Crystal Palace has become a gastronome’s delight. There are eating places of all kinds - Mongolian, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Italian, to mention a few. Amidst this welcome cosmopolitan fare, it is good to see that a London tradition is being upheld for at 14 Westow Hill there is an eel and pie shop owned by Churchill’s, the “Traditional Pie Makers”.
It opened in 1998 and has become a favourite port of call for many who enjoy fresh jellied or stewed eels, a warming dish of mince-beef pie, mash and liquor or, an innovation, vegetarian pies. Open seven days a week, eat-in or take-away, Churchill’s is part of a long tradition of London eel and pie shops.
Scotland has given the world many inventors and engineers, and the list is too long to reproduce here. It suffices to say that ships’ engineers are nearly always depicted as Scots, so there must be something in Scotland that encourages original thought and experimentation.
Such an inventor was John Logie Baird, who was born at Helensburgh in August 1888, the son of a Presyterian Minister who had hoped, in vain, that John would also enter the church as his vocation. But he had no interest in that direction, but while still at school rigged up telephone connections to some of his local school friends through overhead wires, thus bringing upon himself the wrath of the newly-created local telephone company.
Josiah Stamp was the subject of a talk to the Local History Group by John King who is known to us for his Lewisham Local History Society and Croydon Airport Society involvements. The following article is drawn from his talk, and also from other sources.
To begin at the end, Josiah Stamp, his wife and eldest son Wilfrid, were killed by the blast from a bomb on the night of 16th April 1941 in the basement of their Shortlands home. He was then only 60, and had he lived there is no doubt that he would have had a substantial, important and influential contribution to make to Britain’s post-war economic troubles.
Extracts from Anne Violet Fuchs’ record of her childhood.
Violet Fuchs nee Watson was born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, in 1874. Her father, Charles Watson, was a partner in a wholesale grocery business which started by supplying foodstuffs to the miners of the gold rush. He was bought out by his partner, John Connell, and returned to live in England, going back to Australia on several occasions, during the first of which their daughter, Violet, lived with her nurse, Ann Gibb, who came from Invergordon. Violet Fuchs was the mother of Sir Vivian Fuchs, the leader of the Antarctic Expedition which crossed the South Pole in 1958.
Dr Heath explained that the time scale that his talk would cover would start with the supposed Big Bang and decelerate exponentially to the present time. He began his talk marking the beginning of time with the Big Bang, and that the subsequent expanding gases would coalesce under the influence of gravity to form galaxies and stars and other bodies like the Earth. The Earth suffered a calamitous impact from another body and, it is thought, this resulted in the formation of our satellite, the moon. He managed however to leap from periods billions (or trillions) of years ago to how the Earth gradually changed from being a fiery ball, devoid of habitation to the various land masses we now identify as continents.
On 29th September we are mourning the 25 years since the closure of the High Level station - the highest railway station in London. To mark the closure, the railway bosses announced a special train to run on 19th September, 1954. It was, of course, a steam train whose locomotive bore on his front a huge white placard, telling us that we were ‘The last train from Crystal Palace’. The ticket for the train cost six shillings. Good value for money as the train consisted of 12 main line carriages and the journey was to last most of that Sunday. Where were we going? None of us knew - it was a genuine mystery journey.
Since 1963, I have lived in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, about 16 miles due south of Lincoln, where the A15 and the A17 cross. However, my wife, Eva, and I were born in the nursing-home near the top of Knight’s Hill, and we grew up in Norwood. Both of us lived a few hundred yards from Park House, the home of Mrs. Nesbitt, now in the grounds of Virgo Fidelis School, Central Hill, Eva in Gibbs Close, I in Bradley Road.
One of the delights of being slightly disorganized and eccentric in habit is that you never know what surprises you are going to find when discovering a pile of old papers hidden away at the back of a cupboard. These were revealed to me recently when searching for a casserole dish now needed for winter service.
Among the out of date 10p off coupons and letters from Readers Digest advising that Mr. John Brown of 316 Green Lane had been specially chosen from the residents of SW16 to enter their bumper prize draw, was a photocopy of an extract from an old book.
Until the late 1960’s, when so many old houses in Norwood were biting the dust, there stood on the north side of Beulah Hill, west of Hermitage Road, a semi-detached villa named Roselawn, not greatly altered in appearance since the early years of the 19th Century. There lived, from 1821 to 1834, Thomas Attwood, the musical composer, pupil of Mozart and organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral, where he is now buried. To that house in Norwood came the composer Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, as Attwood’s guest, in 1829 and again in 1832.