Saturday, 5 July 2014

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Tooting Bec and Tooting Broadway

Q2. Sidney Lewis Bernstein (aka Baron Bernstein)

внимание друзья! The Eastender has been unable to confirm which of the stations does not have an electrolier in it but is taking a punt on the most likely two being Tooting Bec and Tooting Broadway, as the rest of the clues seem to point to Tooting, as the location of the suburb.

The initial clues seem to place us squarely on the home turf of a very famous London urban guerilla fighter called 'Foxy Smith', ie in the suburb of Tooting, in the London borough of Wandsworth. Foxy's group were known as 'The Tooting Popular Front' and he was often photographed giving a power salute in front of Tooting Broadway station, which was one of the tube stations which formed part of the extensions to the C&SLR (City and South London Railway) c 1926.

The Eastender thought initially that the suburb which gained two stations, in the extension of the C&SLR could be Clapham but according to some of the references checked, only one station was built in Clapham as part of the C&SLR extensions c 1926, with two being built in Tooting, namely Tooting Bec and Tooting Broadway tube stations. The line seems to have been extended from Clapham to Morden and the stations were designed by an architect called Charles Henry Holden (born c 1875, in Bolton). He is also said to have designed the headquarters of the Underground Electric Railway Company of London's headquarters, at 55 Broadway and to have used electroliers (a type of chandelier which used electric light bulbs), in the underground stations for the C&SLR extension.

The puzzle author is probably at Tooting Broadway station, as St George's hospital (founded 1733 and relocated to Tooting c 1980) is close by. On the site where St George's now sits, was once located the Fountains Fever Hospital, Tooting and it was here that a young nurse called Edith Cavell (born c 1865. nb some references claim her name is spelled Cavall) did some of her training. The poor woman was shot during WWI by firing squad, for helping prisoner escape from the hospital where she worked in Belgium. Some accounts say that she got two hundred of them out, before being rumbled.

The cholera scandal of 1849, seems to have occurred at Mr Drouet's Establishment For Pauper Children, a very overcrowded childrens' home, located in Tooting, which seems to have had around fourteen hundred residents, of which at least one hundred and eighty seem to have perished in the outbreak. Charles Dickens is alleged to have written some scathing commentary on the affair, in a series of four articles published in the Examiner. Possibly he was a bit hard on Mr Drouet, as not much was known about bacteria or transmission of diseases back in those days, let alone how to prevent or treat them.

A film theatre which opened c 1931, is most likely the Granada, which some references say is located at 50-60 Mitcham Road, Tooting. This again lends support to the theory that the puzzle compiler, is at Tooting Broadway station, as it is located at the junction of Mitcham Road and Tooting High Street. The Granada was one of several cinemas owned by Sidney Lewis Bernstein (born c 1899). One of his bios says he founded the film society c 1925 and hung out with people like H.G.Wells, John Maynard Keynes, Julian Huxley and T.S. Eliot.

A pool which lies north east of the cinema, is most likely Tooting Bec Lido, which some references claim was opened c 1906.It's dimensions are given as 100 x 33 yards in some texts.


  1. Some sources suggest that the urban guerrilla character's name was "Wolfie" Smith and that it was Florence Johnson, his girlfriend Shirley's mother, (played by Hilda Braid), who mistakenly addressed him as "Foxy."

  2. IIRC, he was also called 'Trotsky' and 'The Yeti', by Shirley's father ;-)