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Kenneth Young interview: Early memories

Among my early memories of Wimbledon I remember my father being asked one day to entertain some church dignitaries who were having a meeting at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Mansel Road. They were invited to lunch. I was told to keep out of the way but I peeped through the window to see a funny group of men in top hats and black coats coming up the hill to our house. It was an extraordinary sight but passers-by didn’t seem to take much notice.

My brother and I used to take our dog – a Sealyham terrier called Andy – for walks on the Common. One day we got to the Windmill and he disappeared. We spent an hour calling for him but eventually we gave up and came home. He was already there, sitting on the doorstep waiting for us. He had gone through all the traffic in the High Street on his own. Not that traffic was much in those days. That was around 1930.

There used to be a woman selling papers outside the Alexandra Hotel. My father got his evening paper from her. I remember him giving her 2d for Christmas box! Very generous.

I remember the Elite cinema – later the ABC – which was opposite the Gaumont, later the Odeon. I was at the opening of the Gaumont when it was called the Regal. My aunt asked me to attend the opening with her as His Worship the Mayor was going to open it. We got a seat right in the gallery at the back. When the Mayor came in with his party my aunt was very proper and pulled me up. Nobody else moved but she said in a loud voice that there was a certain riffraff there with no respect for the Mayor. We regularly went to the Odeon in Worple Road, which was called the Queen’s before that. It was on the corner of Worple Mews, an extraordinary place. It was a privately owned cinema with the a screen by the door as you went in. A woman at the pay desk was also putting in the film for the main picture. The Queen’s was destroyed by fire in 1930.