prominence they had had since the early 1870s. Season after season he topped their averages, usually with more than 2,000 runs and an average of about 50. He was largely a county player; a little older than most, he was 28 when he got his cap. Four years later came the war, and when first-class cricket was resumed he was 39, an age when men are retiring from Test cricket rather than starting it. So in all he played in only four Tests: two in 1936 against India, another, also against India, in 1946, and one in Australia in 1946-47. In these he did little. He had also gone on the 1936-37 tour of Australia and on that, though in the opinion of most people he was lucky to be preferred to Eddie Paynter, he was equally unlucky to miss six crucial weeks through a broken bone in his right hand. No touring side has suffered so much from injuries as that one and, had he remained fit, Fishlock must, whether in form or not, have had ample opportunity of proving himself. By a cruel stroke of fortune, he again broke a finger on his second tour. -

19 September 2015

25-27 Sept 1945: building radio

25 Tues. Cold, clear, bright sunny day with occasional dark clouds later; bitter N wind. Lit the fire in evening. Reduced the size of ebonite panel and modified the cabinet of Uncle Tom’s crystal set: it is almost ready for wiring up. To Morden, Merton, Wimbledon but finally bought fish at Wimbledon Park.

26 Wed. Rather cold; dull but calm. Got the groceries and bought plums locally also some stationery at the Post Office. In afternoon to see Dear Mother’s grave; it still looks nice. Planted some cutting briars in the garden with a view to budding them next year. Tried without success to repair a badly damaged aluminium saucepan belonging to Mrs. Jordan.

27 Thur. Rather cold, bright sunny morning; dull, mild, calm later. Did some shopping locally in morning also bought fish in Morden. Wired up the circuit of Uncle Tom’s crystal set and tested and found it all right, but results were weak as I have only a short indoor aerial which is good enough for a valve set but does not pick up sufficient energy for a crystal set. Dear Gladys called to ask for Mrs. Akroyd’s address.

Long-term readers may recall that Nora and Sean Galvin
 researched and found 'Dear Mother's grave' - this is their photo -
taken at St Mary the Virgin C of E, just over the wall from
 Merton Park Primary School (top left)

18 September 2015

24th Sept 1945: crystal set, steam loco and flowers

24 Mon. Rather cold, dismal, heavy showers, very rough, a few short bursts of sun in late afternoon. Got on with Uncle Tom’s crystal set; fitted terminals, a variable condenser, a tapped coil and a crystal detector. Walked along rail path in afternoon, saw loco 501 goods with its stove pipe chimney replaced with one with a beaded rim – a great improvement in its appearance. Dear Connie Freeman brought a large bunch of michaelmas daisies and other flowers – a bouquet for me. God bless her.

16 September 2015

22-23 Sept 1945: Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

22 Sat. Very cool, rainy, dull morning, bright sunny afternoon but the sunshine is autumnal now; nasty cold boisterous wind. To Cheam to buy some nice cats meat; and there was only a short queue. Cycled to Tolworth in afternoon but not to see Alb as they have all gone to Herne Bay* for a holiday, including Dad. Bought some heel-grips for Ciss’ shoes at Woolworths at Tolworth. Aunt Liza called and brought a pear. Wound a tapped coil for a new crystal set for Uncle Tom.

23 Sun. Very cool, bright sunny day, rough chilly wind. Connie Freeman called and sang Baa, Baa, Black Sheep to me. Walk along rail path in afternoon: saw three Pacifics and No. 838 a large 4.6.0 mixed traffic engine came and stood in Wimbledon yard. Mrs Akroyd came to tea.

The holiday was in a rented bungalow at 3, Cobblers Bridge Road. (Photo: Google Street View)

15 September 2015

19-21 Sept 1945: no soap... but making music

'they are going to Oxford tomorrow for three weeks; 
their mother is going to help harvest the potatoes'

19 Wed. Very mild, dull morning but some pleasant sunshine in afternoon. Did some practice on the violin, organ and piano. Played my trio part on violin and piano. Got the usual groceries in morning also to the butchers and fish shop. Cycled to Mitcham Common in afternoon. Alan Spooner called in evening; he gave me three wireless valves.

20 Thur. Very mild, very dull, rain till late afternoon when a few gleams shone through just before sundown. To grocers also to post-office in morning. Tested wireless valves and found that one that Alan Spooner gave me last night gave improved results in the set. Started to build a new crystal set for Uncle Tom.

