Stan decided to start The Knowledge in the 1950s. Here is his story . . .
It was the first week of January 1957 and I had decided to do ‘The Knowledge’. I had found myself a partner who knew absolutely everything there was to know, or so I thought. He had all the runs copied out (by someone else) and a list of every point asked since 1645 AD.
[I] turned up at his parents flat in Downs Court, a block of flats overlooking the Pembury Circle. It was 7.30 am and I was riding my Rudge Whitworth bicycle that my Dad had bought me in 1949 in Club Row for a fiver.
His mother, answering the door told me that he was still in bed. From under the bedclothes he mumbled that it was too cold to get up. In disgust I took off on my own.
My knowledge of London was far less than nil. I had no idea that there was a Euston Station, a Marylebone or Cannon Street Stations, let alone Blackfriars, Charing Cross or London Bridge. Who could possibly want all those stations?
I cannot remember what sort of ‘run’ I was doing, but I found myself in Wilton Crescent leaning back on my bike and looking up at the church spire. It suddenly took on a wobbly shape and everything went black.
When I came too I realized that I had been ‘out’ for at least 30 minutes. and I was lying on top of my bike in the middle of the road. No one had come to my assistance.
With great difficulty I got to my feet and leaning on my bike (it was very difficult to walk), I trudged around up to Hyde Park Corner, and down into the subterranean toilets (they are probably not there now). The attendant there must have taken pity on me. I gave him the 3 pence (just over 1p today) for a standard wash and he gave me the de luxe treatment. Two wonderfully soft white towels, all the hot water I wanted, a face cloth and a bar of soap. That was the sixpence treatment.
After I had recovered somewhat I staggered across Knightsbridge (no underpass in those days and into ‘J. Lyons’ tea shop. I had a steaming hot cup of tea and a large sugar covered Chelsea Bun, it was delicious. So I had another and another.
I rode my bike home and the next day went out and got myself a job as a ‘top machiner’ in a sweat shop.
I restarted The Knowledge at the end of February – and yes passed, eventually.