1966 and all that -the Demolition of Walmer Road

1966 and all that – The Demolition of Walmer Road

Foreword

The West Cross Route was first mooted in the 1950s as part of a projected vital major arterial road into central London from the west. The main artery was to be a four lane dual carriageway extension of the A40  beginning where the Westway (itself an 800yd extension of the A40) met Wood Lane and ending by merging into the start of the  Marylebone Road in Paddington. The road would be elevated to carry it above existing buildings so as to keep demolition of such property to a minimum. This objective was generally achieved throughout its 4 mile length through the capital except in the area of Notting Dale around Walmer Road which was to be the site of the first of two access points along its route, the other being at Paddington where the Harrow Road would join it. At the first access point a new roundabout sited below the new road was necessary to facilitate vehicular access. As this roundabout was below the road a huge demolition program was required to accommodate it which would decimate a large and densely populated part of Notting Dale completely destroying the community resident there. The roundabout was sited broadly in a square area bounded by Oldham Road to the west, Silchester Mews to the east, Walmer Road to the north and Silchester Road to the south. All these roads would disappear at least in part along with sections of Blechydon Street whilst Calverley Street, situated between Oldham Road and Silchester Mews, Silchester Terrace and Latimer Mews would disappear completely – in short an entire area and its community.   Walmer Road was somewhat unique in that only the south side (nos 2-128) was to be demolished along with part of the north side (nos 3-49 and 103-121) leaving isolated in the middle almost an island of three blocks of the north side (nos 51-101) which would remain quite literally in the shadow of the elevated dual carriageway above. (See maps at foot of page)

 Although in the Royal Borough, this part of Notting Dale was designated in Charles Booth’s 1902 survey as amongst London’s poorest and had long been perceived by Kensington council as a blot on the local landscape. Already characterised as the centre of the infamous race riots of 1958, the horrific murders in nearby Rillington Place a couple of years earlier, along with a more recent shotgun killing in Walmer Road, its houses were in poor repair without inside sanitation or hot water.  It’s little wonder they viewed the construction of the West Cross Route as an ideal moment for some opportunist slum clearance though how much thought was given at the time to the fate of its occupants is extremely debatable. It may be worth noting that at this roundabout an exit was planned (and built and the spur still exists today) for a further dual carriageway to strike out northeastward to join the foot of the M1. This plan was floored by objections from residents of the adjoining St. Quintins Estate and others, though it seems the same amount of consideration was not afforded the residents of the aforementioned streets of Notting Dale which were demolished leaving a community in tatters. A perfectly feasible alternative site for the roundabout existed only c.250 yards to the south west on the west side of Latimer Road on open Council owned land used at the time for, amongst other things, training learner motor cyclists. I trained there myself in July/August 1964. So it seems certain that ‘slum clearance’ was the prime motivation.

I lived at no.77 Walmer Road in the centre of the ‘island’ described above and below is my recollection of the demolition that wrecked a community.
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I was 17 when demolition began in spring 1966 continuing through summer of that year and was carried out by Johnnie Corney, a local jack the lad in his late 20s who fancied himself as the Notting Hill representative of Sinatra’s New York Rat Pack. His demolition business had been created in the 1950s by his father, Jimmy, a quiet reserved man and carried on later by Johnnie who had dropped lucky with this large contract and did very well financially out of it enabling him to further advance his playboy ambitions. I found him a likeable ‘flash ‘arry’.

