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RONNIE LACASTRA. 1920s:

Ronnie : LAMBETH BETWEEN THE WARS

Photo of Ronnie as a baby on sheepskin rug

Name

Ronnie

Age

10

Place of Birth

Lambeth hospital

Gender

Male

Occupation

School boy

Place living now

North Lambeth

Photos

Click photo for fullsize image

Mum from the Mediterranean, dad from Ghana, living in Lambeth with his aunt & foster family

Good stuff : playing with his brothers, going camping & to the seaside, playing in the school football team

Bad stuff : the WWII bombing raids round the corner from home in the 1940s

Documents. Fry's Cocoa advertisement from the 1920s ( Ronnie's dad had cocoa farms in Ghana all his life ), seaside photo with Ronnie in the middle with friends, Ronnie as a young dad with his wife & children in the 1950s. Modern portraits of Ronnie's grandchildren with instruments.

Ronnie was born and bred in Lambeth, a real London boy, but like many kids today his family had come from other parts of the world. Later on in his life he met up with his dad who had been a travelling musician in London in the 1920s where he met Ronnie's mum.



Ronnie's grandsons 2008

Teachers notes

Ronnie was a young lad who lived in China Walk, right next door to the big swimming baths in North Lambeth. His family ran a greengrocers shop and they lived above it. Born at Lambeth hospital in April 1925 he was part of a gang of kids who joined in with the children's club at Lambeth Mission church on the corner of the street. The mission ran a cinema, the Ideal, where on Friday nights local children could see silent films for a ha'penny (half a penny) and get a free mug of cocoa and a lump of bread and dripping after the movie.

The Mission also took the children, including Ronnie, on outings to the seaside and camping where paddling, donkey riding and eating ice creams was a fantastic treat for children who lived in the noisy dirty city of London between the wars. North Lambeth was crowded with potteries, breweries, railways and laundries, busy markets and bustling streets.

Ronnie was born and brought up in Lambeth.

His mother, from her maiden name of Lacastra, seems to have been of Spanish or other Mediterranean origin, possibly Sicilian. All we definitely know of her is that she worked as a waitress in a cafe on the Lambeth Road, just round the corner from where Ronnie was brought up. Ronnie's dad was a jazz musician in the 1920s who later had a number of small parts in both British and Hollywood films, called Harry Quashie. Harry was West African and owned cocoa plantations in Ghana but was travelling as a musician and a banjo player when he met Ronnie's mum.

It is a mystery what happened to Ronnie's mum. Ronnie had no contact with her or with his dad Harry when he was a child and lived with a local family who had the greengrocers shop, the Shiltons, at 5 China Walk. He always spoke of this family as his brothers and sisters. Much later, in the 1960s, he did meet up with Harry, his biological father.

Ronnie was in the army during the war and after being injured he was sent to convalesce on the South Coast. There he met and courted a local girl who was working as a cinema usherette. They married and had children. One of the children, Tracey, has her own children now who are also musical like their great-grandfather, Harry.

www.Lambethlandmark.com search words, Lambeth mission, China walk, Lambeth baths, Lambeth Road Global link ; Ghana