“RAILWAY COTTAGES, EFFINGHAM JUNCTION – REVISED”
Michael S. Waller
Michael S. Waller was born in 1930 to parents Jesse Waller and Helen M. (née) Price who had married in 1922.
Introduction by Christopher John Hogger
Michael S. Waller’s first oral account to ELHG of his life in Effingham was given in a recorded interview with Yvonne Shaw in The Sir Douglas Haig pub on 15 September 2010, and was transcribed by Yvonne as “Life in Railway Cottages, Effingham Junction”.
In June 2011 Michael produced a DVD and sent this to ELHG a month later, in July, being a substantial revision of what had been expressed in the first interview. This DVD, formally archived by ELHG under the reference ELHG/waller/disk/1, contains both video and audio components. The video shows a selection of his family photographs which he was displaying – one at a time, using a controller – on his television, while he was at the same time filming the screen and reading from a script that he had written (thereby producing the audio component). In his reading he occasionally explains aspects of whichever image is displayed on the screen. In essence, the whole effect is that of a spoken commentary by Michael about his life in Effingham as well as about his family photographs as displayed on his TV screen.
Then in August 2011 Michael sent a second DVD, very similar to the first but with a few minor corrections made to his spoken script. This DVD has been archived as ELHG/waller/disk/2.
The first DVD was transcribed in November 2011 by Yvonne Shaw. Michael’s corrections (just three) from the second DVD have been entered into her text and coloured red. The result is the final transcription given below. The italicized numbered subtitles refer to the photographs on the TV screen. Michael names the set of cottages in which he lived as, variously, “Railway Cottages” or “Station Cottages”; the same dual naming appears also in other sources.
DVD recording transcribed by Yvonne Shaw and further edited by Christopher John Hogger
Themes : Railway Cottages / Station Cottages; Effingham Common; Searle family; The Halt tearooms; Flack’s shop; Roland Lubbock Memorial Hall; Yvonne Arnaud; Andreas Malandrinos; Winifred Oughton; Miss Bretherton; Joseph Stewart Adams; Crossroads Café; Adrian Estler; Mizen’s nursery; Canadian soldiers; Waterhouse family; Norwood Farm; Effingham Cricket Club; Dr Sutton; Horsley Towers.
Railway Cottages, Effingham Junction – revised
Michael speaking, from this point:
Railway Cottages, Effingham Junction, revised June 2011 from the original taped interview held at The Sir Douglas Haig Hotel on September 15th 2010.
Themes: living at the Junction; village childhood; schooldays; war years; cricket club; and Horsley Towers.
My name is Michael Waller. I was born 1930 in the village of West Horsley. Our house named Cantara was semi-detached with all mod cons.
The house my father named after his first world war army base in the Middle East [refers to pictures] and where I was born in 1930, West Horsley. To eke out the family budget, lodgers were taken in, including two policemen. I was the baby in a family of three, having a sister Mary and brother Maurice; each [sic] six and five years older respectively. For promotional reasons, my father a Southern Railways signalman at East Horsley station accepted a vacancy at Effingham Junction including railway accommodation; namely No. 2 Station Cottages, an early 1900s semi-detached house with no mod cons and to where we moved in 1934.
2. Railway Cottages
[refers to picture] Looking back at the Common which was gated in the 1920s. Railway Cottages as seen on the right hand side and this is a view from Effingham Junction Station towards the Common. The wagon was used to carry timber to a Cobham sawmill.
3. Margaret Blackwell
[refers to picture] My first girl friend Margaret Blackwell. She lived at No. 3 Railway Cottages and whose garden backed on to ours.
The accommodation at Station Cottages comprised three bedrooms, two upstairs and one downstairs which was a lean-to side addition, a scullery, two living rooms and an outside toilet. The main four rooms were approximately the same size, 12 x 10 [feet]. The scullery had a higher sloping ceiling, a built-in corner concrete solid fuel burning copper, one porcelain sink with a cold water tap, a wooden latched and bolted back door, one gas light and gas stove plus a slot meter. The concrete copper was later dismantled because it proved more efficient to boil water in saucepans on the gas stove. Baths were taken in a long galvanised bath in the scullery once a week. The luxury of an Ascot instant hot water gas geyser was a later acquisition at the sink for general washing and shaving purposes. My father contrived a pulley clothes hanger drier for the mangled washing. Carpets were hung on the outside clothes line and beaten for dust and dirt removal.
