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Kingston places

Woolworths Kngston Upon Thames

Note: Some of the comments below are from our old site. As they hold a lot of information about Kingston, we have transferred them. You can comment on any of these older posts by using the form at the bottom of the page. All comments are moderated.

Pubs, clubs & cafes

Anyone remember J and A (Animals, Yardbirds, etc) – by the church, at the junction on London Road with the New Malden Road? I was a Saturday Girl at Woolworth’s, in the market place, and worked the whole of winter 62-63 and bought a pair of stilettos with my earnings….. and wore the immediately… what’s a little bit of snow?? Also went to the Folk Boat and the Cellar Club and Eel Pie Island, where I stood next to a bloke gaping open-mouthed at Long John Baldry….we called him Rod the Mod (worked as a gravedigger).

Being a student and living in Wimbledon in the early 60’s I and a few friends would visit a jazz boat moored not far from the town centre. We had a reunion a couple of weeks ago here in Oxford and the subject of the great times we had at Eel Pie Island and this boat became a major conversation piece, but none of us could remember it’s name. Can anyone help with as many details of the boat as possible as I have been charged with writing an article in which it is hoped the boat will feature. Many thanks in hope, Les Steward

Does anyone else remember the Cellar Club from around 1964-5. This was not a cellar but an old boathouse behind what had been the Odeon Cinema in the High Street, which was then a Bingo Hall. The Yardbirds with Eric Clapton used to play there every few weeks. One could see the river below through the floor boards and the floor used to vibrate in sympathy with the beat. The club was not licensed for alcohol and eventually it lost its licence to play music, why I’m not sure, but the owner seemed decidedly dodgy and I’m sure the place horrified the Council. Shirley.

Does any body remember the kingfisher bar and grill in London road I have very fond memories of meeting friends in there and the mulberry tree in bentalls when bentalls was a great store it had real class not like it is today Michelle a Kingston born and bred.

Hi can any one remember what the burger bar in London road was called in the 70s it was quite large and you could walk in from London road and the market side.

Anyone, George and Dragon Public House Kingston Hill Surrey I lived at this pub and was there till the end, when it changed to the Kingston Lodge, also attended Rivermead Boys school. Has anyone got any photos would love to see. Andy Marshall

Does any one remember berni inns in the market place or la lampara down the rd from new policestation in 1966 onwards I would be interested to hear from anyone michaelturner8@hotmail.com

Does anyone remember the name of a small restaurant in Fife Road about 1973-ish, It was about 6-8 buildings down on the right hand side, in the direction of Bentalls? It did up-market burgers and bistro food as I recall.

I do remember a Burger Restaurant along that side of the road I used to use about 1975 onwards for a few years.It was only a couple of shops along,where the Nepalese Restaurant is now. I wouldn’t call it a Bistro type place.It was more of a hippy type ’60’s place where you had background music playing and the owner would let you play your own cassettes or records if he liked the music himself. Very casual and laid back place.Wouldn’t get through health and safety and hygeine laws these days. To use the toilets ,you would have to walk through the back yard where I remember there were sacks of spuds and other bits and pieces around.They used to make their own burgers and proper home made chips.Used to go there regular on a Saturday afternoon after the pubs shut at 2.30 p.m. and have a great meal and plenty of drunken chat.The owner was a tall,big guy who had one or two big dogs that were like Golden Retrievers but seemed a lot bigger to me.He always seemed to be taking them for a walk around Kingston. Him and his missus were around Kingston for a few years and the place just closed down and they disappeared.I must admit I don’t remember the name of the place and it may be a differant place altogether…………………Tony Fowler

Yes that’s sounds more correct. I was about 15-16 and it was one of my first restaurant experiences – it probably felt up-market at that age, but on reflection the hippy ambience is coming back to me! Thank

I certainly remember watching the carnival procession which happened every year in the 50s and 60s and brought Father Christmas to Bentalls. I believe the procession was organised by Bentalls and Hawkers’ Aircraft Factory which used to be on the Kingston side of the Kingston/Richmond border at Ham, and staff of both places took part. The procession went from Ham to Kingston town centre along Richmond Road. It happened around Guy Fawkes day. There also used to be a huge public bonfire on Ham Common, but it got very rowdy at times and my Dad wouldn’t let us go to that.

