Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wednesday 3 June - Eltham College and Orpington

Today I took the train from Waterloo East to Mottingham to visit my old school, Eltham College.  This was my first real visit back since I left in 1960.  I met Simon McGrahan who gave me a first rate tour.  A great deal has changed.  The school no longer takes boarders and girls are now admitted to the sixth forms.  A new block has been built on the fourth side of the quadrangle (it is about to be replaced), the dining room has been doubled in size and the tuck shop incorporated into it.  There are many more specialized laboratories and there is a whole section devoted to music.  The pictures will speak louder than my words.
In the main entranceway
The front view is disfigured by the number of vehicles parked there now.
I was surprised that the old cricket pavilion is still standing.  It was very infirm in my day.
The chapel now has a beautiful stained glass window,
The sixth form common room had a coffee machine.

The quadrangle has been grassed over and beautified
View of the quadrangle from the tower. This was the first time I had been up the tower.  At one point there is a "stash" of several thousand spent cigarette ends.  It seem the school was non-smoking but the bursar would climb into the tower for a smoke.
View over the playing fields from the tower
My guide, Simon McGrahan with Canary Wharf in the distance
Taken by Simon McGrahan.  There is a beautiful view over London.
The centuries old plane tree still has a prominent place between the chapel and the main building.
Click here to see all pictures taken of Etham College

I retraced the route I took on a daily basis.  161 bus to Chistlehurst War Memorial then 61 bus to Orpington,  The White Hart appears to be on its last legs and was not very inviting.  I wandered through All Saints churchyard and visited my grandparents' grave which is as neglected as ever.  It was very peaceful with the magpies and squirrels.

It seems the Public Library has been closed but the Museum was well laid out and very interesting.  The Priory gardens were well kept and there was a good display of roses.  The moorhens were looking after their broods in the ponds. There are not a lot of Canada Geese who will only reluctantly get out of your way.

Priory buildings on Church Hill
All Saints Church where my parents were married and I was christened
A piece of the V2 rocket that landed between Court Road and Kynaston Road on Tuesday 27 March 1945.  I lived a few houses down on Court Road. "On a beautiful spring afternoon fourteen homes were destroyed, one person killed and fifty-six injured when a V2 rocket hit just before 5 pm. Ivy Millichamp was the last member of the public to be killed by enemy action at 88 Kynaston Road.  This was the 1115th and final and fatal V2 rocket attack to hit Britain.  Mrs. Millichamp is buried in the churchyard of Al Saints" - Bromley Museum,

Priory Gardens
I was feeling tired by this time and luckily found a Weatherspoons  which had good cask ales and a place to sit down for a while. I decided to walk up the hill to Orpington station. Orpington has not materially changed.  I caught the train back to Victoria because this is on the District and Circle lines for a quick ride to the hotel at Gloucester Road.
Click here to see all pictures taken at Orpington

A wonderful line up of cask ales at the Stanhope Arms.
Fullers London Pride, Wells Bombardier, Taylor Walkers Westerham 1730 and Timothy Taylors Landlord.

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