In the aftermath of the W
W2 there had been a need for demolition companies across London which had been left with hundreds of uncleared bomb sites serving as makeshift playgrounds for local children including a belter between Walmer and Silchester Roads where I ‘fought’ many ‘wars’ as a youngster. They were also used as unofficial dumps and I would remove old radios and TVs dumped there and strip them of the copper wire which I sold to one of the several scrap metal dealers in the area.
Thus these new demolition companies sprang up, usually created by people with rougher edges and a blue collar background.  No exception were the Corney family who I knew quite well as I had gone out with Johnnie’s younger sister Brenda for a while and was also friends with Johnny Fletcher who married Johnnie Corney’s other sister Sylvia. The demolition required the removal of the rubble, designated as ‘hard core’, which was taken to nearby sites where new building work was going on and used as a base for foundations. This hard core removal was carried out by individual owner-drivers of tipper lorries who would receive payment for it from the building companies as well as receiving cash from Johnnie for removing it.   All of these drivers were locals known to Johnnie. I knew most of these people as well including Jimmy Smith, father of my good friend Roy and Jackie Vass, later a publican in Acton. The demolition work brought a welcome injection of ‘fresh’ (cash) and we often all socialised together, young and old as was the tradition then.  We used mainly the ‘Latymer Arms’ on the corner of Latimer Road and Walmer Road or the ‘Kenilworth Castle’ on St. Anns Road. Both had music or entertainment at weekends usually in the form of a pianist and drummer accompanied by the local Sinatra/Bennett/Martin/ wannabes, many of whom were good singers including Johnny Fletcher and particularly his older brother Alfie  who always sang ‘Passing Strangers’ with his wife, Connie a la Eckstein and Vaughan. In the Latymer, Danny MacDermott’s father would always play the spoons if there was a shortage of singers. Another entertaining singer in the Kenilworth was a guy who didn’t seem quite the full ticket and he used to do ‘Autumn Leaves’ whilst crushing Smiths crisps in his hand held above his head allowing them to cascade all over his suit. Another night he did ‘The Ghost Riders in the Sky’ and in the middle produced a gun which he fired at the ceiling as everyone dived for cover – fortunately it was a starting pistol though with this particular individual you couldn’t afford to take the chance. Dull it wasn’t.

My Mother was always tickled pink by Corney as he turned up for work every day wearing a suit, fresh white shirt, ostentatious cufflinks, tie and polished shoes you could see your face in.  Frank would have been impressed.  Off would come the jacket revealing thin red braces (always thin) and work would commence on the demolition. She was less tickled with the consequences of the demolition, actioned by smashing a huge steel ball against the masonry (no science degree needed here), resulting in a constant stream of dirt, dust and filth raining down on the remaining three blocks on Walmer Road causing unimaginable mess and making her job of keeping things clean completely impossible. This continued day in day out, week in week out making everyday life, which had never been exactly a picnic in this neck of the woods, difficult. To be honest as a youth I didn’t take too much notice and along with everyone else just got on with things – I had a new job and a very busy social life to get on with and the young are adaptable and can take adversity in their stride and you got plenty of practice at that living in Walmer Road!   

There were other unwelcome consequences; in common with any large city there had always been a healthy population of rats however the demolition rendered a large number homeless and they naturally moved to the remaining three blocks still standing. One morning my father nearly stepped on one that was sitting on the stairs as he came down. He whipped off his slipper and tried to clump it but it soon made good its escape through a small gap in the door to the understairs cupboard. Inside it we soon discovered they had eaten a large hole in the lathe and plaster about 2ft 6
square so they could get about freely – they had made a West Cross Route of their own!  On another occasion my mother went to get coal from the bunker in the back yard and as she pushed the shovel into the trap door at the bottom a rat ran out through the trap door and over the shovel – I don’t know who was more surprised, her or the rat – it was certainly arguable who ran the faster.  I think the Pied Piper would have thought twice about accepting this contract. We had a Persian cat Rupert who did his best but was badly outnumbered.
Against this backdrop work progressed until finally the whole area was gone and we were left looking at an empty space where our neighbours and friends had lived. Also gone was the (Silchester) mews opposite where daily the totters would stable their horses.   It now began to dawn just how close this new road with its constant thundering traffic would be. We could nearly touch it.  Up until then I didn’t even know its route but by now to continue to live there was looking to be something way beyond the austerity or harsh conditions we could all do standing on our heads.

