David Alston from Shortlands has lived in Bromley all his life. Here he provides some fond reminiscences on his and the area's past in Snapshots of Old Bromley.

IF EVER there was a beauty spot in the borough worth remembering, it is the joint spectacle of Church House Grounds and Library Gardens, which long before I was born joined forces in presenting a beautiful floral landscape, much of which remains to this day.

Some, sadly, has drifted into drabness, reflecting a lack of care and attention once lavished upon it by the then extant Bromley Parks and Recreation Department, always at work tending flower beds and borders (not forgetting the floral clock at the High Street entrance close to the then regal library), together with now partially extinct ponds and rockeries in both the Gardens of many levels, and on nearby Martins Hill.

As a child still under the permitted entrance unaccompanied age of 12, with friends I would run the gauntlet of fearsome park keepers – thus adding to the thrills of youth – and enjoy the unique pleasures of hide-and-seek within the wonderfully varied paths and stepping stones which adorned this magical place, for a time the home of peacocks.

As, too, did the children’s secret cage-bird aviary (I’m not telling!) and the nearby retired town pump which once graced the Market Square, and is today once more set nearer its former home.

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The stately entrance in Church Road which once focussed upon a majestic cafe set back grandly prior to its falling to the woes of war in 1945, accompanies in my mind a picture of an immaculate oval lawn, still to be seen, complete with a waddling Mallard duck!

A lasting picture of a then fast becoming extinct red squirrel also joins my book of random memories, as do stretches of carpeting buttercups adorning the adjoining slopes.

Of the splendid bandstand and music-makers on the then swan-inhabited lake, much more can, and doubtless will be said, for this was but one of the wonderful features (another was open-air drama) which regularly drew crowds – including myself - to this centre of enjoyment for all ages on balmy evenings in summer.

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The splendid array of flower-beds, plus the ducks on the lake and challenging rockeries with winding pathways could hardly be matched.

Colourfully lit and eye-catching displays always marked national occasions, and it was a sad day indeed when the former thatched-roof bandstand was destroyed by fire. Where once it stood is today a place of reflection.

Although days of Hornby-driven speedboats on the boating pool have since passed in the wake of sunlit afternoons, grassy banks and schoolboys galore, their memory will last for ever.

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YOUNG David, never a great football fan, nevertheless could save a goal if called upon to do so.

Here at the age of three, pyjama-clad he saves the day in the garden of his Morgan Road home on one never-to-be-forgotten summer evening in 1932.

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For him the experience has never drifted into the mists of time. Even today, whenever he occasionally has cause to pass his old home, his mind inevitably turns to those golden evenings of early youth, when the world was beginning to evidence turmoil. But as yet life for a newcomer remained welcoming.

It is strange but true, that he can still feel the material of those night-clothes he wore, together with the waft of the fresh breeze then enveloping that balmy summer evening when the world and he were young.