During the 1960's I did a lot of fishing on the Thames at palces such as Richmond, Staines, Windsor etc. Most Saturdays I would get the number 53 bus from the Old kent Road to Lower Marsh for the rear entrance to Waterloo Station. I would have to walk up the slope past Dewar's bottling plant for the station entrance and the smell of the whisky in those days was almost overpowering to a young fella like me. I wondered if that bottling plant was still there, if not, what's there now? It's over forty years since I last walked up that slope and as nothing elese from my youth seems to be still in tact I doubt if that is. I've also seen a reference to the cartoon theatre on the station. It was actually called the News Theatre, and in the early to mid 1950's my Dad would take me there on Saturday mornings. We just called it 'Waterloo Pictures.' I know it closed down many years ago and wondered if the old art decco building had been preserved.
The slope is still there, our family used to use that entrance as we got the 53 from OKR to Waterloo. Dewar's is long gone, but I couldn't say what's there now. the News Theatre was closed in 1970 and demolished - vandals!
Not surprised to hear that Dewar's has gone, Pat. But they are vandals indeed to destroy that lovely old building that housed the News Theatre, You would think they could have converted it into something, like a restaurant or even a little museum with a railway or transport theme, or perhaps a gallery of some sort. What a nice way it could have been to kill time while waiting for a train.
Anyone know what's there now in its place?
I took the present Mrs. Chalkey to London yesterday. She had a function to attend at Australia House. (Big in the arts is the missiz....I married above my station!)
I left her to it and went off for a wander. I couldn't resist the temptation, (long walk though it was,) to have a look at Lower marsh and answer my own question. (Above.)
Well, as Pat says, the slope is still there, or should I say part of it. The final little hill that I used to climb that took me past Dewar's, is now a long, flat road which runs along the side of the station. It's used for parking and for the taxis to queue. No sign of the old Dewar's. I wandered on to the station to have a look at the site where the old News Theatre was. At ground floor level there is a couple of kiosks, but above that it,s boarded up. As I stared at the boarding I said a silent little prayer hoping that the facade of the News Theatre had been preserved behind it for some future use. I hope it has. On the way out of the station a fairly smartly dressed young bloke aproached me and asked if I could help him with a little money as he had to get to Guildford and was a little short of the fare. He showed me that he had some money in his hand, (looked about three quid,) but was just a bit short. He wasn't the usual type of beggar, too clean cut for that, but somethuing didn't ring true. So I said, "Sorry," and walked on. Later in the afternoon me and the Missiz were walking through the west end on our way to meet my daughter for lunch, and I was again aproached by a clean cut young guy who said that he was a pound short of his fare home and could I help. Looks like a new scam is amongst us, and by the way these guys presented, they seem to be doing very well out of it.
If I recall correctly, the actual auditorium of the news theatre was cantilevered out over the cab road.
I think the rotting hulk of the structure survived until the late 1980s - I have a vague idea it was still being demolished in 1988 when I was working in Blackfriars Road and occasionally passed through Waterloo.
Good on you for sussing out the scammers,if they're not "just short of my fare home" then they're in urgent need of coins for the phone-box (what,no mobile ?) or haven't eaten all day and need a few coins more for a sandwich.So,Waterloo has changed since your days.Many things are definitely improvements,and we appreciate them.But it's now a tourist(interesting) and beggar's(downright annoying) hot spot because of this.Where are the civilizing Lyon's Corner Houses and independent cafes of the good old days ?If they were still around then I suppose that they would also be having their share of Big Issue 'sellers' (often offering just one tatty copy to) going from table to table.Very interesting to read your memoirs,it's a weird feeling going back down memory lane;I did the same when I returned to where I began school in 1952 and found the whole area taken over by a certain religion and felt such an outsider.
Hi SandyPandy. I've felt exactly the same when I've taken a sentimental Journey or two in the past. However, in these PC days we have to keep our thoughts to ourselves. Perhaps my dear old Dad was right after all.....'Never go back.' But with the future not looking too rosey and standing still not an option, what the hell are we supposed to do?
Answer.....Keep smiling! As Max Miller used to say: "They can't stop us laughing!" (Hitler tried, and look where it got him!)