The living room contained a cast iron range with mantelpiece over, which comprised an oven and grate. There was a built-in shelving and cupboard unit at one side and room for a sideboard at the other. There were two easy and one occasional chair, a dining table and chairs and a central gas light. Incidentally, electricity didn’t arrive until the mid-Fifties. The range emitted much heat once it got going, warming up the room, and the toasting fork was frequently used. The range was later replaced by an open tiled fireplace and a wooden partition formed the inside wall and concealed the stairs which gave way to a curtained-off stair access leading to a small top landing with facing cupboard and bedroom doors either side. A rear vertical sash window admitted light to the stairwell and afforded a south facing view to the garden.
The living room door led to a small vestibule with an outside front door plus a larder under the stairs complete with mice. Passing through another door into the front or best room, there was a cast iron open fireplace, three easy chairs with well worn springs, one occasional table, a central gas light and an upright piano. The chimney had to be swept prior to having some roaring log fires especially at Christmas. At other times in the winter, an oil stove heated up a rather chilly room. A gas fire was installed later which meant no more inviting log fires.
The downstairs bedroom had a high sloping roof with an inbuilt ventilator brick at its apex allowing external sounds to echo through, especially trains coming and going, plus early morning calls from one of our very vocal cockerels. The bedroom also had a small cast iron open grate fire with a birds-and-cherries motif surround.
The outside toilet adjacent to the back door could be an inconvenience by being trapped in there while visitors or stray tradesmen stood chatting and having to wait before emerging. Inside the toilet was a wooden bench seat with hinged front flap for bucket access. Strips of newspapers and magazines hung from a nail in the wall.
The household chores, being very arduous were so much hard work I marvel how my mother was able to cope. But she kept the house, everything well organised and spotless and also with her excellent cooking she made it from a house into a comfortable home.
Pastimes, we used to play bagatelle, darts, cards and in the street we played hopscotch and spun tops. In the summer we walked to Wisley and bathed in the lake and also fished in the river at Cobham and Ripley. I remember posters advertising an appeal to raise funds for the building of the new Guildford Cathedral. Knitting needles were used for rolling and folding newspapers for firelighters and rug making was also an occupation.
The front, side and rear garden tended by my father contained flowers, fruit and vegetables. Damsons from our tree made excellent home made jam as did crab apples and blackberries from the Common. Chickens were kept, Rhode Island Reds, giving us eggs and I remember at one time, I purchased a dozen day-old chicks from Watt and Arbour’s [?unclear] chicken farm at Hatchford where we went potato picking in the autumn. These chicks, White Sussex, turned out to be all cockerels, so, no eggs but some delicious roast dinners!
My father constructed a sturdy wooden shed from railway sleepers to house our bikes and garden tools. In the bedrooms, candles and night lights were necessary for illumination and in the winter the rooms could be freezing with frost forming on the inside of the window glass. Hot water bottles and heated bricks inside a sock preheated the beds. When we first moved in, the three of us shared a double bed and I remember summer nights, laying awake listening to nightingales singing from the woods opposite through the open window.
Leatherhead and Guildford by train were our shopping and cinema towns. My mother shopped at the Co-op in Leatherhead. I often cycled to the Savoy cinema in Cobham and remember seeing The Great Dictator with Charlie Chaplin. Our annual holiday, one week, was taken in Exmouth, Devon and [I] remember getting excited as the time drew near. The journey by steam train took about a day, changing at Exeter on to the branch line, then eureka – my first glimpse of the sea! One year there, my father was stung by a jellyfish, causing him severe leg swelling and making it unable for him to travel which meant we had another whole week in Exmouth. What joy for us, but not for him.
4. Holiday in Exmouth
Enjoying myself at the seaside in Exmouth.
