My name is Mike Franklin and I am emailing from Australia , where I have lived for the last 28 years.
I am hoping you might be able to help me. Back in the early 60’s, when I was a wee lad of about 7 years old, my grandfather owned an off licence in Loughborough Junction. We lived down south close to Bournemouth and Mum and dad used to take me up to Grandad’s for holidays. In October this year (200 8) I am returning to the UK for a holiday after 28 years and I am keen to find a few of the places of my childhood memories, Grandad’s off licence is one of them. The building may or may not still be there, and I am sure if it is it certainly won’t be an off licence, but it would be good to find the location and take a photo or two of whatever is there now.
My memories are obviously sketchy because I was so young (the last time I was there would have been about 1964). My Dad’s memories are also sketchy because he is 87 years old now. Mum would have remembered more but alas she is no longer with us.
What we can sort of remember is the following.
1. Dad ‘thinks’ the off licence was on Coldharbour Lane but is not sure.
2. It was definitely right next to one of the rail bridges (there was a small laneway between the rail line and the off licence building).
3. As you stepped out of the front door of the shop the rail line (bridge) was on the right. In other words if you were over the other side of the road looking at the shop the rail line would be on your left.
4. We are fairly sure the front door of the shop was not on the front façade of the shop but rather on the front corner, i.e. on the corner of Coldharbour Lane and the laneway. If you stood in the doorway and looked straight ahead, you would look directly at the bridge, not at a building over the road. Dad has a feeling that the steps up to the front door were curved, not straight, but I certainly can’t remember that.
5. Dad ‘thinks’ that the trains used to stop next to the shop (and on top of the bridge) indicating there might have been a platform there (unless they stopped only to wait for signals). The bathroom of the accommodation above the shop looked out over the rail line and Mum used make sure the curtains were drawn so nobody on the ‘platform’ or in the train could see in. You couldn’t see a platform because of a fence or wall, you could only see the top half of the train and, I think, peoples heads.
6. The only other thing I can remember is that underneath the rail line, running along the laneway, was a series of arches (I don’t know how many). The bridge itself was not an arch, from memory it was just a straight steel structure. Grandad used one of the arches as a cellar. All the deliveries were made to the cellar before going into the shop. There was also a cellar under the shop but this was not used. I think it was prone to flooding. If I look on Google Earth and various photos on the web I don’t think all the rail lines had arches under them. Also, not all of them have a laneway running alongside so this might cut down the options a bit.
Unfortunately Dad cannot recall any of the pubs (Green Man etc.) so he can’t locate the shop in relation to one of these landmarks. He was not a drinking man so would never have frequented any of them. Grandad, on the other hand, would have been able to find his way there blindfolded, I’m sure.
I’m not sure if you are able or even willing to help me but if you have any information at all, even the address of a local historical society, I would be extremely grateful. I’m assuming, after all this time, that it is very unlikely there are any residents still living in the area that were there in the 60’s.
Your web site suggests that the area has been cleaned up considerably in recent times with many renovations and refurbishments. Other information I have read from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s suggests much deterioration with criminals, prostitutes and drug dealers hanging around the pubs etc. My only other question is that if I were to walk around with a camera around my neck, looking distinctly like a tourist would I be safe? Or as safe as I might be anywhere else at least. I wander around most areas of Bangkok without feeling threatened.
Thanking you in anticipation of at least a reply even if you cannot help.