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Offline Ann

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Local memories
« on: June 01, 2002, 02:00:42 pm »
My parents came to Brookmans Park in 1951. We lived in the Gardens, on the corner, where the road 'rounds' into Westland Drive. There was a house being built, I can remember playing amongst the sand and bricks when the builders were not around. At the time Brookmans Park was still being developed. Westland Drive, on the right hand side of the road, only had a few bungalows; the remaining area was scrubland, where boys would play football during the summer months. There was also, as I remember, a large oak tree and a pond. Our garden backed onto this area and my father had a vegetable plot; as did other neighbours. That area is now taken up with beautifully kept gardens belonging to houses, which have been built since.  Some people will remember 'Merrylegs' the pony that was kept in the field, which is now a parade of shops next to Station Close. Over the other side of the road, which is now Green Close, there was also a field of horses.
I attended Brookmans Park Primary School, Mr Harris was the head master, Miss Roberts, Ms Raine, and Mrs mount were some of the teachers I remember. I have happy childhood memories of Brookmans Park. Although I now live in Potters Bar I visit my mother who still lives there.
Ann Gillard
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Re: Local memories
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2002, 02:29:42 pm »
Lovely stuff. Perhaps others with memories of Brookmans Park 50 years ago will add their recollections too.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2002, 10:40:22 am by admin »
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Offline jet

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Re: Local memories
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2002, 03:28:14 pm »
What a lovely memory, how idylic, you were fortunate to have had such nice times.
regards,
jet
« Last Edit: June 03, 2002, 10:40:48 am by admin »
 

Mary_Morgan

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Re: Local memories
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2002, 09:14:21 pm »
My parents moved to Brookmans Park in 1949 (having lived for a year or so before that in Hawkshead Lane), and I lived in Bluebridge Road, in the house immediately behind the lamppost in the first photograph in the series village tour - the first of the pair of ones made to look old.  I too went to the school, and remember the ones you mention, plus Mr Thomas and Mr and Mrs Clifford.  I also remember Doris the fish Stan Hart the butcher (they had to two shops that are now Alldays), Archie the sweetshop, his wife had the hairdressers next door, Tony Coombe the chemist, Perce at the station, Les Beechey the policeman, Dr Dwyer.  Before the school started having bonfires nights, Stan Hart used to arrange one round the back of his shop on the spare plot of land which is where Brian the mower's shop is now. Mrs Canham still ran Moffats Farm and Moffats Lane was a cart track.  The village green was full of rhododendron bushes, and the neat little was not there.  The United Reform Church was then a Congregational Church and housed is more or less a nissan hut/prefab.  Went to Sunday school and Brownie's there.   In the history section, Peter Kingsford's tale about Brookmans Park in the 50s is exactly how it was. One if his son's John was in my class at school.

We used to play in the woods where Chancellors now stands and Gobions as well, plus the woods between Brookmans Park and Water End.

Like a lot of people we bought a little black and white TV to watch the Coronation.   Shortly after that the Queen came to Potters Bar (and I think the Vet College -but that may be a false memory) and I have a photo of her car in Darkes Lane.  

I remember very nearly breaking my nose playing in the foundations of what is now Station Close, and I too remember Merrylegs in the field in the village.  I use to ride the ponies that were kept in the fields behind our house and belonged to friends of my parents.  

I remember going to a horse show/fete in the grounds of Hatfield House in 1957 that was opened jointly by the Queen Mother and Norman Wisdom.   There was a terrific thunderstorm.

School camp at Cuffley in 1959, I seem to remember getting into to trouble at that - I think it was something to do with being in the boy's tent!!   Still I left BP school that year.

I could go on for hours, but won't bore the rest of you.

Happy Days.

Regards
Mary
« Last Edit: June 03, 2002, 12:11:25 pm by admin »
 

Mary_Morgan

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Re: Local memories
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2002, 11:21:35 pm »
We can't be the only people who remember BP in the 50s. And what about some Coronation/50s memories from people who were in other places.  

