Wimbledon Village in the 1950s may on the surface have looked idyllic, but underneath there were all kinds of tensions, according to a memoir just published.

The book, called Mostly we had it good: a baby boomer’s guide, was written by Tim Albert, who from early education at the Ursuline Convent and Donhead School, went on to Surrey University and became a journalist on local and national newspapers and magazines. 

‘Years later I learnt that some long-standing residents had boycotted certain shops because they had engaged in the black market during the war; others patronised them for the same reason,’ he writes in the book.

‘The divisions were very sharp between residents and incomers, between middle and lower classes, and between those who attended the different Christian churches. 

‘One neighbour, apparently, was heard to say how sorry she was for my brother and me: half-Jewish and half-Catholic’.

But there were good times, such as the celebrations for the Coronation in 1953 which on the day included dancing to brass bands, parades of cadets, gun salutes, searchlights and a torch procession.

‘I cannot recall them,’ writes Tim. ‘Though I do recall the bonfire, the hog roast and Bertram Mill’s circus. For years afterwards I hoped the circus would come back, but it never did; after that we only had funfairs.

Tim adds: ‘It has taken me nearly seven years to write the book, and left me realising how privileged I – and many of my generation – have been to have lived through such a time. We had good education, good health care, decent values, peace, and a sense of community. We were very fortunate.’

Mostly we had it good, Elbow Publishing, 2017, price £8.99

Article supplied by Tim Albert