Bicknells Coal Merchant


Bicknells Coal Merchants – Ulverscroft Road, East Dulwich

Uncle Will by the Kitchen door. My dad Alec Edwards (of 4 Whateley Rd) shovelling on left. Stan Bicknell Shovelling on right. Aunt Nell Bicknell with back to us taking money I think…. I think this was taken when there was a shortage of coal at some point possibly in early 70s

Coronation Day – Ulverscroft Road


Coronation picture in Ulverscroft Road. My brother is
front left (little blond boy) On the left front there is Mrs Jackson
standing and her daughter sitting Barbara. A few along is her daughter
Sheila my old friend who I haven’t seen since our teens. My cousin Maureen
is the blond lady right at the back I think.

Photo & Memories by kind permission of Pat Marshall –                                  copyright owned by Pat Marshall


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22 Responses to Bicknells Coal Merchant

  1. Richard Beadle says:

    I knew a Tommy Edwards who lived in a house that backed on to Bicknell’s coal yard which might well have been 4 Whateley Road. Could that be his father in the photo?

    Although I was only 6 years old I well remember the street party to celebrate the coronation in Ulverscroft road. I lived at 28 Whateley road and went along with my best friend Keith Dowie from number 17. I suppose I must be in the picture but can’t find myself.

    • Tom edwards says:

      Hi Richard I am Tom Edwards and I did live at 4 Whateley Road. I remember you introducing me to the joys of new cross speedway in 1960 and I still go to speedway although new cross stadium is long gone. Would love to hear from you.

      • Mike Martin says:

        Hello Tom I remember you well and so do my bruvvers do you remember the Martins from ulverscroft just three doors from bicknells we used to get our coal from there and I remember Stan and his wife German I think she was got good memories from them days wish I could go back in time by the way I’m Mike Martin you probably remember all four of us all the best mate

      • Michael Martin says:

        Hi Tom the little boy next to you is me in a Andy Pandy suit I’m Mike Martin of the Martin family 3 doors down from bicknells in ulverscroft road hope you and family are well all the best mate

    • John Bown says:

      Hi Richard if you were friends with Keith Dowie you must remember my sister Shirley who was best friends with his sister Doreen (Thruppence)

      • Richard Beadle says:

        Hi John, Keith’s sister was Dianne who I believe is sadly no longer with us.

        • John Bown says:

          Hi Richard You’re right of course she was Dianne Doreen Dowie so went by the nickname Thruppence! I’m sorry to hear she is no longer with us my sister will be sad when she knows. I left a comment about your John on site and I am sorry to hear he has passed away, Incidentally in the photo of Ulverscroft Road Coronation party I’m the tall boy at the back with an impressive quiff and my sister is in front of me on my right with Diane to her left

  2. David Robert Livett born April 16 1939 says:

    I was born on 16 April 1939, baptized in the Anglican church of St John adjacent to Goose Green and for my first twenty years lived in Underhill Road opposite St Aidans Road until I was conscripted 1n 1959 and spent two years abroad in the army, after which I resumed living there until I emigrated in 1963. I lived with my parents and for a while, my maternal grandmother and my tabby cat, Nobble. My father Jim worked until 1956 for A. B. Hemmings for whom he delivered bread and cakes from a handcart. his daily round was between Melbourne Gove and Archdale St and took in Whately Road and Ulverscroft Road. I was sent frequently to Bicknells Yard to buy firewood. most houses had open fire places back then and in the winter it sure was cold.
    In 1950 aged 11 I made the usual move from primary to high school and from cubs to scouts. The Goose Green area opposite the indoor swimming facility still had trams and a horse trough-these were taken away in that same year and zebra crossings were introduced.
    East Dulwich might well have been either one of the biggest or even the biggest entity in what was then the London County Council; Borough of Camberwell. It was a long walk from my place to Dog Kennel Hill and still be in East Dulwich SE22.
    From 1946-1955 I attended three schools, Friern Road infants (it used to front on to Forest Hill Road), Heber Road primary and Thos Calton Secondary Central at that time situated in Goodrich Road between Dunstans and Upland roads.
    Our initial play grounds were bombed sites, later Peckham or Dulwich parks for football and cricket. My first ‘ watering hole’ was the Herne Tavern at the bottom of St Aidans Road.
    In 1955 I began work at Thos Cooks Travel in Berkley Street Mayfair where I remained until 1963 less the time I spent on national service. My wage to begin with was 30 shillings pw and to get there I either took a 12 bus from Barry Road or a train from Peckham to Victoria then a walk past Buck House through Green Park.
    I emigrated to NZ in 1963 and later moved to Aussie. I have been back to my East Dulwich roots a few times bringing my Aussie born wife and daughter with me. I am glad I moved but I will for the rest of my life retain that link to East Duwlich. I will not come back again, the long air trip is now too much for this 77 year old grandfather. I hope that among the readers of this website there will be someone who remembers either me or Jim the bakers roundsman who delivered their bread. sth

    • Richard Beadle says:

      My late brother John Beadle was also born in 1939 and attended Thomas Calton Secondary school so I imagine you were contemporaries. Do you maybe remember him?

