Corbett Stories

Life in Arngask Road, through the eyes of Harry Sutton

“Just before the turn of the century my father bought 81 Arngask Road where I started school at the LCC kindergarten in Hazelbank Road, a corrugated iron erection built on the allotment plot at the end of Wellmeadow Road. By the age of 10 I was constantly suffering toothache and attended the dentist Mr Collett, in Hither Green Lane, a jolly bearded man who had a fearsome drilling machine and operated it by a foot pedal as exuberantly as a one legged cyclist tackling the ascent of Snowdon. At that period electricity and local anaesthetics had not arrived to complicate the dentist’s procedures and his job required the physical strength and manual dexterity of the public executioner.

“Arngask Road cost my father £285 on a 999 year lease and house and street lighting was gas. At dusk each day the lamplighter walked diagonally up or down every road and light up a Bray gas jet enclosed in the glazed lantern topping each lamp-post. He carried a long pole and lighting up was a highly dexterous performance, especially in windy weather.

“About 7.30am every morning the hot roll boy would herald his presence in the road with the mournful cry of “hot ROLLS – any hot ROLLS?”. He was followed by the milkman in his chariot style vehicle with its large shining brass churn, from which he filled the oval pewter container and ladled required amounts into the household jugs.”

Do you have a Corbett story? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch.