30 September 2016

24th July 1947: the beautiful Beferithi... 'Beverleigh'... Beverley Brook

Beverley Brook walk (Merton Council)
24 Thur. Rather warm, the sun peeping out from hazy clouds, a slight breeze: very pleasant. Got liver from the butchers – a rare treat these days. Also bought fish, split peas, glass paper etc. locally. Glass papered the new propeller to a very smooth surface & French polished it – looks like glass. Walked beside the Beverleigh Brook in afternoon: it is a lovely walk and I have never seen such a grand display of rose-bay willow herb. Mrs. McAinsh, Jeanette and Margaret called in evening and had a happy time with the “pops”. They are two charming and intelligent little girls.

 It is three years ago to-day when a “doodle-bug” almost demolished this house. It is only quite recently that the house and furniture etc. has been restored to a reasonable state of repair.

Notes on Beverley Brook
The spelling, nowadays at least, is Beverley, not Fred's 'Beverleigh Brook'. Here are some links to web pages about the 8.9-mile stream as it flows northwards to join the River Thames above Putney Embankment at Barnes Elmes - having flowed through a culvert under a major road, across wasteland, and as pleasant stream through Richmond Park alongside grazing deer. 

Definitely worth clicking this link for the collection of fascinating photos:  This site reports that in the year AD693 the brook was known as Beferithi... and that Beverley means beaver's ley (the home of beavers).

29 September 2016

22nd -23rd July 1944: boiled beetroot... and 'women playing serious cricket'

22 Tues. Rather warm, fine and sunny for the most part: pleasant. Bought potted meat and fish locally. Short cycle ride in afternoon. Maurice & Laurie called. Put in some hard work levelling the ground where the shelter came out and digging a straight path through where it used to go round the shelter. Dug up three nice beetroots, the first this year and boiled them, had some for tea – lovely with some home grown lettuce.

23 Wed. Rather warm, much warm sunshine but a rather rough wind. Got the groceries etc. all locally. To Mitcham in afternoon: saw Surrey Women’s cricket team play a match against a representative team. Surrey scored 122 for 9 when I had to leave. Most interesting to see women playing real cricket. They bowled over arm – one slow left arm bowler and two slow-medium. The fielding was excellent. The batting was good and no sitting on the splice. There were no batswomen who poked about; they all made long sweeping strokes; some of the boundary hits were first class. Most unusual to see women playing serious cricket, the play being of such a high standard too.

28 September 2016

21st July 1947: the Aderson shelter which was our home

'I had given up hope of living'

21 Mon. Rather warm, close, some hazy sunshine otherwise overcast: slight showers. More work on the new propeller. Donald, Maurice who is staying with Cousin Doris and Laurie called. A man – Irish - came and took out the Anderson shelter. It has been in the garden over seven years, and saved us from possible injury at least twice. How many nights and days we have spent in it during raids I cannot say. It served its purpose well. During the flying bomb attacks we slept in it from June to December in 1944. And so it has gone after occupying considerable space in the garden. Many a time when we were inside it when bombs were whining down and flying bombs were roaring over I had given up hope of living. It withstood the awful blast of the flying bomb which fell but 30 yds. away, when a fragment of bomb smashed the door and entered the shelter: but Ciss and I inside were by God’s mercy saved from injury

'a fragment of bomb smashed the door and entered the shelter...' 

27 September 2016

19th-20th July 1947: brother's lodger

19 Sat. Rather warm, dull, calm, hazy, slight rain at night. The three children called. Gwennie to say good-bye as she is going to stay at Oxford for three weeks. Ciss had the morning off from work and did some shopping in afternoon. I cycled to Tolworth to see Dad who is fairly well. Their lodger Mr. Stopford** was interested in my 40 year old Rudge-Whitworth.

20 Sun. Rather warm, fine, sunny from midday onward. Walked to Holland Gardens but did not see Dorothy this time. Walked to Wimbledon Common in evening, saw lady’s bedstraw and harebells growing there.

**Note: the faintest of bells in your editor's head. Kenneth Stopford? From Manchester area? Fairly tall, and first time toddler Tony was aware of any accent other than BBC/southern. 

Immediately after typing above memory, I Googled the name, and third item down was directory link to a Kenneth Stopford at a Manchester address  - surely not a coincidence?

26 September 2016

17th-18th July 1947: one-shilling cod cutlet

17 Thur. Rather warm, becoming cooler, dull, calm, rain setting in later. Bought fish locally – a nice cod cutlet for myself 1/-. Laid new green oilcloth on scullery floor. Mrs. Child called. Donald & Laurie called: sent them away with bunches of “pops” off the yellow acacia tree.

