Cinemas and swimming

From: Henry Hadden
Worcester WR5

My father was born in Meeting House Lane in 1901 on the day Queen Victoria died. He was very fond of ice cream and told me of an Italian ice cream seller – called Califano, who sold ice cream from a horse and cart.

We went to the pictures at the Tower cinema in Rye Lane and to the Gaumont when it first opened. Another place I went was the Ideal cinema in Queen’s Road. There was also a picture house, where Mum took me with a bottle of water, at a place that later became the Peckham Odeon. The films were silent and a piano player accompanied the films!

Later we moved to Brockley. My Dad used to do shift work, and when he came off at 6 a.m. he collected me for an early morning swim. We went to the open-air pool on Peckham Rye. One day I jumped in; there was a thin layer of ice on the water. My muscles froze; I just managed a struggled width, but later hot tea and toast put things right.