 For my mother I think the most difficult cross to bear was the loss of many good neighbours who over decades had become firm friends upon whom you could rely. People such as Albert ‘Bertie’ Read at no.64, an ex Japanese P.O.W who suffered terribly at their hands whilst being forced to work on the bridge over the River Kwai. He later became the Kwai P.O.W’s representative appearing on television to highlight their plight. Then Bill Burrows at no 73, a kindly surgical instrument maker who repaired everyones watches in the evenings for nothing. Opposite was Johnny Neal who gave me a ten bob note when as a lad I found his driving licence lying in the road. At 91 was toolmaker Harry Bracher, newly married to Pat Wright who would take me fishing every Sunday in his Ford Consul after first picking up his younger brother Alan at 13 Silchester Terrace.  And many other kind, helpful neighbours too numerous to mention.

 I think it was easier for me being younger and having a wide circle of friends spread around other parts of west London – I had after all gone to school in Chelsea and made many friends from that neck of the woods. Also I was working in Blackfriars and making new friends there however I still lost a lot of good friends overnight who I had grown up with.

 There were to be other ramifications that would soon manifest themselves; with their core customer base summarily removed remaining local businesses in the immediate vicinity soon felt the pinch and began to flounder. Erstwhile busy local pubs once the
social hub followed suit – the ‘York’ quickly closed allowing the nearby ‘Notting Barn’ to soldier on for a few more years. The ‘Prince of Wales (aka The Feathers’) and The Black Bull both on Silchester Road  had already fallen to Mr Corneys steel ball. The Harrow Club, up until then a very popular boys sports club lost several key members heralding a change in its status towards a unisex youth club.

There were other interesting businesses that fell to the demolition: Tommy Lane at 71 Silchester Road had long been the ‘go-to’ man in the area for bike repairs – operating from a small overcrowded shop he was a rather frail looking man who suffered badly from deafness. He was quick to help anyone and there wasn’t anything on a bike he couldn’t fix – and all done for buttons. Then there was car breaker Fred Hannington whose yard was opposite me on the corner of Silchester Mews and Walmer Road, – a quiet man who broke almost exclusively Rolls Royces and customers would come from far and wide for parts.  I watched him build himself a wooden horsebox body on the back of a Rolls chassis and made a lovely job.  I think someone bought it from him and so he just built himself another. I thought he was very talented.   One day a well spoken young man looking lost (and slightly worried having arrived in Walmer Road) stopped outside my house in a lovely old yellow and black 1925 Doctors Coupe and asked me where Hannington’s yard was (there was no sign though he was nearly within touching distance) – so not getting too many opportunities to ride in a Rolls Royce, I said let me get in and I’ll show you. I took him up Walmer Road and into St.Helens Gardens left into Oxford Gardens, to the bottom then left into Latimer Road and left back into Walmer Road and back to my house Realising he was back where he started he exclaimed ‘but where’s Hannington’s Yard!’ – I just pointed opposite. He paused for a moment before seeing the funny side of being, quite literally ‘taken for a ride’. At number 5 Walmer Road there was Tiddy Maybank the greyhound owning newsagent who never missed a meeting at White City unless he was (seriously) ill. This shop was never empty, it was either busy, very busy or ‘we need more staff’. With the impending demolition of his business premises and  house (he lived at no.18) he moved to Sudbury taking a kiosk outside Sudbury tube station where he traded for many years. Next door to Maybanks’ was Morrissons the dairy and opposite was a  butcher and next door a grocers. Further along the north side were Ivy Kirkum’s sweet shop the outside guarded by Bill Kirkum’s Bull Mastiff – it was quite busy allowing Bill to buy a Vauxhall Cresta which helped the image he liked to project as a middle aged playboy.  All the aforementioned lost there businesses along with the cafe in Calverly Street and Sylvesters Fish and Chip shop in Silchester Road.  These are the ones I remember. Apologies to those I have missed.


With the demolition completed my Mother took stock and quickly realised that with the spectre of 24/7 noise and dirt from the soon to be built road, moving was the only answer. We moved to a rented house in Staines in April 1967.

Although Walmer Road may have been a rough tough area viewed by outsiders as a ‘no-go’ area, the majority of residents were decent hard working people doing their best in spartan conditions.  Whilst there can be no denying the area had a (very) hard edge

and a seamier side there was also humour,warmth, neighbourliness and a real working class spirit coupled, generally, to a strong work ethic. There was something of an unspoken ‘we’re all in it together’ feel and in searching for a suitable one-liner to describe life in 1950s/60s W.10 I can do no better than borrow former ‘Who’ manager Pete Meadon’s characterisation of the Mod movement of that era ‘Clean living under difficult circumstances’  – a perfect mantra for life in Notting Dale.

