I was born and brought up in Bermondsey but haven’t lived there for 40 years. I have also  lived outside the UK for many years and feel like something of a hybrid. This blog concerns my family and many other topics stemming from my experiences over the years.

35 Responses to About

  1. Alan Worrow says:

    Peter, having no access to my bookmarks, I googled barrowboy. You came up as the ninth hit!

  2. thebarrowboy says:

    Ha! Must be because we are a dying breed!

  3. O que eu posso falar, que tudo é maravilhoso.

  4. thebarrowboy says:

    Muito obrigado!

  5. Laura says:

    The drawing of The Crystal Palace you have posted on your website is not the same Crystal Palace as the one in the photo after it burned down. The drawing is of the original Crystal Palce which was in Hyde Park. The Crystal Palace that was destroyed in the fire was in Sydenham.

  6. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Laura.

    The Wiki link in the post explains that the building was dismantled and moved to South London. So the building was the same, but the location was not.

  7. Ruth secker says:

    I worked in a printers in 1970 for 10 years. The printers was in Crusifix lane of Bermonsey street .Can anybody remember. love to hear from you.

  8. Lisa Ryan says:

    Hello. Just found your website and found a photo of my Grandfather on it. He was the small boy being handed out of a first floor window in the 1928 flood.

  9. Ron Cork says:

    Re STOGS, I was there from 1962 to 1968, including commuting from London to the new school for my last few months
    In 1B in my first year ( ie Bingham ) with Newmarch as master
    Our paths must have crossed ( is that right ? )
    Long time ago but I have recently received the latest copy of The Olavian which stirs the memory !
    Ron Cork

  10. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Ron. I was there from 61 to 68, so, yes, we must have overlapped. I guess I was in 2R when you were in 1B. Best regards, Peter

  11. Ray Toomey says:

    I think we must have lived and been born near each other. I was at stogs 59 – 65, born in guys hospital and lived in Devon Mansions opposite the school. Needed the Bermondsey Boys grant to be able to afford to go there! Also I have lived overseas the last 38 yrs. Some of your stuff could have been written for me! Thanks.

  12. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Ray. Yes, we overlapped. I started in 61, left at the end of 68. I spent the last calendar year at Orpington, following the move. Thanks for leaving a comment.

  13. elizabeth murphy says:

    Hi Barrowboy I lived in Dunkirk house ground floor around 1962 I would have been just 1 years old then we lived there untill they wanted us all out to refurbish (put in bathrooms) we moved to elephant and castle then by best friend lived in Crayford great to hear your stories and pictures great memories!

  14. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Elizabeth. Do you remember which flat you were in? Left or right side facing the building?

  15. elizabeth murphy says:

    Think it was No 3 beside the stairs so as you entered the gate it was directly in front you I used to go to La Salette school. My best friend went to Snowsfields who lived in Crayford.

  16. thebarrowboy says:

    My older brother thinks your Dad (?) taught him to play chess.

  17. 12murphy says:

    Really? what number did you live at? I had a good friend called Terry or Terence who moved away dont know where to but i struggled with him leaving we were both around 7/8 years old….bless!!

  18. thebarrowboy says:

    We lived at No. 14. My brother was born in 1945, so he is much older than you.

  19. Carl Ward says:

    I was in the same year as you and did not make your ” Remove ” stream through laziness. Brought up in Galleywall Road where Dad was the school caretaker. We were also neighbours. I remember well the 12 of us who were the local needies but I think it was our independence of spirit and need for elocution lessons from Miss ” Fanny ” Craddock that gave us the nickname ” Barrow Boys “. The memories you invoked were fantastic. Carl Ward

  20. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Carl. Glad you fond the blog and enjoyed it. Saw the Tooley St building last month literally “under wraps”. With the new apartment blocks built right up against it, it has lost much of its charm. It featured at the start of the new series of New Tricks last week. The episode was entitled “Bermdonsey Boy”.

  21. Carl Ward says:

    Could I be impolite and ask your name as the blog etc. did not feature a surname. My thinking ref. school stemmed from the fact that Noel Tredinnick who was in our year is the speaker at next old boys reunion. Carl

  22. Ron Cork says:

    Looking forward to visiting the new hotel ( at One Tower Bridge ) once it is opened in the original school building
    I was last there ( as a pupil ) in 1967 so it will be amazing to return to it in 2014 !

  23. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Carl. Feel free to email me at mrbrownlow1@gmail.com

  24. Brian Watkinson says:

    I was at STOGs from 1960 to 1964. I had an identical twin brother. We were both started in 1A with Basil Taylor, suffered Mr Atkins tantrums and tormented a student Maths teacher to the point I think he left!
    I remember both Ray Toomey and knew Carl Ward well as we were in the same year and all played in the year rugby teams. I could write volumes on the OAF! Before I left STOGs in December 1964 I played cricket for the 1st Xl something new for a mere Colt, and met Doug Keeble who ran Horsleydown CC and who hated the Oaf with a passion, he dished a lot of dirt. How the OAF lasted after giving one lad (Summerton?) 12 strokes of the cane one afternoon always amazed me.