21 Fri. Rather cool, showers on and off all day: dull, save for a few gleams just before sunset. To butchers and did all the usual shopping locally in morning. Mended a puncture and then searched the neighbourhood for fish and soap. The latter is almost non-existent but got some at Merton. Gwennie and Laurie called, they are going to Oxford tomorrow for three weeks; their mother is going to help harvest the potatoes. To Len Garrod’s in evening. Played the violin part in the Gurlitt trio; Len playing the ‘cello and Mrs MacAra the piano – with quite good results.

14 September 2015

17-18 Sept 1945: the violinist

17 Mon. Warm; dull morning but some pleasant sunshine in afternoon; little wind so it was a genial day. Uncle Tom came in morning to tell me all about his holiday with Alice Fitch at Ingatestone. Did more work writing out my violin part. In afternoon bought fish in Wimbledon returning along rail-path. Erected the new bedstead in front room and put up the overmantel.

18 Tues. Rather warm; the sunniest day for weeks: very nice. Finished writing out my violin part of the Gurlitt trio: it was a long job. Gwennie and Laurie called twice; I gave her the hair slide she left here on Saturday. Helped Ciss tidy up the front bedroom, putting the curtains up. Short cycle ride in evening.

11 September 2015

15th Sept 1945: 300 aircraft in flypast

Group Captain Sir Douglas
Robert Steuart Bader
15 Sat. Very cool, getting colder: cloudy, but a few gleams of autumnal sunshine in morning. To Cheam: bought some fresh cats meat without waiting in a queue. At midday saw the flypast of 300 aeroplanes to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Battle of Britain. A squadron of Spitfires, headed by Group-Captain Bader, manned by men who took part in the battle, was followed by squadrons of Typhoons, Tempests, Beaufighters, Mosquitos, Mustangs and jet-propelled Meteors: a great sight. Went along rail path in afternoon; saw a Pacific going very fast. Gwennie and Laurie called. Cleaned most of the windows; they were smothered with plaster.

Notes: on this day a hurricane in southern Florida and the Bahamas destroyed 366 planes and 25 blimps at NAS Richmond. This is also the formal Victory over Japan day.

10 September 2015

14th Sept 1945: wonderful Kenya

" I read Jack's letter, I wondered 
what sort of a fool I was to live in Raynes Park!"

14 Fri. Mild, dull, fresh breeze, heavy showers. Received a perfectly splendid letter from Jack Bradley in Kenya. It was descriptive of life in the bush, the wonderful animals, birds and flowering trees; of his adventures in mountain climbing. The wonderful climate must make it like heaven on earth, and as I read Jack's letter, I wondered what sort of a fool I was to live in Raynes Park! Got the weekend joint and other provisions locally. Met Winnie Ewing who was much better. She has suffered much but now looks quite full in the face and was very cheerful and hopeful. Started putting the two back bedrooms straight after the workmen.
Dear Readers,

You may have noticed that this post has skipped a few days in the diary. Now peace has come, I am skipping some of the days in the next, what is it? ...some 20 years of diaries. All the diaries will eventually be lodged in the local library's archives. Meanwhile quite a few entries will be of personal interest to me, others will have references to significant or traumatic times in my Uncle Fred's life, I am sure. Like you, I have not read them yet. So, I will post family, local, social history and national events... every day, but will be jumping the routine days in Fred's diary - so the dates will be out of synch with a 70th anniversary, increasingly less than a full 70 years ago. Let's see how this goes. And thank you for your loyalty as a reader.

Best wishes,

Tony French.

P.S. There's an interesting post tomorrow!

9 September 2015

9th Sept 1945: visitor 'hides' wireless parts in bedroom cupboard

1920s' Eckersley tuner
9 Sun. Very cool, becoming mild later; dull, cloudy, the sun nearly came through once in afternoon. To my surprise, I found an Eckersley tuner, valves and wireless components in my bedroom cupboard. I remembered that Fred Fraine promised to bring them last Thursday. I stayed in that day but he did not come and presumed that he had not. I phoned him this afternoon but only his mother was at home. She told me he came last Fri morning and found me gone out, so he left them where I found them. I was doing the shopping Fri morning. Church in evening to hear Mr. Craig preach on the prodigal son.

