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'My best memory of Croydon is the end of the Second World War'

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JOYCE King, 81, from Shirley, was born and bred in Croydon. She tells Lucie Potter she has seen a lot of change but could not imagine being anywhere other than the place she calls home... I WAS born in Alderton Road, Woodside, on the 29 December 1930 and since then I've moved around, but I've never left Croydon.

From my time growing up here, my best memory would have to be the end of the Second World War. Everybody was out in the streets celebrating.

All the people at work had left but I had to rush through my job to sort out the pay. If we didn't finish then no-one would get paid. As soon as I did this, I was outside celebrating with the rest of the country.

Before the war the Mayday parade every year was a highlight of living in Croydon, it started at Woodside Green and went through the streets to South Norwood rec.

They would have a fancy dress competition. One year I dressed up as scotch porridge oats; I had a tartan skirt and a black velvet jacket and that year I won the competition. Of course, that all ended when the war started.

When I found out that our country was at war, I was eight going on nine-years-old.

Every Sunday morning, I had a tin bath in front of the fire and my mum told me then. I jumped up because I was really excited but my mum was not impressed and I got a good hiding that day.

During the war we got bombed out, there was an iron bar in the middle of my bed when I looked in the morning, and we had a lucky escape.

An entire family on our road in South Norwood were killed that night.

We were put in a requisition house in Thornton Heath. The reason why we were bombed out so much was because of Norwood Junction train station. They used to follow the train tracks and then make a hit when they reached the station.

When the doodlebugs started, we went to the public air raid shelter in Portland Road every night. Down there we used to have a sing song, mainly old Vera Lynn songs and we had the radio to listen too.

I wasn't evacuated during the war, my mother was deaf and I think she wanted to keep me close by; it was difficult because a lot of my friends were evacuated. Some of them never came home, they made a new life somewhere else. Those who did came back with new accents, like a Scottish accent and they just seemed different.

My favourite place to go was the Empire Theatre in North End where you could stand in there for half a crown, if you wanted a seat it would probably set you back about five shillings.

I have three daughters and had two sons, one of which has passed away. I now have 13 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. All of us live in Croydon because everyone met and married locally. I met my late husband in the school grounds in South Norwood and we started going out when I was 15.

We got married in 1949 in Croydon and were married for 44 years.

  • Do you have any memories or photos of past times in Croydon that you would like to share with us? Please e-mail newsdesk@croydonadvertiser.co.uk or call the news desk on 01737 783822.

'My best memory of Croydon is the end of the Second World War'


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