Death of Forest Gate's Bryan Forbes (1926 - 2013)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Forest Gate-born Bryan Forbes pictured in 1950, 
revisiting his old secondary school, 
now Stratford School in Upton Lane

One of Forest Gate's most famous sons, Bryan Forbes, the dynamic actor, novelist  screen-writer, producer and director of films such as Whistle Down The Wind, The L-Shaped Room and The Stepford Wives has died aged 86.

The Times - usually a reliable source of information - in its obituary and report of 9 May mentioned only Stratford when describing the formative years of the multi-talented Mr Forbes. But from his birth (as John Theobald Clarke) in 1926 to his evacuation as a 13-year-old in 1939, he was brought up in a terraced house in Cranmer Road - one of several obliterated in the early days of the Blitz.

His grandparents lived in Odessa Road, and he was a pupil at Godwin Road Junior School from whence he won a scholarship to the former West Ham Secondary School - now Stratford School in Upton Lane.

Writing exclusively for the Forest Gate Times ('Bryan Forbes Remembers Forest Gate' September 2001) he recalled a happy and carefree childhood ("to me they will always be halcyon days") playing on the Flats, haunting the local fleapit, the Splendide Cinema in Forest Lane - formerly on a site now occupied by the Community School's new multi-coloured bar-code block - and spending his pocket money on bits of Meccano at Pattison's Toy Bazaar and Doll's Hospital opposite the station.

Pattison's Toy Bazaar and Doll's Hospital, 
opposite Forest Gate station, destination of much of 
Bryan Forbes's pocket money, as a youngster

We will return to his wonderful first-hand account of pre-war Forest Gate as soon as time allows.

Author: Lloyd Jeans

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