I certainly do remember Bentalls Parade even though I must have been quite young at the time. Crowds used to line the roads as the floats travelled from Ham (I think) through Kingston to Bentalls itself. Wasn’t it a pre-Christmas event bringing Father Christmas to his Grotto? Does anyone else remember Jiminy Jingle? He was a big Christmassy figure who they placed on the platform above the doors on the corner of Bentalls.

In the 1960s- whimpys bar was a very popular place to hang out for teenagers ,also remember the three fishes pub.And of course the Dolphin which was a great place for entertainment ,locals could get on stage and sing. The Kingston hotel also a public bar .I lost contact with a friend from those days John Farley who came from Ireland to find work in that area as many did in the 60s he lived in Richmond rd in digs,would be in his late 60s, would be nice to hear from him if hes still around the area.

I used to be a regular of The Row Barge when Andy and his boss used to use it usually at lunchtimes. Andy was a young guy who worked at a jewellers in Kingston. Think it was James Walker in Clarence St. or in the Market Place where the flower stall still is.It was in the days of Sam and Eileen who were the best landlord and landlady of the Row Barge pub in all the days I used it.Sam had got Andy to do a cartoon of ”Rowbarge Rat” which I think was way before Roland Rat came on the scene.I think about once a week ,Andy would do a comic strip about him that would either be pinned up in the pub or printed on sheets of paper and customers could pick one up and read and keep it. It was roughly around 1975-76 period as I remember wearing the ”Rowbarge Rat” t-shirt in the hot summer of ’76 and a young lady wanted me to take it off .She wanted her mate to take a picture of her wearing it on top of her bikini. I gladly obliged. Sam got loads of t-shirts printed and sold them in the pub. I think we even used them in friendly football matches and other social events that Sam and Eileen organized.When the pub closed down,some of the regulars still used The Outrigger with good old Roy Stringer and the one opposite Bentalls I think was called The Two Brewers. Sadly both now long gone as well as Roy. Over the years people lose contact and I dunno whatever happened to Andy. I think he wanted to be a professional cartoonist so he may be out there somewhere in cartoonland.I still have my t-shirt somewhere ,but it will take a bit of digging out ‘cos I haven’t got a clue where it is. I am in Spain quite a lot and it is back with a load of old clobber including flares etc. in my mums place back in Kingston. Hope this helps you and if anyone sees my post it may trigger off some memories. My e-mail is tony.fowler3@btinternet.com

Found out that Andy who created Row Barge Rat was named Andy Andrews by his parents. No more leads to where he is now,but hope it may help. Tony

I’m trying to find information regarding a cartoon strip/comic book character by the name of the Row Barge Rat. All I know is that the artist’s name was Andy and that it was somehow affiliated with the old Row Barge pub, that was torn down in ’81. Anyone out there remember this? You may e-mail me at vmars@echo.rutgers.edu

The question Does anyone remember Bentalls Parade? I sure do I rode a Lambretta made to look like a Tropical Island
Kingston Upon Thames Jeffrey Downes

Talking with my mother today she asked me the name of the Tea Dancing place which was located on the right just before the bridge. I thought Zeeta but it seems I am wrong. this would be during the mid to late fifties and maybe into the sixties Kingston Upon Thames Jeffrey Downes

Me and my mates used to drink in the Outrigger in the late 1970-  to late 1980s. There was me, Tony, Glen, Brendan, Fiona, Helen, Elsa and Bonnie. What a brilliant place. Roy used to throw us all over doing his stuntman bit. Non locals must have been petrified. Sometimes we pored out own beer when Frank or Brenda couldn’t be bothered to serve. Other times, we’d have great after hour sessions and crashed there. Great characters too. Our bunch were the youngest in those days but the pub was a good mix of ages and nutters including the Turks Boatyard crew. Roy had 2 Alsatians , – think they were Noble and Nero. Up from the Outrigger was the Old Rowbarge. (Not the newer one which got shut) It was a real pub like the Outrigger. In between them, before John Lewis was built was a huge open car park and blimey you knew how cold it was when the wind blew off the Thames. Other good pubs were the Royal Charter and the South Western. Would love some photos of the Outrigger, The Royal Charter and the old fishing cottages that were behind the rigger.

