Spent an interesting afternoon in Havering Museum at Romford recently, which has tales of beer, fighting and even a suspender belt from the 1960s on display.
Could Romford be rather proud of it’s wheeler-dealing? The first display you see features Sir Nikolaus Pevsner eulogizing about the marshland villages of Essex in his Architectural Guides before contrasting them with “the brash commercialism of Romford”.
It’s nice to see a framed photo of Ian Dury performing on the wall. The self-proclaimed Lord Upminster used to watch Teddy Boy films at Romford’s Ritz cinema in the 1950s. There ain’t ‘alf been some clever bastards and now Dury is one of ‘em. A man who peppered his records with rude words would surely be amused to view himself beneath a portrait of William Derham FRS, Rector of Upminster.
There’s also a display on Peter the Painter, the subject of a Dury song. Peter the Painter was Peter Blundell, a man who came from wealth, but spent his life living beneath the Upminster Bridge on the A127 and painting pictures of ships on corrugated iron. His inclusion adds to the quirky charm of Havering Museum.
Another wall display features an illustration of “Prize fighting at the Dell”, a local meeting point. No Christmas at the Dell was complete without wrestling between the men of Romford and Hornchurch. So nothing much has changed there then.