People Living Around The Green

Len Jordan: Mrs. Monnery who lived next door and had a son the same age as Len Jordan was a particular favourite of mine, as she used to save me a dish of "afters" every dinner time.  I would wait patiently for her to call me, when I would dash round and get stuck into it although I'd already had some at home.

Len Jordan: Granny and Granddad Duffell: Next door to them in the house with the large windows, which had at one time been a butcher's shop I believe, lived Mrs. Monnery's parents, Granny and Granddad Duffell.  They let two of their rooms to Mr. and Mrs. Brannanand their daughter Beryl, who was the same age as me, and was another of my early playmates.  When the Brannans went to live in Kiln Lane, the two rooms were then let toJack Howesand his wife.  Jack came from East Ham. Mrs Howes was a native of Betchworth, and her mother Mrs. Miller lived by Snower Hill.  Jack started off doing a bit of jobbing gardening, but in a very short time took on an evening paper round, and was a familiar sight riding round the village selling "Star, News or Standard" on his trades bike.  He soon extended the business to a morning paper round as well, and combined this with turning his downstairs room (with the large window) into a small shop selling besides newspapers and magazines, sweets, cigarettes, stationary, seeds etc - and later on when he had electricity - Eldorado ice-cream appeared.  When the Monnerys also moved to Kiln Lane, Jack and Mrs Howes moved next door and ran the shop from there for a couple of years.

Len Jordan believes it was during this time that their daughter Evelyn was born. Known by one and all round The Green as "Ba Ba" she was a great favourite with everybody.  When Mr. and Mrs. Duffell moved (or passed away) I'm not sure which, the Howes moved back into their original shop No.1 and eventually bought it.  The business expanded further when Jack took over George Sherlock's much bigger paper business from over the road. The Howes shop was very popular, and they ran it for a good many years before retiring.  I remember before joining the Navy that Mrs. Howes used to take on evacuees from London during the early part of the 1939-45 war.  One of them was a little girl namesBeryl Thornley.  She unfortunately became a household name in the early 1950's as Beryl Evans whose body and that of her eighteen month old daughter were found under the sink in 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill.   Her husband, Timothy Evans, was eventually hanged for the murders, but a couple of years later the same house became even more infamous, when another seven or eight bodies - maybe more - were found there and the other man who lived in the house, John Christie, was also hanged.

Len Jordan: On a more cheerful note, when the Howes moved back to No.1 Our new neighbours becameMr. and Mrs. Charlie Gunnerand their daughters Jo and Pat.  Once again we seemed to have struck lucky with very good neighbours. In fact, Oak Cottages was a very happy little community.  Everyone got on well together.

Len Jordan:  On the other side of the shop was Long Cottage. This was occupied when I was a very small boy by Mrs. de Glenn.Later her daughter and her daughter's husband (Mr. and Mrs. Curtis)came to live there.  I have good reason to remember the Curtis's for one of their dogs bit me!  In the late 30's Long Cottage was occupied by a well known actor of the day,Reginald Tate and his wife.  Alex Street tells says it was originally two cottages, and his grandmother lived in one.  Vine Cottage (Now Mrs Jean Roberts widow of David) which is behind Long Cottage, I do not remember much about, but I do believe that Syd Huggett, as a small boy lived there with his Mum and Dad at one time.

Len Jordan: Grandmother's house was quite large.  It had a big laundry room which she said had once even a school room. There was a large stove just through the door on which the irons were heated.  I once had my hand burnt by an iron carried myMrs. Hall.  Of course, amid all the pain and anguish I blamed her for it, but I am sure it was my fault.  Other painful experiences I remember, was twice flattening my fingers in the mangle.  I was then more or less banned from the whole department.  Gran used to have a lot of work from different people in Betchworth, Buckland and Brockham. Her largest consignment was from the Goulborns at Betchworth House. Mrs. Goulborn had two very large baskets full each week.  Gran used to pay TedBudda shilling to deliver the laundry to Betchworth on Saturday mornings, and bring back next week's lot.

Len Jordan: Next door in No 5 (now called Thimble cottage) lived oldMr. and Mrs. Charlie Streetand their youngest daughter Edie, who later married "Geordie" Robinson. Their daughterMarianstill lives in the village.  One thing I remember about the Streets was that they had a cat names Fluff, which lived to the ripe old age of 32!  This was without the benefit of pills and jabs from the vet.  People couldn't afford such luxuries!  We all had cats and they lived to good ages, but Fluff held the record!