I read with interest the comment re the Outrigger. I along with John Upton and Jim used to belt out of Bentalls Staff entrance, across Wood Street and down the lane to the Outrigger where we we would drink far to much bitter and await the grand entrance of the landlord and his wife.
I see him now in double breasted suit and his wife Kitty plastered with cosmetics yet some how holding their proud position as they entered for the evening. In an effort to sober the next move was to Richmond to a coffee shop on the hill to one’s right as you arrived and after that often to the only place we knew of that was open 24 hours was London Airport. Then two escalators and a grand coffee shop. Kingston Upon Thames Jeffrey Downes

I lived above the Outrigger along with a collection of other flotsam & jetsam. Very happy days.
Went to the Captain’s funeral in Southampton & then the RAF Yacht Club @ Hamble – very sad, but also a great celebration of his life and a show of of all the friends he’d made along the way. pubs like that are thing of the past now. Chris Brighton

I know that it was demolished some years ago, but does anyone remember the Outrigger pub, in Water Lane, and the liscensee, Roy Stringer?: Totnes, W . Country

i remember the Outrigger. Kingston ! I worked there, had my first pint there. knew Roy “stuntman” Stringer. but what happened to him and all the gang? And who knocked down the pub? merde. anybody,with any info. that be good.

Unless I miss my guess this has to be a question from Keith? Of course I remember it – and blush at the many happy memories. Roy now lives in Hamble, I understand. I live on the Ox/Bucks border and have long since lost contact with any of the old croud. I saw you mentioned in the trade press recently, though. Still stiring up trouble, I see! Best regards to any old friends who read this. Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire

Hi does anyone have pictures of what was i believe the Liverpool arms pub which is now a block of flats above carphonewarehouse next to Asda and the Church on the corner of London and Cambridge rd? Would really like to get some history on it too But really would love to see the old building that stood there: Jo

Does anyone know what the name of the pub was on London Road that got burnt down and is now flats with a Carphone Warehouse below (next to Asda and the church)? Trying to win a bet!

The pub was the liverpool arms. Berrylands

Does anyone remember the following pubs in Kinston & have stories to tell on them – Dophin, Seven Saxons, Liverpool Arms, Outrigger, Row Barge, Two Brewers, & in Surbiton – Toby Jug, Britannia, Railway Tavern, Rising Sun, Bun Shop, Southampton, PJB, Berrylands

What a suprise to see the Outrigger and me mentioned. I had many mad, crazy happy times working there with Eva and getting Roy ‘Captain Carruthers’to go to bed with his hot chocolate after a hard day of vodka and apolinaris!Yes,Johnny Please affectionately known as the Windsor Pig,Charlie wellie (he always wore them)Dave the garage (in Water lane) Peter Littlt Belinda (his boat)all the other boat guys. Caroline (skinny) Is it Keith the lorry or Keith I spy in Totnes Devon? Oh can’t forget Noble and Nero the alsations. John Du Gay, Twinkle, Linda and Greg from the White Hart. Many, many more characters. Happy days. Brenda Bangor N Ireland

With regard to the various requests from people remembering the Outrigger pub,here’s some of the charactors who used to drink there– George and Tony(the Bear), driving instructors who worked for BSM–Ernie Russel,Bill Scrivens,Nick Hart,Keith Mountain,Len Hazeldene all skippers who worked for Turks—Monty,a digger driver—Johnny Please,a dredgerman—Dodgy Reg,who did a bit of anything, and the lovely Irish Brenda who worked for many years behind the ba: Keith Now in Totnes, S.Devon

Anyone who remembers The Southampton in Surbiton, may be interested to know this. in 1995 I worked in an English style pub called The Cock and Bull in Cairns, Australia. Turns out that the owner of this pub, who was visiting relatives in Surbiton when The Southampton was being demolished, purchased the panelled interior and all fixtures and fittings, shipped them to Oz and ressurected The Southampton inside a typical Queensland detatched property. Mandrake don’t play there, but the food’s good! Mat

Hi Kingston residents, I am from Australia and have found in the 1881 census of England that my great grandfather was the landlord of a pub called the Liverpool Arms in Richmond Rd, Kingston on Thames. His nave was Thomas Kent. Any info on the area, pub or family would be appreciated. His son, my grandfather left England in the mid 1880s. Ann, Sydney

I have a connection to the Liverpool Arms although this goes back to the 1841 census when the landlord was John Pettit. One of his daughters was called Temperance and she married my great great great granfather in 1844 Nigel Thomas, Haywards Heath, West Sussex.

Shops

Does anyone know the name of the department store that was in the market place? I’m going back to my student days 1970-73

The department store in the market place was Cheesemans. It’s now Borders (book shop) part of the Charter Quay development and the old staircase (Elizabethan I think) is listed, so it’s still being used!

The dept store was called F W HIDE & SONS: Finchley: Rob (fred)

Does anyone remember the bentalls christmas prosession it used to march through kingston a few weeks before christmas and it did’nt matter what the weather was like kids turned out in there thousands to watch father christmas come to town. leighton buzzard

My father worked at Plato musical instruments in crown passage near the apple market in the 60’s. Did anyone visit or buy anything from here and what sort of equipment did they sell?

Does anyone remember either an electrical shop or radio and TV shop in five road in the 1950’s? The name of the shop was C Wall.

Electrical shop in Fife Road was Brightways. Spent many a happy time there listening to 78’s in their two listening booths. Also good Wimpey Bar on eyes corner opposite Kingston station.

Does anyone remember an undercover market/antique place, maybe, in Fife Road in the 70’s or 80’s. I was once in somewhere with my Mum and looked at an old-fashioned fold-up wooden slatted bed. A friend is now disputing the existence of any such place and as Mum has since died, I have no-one to confirm my memory. I think it was at the now Station Building end of the street on the same side. Any help would be wonderful. Love the website, by the way! Great memories of Kingston.

Wondering if someone can help my wife before she pulls her hair out? Back in the early 80’s there used to be a homeware shop on the junction of Eden Walk and Eden Street where Heals and Dwell stores are today. I can remember this shop being more popular than the Habitat shop which was a little way further down in Eden Walk as it stocked quite trendy glassware and objectdar (particularly green coloured glass) which a lot of were seconds but at a very keen price! The wife thinks that it had either Cargo or Pier in the title but we are totally lost and can’t find any reference to it on the internet. Can you help? Thanks in advance and best regards for a great website. Brian and Lynne Ives

The name Pier 1 Import Cargo rings a bell, but I think that was the large shop in Fife Road where there is now a car park..Had an entrance in Fife Road and also opposite the old Bus Station in Clarence St. Can’t recall that place in Eden St. Always seemed to be a furniture shop to me.

I believe there is a tunnel but from Hampton Wick. Apparently is runs from the basement of a house on the east side of Kingston Road roughly halfway between HW station and the start of the grounds of the old Normansfield hospital. This building was at one time the local office for Kelly’s Directories. A direct route would take the tunnel under much of Bushy Park.

Does anyone remember Harry Lucas who played the accordion at the Surbiton Assembly Rooms in the late 1930s. Did he play in a band. Thank you Margaret Farrow.

