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Newham memories and nostalgia / Bingley Road.
« on: 11 June, 2019, 09:17:58 PM »
I may have posted this in the distant past - maybe 10 years ago but:-
It might generate some conversations .

To Martin Plimmer and Brian King,
Authors of a book on coincidences being published on May 9th 2019.
They wrote a newspaper article in the 4th May edition of the Daily Mail.
Your article on Saturday 4th May 2019 has reminded me of a spooky coincidence – not once but twice and a short summary is necessary before the actual events.  In 1943 St. Andrew’s Boys Club was formed in West Ham, London by a very special man E C Sydney and became a focal point for many local young lads too young to be called up for the Armed Forces.    The club eventually folded around 1973 and the Manager died in 1977 but a former “Old Boy” Frank Shipman decided to try and keep many of its members together and formed “The St. Andrew’s Old Boy’s Association” which met  initially monthly in “The Wheatsheaf” Public House in Romford, Essex and became very popular.  The Association finally closed its doors in 2018 as the membership had declined.      I submitted the coincidences to our local press after the 2004 discovery and have given it no more thought until reading your article.
Frank Shipman maintained contact with each and every one of the original Club and Association members whose addresses were known and diligently posted out across the world the “minutes” of each and every single meeting that took place in the “ Wheatsheaf”.     One of those old members was a certain George Phillips who at some stage had emigrated to New Zealand with his wife – for members unable to attend meetings it was common for Frank to receive newsletters in return from those far and wide and it is in one of George’s replies that the spooky part of my story begins.
These are George’s own words in a letter to Frank Shipman dated November 13th 2001.
In my first year at Bowls I had won a tournament and was having a celebratory drink at our local Returned Services Association Club – and I must point out that the Club is very impressive with a large Restaurant, Lounge, Dance Floor, three large Billiard/Snooker tables and three Pool tables also an Indoor and Outdoor Bowling Green.   At our table sat this chap called Mike McCarthy and it became patently obvious that he was a – cor blimey – (a description of a person from East London, England) – and we struck up a conversation.  It transpired that he came from West Ham and as is usual, we went on to discuss Pubs, to ascertain where we came from and what we knew about the place.
We got to the “Greengate”, The “Castle” on the opposite corner and then proceeded down Prince Regents Lane to the “Nottingham Arms”.    He said “That Pub’s on the corner of the road I used to live down – Bingley Road”.  Well, what do you know, said I, So did I.      He then said “Yes, I lived at number 18 from about 1935 until 1939.   George Phillips had moved into the same house in early 1944.   
Now that is an incredible coincidence.  Two guys meeting for the first time and 12000 miles away from the same house that they had both lived in – number 18 Bingley Road, Custom House, London. E16.  George Phillips did have photographs and documents as proof.  Mike lived there in 1939 and George in 1944.   But that is not the end of the spooky story of 18 Bingley Road.
To some of my immediate family I am the “family historian” and at times I get asked to look into some old family history – in this instance it was my cousin Helen Clayton (nee Fox – living in Spain) who asked me to look into her mother’s side of their family.  She knew very little of the maternal side as her mother – my Aunt Nell - had died from a brain tumour in Helen’s early teens.       The limited knowledge that she had, led me to Ellen Maie Cable whose father was Robert John Cable with her mother being Eliza Cable (nee McKanna).
The birth certificate that I ordered on the 16th August 2004 showed the birth of Ellen Maie Cable on 12th May 1916 and amazingly the birth took place at Number 18 Bingley Road, Custom House, West Ham, London.
Number 18 Bingley Road saw Ellen Maie Cable born there in 1916
Number 18 Bingley Road saw Mike McCarthy living there c 1935 to 1939 (or could it have been Mike McKanna)
Number 18 Bingley Road saw George Phillips living there in 1944
To my knowledge the small terraced house is still standing
With the last two named unknowingly meeting up in New Zealand 12000 miles away.
I am not aware if George Phillips is still alive in Orewa, New Zealand although I do have his address from 2001.  Frank Shipman is to my knowledge still alive but not in good health - his son Mark who travelled with Frank to almost all Association meetings lives in Kent.       Copies of this message has been sent to Mark Shipman and Helen Clayton just for information and interest.


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.

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.