Len Jordan: Next to the Oak stood the cottage which I believe was the original Royal Oak.  An old lady namedMrs. Turnerlived there on her own, then be followed by her daughter and son-in-lawMr. and Mrs. Firbankand their two sons.  Later in the 1930's the cottage was occupied byMr. and Mrs Boardman, a young couple.

Len Jordan: On the north-east corner of The Green in North Lodge lived Mr. and Mrs. Best.  Mr. Best was a large stout man, while his wife was very tall and slim.  They used to come out on the Green and get Stan Farmer and myself to run races.  A penny for the winner! Stan would have been around four or five at the time, while I would have been six or seven. As I was older and taller than Stan he always had a very good start on me, and I never stood a chance of catching him!  Then came the ceremony of the prize giving and Mr Best usually took pity on me and gave me a penny for being a "good loser".  We would then hare it across to the Post Office, glue our eyes to window for a few minutes, and then go inside to spend our well-earned prize money.

Len Jordan: In South Lodge livedMr. and Mrs. Tarran Jones, two well-known people in the village. Mrs. Jones was another daughter of old Mrs. Turner next to the Oak.  Mr. Jones eventually had"Riverdale"built just inside the coach road and they moved there.

Len Jordan: Vicarage Cottage: Along the Green in Vicarage Cottage livedMr. Chudleyand family.  Mr. Chudley appeared around 1931 I would think, and immediately threw himself into the life of the village, he played cricket, football, was into the bonfire when it re-started, in fact anything that went on round The Green. He was particularly interested in cricket, and obtained a bag-full of gear (boy size) and would come out on Monday evenings and teach us how to bowl a length, and play a straight bat.  We used to have a proper match, usually of twelve a side, and also played matches against other boy's teams such as Betchworth and Dorking Grammar School.  The bag of gear was kept in Mr. Chudley's garage, and we could fetch it out whenever we wanted, which were most evenings! (At some stage Mr Roger and Elvira Bennett moved into the cottage followed by Mr and Mrs Vera Kimberley)

Len Jordan: Fells Cottage: In the first of the two houses laying back (now called Fell's Cottage) lived when I was very small, my mother's UncleJoe Smithand Aunt Mag.  She was my grandmother's sister, and they were married to two brothers, which I believe was a very common thing in those days.  Uncle Joe had quite a large family; the one I knew best was his son, also Joe, twenty years older than me, with whom I played cricket for many years.  In the house next door livedMr. and Mrs. Hunt,their son Ernie, and daughtersEthel and Lily(who lives in Glenfield Road today). When the family moved to Middle Street into one of the new places that had been built there, the house on The Green became the home for many years ofTed Buddand his wife Olive.

Len Jordan: Aberdeen House was occupied by Mr.Arthur Balchin and family.  Mr. Balchin had previously been the butcher (hence Balchin's pond) as it is still known to a lot of people.  One of his son's (Doug) eventually became landlord of the Duke's head as I have said.  Mr. Balchin's two youngest sons were Norman and Percy, both like me, loving their cricket.  Percy and I spent many an hour on the Green during school holidays, with bat and ball.

Len Jordan: The house which is now the Chemist's shop, I think housed Mrs. Boxall,the infant teacher at the school, and her sick husband.  Afterwards, Mr.Dick Talbotcame to live there.  He was to become as I have said, the star of "The Red Barn" years later.  He was also the C.O. of Brockham Home Guard during the war.

Len Jordan: Church Cottages:Now we come to Church Cottages (I think that is what they were called). Stan Farmerwill put me right, as he lived in the second one with his mother, father, brothers and sisters.  These were a row of four small cottages which no longer exist.  Miss.Jeaneslived in the fourth one.  My memory of her is that she had a bad leg.  I can also remember in the late thirties, a very youngMiss Violet Packhamcoming to live on the Green in Miss. Jeanes house.  In the mid-thirties Jack Jones came to live in the one between this one and Mr. Farmer's.  Jack's wife wasNancy Street,sister of Edie in 5 Oak Cottages. Their daughter was Phyllis.