Back to the Junction. Weekends in the summer, “Stop me and buy one”, Walls ice cream man took up his stance opposite No. 2 at the Common by the then local bus stop. He used to pay my mother 6d a time for jugs of tea.
Us children practically lived on the Common, playing in the bracken, climbing trees, primrosing and bluebelling in the woods, having picnics. Our favourite was hunting for empty R. White lemonade bottles, yielding a penny refund each for sweet money. I remember a duck/moor hen pond on the Common where eggs were nested and frogspawn [was] collected in jam jars.
On the other [opposite] side of the bridge to No. 2, the Searle family ran a sweet shop and post office called The Halt. It had a tiled step-down approach, the shop being of a framed and panelled construction with display windows either side of the glass entrance door. On entering the shop, the doorbell sounded summoning counter service from the rear, which entailed a walk through a linked passageway, making for a delay if nobody else was in the shop being served. The Halt had a hall at the back where Mrs Searle used to rent out the Hall for old-time dances and various social functions.
I remember we were playing on the Common one day when we came across boxes of chocolates, Black Magic, Cadbury’s, all sorts of confection, sweets, lemonade bottles etc. It turned out that The Halt had been burgled. The local Bobby PC Woods with his bike used to stand on point duty outside The Halt by the telephone kiosk, but he missed that one!
Some of our shop favourites there were Lyons’ fruit pies in a square box, Mars Bars, Sherbet Dips and fizzy drinks Corona and Tizer, and lemonade powder which made excellent, still home-made lemonade. I remember my father giving us pennies to go up to the shop and buy a Mars Bar which was a real treat.
Turning left at the Cross Roads by the Lord Howard into Forest Road towards Horsley, first on the left was Stoneleys [Stoneleigh’s?] Garage where our wireless accumulators were taken to be charged. Next came Flack’s paper stationery shop which was later Marshall’s fishmongers. A well-known local lady Miss Poupart lived on the right hand side of a detached house. [She was] a tall quietly spoken person, rather old-fashioned who retained guardianship of the Memorial Hall door key, required by us when we went to play table tennis there. Her name is linked to Poupart’s Junction which is on a name plate on a signal box just outside Clapham Junction. She hosted whist drives and various other social gatherings at her house. She also had two lodgers by the name of Musselwhite; very smart gentlemen in Hombergs, suits and spats; they were regularly seen out walking together.
5. Ladies’ Bible Class, Memorial Hall
Further along the road on the right hand side, there is the Roland Lubbock Memorial Hall, the hub of social activities at the Junction. This is a photograph of the Ladies’ Bible Class, the Covenanters, outside the Memorial Hall. In the front row, holding the shield, is Miss Jenkins the organist. At the back of her is Sister Clarke and to Sister Clarke’s right is my sister.
6. Miss Jenkins and Sister Clarke
Another photograph with Miss Jenkins and Sister Clarke in the front row. My sister is fourth from the right in the back row.
Proceeding along Forest Road, past the Memorial Hall, we come to the railway bridge and on the right hand side a turning off which was known as The Slip, a short cut to East Horsley where I often cycled along to visit my aunt who lived in West Horsley.
Yvonne Arnaud, well known actress and concert pianist, lived with her husband in a large detached house with green tiles, between Effingham and Bookham Commons. A private road to the property which included a pig farm led under the branch line railway bridge terminating in double gates. We used to collect acorns for the pigs.
7. The Yvonne Arnaud theatre in Guildford
The Yvonne Arnaud theatre in Guildford.
An actor by the name of Desmond Tester lived in Surrey Gardens and appeared in two films which are still repeated on television today, namely The Four Feathers and The Drum, which are still shown on TV repeats with his name in the credits.
Another character by the name of Dijon used to fantasise about his imaginary acting days and the stars he said he knew. He walked with a stoop with his hands behind his back, religiously there and back on Sundays to attend mass at the Catholic Church in the village.
A professional acting teacher Winifred Oughton lived in Hathaway Cottage, Surrey Gardens. She took an interest in local amateur dramatics and ran rehearsals for the local society which later became known as The Nomads [corrected to Forresters].
