Norman Plastow interview: Wimbledon before the Second World War

I remember the shops all along the Broadway and up to Hartfield Crescent - Long's the toy shop was a favourite there in Hartfield Crescent. There was another toy shop in the Broadway where I bought Meccano. Next to the bookshop - Jenkins was a shop and post office there. The main thing was that it was so open. There were trams running along the Broadway then and to show how little traffic there was, the trams ran along the centre of the road. To get on and off the trams you crossed an eight foot piece of road with cars coming past. But fortunately there were only about one or two cars.

If you went shopping with the car you could stop anywhere. Just pull up outside the shop and go wherever you wanted to. No yellow lines or parking restrictions. My father had a car - a pretty basic thing, a Morris, I remember the registration number MU 7419. It was basic but there weren't that many cars around anyway.

I remember we used to get the 93 bus up to the Village from what was then the cinema - the Regal which became the Odeon. The Elite was on the other side of the road. We used to get the bus from there up to the Common - it was about a penny or penny-halfpenny - and go for walks on the Common. I remember walking on the Common when I was about eight or nine, unaccompanied. I don't think many parents would allow it today. I explored the Common. A favourite part was Farm Bog which has a stream running right down to the Beverly, and to the Camp of the 16 Pines which was near there. So I got to know the Common pretty well. Just exploring. I remember the Jubilee of George V in 1935 and the Coronation in 1936 with events held on the Common.