East Greenwich Memories
“As an ex-Greenwich resident (now living in deepest Cambridgeshire, near the Norfolk border), I still wander around my home town, albeit with the aid of Google street view!
I’m wondering if some of your more senior readers can remember the shops that were displaced by the building of the A102 Blackwall Tunnel Approach, and the streets that were cut in two by it ?
I lived in Ormiston Road (Number 1 on the groovy map I’ve put at the bottom; click and drag it to see the rest…) (just behind Westcombe Park Station) from 1956 until 1973, and I can remember the area quite well, but I’m wondering if some of your readers can add their memories of the building of the road ?
Here’s what I remember…….
Coming down Westcombe Hill from the Blackheath direction, the first shop you saw was a large newsagent and confectioner (I think) on the corner of Humber road. It is now split in two shops, a food and wine store, and a hairdressers.
On the other corner of Humber Road was a large shop (now a dry cleaners), which I think sold garden supplies, but my memory is faint on this, because I was always lured to the small shop next door, which was a junk shop, which sold lots of army surplus stuff, (2) which was in plentiful supply in the 1950′s and 1960′s. This is now not a shop at all, but seems to be a private dwelling. I seem to remember that the junk shop was run by an old(ish) man who was rather grumpy, which may or may not be due to the fact that he was often pestered by kids like me !
Immediately opposite was another corner, because Bramshot Avenue came out here, with a large yellow Co-Op store. This area is now grassed over. Further down on the left, on the corner of Station Crescent, was another tobacconist and confectioner, which is now a private house, painted pale yellow. Where the wheelie bins now stand in the front garden was a wall with chewing gum and cigarette machines.
On the other side of the railway bridge, little of the original Westcombe Hill Remains. Before the coming of the Blackwall Tunnel Approach, there was a disused railway line which ran parallel to the road at the bottom of the hill on an embankment on the right hand side, but there were also some more shops, of which I can remember a fish & chip shop on the left, and on the right a cycle shop, a greengrocers, and (another one of my favourites) a hobby shop which sold all sorts of stuff from toy models for boys, and DIY jewellery for the girls. This was the last shop on the right.
Of course, the very bottom of Westcombe Hill and the railway embankment and line is still there (3) – but it’s now called Farmdale Road, a road which was cut in half by the approach road. I wonder if any of your other readers can remember these streets before they were sliced in two by the approach road, and would like to share their memories ?
Oh, and one last thing, what is that rusting monstrosity (4) with the advertising hoarding in front of it, which faces the southbound carriageway of the A102 near the bridge (look at it on Google maps, both on street and satellite views) ?”
The Phantom is sure that many people remember this area in the 60s and 70s – not least, of course, the novelist Christopher Fowler whose memoire Paperboy deals specifically with the area around Westerdale Road – and being turfed out his home to make way for the new motorway.
If you’re talking about the Angerstein railway line, you’ll be heartened to know that if it was disused in the 60s and 70s, it’s operative now, as a goods line. There’s a footbridge that spans the motorway which has a little exit that nips across the railway into an alley leading to Fairthorn Road as well as its main exit onto what’s left of Farmdale.
As for the rusting monstrosity, I’ve often wondered about that one myself. Presumably a building project that ran out of steam? There’s a car pound there, though, I can tell you from bitter experience that local cars aren’t taken there. It must be policy to never impound vehicles somewhere that’s easy to get to – when mine was impounded many years ago while I was abroad, I had to trudge all the way over to Belvedere Industrial Estate, one of the most unpleasant places on earth. Presumably if you get your car impounded in Belvedere they put it in the Charlton pound just to add extra punishment.
But that’s enough bitterness.
A word about the picture. Somebody sent this to me about a year ago (I know, I know, I’m sorry – I’m a little bit behind…) and even worse, I lost the email, but when I got Nick’s question, I asked the mystery sender to send it again. Sadly I never heard from them, but Dazza saw it online somewhere (he can’t remember where) in March and has passed it onto me. I apologise for being utterly rubbish – but I think it’s worth repeating – if anyone objects, do let me know and I’ll remove it.
So. Now the sackcloth and ashes bit is over, I’ll explain what (if not who) it’s of. I think the baby is sitting outside the Angerstein Arms (5) with the old fire station in the background (still standing though in poor nick these days) and a fab-looking corner cafe which must now form the northern end of the flyover.
Memories and thoughts on roads, babies and the rusting monstrosity welcomed.
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