      • John Bown says:

        Hi Richard, I have only just discovered this site so forgive the tardiness of this reply. I’m some to hear that your brother John has passed away. I am a contemporary of his being a year older and living in Whateley Road at the same time. I lived at No7 and I believe that your family lived about two houses before Felbridge Road. Those houses I seem to recall were like maisonettes and your Grandmother lived at the same property. John and I were not close friends moving in different circles but I do remember him being very affable and as remember a very deep thinker. Mists of make me think of long conversations held with your brother that sometimes made my head spin

    • John Dalton. says:

      Hello, this is a message for David Livett only!
      HI Dave, I have just been introduced to this web-sight from my brother Ken, it came as such a surprise to see all this information from my childhood years.
      Please get in touch, it would be great to catch up after all these years.
      Regards, John, your ex. next door neighbour.

      Please pass on my email address to David Livett, thank you.

  3. David Robert Livett born April 16 1939 says:

    The name John Beadle rings a bell, I surely must remember him. Did he live fairly close to Dog kennel hill and did he play soccer (outside of school I mean).I can’t be sure but I think he registered and had his medical for national service at the same time as me. I am sorry to see you refer to him as ‘the late’ which means he must have died relatively young.

  4. David Robert Livett born April 16 1939 says:

    I would like to add a few more memories to those above. Firstly about the war. I was brought home from evacuation just in time for the 1944/45 V1 and V2 raids; seeing a ‘doodle bug’ or buzz bomb-call it what you like, the mere sight and sound of it frightened the hell out of this 5 and a half year old!
    As I grew up it became clear to me that East Dulwich must have copped a heavy pounding for those five or so years. dad reckoned that every conceivable piece of ordnance from an incendiary to a V2 was dropped on ED or close by. So many streets had rows of prefabs so I guess that told its own story. In later years I used to walk along Etherow Street between Friern and Barry Roads in front of the church to get to Dulwich Library. that street must have been completely wiped out. Underhill Road between Upland and Friern apparently copped a landmine. Then there was the top of Hindmans Road and Lytton Grove. Ironically as I grew up we went through a period of the possibility of being on the pointy end of weapons from eastern Europe that would have wiped us all out!
    Sunday School-that was something our parents seemed to think was as vital a part in our upbringing as day school, Although I was baptized CofE I attended SS at Barry Road Methodist Church for about six years until 1952.Though I won prizes for regular attendance I hated it.
    Cinemas- I guess at one time or another I went to the pictures anywhere between Forest Hill, Rye Lane (The Tower) East Dulwich and Camberwell Green Long before I left for NZ in 1963 all of those cinemas had closed. Up to the age of 11 most cinemas had Saturday morning screenings for us kids.

    • John Chinery says:

      Thank you David for adding your fantastic memories, very interesting, I lived in one of the Prefabs in Underhill Road for 17 years and often wondered what had happened to the houses that once stood there before the Prefabs, now I know so thank you once again David.

  5. David Robert Livett born April 16 1939 says:

    Though I’d like to add a few comments to my previous mention of Sunday School. I know it has moved on a bit since we were talking about Bicknell’s but I guess the older you get the more your memory wanders!
    As I said before my Sunday School finished in 1952 after about six years. I went to Barry Road Methodist on the corner of Barry and Upland. As well as Sunday School cubs, scouts brownies and guides were all part of the church. In those days too we pledged to honour the king-George VI was still alive.
    Sunday School was held in the church hall. Boys and girls were segregated into four groups of each according to age, until almost at the end of the hour long session we were brought together for hymns and prayers. A Mr Gain was the overall supervisor , he had a son Robin. Messrs Batten, Archer and Davis were three of the group leaders. A George Scales who lived in one of the streets off Colyton Road that ran by the side of Peckham Park was an assistant scout master. Some 25 years later I paid a visit back home and met Stan Archer and George Scales who by then were not much younger than I am now.
    At the end of most sessions especially during the winter a gang of ruffians who mainly lived around Henslow Road would be waiting outside the church ready for a fight (with snow balls) . If no adults were around we were ready to take up the challenge, even though we were dressed in our Sunday best.
    Once a year we went on an outing either by bus or train. Ruislip Lido, Box Hill and Littlehampton were three of the venues as well as Madame Tussuards wax museum in Baker Street. I remember going past the church on one of my visits back and the steeple had been removed .

