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Between the World Wars 1919 – 1939

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Between the World Wars new, grand cinemas were built : the Rialto in 1927 behind Bearmans’ department store in Leytonstone, the Savoy of 1929 at the junction of Church Road and Lea Bridge Road (to a design by George Coles who lived in Francis Road, Leyton when a young man), and the Ritz in 1938 near the Bakers Arms.  With the cinemas came the culture of the United States of America.

For children whose family could afford it there was much to do.  A 13 year-old evacuated from Tottenham to Cambridge wrote in 1939 :

“The things I miss most in Cambridge is my Father and Mother and family.  I miss my dog and cat and I miss going to the Pictures on a Friday Saturday and Monday.  I miss going errans here and I miss the People who live near me my friends.  I miss going to see Ice Hockey Played at Harringay Areama.  I miss playing on my skates with a hockey stick.  I miss my sister saying ‘Come for a ride on your bike’.  I also miss playing football in the Playground at school.  I miss going swimming at Tottenham Baths.” 1

1  S Isaacs ed. ‘The Cambridge Evacuation Survey’ pgs 66-87 quoted in Ross McKibbin ‘Classes and Cultures, England 1918-1951’

Extensive football pitches were laid out on Hackney Marshes and Wanstead Flats, just outside Leyton.  By the 1930s over 100 football clubs were using Wanstead Flats 2.

Woodford Green Athletics Club used the County Cricket Ground at Leyton for its summer track in the 1930s 3.

2  ‘Homes for Heroes or Space to Breathe? The Struggle for Wanstead Flats 1946-47’ by Mark Gorman

3  article ‘Woodford Green Athletics Club Centenary’ in issue 29 of ‘Forest News’ edited by Stephen Pewsey’

One man remembered of the 1920s that he used to cycle to Abridge with 2 friends every evening, whatever the weather, have tea and a bun, and cycle back.  He also played cricket on Wanstead Flats. 4

4  WHOHW interview 363

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