Ray Cobbett interview: Changes in Wimbledon

What do you think of the changes in Wimbledon since you left in 1967?

I’m not really happy about them, probably starting with the Town Hall. I was really rather shocked to discover what had happened in that area. And I don’t find the development at the back of Hartfield Road and the traffic solution that the council has adopted that appealing. It has turned into a “whiz drome”. It has lost its sense of being a town centre. They have tried to turn it into a kind of out-of-town place while being in town and it hasn’t really succeeded. I think some of the changes I’ve observed have been fairly brutal. However I am pleased to see that we still have a marvellous library where I spent so much time when I was a kid. Also the Alexandra pub and the Prince of Wales.

I’m glad to see that Trinity Road Gardens [South Park Gardens] is still as nice as it was, quite a little sanctuary. Also that our “recs” have survived – they must have been under a lot of pressure. Quicks Road and Garfield Road recs are still there. I was distressed to see the old Grove pub knocked down near Kingston Road. [Note:  The Grove had not been 'knocked down'. It has changed to a supermarket, but is in the old building.] I have re-visited most of my old homes. I was intrigued to see what they have done with Pelham School, turning it into a private residence. I just don’t feel the council have succeeded with the town centre.