St Ann’s Hill

The title of my blog “Made In Chertsey”; is, for the children who lived in the area, very true.

They had a wonderful playground, in the summer we would spend most of our time at Chertsey Bridge on the Thames, and in the winter St Ann’s hill was the place of choice.

Of these two areas St Ann’s was the best, it had all a child could wish for, summer or winter.

It was just a few hundred yards from our large group of council houses, and apart from being an amazing playground; it was also a source of firewood, wild fruit, nuts and mushrooms. Even some figs, scrumped from the big house, although they were never ripe.

There are traces of the Bronze Age, and it being used as a fort, also Roman occupation, plus the ruins of a chapel.

The Dingle is a horseshoe shaped grassed area that was, at one time a gravel pit, and this feature was landscaped by the wealthy owners during the 18th and 19th century, it had three ponds, a summerhouse, an ice house and a rustic bridge over the ponds.

Most of these are now gone, but there is still a wishing well which was reputed to have curative powers and several terraces with views towards what is now London Airport.

It was given to the people of Chertsey in 1927.

As I am writing this, memories of our time in the 1930s and 40s, come back as if they only happened a few years ago.

The wishing well may have had health benefits in times gone by, but in the years after the war, the activities of a group of boys hanging around it, all aged about 13 or 14 would have made it very unhealthy.

I’m not sure if this story is suitable for a blog, but it’s the sort of thing that boys get up to.

Teddy said he was going to have a wee in the well; this prompted a lot of shouting and teasing about his little willy.

“OK” he said. “Lets see what you lot have got.”

With that we all dropped our trousers amid lots of pointing and laughter.

Teddy’s brother, Billy, who was a bit slow in every thing he did, eventually undid his trousers.

The laughter stopped instantly as we saw what was before us.

Tony said, “ I’m fed up with this game lets all go up the lookout”

We all pulled up our trousers in total silence and left poor Billy still struggling with his buttons.

I think it was the first time Billy had ever been the winner of anything.

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