Archive highlights

Highlighting a selection of memories gathered at The Memory Store in Lewisham Shopping Centre. Visit the In Living Memory Archive to explore more memories of post-war Lewisham.

Caught with his trousers down!

Image: Record sleeve collected at Lewisham Shopping Centre

Early one morning while walking to the DLR, I saw an armoured truck parked outside a shop delivering the monies for the day. I thought this was an interesting sight and walked by. Soon I heard what I thought were bells, they were in fact the coins that were just stolen!  

The jingling came first, then the shouts of the shopkeeper and guard chasing the ‘thief’. At the entrance of the clock tower the ‘thief’ was tackled to the ground by what I would call members of the YMCA.  

There was a businessman, construction worker, jogger, (members of the community), all trying to detain the ‘thief’. In the struggle, he managed to wiggle out of his trousers with coins spilling everywhere. I could see the police station from where I stood but heard neither a siren nor saw an officer. 

Good times in Lewisham! 

The tall giraffe I always struggled to climb

Image: Record sleeve collected at Lewisham Shopping Centre

I remember going shopping in Lewisham Shopping Centre with my mum. She used to leave me in the wonderful play area with the tall giraffe that I always struggled to climb.

I absolutely loved the play area as it made boring shopping fun so I didn’t have to walk around the shops with my mum! I was really sad when they removed the play areas even though by that time I was too old to play in there! It was a fun idea. 

Dr Renée Miller

Hello, I was in Lewisham town centre last Thursday and was given something called Riverdale Video. I just would like to give me impressions for Riverdale Video.

It asked for ‘lost town centre shop / amenity’ and I put down cinemas, department stores and fabric shop. And for my ‘memories and reocollections’, when I mentioned this project to family and friends, they all mentioned the cinemas and stores such as Chiesmans, Army and Navy and Woolworths.

What I remember most is the fabric shop, Rolls and Reams, started in 1966 and closed only last year. It had an immense range of fabrics and everything else needed for sewing, knitting, etc and the staff were so very well informed.

Fortunately, some workers have set up another fabric shop near the old one. I wish it a great success.

Fire at the Odeon

Image: Record sleeve collected at Lewisham Shopping Centre

I was 10 and I was watching the matinee performance of Guns of Navarone when the cinema was set fire to – it wasn’t an accident. I never did the end of the film.  

When The Beatles first started out I remember watching them rehearse with the likes of Cliff Richard, Adam Faith, Jerry and the Pacemakers, and Gene Pitney (he was mum’s fave). I helped my mum clean The Beatles’ dressing rooms! 

It was fun growing up in those days, not easy but fun. 

A couple at the back making love

Image: video sleeve collected at Lewisham Shopping Centre
Lost town centre shop / amenity

Chiesmans & The Quaggy 

Memories / recollections

Chiesmans was a large store, either side of the Quaggy, with a passage across the river on 1st floor. Every year, when the Quaggy flooded, the store would have to sell off all the water-damaged stock in the basement – really cheaply!

There were 2 cinemas (it was a cheap night out) – one either side of the road (& Quaggy): The Odeon & (I think) the ABC. One of the cinemas had live acts sometimes: David Bowie played there. My mum wouldn’t let me go.

David Bowie once said in an interview that it was at this concert that he saw a couple at the back making love to his music! No wonder my mum wouldn’t buy me a ticket! 



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