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31 January 2008

An Historic Gathering

The history of the area continues to fascinate the residents of Forest Hill and Honor Oak, a point that has been demonstrated several times by local historian Steve Grindlay.

When he volunteered to lead a walk around Forest Hill last February, instead of speaking to an expected dozen or so hardy enthusiasts, the group eventually numbered over 80.

You'd think, therefore, that when the plan was hatched for another such event, this time in the convivial surroundings of the ED Comedy Club rooms at The Hob, that expectations for numbers would be high. However, once again we were quite unprepared for the number of people that attended on the night.

Over 120 people turned out to hear a fascinating tour through the history and development of Forest Hill & Honor Oak. A steady trickle of visitors that had started at around 6, turned into a veritable flood by just before 7. Chairs were hastily added and even so some hardy souls sat or stood through the entire presentation in the back stairs with only a limited view of the stage.

For almost 2 hours, Steve brought the history of many sites and characters of the area to life, thanks to his vast knowledge and his extensive collection of photos, maps and other collected curios.

There was particular interest in the atmospheric railway and its edible vaccuum tubes and also the changing face of shopping and entertainment in the area, such as the arrival of Sainsbury's, the numerous and now departed cinemas, and the rise and fall of local public houses. We hope to be able to link you to the full presentation in due course.

Any one aspect of this talk would have been worth hearing about and we look forward to more opportunities to explore these in more detail and also to cover even more of the local characters that there simply was not enough time for.

Thank you from the Forest Hill Society to Steve Grindlay, to all the 120+ visitors who came and also generously left contributions totalling over £100 for the Society, and to the Hob for providing the venue.

If you want to catch Steve again, he will be talking at the refurbished Forest Hill Library on 28th Feb at 6:30pm (but get there early!)

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