Mary
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Offline James Bentall

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Re: Local memories
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2002, 01:35:33 am »
Can't help with the memories Mary - I'm afraid I was only 3 months old when the  silver jubilee was celebrated  :P

However, I do find what you wrote fascinating and not at all boring! If you have any other memories etc to share, have you thought about compiling them and adding them to the site as a feature in the history section?

James
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Re: Local memories
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2002, 10:20:01 am »
Thanks for these contributions. Both, Ann's and Mary's now form part of this site's history section. More contributions welcome. Local historian Peter Kingsford has contributed a piece about life in Brookmans Park in the 1950s which is published on this site .  It has been reproduced below.

Brookmans Park in the 1950s - by local historian and author Peter Kingsford

Just over 40 years ago, one got off one's bike and pushed it up Moffats Lane.  It was impossible to ride up for the Lane was a farm road, an unmetalled country lane with the north side lined with 1930s houses and the south side, farm land.

When you reached the top, Moffats Farm was a working farm, though a small one, run by old Mr and Mrs Canham.  The farmhouse itself was not, needless to say, as spick and span as it is today.  It had stood there for 500 years.

On the opposite corner stood a larger Edwardian house behind a high wall, now gone.

Apart from Moffats, where the Colonel and his family lived, there were no more houses until you reached the metalled lane.

On the right-hand side, an old lane led down hill to the old disused sewage plant, where boys used to explore.  This was before the Parish Council bought Gobions Open Space and the whole area was wild and adventuresome.

The top end of Moffats Lane had a number of building plots.  The Close and Moffats Close had not been built.  It was all much more open and the views eastwards to the hills were extensive.  Mymms Drive, at the junction with Moffats Lane was open ground.

There were few cars about, I did not have one myself.  Every morning I used to cycle through Welham Green, down Dixons Hill Road to the traffic lights at the bottom and go up the A1 to Hatfield Technical College, which I helped Dr Chapman to open in 1952.

Children walked or cycled to the Primary School, unlike the practice now.   The school, opened only the year earlier, was presided over by the Welsh Mr Harris ("Harry Boy") who believed in the cane for small children.  But there were some excellent teachers there, notably Miss Raine, and most of the parents got what they wanted, success in the 11+ examination.

Shopping was too, of course, on foot or bike.  A high proportion of people shopped in Bradmore Green, for there were no supermarkets.  WJ Duncum, the gaunt, energetic butcher, ran his shop very efficiently.  He also taught Institute of Meat students at the Technical College.

Bread was to be had at Harman's the Bakers, now Jan's Pantry.  Plenty of fish was available in Linton's shop near the present pharmacy.  Groceries were bought in Moon's shop where the insurance business recently was.  The pharmacy stood where it stands now, under Mr Coombes senior, as did the Spenholme's greengrocery.   Thus all the basic needs could be met on Bradmore Green.

Anyone who fancied a light lunch could enjoy it in the cafe run by two Scots ladies, where you can now get a Chinese take away.  Or you could get a good cup of coffee there while you were waiting for the laundrette, a few yards away, to finish its work.

In any case there was nowhere else, for Brookmans Park Hotel hardly justified the name of a hotel.  The public bar, now transformed into a comfortable place for good fare, was a noisome, dark, dingy den where the main attraction was the darts board.

If you were a full time housewife, and most married women were then, you could get your hair done at Irene's and if you wanted some haberdashery, it was available from Mrs Jennings at the Wool Shop.  You could get the children's shoes at the shoe shop and their clothing, more formal then, at the men's outfitter.  Shoes, which were more repairable then, could be soled and heeled on the spot next door, and that went for the adults too.  The men, before the days of DIY, went to Tycon's hardware shop and to the electrical shop where the Raj Tandoori now stands.

Newspapers were delivered by Saxby's where stamps, etc were also sold.   The County Library was also there, but if you needed cash from the bank you had to go elsewhere.  If you wanted to move, there was only one estate agent in the hut on the green; the spread of 'house for sale' signs and the proliferation of agents was to be in the future.  

Bradmore Green was a better, more varied shopping centre then than now.

