DAVID CATFORD, died February 2006


'……..Mike Smith presented to the February 2006 meeting the talk prepared by David Catford, as a tribute to a much-appreciated member of the Society who had died just two weeks earlier.
Mike reminded us that David as a real local, having lived all his life in East Sheen, was ideally suited to taking us for a truly nostalgic walk along the Upper Richmond Road West.
David began at Priests Bridge, directing our imaginary walk to Sheen Lane on the North side, and then from Gilpin Avenue to Sheen Lane again on the South.

We stopped at every shop to hear David’s comments about the shopkeepers and their merchandise, reminding us of the days when we had a multiplicity of small family-owned shops, (grocers, greengrocers, bakers and butchers) before the era of the supermarket and restaurants offering cuisine from every part of the globe.

Only one of these shops serves the same purpose today as it did sixty years ago - the bakery now known as the Parish Bakery - but the Westminster and Midland Banks are still on their old sites, although under new names.

For those who do not know the Upper Richmond Road, there were reminders of what it was like to shop in wartime with long queues, the fiddling to cut out coupons or mark ration books, and the problems facing, for example, the butcher trying to cut a piece of meat to exactly the value of the weekly ration - which was one shilling and twopence at one time (roughly 6p. in today’s coinage).
Do you remember when you could buy sweets for half an old penny? And do you recall those overhead wire systems in the draper’s that catapulted your money and the bill in a metal box to the cashier, and returned your change?

Finally David recalled the Sheen Odeon, one of the 1930’s picture palaces, sadly demolished in 1960, to be replaced by Parkway House.

It was a very special occasion, and in effect a David Catford memorial evening. We shall remember him'