St Mary’s Putney Market Story Snippets

Everything Stops For Tea at St Mary's Putney crop 196

Q: What are your memories of the smell of hops, brewing days and the sight of shire horses from Young’s brewery? A: Yes: I remember, but not from recently, the smell of brewing in the town centre. In fact, if wind was in right direction (or wrong!), you could smell the hops all down in King George’s Park. And horses were visible all over borough, even going up my road. They went to local fete too. Gentle giants. In fact, if the wind was in the right direction (or wrong) you could smell them all down King George’s Park. Jenny

Q: What are the hidden secrets of Wandsworth? A: The bells of St Mary’s. You get to them by crawling through a 4-foot door. When people were smaller. My friend, who is 4’11” went to join the bell ringers and they had to make her a box so she could reach the bell ropes. Janet

Q: Think about your home. Describe what you hear, see, touch and taste. A: My mother reading magazines and watching Judge Judy. My uncle’s beautifully cultivated garden.  The slightly psychotic cat making strange noises at the birds in the garden. Smell and taste my mother’s classic homemade spag bol. Hugs for everyone! And some time playing with the cat and the one-eyed tortoise. Amelia

Mary Garrick recited an extract from The Doll’s House Tea Party, an operetta for children. When visiting a friend and conversation’s dull/When we have no more news and fear a sudden lull/What makes us all revive and take life merrily?/What makes our tongues all wag?/A cheering cup of tea!/Then here’s to a cup of good tea/Fragrant and not too strong/No stewing, no spoiling but water quite boiling/For a cup of really good tea.

Q: Tell us some of the history of Wandsworth. A: I have lived here for 71 years and I have seen great changes. I remember when I went swimming at Wandsworth Baths in the High Street (Now the Arndale). When I played tennis in King George’s Park, we sheltered under the aqueduct when it rained. This was a land mark that could be seen for miles.

When the one-way system was introduced lots of cars went the wrong way! I remember the trams and trolley buses going up the High Street. There was a huge department store; there was an old chapel where a famous preacher used to preach to hundreds of people (Down Lodge Hall), now a medical centre. The police station had open doors 24/7 and “bobbies” used to patrol the streets. Crime was almost unheard of and people were happy! Phyll O’Shea


Q: Do you have any pearls of wisdom to share with your fellow tea drinkers?  If there’s a tea leaf floating on top of your tea… You put tea leaf on back of your wrist and press the other hand on top, reciting days of the week, stating which one you are currently on. The day the leaf then goes to the other wrist is the day of visitor – hard leaf – male, soft leaf – female… Lemon juice left on gets rid of spots…. Milk in second. I’m a jeune fille bien eleve.

Thomas Cromwell (Henry VIII) was the son of a blacksmith. The smithy was in Putney High Street. Katherine of Aragon lived in Fulham Palace (other side of Putney Bridge) between her marriage to Henry VIII’s older brother. Caroline Allcock

Q: What smells do you associate with Wandsworth? A: The smell of coffee from the multitude of coffee shops in the area. The changing smells of the Thames, something not very nice but always beautiful to look at. The awful smell of the tip in the summer. The beautiful smells of the lovely flowers and in the many gorgeous parks. Toni Maddox

Q: By day, by night, what’s your favourite thing to do in Wandsworth? A: By day it is very pleasant to walk along the river and watch the rowers from the Putney boat house. By night there is plenty of life in Putney High Street. Lots of restaurants. Also, the Duke’s Head at night is very lively with people drinking outside by the river. Bob Smith

Q: What’s the worst thing about Wandsworth? A: The worst thing it the weather. Near the river it is cold and windyRosalie Gomez