Family Life

  • Subject: Oral History
Postcard showing Station Road in South Norwood.

Visiting relatives after WWII, how the housing market worked in the 70’s and an early example of working from home. 

In this audio you can hear Ivy, Penny and Anonymous. 

The audio is 4 minutes and 56 seconds long.

Audio Transcript:


My father comes from a big family. He had about five or six sisters. Yes, he did. He comes from Thornton Heath, my father, and I used to go over to see my grandmother at Thornton Heath. Every Sunday when I was a child he would take me over there on the Sunday morning and go and see my grandparents, and we’d […] he used to…from South Norwood to Thornton Heath, he would take me over the bridge, up the road, and he would take me every Sunday morning to go and see my grandmother. 

Yeah we walked! We didn’t…you couldn’t…buses! We had to catch…you’d have to catch two buses. We would just walk at the end of our road, over Tennison Bridge, I don’t know if you know it, right along up to the traffic lights and down in to Thornton Heath high street and my parents just along the road into Thornton Heath High Street and he’d more or less take me over there every Sunday. 


I moved here in 1978 in March and we had a flat in Bromley, and South Norwood was the first place in the concentric circles where we could afford a house. And so we bought a house in Birchanger Road, it was very dilapidated, but over years we, you know, made it better. What used to happen was that people would have lived in a house till they were, you know, very old and then and they, and they…I mean both the houses we moved into had one old lady living in it, left from the whole family or, you know, whatever. And that was a thing in the kind of 70’s, 80s… beginning of the 90s. That generation, who had lived in these houses for all their lives, were dying off, and then their houses, you know, were for sale. And so people bought them. And they weren’t very expensive because they needed a lot of updating and so then like my generation did that modernising or updating of the houses. And there were things like Council grants for a new roof, and in the…probably in the 80s.


We ran a bookmaking business. In those days all betting was done on credit and done on the telephone. We didn’t have betting shops, they were a later thing. Anyway, my mother, mostly my mother, ran the business from the front room of our house. And, my father ran…. and so I’ve been thinking recently that that was one of the first examples of somebody having a job at home. So I didn’t have the disadvantage of a mother who worked…went out and worked all day. And I don’t know why I told you all that!


No, it’s great. I mean… we had…That is something we’ve not… touched on with anyone yet. 

That tells you a cultural thing about what happened back then, right?

Because that stay-at-home moms, working mothers, theirs wouldn’t have been…Stay at home, working mothers was not a thing. No, no, no. 


No, no…I don’t think…and the working women that I saw absolutely standard were people who came in and cleaned for my mother or…and, or did a bit of looking after me because I was the youngest one and still mucking around. 

South Norwood High Street Stories is funded by Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme delivered by Croydon Council. For more information visit

Image Credit: Historic England Archive

Postcard showing Station Road in South Norwood.

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