Montie Garrard, Kirkdale

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Montie Garrard, Kirkdale

Postby Brannan » 19 Jan 2018 14:40

Does anyone know anything about a man called Montie Garrard who had a shop on Kirkdale during the war? He sold various things including musical instruments and he was an organist. He was a good friend of my Dad although somewhat older so he clearly must have died some time ago, but I would like to learn more about him as he sounds quite a character. From James Brannan
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Re: Montie Garrard, Kirkdale

Postby Tim Locke » 5 May 2018 10:36

I have just spotted your post when googling Monty Garrard! I grew up in Sydenham (the odd-looking house at 2 Charlecote Grove) and wrote an article for Hidden Europe magazine back in 2008 about living in the shadow of the Crystal Palace, long after the building had burned down. In it I mentioned Monty, who I never met – but my father told me about his music shop in Kirkdale, and I had a chat with Nobby the barber (who worked round the corner in Dartmouth Road and used to shave Monty) about him. So all the evidence I have is hearsay.

They told me his shop existed in the 1950s and was full of tatty sheet music, but was reluctant to let anyone come inside. Its windows were covered with anti-Winston Churchill messages (I’ve found a reference on the internet that he was a dedicated pacifist, so maybe that explains it). Nobby recalled there was a tiny tin violin in the window with the ludicrously high price tag of £100. There was an organ (a church organ, I think) installed in his shop and sometimes the door would be open and organ music drifted across the street. They said he was the last organist at the Crystal Palace and when the Palace burned down in 1936 it broke his heart and he was never the same again. I would love to know if anyone has any information about that story.

A few years ago an author called Tom Brown contacted me saying he had read my article on the Crystal Palace and had picked up the Monty Garrard name, and made him into a character into his fantasy time-travel novel called Strange Air, about the Crystal Palace atmospheric railway! The book is a splendid read (it’s a bit like Doctor Who in concept). My article on the Crystal Palace can be freely downloaded as a pdf from my website: http://www.timlocke.co.uk/portfolio/projects/hidden-europe-magazine-a-london-ghost-crystal-palace/
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Re: Montie Garrard, Kirkdale

Postby milton » 16 May 2018 18:40

I knew this chap when I lived nearby in the 1950s/early sixties. His shop was like a film set of musty dusty stuff that never seemed to change. How he paid his way I have no idea.

You are correct about him being the organist at CP and I recall the organ pipes at the back of the shop although I can't recall them being played. Evidently he used to stand outside the Woodman or Bouchers stores in the middle of the road and ring in the New Year on handbells.
To my memory the shop was always open, but uninviting, I know I ventured in a couple of times, as a lad, stood there looked around and never saw Monty come out.
Interior was a cross between the old curiosity shop and Miss Haversham.

Back then the whole of Kirkdale from Dartmouth road to Jews Walk was a wonderful range of shops off all kinds. Not one chicken takeaway.Even a 24hr launderette, although who did washing at 3am is a puzzle.
I wondered for years what a 'Turf Accountant was', that was next to the baker, nearby was a mysterious door with a glass panel above and 'Kirkdale Club' written on it. I presume some kind of drinking den on the lines of Arthur Daleys Winchester club.
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