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I have good memories of Associate House, the friendliness of the staff and the friends that I made in the courses that I took which included French, Keep Fit, Dance to Music,Line Dancing, Interior Design,, Flower Arranging,and I did my very first Computer Study there. I such a shame that this building is to be destroyed, but it has given me special memories.
As a tutor of flower arranging (city and Guilds) + (NAFAS Diploma) we had such great fun, the staff so helpfiul, and the great cheese scones at coffee break
the courses turned out some very talented Florists and floral artists. very sad its gone.
Thanks for the post, Avril. Yes it was a lovely place to work, I miss it a great deal and still can’t believe it when I drive past the houses built there now.
My wife was one of your students! She wasn’t my wife then, we met on one of my courses. She has very happy memories of your courses and she went on to study floristry further.
I met my wife to be on a course, the best thing that ever happened to me 🙂
My Grandfather, George Victor Crump was one of the founders of the Ashford Orchestra which met at ‘Victory House’ weekly from the late 1940’s I think. He played violin and my father, Norman Crump, subsequently joined playing cello. I myself joined in the mid 1960s playing viola, when Bryan Gipps was the conductor, having succeeded Bernard Knight.
We all lived close by, along the parallel driveway which ran down to a house which was then called ‘Chimes’, and was of a similar vintage to Victory House.
In the mid 1950’s, my father bought ‘Chimes’ and its huge garden, then sold off plots and ‘Chimes’, retaining the last plot at the end, to build his own home, ‘Kentra’ fronting Canterbury Road.
Whilst fencing the driveway, he left a gap between the last fence post and the wall so that we could pass through with our instruments on wet winter nights, without walking up our drive and back down AH’s one. Grandfather built ‘Traumerei’ on the last plot almost directly facing across the front courtyard of AH.
When I was a child, I and my friends used AH gardens as an unofficial playground out of hours, but had to dodge the dreaded caretaker, Jack Kneale, an ex naval Petty Officer, who was determined to keep us off his territory. We found a hut at the back of the house which had a stock of tin helmets from theWW2, which were excellent for playing soldiers, but Jack was not amused. During that time, there was also a rotting silver carnival float parked just off the driveway, which had been used in the early 1950’s for a pageant through the High Street.
Jack Kneale, despite provoking terror in the local children, was basically a kindly man and an excellent artist who specialised in flowers and I can attach a copy of one of his magnolia paintings. He sharpened his skills at the Art classes at Associate House, which both my parents also attended.
Associate House had an international flavour from time to time and I remember a troupe of Basque dancers came on tour. As this was well before the days of sponsorship and they were just village dancers from what was then a very poor region of Spain, locals looked after them and so, for a couple of nights several of them were billeted and fed in our house, Grandfather’s house and the caravan in our garden, whilst they were performing next door and elsewhere in the area.
The tennis courts were lost to Associate House in the late 1950s, when the frontage of Upper Queens Road was cleared of trees and sold for development. A row of semi-detached houses was built, but we kids had great fun for a while playing pirates in the felled row of trees, which lay like great galleons on the ground, for a month or more, before being chopped up and taken away. Thereafter for a while we played in the footings of the emerging buildings in the evenings.
(It should be noted that my friend Graham Soar has the distinction of being the only child any of us had ever heard of, who broke his arm falling out of a tree which had already been cut down … quite an achievement!)
Iain, I read this with interest as a prospective purchaser of one of the plots which your father sold off. I would be grateful if you could call me on my mobile 07715329881.
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