Harry was my step father. He lived at glen road chessington but sadly died in the late seventies he would play his accordion once a week on Sunday evening for about one hour he played for several bands in and around the Kingston area and was a car mechanic by day working at bentalls garage Kingston. Keith Davies

I used to clean hadleys spectical factory when i was in my teens and saving up to get married i needed extra money i worked at british home stores in the day and hadleys in the evening. leighton buzzard

I am replying to this topic. My father Denis Barnett with partners Barry Mason & Ronald Clements owned the Hadley spectical factory which was behind the Carl byrant school of dancing Victoria Road Surbiton Surrey.Attached are picts of my father & co working in the factory. Thanks to David Barnett for photographs. Click image for full photo

My father walter george lightfoot, did his apprenticeship at hadleys kingston back in 1937-19401sh, he will be 90 on oct 6th, i am doing a this is your life red book, and need to gather as much information, photos, press cuttings regarding any thing of him, does any one know where i might get this information,

Ghostly Kingston

I worked at Bentalls for a while but never heard of any ghosts there, though who knows… Does anyone remember the old vicarage frontage that used to be built into it? There were old buildings over the road too, one with a fire mark, demolished when the car park was built. Yep Bentalls was an interesting place to work, had passageways through the walls and you could come out from a door with mirror on and make people jump! Galleries you could survey the stationery department from too. A few lovely art deco grills set into the walls, bet they’ve gone now. Manned lifts. I remember the homeware department in the 60’s, bean bags and very expensive fibre optic table lamps. As kids we used to enjoy running the wrong way up the escalator til we got told off. Graduated to being a fan of the Dolphin and Southampton pubs, happy days!

My father was born in the above old premises in 1899 where the family ran a boat builders. There was a large family who were there until the 1970s.. Spent much time there and NEVER saw or heard of any ghosts.

The small cottages adjoining the old Crown Court. I don’t know about female ghosts but I have been told they were originally built for workers of the LSWR in building the railwayline behind. Apparantly one of the cottages is haunted because one of the men working on the construction of the railway was suddenly run over and killed by a train in the late 1880’s. I worked on British Rail from 1988 for fourteen years at various stations along this line and spoke with some of the old steam drivers who said they had been told the same throughout the years. It may just be old railway stories I don’t know. Phil Caldwell Kingston upon Thames.

I most certainly do. I lived on Kingston Hill in a Gardeners cottage called ‘Woodlawn’ in the 40’s and 50’s and the old cottage was definitely haunted. As a young boy I was ‘woken’ one night to clearly see a ghost looking over me.We had sounds of furniture moving around upstairs and on going to check, nothing had been moved. There were sounds like a radio tuned between stations, large handprints appearing on the mirror in the morning. I remember my mother telling me after one christmas she went to put a Father Christmas tree decoration back in the waredrobe with a large internal mirror and felt a hand go round her neck so she threw the decoration at my sister and asked her to put it away. Nothing was said until the next day when my sister said the same thing happened to her. I heard of several real ghost sightings, experiences years later in some of the old houses on Kingston Hill. An old peoples home had poltergeists and ghosts. I knew a woman who was a live in cook there and a poltergeist tried to suffocate her. She also saw ghosts disappear through walls. A young nurse who had just started working there was found screaming one night trying to climb the wall. I believe many of the old houses on Kingston Hill are haunted.

 The old Moss Bros building which is where Pizza Express is now, is haunted. A woman and child were killed in a fire there once and there have been many sightings reported over the years. There were certainly sightings when it was Moss Bros. It is one of the oldest buildings in Kingston.

In brief – we lived in Kingston in 1992-93. In the summer of 1993, when my wife was pregnant and expecting our daughter, we were in Bentalls and she had an inexplicable encounter, in broad daylight, inside the store, that we have only ever been able to explain as being a ghost. It wasn’t frightening, but unnerved her enough that we asked staff in the store at the time if anyone there had seen anything similar or perhaps if one of the shop assistants had died. We would be interested to know if anyone else has since seen or encountered something similar.

I worked at Bentalls for a while but never heard of any ghosts there, though who knows… Does anyone remember the old vicarage frontage that used to be built into it? There were old buildings over the road too, one with a fire mark, demolished when the car park was built. Yep Bentalls was an interesting place to work, had passageways through the walls and you could come out from a door with mirror on and make people jump! Galleries you could survey the stationery department from too. A few lovely art deco grills set into the walls, bet they’ve gone now. Manned lifts. I remember the homeware department in the 60’s, bean bags and very expensive fibre optic table lamps. As kids we used to enjoy running the wrong way up the escalator til we got told off. Graduated to being a fan of the Dolphin and Southampton pubs, happy days!