If you felt ill, it required only a short wait in Dr Dwyers's little waiting room at the side entrance to his house in Brookmans Avenue for him to give you a prescription and some sound advice.  Higher up the Avenue was Dr Royston.   Although a consultant at Barnet Hospital, he would come via Dr Dwyer in an emergency, a service for which I was grateful.

Altogether, Brookmans Park was a quieter and pleasanter place to live in than now.  There was more open space, fewer cars, no school traffic rush hour, nor a commuter one, public transport was adequate, and the shopping more varied.  

Employment was more secure, 'house for sale' rarely appeared, and burglary was almost unknown.

The churches were fuller and Brookmans Park had its own chapel, though the Roman Catholics had no church.  One can look back on it with pleasure and regret.

Peter Kingsford
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Re: Local memories
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2002, 09:41:16 am »
Ann Gillard, formerly Bush, has submitted more memories of life in Brookmans Park 50 years ago. They have been added to her contribution in this site's history section but are also reproduced below...

Days gone by – by Ann Gillard (formerly Bush)

In the 50s and early 60s, the village shops provided local people with most of their provisions and were all within walking distance.  There were not as many cars as today and no supermarkets.

My mother put her weekly grocery order with Rawlings, which is now Statons Estate Agents. Food was bought each day as my parents only had a pantry and did not own a fridge or a freezer.  Eggs were delivered each week from Moffats Farm; the house remains to this day.

Almost opposite the farm were fields, which extended down to Bluebridge Road. There formed some 17 acres of grazing land in which I kept my pony and one two occasions it got out along with others. My father had to reimburse someone in Moffats Lane for the damage it did, trampling their garden. The second occasion I caught my pony briefly with my school tie but it managed to escape again. When I arrived at school I was asked where my tie was, I replied "Round my pony's neck" and was given an order mark for insubordination.

We did not have central heating, only a coal fire; coal was delivered and kept in a brick coalbunker at the side of the house. On cold winter mornings your breath came out like jets of steam as you pulled back the bedcovers and ran to turn on the two bar electric fire to dress by. Condensation would drip down the windowpane. My mother had a never-ending battle to keep the windowsills dry.

When I left Brookmans Park Primary School, I had a bus ride to my next school, in Potters Bar because there was no car to take me. If you went by train, it was a steam train which bellowed out thick black smoke. My mother complained bitterly about the dirt these trains created, especially as we were a 'stones throw' from the railway line.

Entertainment was mostly games invented. Although card and board games such as Monopoly were popular, as were roller-skating, hula hoops and jacks. Ball games were played in the road, and inevitably ended up in someone’s prize garden.

On the radio I enjoyed 'Listen with Mother' and 'Children’s Favourites', on Saturday mornings with Uncle Mac as he was called. We had no television because my father insisted it killed conversation.

I had a record player later on in my childhood. It was a box like device, which played six 45 RPM vinyl records, and dropped them one after the other on to the turntable. Records and artists I remember singing along to were The Shadows, Cliff Richard, The Everley Brothers, Adam Faith, Elvis Presley and many others.

As I got older I went to the cinema and remember queuing to see Cliff Richard in Summer Holiday and The Young Ones at the Ritz in Potters Bar, which is now a bedding shop in Darkes Lane.

I remember when I was about eight or nine years of age, a girl some five or six years older than me decided to raise money for the RSPCA (we were both members).  The idea was to put on a 'show' in her garden and involve the local neighbourhood children. The show comprised of song and dance routines. My father devised a magic trick, which involved coloured water dyes obtained from his place of work (ICC). This went down very well with everyone including the adults. As well as an admission fee this girl also came up with the idea of us bringing our pets, putting them in secure pens and charging people to see them. Her father, who had tolerated his garden being used for this occasion, was incensed to hear his daughter ask a further six pence to watch the rabbits mate.
 
Any younger readers of this account will one day look back and reflect on their own 'Days gone By' I hope so!

Ann Gillard ( formerly Bush)
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Balor

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Re: Local memories
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2002, 12:11:56 am »
Peter Kingsford's recollections of Moffats Lane elicited the memory that it was not the only unmetalled road in Brookmans Park. Peplins Way was also in an atrocious condition in the 50s. I and probably many of my friends who lived in that area will bear witness to numerous scrapes and gashes caused by falls whilst trying to master the art of cycling!


