Suburban legends quiz
Posted: Fri Dec 1 2006
1Born in East Dulwich, this author went to school in the suburb of Bromley (where Hanif Kureishi was born – he set his semi-autobiographical novel ‘The Buddha of Suburbia’ there) where she was head girl, captain of games and an absolutely whiz-bang stand-up sort of gal. She trained as a teacher and worked in Surbiton and Chessington, and her many books are now seen to epitomise this sort of very nice middle-class suburbia, against which her characters rarely rebelled.
2This Croydon superstar was born in Addiscombe and went to school in Purley (also home to violinist Jacqueline du Pré and Terry Jones’s character’s wife in the ‘Nudge-Nudge’ sketch). Although she ‘was not noted for her academic success’, her career took off and she has rarely been seen in her old manor since, although her cousin used to serve behind the bar of Croydon’s now defunct Fiddler & Firkin.
3This prime minister lived in Woodford Green in the ’20s and ’30s. He wasn’t the most obviously suburban of British leaders – that honour goes to Worcester Park’s John Major – but his great rival Winston Churchill’s adage that this was ‘A modest man, but then he has so much to be modest about’ has an unmistakable whiff of typically anti-suburban snobbery about it. Churchill had the last laugh – it’s his portly frame that has been honoured with a statue in the town centre.
4The Post-Impressionist artist took refuge from the Franco-Prussian War in Norwood in the 1870s, and produced a number of paintings of the suburb including ‘Fox Hill, Upper Norwood’ (at the National) and ‘Lordship Lane Station, Dulwich’ (at the Courtauld). Further west, the riverside suburbs had long been a draw for artistic types. Joseph Mallord William Turner moved to Isleworth in 1804, where he completed numerous sketches of the river. Alfred Tennyson lived just along the river in Twickenham in the 1850s, although he soon tired of the place as London grew larger and the village of Twickenham became subsumed into suburbia, and decanted to the Isle of Wight. And Van Gogh had two spells in London, the second was in 1876, when he lived in Isleworth.
5Much-loved, much-bearded, gutteral, global warming-denying naturalist who lived in Carshalton and went to school in Sutton. Other famous Suttonians include John Major, who was born just up the road from North Cheam’s Katie Melua. Wallington’s Jeff Beck and Epsom’s Jimmy Page met in Sutton when they were 11 years old, while Windsor Davies, moustached star of ‘It Ain’t ’Alf Hot Mum’, settled in Carshalton.
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