Salary Brook - Back Then, Andy Fowles

Sixty years ago, when I was a lad, before the housing and ponds, this was all fields.
Actually, the pond area was a flood plain from Salary Brook. The brook was bigger back then and the winters much colder.
Flooding in winter and freezing - good for skating you’re thinking - but no, the breeze resulted in a rippled surface, as on a beach when the tide has retreated. No matter, we would try and find a smooth area on which to make a slide. We never succeeded.
In the summer a regular haunt was the bridge a hundred yards or so up stream, where the footpath to Bromley Road crosses. Armed with dip nets and large jam jars we would paddle in the stream wearing wellies and catch eels, sticklebacks and tadpoles. We took them home, only for the poor things to die a day or so later. We always wondered why, not knowing about oxygenated water.
About thirty yards from the bridge was the stile to Heart’s Hills, as we called it. This is where we all went sledging – it is still used today, when we have snow. Back then it was always snowed the first week of January. The ‘bomb hole’ like depression half-way down increased the enjoyment although the barbed wire fence and Hawthorne bushes at the bottom not so.
I never expected to still be doing it with my grandchildren when seventy, but the child inside never dies.

Andy Fowles, 1st March 2024 / Location 14

My piece is memories of some sixty years ago when I and others played in the Salary Brook area.