Len Jordan:  To retrace my steps back to Stan Farmer, he and I were always playing together on The Green at the time of our races organised by Mr Best!  The older boys would play golf, and they had a three-hole course round the Green, starting from the church wall.  Some of them were pretty good, especiallyHarold Farmerwho became a scratch player later on.  Stan and I tried to emulate them, often getting in their way, and receiving polite requests to go elsewhere.  Clubs were wooden shafted at that time, and Stan had a driver cut down very short.  With that he had to drive, get out of the ditch and putt as well.  I had the same problem, but my club was an iron, also cut down and presented to me byPercy Bradd,another gardener at the Manor.  We could all hit the ball pretty straight, and I can't recall many windows being broken.  It must be remembered there was very little traffic.  There were no vehicles at all parked round the Green, and very few cars passing through.  There were probably nearly as many buses as cars.  But you did get quite a few horse-drawn vehicles.  Apart fromHolman and Budd'scoal-cart, wending its way round the village, there were the various milkmen.  Another well-known tradesman wasWally Potterfrom Pixham Lane, a greengrocer and fruiterer, who came over to Brockham two or three times a week to sell his wares.  His horse and cart was to be seen regularly outside the Oak for quite long periods, so I presume Wally used to like his drop of sherbet! I can just remember the old "East Surrey" specimens.  They were open-topped double deck, with winding stairs which you walked up out in the fresh air.  They disappeared when London Transport took over the route.  I understand that one of the old East Surrey buses, obviously over-loaded, tipped over on the way up the Straight (Brockham Lane), tipping the upstairs passengers into the field.  It would have been a field then, as there were very few houses there at the time.  Another regular sight in the 30's was that of the gaily-painted gypsy caravans going up the road.  Gypsy women would knock at all the doors, selling clothes pegs, paper flowers etc

Len Jordan:  The Post Office(now the Spar) housed the business of C E Stent and Son.  Apart from stocking all groceries, they were also the village bakers.  The bake-house was at the back of their other shop further along.  Mr. Stent lived near the top of the straight, while his son Harry lived on the business premises.  I don't remember if there was one house, or two semis' next door, but I can recall Mr. and Mrs.Vinallliving there.

Reg Glanfield: Stent also had the shop where Surrey House now is in the 1920s. (Before him wasBellchambers) They seemed to sell something of everything including bread as the bake house was at the back of the house. To get to the bakery it was necessary to walk through what is now North View alongside the cobbler's workshop and out the back. Surrey House had a great deal of land at the rear around to the Village hall to the Post Office. One of the bakers lived above Surrey House.  I had my first job at fourteen delivering bread on a three wheel bike and I hated it. Keeping me and the bread dry was always a problem. I stayed in the job until I was seventeen then for six months I worked in the bakery but the life was not for me.

 

Surrey House next to the village hall

 

Len Jordan: Now to Rose Cottageand to me the greatest character of all on the Green,Jack Tickner,(who lived there with his wife and son Claude) was a jack-of-all-trades!  Chimney sweep, barber, and taxi-driver - he had his own taxi - sold paraffin, bicycles and anything to do with them.  He would mend your punctures for a copper or two, if you were too lazy to do it yourself.  Jack would come straight on from sweeping someone's chimney, sit you in a chair and give you a trim on the spot.  Claude, who was a mechanic, had his own little business of re-charging accumulators for your radio, and of course anything else to do with the wireless.  I used to enjoy going up to see old Jack, and would spend ages at his back-door or at the end of his drive, listening to his tales of old Brockham, always told with sense of humour to make you laugh.  He remembered standing there and watching the original Duke's Head burn down at the turn of the century! Another of Jack's jobs was that of school care-taker.  He was a great entertainer, he would sing a song, and I recall him playing in Claude's dance band just before the war.  Apparently he would do a comic act in the years gone by, either on his own, or sometimes with my father as a double-act.  Dad said his part wasn't too difficult, as he didn't have to say much, but just stand there and be the butt of Jack's jokes while the audience would be rolling about.  Jack made it up as he went along.  No script! It was all in good fun. My dad thought the world of him; they were great friends. As a taxi driver, he was not by all accounts a good time-keeper. George Sherlocktold me thatMr. Anningsaid to him "You know I always walk to Betchworth Station every morning.  In all those years I have only missed the train twice.  Those were the two days I asked Tickner to take me."  He was a lovely old soul, and to me he was Brockham Green. At the other end of his drive, Jack had his garage and workshop.  His garden was at the rear of these.  Part of his workshop was used byJohnson Risbridger, a very well known local carpenter.  He was responsible for building the lych-gate paid for by Mr Poland in his will.  I stood watching him erecting the lych-gate one day, and he said to me - "I have put brand new shiny pennies in all the joints, so in years to come someone will find them and know when the gate was put up".