Another actor who used to catch the last train down from Waterloo and have a taxi waiting for him at the Junction – he was often a bit worse the wear from drink – his name was Andreas Malandrinos. He used to have bit parts in films like waiters or innkeepers something like that. He was probably Greek.
A cinder path between number two and the Common provided a short cut to Horsley, emerging at the south side of the railway bridge in Forest Road. Names living along there at the time, were, Blackwell, Fuller, Wallen (Station master) next to the railway sheds, then Carr followed by a bungalow named Home-We-Go [?unclear] where the Tyrrells lived. Mr Tyrrell, a keen gardener, designed and landscaped a very attractive ornamental garden.
Before the path bends right, on the left hand side was Garnett’s farm. Mr Garnett delivered his milk carrying two stainless steel hinged-lid milk canisters from which he ladled milk into customers’ jugs. This was before Curtis and Co-op started to deliver milk. In his peak cap, and leather gaiters, hob-nailed boots and smoking a pipe he struck a very familiar rustic figure. He owned a rather unfriendly dog chained to its kennel which was given a wide berth when visiting.
The railway houses along the Ockham Road, numbered 1 to 20, with woodland opposite where we sometimes played; some names recalled living along there were Thornton, Mitchell, Goddard, Smith, Trish, Barnes, Pettit, Osbsorne, Weston, Jackson, Gould. A bungalow and field at the end was owned by Miller. His wife Mrs Miller ran a sweet shop at Old Lane; names recalled along there were Phillips, Hemus, Stocks, Gorman and Meach. We played in Barnsthorns woods at the back of Old Lane.
Our neighbours at No. 1 were Mr and Mrs Jim Ponsford. Jim was also a signalman and they had two daughters Vera and Enid. I was often in their garden and used to carve my initials in his young pumpkins and marrows which expanded on growing. Jim took pride in his garden which was indeed a picture and he used to take his dog Gyp for regular walks on the Common. Pottering about in his shed with him, I sometimes received a friendly rebuke of “Get out of the tent!” when I got in his way.
On the Common local to Orchard Close [corrected to Heathway] lived a recluse by the name of Miss Bretherton. We used to name her ‘Stink bomb’. She lived in an old overgrown cottage and also she owned a house opposite where she kept cats in cages. Rumour had it that she was an actress at one time. Apart from that nobody else seemed to know much about her.
There used to be various tradesmen and con-men knocking at our front door. As well as the rag-and-bone man, there was the onion man and I remember these onions strung from the handlebars of his bike.
At the age of five, I began school at the St Lawrence Primary school in the village. My mother transported me there and back, sitting on the carrier of her bicycle. Sometimes I used to walk home which was about one and a half to two miles without seeing a passing car. And on reaching Indian Farm, if I saw a white Austin van in the distance, I knew there was a possible chance of a lift for the rest of the way from Bowman’s baker on his delivery rounds.
Stewart Adams was the headmaster and his wife the governess, other teachers there being Miss Dixon, Miss Parker and Miss Hardiment. There were four classrooms, two in the original building and two in a newer section, one of which was upstairs. One day, I remember Miss Parker took me to lunch at the Crossroads Café and I remember having mince and potatoes which evidently didn’t agree with my young constitution and later that afternoon during lessons I had to be excused and go to the outside toilet across the playground on a freezing cold day; I remember there was snow on the ground. I seemed to be out there for ages shivering and eventually had to be rescued by Miss Parker.
Miss Hardiment, a very pleasant buxom teacher, in addition to teaching general subjects also played the piano and liked to have us gather round for a traditional sing-song. On a Friday she concluded the week and the class by reading us stories by Enid Blyton.
Anthracite stoves heated the classrooms in winter and emitted a warm red glow. Taking turns to fetch the school milk in crates from Curtis’ Dairy, bottles were then placed around the stoves to warm the milk. Some of us preferred the ice which formed into the cream by the frost.
A visit to the local blacksmith, watching horses being shod and hearing the clang of hammer on anvil became a regular attraction. And the local tuck shop was Love’s on the corner opposite the Church.