To conclude, the West Cross route may have ripped the heart from Notting Dale destroying a vibrant, lively and interesting area but it couldn’t destroy its spirit which lives on today in the hearts and minds of its far flung ex-residents
John Henwood, January 2013
09/01/2013
showing the Walmer Road area before the demolition

showing the Walmer Road area before the demolition

Walmer Road area in 1969 after demolition and building of new road

Walmer Road area in 1969 after demolition and building of new road

looking eastward along Walmer Road from the junction with Pamber Street showing the three remaining blocks facing the new road. No77 is one from the far end of the middle block. Bill Kirkhams Vauxhall Cresta is the 3rd car on the left close to the junction with Aldermaston Street

looking eastward along Walmer Road from the junction with Pamber Street showing the three remaining blocks facing the new road.The authors house, No77 is one from the far end of the middle block. Bill Kirkhams Vauxhall Cresta is the 3rd car on the left close to the junction with Aldermaston Street

the author age 5 in Silchester Mews 1954.It was demolished in 1966. Nos 71,73 & 75 Walmer Road are in the background.

the author age 5 in Silchester Mews 1954 .It was demolished in 1966. Nos 71,73 & 75 Walmer Road are in the background.

Alan Bateman outside his house in Calverley Street which was totally demolished in 1966 to make way for the road

Alan Bateman outside his house in Calverley Street which was totally demolished in 1966 to make way for the road

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156 Responses to 1966 and all that -the Demolition of Walmer Road

  1. Albert Vickers says:

    I was born in 69 Walmer Rd. My cousin’s Bastones and the Loftus also lived within 100 yards. Grandad Vickers was a horse dealer. Horse kept behind in St Quintins. Alan Bracher was a street m8. So was Alan Bateman. I knew personally everyone you mentioned. I think No 69 is in the photo, can you help me pick it out? So proud of your clear and exact presentation of so much l knew and still love. By the way, I went on bozzy outing with Johnny Corney. He was always affable and generous, but so out of his depth with money! By the way at one point we were 4 families at 69. All related! Didn’t we do well ! Albie later of 185, 189 and 86 Lancaster Rd W11.

    • John Henwood says:

      Dear Albie,
      Straightaway let me say thank you so much for your complimentary comments.
      I have the houses in the background of the photo of me on my tricycle as 75 (Cottle family) 73 (Burrows family) and 71(poss Grant family) You were 69 which I believe would be the next house to the left but not in the photo. I think Roy Taylor (my age born ’48 or 49) may have been in 67 – you may remember.

      • HJohn, thanks for your warmth and encouragment John. Always a pleasure with a twinge of sadness reading these accounts! So wonderful Vi, is still with us (wonderful I’m here ha ha!) We also had the Boldings(married my aunt) living upstaires in 69.
        You must have been friends with my causin Raymond Batestone.(no 44) he was best friend with Alan Cottle your neighbour! We all played Tin Can Charlies down Vigos’ You were also the same age as Michael Mott? My dad had 3 sisters in Walmer Rd within 100 yards of each other. At 44 was the Bastones. Sadly it is almost 2 years since Raymond my beloved causin died.
        If I can be of any help please let me know. I have enjoyed the last 20 years in Spain and am on my computer daily! albert@mulesspain.com 🙂

      • Peter norrington says:

        Hi John just found your wonderful page . I know most of the people in it.
        I lived at 40 Blechynden street . if anybody else lived there please get in touch at pnorry@aol regards sorry my name is pete norrington

      • Roy Farndale says:

        Hi John, I remember the Burrows family at 73 Walmer, I used to go in the house every school day, have a cup of tea compliments of Mrs Burrows, while waiting for Jimmy Burrows to get ready for school at North Kensington Central school in Lancaster Rd, then we used to go to school together, most times on our bikes or walking, nice memories of times long ago 1948 to 1951.

