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Playing in a Private Park
Penned in by London Road, Leander Road and Goldwell Road once stood Stanmor, the home of the Rabson family complete with sprawling gardens and a tennis court.
In 1935 Wally's aunt Lilly was serving the Rabsons as a housekeeper and the then 10 year old boy was frequently invited to the house for tea and to spend time with the family's three daughters.
Wally says: "Stamnor looked quite foreboding but 1 have nothing but happy memories of it.
"My aunt Lilly was in service to the household and, although an upstairs down stairs setup, the Rabsons never treated it as such. My aunt was accepted as one of the family.
"What Mr Rabson did for a living, I never found out. He must have been a director of a bank to be able to support Stanmor. When we visited the house it was always tea at four with sandwiches and cream buns.
"Many times I was allowed to explore the house and, of course, some rooms were out of bounds but my special place was the vast kitchen.
"It was a large room with a flagstone floor and a huge coal fire kitchen range. Pots and pans hung on the walls of the kitchen and everything had a warm, homey feel about it.
"From time to time the Rabson family used to go at weekends to the coast and suggested I could stay over at Stanmor to keep my aunt company.
"Through my child eyes, the grounds were like a small private park to me. If the weather was good, while my aunt was working, I used to go and sit in the garden.
"When my aunt married later in life, the Rabsons insisted that the wedding reception should he at Stanmor, and a grand day it was.
"After my aunt left the service with the Rabsons, she got a job as a cleaner at Whitgift School and there she stayed until she retired. Some of the pupils brought her a retiring present after she left Whitgift to come and live with us."