 

Retriever

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Re: Local memories
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2003, 10:45:52 pm »

I found your excellent site recently and the memories came flooding back. I went to the Primary School around 1952-58 when it was run by Mr Harris. This was in the days of corporal punishment and I suffered the cane (on the hand I remember) and no doubt richly deserved it. :'(  I was not traumatised and appear to have suffered no long term distress. I remember Mr Harris as a firm fair headmaster who towered above me (I was 5 or so) who at one stage congratulated me on what was probably a fairly average performance as “The Mad Hatter” in the school hall. In fact it added to my street cred to have been caned. I recall two teachers Mr Clifford and Miss Raine. I was at the school when the fund raising for the pool was happening and went from there to Hertford Grammar.

I had many happy hours in Gobions Wood playing alone (and safely) only going home for tea.  ;D My mother did not worry and the only fear was having to face her soaking wet with boots full of water and covered in mud. The Lower Woods were considered spooky (and patrolled by “The Swanley Bar Gang”) and we rarely went there except when armed with catapults and home made bows and arrows. I even went ice skating one year on the upper lake (Gobions Pond). I lived in The Grove (backing directly onto the woods) when there were only few houses at the end of the road toward the Great North Road. I remember Moffats Lane as an unmetalled road and cycled to school on a tricycle(no people carriers full of children then). The road to the golf club was narrow and you could walk through woods toward the present site of the ”secondary school” by Pine Grove. My mother regularly had tea in the café( Pantry)on the green and I spent my free time watching steam trains (A4 Pacifics) thunder to the North. I remember the sweet shop run by Mr. Copeman who used to take me and others to watch Barnet play football( a real treat). The Bloxham's latterly ran the newsagent/post office and the barber was next door. Brookmans Park Motors were in the village then. I had my first pint of "brown and mild" in the Brookmans Park Hotel and I was only 16!!!!!   We used to cycle our bikes to go swimming at "The Water Splash" in London Colney. The youth club was in the church hall in Moffats Lane(Beatles in those days)
I have been back and actually stayed in the Hotel in 1993. Did I notice any changes....Oh yes.
We moved away in the late sixties (my parents are both deceased) and I followed a career in aviation. I retire at the end of this month and hope to improve my golf handicap below the present 9....perhaps a game at Brookmans Park GC, I haven't played there since the early sixties. I live in Cornwall with my wife....have two grown up daughters ....all have seen where I grew up. There are probably more memories somewhere out there but I would be intrigued if anyone remembers me (I would also be amazed)

Hope I haven't rambled on too much but it has certainly woken the past.

;D ;D ;D

Colin Hawksworth


 

Mary_Morgan

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Re: Local memories
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2003, 10:10:51 pm »
Colin

I remember you with great fondness (not for publication on this forum), and I still know a few others who do too.   Not quite sure how, but knew you were at RNASC.  

Spent quite a bit of time in Cornwall myself in the 70s, and have plenty of friends and relatives there.  Not been there for a few years though.

Currently live in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.  If you ever want to improve your handicap at the home of the Dubai Desert Classic, it is only an hour and a bit up the road.

Will write you a private email in a day or so.

Best regards
Mary
 

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Re: Local memories
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2003, 10:16:42 pm »
Colin,

Just in case you didn't spot them, here are two memories of life in Brookmans Park, about the time you refer to. The first is by Mary, who just posted above.

Click here to read Mary's Jubilee memories
.

The other was written by Ann Gillard (formerly Bush), about the same time.

Click here to read Ann's memories..

Are you happy if I add yours to the history section too?

David Brewer
« Last Edit: October 10, 2003, 10:22:58 pm by admin »
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Retriever

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Re: Local memories
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2003, 11:37:08 pm »
For David.... please add my contribution. I am just tickled pink  ;D  that people might remember me and am now actively trying to recall further memories of people and events so I can contribute a little more.
I live in Helston, Cornwall now and some might recall the town as being the home of the Floral Dance.