    • I never typed the word “Loftus” in the first sentence. It should read ‘Mott Family’ Violet who is in the contribution here was best friends with my aunt and I saw Violet everywhere. She told me she used to change my causins nappies! All of us those are remembered here are fond of each other and our shared memories. You’ll find us on facebook re W10 or W11 and I0’m fond of W12 folks as well!
      For Christian Kirkum. Your uncle Bill used to sell me rationed sweets when I was real small. I bought my first bar of Cadbury’s from him after rationing. They were a lovely couple! Always a treat in Kirkhams sweetie house!

    • Bev braidford says:

      Hi,
      My mum is Gwen Vickers and her dad was Thomas Wickers of Walmer Road. We are a bit confused to who your mum and dad are , and the other auntie and uncles are. My mum could remember your dad who’s name you send was Peter. Maybe you can enlighten me on your family tree
      Regards bev

      • Bev. Peter, my dad was always called Bill. Grand dad died in 1951. I remember being put on his bed in the front from just before he died. I was six. Today is my birthday. I am 71.
        Nan died in 1939. Children were Tom, my dad Bill Rose, John, George, Frank ( Frank was a motorman/ driver on the Metropolitan Line. I was often his Guard as we were both based in Hammersmith. There was also sister Rose, Ivey Gwen and Renee to!
        Dad was closest to his brother Tom the eldest brother. I’m not surprised Gwen didn’tremember me. We were too poor. Dad worked to drink. Mum fed us.
        The family started in Calvert St before moving to Walmer. Road.I have death and marriage certs, that told me some of this.
        If you want to ask anything else mulesspain@gmail
        Albert Vickers.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, It has bought back so many memories of where I grew up.. I remember names that have been mentioned, especially my good friends Pat & Harry Bracher, I lived at num 70 Walmer Rd,I loved it there we were all a friendly bunch of people .. I left Walmer Rd in 1953 but my family were there until they were rehoused in Salter house opposite the Black Ball pub in the early 60’s … they were poor but very happy day’s and I loved them … Many thanks for the memories !!! x ..

    • John Henwood says:

      Dear Violet,
      I am pleased you enjoyed reading my account. Curiously my family lived originally in no.68 in the 1930’s relocating across the road in 1940 and your family moved from the basement of no.70 to 68 where they had the whole house. You were friends with my cousin Wendy Darke who lived with us in 77 whilst I was friends with your younger brother Dennis. I remember your Father George who used to sell papers at Hyde Park Corner. As you quite rightly say, tough but happy days. We didn’t have to worry about money as nobody had any!

      With kind regards,

      john

  3. Christine Jamison (nee Kirkum) says:

    I loved reading your report, I was born in No.16 Walmer Road in 1954 to Eileen and Bert Kirkum. We moved out to Stevenage shortly after as Dad got a new job/house there, so, although I didn’t grow up there, I’m always fascinated to learn about Mum & Dad’s lives. My Uncle Bill (Dad’s brother) and Ivy had the sweetshop; can’t believe he thought he was a playboy! I live in London so occasionally have a wander around the streets of North Kensington – Dad always said if he had bought a property back in those days, we would have all been millionaires!!

    • John Henwood says:

      Dear Christine,
      I am pleased you enjoyed reading this. Yes, your uncle Bill used to polish the daylights out of that light blue Vauxhall Cresta of his and Ivy always looked rather glamorous by Walmer Road standards.

      With kind regards,

      john

    • Thanks Christine. Really nice to read your comments! xx

    • Peter norrington says:

      Hi Christine. Your dad was right he would have been worth a lot of poke if he bought a house in the hill. Look what they are worth now. Regards peter.

  4. Paul Willmott says:

    Hi
    My Great Grandparents John and Jane Willmott lived at 13 Bramley Mews. Their eldest son John Willmott died at the western front and is buried in Arras France. He died at 25 in 1917. My Grand Parents lived in Latimer Rd they were Albert and Alison Willmott. My dad was born at 193 Latimer Road, his name is Don Willmott,They later moved away to Hayes.
    Don’t know if you have any photos of the area especially Bramley Mews/Latimer road?

