Kenneth Young interview: Postal memories and Jack the Trace horse
One of my hobbies as a boy was collecting stamps. In 1924/5 there was the Wembley Empire Exhibition with special stamps and I wanted a first day cover. I wrote out an envelope addressed to myself and took it down to the post office in Compton Road. I bought two expensive stamps, got it registered and signed for it. I thought I ought to put something in the envelope and as I was always in a hurry, to pad it out I put in some toilet paper. Imagine my surprise when I was walking back up Wimbledon Hill and just as I arrived home a postal boy turned up on a motorbike with my envelope and I had to sign for it. It was a special delivery!
We had five postal deliveries a day in those days - at 7am, 10am, after lunch (around 2pm), teatime (around 5pm) and 9pm in the evening.
You can’t imagine Wimbledon Hill without cars but I remember when there were many cycles – and Jack the trace horse. He charged 4d for pulling coal carts and other heavy loads up the hill. He just tugged away at the front. He lived in a hut at the bottom of the hill. At the top of the hill he would refresh himself at the trough and then come down again. There were different horses but they were always called Jack, even if a mare. I remember a white horse replaced him at holiday time. He was always spick and span with his brass polished. A great favourite.