Newham memories and nostalgia / Where have all the Cockneys gone.
« on: 24 December, 2015, 10:48:57 AM »
At this time of the year and with greetings cards being posted and sent via the internet - thoughts spring to mind as to where all the old Custom House locals have gone.  My grandfather settled in Poplar following his release from the Essex Regiment around 1892 having been born in Yorkshire 1863.  Part of the column that went up the River Nile in an attempt to rescue General Gordon he was demobbed at Warley, Essex.    Moved to Poplar for Dock work and began a family of 10 - first 4 born in Poplar and the rest in Custom House - Jersey Road.   Joseph born 1901 - two daughters - one in California, one in Billericay - grandchildren in Streatham.  William born 1903 - daughter in Spain - Martha born 1905 - son in Wickford, great grand daughter in Milton Keynes.  Alfred born 1907 - two sons - one Billericay, one in Maldon - grandchildren in Brighton and great grandson in Maida Vale. Albert born 1909 - two daughters - one in Clacton, one in Thundersley, Lilian born 1911 - two sons - one in Australia, one in New Zealand and a daughter in New Zealand.  George born 1912. Leslie born 1916 - one son in Australia and other family in New Zealand.  Gladys born 1918 one daughter in North Devon and other family in Borneo . Violet born 1921 - three sons all in Dagenham.     A number of other children have died but mainly I am in contact with almost all of the families mentioned and my list does not include relatives on my mothers side who have also made their fame and fortune elsewhere in the world.  Carole in USA (New England) for example who has a large family there.       So from poor beginnings - both Albert and George joined the Royal Navy at fifteen and a half years of age and with a large family in one of the tiny houses in Jersey Road they have all seemingly made a good life for themselves and their extended families, many a story told about going barefoot and with very little food in the cupboard - cannot list the whole family as I would probably exceed the page requirement.     No doubt there are many old Custom House residents who have landed on foreign shores and maybe we shall hear of some very good stories - the journey out to these other exotic places either by sea as £10 poms or by air at some later date but Christmas and the New Year always seems to bring out the nostalgia of exactly what are these families up to and how many of them do try to return to their roots during fleeting visits to the old country.  Wishing each and every one a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - will be visiting the old places again in the 2016 to marvel at the changes - who would have thought that we would have a London City Airport on the Royal Albert Dock Centre Road.



Newham memories and nostalgia / Road Names
« on: 30 January, 2015, 02:52:14 PM »
With the memories of the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill taking centre stage on most TV channels does anyone have any idea why in Custom House there are so many roads with connections to royalty and to perhaps other families.  Why is there Churchill Road, Randolph Road - both seemingly having something to do with the Churchill family - then Prince of Wales Road, King George Avenue, Prince Edward Crescent, and Royal Road - with other "in between" roads such as Leyes Road, Wade Road, Baxter Road and Alnwick Road not appearing to having any meaning to their names.    I lived in Alnwick Road from 1933 and have often wondered what prompted the naming of the roads around Custom House.   Plus there was also the "Prince of Wales" Public House along Prince Regent's Lane.  Just seemed that the Royal connection was set in that little part of Custom House and maybe the roads were named at the time of the building of the houses and flats to reflect the Royal patronage.


Tracing your family history / Royal Horse Artillery and British Indian Army
« on: 19 November, 2013, 05:05:21 PM »
I have been asked by a relative if I can locate any information on Edwin William Barlow (could possibly be Edward William Barlow) who was born St. George's in the East on 12 December 1889.  He married Ethel May Vinton (born 1896) in West Ham Parish Church on 22nd September 1917.  His marriage certificate states that he was a soldier in the Royal Horse Artillery - and there may be links to the Irish Lancers and also the Indian Army.    It is believed that he was at some time before the First World War that he was in India with the British or Indian Armies but was recalled to Britain in readiness for the First World War.      Any information of any kind would be appreciated and if I can locate any more details from family members I will post on here to perhaps assist searches.  Indian Army details I understand are held at the British Library and not digitised.


Kate (nee Albert) and Thomas Garnham married in 1903 in West Ham - the 1911 census shows them living with Thomas (Jnr 5 yrs old) and Frederick (2 years old) in 35 Winton Road, Custom House.  In 1912 they had a daughter Doris W Garnham who in 1936 married John W Webb in Woolwich. John was born 1917 in Cranbrook, Kent (mothers maiden name maybe Hatcher).   Doris and John gave birth to a daughter Paula M Webb at Dartford in 1937.  In 1968 Paula married John D Morgan in Woolwich. John was born in 1945 in Bromley, Kent. Mother's maiden name Pulmer.

So a few surnames in the search and I would love to make contact with any of these family tree members who are related to Henry Albert (born Jersey 1846) and Catherine Kelly (born Ireland 1838)
Catherine died about 1912 and Henry some time after 1911/15.

Any help would be appreciated.


