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Wednesday 21 July 2010 11.22am
I'm doing some more research in to my past and wondered if there are any SE1-ers of a certain age, who started life as SE17-ers and may be able to help.
When I was a kid back in the 1950's, there was an old chap of Meditaranean appearance who sold ice cream from a hand cart, which he pushed around the streets of Walworth. It was beatifully hand painted and had brass spirals which suported the red and white striped canopy. He was known to us kids as 'Jack,' but I doubt that was his real name. I never heard him speak a word, but I suspect he was Italian. There were a few families of Italian origin in post-war Walworth who went in to the ice cream business and did very well out of it. I think he was still plying his trade up to the time I moved to the Old Kent Road in 1957, but he must have been around 70 years old then. Does anyone know of this guy and give some info?
Thursday 22 July 2010 8.23am
Chalkey there was a small 'hole in the wall' and Italian people made ice cream there and a large lady sold ices through the hole and I think there was also a handcart involved.Having a senior moment it was either Brandon street or browning street, near st johns hall and there was a bombsite nearby..perhaps as they got more affluent they opened up Rossis on the corner of east street market/walworth road, or perhaps they made the ice cream there and trundled it to the main shop?
Thursday 22 July 2010 11.21am
Hi Jan,
Thanks for that. Don't remember that place myself. I do remember the ice cream shop on the corner of East Street Market/ Walworth Road, but it was always known to me as 'Manzi & Roffo,' and I think it did indeed have that sign up on the wall. It was there throughout my childhood in the fifties and when I went back to Walworth during the late-sixties to visit my grandparents it was still there then under the same name. Don't know what's there now though. I remember an ice cream van bearing the name, 'Espozito,' which plied its trade around the East Street area during the sixties. Maybe they had some connection.
Friday 23 July 2010 9.07am
Your right Chalkey, it was Roffos! told you I was having senior moment...:-) all these ruddy pills..lmao

The hole in the wall, if you walked down Larcom street from walworth road, turned right it was there...I will try and grab one of my 80plus aunties who have a great recall for yesteryear! they lived near the lane.
Friday 23 July 2010 9.36am
I remember the location you mention very well, Jan.
I used to belong to a cub pack in 1955/6, and we used to convene in the hall next to St. John's Church in Larcom St. I think our group was called, 'The Fifth Southwark.' But I still can't remember a 'hole in the wall.'
Straying a little off topic, (as usual,) when I think back to those days when I was 8 or 9 years old, It reminds me of how things have changed. On a dark winter's evening I would walk from my house in Danson Road, (which used to be at the bottom of Manor Place at the junction with Braganza Street,) and walk to that hall and back again a few hours later. All on my own. I wouldn't have dreamt of letting any of my kids do anything like that when they were that age, or even older. It's a hackneyed expression, but a true one, about Kids have more of everything these days except freedom.
Our generation had that, but little else. We wouldn't have swapped though, would we?
Saturday 24 July 2010 7.39am
Your right about the freedom we all had Chalkey, and I thank we had more commonsense because of it because that freedom allowed us to perceive danger...well more or less...when walking into a bombed house one made pretty sure you walked along the beams of the wrecked hallway...when going onto the upper floors up the stairs you made sure you were near the wall, not near a non existant banister! As a pretty youngster if on the rare occasion a car pulled up and asked for directions, the time, or did you want a never even got within arms length of it!

Oddly enough Chalkey one of my Aunts lived at the bottom of manor place in a very old house, there was eight of them,all girls! the surname was Linton..the toilet was through a scullery and had large wood varnished plank over the lavatory pan, which had blue patterns on..probably worth a fortune today, but when the houses were demolished architectural salvage had never been heard of!

I really truly wish I had a magic wand and could take my children/grandchildren back in time to see London as we knew it...still now we have inside lavatorys and a it's not all bad now days!
Saturday 24 July 2010 12.54pm
We're hogging this thread, Jan. I can only assume that you and I are so much older that no one else can relate to the stuff we're talking about.
The picture you painted about playing in bombed houses is spot on. I remember standing on the top floor of one of these death traps and pulling bricks out of what was left of the upstairs walls and dropping them straight through to the cellar, pretending they were bombs.
I was passing through Walworth one Sunday in around 1977, en route Essex, having made a intentional detour on my way home from a fishing trip. It was the first time I'd been back there for over ten years. My old house in Danson Road, indeed the whole street, had been demolished. I drove round in to Tarver Road where my nan used to live, and those houses were all boarded up and awaiting demolishion. But everything of any potential value, such as the cast iron Victorian door knockers and letter boxes, had been stripped. I can guarantee that the insides had provided some valuable salvage for the reclaimation guys as well.

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