I spent another day in London on Saturday with another old schoolfriend, Mike, who also fitted into the “barrow boy” category. We went to see the old school building and took some photos.

This is the corner of Tooley St and Tower Bridge Rd. At some point, what we referred to as the Art Building has been demolished. It was a small, separate structure where the foundations are now being laid for the next stage of the development.

This is the back of the building. When I was here last time, the playground (later a car park) still extended toward the river, nearly all the way. The school “bogs” (toilets) used to be along the back. Closer to where I am standing were the Eton Fives courts, where we could mimic our betters. By the way, old friend Alan pointed out that Wiki has quite a good entry on the school. There are links explaining how it operates financially; it now has quite large assets.

Looking 90 degrees or so to the right, toward the river, this is the new City Hall. This is where the wharf used to be that Tom worked on a lot, right next to Tower Bridge.

In the morning I also walked around Bermondsey again. I asked for permission to take photos inside “The York” as was. Many pubs have disappeared; others have had their names changed and been refurbished. In this case, I’m afraid I found the interior downright silly.

I had a coffee nearby, on the pavement. I soon noticed the many well-spoken young women walking their dogs. Just around the corner there are tennis courts. Even since I was last here, the gentrification process has gained momentum.

I took a lot of photos for Mum to see. I won’t post them as they are not particularly interesting. But this is Snowsfields, my primary school.

One pub that remains and looks largely unchanged is the Shipwright’s Arms, in Tooley St. Mike and I had a couple of pints there for old time’s sake. The interior is scruffy but I couldn’t tell whether it is “original shabby ” or “fake old-fashioned.” Before, there would have been divisions – between the public and saloon bars, at least (Wiki has a good entry on public houses).

Mum remembers drinking in the pub during the War as the locals waited for the air raid sirens to sound. Ethel would rush, terrified, to the nearby shelter while Tom stayed behind with some other brave (or foolhardy) souls and supped up the beers that had been left behind. That is Tom in a nutshell.

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