A Garden Shed With Royal Connections

The factory where my father work before it moved out to Mitcham in Surrey was  located in part of the old royal stables in London. Occasionally I would accompany him to work on Saturday mornings and spent the day exploring the nooks and crannies of the old buildings and generally making a nuisance of myself. If pushed I would sweep the floors but only if paid a few bob for my efforts.

The stable building still retained a few of their original fittings, including some of the wooden horse stalls and iron feed holders. When the company wanted to make some changes my father offered to remove the stalls in his own time in exchange for being able to keep the wood. We spent a couple of weekends carefully drilling out the wooden dowels that held the oak panelling and supporting timbers together and disassembling the fittings. It took many trips to convey all the wood home as there was little room in the motorbike and sidecar and some of the longer timbers had to be strapped to the side of the sidecar in a very precarious manner.

The timber was used to build one of the strongest and poshest garden sheds in the country. The frame was made from 4 by 6 inch square timbers and the sides were inch thick tongue and groove boards. Even the window was constructed from an oak door frame and the floor from old oak floorboards. The shed was finished with several coats of green gloss paint that my father borrowed from his brother in the factory maintenance department. Once completed the incredibly sturdy shed was soon filled with all the things my father had a habit of collecting just in case they might come in handy one day.

Many years later we moved to south London to be closer to the factory in Mitcham. The removal company quickly empted the house but it took my father and I several weeks to empty the shed, carefully checking each item to see if it was worth keeping. Needless to say little got thrown away. Over 47 years later there are probably a few bits in my garage that were once in that shed and still waiting for someone to put them to good use.

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