Scripture classes saw some canvas scrolls being rolled out depicting religious scenes, one of which I remember was The Last Supper. The local bus used to park and wait outside The Sir Douglas Haig before making its return journey to the Junction then on to Guildford.
Stewart Adams occasionally included practical demonstrations especially in arithmetic, using weights and measures and scales, weighing out cuts of meat, thereby making the subject more interesting, and in Geography he said he had visited every county in England. He often asked me to fetch his cucumbers from Mizen’s Nursery down the road. In Spring we were taken for nature walks and behind Curtis’ Farm was a field where we played cricket.
The school grounds also included a field which now has a school extension built on it. This was fenced off by iron railings and gated and closed in winter. Spring made it accessible to the smell of newly mown grass beckoning the welcome onset of warmer days and where lessons were sometimes taken in a group sitting on the grass in the sunshine.
Stewart Adams was a very charismatic person of medium stature with slightly florid features. [He] often wore a brown plus-four suit, horn-rimmed spectacles, a trilby hat tilted at a jaunty angle and brogue shoes and smoked cigarettes. I noticed his fingers were quite nicotine stained. Sir Barnes Wallis of bouncing bomb fame also lived in Effingham and was an acquaintance of his. On Empire Day I remember we enjoyed a half day’s holiday.
At the age of ten I was transferred to the more modern Central School. Initially, Stewart Adams temporarily took charge until Mr Hewitt was appointed headmaster. The school grounds there comprised two playing fields, an asphalt playground and allotments. An indoor swimming pool at The Lodge nearby was made available to the school. An austerity wartime Christmas party was organised at the school including a dinner of sausage and mash. Generally, school dinners were very good and my mother became one of the volunteer helpers in the kitchen.
In the war years the school had to be shared with a London school known as the Strand which meant for some time we had lessons in the mornings only.
The War Years
When Chamberlain announced “We are at war with Germany” on Sept 3rd 1939, my mother cried because the memory of the First World War, in which my father served, was still fresh in her memory. As a nine year old at the time, the seriousness of the War and what went on in it, we didn’t really know much about because we were too busy growing up.
The Ponsfords next door took in two girl evacuees, Sheila Brown and Rita Simmonds, neither of whom had ever been to the countryside before, so the first question they asked was “Are there any snakes here?”
8. Michael’s sister with evacuees
This photograph shows my sister at the back, Sheila Brown on the left, myself and Rita Simmonds. However, they soon integrated with us country bumpkins enjoying ourselves on the Common. Double British Summer Time in force at that time meant longer, lighter evening for staying out playing, but seven o’clock bedtime was strictly adhered to by my mother’s call. I recall laying awake in bed in the downstairs bedroom and enviously hearing the others still playing on the Common and allowed out to continue.
At the start of the phoney war, air raid practice warnings were sounded by banging a suspended railway buffer acting as a gong. Prior to the Home Guard, LDV armbands were worn – Local Defence Volunteers – and they mostly consisted of railway men. Parades were held on the Common: this was before being issued with rifles and uniforms and broomsticks or similar were used, causing us children much amusement.
Returning home on the train from Leatherhead one evening in the blackout, the train stopped before the station to allow the main Waterloo line train priority. Thinking it was at the station, I opened the carriage door, stepped out and finished up at the bottom of the railway bank, followed by a voice “What are you doing down there?” from Ben Barnes the guard. I clambered back up and he pulled me into the guard’s van. “You won’t be doing that again in hurry” he said and I thought “Don’t bank on it!”
In the Forties, my father was temporarily transferred to Hampton Court level crossing signal box and this involved a long bicycle ride there and back; possibly a round trip of fifteen miles or so, and with air raids on the go at the time, my mother became quite concerned for his safety, especially at night. Eventually he returned to the Junction and living so close to the station could be a bit too convenient at times especially when last minute call-outs made it necessary for him to stand in for an absent shift who didn’t turn up.