    Regards
    Paul Willmott

    • Wish you had written in more detail about your Dad and when they moved to Hayes? You will find more photos than you know what to do with if you join facebook Born in W10 or Born in W11 or Notting Hill. We have loads of groups. It would be great to see and read your parents history in our manor. We are spread around the world but come together to have a good old natter!

      • Paul Willmott says:

        Hi Albert – Thanks for the reply – I am not actually a member of facebook – but I shall access sometime to look at the photos. Have no idea when they moved to Hayes as it was way before I was born – must of been 1930’s my Grand Parents stayed in Hayes and my Parents moved to Acton, where I was born, then we moved back to Hayes to the same house as my Grandparents then when to Wokingham where they both died in the 80’s and are buried in the big church near the town centre.
        Apart from that I don’t know a great deal – my dad rarely spoke about it and my Mum was born and brought up in Northolt.

    • Dear Paul,
      You can find photos of Latimer Road on . Also either at Hammersmith Archive, but not sure where it is at the moment and in Kensington & Chelsea’s Local Studies Archive at the Central Library, Hornton St.
      Sue at the blog

      • Albert Vickers says:

        Does anyone remember in the 1960’s Dudley Moore rehearsing/filming at the Walmer Road TA Centre? He arrived in Rolls Royce wearing a white suite. He had a blond chick who also wore white. It would be great to know why they were there? I cannot recall !

    • john henwood says:

      Paul, the photo of me on a tricycle c.1954 is taken in Silchester Mews (West) and I am close to the Ambulance Station

    • kenneth rumsey says:

      Hi Paul, there are photos of latimer rd at collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

  5. John hedges says:

    What a great read, I’ve had highs lows and everything in between seen the world more than once but never forgot these roots and proud of them. I use to live at 2 Silchester Terrace next to the pub. So many memories coming back from the article now

    • Dear John Hedges,
      I’m an artist who is based in North Kensington. In 2012 I made a short film based on a poignant archive image (RBKC local studies library) showing one of the last houses demolished for the building of the Westway and Silchester estate. The photo is here: http://www.grasart.com/1/archives/05-2012/1.html
      I believe this house is No 2 Silchester Terrace and hopefully you can confirm that you once lived here.
      All the best
      Constantine Gras
      http://www.grasart.com

      • John Hedges says:

        Constantine,
        Thats the house, I didn’t realise it was the last one standing…….Been back to show the children where the house was but there was a parking area and block of flats on the spot. Thank you for sharing that. If I recall the people over the back kept pigeons, lots of them and there was a big fire in the tyre yard which you could see from Fulham all the way home Mum and Dad said it must be near us, they were right just round the corner.

    • John Henwood says:

      Dear John, Thank you for your reply. Maybe you remember The Brashers who lived in the middle of Silchester Terrace – Harry was born c.1935 and Alan c1941. They lived there with there Mother and when Harry married Pat Wright c.1958 he moved around the corner to Walmer Road – around number 91/93. When they were c.22 and 28 I was 12 or 13 they;adopted’ me as a fishing partner and we were all members of Shepherds Bush Angling Club and went fishing most Sundays rain or shine.
      I remember the pub well – it had no ladies toilet!- but such luxuries were thin on the ground in W.10!! After growing up there the rest of the planet held no fears

      • Gerry Wright says:

        Hi John, when I saw your name it brought back memories, then you refer to Harry Bracher and Pat Wright. Pat was my Aunt. We all lived at 91 Walmer Rd. Sadly harry died earlier this year, and Pat died 2007. Harry used to take me out Fishing when I was between say 7 and 11. My immediate family moved out in 1962. I have a school photo and I am sure you are there. Some of the other names on here start ringing bells.
        Fancy continuing this dialogue? Please e/mail me.
        Gerald Wright (prefer Gerry these days)

      • John Hedges says:

        I cant think of the name but there was a lady about mid terrace opposite who I was with each day when mum was working, husband was a lorry driver, I had him to thank for my colorful vocabulary before reaching school age……………….LOL

      • John Hedges says:

        John / Constantine
        Mum and Dad Were Terry & Shirley Hedges, the Old boy liked his cars in those days, we had the Top floor. Charlie & Nesta Webb were ground floor the Basement was empty around this time. All have passed now with exception of Nesta, still pop up from Dorset once or twice a year to see her. Shes now living just south of hammersmith bridge near the Trinity Church. Not been well but she’s hanging in there glad to report.

