Back in the early 1980s, Wimbledon Community Centre was the highlight of my weekend! I would eagerly queue up for the jumble sales on a Saturday morning and buy loads of bric-à-brac for around 10 pence each. There were other jumble sales in and around Wimbledon, but the community centre one was ALWAYS my favourite.
From St. George’s Road, I’d walk through a set of blue doors to enter the building, and then another white door with a round glass window which led to the main room. To date, I can still picture that door clearly because the jumble sales queue started there. At 14 or 15 years old, I was into antiques, and would head straight to the bric-à-brac stall which was located by the stage and opposite the entrance door. Before getting to it, I’d have to pass the café, and the fully stacked bookshelf with notice ‘Take one, but please leave a donation,’ but it was always worth the wait because there were so many good quality items to choose from.
The community centre used to advertise all its jumble sales in the Wimbledon Guardian, and around 1981, I used to deliver thousands of papers for the local Guardian every Friday. As soon as I got hold of the massive bungles of papers to deliver, I would eagerly search for the jumble sale adverts in the events column. JUMBLE SALE. WIMBLEDON COMMUNITY CENTRE, ST. GEORGES ROAD, 11am, ADMISSION 20p (it might have been 10p.)
I would easily spend an hour or two in the Wimbledon Community Centre jumble sale, and then move onto the one at Drake House which started later in the afternoon at around 2pm. Local churches also had regular jumble sales back then. At these jumble sales, I would buy loads of bric-à-brac, cycle home with them on the back of my bike, restore them if necessary, and then sell them for huge amounts of money to the junk and antique shops around Wimbledon. Unfortunately, shops like these no longer exist.
One of my best finds came at a Wimbledon Community Centre jumble sale in 1982 when I bought an incredibly heavy 1930s Remington typewriter which was so heavy that I could hardly lift it. I strapped it to the back of my bicycle and eventually sold it to a local antique shop for £25 making a tidy profit on my 10p purchase.
I still have a lot of VERY fond memories from the Wimbledon Community Centre, so it will always be a treasured part of my teenage years. I am absolutely delighted to know that you (Wimbledon Community Association) ran the old community centre and thank you for inviting me to revisit these lovely memories.
Story submitted by Bond Wimbledon – connect with him on Twitter and Instagram.
If you have any memories of the Wimbledon Community Centre (also formerly known as the Sir Cyril Black Community Centre,) please get in touch. You can also click here to discover more stories and memories that have been shared about the former community centre and the charity behind it.
Wimbledon Community Association (WCA) #ConnectingPeoplePlacesPassions for 75 years