Newham memories and nostalgia / Health & Safety
« on: 15 December, 2011, 08:49:51 AM »
In many of the postings there often appear references to “Health & Safety” so I thought it might be a good idea to create a topic on this subject and find out what other forum readers experienced in days gone by.   I attach a photograph (not available in any book) taken around about 1957 by a friend at 3 King George V Dock of the Royal Mail Liner “Highland Chieftain” and wonder if a similar practice of painting the side of a ship would be allowed today.  Sitting or standing on narrow planks above the quayside or water with no protection whatsoever and having to climb down a Jacobs Ladder to get to your position on the plank was no mean feat in those days.   At the time I was a crane driver for the Provedore Gang on the Royal Mail vessels and later moved to the Shore Gang of the Port Line also driving cranes – no safety on those cranes – especially the Swan Neck ones in the Royal Albert Dock.  Try climbing up the outside ladders today without some safety harness and the Management would not last too long.   When not crane driving it was over the side with “Windy Hammers” on the same type of planking that the painters used to chip off all of the rust.  Dusty, noisy and dangerous,  as many a man fell off the plank into the dock water to be taken to hospital to have his stomach pumped out.      I watched from my crane at 6 King George V Dock as a lighterman was dragged from the water on the opposite side of the dock, unconscious, having fallen from his barge about 8.00 am one morning.  Sadly the poor fellow died but just another example of danger.

There must have been many other examples of dangerous practices that would not be allowed today – so perhaps the readers of the forums could share their experiences – perhaps at Beckton Gas Works – Spencer Chapman and Messel, Thomas Ward, Co-op Flour Mills and many more. 


About the Forums / Youth Clubs
« on: 06 February, 2011, 09:45:36 PM »
The opportunities for the youth of today are very limited - with very few youth clubs in existence.  Living in Custom House after the war there were any number of Youth Clubs - Bancroft - Gartan - St. Lukes - Fairbairn House  - Custom House - Regonia - Docklands Settlement and others and the one I used to go to St. Andrews which was in Tollgate School off Prince Regents Lane.   Of course none of them exist today but for any old St. Andrew's boys I would like to make them aware that Frank Shipman who joined the club before the war at Frederick Road has managed "The Old St.Andrews Association" for many years and it is just into its 37th - yes thirty seventh year.  Frank and his son travel to "The Wheatsheaf" in Brentwood Road on the first Tuesday in every second month - February just gone - next meeting April.  Any former St.Andrews boys who want to meet up with a few of their long lost friends can email through this site and I will pass all messages on to Frank - the "lads" would be pleased to meet with any of the old members.   Any who cannot make it but want to communicate with the "Old Boys" can also use the email facility.


In helping relatives to search for information concerning family members my research while not being directly concerned with West Ham has a small connection within the borough.  Living in Bromley-by-Bow around the turn of the century were the Perry family – William and Charlotte (parents), Joseph (b 1889), Joshua (b 1891), Susan (b 1893), Elizabeth (b 1897) and Robert (b 1900).  Joshua was to die in Palestine in 1917 aged 28 and Robert - Lord Robert Kitchener Perry - to give his full name died aged 18 from wounds suffered in France.  Repatriated home he failed to survive and is buried in Tower Hamlets Cemetery.      The brothers joined the Army at a recruiting office in Stratford and two questions spring to mind:-
1)   Can anyone identify the whereabouts of the recruiting office?
2)    Joshua joined the Middlesex Regiment and ended up in the Bedfordshire Regiment and was killed in action at the 3rd battle of Gaza and Robert joined the 2/10th London Regiment of the Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort’s Own) – my enquiry regarding this concerns whether they would have signed on together and were sent their different ways or joined at different times?

Any thoughts and help on the questions would be appreciated – I am hoping to obtain details of their service from the Regimental Museums but to date nothing has arrived and have also searched “Ancestry”.

Bromley habitats are Gale Street, Whitethorn Street, Langston Street, Upper North Street.

Many thanks - alffox

New Members / Military Cemetaries
« on: 27 September, 2010, 07:28:07 PM »
Having paid a visit recently to the World War One battlefields and visited Tyne Cot Cemetary, Essex Farm, Menin Gate etc I am amazed at the care and attention these military cemetaries receive from the people of these countries - no rubbish, graffiti, chewing gum on the ground and immaculate lawns well cared for and the roses and other flowers at Tyne Cot were in lovely bloom just a fortnight ago.        Can also say the same about War Grave Cemetary at Omaha Beach - such care and attention - and all those troops died to keep our country safe and well - not too sure where today's young generation fit in though with the anti social behaviour that blights this country.    Pearl Harbour Memorial just the same - when I visited there in 2000 there must have been something like three to four hundred people on the Memorial at once - groups are taken out by ferry -  but not a sound could be heard - respect was what mattered - not a subject that seems to on the curriculum of schools today.


