The Singers Tale – Homes over the years – London 1944 1976. Kent roots – part 1

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Photo of Sam, Guy Cross.

in 1918, before I was born! my Grand Mother, Cecile, died. She lived in the Village of Ash in Kent, dying a day after giving Birth to my Mother – named Cecile in her memory. Born during The Great War.

I was Born in Lewisham Hospital SE13 – in another War, World War 2 As soon as possible, I was over the River Thames, to bedsits, shared flats, sofas and floors, ending up in ‘The Grove’ known today, as Notting Hill Gate. The first place that felt like home.

Reading and books -gifts.

‘I learned to read in the years between 1948 and  1950. I don’t remember the learning or the teacher. I have often wished that I could say ‘Thank you.’ That reading saved my life, my sanity, my bacon, my everything.

Then there was the accidental discovery in a Pub in Hastings in 1964 that I could sing. Well, singing is a big word, hollering more like. But hey, I managed to raise my two children with that singing and the reading together with the radio, were to be my university. 

When I was young, really young, 13 or 14 or so, and into my 20’s, I began lie about who I was and where I came from. Once, sitting on the steps underneath Eros in Piccadilly Circus, it was said if you sat there long enough, someone you knew would stroll by- they never did.

Anyway, I digress, I sometimes pretended to be American. It was all the Rage in the 1950s into the 1960s to be American, Elvis, Hollywood, Doris Day And Rock Hudson, big long flashy Cars. Pontiac, Cadillac, Mercury and Dodge and Studebaker and the prize, a Chevrolet Bel Air.

Then of course I was chatted up by a man who was American. Oh dear. And when working as a mothers help in Cambridge, I pretended French – until I was questioned by a Posh boy in a coffee bar, a student who had been on Holidays there, maybe to the Bordeaux, Bretagne, Burgundy and the Franche-Comte. Looking back, why mess with the truth Who gives a shit?

I didn’t know it at the time but I didn’t want to be me.

 Extract from The Singers Tale

War Time London. Bombs, Songs and a Baby.  ‘Oh What a beautiful Morning’   London SE13 in 1944 It was a Friday. Good Friday and it was not a beautiful morning, and it would not be a beautiful day, and there was an absence of bright golden meadows and sunshine goodness in the world. A World at War, and people danced whenever they could.

Roots – Grandparents Cottage in Ash Kent 1917/18/19

My Mother Cecile 2 Middle Grandmother Cecile 1 each side of her.

The Cottage and Percy Brimblecome

Percy Brimblecome

My Grandfather Percy, and his Billy Can, from World War 1 Below.

Grandmother Cecile’s Grave & Grandfather Percy with a Bomb!


Sacha, my Niece and I, find my Grandmother, Sacha, Sam and Kasia’s Great Grandmother in Ash. Taking wildflowers for her Grave from my Garden in Folkestone.

Sacha & Carol in Folkestone

Sacha and my half sister Lindsay in New Zealand

  • I had two sisters. We all had different Fathers.

Carol & Jennifer – Lewisham 1948

A Seaside holiday in  Deal in Kent with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. During  a very cold winter  

extract from The Singers Tale

‘1946  to 1948  Lewisham The excited babble of children’s voices around a silent radio. Maybe it was soon to be Children’s Hour? Or Listen with Mother? There were no mothers belonging to the children listening in the room.  I think it was then that the small girl began to understand that if you stay in the present you could pretend the past need not exist. ‘

Being away with the Fairies
Above First Caravan in Life… Jennifer back right, Lindsay front- the 2nd of my sisters & a friend.
Aged 10 3rd from right. School!


On Weymouth Beach 1950 – Jennifer sitting and me- Ships of War still around, ominous and oddly normal- the post War years

Below. The only pics of myself as a young woman….. 16/17ish

My little family in The Grove

Baby Sam

Born May 29th 1967 in Ladbroke Grove Marternity wing of Paddington Hospital London.

In Powis Square W11 1968 with little Sam

Kasia Rose

Born 1987 in Homerton Hospital, Hackney London

Black & White Photographs Sheila Burnette

Below- The women with whom I share a common bloodline
Kasia Carol & Sacha on the beach at Folkestone

-as far as I know?

My Half sister Jennifer

As I spent little time with my sisters, and they moved to New Zealand when I was in my teens, I had not seen them for a few years, I have very few pics of them.

Terri-my Mother’s half sister, Kasia and Carol in Primrose Hill N1 London. It was wonderful in later life, when pregnant with Kasia, to get to know and to treasure in my life, Terri who was known as Gillian as a child.


1966 Pregnant with Sam, we moved north, from bedsits, shared flats, friends sofas and floors, around Earls Court, Fulham and Chelsea areas! To Notting Hill and found a room and a small kitchen, with a bathroom on the downstairs landing. Shared with 3 families

The horror that was the Gas Stove, it blew one day and singed my fringe and eyelashes, ouch.

St Stevens Gardens W2 1966/67/68/69/

Left -Guy Cross Photographer
On the roof outside 113 St Stevens Gardens
The folks in The Grove..loved them.
Above – The Apollo Pub on All Saints Road W2 – a Photo shoot in my road, in my Local xx

left – Sam and Larry

Our Patch, a rough place, but in it lived some wonderful people.
In the window on St Stevens Gardens W2 with Mustapha our Cat


Sam- Photo By ‘Daddy’ Guy Cross

113 St Stevens Gardens W2

Then I moved –

With Sam, to 8a All Saints Road, just around the corner, over Westbourne Grove and near Portobello Road.

The Yellow corner house in 1970
Portobello Road, and Sam’s early School days.
On Brighton Beach, a photo shoot for one of my early Albums
Henry Sheila and Jesse in All Saints Road

Below One of my Albums cover Photo –

Our Home In All Saints Road W2

All Saints Road Days

Our Tiny Home on All Saints Road
Sam and Louis, a benefit Gig for The Powis Square Playground

Next a move…. Part 2

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