Paul Featherstone

Paul Featherstone and Kay Byefield, in the garden, Firhill Road, Bellingham, 1957

Growing up

"Bellingham has always been a small community. People tend to know the neighbours.

I used to have a friend opposite, well a family which were the Byefields, and I got to know Kay and we were great friends. I used to go over to her and we'd play together. The funny thing was, Kay never used to like dogs, when she was very, very young, and she somehow got me not to like dogs, don't ask me how, but it was a case of come in here quick, before the dog gets you!

I always had a good up bringing, always taught the rights from the wrong, always used to enjoy life to the full. I had loads of neighbours and loads of good friends, when you have good neighbours and good friends you don't have to worry about things."


May Day celebrations at Elfrida School, Bellingham, 1957

"This would be Elfrida School, it used to be the May Day celebration. We also used to celebrate Empire Day, and you used to have to draw your own flag, or draw a flag of another country relevant to the Empire. But for the May Day celebration there always used to be a dance.

I don't think I've ever seen the cane, I've had the ruler three or four times, but I always say, if you got the ruler, you must have deserved it, and that is it. So I made sure, I tried not to be naughty. In them days you always said "Sir", that was something I was always brought up to do, to respect your elders."

Family life

"When my dad came out of the army and had to come home, he wasn't sure where mum had moved. They'd got bombed out of Peckham, and he didn't really know the place, all he was told was it's a housing estate.


Albert Featherstone in army uniform, 1944

Well, it wasn't known as a housing estate then, it's an estate called Bellingham…that's all he was told. And my dad came onto Bellingham, and it's only because he noticed the green curtains and the china dog in the window that he found out where my actual family lived. He didn't know the address or the name of the road…but he found it!."

Free time

"Every single holiday I have had has been brilliant! As I got a bit older we started going to Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey. It used to be 66 Southbank.

We'd have a holiday in a holiday camp one week, and go to Leysdown for the second week. Whatever, I used to love it down there. My dad ended up buying it for £400 in all. It was actually very cheap when we bought it.

"We used to go to a club down there, and that's when I started to really entertain properly.

Inside the chalet, it wasn't nothing posh, it wasn't nothing fancy, because you didn't exactly spend your whole life there, but we had put furniture in and made it our own. But when you are on holiday, you don't spend much of your life in the place that you actually live 'cause you're out and about. And if you are anything like me, I was out more than in! We used to go every weekend in the summer, it used to be open right up to the end of September, October time."


Paul Featherstone pretending to push the car at chalet 66, leysdown, Isle of Sheppey, 1964

"For one of my Christmas presents, I had part of a drum kit bought for me. I came down one Christmas morning and went into the parlour room which was the front room, and thought right, "I'm going to have a good Christmas", 'cause I found a box with something in it and I thought "Oh I've got a game!" not thinking there was anything else.

There was another present there, and later on Dad said "Well didn't you see your present?" And I said "Yeah! Thanks for the game", and he said "Well no! Your other present! "

"Later on I did do a bit of drumming with friends in a skiffle band. I thought at the time that I might try singing or whatever, because it was just something that everyone done then, because rock and roll had started. And everyone wanted to be a rock and roller, no matter how young or old you was, everyone tried to be a rock and roll star!

My sister has always been a Cliff Richard fan. Well I suppose I grew up listening to Cliff Richard. But my first experience of Cliff Richard, I thought "Oh! What's this?" And what my brother used to call Cliff Richard, I can't mention here!"


Paul Featherstone, Bellingham, 1966

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