Tag Archives: Tony

South London Memories : Bellingham Swimming Pool in the 1920s

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Judging by the costumes, and knowing the history of the Bellingham Council Estate in South London, Anthony J Sargeant thinks this photograph was probably taken in the 1920-30s. Surprisingly the pool was still much the same as shown here when Tony worked as a lifeguard at the pool in the early 1960’s, but it has long since been closed. In the British climate it was only open from May to September and the upkeep must have been astronomical. In the British Summer there were many days when only one or two people would swim but still the pool was staffed with a minimum of 12 people (two 6 hour shifts of six people 8 am to 2 pm then 2 pm to 8 pm).

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Mangle used to wring out water from laundry on wash-day – which was usually Monday

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In 1940-50s South-London there were few washing machines. The mother of Anthony Sargeant did not have one but she did have a cast-iron mangle such as this which was housed in the shed at the bottom of the garden. The shed was in fact a re-purposed corrugated iron from a WW2 Anderson bomb shelter.

All laundry was done in a large heated copper boiler in the kitchen using a thick wooden pole to stir it around (the thick pole rather like a metre long broom handle also had another use – it was sometimes used to whack Tony when his Mother deemed him to have misbehaved).

Heavily soiled pieces of laundry were additionally rubbed on a washing board at the large ceramic sink in the kitchen. After rinsing out the soapy water in the sink the wet laundry was carried up the garden and put through the the wooden rollers of the mangle to squeeze out as much water as possible. The washing was then pegged out along the clothes line which ran the length of the garden. This was not advisable if the wind was coming from the direction of the local gasworks which was less than half a mile away, because at certain stages of the manufacture of Town Gas the coking ovens door would be opened and the wind would carry sooty smuts across the neighbourhood.

Bellingham Open Air Swimming Pool in 1965 (South London)

Anthony Sargeant (in his mis-spent youth years) worked as a lifeguard at Bellingham Swimming Pool in the summers of 1963 and 1965. Here his shift partner Ken (who was a lovely young man)  is seen with two of the regular young girls from Catford County Girls School who spent a lot of time at the pool. They are wearing parkas of the kind that were favoured by ‘mods’ on their scooters.

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Bracklesham Bay in the 1960s

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Anthony Sargeant drove down to Bracklesham Bay on the English South Coast in 1963 together with Barbara Attridge to visit his friends, Steve Lee (seen here with Barbara Attridge), Mark Baxter, and Bob Tweddle, who were working in the summer vacation at Bracklesham Bay Hotel.

Ford Popular in 1970

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This is the third car owned by Anthony Sargeant with his first wife standing by the side. The photograph was taken on the drive outside 64 Wickham Chase, West Wickham, Kent, where Tony’s parents lived at the time. The Ford Popular was a reliable little car to which Tony fitted a tow bar so that he could trail the Goldmiths’ College’s Enterprise Sailing Dinghy to the coast at weekends. The car even survived being half submerged by an incoming tide at Dymchurch on the South Coast. Probably owned the car from about 1968 until 1974. It would then have been about 10 years old (this model was in production from 1959-1962). The car was bought from his first wife’s father. In essence the car had the same side valve 1172cc engine as Tony’s first car a 1936 Ford 10 but at least the brakes were now hydraulic and worked (cf rod operated brakes in the 1936 car).