A social media group has incapsulated the bygone years of Thornton Heath.
Thornton Heath Reconnected gives an amazing insight in to the life and times of Thornton Heath over 100 years and includes pictures of residents from the First World War.
Set up by former Thornton Heath resident Tadgh Crozier, the Facebook page aims to bring together people of Thornton Heath past and present to share memories not moans.
The group has over 1,200 followers including some residents who are in their 90s!
Members share stories of their schooldays, adventures in Grangewood Park and Thornton Heath Rec, long gone cherished pubs, and memories of the many rich and wonderful characters. The page also provides the opportunity for former residents to reconnect with old friends.
Posts are accompanied with pictures of Thornton Heath streets, many unrecognisable in gentler times when the roads were free of cars and lined with trees and gardens.
Posts recall the Second World War bombing raids and the deadly Doodle-bugs which caused devastation in 1944 demolishing whole streets in Thornton Heath.
One member recalls: “My dad was born in 1933 and during the war helped deliver milk in Thornton Heath. One day whilst doing this he looked up to see a V1 whose engine had cut out skim over the roofs of the houses and explode further down the street. The explosion lifted him off his feet and threw him across the road. He was cut by flying glass and had to be taken to a first aid station.”
Pictures of children fishing in Thornton Heath Pond in 1951, along with recollections of learning to swim in the old swimming baths and The Pavilion Cinema which one contributor recalls “… was mostly referred to as The Pav or Flea Pit. This was in the forties and fifties. Went there quite a few times. A bit different from the showcase cinemas we have now”. There are memories of former famous residents like: Mickey Finn, of the glam rock band T-Rex, funnyman Roy Hudd and David Jason’s brother Arthur who lived above a hairdressers on Furze Road! Even Arnold Schwarzenegger was a short term resident of Thornton Heath while training for the Mr Universe competition.
Tadgh said: “I do still have a soft spot as I spent all of my younger years in Thornton Heath so lots of good memories. Still it has changed a lot over the years but I do love looking back to see how it’s changed. The group has been really positive so far and I think it’s because we try to keep it from being a place where people moan about the changes and just focus on their own good memories of the place.
“I’ve been in too many groups where people spend all their time complaining about how much things have changed.”
Tadgh who went to school at Beulah Infants worked in The Grange pub, on Norbury Road which has been derelict for many years.
He moved away years ago due to work and added: “I think my fondest memories were of the shops before Tesco was built and how it had a village feel.
“Once Tesco was built it felt like it was out of context with the older buildings in Thornton Heath.”