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Messages - alffox

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Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: East Ham High Street
« on: 09 October, 2018, 09:26:42 AM »
The menntion of Radio Rentals in the High Street brings to mind my purchase in 1974 of an ULTRA Radiogram from Premier Discount at 447/9 Barking Road for £79.50 (lot of money in those days) - just past Arthur Atkinson's motor cycle shop going towards Barking. Arthur was the former West Ham Speedway Ace and like Eric Chitty went into the selling business when they packed up the sport.  My Radiogram is still going strong and naturally it is a curiosity to all of my grandchildren - thanks to the Internet Forums I have just completed a refurbishment of my ULTRA and love hearing all of my old long playing and 78's records.    Must try and put a picture of the radiogram on the forum here someday soon.   My post is a somewhat distraction from Lew Rose but for suits I recall - Denny Mincer at the Greengate - H.Soll Cambridge Heath Road, Hackney, Max Cohen at Aldgate and another tailor whose name escapes me for the moment in Whitechapel not far from the infamous Blind Beggar.

This post and subject is for the many young girls and boys who were fortunate to have youth clubs on their doorstep in and around the 1945 era.  My own youth club was St. Andrews Boys Club which met every Tuesday and Thursday for Seniors and on Friday for Juniors at the Tollgate School just off Prince Regents Lane.   The club originated before the second world war at a school at Frederick Road north of Barking Road.  It later moved to Tollgate School and I reckon that I joined the club at the age of 14 in 1947.    The Senior Club was run by a lovely man E.C.Sydney - Mr.Syd to all the boys and helped by a committee of members.  The Juniors managed normally by one or two Senior members - Norman Geeves and Ron Negus spring to mind.    The club was a magnet for the local young and older lads with sport of every single name being played in teams from there.  Football - I remember bus rides to Chingford Hatch, Table Tennis also by bus to Eton Manor and elsewhere.   House rivalry was intense in tennis, billiards, darts, table tennis and anything else you could think of.  My membership started around 1947 and I was still part of the club when it closed in the late 1960's.  Closed at Tollgate but not for long as one of the Senior members Frank Shipman decided to organise AN OLD ST.ANDREWS ASSOCIATION and a worthy group of members began meeting regularly at The Wheatsheaf in Brentwood Road.   Frank Shipman and his son Mark kept the OSAA alive for 420 meetings from those late days in the 1960's - travelling regularly from Dartford in all weathers with rarely a cancellation and producing a newsletter after each and every meeting.

Sadly - today I have received news that Frank Shipman who is now 90 can no longer continue in his role as GUVNOR and along with son Mark, they have decided to discontinue the regular meetings - meeting numbers had dwindled down to six or seven.   Such was the competition in those days there were clubs all over the district, Gartan, Custom House, Bancroft, St. Lukes, St. Martins, Barclays, Fairbairn House, Docklands - mention has been made of many of the various club members who attended these clubs and became famous - Terry Spinks (Boxing), brothers Bill and Andy Nelson (Football), Chester Barnes (Table Tennis).   Wonderful days and in some ways weeks, as each year a group of boys would travel to Broxbourne to camp for a jam packed holiday of fun - meeting up with the locals for matches of cricket and so on.

If there are any old former members of St. Andrews who wish to make contact feel free to do so.  My last meeting was in April so for my part I send my best wishes to Frank Shipman and his son Mark for the efforts that they made to keep the old name of St. Andrews alive.  Perhaps somewhere the old red and green quartered football shirts will rise again.

Alf Fox.

Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: A Dead Horse
« on: 26 July, 2018, 04:13:07 PM »
To add a short note re Gibraltar - the barracks my grandfather was billeted in was called Buena Vista Barracks and had I mentioned it to the driver of our small coach - he sais he would have taken the time to stop and show me a few more details.  I was eight years old when he died so did not have any time with him at all - he lived in Dagenham and our home was in Custom House.  Could not afford cars in those days.
As for my National Service - well with my posting to Hendon Aerodrome I enjoyed a life of somewhat luxury - the airfield had to be open from dawn to dusk and we in the Air Movement Section were expected to man the section for all of that time - no shift work in those days - some days I guess it was 16 hours on but the benfit came in that for one week you were on duty for two days only and the next week for five days so that gave plenty of time for recreation.  I lived in camp but had a "Living Out Pass" which allowed me to be at home for days at a time (still got one or two telegrams calling me back for duty).  During that service time I spent time on Canvey Island during the floods of 1953 - being billeted at Hornchurch Aerodrome and being carried by lorry to the main Pub later called the King Canute.    Back at Hendon we saw all kinds of aircraft and politicians flying in and around the country to view the damage.   The earthquake on Corfu almost took me away from Hendon as some of us lads at Hendon volunteered to go to Lyneham and assist in the loading of the aircraft taking out clothing and other goods - problem was that Lyneham wanted to keep us at their base.        On another occasion there had been a large sporting event in London involving military teams from nearby European Countries - two Dakota aircraft fully loaded with the Dutch team sat on the apron in front of the control tower awaiting for orders to take off.  Before they could go I was given the task of climbing on board both and searching for John Christie of Rillington Place - the serial murderer.   Never a dull moment - should have signed on for another three years in 1954 but life at Hendon had been too good to me and I knew I would be posted abroad somewhere.  Chose to leave.

Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: A Dead Horse
« on: 23 July, 2018, 08:30:56 AM »
And one thing leads to another - your mention Ken of Gibraltar has a very vivid memory for me - my grandfather Joseph Fox (orphaned at the age of 7) joined the West Yorkshire Regiment on his 18th birthday in 1881 and then transferred to the Essex Regiment when a army was being raised to rescue General Gordon.  Grandads first trip was on the "MALABAR" to Gibraltar and without looking up his records which I have obtained many years ago he stayed there for about 2 years eventually going part of the way up the Nile with the ESSEX.  We all know the result in Khartoum and Joseph made his way back via Cyprus etc.    On a holiday a few years back to Benalmadina I caught a coach to Gibraltar and went all the way up to the top where all the monkeys are.  I had followed in grandads footsteps.    Cutting a long story short I followed up the history of the Essex and on my website you can see the summary of the travels with various pictures - the trafalgar Anchor - the Water Tanks - the Hospital where Grandad spent some time recovering from his antics with the ladies in Gibraltar.  Plus a summary of the trip up the Nile.  Along with one of my sons I located his complete Army records at Kew Records Office and gave a copy to the Essex Regiment Museum in Chelmsford.     To see any of the records Grandad was the father of Alfred Fox who married Minnie Edmead and if you scroll to the appropriate entry you can look at some of the memories I posted.   Still searching the family history even today.       And still looking for Reggie Shaw's obituary.

Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: A Dead Horse
« on: 20 July, 2018, 09:31:55 PM »
Just thought I would add a little something to your mention of National Service. I was required to attend a medical at the recruiting place at the "George" Wanstead and was passed fit - I probably could have got out on medical grounds as I suffered from a condition in the knees called Osgoods Schlatters Disease.  Chose to keep quiet and was posted into the RAF and on January 4th 1952 caught a train up to Padgate in Lancashire and went into all the various huts for the required uniform etc.  Two weeks there and then "bullied" into the back of a lorry with a few other "erks" and on a train to Gloucester for square bashing at RAF Innsworth.  Was halfway through the 6 weeks when King George died and boy did those NCO's lay it on.  We were required to march on the occasion of the funeral into Gloucester just outside the cathedral and as far as I know all went well.   Always remember the Sergeant in charge of our group - a pig of a man Sergeant Bertrand.    Managed to scrape through and still have a couple of photographs.  Then got a dream of a posting to RAF Hendon - could even manage to cycle there from Custom House.  Wonderful days - air displays, trips on Anson aircraft all over the country, local to London - and then even tried to arrange a posting to the Isle of Dogs.  That never came off but what a great time .  Should have signed on but left at the end of my time to wander in and out of the various factory jobs that were always available along Silvertown Way.    Could carry on and on and in the terrible situation that we are in with crime etc why not some form of National Service for the criminals of today - it has been said before.  Must stop now - message probably in the wrong topic but at least something to follow up on.

About the Forums / Re: is it terminal
« on: 13 June, 2018, 09:15:48 PM »
Hello Ken, the post concerning Martin Peters can be seen on Sporting Newham - posted yesterday as my second post of the day following my initial one above.

