"I'm just going to pop into Sittingbourne!" - An Ode to Bygone Sittingbourne.

How many times has this phrase been used over the years, whether it was on foot, horse and cart, car or public transport?. Teynham has always been associated with Sittingbourne, be it by trade or commerce, employment, shopping or entertainment, even matrimony. Wilf. Pankhurst and Co. ventured as far as Milton where, like a band of marauding Vikings, they stole their brides from under the noses of the locals.

Sittingbourne, a pleasant quiet market town of those days was a far cry from the vast car park we have these days! But then, let my poem do the talking, this was the town where I came to work in 1937.

When I was a lad
A wonderful little town
But over the years
Through many tears
I’ve seen it all go down.

When out for a stroll
You would see on patrol
A friendly policeman or two
Not to fight crime
But to give you the time
For there was little else to do.

From East Street
To West Street
Traffic flowed either way
No cycle on path
No motorist’s wrath
Whatever the time of the day.

Local stores
Would deliver to doors
Any goods you care to mention
No helping yourself
From out of reach shelf
Or the check-out tension.

The Town Hall clock
Stood like a rock
For all and sundry to see
The toilets below
With brasses aglow
And not a sign of graffiti.

Up at ‘The Bull’
The ground would be full
Sittingbourne versus Sheppey
And when it was done
No matter who won
The rivalry was friendly.

Plaza and Queens
And Odeon screens
Gave a lot of pleasure
With a girl so sweet
Sat on the back seat
What a little treasure!

Gates at the Park
Were closed after dark
Never a fence was broken
Owls at night
Bats in full flight
Lovers words softly spoken.

Now I’m no longer a lad
And I feel so sad
To see such desolation
With foul words uttered
Gravestones lie cluttered
Oh, what desecration!

A Lad’s Night out in Sittingbourne.

Having nearly exhausted my reminisces of Teynham, in this issue I am going to take a trip to Sittingbourne where there are in fact about ten or so of my old school colleagues presently living. Now if you have made your coffee and put your feet up I will tell you how we as lads had a night out in Sittingbourne for a shilling (5p).

When I left school I went to work for a while with Jack Holloway as a (reluctant) butcher’s boy. Occasionally I finished early on a Saturday afternoon, so I would hurry home to wash and change, have a quick tea and then away to the station to catch a bus. At the weekend the No. 26 service terminated at Teynham station.

My wages then were eight shillings (40p) and of that I was allowed one shilling (5p) pocket money; this was how it was spent:

Return fare to Sittingbourne ..........5d (2.04p)
Seat at the Odeon Cinema ..........6d (2.5p)
Bag of chips from Mr Shortland’s Fish and chip shop in East Street to eat on the way home ..........1d (0.46p)

Total ..........1.0s (5.00p)

How is that for a night out on the town? Can you better it ?.