It’s always depressing when someone asks ‘what do you know about such and such,’ you google it and all you can find is your own bloomin’ blog.
At least when I did exactly that a couple of days ago, the references were in the comments section and the person who asked me about it was someone who could actually furnish me with some answers.
As I’ve often said, it’s easier to find ancient history about Greenwich than it is to find stuff from the 20th Century, so it’s always something special when I ‘meet’ someone who was a mover and shaker in the community at a time when – well, to be honest, I was just too darn young and arrogant to care about history.
I’ve been talking to the fascinating Hilary Peters, whose extraordinary memories of Greenwich quaysides, the docks, the gangsters, the petty criminals, the local characters – and her own remarkable contribution (teh next part of which I will come to, I promise – you’ll all know it…) in the 1960s and 70s are not the only thing worth discussing.
Today’s post is a ‘partial’, though, because this is a recent local character – and I think there is much more to be said about a woman for whom, when I googled her, the only comments that came up always had the word ‘wonderful’ in front of her name. I’m hoping that you folks will chip in with memories (I’d LOVE a photo…) to go with what Hilary’s told me about Wendy Mead. Hilary says “there won’t be anyone of our generation who doesn’t remember her,” so I have high hopes.
Wendy kept a shop at the bottom of Royal Hill, in a Georgian Row. If you’re looking for it now, forget it. The council compulsorily-purchased it and pulled it down, which makes me think it must have been where the Burney Street Garden is now and, of course, where Doug Mullins had his dairy. From what I’m hearing, Doug’s not the only chap who should have a plaque.
For Wendy’s wasn’t just a grocery store, though “her smoked streaky was unsurpassed in South East London” and her cheddar the ‘best in the capital’, which is quite a claim. It was something more. There was a front room where the usual buying and selling went on – and a back room where “there was always someone in tears.”
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