  25. Carl Ward says:

    Brian; remember both you and your brother well and hope your career has been good. Yes the corporal punishment was a bit vindictive but I am not sure I would have had the career I have enjoyed without the opportunities at St Olaves. Still have some of our class pictures and none of us seem that beaten. Ray, I think. was in the year ahead of us and I shared a flat with one of his best friends, John Crowther, in Bayswater when I first left home. Great times. C

  26. Brian Watkinson says:

    Carl: I agree the discipline kept some of us in check, I include myself in that in the 1st year! However, the Summerton thing was appalling, even back then the Oaf should have been in trouble with the Police over it. OK, what Summerton did was stupid, 5th year and us in 3Q were all kept in on last afternoon before Xmas break and Summerton tried to cut through the rope holding a sleigh up to the ceiling in the hall. but Doug McKenzie who was a monitor told me at cricket he got 6 real vicious ones, then Doug was told to take him to the toilets, wash his face and bring him back and he got 6 more, with the Oaf making sure he saw the inflicted pain in the mirror, you remember the mirror?
    I’m retired now, living in SW France this past 12 years on a decent pension from London Underground regretting I didn’t pay more attention to Monsieur Peters!

    David is still working for himself but winding down now. Cheers Brian

  27. John Morton says:

    Oaf was a sadist. End of story! I copped 12 on one occasion. He also once whacked me round the head for no apparent reason (he suggested that I ‘smirked’ at him). I also owe the school a good deal, and some of the best teachers; but I owe that bastard nothing beyond long lasting memories of his bullying. His death from a tumour was no doubt some sort of karma. Maybe we all went overseas to escape him (I’m now in Australia)?

  28. michael lewis says:

    Hi I’m Michael Lewis, I remember Ray Toomey he was in my year. I also remember carl Ward, Paul Gerardo Ruocco and many others. My brother was J.P.Lewis friend of Tony Sleep and Mick Hayes who might have been in your year. After 30 years teaching chemistry I retired to Belgium in 2004 and now restore vintage aircraft in the Brussels Air Museum. My parents were told to send me to STOGS because the headmistriss of my primary school thought I needed the discipline ! yes I was caned a few times for minor things, I was even suspended for two weeks for smoking but I found the whole school experience an exercise in survival interspersed with some real eureka moments. Like Carl, I benefitted from it but I know of many who didn’t.

  29. stranger and pilgrim says:

    Hi, Michael. I remember your brother very well. Every person had a different experience and I guess our reaction depended on our personality. In my case, years of complying, at home and at school, led me to rebel in a big way at uni, go completely overboard and head off in a totally different direction. The one thing I’m grateful to STOGS for is for opening a door for me; all my family were very simple people and without the school I’d never have experienced many of the things I did.

  30. michael lewis says:

    My brother also had a tougher time of it at STOGS and like you he went off in a totally different direction afterwards. When he left school he worked for a short time as a computer operator then went to art college and lived for some time in a squat near Clapham common. In later life he took up teaching, he is now retired and living in Frinton……a far cry from Tooley street. Co-incidentally my wife is Spanish from Madrid having lived the early part of her adult life in Granada (Albaicin). My Spanish is pretty basic but I can get by (at Stogs I did French then Russian with one of my favourite teachers Signor Baldelli aka “The Fly”. What I didn’t know at the time was that he was a prominent Anarchist having written many books (Social Anarchism) and plays. It is somewhat strange that he worked at such a repressive, authoritarian establishment as STOGS. In the interwar period he was jailed for writing tracts opposing Mussolini, who I understand was one of OAFs heroes……..strange world.
    Saludos cordiales.

  31. stranger and pilgrim says:

    All very interesting, Michael. I lived communally for a number of years, even found a job that required it. Crazy days. I had no idea about Baldelli but that explains a lot, especially his subdued behavior. He must have thought he’d died and gone to hell. I spent three months in and around Granada in 2014. Andalucia was my first love and I still hope to be able to spend more time there. I found Spanish teacher Francisco Ariza, through his daughter, a couple of years ago and saw him in Manchester in 2016. He’s over 80 now but looks just the same. A lifelong Leftie, still a member of the Labour Party.

  32. Brian Watkinson says:

    Mr Baldelli took us for French in 4Q although he taught Russian, I will always remember him, if you got an answer wrong he banged HIS head hard on the desk!! As opposed to Presswell who hit you if you were small…..

  33. Ray Toomey says:

    John Morton…..is that really you?
    I am also in Australia…..it would be just great to talk and maybe catch up.
    Ray Toomey

  34. John Morton says:

    Yes Ray. Definitely me last time I checked! Facebook says you’re in Albany, right? I’ll drop you a friend request. Then we can message.

  35. Craig Setter says:

    Hi Barrowboy,
    Greetings from Australia.
    I’ve recently started to research my family history and find my Paternal Grandmother was born in Dix’s Place, Belmondsey in 1895, before emigrating to Australia in 1919 with my Australian father who was with the Allied forces in France, and their newly born son, my fathe. I understand Dix’s Place is no longer but would love to know where it was, and what has replaced it. Any info you can direct me too that may be relevant to this and the time in you blog would be appreciated. My Grandmother was an Ayles by birth.
    Regards Craig

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