18 Fri. Rather warm, dull, overcast, slight showers and distant thunder. Did all the usual shopping locally. Saw Donald playing with other small boys on the opposite side of Bushey Road; they must have crossed the busy main road themselves. I escorted them safely back and told Doris who went after Donald. Gwennie, Laurie and Donald came in afternoon and played games. Gwennie is going away for three weeks. Tied the tomato plants to the stakes they are growing very tall and some of them have trusses of fruit forming.

25 September 2016

15th -16th July 1947: complex proeller modelling... and scullery washing

15 Tues. Rather warm, some sunny periods. Returning from shopping was surprised to see Donald: the hospital could not take him in as arranged. Started carving a new 14 ins propeller. Tidied up the garden in evening.

16. Very warm, fine sunny morning, but overcast with slight thundery rain at night. Got the groceries & bought fish locally in morning. Made good headway with the new 14 ins propeller. Showed Victor Conley how it was shaped to a helical formula. Washed down the painted scullery walls in evening.

24 September 2016

13th-14th July 1947: a brief encounter in Holland Garden

13 Sun. Warm, fine sunny day: grand. In afternoon walked to Holland Gardens** and to my surprise saw Dorothy Longhurst sitting on a seat watching the tennis. She seemed unmistakeably pleased to see me so sat beside her and had a talk. Afterwards we walked to the bus stop – she lives at S. Wimbledon. A pleasant time I did not expect, and she was equally pleased; wasn’t that kind of her. Short walk along Arterial Road in evening.

14 Mon. Very warm, close, overhead haze but some sunshine; thundery at night. To Wimbledon to buy fish in afternoon. Donald went into hospital to have his tonsils out. Gwennie called and cut a bunch of sweet peas. To pay slate club in evening.

**Note: here are three links to modern websites featuring Fred's Holland Gardens

23 September 2016

11th-12th July 1947: Harold, Gwennie, Donald, Mrs C, Addie and Mrs Jordan

11 Fri. Very cool becoming milder, very dull, cloudy and windy. Did the usual Fri. morning shopping locally and to Morden to buy fish in afternoon. Cousin Harold called in afternoon, also Gwennie and Donald and Mrs. Conley who helps with the cleaning. Gathered the remaining black-currant crop which Ciss promptly turned into jam. Sowed mustard and cress seed. Gave Addie Veale a lettuce.

12 Sat. Rather warm, some nice sunshine; a great improvement. Did some local shopping. Cycled to Epsom Common & watched anglers by the lake. Saw a man with a powerful model speed-boat which skimmed at great speed over the water, being connected to a stake in the water by a line and turning in circles. Mrs. Jordan came to tea. Brought home a spray of meadow-sweet: I love it.

22 September 2016

9th-10th July 1947: Gwennie's garden

9 Wed. Rather cool, fitful clouds and intermittent sunshine with thunder showers, one of which was very severe one crack of which being one of the loudest I have heard. Did a lot of shopping locally including getting the groceries etc. Gwennie called and cut a nice bunch of clarkia and sweet peas from her little garden I let her have here.

10 Thur. Very cool, becoming a little milder, very dull, rain almost all day. Did some shopping locally in morning. The three children called. Had the dining room chimney swept. Cleaned the walls and paintwork of the room, and put the pictures up again after cleaning.

21 September 2016

7th-8th July 1947: mending fences... and music

We wonder what Gwennie's
 apron looked like in 1947
7 Mon. Mild, very heavy clouds, but some short periods of sunshine. Finished repairing the fence between this garden & N0. 68: had to dig a hole and put in a new post and put in a section about 6ft long. Played Mendelsohn for a change.

8 Tues. Very cool, heavy clouds, showers, with a few fitful gleams of sunshine, very rough indeed. Bought fish & to chemists locally. Returned along little rail path: first time I have been there for a long time. Wrote Uncle Tom a letter. Gwennie brought an apron for me to see: she is making it at school.

20 September 2016

4th-6th July 1947: time for 'pops'

4 Fri. Rather warm, becoming cooler. Sunny morning, dull, overcast later. Got the usual shopping locally. Cycled a little way into Richmond Park in afternoon. Planted a ridge cucumber in garden in evening. The three children called for some “pops”. Gwennie is delighted with her flower garden.

5 Sat. Rather cool for July, dull, very boisterous. The children came to see their flowers which are getting better every day. In afternoon bought fish in Wimbledon. Also got Ciss’ shoes after repair. Bought a meat roasting tin locally.