I am away this weekend but should be back online Tuesday.

For Mary...I look forward to hearing from you.  :)

Colin
 

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Re: Local memories
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2003, 10:44:43 am »
Colin,
I have added your contribution to the Jubilee Memories series, which features the contributions by Ann Gillard (Bush), Mary Morgan, and Peter Kingsford.
Click here to see the page.
Several of the places you mentioned are featured in the book North Mymms Pictures From The Past.
All 130 images from the 12 chapter book are on this site.
Click here to read North Mymms Pictures From The Past.
If anyone else wants to contribute to this series, please post a note in this thread.
Note: Also worth reading is an earlier thread running in the forum's history section about Jubilee Memories.
Click here to read that thread.
Thanks
David Brewer
« Last Edit: October 11, 2003, 10:53:51 am by admin »
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Offline Ann

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Re: Local memories
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2003, 11:56:41 pm »
I read with interest your account of B.P I also recall from the Primary School Mr Harris and Miss Raine, also Mr Copeman who ran the sweet shop.
I did attend the youth club in Moffats lane a few times, but fequented the one at the top of Oaklands Avenue.
Although I do not remember you, perhaps you can remember my cousin Christine Griffiths who attended the primary school.
It is great to hear from people who have memories of B.P in the 50s and 60s
All the best

Ann
 

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Re: Local memories
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2003, 03:36:24 pm »
More Fond Memories

I too must praise your web site, especially the hard work put in by Peter Kingsford on the history site. The articles by Colin and Mary I found very interesting as we are of the same age. I am also fascinated with the stories about Gobions Woods, where the majority of my spare time was spent. I am so pleased that some one has preserved it, because it is truly a unique place. I have been fascinated to read about the history of the area and now regret the damage I must have caused when we played some wild games there. I have printed out all the history additions on the web site and my brother Philip and I have pawed over them many times. We are always planning to return to explore the Woods again, but have never made it. He’s busy selling ventilation systems and I go to sea for a living.  

We left BP in ‘71 when my Dad retired. We moved to the Southampton area. I returned to the woods in the mid 80’s, but by then, storm damage had fell many trees and had completely changed the footpaths in the woods. I remember my brother drew a map of the area and he took it to school. Mr Harris, the Headmaster, was furious that he had been “playing in another mans garden”, but he would not reprimand him any more because we were towns people that did not know any better. We had moved from Woolwhich to BP in 1954 to a house in Bluebridge Road. It cost Ł3400, and was just a couple of doors up from Mary’s.

Before BP we lived at Erith just outside of Woolwhich. I remember the death of the King. I came home from school and mother usually had the news on the radio, but it was all very sombre music and she kept saying “Isn’t it sad the King has died and she’s so young.”
We had a street party for the Coronation and people in the street using a lorry as a temporary stage put on a show. A trip to London to see the lights and of course the usual Coronation Mug and Money Box.

Brookmans Park to us was all open spaces. Phil had a bike and I was so small I got around on a scooter. My brother pedalled off and I followed until we eventually ended up south of Potters Bar on the Mainline Railway where they were boring two new tunnels. I remember the site as all yellow clay and a miniature train went in and out off the tunnels returning with the spoil. Several hours later we returned home to two very irate parents.

I think this started a love affair with the railway. I got 2/6d pocket money and that was the return fare to Kings Cross. We would take the trip to London, passing all the shunting yards at Wood Green and Hornsey. There would be line upon line of engines with their doors open and men cleaning them out. The next line would be engines being fired up to make steam. The smoke would be so full of moisture it would fall to the ground and creep along. Plumes of steam were released from around the oily engines with aggressive hisses. The men would be covered in grime as they toiled with ash, grease and steam. This whole picture was so exciting to boys that were not interested in reading, but wanted desperately to be part of that picture. At Kings Cross we would go down to Euston Station to see engines from another region. Once when we were loaded with money. We got the train to St. Albans and then home by the 303 bus.
I saw nearly all the A4 Pacifics. Steam was King and held an unrivalled passion. Mothers could not understand the importance of A3’s, and the Double Header of two L1’s that drew the rush hour express from Kings Cross. I met my Father off this train one day and carried his briefcase to the Brookmans Park Hotel. Lots of commuters had a swift half on their way home. On one particular occasion the Hotel had its first carpet laid in the lounge bar. All the Dads took their shoes off at the door. The last time I was there it was the same carpet.
 Not long after that we went to a Social Night at the Hotel to celebrate the departure of my brothers best friend Peter Lewis emigrating with his family to Australia. They lived up Bluebridge Avenue.  
When they built those houses, what a playground they were. There can’t be a patch of concrete with out a small boys fingerprint in it.

