The way we were, 1945.

Memories from Roger Bacon

The area between Harvey, Ernest, Manor and Stanley Roads at the Rectory Road end was a waste ground during the 30s and 40s called Spion Kop**

This was our playground as children. The boys played football and cricket. Some of our games were Upstreeters and Downstreeters. If you lived above the Park Hotel, you were an Upstreeter and below the Park Hotel were Downstreeters. Spion Kop was our home ground.

During one of the cricket ‘Test Matches’ it was rumoured that if you joined the Mrs Loveless Bible Class, she was going to take the boys next summer (1946) to Lords to see England play India and to meet her nephew, Denis Crompton. Rather like Paul of Tarsus we had instant conversion and joined the Bible Class, attending throughout the winter.

Sure enough, in June 1946 we went to Lords and we met Denis Crompton. He apologised to us for getting a duck, and said if we ever came back he would try to do better. He was bowled by Amarnath (a right arm bowler who bowled off the right foot). What a thrill for us boys as we walked through the gates of Lords with Denis Crompton, and the crowd held back by the police.  

However we were loyal and continued attending the Bible Class. Next year we went to the Oval to see England v South Africa and we met Leslie Crompton.

Many of these boys later went on to play for Wivenhoe Town Cricket Club for years to come. They had a firm foundation remembering that we played on Spion Kop with a hard ball with no pads, gloves or helmets.

Roger Bacon

July 2003  

**Spion Kop was the nickname for a tented camp during World War l.