A Bexleyheath grandmother writes a memoir about the area

PUBLISHED: 16:46 12 August 2010 | UPDATED: 13:45 13 August 2010

Olive Tate pics

Olive Tate pics


An animal-lover who trained dogs for television appearances has begun writing a book about memories of the area in which she grew up, recounting the times when she used to ride her horse on a dusty road which is now the A2.

Olive Tate, 84 of Upton Road Bexleyheath, moved to Bexley from Stratford with her family in 1939 when she was 13, just after WWII began.

The grandmother-of-three decided to pen an account of days gone by as she was astounded by the amount of changes that had occurred in her town.

She said: “I started writing the book to remind people of what Bexley was like 60 years ago.

“When I talk to people about Upton Road being a country lane and all the farms that surrounded it nobody believes me.”

Mrs Tate, who was widowed 40 years ago, recounts encounters with the Spanish onion man and the crumpet man who would transport their products on their bikes and sell them door to door.

She said: “It was a much more peaceful life. Nowadays the traffic is diabolical.

“I used to ride my horse on the road which is now the A2 motorway and we used to have horse and carts. There were farms everywhere.”

After marrying a sailor at the age of 21, she had two children but her daughter died aged three-and-a-half.

Aged 19 and keen to help her country during the war, she joined the Women’s Land Army.

She said: “ I had to milk cows which I loved. After the war was over I had a letter form the Queen to say thank you very much.”

Having worked as a dog trainer, Mrs Tate trained the dog from the More Than car insurance advert and the famous HMV dog.

Mrs Tate, who enjoys walking her dogs in Danson Park, revealed that she was interested in people discovering how built up Bexley has become and the book would enable the reader to view the area in a different light.

Mrs Tate, who is halfway through dictating her book, has hit an obstacle after her typist has gone travelling to Australia. However she expects to finish her book within the next four months and is now looking for a publisher.

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