Bedford: Bowling club member Bob Corby compiles friends’ childhood memories in first book

L-R: Bob Corby (Author of The Kids in the Hood) and Geoff Trott (One of the kids in the hood and a close friend of Bob's). Photo: David Baylis
L-R: Bob Corby (Author of The Kids in the Hood) and Geoff Trott (One of the kids in the hood and a close friend of Bob's). Photo: David Baylis

A BEDFORD resident has captured his and his friends’ fondest childhood memories of growing up in the suburb in a book.

Bob Corby (72) launched his first book, The Kids in the ‘Hood at a book launch held at the Bedford Bowling Club on September 13, which was attended by club members, 14 contributors and Bayswater Deputy Mayor Chris Cornish.

The book is based on Mr Corby and his mates’ recounts of living in Bedford during the 50s and 60s.

According to the book’s preface, kids used to catch tadpoles at the Catherine Street Swamp which was transformed into the Bedford Bowling Club and Grand Promenade Reserve.

Their main social hub was the Grand Prom shops, which was located on the corner of Craven Street and Grand Promenade.

Shops included Purtell’s Chemist, a butcher, Godwin’s deli, Mrs Bagley’s newsagency and a fish and chip shop.

Mr Corby, who is a current club member, said the book was something he wanted to do for the community after he moved back to Bedford last year.

“After I moved back, the feeling of being ‘back home’ was palpable and then that led me to have the desire to contact all the mates I grew up with,” he said.

“A lot of this land here were swamps and bush – now that is a kids’ playground – especially when the swamps contain tadpoles and frogs that you can take home for your mother.

“When the wildflowers are in bloom, we’d pick armfuls of wildflowers to take home for our mothers.”

Mr Corby said the mates shared “common threads” including playing sport, travelling across Drummond Street unhindered by traffic, going to the civic theatre on Saturdays and building underground cubby houses.

He said they all related to feelings of love, nurture and freedom in their recounts.