Sporting Newham / Re: West Ham stadium main gates
« on: 12 June, 2018, 04:23:06 PM »
So my second post of the day - from very little to two in a day concerns Martin Peters - he of West Ham fame, a cousin of my wife's family George Brett who along with his son Terry went missing and were never found and my wife's sister on a visit from Shropshire.       One very pleasant Easter perhaps five years ago or more my wife and I along with her sister Josie were taking refreshments at Ingatestone Garden Centre (now sadly closed) and on the bookshelves was a copy of an edition called "Essex Villians" and in that book were chapters of these and other notorius people - "The Rettendon Three", "The diappearance of George Brett and Son" and others.    On telling my sister-in-law about the book and that her cousin George was featured in a chapter she immediately went and purchased the book and sat and read the article completely.          A person prominently named in the article was Lennie Thompson.                                         
Whilst sitting at our table I spotted Martin Peters, his wife, son and fiancee in the queue for food and drinks and they then occupied the table under a sunshade next to ours.     Josephine then asked me if I had any objection to her asking Martin Peters for his autograph and I said go ahead.     She then moved over to the table and excused herself for being bold and said to Martin  - "Are you Lennie Peters" - to which he replied no but my dad was named Lennie.  Josephine had confused Lennie Thompson from the book with possibly popular singer of the time Lennie Peters or even Lennie Thompson.      We all fell about laughing and Martin's wife complimented us on sending Josephine over.     Martin then left his table and along with my wife and I we have a photograph taken of the three of us.  Martin was a perfect gent - he was sad about Upton Park being sold and we talked about other football related issues and now even more sadly I do believe that he is suffering from one of the age related illnesses and is quite poorly.      So Mick I hope that some of the details I have mentioned will generate a few more replies of interest.    Even saddens me to hear that the "BOLEYN" has closed (is this true).
Regards  Alf

About the Forums / Re: is it terminal
« on: 12 June, 2018, 03:54:48 PM »
From an old poster who as Mick says - looks in but rarely contributes.  Almost got involved again a while ago when Ken was mentioning Reggie Shaw.  I recently attended a reunion of the St. Andrews Boys Club that operated in Tollgate School  - not many left standing now - turned out just a bout six.  St. Andrews was formed in 1938 and were named Fredericks Road Youth Club run by a lovely man E C Sydney. Syd to us boys.    Reg was a smashing lad and i spent quite a lot of time with him both on holidays and at football and any other sport that we could do.  I have a recollection that when Reg died I wrote an obituary for the St. Andrews Old Boys Club and if my memory serves me right I probably passed it on to the Forum.  I have searched my house high and low for my copy (I keep everything) but at the moment I cannot find it.  I have asked St. Andrews Old Boys president if he has a copy of it as I also wrote obits for Terry Crangle and Ron (Kipper) Kent both St. Andrews members - have a few pictures from the late 1940's and early 1950's plus some holiday one with the lads.   Old St. Andrews members still alive and kicking are John Bavins (in Colwyn Bay), Horry Wright in Colchester and Ken Bartrup in Laindon.  The reunions occur in the Wheatsheaf in Brentwood Road Romford twice yearly but with age creeping up fast I cannot see it continuing much longer.   Perhaps age is why some of the old posters have disappeared - as Mick might remember I am deeply involved in family history and have spent a lot of time searching for the details of a relative who was a Prisoner of War in Germany in WW2.  Been to Chelmsford Essex Regiment Museum - to The Archives at Bancroft and followed up a whole host of avenues so my time get consumed in that way.   Fortunately I am still fairly active (85 soon to be) and will be playing table tennis tonight and a full round of golf tomorrow.   I would be sad to see the Newham Story disappear as I do like to read what others are doing and thinking.       I have another story which I will post on another page shortly concerning Martin Peters and George Brett and his son Terry.
Regards  Alf Fox 

Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: the connaught and ships
« on: 13 May, 2016, 07:57:30 PM »
My own working experience in the docks were initially at the age of 15 years as office boy with the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P & O S N Co) whose offices were situated between sheds numbered two and four King George Vth Dock.  These two berths were normally the import berths for the P & O with Shed number nine on the opposite side being "home" for the likes of "CANTON" - "CARTHAGE" and "CORFU".  Worked there with the P & O until National Service and on returning to civilian life had many a job along Silvertown Way before joining the Royal Mail Lines whose offices were situated at "Z" shed Royal Victoria Dock.   The "Highland" boats would discharge their cargo of meat at this berth and following engine maintenance etc would then move to number three King George Vth Dock before sailing from Tilbury Landing Stage full of passengers for Vigo (Spain) and South America.      The next shipping Company I joined was the PORT LINE whose main berths were at shed numbers six and eight - became crane driver in their rigging gang before finally moving to the Port of London clerical department in the West India Dock.            Shed number 10 in KGV Dock was usually reserved for the Union Castle Line ships.    Also had a very short clerical post with the Blue Star Line.          It is impossible for todays generation to imagine the activities that surrounded the Docks - from the trolley buses in and out of the Connaught Terminal.  The Lorries and Trains in and out every day and the multitude of men of all tradesmaking their way to work.     My earliest memories between 1947 and 1951 cover two serious cases of disease.   The "CHITRAL" in quantine with a number of cases of smallpox on board and the "MALOJA" coming into number two KGV with typhoid cases on board.   Again quarantine and a yellow flag indicating these diseases.     Another memory concerned the arrival in the fleet of the cruise liner (at the time) "CHUSAN" with all weekly paid staff being welcomed on board on a balmy Friday evening in Southampton to enjoy a weekend cruise up the channel and coach trips around Rotterdam, Delft and Scheveningen.   Was a little too young to make the most of the many pleasures that could be found on board.  Madeup for it fifty years later when I managed an invitation to Southampton when Princess Anne named the "AURORA".


Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: playing in the street
« on: 22 April, 2016, 08:28:50 PM »
Billericay SOAP BOX DERBY - date should read MONDAY 2nd MAY and NOT SUNDAY.

Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: playing in the street
« on: 22 April, 2016, 05:22:16 PM »
Stan Dyson brought back memories of the old orange box and four wheels with a piece of string to guide you in the right direction - many a crash but happy days.  Coming up in Billericay on 2nd May is a SOAP BOX DERBY - details of which can be seen at:-

copy and paste the link into your browser and see what the day will be all about - MONDAY 2nd MAY - even main roads being closed.


Pie and Mash available in Billericay most days of the week from a small cafe in the High Street.  Not your usual Pie and Mash shop though.  And when on a trip to Romford we always call in to McDowells in the Shopping Hall.


Have to eat a little humble pie on my West Ham Football Club rant and let them off the hook slightly - as the 58p per minute excess charge on my grandson's mobile call to the club for away tickets (see my initial post) to Blackburn was divided up with the first 13p going to West Ham as an "access charge" followed by the other 45p per minute being swallowed up by the mobile phone company Vodafone (again an access charge).

Following conversations with Vodafone he is still living in hope that they will credit his account with the £58.50 access charge whilst leaving West Ham to collect their £15.73 for doing absolutely nothing.   Apparently the telephone number that collects this exorbitant and unjustified charge is embossed on the season tickets and can also be seen elsewhere on club material.    Time for West Ham and Vodafone to make some changes to their procedures I would think.


Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: Delicatessen shops
« on: 23 February, 2016, 05:31:01 PM »

You may have forgotten Hammonds at the top of Churchill Road - faint memory tells me they had two halls side by side - one for grocery and possibly the other for butchery.   And what about Goebells on PR Lane between Randolph and Alnwick Roads.


Sporting Newham / Tickets for AWAY West Ham United Football matches
« on: 19 February, 2016, 08:55:12 PM »
Be interested to know if any other forum members have experienced the same "rip off" when buying West Ham tickets for away matches.  My grandson (a season ticket holder) rang the usual telephone number that he has always used when buying these tickets and he commenced to call the West Ham number on 0871 222 2700 at 8.55 on Saturday morning and joined the queue for FA Cup AWAY tickets against Blackburn being played tomorrow the 20th February.    He joined the queue and was informed that he was number 21 in the queue but thought it was worth waiting.  He was travelling up to Norwich for the match up there last Saturday and got on the train at Ingatestone just after ten o’clock with his mobile phone glued to his ear still hoping to get through and purchase four tickets and so kept the line open.  Two hours and thirty five seconds when he had reached number three in the queue he was suddenly and without warning cut off.
The telephone bill has now been received and the cost of that call for two hours and 35 seconds was a staggering £69.38.

Apparently calls from a Vodafone mobile cost 13p per minute but a further 45p per minute has been added to that mobile cost making a total of 58p per minute - and one can only assume that the 45p per minute goes into the coffers of West Ham United.       He eats, sleeps and drinks everything West Ham and is now an extremely disappointed supporter especially more so as his call was discontinued when he had got to number 3.   Sixty Nine pound is a lot of money to spend on a phone call for the FA Cup tickets and not even get to speak to any individual and even worse not even getting the tickets.

He follows the team whenever he can but to dip into his pocket for non existent tickets at £69.38 does not show West Ham FC up in a very supporter friendly way.   Will try and copy David Gold and David Sullivan in with this complaint and hope that somewhere along the way there is some compassion shown by the Board of Directors at West Ham United Football Club.


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