Dr Elspeth Veale interview: Bank, Ely's and car parking

Was that the site that HSBC moved to from a tiny slip site it had next to Ely's which the Midland Bank had originally occupied? I had had my account with the Midland Bank from the age of 17 as I still have. Those were the days when even counter-staff could advise one when asked the name of a good solicitor. I was sent to S R Pinks in the nearby Francis Grove. Pinks had a reception room on the ground floor. I remember having to see him via a very narrow creaking wooden staircase which must have been there for years. I have stayed faithful to the firm through many changes when it was linked with other practices, had new buildings in Queens Road, recently again refurbished, and I'm now advised by the Leatherhead branch of that big partnership.

Francis Grove itself survived but not the buildings which had originally been near Ely's. It originally extended along Worple Road, was followed by a jeweller who moved to Wimbledon Hill Road, a small tea-room and a building which I cannot remember was either a trade union building or the Red Cross. Ely's had I think a window but not an entrance or exit on St George's Road. Their furniture store was on the other side of Worple Road.

The extension of Ely's as far as Francis Grove was associated with a new car park on top of its own building which I found difficult to use and never used and a new car park on St George's Road. This meant one-way traffic and was a very successful car park. It meant one-way traffic around that area. I could meet friends coming to the station, park in St George's Road car park and pay the minimum for parking and cross the road to meet people coming off the train.