9. Effingham Junction signal box
This is a photograph of Effingham Junction signal box. You can just see the railway sheds on the left hand side. My father is standing at the back with his cap on, on the right hand side. On Sundays my mother plated up my father’s roast dinner if he happened to be around on duty and she tied it up with a tea cloth with a knot on the top which made it handy for me to take it over to him and deliver it to him at the signal box, walking along the platform which caused much banter from the porters.
My father served 48 years with the Southern Railway and retired with a nervous condition affecting his hands, caused by years of lever pulling.
Going back to the War, a bomb missed the local sub-station and landed nearby during the night and, not hearing a thing, I woke up next morning covered in plaster and dust from the ceiling. A field in Garnett’s farm sustained a large bomb crater caused by a land mine. The doodlebugs were something else. Canadians in a Jeep came over the bridge one day just as one of these things cut out its engine and with much screeching of brakes and cursing they all dived into the ditch. This was followed by an explosion somewhere near Ockham. One also landed on a house in Windy Ridge and rumours had it that the occupant was in the bottom of the garden and survived and another was that one person was killed.
During the Blitz, walking up to the railway bridge and looking towards London, the sky was a complete red glow with search lights scanning the skies. One became familiar with the throbbing drone of enemy aircraft during an air raid, so it was quite comforting at times that sometimes the noise turned out to be a train. The anti-aircraft gun on the cricket ground caused quite a vibration and noise when in action. Quite often service personnel stranded off the last train from London knocked on our door requiring a night’s lodging. Some we obliged, some were too inebriated. One who was blind drunk lay down in the middle of the road on the brow of the hill quite oblivious to any possible oncoming vehicle but he was visible from our bedroom window. We managed to go out there and pull him to one side and a taxi was arranged; he evidently lived in Bookham.
The British Army unit occupied a purpose-built hut on the Common opposite No. 2. They all became very friendly and invited us to their Christmas party. The hut was gaily decorated, paper chains etc. and heated by a cast iron solid fuel burning stove. Electricity was provided by a diesel generator. A good time was had by all.
Canadians were camped off Beech Avenue in the village and I remember having a dinner of mince and tatties from a jerry can with them. They also gave us their pen knives.
A “Molotov bread basket” landed on the Common dispersing its contents of unexploded incendiary bombs. They were each about three and a half inches [in] diameter by about eighteen inches long with fins. Two of us went looking for these and piled them up and word of this reached the school about which we had already been warned. However, at the main assembly in front of the whole school we were well and truly chastised both by the headmaster and the local police.
The WVS ran a canteen for Canadians at the Memorial Hall and [I] can remember some delicious meat pies which we were able to acquire. The social life of the Junction revolved around the Memorial Hall: Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, Church Services and Sunday School and Women’s Institute. A concert party was formed and shows were laid on for the Canadians. They also put on film shows which we were able to attend.
10. Girl Covenanters at the Memorial Hall
This is a wartime photograph of the Girl Covenanters at the Memorial Hall. The first four girls from the left in the front are evacuees. [Points to one of them] this one here, June Crane, I remember having a youthful crush on. My sister is there [points again].
11. Ewell Women’s Institute at Memorial Hall
This is a photograph of the Ewell Women’s Institute at the Memorial Hall. My mother is there and Miss Poupart is there [points].
During the War my brother volunteered for the services, in fact the Navy, and he was signed up to the Fleet Air Arm onto the aircraft carrier HMS Implacable.
Lord [sic – Sir] and Lady Waterhouse lived at Orchard [sic – Norwood] Farm, a large Tudor style mansion in a landscaped garden with an outside swimming pool. The estate comprised farm land and orchards. One day there were horses in the field and my friend who was keen on horses, who even looked the part dressed in riding breeches, carrying a rope around and he harnessed one of these horses and he galloped across the field. He unwillingly coaxed me on to one, gave it a whack on the rump, I went charging across the field, the horse pulled up sharply and I went flying over its head. Not being one for [being] taken for a ride or falling for a fast one, I thought never again. Lord Waterhouse, chartered accountant, had a business in London which is now Price Waterhouse Coopers.
