Posted by: thomlift | March 28, 2009


During my apprenticeship I met a girl called Kathleen at our dance classes on Wednesday nights and we would dance together quite often this progressed outside of the dance classes and became my girlfriend.
We would go to the cinema very often and she would book seats for the London Palladium near to where she worked to see some great shows and some great stars from the USA.
We were courting for many years including my time away in the RAF.
After doing my national service and at the age of 23 I asked Kathleen to marry means to my surprise she accepted!
We had been seeing each other for a long time and when I asked her parents for her hand in marriage, her mum said “So soon?”.
We made it to the altar in the English Martyrs church on the 8th August 1953, the reception was held over a pub called the Roebuck in Great Dover Street, SE1.
During the reception I sneaked back to Mum & Dads house to see the final TV showing of The Quatermass Experiment. We then left the reception and made our way to Paddington to catch the night train to Torquay traveling in a sleeping compartment that we shared with another couple.
We stayed in a boarding house run by Mrs Rogers who was very nice and made our stay very enjoyable and we had a wonderful time just the two of us.
We came home  live in two rooms in my Mum & Dads house.  the small room was a combination Living, Dining & Sitting room which had hot & cold water and a roaring fire the coal for which was brought upstairs by the coal man, stored in a large box I had made in the corner of the room with a hinged lid to retrieve the coal The Larger room was the bedroom which was quite large and very cold.

I had spent some time making the rooms as comfortable as possible which meant running a copper pipe from the scullery at the back of the house up to out new L,D,S, room  installing a small Ascot for hot water and of course nearly forgot to mention installing Electricity in the house to replace the Gas lighting.

Now we had electricity my Mum & Dad bought a 9″ black & white Bush television and were over the Moon with it not forgetting the new electric lighting.

Soon after we settled in our two rooms we bought a small motor bike called the BSA Bantam to get around . Sometimes I would take my Dad on the back , who was overjoyed with it.

On the 6th August 1954, our first child was born Jennifer Susan Thomas. It was a new experience , Mums water Broke but it was some time before we took her to Guys Hospital for the Birth.

We decided that now we had started a family we decided to sell the bantam and we bought a 1938 Morris8. The first problem was to learn to drive and pass my test , my Uncle George was a great help with this .He would come out with me and teach me how to drive since he has been a lorry driver for more years than in could imagine, in fact before the war he would take me on some of his trips and I distinctly remember going to Bristol and staying overnight.

Happy to say that I passed my test on my first go although when I went to pull out from the road, with the tester at my side,and at that time you signaled with you arm out of the window I tried to do this with the window closed ,,,,not very funny…!

During all this time I went back to study for 2 years in the Borough Poly to enhance my City & And; Guilds Certificate  Full Technological Certificate to a Higher National Certificate.

We planned to stay in Deverall St for about 2/3 years and about that time we had the opportunity to buy a house in Three Bridges, East Sussex, to which Mums Mum Catherine saw an advert in the paper for new houses in Three Bridges. So with not much money and barely any possessions we set off to investigate and there and then we put down our deposit of £125 and thats how we came to move to  126 St Mary’s Drive, a small 3 bedroom semi-detached house. It had a small fridge and a Goblin washing machine in the kitchen that came with the house. on our arrival there was Milk ,Bread and Eggs to give us a start, although the front gardens and pavement was not finished.

It is now 1956

I continued working at A&C Ltd travelling to and from from London Bridge Station  or Victoria if I was out on a site, to Three Bridges, it took about one hour  dependent on the time of departure.

In the evenings coming into Three Bridges the train went on a bridge that went over St Mary’s Drive and by leaning out of the window I could see our house and the family knew I was on my way home.

At this time of my life I decide to continue with my academic studies to Endorse my Higher National Certificate on a two year course. The course was available at Brighton Technical College and  the only practical way  to do this was to stay on the train at Three Bridges and continue on to Brighton to attend the course and then get the train back home.

This college has since become a University.

Life at A & C ltd which was a private company began to change and this brought about a change of direction in my career.


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