A Trip Down Memory Lane…Fulham (Part 1)
Back in early August, I took a little trip to Fulham. I was actually born near Stonehenge in Wiltshire, but when my dad couldn’t get regular work, we moved to Fulham, into my grandparents’ house in Rigault Road in 1966. Fulham became the place I grew up in, where I went to school (All Saints C of E Primary and Lady Margaret C of E Secondary), fell in love for the first time (okay, a few times) and started off into the world of work (Che Guevara in Putney High Street, Mar-Com in Chiswick, Prontaprint in Fulham Road and Fulham UBO in Wyfold Road). I moved out of Fulham in 1988 and had only visited once in 1997, so my memories of my childhood place were rather faded…although there are some memories that never dull. Accompanying me on this journey was my lovely friend Lesley (we went to school together) with her husband and daughter, all armed with cameras.
We met at Putney Bridge station and were blessed with a beautiful sunny day…
We then walked into Ranelagh Gardens…
and then into Fulham High Street…not surprisingly, many of the shops had changed, but some of the pubs hadn’t!
Our old primary school had gone 🙁 Although the building was still there, it is now a prep school.
When we reached the top of Rigault Road, there was no Jimmy’s sweet shop…to be honest, I think that had long gone when I had reached my teens. Instead there was Pappa Ciccia, an Italian take away, so we decided to have some coffee and cake before exploring more memories.
We had a peek at All Saints Church Hall…this is opposite our old primary school and where we used to have our “lovely” school dinners. Ahhh memories of lining up in pairs (one girl and one boy) and holding hands, while the teachers fought the traffic to get us all across in one piece (there was no pelican crossing in those days).
Next was Rigault Road…in many respects it hadn’t changed much, except a bit cleaner and is now one-way only.
As we walked up to my house, I told Lesley that I was going to knock on the door of my old house and see what happened (I think she thought I would bottle out, but I didn’t!). I had thought that the house had been converted into flats, as it has been extended on the right side so there is no longer a little alley way (used to be where the coal was delivered as my grandparents had coal fires) so I was surprised to see only one buzzer intercom. I rang it and tried not to sound like a weirdo when I explained that I used to live there over 25 years ago. At first, the woman was reluctant but I chatted away a bit more and she asked for my surname. On my reply, she said “hang on” and then answered the door…result!! We talked for a little while…she was the original buyer of the house when my parents sold it in 1989…I was itching to get inside and nose around, but whilst I dropped subtle hints, I didn’t ask directly…so maybe next time!
We then walked down to the end of Rigault Road and explored Fulham Park Road…I had forgotten the mixture of housing in that area…great big houses to council flats.
Across Fulham Road, we explored Hestercombe Avenue (where Lesley used to live) and Dorncliffe Road.
Then onto Fulham Road, we walked down to the roundabout at the junction with Fulham Palace Road, passing the Drive Mansions (which freaked me out a bit as a kid) and various shops. The pet shop on the corner of Burlington Road/Fulham Road is now an estate agents. I stood on the little roundabout to get shots of the top of each road (Fulham Road, Fulham High Street and Fulham Palace Road) which scared Lesley a little bit!
We then headed into Bishops Park, off Fulham Palace Road…the adventure playground is no longer there, there’s an area cornered off to walk dogs, definitely smarter looking, but very pleased to see the allotments were still there. My grandad had one there, from the Second World War until the early 1980s.
We also came across All Saints Primary school which is now housed in what used to be St Marks Secondary.
And then onto Fulham Palace, which I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I had never visited before! A rather lovely place, as it turned out. We had a look around the gardens and then had some lunch in the drawing room cafe (Lesley bumped into a school friend while we were there – small world!). We actually stayed for quite a while…surrounded by yummy mummies and their babies.
We also had a look at the little chapel.
Next stop, All Saints Church, it’s main claim to fame being featured in the film The Omen (the original with Gregory Peck, Lee Remick and Patrick Troughton)…Patrick Troughton gets speared by a lightning rod from the top of the church. And we remember them filming around there at the time.
We also saw the Almshouses…our harvest festival contributions used to go there every year.
So we had now come full circle…we had a drink at the Eight Bells, had a quick peek at the top of New Kings Road, said our goodbyes and tootled off home. It was such a lovely day…I can’t wait for Fulham (Part 2) when we aim to cover Parsons Green, North End Road and Fulham Broadway!