6 Sun. Very cool for time of year: very dull, heavy clouds, very rough chilly wind. Many children called as usual. Mr. & Mrs. Spranklen-Green, Nigel & Terry called in afternoon. Gave the little boys some “pops”.

19 September 2016

1st-3rd July 1947: friends, from army Captain to local child

1 Tues. Becoming rather warm, overcast, almost calm. The three children called and had their first pops off the tree this year. Bought fish locally. Planted two tomato plants, did more weeding.

2 Wed. Becoming rather warm after a rainy start, dull, overcast: little wind. Got the groceries and fish locally. Capt. Harold Marshall called to see me in the afternoon. Played the piano and organ to him. Short cycle ride in evening.

3 Thur. Rather warm, a few periods of sunshine in morning not unpleasant. In morning to butchers. To Merton in afternoon to buy fish. Also bought sardines, soap and matches locally. Gwennie called. She is pleased with her little garden I let her have here and the sweet pea & clarkia are coming into bloom: played table tennis with her.

18 September 2016

29th-30th June 1947: clockwork train

29 Sun. Rather warm but mostly dull and heavily overcast. Alb, Lily & Anthony came to tea and later a car came and took them and Dad back to Tolworth. Cousin Maud, Gwennie, Laurie and Donald called to see Anthony’s clockwork train and were delighted.

30 Mon. Very mild to rather warm, overcast, rain later. To Morden in afternoon to buy fish, returning along Epsom Road and Grand drive. The children called and popped the first pods off the yellow acacia tree.

17 September 2016

27th-28th June 1947: terrific thunder & lightning... cyclonic force wind

27 Fri. Warm, dull, calm. Came over like night mid-day then a terrific storm broke – incessant thunder & lightning and a cloud burst which flooded everywhere accompanied by wind of cyclonic force. The storm cleared up quickly to a lovely afternoon & evening with a cloudless sky. Got all the usual Fri. morning shopping, also bought fish in Morden in afternoon. Dad came in a car to stay with us for the week-end. Alb, Lily and Anthony came as well but did not stay, going back in the car as it was late for Anthony.

28 Sat. Warm, some sunny periods with occasional showers and some thunder & lightning. To Wimbledon to buy fish. Aunt Liza, Gwennie & Laurie to see Dad. Played a number of the old Warham Street Sunday School Anniversary hymns for Dad.

16 September 2016

25th-26th June 1947: flour is rationed... too little? too much?

25 Wed. Rather warm, lovely sunny day, the wind was a little too fresh for me. Got the groceries and some fish locally in morning. To Mrs. McAinsh to get two bags of flour as her rations are in excess of her needs and ours are below our needs. Gave Gwennie & Laurie a piano lesson.

26 Thur. Warm; glorious sunny day. Got fish locally also, sardine, matches, also to the chemists. Saw a lady cyclist in Coombe Lane with a 50 years old Rudge-Whitworth cycle. Cleaned some windows. Cut the privet hedge and bushes in the front garden helped by Kenney & Bobbie Norris. Cut the lawn, did some weeding and watering of the garden.

15 September 2016

22nd-24th June 1947: music and gardening

22 Sun. Very mild, dull, cloudy, calm. Much piano practice. Short walk in evening.

23. Very mild, cloudy, dull. Uncle Tom called bringing me a cake made by Aunt Nellie. It was good of him to call as he is very old and not very fit. Did some shopping locally in afternoon also for a short cycle ride. Sowed lettuce & aquilegia seed in evening.

24 Tues. Rather warm, nice sunny day; a fresh breeze but I expect most people liked it that way. Bought tin of sausages also tinned beans and packet of dates locally, also bought fish at Merton. Fitted an extra bolt to the back door. Watered the garden. The Lady Penzance sweet briar with its mass of single deep pink-orange roses has been lovely this year. 

14 September 2016

19th-21st June 1947: cricket and.... LIVER!

19 Thur. Rather warm, some pleasant sunshine. To butchers – got some liver! Also bought fish, an anti-splash and some tap washers which I fitted. Gennie called – played table tennis. Aunt Liza came. Met Mrs. Conrade & Joan.

20 Fri. Very mild, dull, cloudy, slight showers. Did the usual Fri. morning shopping locally. Wrote letter to Aunt Nellie. Tightened the leather of cycle saddle and went for a short ride in evening.

21 Sat. Very mild, mostly cloudy but a little sun; very heavy showers. Bought fish locally, also to chemists. Met Laurie so I bought him an orange coloured rubber balloon. Saw Malden Wanderers batting against Merton but had to dash for shelter for a very heavy shower. Weeding in the garden.