Hello i worked in laser quest in kingston and have seen and heard many random things going on in my work place. i have heard about chalky and many stories linked with his death and things that have happened. can anyone tell me more about ‘chalky’ please. laser quest was part of the old empire cinema located in clarence street in kingston. we had a ladder which i believe chalky hung himself from. is this true?

My father was born in the above old premises in 1899 where the family ran a boat builders.
There was a large family who were there until the 1970s.. Spent much time there and NEVER saw or heard of any ghosts.

82 Richmond Road is or was haunted by a poltergeist. There are details of this in a book called Mysterious Kingston by Barbara and Tracy Russell. Kingston seems big on mischievous ghosts as there are also stories about a poltergeist nicknamed ‘Chalky’ at the old Empire Theatre in Clarence Street.

Places of work

I am replying to this topic. My father Denis Barnett with partners Barry Mason & Ronald Clements owned the Hadley spectical factory which was behind the Carl byrant school of dancing Victoria Road Surbiton Surrey.Attached are picts of my father & co working in the factory. Thanks to David Barnett for photographs. Click image for full photo

hi can anyone remember my mum who went to hollyfield school her name was maureen kelly she worked at hadleys glasses factory and also my dad who worked at harts boat yard. castleford west yorkshire: tracy corbett

I am Jan Schiere, a Dutch citizen. My father, also named Jan Schiere, owned a company named Ebora Propellers in Kingston-on Thames during the first worldwar. The address was: Surbiton Park Terrace, Phone Kingston 672, Cable-address Ebora, Kingston. The company was a contractor to the Admiralty & War Office. This information comes from an advertising I still have in my possession. I also own one of the wooden propellers, produced in 1913. As my father died when I was a child I have not very much information about his life. It seems Ebora stands for Efficiency by our rotating airfoils. Later he founded Ebora Clocks and, back in Holland, Ebora Radio. Now my son has an industrial automation company named Ebora. I would be very grateful to learn more about the propeller company. Do you know more, please contact me. Thanks in advance! Arnhem, The Netherlands

There used to be a factory at London Road named Celestion and then Micro Precision Products made cameras at the same factory. Can anyone give me any information about the factory when they made cameras or put me in touch with someone who knows.Please ask your friends about it particularly anyone living in Kingston around 1960. Sorry all you teenagers reading this but maybe your parents could help. I can go back to before 1950 too, when I think, there was a Tram Depot at London Road.Can anyone confirm this. Thank you to all who have troubled to read this and please try and help. Mr Basil Skinner (Newquay,Cornwall)A309: Micro Precision Products were  still making cameras back in the ’50’s. They made a camera that was a ‘copy’ of the Rollieflex/cord series of 2 1/4 square twin lens reflex – a very fine camera it was too !!!. I cant recall the name of the camera at the moment, but will get back to you if it comes to mind. They may have been involved with the Corfield Periflex from about that time also. Ex-Kinstonian Tony

Reply to Mr Basil Skinner on Celestion London Road Kingston. I came to Kingston in 1968. In 1976 the building was Delta Controls. Then for a short while it was a carpet warehouse Then it became a place what sold Second hand engineering machines. I worked next door at Rawlplug House, now Clarendon House. The building where Celestion was, was demolished and a new building was built for Croner Publications which is still there.
The Liverpool Arms next to the Church has been demolished and shops with flats above built there.
My wife worked at Celestion in the late 1950s.

Unfortunately the only building left in London Road to do with the trams is the old power generating station, everything else is gone. I will do some research into your question re: Celestion and Micro Precision Products. You may find that the factory has now been demolished, there are a lot of very new buildings dating from the 1990’s in London Road now. Check back in the next few weeks, I might have some info. Phil Caldwell Kingston upon Thames.

Miscellaneous

I hear an air raid type of siren every tuesday at 9am when I’m near the river in Kingston. It sounds like it comes from the Hampton side of the river. Does anyone know what it is?

