Manure collectors!

From: Ken Cook
by email

I lived in Athenlay Road, Nunhead, from my birth in 1941 until the day I was married in 1962. Some of the older residents still referred to our neighbourhood as “Waverley Park”. When I was young there was still a lot of horse-drawn traffic on the roads, such as the milkman, the breadman, the coalman, the rag and bone man etc. Consequently there was a good supply of manure for the keen gardener. To collect this bounty more easily for his allotment, my father constructed a small hand cart. My brothers and I would scour the local streets in search of this valuable by-product! I recall that on one warm Saturday afternoon we ventured as far as Nunhead Lane in our search; by this time the cart was pretty full. Instead of returning home, we decided to visit the Grand Surrey Canal at Canal Head, which was located behind the Abbey Rose depot opposite the Jones & Higgins’s corner. Rye Lane was always packed with shoppers in those days and you can imagine the comments that were made as a bunch of young boys pushed their precious cargo through the crowds!