13 September 2016

16th-18th June 1947: trains, poppies and ration books

16 Mon. Cool, becoming rather warm, some fair periods. To local chemist in morning. To Morden to buy fish in afternoon. Gwennie brought some meat for the cats. Sowed more double poppy seed. Transplanted one of Alf’s tomato plants that he gave me. Posted letter to Harold Marshall.

17 Tues. Becoming warm, lovely sunny day with just a gentle breeze. To Wimbledon in afternoon to take Albert’s umbrella to Trotts to have it re-covered. Walked home along the railway path; saw a Pacific type loco. without a name. Ted Green called in evening. Did some gardening.

18 Wed. Becoming rather warm, dull, rain till evening. Got the groceries locally also fish, soap, tomato stakes, a cake and took the accumulator. To station to buy a paper in afternoon. Did some gardening. Gwennie & Donald called, played table-tennis with Gwennie. To Aston Road Schools to get the new ration books.

12 September 2016

13th-15th June 1947: peeling wallpaper

13 Fri. Mild becoming cool; some nice morning sunshine, rain later. Got all the usual Fri. morning provisions locally. Mrs Conley came to do cleaning as usual on Friday. Sowed more lettuce seed.

14 Sat. Rather cool, cloudy: showers: rainbow in late evening. Borrowed a brush and a pair of steps from Uncle Joe and with Gwennie’s help I pasted up the wallpaper which is peeling off the passage and staircase.

15 Sun. Rather cool, mostly cloudy, showers. John Child called in evening. Wrote letter to Capt Harold Marshall.

11 September 2016

10th-12th June 1947: gardening, shopping, music

10 Tues. Fine, warm, sunny day. Am gradually getting the garden back into trim. Was weeding beetroots when Alf called: he gave me some tomato plants.

11 Wed. Warm with some pleasant sunny periods. Got the groceries locally in morning, also bought fish. More work in the garden.

12 Thur. Mild, much bright sunshine, very stiff chilly wind. To butchers in morning. To new fish shop in afternoon. Sowed lettuce seed. Played the piano. Gwennie & Laurie came

10 September 2016

7th-9th June 1947: recuperation

7 Sat. Very mild, rain all morning; fine later. Only out to buy cats fish.

8 Sun. Mild, showery. Mr & Mrs. Bradley came to tea. They went with Ciss to the Sunday School Anniversary. Len Garrod called to see how I was getting on.

9 Mon. Very mild: sunny periods. Edie Hopkins came to tea: she brought me two eggs. She also went to anniversary evening service.

9 September 2016

5th-6th June 1947: more music

5 Thur. Mild becoming very cool, dull, showers, very boisterous: wind howling as I write. To butchers. To Morden on cycle in afternoon bought fish. More sonata playing.

6 Fri. Cool, some heavy showers a few sunny intervals and much wind. To butchers, fishmongers, newsagents, sweet shop also bought tinned goods. Bought lettuce seed “Webbs Wonderful”. Gwennie called, showed her the five finger exercise on the piano. Did some dusting.

8 September 2016

3rd-4th June 1947: back on bike

3 Tues. Glorious day: 92 in the shade 120 in the sun. To shops in morning, and went to chemists & the station to buy a paper in afternoon, this time on my bike; first time I have cycled since my illness. Gwennie called: gave her some lettuce seedlings.

4 Wed. Rather warm: a slight thunder storm to begin the day: some sunny periods. Got the groceries and some fish locally. Cousin Maud to see me in evening. Played some Beethoven Sonatas.

7 September 2016

1st-2nd June 1947: vast fire of scrapped rubber tyres in Mitcham

1 June. Sun. Glorious hot sunny day. The first roses out are Mme E. Herriot, Admiration and shot silk. Alf, Lily & Margaret called: also John Child.

2 Mon. Glorious hot sunny day. 91 in the shade, 117 in the sun. Bought fish locally. Busied myself in the garden thinning out seedlings and put up a framework of strings for Gwennie’s sweet peas to climb up. A great fire of rubber tyres at Mitcham sent up great volumes of black smoke which drifted across the sky right across London and as far as Alexandra Palace.

It was reported that the eye-piece of a discarded WWII gas mask focussed the sun's rays and started this fire. 

The dramatic photo of this fire is reproduced here with thanks to Merton Memories, Heritage & Local Studies.  Link to Merton Memories Photographic Archive:

and there are others at the London Fire Brigade site:

There was even a newspaper report in Australia - see this link:

The following is a question and answer in the House of Commons regarding the fire, copied here from 'Hansard'.

