Peter Pearman - Summerhill Memories



My parents were Ivy and Les Pearman who moved into number 58 Summerhill Road in 1935 and spent all their life there. My father died in 1978 and my mother finally left the house in 2003 to move into a residential home and passed away some 8 months later at the ripe old age of 95. 

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Ivy & Les Pearman -Summerhill Road 1966       

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Ivy Pearman with next door neigbour, Bill Potter - 1990

My father worked for the Prudential in London all his working life and my mum spent some time working at Auger Accessories, a fishing tackle wholesale company, which was owned and run by the Beckets who lived at number 10A.

 I spent all my childhood and teenage years at number 58 and moved away when I got married when I was 24. My sister Sheila was much older than me and moved away to get married in the mid fifties. I also have an elder brother John who left home to go to college in the early sixties and then moved away when he got married.

 My cousin David lived just around the corner at 218 Clyde Road, as I recall those houses where pulled down in the seventies. I also remember a greengrocers shop next door run by the Jones family, I particularly remember their daughter Pamela.

I went to Downhills Junior School along with a number of friends in the road. Alan Adams who lived at number 62, with a big front garden on the corner of Clyde and Summerhill road. Also Robert Turner who lived at number 76, which was a hardware shop (then called the “Oil Shop”) next door to the pub and opposite the abattoir.

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Downhills Junior School-Class Photograph 1958 ?

Top Row:Geoffrey Jones,?,Michael Diprose,?,Peter Pearman,?,Terry Stock,?,Barry,Susan Macjaja

Second Row: ?,Ann Mason,Alan Stroud,Susan Tongue, Brian Stevens,?,Peter Grimes,?,Dennis Potter,?,

Third Row: ?,?,?,Roger Buckland,?,James Finn,David Nudd,Brian Stapleton

Bottom Row: Alan Harrison,Janice White,Robert Turner, ?,?

I also knew Michael Diprose who lived at number 51, nearly opposite me, and Geoffrey Jones who lived at no 10 I think, sadly Geoff passed away some years ago.

I was born after the end of the war but do remember playing in the old bombed out buildings in West Green Road, as I recall they built flats on the land in the late fifties.

Mike’s dad, Fred Diprose owned a motorbike and sidecar and one of my earliest recollections is riding in the sidecar for a day trip to Clacton, must have been about 1956.

 I remember the grocer’s shop (“the dairy“), which was near the top of the road on the right hand side. My first memory of this relates to Mr Robbins a fat cheery man who delivered the milk by horse and cart. When I was about aged 11 (1958) I started to help his successor Peter Hurst with his milk round before I went to school, he had a battery operated pull along float and we delivered milk to Summerhill Rd, Dorset Rd, Mansfield Rd right up to Downhills school. His wife Peggy ran the shop. He then sold the business on to Jim Carroll an Irishman with the gift of the gab and a Clark Gable look alike to boot, who seemed to be quite a hit with the ladies. By this time the round had expanded to a number of the factories in Clyde Road and I was driving a battery operated float along with Jim’s son Ray. It was good fun and although I finally gave up the job when I was 16, I have never lost that ability to get up at the crack of dawn.

My worst moment in this job was when I took the bend too fast in the milk float turning from Philip Lane into Mansfield Avenue and resulting in a number of crates being thrown across the Road at 6.30 in the morning. The road was awash with milk and I woke up all the neighbours. Needless to say Jim docked my wages for the week!

I remember the abattoir, which was known then as the slaughterhouse and the lorries arriving with the live cattle sheep and pigs, going for slaughter. As kids we would poke sticks through the bars to make the pigs squeal, weren’t we horrible little beggars!

I remember the pigs being taken down the road first to what was known as “the Piggery”, to fatten them up. It’s now a transport company I think, about number 40 Summerhill. I remember Jack the pigman who I think is still lives in the road to this day. We spent hours as kids watching the animals go to and fro, the smell was awful and I recall the cattle and pigs escaping occasionally. One caused mayhem by running into the “Oil shop” and sending all the goods flying.

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West Green Baptist Football Team

Peter Pearman is in the back row standing next to John Harvey who was the pack leader of the Lifeboys. The boy kneeling in front of Peter is Raymond Brandon. The only other one Peter can remember is Robert Turner kneeling in the midlle of the front row.


We spent a lot of time as kids playing in the road, either football or on skates or bikes, there obviously weren’t the number of cars around in the fifties, so I don’t remember it as being a problem.

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Early photograph of the Pearman Family in Downhills Park

We also spent a great deal of time playing in Downhills Park and over the recreation ground, where we could ride our bikes on the mini road layout, quite a novelty then. I remember there being a National bus strike, I think it would have been in the late fifties, and a group of us walking from Tottenham to Epping Forest and back, we must have been mad. But then we walked everywhere then, nobody got a lift to school.

I have some very fond memories of the 20 odd years I spent growing up and living in the road and they will always stay with me.

Article redesigned and additional photographs added-January 2012

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