8 September 2015

8th September: 'Knocking down ginger'

8 Sat. Very cool, more dismal than ever; rain till afternoon: no sun at all. Did shopping locally including buying fish, getting the accumulators etc. To Wimbledon to buy a set of four castors at Hughes. In evening I fitted them to the new utility bedstead as it was not fitted with them when bought. When I went to Uncle Joe’s to borrow a brace and bit I was escorted along the road by Nita, Evelyn, Pamela and Pauline, girls who have made themselves known to me. When I knocked at No. 34 they thought I had no business there, so they said I was “knocking down ginger”,* but they were surprised to see me enter. Later they knocked at my door with Connie Freeman as well to give me a bunch of flowers: I am favoured above all men.

Note: 'knocking down ginger', or Knock down Ginger - claimed in one post to come from council estates where all doors were stained a ginger colour (doubtful, as goes back further?) - here's a link to a webpage all about it, complete with alternative names - from a website on street games. The idea was to knock urgently on a front door and then run away or hide. Also 'Ding dong bell' and cherry knocking. See also Wikipedia alternative and instances, and the legal position.

7 September 2015

7th Sept 1945: handsome door... and railway engine

7 Fri. Rather cold, becoming mild; cloudy but a little brighter: an improvement. Did all the usual Fri. morning shopping locally. The men plastered the living room ceiling and wall: a messy job. The joiner fitted a new back door with two nice, large, clear glass windows in place of the temporary door – salvaged from Philpot’s, which had no windows and made the scullery very dark. To Wimbledon in afternoon, going along rail path: saw large 4.4.0 loco. 2073 – very handsome. Aunt Liza brought fish pieces for Dinky.

Note to readers: you might be interested where your fellow readers live. These are our statistics from Google covering the past month. 

6 September 2015

6th Sept 1945: organ, wood, windows, stonework... still bomb damage repairs

6 Thur. Rather cold becoming milder; cloudy except for one minute sunshine in afternoon. In morning to butchers and fishmongers locally. The men plastered Ciss’ bedroom also the passage. New stonework was fitted to upstairs front bay. The joiner repaired window sashes in my room. Mrs. Collis called. Cleared living room as this will be re-plastered tomorrow. Mr. Lane did some more work on organ.

4 September 2015

4th Sept 1945: electronic wizardry

4 Tues. Very cool, vey dismal all day; downpour most of the day but no wind. Cycled about in the rain buying things locally also bought fish at Merton. More work making a multi-sectioned transformer. Workmen did repairs to front door.

3rd Sept 1945: house repairs continue

3 Mon. Very cool; dull, rain till afternoon – when the sun came through for a short while; windy. The plasterers finished the front bedroom and started on the staircase. Have now cleared my bedroom so they can start there: shall sleep in front room to-night. Bought fish in Morden also a few things locally. Uncle Ben called at dinner time. Gwennie and Laurie came, Gwennie being very noisy and boisterous.

5th Sept 1945: got plastered

5 Wed. Rather cold, dismal all day; chilly wind. Got the groceries also to the butchers. Bought fish in Morden. Mrs. Veale came back to-day, so Tibby returns home. The plasterers did my room to-day. Cleaned Ciss’ room as they will plaster it tomorrow. Cleared cellar under the stairs as it will now be repaired. A new stone mullion was built in the downstairs front bay to replace the broken one. The joiner is also at work in the house. Mrs. Park brought three tins of milk powder from Edie Bennett.

2 September 2015

2nd Sept 1945: not a good day

2 Sun. Very cool, becoming chilly, very dull and cloudy after rain during the night; very rough. Gwennie and Laurie called. Short walk only in evening; very unpleasant out. Ciss went to see Mrs. Matson at Wandsworth.

1 September 2015

1st Sept 1945: Victory street parties

1st Sept 1945. A Victory street party. In this case in Selborne Road, Margate. Photo from Brian Attree. 
1 Sept. Sat. Very cool, very dull, no sun; showers. Bought bread and other things locally in morning. Mr. Lane came and the organ is now nearly perfect. I played it and it is a treat to have organ music again after being so long without. Bought fish in Wimbledon in afternoon. Returned along rail path. Varnished the 54 laminations of the R. and A. transformer. To see the Victory street parties in both Sydney Rd. and Bronson Rd. Saw cyclist in Worple Road riding an old-fashioned “ordinary” bicycle: he seemed quite at his ease and regardless of the amused glances of onlookers.

Note: we more often call the 'ordinary' bicycle a penny-farthing. Here's a link to today's Ordinary  Bicycle Company