He made a bungalow available for evacuee accommodation under the auspices of an appointed governess who insisted on being formally addressed. She called us all by our surnames and she liked to be called Madam – rather officious. Anyway we had some good times there playing in the fields, barns and haystacks. We collected loads of Cox’s Orange apples, stored them for Christmas and Lady Waterhouse laid on a Christmas party for the evacuees and their friends, and I remember we all sat at a long table loaded with goodies in the big house and a good time was had by all. The year was probably 1940. Hit tune of the day was “I’ve got spurs that jingle jangle jingle” and the current film screened was The Petrified Forest.
When my brother was demobbed after the War, he purchased a double-barrelled twelve-bore shot gun and several of us used to go over the Common with a dog and some ferrets and shooting rabbits and pheasants and I remember we had to cross the railway line and step over two live rails to get to a field where some rabbits were.
Another chance to have some extra pocket money during [corrected to after] the War was scraping the black-out paint off the railway carriage windows in the railway sheds.
Music was important to me and still is, and during the War I was given several gramophones. I remember two portables and a cabinet one and the first one was one with a horn, similar to the one that HMV advertised with, with the dog in front, Nipper. The spring had broken and I used to persevere, turning the turntable with my finger in order to get the right speed.
Another pastime was making crystal sets, and I remember lying in bed with headphones on twiddling the cat’s whiskerto get a loud spot on the crystal and picking up Lord Haw Haw; William Joyce, “Germany calling”. And of course during the War it was part of the Swing Era with the Big Bands: Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman; I was into all that stuff. For me it was a very interesting musical period.
Effingham Cricket Club
I remember the club pre-War, walking to the ground on a sunny Sunday afternoon straight from Sunday School and seeing a marquee with teas laid out on trestle tables inside. Also for some reason, the pitch was transferred temporarily to a field further along the main road at the bottom of the hill on the right-hand side and [I] remember a double-winged aircraft made a forced landing there. An anti-aircraft Ack-Ack unit took over the ground during the War and afterwards working parties including Italian prisoners-of-war labour worked to reinstate the ground, cutting back undergrowth etc.
12. Clearing undergrowth on the Common
This is a photograph of a painting done by an artist friend of Dr. Sutton showing a working party clearing the undergrowth. In the background you can see two trees, that’s where the Mallaby-Deeleys lived.
I was associated with the club both as a playing member and match Secretary for twenty-five years. Our first President I remember was Bill Shepherd a builder who lived in Surrey Gardens and we all envied him at the time, because he was the only member who owned a car, a Rover. Committee meetings were sometimes held in The Plough Inn at Effingham village run by Jimmy Hanley and his wife, actor and film star and seen on the television series “Jim’s Inn”. One of our meetings there was terminated after a visit from Diana Dors and her boyfriend Tommy Yeardye.
The ground originally had no pavilion, just a refreshment hut with a hinged pull-down counter and a shed to house the Dennis motor mower which at times was very reluctant to start. Water for tea was boiled in a copper – tea urn – on a paraffin stove. The urn had to be filled from an outside tap situated in Adrian Estler’s field nearby, and where his rather hostile cow grazed. [Once] after cautiously filling the urn the two carriers Tommy Hall and Norrie Penfold returned somewhat quicker than they went, chased by the cow.
13. Cricket Club 1950s
This is a 1950s photo of the club.
Back row L to R: Harry Trish (Secretary), John Irvine, Reg Carey, Fred Donnison, Adrian Estler, “A N Other”, Peter Topper, Maurice Waller.
Front row R to L: Nobby Penfold, Tommy Hall, myself [Michael Waller], Peter Drew, Michael Topper.
14. Cricket Club late 1950s [but actually not earlier than 1962]
Late 1950s photo.
Back row L to R: Hamish Brown, Arthur Penfold, myself, Adrian Estler, Conall Hall, Ross Tester.
Front row R to L: Alan Hull, Nobby Penfold, Tommy Hall, John Hawkey.
15. Cricket Club early 1960s
This photograph taken in about 1963 is when newer members started to come into the club and take over.
Back row L to R: Ross Tester, “A N Other”, Frank Sparling, Peter Collett, Maurice Waller, Philip Dixon, myself, Ken Osborne.