I do not recall the woods as a safe place to play. The lower woods had active swallow holes, a derelict Sewerage Farm and an unguarded well. In the popular areas, the hands of many small boys had polished the branches of the trees. Add to this, air rifles, cigarettes, fireworks, father’s axe, gang warfare and films like Davy Croquet, Dunkirk and The Dambusters. A good read was the Hotspur or the Eagle. By the time any boy got to the woods he was a powder keg of unexploded mischief. The fuse was no parental control.  
I had a fantastic childhood?

I too remember Moffats Lane as an unmetalled road. I can recall when the field to the south was cleared ready for building. There were several freestanding oak trees that had to be up-rooted. I can remember playing in the fallen trees and jumping down into the huge craters that were left by the roots. The smell of oak sap was over-powering. One of the trees was near a pond and it flooded into the root bowl making the pond even bigger. My brother and a friend found an old bath and tried to paddle it across. It capsized and cooled their adventure. At the most southerly end were some old chicken coops, which were ideal for hiding in, and trying your first cigarette.

There was also a huge beech tree in the village centre, but it was too near to the road and when it was chopped down in about ‘57 I got my photo taken and it appeared in the Herts Advertiser.  
That was the year of the 11+ and true to form I failed. My parents wondered how I had caught Autism, but rallied round and brought me a school uniform for St. Audrey’s in Hatfield. No local secondary then. We would all hang around the village waiting for the bus every morning. The school was brand new in ‘58 and I now hear that it has been pulled down.

I did a paper round for Mr. Saxby. I started with Westlands Drive for 7/6d a week. By the time the Bloxhams arrived I was on the even numbers of Brookmans Avenue on 10/- a week. A weekend paper now costs more than I got in a week.

The big freeze of ‘62, ‘63 was followed by the big thaw and I remember going up to Gobions Lake and the banks were littered with hundreds of dead Mirror Carp, some as big as 12 or 15 lbs. We never realised the lake held so many fish.

We only stayed in Southampton for a year and then we all returned to our roots, Hull. Its just been voted the worst city in Great Britain. I cannot agree. I love the place, but my fondest memories are my childhood days in Brookmans Park.

If you have not surrendered yet, you are definitely getting old.


Regards Trevor Alcock.

 

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Re: Local memories
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2003, 03:43:42 pm »
Trevor Alcock has given his permission for this memory to be added to the history section's collection of jubilee memories. The full list now includes ...


... if anyone else has any memories of this period, or any other period, please add them to this thread.
David Brewer
« Last Edit: October 18, 2003, 04:00:30 pm by admin »
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Re: Local memories
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2005, 08:47:09 pm »
Seeing the names Colin Hawkesworth and Trevor Alcock has the effect of wiping away the intervening years and I'm back in the seeming perpetual summertime of my youth. I too was amongst the first intake at BPCP under Mr Harris. Mrs Clifford was my teacher and I often wonder what has become of my fellow classmates. We used to live in Moffats Lane and did so until early 1968, and inevitably used the BP Hotel to exhaustion! In those days mine hosts were Denis and Edna.
I would be delighted to hear from anyone who may remember me.

Doug Hitchman.
 

jfarlie

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Re: Local memories
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2005, 07:40:33 pm »
Ive lived in Welham Green for just 17 years and love this area, so it was uplifting to read that you had spent time in Erith where I was born in Northumberland Heath, which I'm sure you remember. ;)
 

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