Tracing your family history / Frank Valentine Edmead
« on: 09 October, 2009, 09:31:39 PM »
Frank was born in Westminster and when of age married my grandmother at St. Lukes.  Frank was well known in the Nottingham Arms and the story goes that as Labour Foreman for Furness Withy if you bought him a pint in the "Nott" then you were sure to be picked up on the call the following morning.  I am trying to locate the adress given on the marriage certificate Lane.     Can anyone identify it for me.


Newham memories and nostalgia / Tate & Lyle
« on: 09 October, 2009, 09:04:17 PM »
For all the old Tate & Lyle workers I hope I have attached a picture from around 1950 or so of one of their socials - my father in law was a lorry driver in those days - away for most of the week, bed and breakfast on the way, sheeted up in antiquated cabs etc - have a few old pictures of his vehicles with their loads of sugar and their drivers mate – Alfie Saxon for one - but he Alf and his brothers Tom and Bill Brett  enjoyed the works socials and hopefully the one I have I have reduced sufficiently in size to copy - measures 12 inches by 6 inches so have cut it down and keeping my fingers crossed.  In my younger days I had many a table tennis match against them as well as playing cricket at Manor Way.


Wartime stories / Evacuation
« on: 05 January, 2009, 03:14:43 PM »
I am seeking any information on the evacuation of myself and brother Joe to Cambois, Blyth, Northumberland.    Dad was a War Reserve Police Constable in the West Ham, Poplar and North Woolwich area and as a result we were evacuated to a wonderful family in Northumberland - the father was the Village Constable in Cambois and it was a connection through the Police that enabled us to be sent there.  Have been in touch with the family and have a picture taken whilst in Cambois but would like to know more.  When did we go?   How long did we stay?  etc.   Can anyone help.   

Newham memories and nostalgia / Remarkable coincidences
« on: 30 December, 2008, 09:59:49 AM »
THE OLD ST.ANDREWS ASSOCIATION - What is left of the original St. Andrews Boys Club that used Tollgate School as its base from the middle 1940’s until its closure in the 1970’s.

One of the original founder members from 1938 – Frank Shipman still organises a bi-monthly re-union in “The Wheatsheaf”, Brentwood Road, Romford – next meeting  5th February 2009.

The many members of the club are scattered across the world – and Frank prepares a bi-monthly newsletter that is sent far and wide.  One of the recipients is George Phillips who lives in New Zealand and who was a member at the YMCA club in Greengate Street.  George became an associate member of O.S.A.A.

George and his wife Iris had completed a very pleasant day at their local Leisure and Country Club after a day of outdoor bowls.  They were having a meal in the open air surroundings of the club and got into conversation with a guy who as George related was obviously a “co’r blimey”.   Discovering that they were all from England the conversation took them into “what part of London did you come from” to which Mick McCarthy replied that he came from Plaistow.  A coincidence since George and Iris had left these shores around the middle 1950’s also from Plaistow but the general conversation carried on and turned to Public Houses – initially the “Greengate” – then across the road to “The Castle” and down into Prince Regents Lane – both George and Mick were totally familiar with the areas spoken of – so they carried on down until the “Nottingham Arms” was reached.  Mick McCarthy appeared at this stage to be totally familiar, like George was, with everything they had discussed but when Mick said that he knew the “Nott” well as he had lived in Bingley Road – George thought “Oh no he did not” – because George had left Bingley Road for New Zealand.  So George went a little further and said are you sure because I lived in Bingley Road and I never knew you or your family – but when Mick said that he had lived at number 18 Bingley Road around 1938  George was dumbfounded as Georgeand his family had also lived in the same house but some two or three years after Mick.    George’s family had taken over 18 Bingley Road after Mick and his family had left for New Zealand.

Surely an amazing coincidence  - these two old boys both from England find themselves sitting opposite each thousands of miles away in New Zealand from where they had spent their early years –they strike up a conversation and then find that they had lived in the same house in Bingley Road but at separate times.

But the coincidence does not end there – my cousin Helen has lived in Spain for the past 25 years and rarely returns to England (I only remember her as a child)  – but in 2004 she paid a visit and now 60 we met for the first time for many years.  In reminiscing about family history she commented that she wished she had taken the time to ask questions of her mother as she knew very little of her – no certificates or photographs and no knowledge as to where she was born etc.  I promised her that I would find her mother’s birth details, obtain a copy of the certificate and send it on.

Her mother was born in 1916 in Custom House at number 18 Bingley Road – the same house as those two old boys in New Zealand had found that they had so much in common – yet here was my aunt Ellen being born in Bingley Road some 20 years earlier.   

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