      • Hello John. Thanks for confirming that you lived at No 2 Silchester Terrace. Good that you’ve been back to relive memories with your children. One mystery remains for me. On the back of that photo of your last house is this comment written by Mary Miller (who was just divorced from Bill Simpson, star of Dr Finlay’s Casebook). “I admired the tenacity of the elderly man. There was something about him in the local paper of the time – I can’t recall which paper exactly. But a few weeks later he had succumbed to the pressure and the house was destroyed.” Good to hear that Nesta Webb is still alive and maybe when you next see her, you might want to ask her about this. Was this true? Why were they hanging on till the bitter end? Did they not want to leave? Or was Mary’s memory of events inaccurate. I think she was recollecting this many years after she took the photograph and had it deposited in the K&C local studies archive. If you discover the truth, please let me know. It will be good to complete the picture. Ironically enough, I’ve just been resident artist at no 7 Shalfleet Drive which was built to replace the terrace housing in about 1970. Worked here for the last 7 months and I was the last person to move out of this side of the road just prior to its demolition 2 weeks ago for the building of new Peabody flats. You can follow this on my blog: http://www.grasart.com/va-museum-artist-in-residence.html

  6. CHRISTINE PENN nee GILMORE says:

    Yes, what a great read John, Albie and all. I was born at 28 Silchester Road on 9th January 1947 and can honestly say, that although we had gas light, not much money we were surrounded by family both in the house and also, family next door and this generated so much love. I grew up, clean and tidy, fed and watered so to speak and with a honest head on my shoulders. I was taught right from wrong, to love God whatever and most of all, how to give and receive love, that includes love for one another. Looking back, I can remember when my mum and Betty Westover collected the stamps on the Brooke Bond Divi Tea packets, Got five bob for a double card and half a crown for one half side I believe. Betty lived over the road and many a time mum has sent me over to her or she would send one of her children over to us and we would say…..so many stamps needed to fill half the card, They would sort out what they had, fill half of the card, sometimes a full one but not very often, cash in and split the money. That gives you some idea of how hard the times were and they both made belts for homework! This was our way of life, not many people had much more but some were lucky and had electricity and even a TV. Those that did, would invite us in to watch it realising that we weren’t quite as lucky in that area. I have been married almost 47 years and thankfully have always known love, never been rich although I married a man that was very hard working and I did my bit but I can honestly say, that my roots have played an important part throughout my life. They helped make me the person that I am today and I still value the things that we get and if something breaks or tears, I will try to mend or repair it. My husband will say, throw it away and get a new one but I think of the times when I got something new, maybe once in a life time and considered how lucky I was and tried to look after it. This gave me a sense of value and I wouldn’t swap this for anything although sometimes, I do wish I didn’t feel so guilty at chucking things out…..this is one of my bad points, I’m a hoarder. I still have a couple of older aunts who write and say, although they are well into their eighties, I WISH WE WERE STILL ALTOGETHER AT SILCHESTER – HOW LOVELY!
    We moved off to W.12 before my grandad was moved out of the house, of course we all had to make way for the new Flyover that was to claim our homes but I would go back quite a few times a week to check on him. Eventually, he was moved to Putney and had a nice Council flat and he seemed happy enough but one of the saddest days I CAN REMEMBER, was going past the house on the train and seeing the big oval ball thing, just about to swing at our house, the first steps to removing it from the, the then current map …..I REMEMBER, I REMEMBER, THE PLACE WHERE I WAS BORN……IN W.10

    Christine Penn nee Gilmore

    • john henwood says:

      Dear Christine,
      Thank you so much for a marvelous, touching and incisive reply encapsulating my, and I suspect most W.10 inhabitants, sentiments incredibly well. I hate waste and will never be able to come to terms with the throwaway society….. and yes, I remember those Brooke Bond divi stamps!
      Again, my most grateful thanks for your kind words,

      with kindest regards,

      John Henwood

      • William Daniel Prytherch says:

