“Fings ain’t wot they used t’be” according to the Lionel Bart musical about 1950s London. And its just as true today as it was back then. Here are some of the things that we once took for granted and are now missed by many South Londoners.
The Montague Arms, New Cross
Untold numbers of pubs have closed all over South London in recent years. The ‘Monty’, at the junction of Queens Road and Kender Street SE15, closed down in 2011 after the deaths of Stan and Bet Pownall, who managed this quirkiest of pubs from 1967 onwards. Known for its entertainment, it hosted many nights which I remember fondly, with bands, stand-up comedy and so on packing out the pub. It was also a home to numerous stuffed animals, a variety of maritime artefacts like anchors and had a large ‘Coach Parties Welcome’ sign on the front. According to this Twitter feed it’s re-opening in March or April this year. We’ll keep you posted.
Plough Lane Football Ground, Wimbledon
Standing at the corner of Plough Lane and Haydons Road in SW19, this was the home of Wimbledon FC from 1912 till 1991, when the move to all-seater stadiums signalled the end of its days. The club went off to share Selhurst Park with Crystal Palace and, although it was subsequently used by the reserve team, the ground was eventually demolished for a housing development in 2002. The re-formed AFC Wimbledon, currently playing at Kingston, would love to move back to use the next-door Greyhound Stadium – a long awaited homecoming. Watch this space.
Scott Lidgett School, Bermondsey
Many new secondaries were built in the 60s to educate the post-war ‘baby-boomers’ but by the 90s the numbers had diminished and difficult decisions had to be made about which schools were no longer needed. Named after John Scott Lidgett, prominent Methodist and London politician, this one was located on Drummond Road SE16 in the heart of Bermondsey, where the locals were not at all happy at the closure of their school. Also, it had the best football team in London and once won the English Schools FA Cup. The buildings became part of Southwark College in 1991, but nowadays most of the site has flats on it with a small part now being used for a new ‘Free School’, the Compass School, which opened last September.
Pratts of Streatham
Pratts was a department store on Streatham High Road SW16, first opened in 1867 which became part of the John Lewis Group and drew shoppers from many parts of South London. This popular store closed down in 1990 – the site and its access just weren’t big enough for a modern department store – and many locals say the area struggled to recover from this blow to its economy. The name is commemorated in a pub called ‘Pratts and Payne’ located on the other side of the High Road.
The Bon Bonne Night Club, Herne Hill
This small but popular club on Norwood Road, SE24 entertained generations of clubbers from 1975 until its closure in 2005, many of whom returned for the closing night party. People came from miles around for the friendly atmosphere and cool sounds. The rather grand looking Georgian style building was redeveloped for, you guessed it, an apartment building, but the name lives on as a club night based in Chislehurst.
Where and what do you miss in South London?