I have mixed memories of Angel Hill. The earliest was from just after the war. I remember going to Angel Hill at least once a week, to a large house which I think was called the ‘Food Office’ in the North-West corner.
National Dried Milk
My mother would get large tins of National dried milk, a silver tin with blue writing, and bottles of very sticky ‘Orange juice’ (well it was if you spilt any) for us children. I think the building later became the Clock Museum.
Dentists and Doctors
Just down from this building was where some of my few bad childhood memories originated, because the Dentist was there on the Northern side, and I can remember being put to sleep with gas and being very sick. Horrible!
The Doctors was also on Angel Hill in the South-East corner. Dr Thomas was his name, I think, but it was never fun having to go to the Doctor’s. It always seemed to involve having needles stuck in various parts of one’s anatomy!
More pleasant memories came later; when I was a teenager, from a building in a yard close to the Doctors Surgery. Where Mrs Elliot held dancing classes for two bob a week and we were thrown, quite literally, together with GIRLS and learned to waltz, quickstep, cha-cha and samba amongst other things! Which prepared us well for the weekly dances at the Athenaeum.
Trouble from Town Boys and the Soldiers
These were the highlight of the week with real 8 or 10 piece bands playing on a small ‘stage’ on one side. There were chairs all around the dance floor, and the girls tended to sit on them. Whilst the unattached boys tended to congregate near the doors under the stairs up to the bar, plucking up the courage to walk out across the floor and ask one of the girls for a dance. Oh! the walk of shame back across the floor, having been refused in front of everyone! There was also of course, the prospect of trouble between the town boys and the soldiers from Blenheim Camp, but the less said about that the better!
The Angel Hotel
The other great attraction when older was, of course, the Angel Hotel, which in those days had the Pickwick Bar. This was strictly men only, and thick with cigarette and cigar smoke. One also had to dress fairly well; jeans would have been frowned upon. But then, most young blood dressed well in those days anyway.
The Angel Hill was also the place where many an army parade took place, and where we all marched through to church services when we were in the Cubs, Scouts, ATC etc., usually led by the Boys Brigade band. Whatever happened to the Boys Brigade?