 

A couple of photos of Borough Bridge heading into Brockham - the photo above of Jack Tickner and Miss Lucy Cox is dated 1928

Reg Glanfield: Jack Tickner had a cottage where the hairdressers now are. He was a taxi driver, chimney sweep, looked after the Green, was the school caretaker, charged accumulators for the radio and cut hair for two pennies. He sold petrol in two gallon cans - Shell was red BP green. There were only about two cars in the village one owned by Dr Arthur.

Len Jordan: The notice on the little place next door proclaimed: "George Bailey, Bootmakerand Repairer". Mr. Bailey lived over the bridge in one of the houses opposite the manor. He could be seen toddling up and down to his workshop two or three times a day, sometimes wearing a bowler hat. Mr. and Mrs. Iselinand their daughter lived in Ivy Cottage as it was then called.  It was covered in Ivy, which has long been stripped off. Mr Iselin seemed a very private man, but Mrs Iselin used to walk around with her daughter and pet dog, and was always very friendly and sociable. I can't remember who lived in Brooklands at the top of Tanners Hill, but I think their name was Roberts.

Len Jordan: Over the road now toBirch Cottage, where lived George Sherlock, his sisters, and niece Ida.  George's shop was a few yards away whereCentury Cottage now is.  The shop was built for George by his father I believe.  He apparently started off as a gent's outfitter, and in fact I can recall one of his shop windows always had gents clothes hanging in it.  But he soon became a grocer, newsagent etc.  Mr. Sherlock was very popular and well respected in the village.  He sang in the Choir, and Ida was the organist for a number of years.  One of his sisters, Alice, was a teacher at Brockham School all of her working life.  When she retired, in 1936, the headmaster Mr. Pinnock, collected from all the pupils, and as many of her ex-pupils as he could trace, and she was presented with a bureau at a concert in the Village Hall held in her honour.

Len Jordan: "North View" at that time was divided into two.  In the first part lived Mrs. Harmanand her son Bert.  The other end was occupied by Mrs. Harman's sister, Miss. Gabriel.  I think the same apple tree is still in the garden of North View.  We used to knock our ball over there on purpose so we could go in and snaffle an apple or two under the pretence of looking for the ball.  I think Mrs. Harman got wise to us in the end, for she used to come out of her front door, and walk up to help us find the ball!

Len Jordan: At the end of Providence Row,on the wall facing the road was a board which stated"W H Phillips, Painter and Decorator". Bill Phillips was a gruff old stick, deaf as a post (no hearing aids of course!) and he was also our rent collector.  Among other people who lived in Providence Row in the early '30's were theProdgerswith their son Roy.  They moved along to the very end house by Court Farm Gate, when these houses were built.  Dave Prodger was for many years the British Legion Standard Bearer.  Another family wasMr. and Mrs. Fred Parkerand their sons and daughters.  One son was Bill, who became the father of Jim and Geoff, both still in Brockham.  Bill was another gardener at The Manor.  Round about the mid thirties I remember Bill Huggett, Nell and their children Ivy and young Bill arriving in Providence Row.  Ivy and Bill still used to walk through the fields to Betchworth School every day! Also at this time came Joe and Mrs. Overington, and their daughters Gwen and Connie.  Later on, Rosebud was born.  Sadly, she recently departed from us.  Gwen and Connie are still in Brockham, and I think the three of us plus Stan Farmer and Pat Gunner are the only children who lived on the Green in the 1930s who are still in the village.

Len Jordan: A character at the other end of Providence Row was Miss. Page.  She seemed to be into most things in the village.  I remember on the morning of my wedding, she although being around seventy, and a spinster, was calling across the road to me, telling me her recipe for a happy marriage, much to the amusement ofJoe Overingtonwho was passing by!

Len Jordan: Church View in Wheelers Lane was three cottages.  At some timeSam Fiestand family, MissLizzie Evansand theScottfamily lived there. (Lived in during 1980s and 1990s byJohanna Caspers, latterly a widow. 2010 occupied byMr and Mrs Slegg)