Recounting life in Lightwater in the 1960’s

Nothing nicer for this blog than to have past Lightwater residents commenting about growing up here. It’s therefore a pleasure to give prominence to Yvette Thomson’s recounting of life in Lightwater. Thank you Yvette for your reminisinces. I’ve added a photo [click to enlarge] of Lightwater in the 1960’s to Yvette’s story.

I grew up in Lightwater in the 1960 ‘s, Lightwater may not have a history of old buildings but it had a social history of a cohere society of residents small businesses and children.

Entering Lightwater from Bagshot at the The Avenue was the ‘Avenue Stores’ a local grocery shop. Adjoining this shop was the Bicycle repair shop, which was used not only by myself to buy a dynamo light for my bike but others who purchased repairs for their bikes. On the opposite side of the Avenue was another grocery shop.

Lightwater in early 1960'sMoving down Guildford Road is Catena Rise, the road to my Primary school. The school had a strict ethos. We, the pupils, learnt to read, write, spell, and do tables by the time we were 6 years old facing our teachers at our desks. We learnt about competition from being involved in sports day and the ‘inter-school sports’ with local schools. We learnt to accept defeat and not be disappointed. That there would always be others better than us but this did not matter we always did our best. The same principle applied to the 11 plus exam.

The next road after Catena Rise is Macdonald Road where I lived. On the corner was the Chapel, which I went to every Sunday and to the Sunday School which had local teens such as David Benbow and my older sister Carole teaching us. Most local children went to Sunday school.

The land opposite Macdonald Road on the other [side] of the Guildford Road was a Garden Nursery which was accessible and eventually came out at Windlesham. A place to wander have fun exploring and to enjoy. We had been told not to speak to strangers from an early age. Yes, they were there but we were incredible aware perceptive savvy kids and determined to enjoy ourselves.

On the same side of Macdonald Road but further on the Guildford Road was a small shop which sold sewing items, needles pins wool and which was run and owned by the owner. Further along but before the ‘Red Lion Public House which was on the opposite side of the Guildford Road was an ‘Off licence’ which sold ‘Smiths Crisps’ and opened late.

Crossing the Guildford Road was the ‘Red Lion’ public house. Most of the small local businesses took on locals for Saturday jobs or full employment.

Some one mention the Fish and Chip shop which was next to the ‘Red Lion’. I agree they were the best chips I have had. Cooked in lard wrapped in newspaper piping hot! Remembering food, Lightwater Primary School dinners: Fresh ‘Organic‘ Vegetables, fresh ‘Organic’ salad with grapes no pesticides. Nothing processed. No choice of menus. Brilliant dedicated cooks! As children our health and our education came first in the ’60’s at Lightwater Primary School !!!

I can remember all the local shops and give a comprehensive tour of the Guildford Road passed the Red Lion Pub. However the purpose of this is to reiterate that the social history of Lightwater rests with us the children and their parents of Lightwater. We grew up here with freedom of the Common, High Curley, the Lake, healthy and educated and we all added to the the local economy.

In my view Lightwater holds memories for us all wherever we are in the world.

Yvette Thomson

2 thoughts on “Recounting life in Lightwater in the 1960’s

  1. Really enjoyed this article. Noticed that it was written by Yvette Thompson. I knew her at primary school, she just lived a few houses from me on Macdonald Road and would love to get in touch. Please consider relaying my name and email address to her.


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