Did you go to school in Walthamstow? Want to see pictures?
Pictures and stories here!
I met John a couple of months ago, at a bus stop! We got chatting and I explained I was just on my way home from doing a cleaning job for an elderly lady nearby. He asked me if I would come and be his home help. Over the last couple of months we have become firm friends and when I have finished the hoovering and mopping John makes a cuppa and we sit and have a chat. Well, mostly John chats, about his childhood and growing up in and around Walthamstow.
I decided to see if I could find any old pictures of the area I could download and maybe have framed for him since the memories of his "home town" seemed to fond. I found Walthamstow Memories and this week and when I went to John's house I took a pen and paper!!!
John Wisker was born in 1921. His father was John William Wisker and his mother was Amelia Alice Reason. He had an elder brother called Lesley (Surname Harvey as his mother was previously married to a Harvey) an older sister Amy and a younger sister Irene (Rene). Lesley married a lady called Molly and moved to Enfield.
John attended Markhouse Road School (mixed infants and juniors) until his class were moved to Coppermill Lane when Thomas Gamuel School closed and the Thomas Gamuel children were moved to Markhouse. John remembers that the Markhouse football team were very good and they all went to Coppermill where they beat Winn’s Avenue 3-1 in a final, receiving the Hornimen (Tea Company) shield for schools.
He remembers a play they put on at school about Highwaymen.
John left school at fourteen and went to work for Reliance Cords and Cables, Fingal Works in Staffa Road Leyton E10 as a strander. He remembers that his future wife, Grace Bryan (from Darnell, Sheffield) was there too as a winder. (Obviously at that time they were both fourteen and he did not know she would one day be his wife!) He left there after a few years and moved to Austin Suite Furniture, Argall Avenue, Leyton where he worked for twenty eight years and then was a postman working out of Fillibrook Road, Leyton until he retired in 1986.
He first took Grace out in 1939 and they were married in 1945 at Leyton Parish Church by the Rev. Hugh Biddel. They had one daughter, Janet, who lives quite near her Dad now.
When John was a young man he was in a Dixieland style band along with friends: Sid Smee, Harry Phipps, Bert Spender & Ernie Ronson.
John loves music and is a lifetime member of The Cinema Organ Club and has loads of tapes of old cinema organs from around the country. He was delighted to find that Grace was musical too, she sang in a choir at Capworth Street School.
As you can see John's recall is fantastic. He remembers all the spellings of names and was most insistent that I wrote them down correctly! His memories of the various traders who used to ply their trade up and down the local streets are wonderful:
I am sure you will agree that John has a fantastic memory for details and names and I hope that if you put this on your site it will jog other people's memories. It would be wonderful if there are any descendants of some of John's school friends or mates who might add to this or, indeed, if any of them are still around and would like to get in touch with John I would be happy to pass any messages on.