Front row R to L: Ken Moore, Chris Williams, Brian Saddleton, Alan Brown, Keith Jones.
Apart from mowing the wicket and the outfield, a roller had to be pulled and pushed which was a heavy cast iron roller filled with concrete – very hard going. Elsan closets were housed in two rusting corrugated iron sheds for the WCs; very uninviting and unhygienic. Behind the bushes became the more popular option.
Adrian Estler, a larger than life character and member, lived alone on land adjacent to the club. A tall imposing tree surgeon who didn’t mince his words, he was of German origin and was public school educated at Oundle College. He was also part of the local hunt scene. He had his own personal cricketing dress code. Generally batting at number ten or eleven, and sometimes he scored the odd run. He wore a panama hat, open-necked shirt with long flapping unbuttoned sleeves, no socks or pads and his boots had seen better days. The bat resembled a matchstick in his hands, but he possessed a profound knowledge of the rules of cricket causing some disquiet at times about his umpiring decisions, but certainly no argument. Latterly, his brother Mervyn, a quieter more reserved, came to live with Adrian. Home-made damson wine was one of his specialities and when invited into his farmhouse kitchen for a tasting along with hunks of bread and cheese, the bottles when opened were still fermenting.
His Rolls Royce van, complete with starting handle, carried his tools of trade, and the bolted doors often jammed. At one local away match, we arrived in style in his horse and trap. He did at one time I remember have a very attractive wife who I met one Christmas while carol singing there. Adrian and Dr Sutton did not always see eye to eye on certain issues and to show his displeasure at something about which Dr Sutton instigated, he allowed his horse to trample over the wicket, causing damaging hoof prints.
There were some Sunday home games which attracted quite a few spectators with cars lined up along the approach road. The collection box became a useful fund raiser. One American tourist walked over to the wicket wanting to take photos while play was in progress.
Dr Sutton started a pavilion fund, getting donations from many sources, which eventually financed the acquisition of a cedar wood sectional pavilion, complete with changing room, kitchen, bar and toilets. This was erected by members and opened in the mid-Sixties. Our independence by acquiring a licence to sell alcohol deprived the Lord Howard of our once-after-match custom.
16. Cricket Club Pavilion 2010
This photograph of the cricket club pavilion was taken in September 2010. It’s looking rather sorry for itself, needing a lot of maintenance. If Dr Sutton had been alive today, I don’t think he would be very enamoured with the present situation.
My brother was actively very much involved with the club for fifty years, involving much hard work. He and Dr Sutton were in legal negotiations with the Lord of the Manor in securing the future tenure of the club. My brother latterly formed the club into a company. His wife, my sister-in-law, was also involved for fifty years making the teas and the catering arrangements.
17. Commemorative Plaque
This is a plaque I did to commemorate my brother’s fifty years association with Effingham Cricket Club. It is hanging up behind the bar in the pavilion.
Horsley Towers was originally owned by Sopwith the aviator.It later became a girls’ school and during the War years it was the headquarters of the Central Electricity Board. So it merits inclusion for its close links with the Effinghams by employing staff from there including myself, brother and sister and where time was enjoyed using its sport and leisure facilities out of working hours and so a lot of time was spent there.
18. Replica Cottage
This is a replica cottage to the one I lived in at Effingham Junction which managed to get a reprieve. One half was demolished. It is situated at Station Approach, East Horsley.
19. Station Cottages 1966
This is a last and final photograph I took of Station Cottages in 1966. I flew the nest in 1968 on getting married, having lived at No. 2 for 34 happy years. I consider myself extremely privileged and fortunate to have lived and being [sic] raised in a God-fearing secure family environment at Effingham Junction. My father died in 1972, my mother carried on living there for a further twelve years or so prior to moving into sheltered accommodation in Bookham.
My brother took me back there for a nostalgic visit prior to it being demolished and it was then empty and rather dilapidated. It proved to be a rather sad experience.
Following this is a video taken in 2003 of a car ride from Forest Road, East Horsley through to Effingham village. It is noted that the Lord Howard public house is no longer there and has been replaced by a block of flats.