In The Beginning

I was born in Downham, Kent. I have an older Sister Jeanette. We moved to St Pauls Cray, Kent. My Father worked as a Postman in Blackheath Village and cycled there and back every day. I have very few memories of that time apart from when my Mother had to go into hospital and my Sister went to stay with my Nan in Greenwich, London. Not great memories as I was left with neighbours opposite our house. I spent most of my days sitting out in their tiered front garden watching my house and waiting for my Dad to come home from work. My Dad had got workman in decorating our house and they used to sing “How much is that doggy in the window” to me. I also remember my feet hurting as my shoes had been put on the wrong feet. Really crazy the little things you remember.

When I was 4 or 5 years old we moved to a prefab on Blackheath. Hollyhedge Bungalows. This was a great place to live. I started school at John Bull school, Blackheath village. My Sister and I used to walk there and back everyday. As I got older I spent most of my days with school friends down at Pagoda Gardens. Other memories were of walking down to Lewisham market on Saturdays with my Parents. Also going to Saturday morning pictures at Lewisham Odeon. My younger Sister Denise was born there when I was 9 years old.

We did not seem to stop moving as from there we moved to a new house in Forest Hill. Then sadly when my Nanny Noakes (My Mother’s Mum) died we moved again. This time to Stevenson, Ayrshire in Scotland so that we could be closer to my Dad’s Family. We came back to England when I was 12 years old and lived in Humber Road, Blackheath and I went to Kidbrooke comprehensive school. We then moved into my Grandparents house in Calvert Road, Greenwich to look after my Grandad.

Me, Dad, Mum & Jeanette
Dad & Denise
Me & Jeanette
Nanny Noakes, Me, Jeanette & Dad
Back: Mum, Michael, Dad. Front: Me, Denise & Jeanette
Jeanette, Michael & Me

I left school at 15 years old and struggled to find what job or direction to go in. I ended up at the GPO to train as a telephonist and attended Woolwich College one day a week. Once qualified I worked at Temple Bar exchange and then onto Covent Garden telephone exchange. I had a claim to fame whilst there when the Evening Standard mistakenly printed Brian Epstein’s telephone number, when reporting about Ringo Starr going in hospital to have his tonsils out. Brian’s number was a Covent Garden number. I arrived in work to next morning to be told that along with 4 other girls we would be on 5 switchboards totally dedicated to taking calls coming in on Brian’s number. Wow, suddenly work got fun and I spent days talking to people all around the World who wanted to know how Ringo was getting on in hospital.

Daily Mirror Thursday 3rd December 1964