HC Deb 09 June 1947 vol 438 c71W

136. Sir W. Smithers
asked the President of the Board of Trade how much rubber was destroyed by fire at Mitcham on the Government dump on 1st, 2nd and 3rd June; what was the value; whether it was insured; why was such a large accumulation permitted; and why was it not made available to industry sooner.

Mr. Belcher
About 8,000 to 10,000 tons of scrap rubber, valued at from 140,000 to 150,000, was destroyed. The loss is covered by insurance. The dump at Mitcham is one of many set up during the war in various parts of the country to store rubber collected by local authorities. For economy in sorting, distribution and general management it is necessary to concentrate fairly large quantities on each dump. All the scrap has been offered to industry and the great bulk of the reclaimable material has been sold for future delivery.

6 September 2016

29th-31 May 1947: return of the sun & Fred the gardener

29 Thur. Very warm; glorious sunny day. Got the groceries also to chemists and fish shop. Bought a ball of string also seven tomato plants – “Stonor’s Exhibition”. Planted the same. Sowed more runner beans. Mr. Green & Nigel called to take away some things we have been minding for him.

30 Fri. Glorious warm sunny day. To butchers, fishmongers, newsagents etc.

31 Sat. The heat wave continues. Out to buy a paper. Did a small amount of work in the garden.

5 September 2016

7th-28th May 1947: in Kingston hospital - sudden illness

Note from this blog's editor: we've been following Fred's fortunes since 31 Dec 1940, through war and peace, through the blitz and a bomb-damaged home. I believe this is the first time in those getting on for 7 years that Fred has missed recording a day in his notebook-diaries. We record these next few entries exactly as he wrote them, when he omitted all but his admission and discharge from hospital, after a day when he was 'Very unwell'.

The change in the colour of the ink is exactly how the notebook looks now.
7 Wed. Very unwell.

8 Thur. To Kingston Hospital with pneumonia.

26 Whit Monday. Discharged from Kingston Hospital.

Tues. Fine, some nice sunshine. Gwennie & Laurie called also Cousin Maud. Played the Pathetic Sonata.

28 Wed. Fine warm sunny day. To the nearest fish shop. Gwennie & Laurie called with them came Josette & Carole Winsley. The doctor called & prescribed some medicine which I called for in the afternoon.

4 September 2016

5th-6th May 1947: fish shops either closed - or too expensive!

5 Mon. Cool, becoming mild; some nice morning sun, dull, windy, rain later. Finished laying the new pink oil-cloth on the front bedroom floor. Cycled all about and finally bought some whiting at Morden. Gwennie and Laurie did some more work on the mother’s birthday card.

6 Tues. Cool, becoming mild, some sun; the wind dropped by evening. Laid the new pink oil-cloth on the landing. Toured the district to find cat food but failed. There is a strike on and most fish shops are shut and those open have only a small supply of expensive fish. Laurie did some work on the birthday card. Turned over a bed in the garden and weeded the onion seedlings.

3 September 2016

3rd-4th May 1947: lack of food for cat... strike continues

3 Sat. Rather mild, quite a lot of sun. the wind is still boisterous but not quite so cold or rough as yesterday. Cycled miles to buy cats food but the meat shops have nothing and most of the fish shops are closed on account of the strike but I got a cod cutlet in Coombe Lane. Gwennie came to do more work painting a birthday card for her mother. Started laying the new pink floorcloth on the front bedroom.

4 Sun. Rather mild; downpour till afternoon, a little finer later. Wrote two stanzas of simple poetry to put on the birthday card Gwennie is making for her mother, also drew a daffodil design.

2 September 2016

1st-2nd May 1947: very cold and bitter NE gale; food strikes

1 May. Thur. Cold, very dull, rain, cutting N wind; a little weak sun late in the day. Received a roll of nice pink patterned lino from Wolfe & Hollander’s. Bought sausage meat, fish & paraffin oil locally: Gwennie & Laurie came with me. Gwennie started to paint a birthday card for her mother. Small amount of gardening but it is too cold.

2 Fri. Cold, the temperature never rose above 46 degs. Very dull and cloudy, rain on and off all day, the bitter NE wind is blowing a full gale. Did all the usual Fri. morning shopping locally. It was difficult enough battling against the wind without going further afield. Also went out in afternoon but there is no fish in the shops on account of a strike. There is little meat at the butchers owing to the same cause but I got a small joint. Black enamelled the parlour grate. A man from Macham’s the builders came to look at the damaged front door with a view to repair. It was blown to bits by the bomb and has had two temporary repairs done to it but it is falling to pieces again and will need a lot of new wood built into it.