AS a collector of old picture postcards, I am just as interested in the messages on the back as the views on the front, writes David Rose.

Here is a view of Pyrford’s St Nicholas Church on a postcard that is postmarked ‘Portsmouth, 26 September 1911’. It was sent to a Mrs Harms at a house actually called Pyrford, in Priory Avenue, Caversham, Reading.

The sender, who appears to have travelled by train and then road, wrote: “Arrived here about 6.30 after an enjoyable ride. Went by train to Byfleet and then through Pyrford and Ripley, Guildford, Godalming, up over the hills Hindhead and the Downs.

“Had quite a time finding the place – it seems a much more tangled-up place than Bournemouth but I’ll get used to it. All well here.”

I always wonder whether the postie who delivered these postcards read the messages, especially if they were keen to hear a bit of local gossip.

The postcard featuring Christ Church in Woking probably dates to about the 1930s, but it was not sent until much later as it’s postmarked 25 April 1973.

The sender, CS Dove of St Paul’s Street West, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, addressed the card to ‘Post Card Collector’ of 7 The Links, Walton-on-Thames’.

The message reads: “Re your advert Feb 16/73 in Church Times. I have approx 75 postcards (mostly churches) before 1940. Do you still require them? Awaiting your reply.”

Memories of the Cashmore boys

READER Josie Plant was delighted to see the photos of the Goldsworth Secondary School football team from the 1949 and 1950 seasons featured on Peeps Into the Past on 16 September.

She remembers two brothers who were pictured, Edward and Michael Cashmore, and adds they had a younger brother, Norman. She went to one of Edward’s birthday parties when she was aged about seven or eight and says she “liked him a lot”.

Her mother, Joan Plant, was friends with the boys’ mother, Lily. Josie remembers going to their bungalow near Wych Hill. She thinks the last time she saw the boys was at a dance at the Atalanta Ballroom in Woking, where the venue’s owner Bob Potter and his band often played. “It must have been about 70 years ago,” she says.

Josie fondly remembers the sprung dance floor at the Atalanta. The usual chat up line by the young men to the girls when asking them for a dance was: “Are you coming on then?”

Josie’s father, Joe Plant, who was from the Midlands, had joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment before the Second World War and came to Woking when his battalion was stationed at Inkerman Barracks. He met Lily, and they married.

Joe went off to war and, at the time of the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940, he was captured by the Germans and became a prisoner of war.

Josie thinks her father and the Cashmore boys’ father, Bob, may have served together in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

When her father finally came home after the war, she didn’t recognise him as he walked down the road in Knaphill with his kitbag, just as Josie and her mother were coming out of a shop. But she says after she got to know him again, he was “a wonderful dad”.

If you have some memories or old pictures relating to the Woking area, call David Rose on 01483 838960, or drop a line to the News & Mail.

David Rose is a local historian and writer who specialises in what he calls “the history within living memory” of people, places and events in the west Surrey area covering towns such as Woking and Guildford. He collects old photos and memorabilia relating to the area and the subject, and regularly gives illustrated local history talks to groups and societies. For enquiries and bookings please phone or email him at: [email protected]