Days of the Old Schoolyard...magical memories

OUR flashback to the good old days this time around comes from reader Debra Williams.

She sent us a picture that fits our Days of the Old School Yard slot as it is full of youngsters from more than 100 years ago! There are also a few adults at the opening of a store that really played a major part in communitiy life in Plaistow.

Debra told us: “I have this picture taken in Balaam Street, in Plaistow, around 1905 of the opening of a shop. 

The shopkeeper is Mr Edwin Short and his family. 

One of the little girls is his daughter Elsie. She was born in 1902 and lived all her life in Western Road nearby.

“She was a tiny girl and one of my neighbours.

“Many years later, in the late 80s or early 90s she was visited by royalty because she still lived by gaslight and had no inside toilet.  The house was as it was when she was a child.  She never married and right up until the end, she still missed her mum and dad terribly.  They died in the flu epidemic many many years ago.

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“I hope you like my contribution to your page, I think it is a great photo and a sad story. “ Indeed Debra, many thanks

* OUR popular feature is designed to bring back fond memories. We publish pictures from the days most people think of as the best of their lives – the days of the old school yard.

The fame of these articles has spread all over the world. We receive e-mails and letters from former East Enders who now live as far away as Spain, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

We now have a worldwide audience and readers are telling each other about our feature by e-mail and letter and mentioning it on social networking websites.

If you would like your old school photo or suchlike to rekindle happy times, it is very easy. Just send it to Colin Grainger, Days of the Old School Yard, Newham Recorder, Media House, 539 High Road, Ilford IG1 1UD.

Alternatively, e-mail a copy of the picture, in jpeg form please, to

It won’t cost you a penny and we promise to take care of any photo and return it. There is no time limit on the happy days. You can send us pictures from as little as ten years ag, though our oldest so far has been from 1913.