The Siren is a test for a Chlorine leak warning from the Water Treatment Plant on the Lower Sunbury Road. www.teddingtontown.co.uk/2010/10/08/tuesday-siren-test/

Can anyone remember my mum and dad getting married at emmanuel church they where the 1st people to get married there which is maureen kelly and brian kent they have been married for 50 years in october 11th.castleford west yorkshire: tracy corbett

Eric Clapton went to the ‘old’ Hollyfield in Hollyfield Road, nearer Tolworth. It’s a piece of trivia, I know, but it’s always bugged me just the same: given that he was born and raised in Ripley, how and why did the young Eric manage a daily trip of some 24 miles to get to and from such a distant school?
A second question: I well remember places in Kingston such as the old Crown Arcade and it’s caff (where Eric is said to have busked), the Toggery, which supplied me with a pair of Dickies straight-leg jeans in 1971 when loons were still king, the Kingston Hotel (haunt of the much-feared skins back in those gentler days), the Outrigger and the Row Barge pubs by Kingston Bridge, the little colony of houseboats squatting by the South bank after they’d flattened the Horsefair to make way for what was eventually to become John Lewis etc.(does anyone recall a character we knew as ‘Filthy Paul’ – he lived on a small, equally filthy motorboat by the bridge?), but I can’t remember the name of the pub on Eden Street, just along from where the entrance to Brady’s Arcade used to be.

I remember “filthy Paul”. He was a great unshaven character, he used to ride an old triumph motorcycle,wearing an even older leather jacket and suck his thumb (not at the same time)His 2nd home was a black 1950s Rieley that was parked near the old Gridley Miskins site. His 3rd home was the Copper Kettle cafe in Hampton Wick. An oily establishment run by a nice Irish lady.This was all back in late 60s, I moved way back last century My older brother went to Hollyfield School he remembers uncle Eric,although he did,nt know him. My misspentyouth was mainly the Fishes and the Jolly Brewers. Finchley, Fred (rob)

This is what Eric Clapton says: “Around the age of 12 or 13, I was still spending all my time in the country, at the secondary modern school in Ripley. But then I passed something called the 13-plus on the strength of my art accomplishment and got a scholarship to a school in Tolworth, near Surbiton. I had to go on a Green Line bus up there and I met a bunch of people at that school. They were all bright and they were all talented at art and we were all nutcases and it was a perfect breeding ground for this stuff.” Kingston

I am also looking for any information on the Cambridge Asylum which was on Cambridge Road, Norbiton. I have recently located a Census for 1891 for the asylum and located my Gt Gt Gt Gt Grandmother- so the building was still there in 1891 ! (I also have a date of 1853 but suspect that was when it was built.) Would appreciate a photo of the building or any other info about this. Any ideas where the local cemetry would be for these old residents ? Lincoln Mike Cullen

Does anyone really know what the Coronation Hall in Surbiton was used for? I heard it was going to be a nude bathing pool but couldn’t get a license.: It was called Kingston Baths in the mid sixties. I saw bands such as the Yardbirds, The Tornados, The Cheynes and the Zombies, Barron Knights. The Surbiton Assembly Rooms also saw some action with Georgie Fame and Alan Price . It was a rhythm and blues club.The Toby Jug at Tolworth was a also big favourite where everyone from Jethro Tull to the Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Johny Lee Hooker also played.Happy days. Wimbledon.

Can anyone tell me anything about the Kingston Empire?  The Empire was the place to go in Kingston in the 40s and 50s. I saw Frankie Vaughan there when he was just starting out.

I think it may have been opposite the new cinema development in Kingston. There is an old building there which has Empire still painted on it. Or is that just an old department store? (Surbiton)

The Kingston Empire building still exists opposite a new nightclub called Oceana, it is a public house now called the Kings Tun. It was one of the best variety theatres in London from the 30’s to the early 50’s when it closed. Unfortunately the lower part of the building has been ripped out and the stage door has been bricked up but I am told that the upper parts of the building still exist in pretty much the same condition as when it closed. If you walk towards Kingston railway station from Eden Street you’ll see the words EMPIRE in very large (painted out) tiling on the sidewall of the building. Phil Caldwell. Kingston upon Thames June 03.

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