A CHILD’S VIEW OF WOODSIDE PARK
By SHEILA JELLEY (nee BRADFORD) Ex 34 Walmington Fold
I was born in 1938 and my first memories of Woodside Park are during wartime with air raid warnings. We slept in our reinforced back room in Walmington Fold with a brick wall erected outside the french doors. If the raids were really bad then we slept in the specially built brick air-raid shelter at the top of the garden and our neighbours joined us through a door especially cut out of the fence. Rationing was to the fore and when I saw wooden crates in Meyers’ Greengrocers I had to run home for my green ration book so 1 could get a banana! If the LyonsMaid sign was put outside Garners I knew that the Ice Cream was in 2d a cone ably dished out by Miss Seymour.
There were two air raid bunkers in Riverside Walk (then called Brookside Walk), each built about 6ft high and several feet in length with a vertical iron ladder at the entrance. We would take a long run to reach the top without stopping and slide down the other end. Next to the bunkers and just inside the gate from Argyll Road was a small building where the WRVS ladies used to sell the orange juice and dried milk for which we also needed our green ration books. On the opposite side of Argyll Road was the bungalow which was originally the site office and later the ARP warden headquarters
I remember a bomb landing on the roundabout where Walmington Fold crosses with Linkside and Fursby Avenue. Pieces of brick landed in our front garden. Several houses were flattened but luckily no one was hurt. I remember going to a bonfire street party on this site to celebrate the finish of the war.
Walking to St Michael’s Convent, Nether Street in 1944 was a happy occasion with the older girls making sure that the younger ones arrived safely.
There were many children in the Garden Suburb. Most parents had moved there on their marriage or soon after so there were plenty of friends to find, although we may have gone to different schools. But when at home we played together. I had a see saw, another friend would have a swing, another a side wall that we could play “twoballs” on. Our lawn was suitable for cricket or tennis using mother’s washing line as a net and another friend had a wonderful “dressing up” box which was very popular. We also used to play in Riverside Walk climbing trees and damming the brook or playing ball games. In the summer our mothers used to bring picnic teas round and find us and we had a good time.
In 1989, Brian Brauns, late of Rodmell Slope, made contact with many people who had lived in Woodside Park. He invited everyone to his house in Kent for the first of the Reunions for those of us who had lived in Woodside Park and were born between 1932 and 1942. This was so popular that Reunions have been held every three years and we are still finding our “old friends” and have what I describe as a “Time Warp Day” where we remember those childhood days in the Garden Suburb.
Sadly, such Reunions do not take place any more but there is always a chance to meet old friends at the annual Woodsider Party.