  6. David Robert Livett born April 16 1939 says:

    We, or at least I, seem to have moved on a bit since the original subject of Bicknells, I have mentioned schools, Sunday School and my early life in East Dulwich. What about the pubs?
    If I remember correctly I reached the legal drinking age of 18 in 1957 but because I looked a very unconvincing 18, I had a job persuading publicans that was my age, so apart from the odd drink with Dd down at the Herne Tavern I did not bother too much until I came out of the army aged 21.
    Some of the pubs I recall as well as the Herne were the Magdallan(?) at the end of Pellat Road, the Plough and the Crystal Palace; they are the only names I recall but of course there were plenty of others. I know that because at the completion of a pub crawl circa 1962 with my mates, one could get quite wasted!
    On my recent trips ‘home’ from 2005 onwards, having a drink with my son-in-law, I have grown partial to a pint of John Smith’s. But t’was not always so. In the old days it was Watney’s, Barclays and ? Charltons, brown ales or lights.
    Then there was sport which to a secondary schoolboy such as I was generally restricted to football (soccer) and cricket. I never did watch Dulwich Hamlet at home but I do remember going to Stamford Bridge one Saturday in, I think, 1956 when DH played Corinthian Casuals in what I seem to recall was a final. This does not quite make sense, because as far as I remember the FA Amateur cup final was always at Wembley prior to The Cup Final, which incidentally I still watch from Brisbane every year.
    Back in the far off days of which I speak, I worked on Saturday mornings, after which together with a couple of workmate, off we would go by tube, usually to Highbury to watch Arsenal and perhaps, Liverpool. You went to a football ground, not a stadium and you stood shoulder to shoulder with thousands of like minded and if you happened to be in the vicinity of opposition supporters, there was no fighting, just good natured banter. Drinking was put on hold until after the match. I don’t think I paid much more than half a crown to watch a match; an afternoon well spent.
    In summer there was cricket at The Oval and Lords, if Australia was playing England, there was no point in queuing up later than 8.30 for 11.30 start because you would not get in. Very early on I remember how much West Indian fans used to entertain us with their bands, calypsos and continual barracking at the players.

  7. Pat Edwards says:

    Hi John I wonder if you could help me clear up a mystery?
    In 1976 I went along with a group of friends one night to a party in Sheffield. As the night wore on I had a few drinks and was a bit woozy. A chap came up to me and said he knew me and proceeded to tell me all about my mum, dad brother Aunt Nell in the Coal Yard .
    I was at a party with the university lot up there, so can only think he may have been at the university in Sheffield. It was all a bit of a blur but he wouldnt tell me who he was then he had gone and I never found out who he was. I got the impression he lived around that area of Whateley road at some point. Who knows maybe one day he will see this and enlighten me….

    • John Chinery says:

      Hi Pat, How strange, I’m sorry I can’t help you, fingers crossed you will find out one day, hopefully that person might see your message and leave you a reply.

      Best wishes

  8. Robert Waite says:

    Will never forget playing football with Stan every Sunday morning,

  9. John Bown says:

    I remember playing football with Stan Bicknell for the Barry Road Congregational church where we were both members of the youth club. I lived at 7 Whateley Road from the age of 3months having been born at 10 Heber Road in September 1938. I spent many happy hours watching Stan chopping wood in the coal yard. My Uncle and Aunt, Vic and Elsie Joyce lived at 6 Whateley Road and their back door opened into the coalyard .Stan did indeed marry a German girl, Loise(?) but I don’t think it lasted and I believe he had a son. I have many many happy memories of the years I spent in East Dulwich and indeed of Stan or Winston as we called him! Hope you find this interesting John Bown

  10. Maureen Saunders says:

    Hi John Bown, I remember you and the family well. You were good friends with the late Ronnie Margerum who lived in Ulverscroft Road?? I was friends with Maureen Morrow and still am to this day – my oldest friend, even evacuated together. Sadly brother Stan died at the young age of 63 of heart problems. It was so good to read all the above messages which brought back so many happy memories of my childhood in East Dulwich.
    Maureen Saunders, née Bicknell.

  11. John Bown says:

    Hi Maureen So good to see your post on this site It’s been a while since I looked at it. You are right that Ronnie and were big friends but I have long lost contact with him One memory is that the three of us were all born a week apart. So sorry to hear about Stan I have many fond memories of him and his phenomenal strength! A very happy childhood that we had I’m now living in Somerset Glad you are still friends with MM All the very best John

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