the bottom drawer

Visit the main website of Leyton & Leytonstone Historical Society

. > ...

History of Leyton

Up. commuting_postwar. wanstead_park.

recollections, photos and memorabilia of Leyton and Leytonstone

Commuting after the War

Quick dash down to the Central Line, coppers into the ticket machine, cram into the first train leaving from platform 1 or 2, hold fast to a strap hanger to avoid being jostled out at each station. Passengers smoking make it pretty stuffy but its warmer than outside. The door footplate gives the carriage date as 1928.

Tottenham Court Road, and it’s upstairs and out into Oxford Street and  freezing slush, through Soho Square, slip into St Annes Court, cross Dean Street, Wardour Street and Berwick Street market, into Broadwick Street with Trenchard House (police) and the famous pump site, to No.48 opposite The John Snow pub on the corner of Lexington Street. Clock-in 7.47 a.m, thaw out by the workshop coke stove, then it’s apron on and down at the bench until lunch hour at 1.pm. With luck it won’t be snowing again when we finish work tonight at 6.30 p.m.


Footnote. The journey above was typical for one apprentice sixty years ago when winters really were cold (and in summer you got sunburnt on your annual week’s holiday at Clacton). A restored Wadley Dairy hand milk cart (but not the sled) can be seen in the Vestry House Museum. When the Central Line finally came through to Leytonstone, a workman’s return to Oxford Circus was 9d (3.75p). John Snow was the Victorian doctor who traced the cause of local deaths through cholera to polluted water and cured the outbreak by disabling the Broadwick Street pump. He had observed that the local brewery workers who drank beer made from the brewery well water didn’t catch the disease.


by Keith Tjaden, who has guessed at the times and journey lengths of the train journeys, rather than been able to remember them after the passage of time

See what memories this brought back for John Harris

Back to the main list of Contents in the ‘Bottom Drawer’


previous page