        Dear John

        I lived at 92 Walmer Rd (my Brother-In-Law’s house, George Hill) from 1956 to 1963,opposite Jarvis’ Garage. A married couple Ken and Lesley Swann, who had two children, also lived at the house. I remember a few names and places including :

        John Hiscott who lived at 82 Walmer Rd
        Burt English (who kept a dairy)
        Michael Bartlett (who used to sing ‘Around the world in 80 days’, he had a sister Diane)
        A man nicknamed “VIM”
        David Maughan
        George Smith
        George Sawyers (Pudding)
        Fred Bloomfield (who had a 650cc BSA motorbike, with a sidecar).

        Fitzes shop on the corner, and Cannons.

        I worked at Moo Cow Bakery, there was a young office girl there named Marian Ashton, who had a sister named Pam, and there was also a Barry Cheese from Fowell St.

        I now live near, Bangor, North Wales.

        (I was the wild one with the the Norton motorbike!)

        Regards

        Dan

      • Derek Ford says:

        Michael Bartlett was in my class at oxford gardens school also remember his sister Diane a couple of years older I think one of our favourite songs at the time was green door by frankie vaughn used to buy our sweets at fits and Ivy’s sweet shops remember the shoe mender mad monuk opposite the infants gate Michael Bartlett where are you now I am in sutton surrey

  7. Christine, it brought a lump to my throat reading your account. The Last time I was in Notting Hill was the last time I saw my middle son David Williams. We walked down Walmer Road, past 69 Silchester Rd,before they knocked it down. Then to Lancaster Rd, Where we had struggled to live with an agressive landlord. I had so many mixed feelings then. I’m glad we few have had a chance to add to historys records a few real people rather than just an accademic views alone. I hope history will record that when they knocked down our homes they disembowed a community. Then replaced it with satelite ghettos I could never have felt safe in. May God Bless us all.

    • Hello Albie, sorry I didn’t mean to make you feel sad but it’s true isn’t it, we had a community and life, then it was different for both and sometimes a struggle to fit in!
      So sad, you saw your middle son such a long time ago but as you say, we have made a start to put our feeling down, the feelings of ordinary people, kids we were and teenage years were difficult enough anyway without feeling longely in a place that you didn’t like.
      Isn’t it nice though to make contact and say Hey Albie, I remember you when you were younger and you were good looking then too. God Bless and everyone one and let’s hope more people have courage to write a few lines, then we can feel we were not alone!

      • Christine Penn/Gilmour it’s memories of those young Gilmour girls and people like you who grew, lived, and smiled at boys like me that help make what we left behind such a precious thing. Memories gain value when they are shared. Tell your sister I said hello. Hugs from me to you all.

  8. Margaret (Pitcher) Morgan says:

    I loved reading all these comments.I was born and raised in 64 Silchester Road next to St Peters flats.I moved to Canada in 1963 so did not see all the demolition.It makes me so sad to see all the photos.I will always be proud to say I came from Notting Hill and will always have my precious memories .

    • Sheila Jones says:

      I can remember you margaret and especially your nan as once when we all went to Hyde park playing around the serpentine we found a used dudes and you .went home and told your nan who made us all wash our mouths out with soap .I lived at no 2’cleverly street c

      • Margaret Pitcher Morgan says:

        Hi Sheila.. ..Is Jones your maiden name? I really cannot remember you or the incident you mentioned,,, must be getting old.. Which end of Calverly street was # 2 .The only Sheila I can recall was Sheila Toohey, she was the older sister to Pamela who was a friend.

  9. Nick Hearn says:

    Brilliant reading about the old manor, I was born in Latimer Road in 1959 at no 264 just down from the volunteer PH, Hopkins Dairy and Jamo’s Fish and Chip shop which I believe were the best fish and chips in the country, cooked in lard and it didn’t matter how many people were queing he still only ever put the same amount of fish in a right pain if someone bought cod and chips eight times in front of you.
    My parents grandparents and possibly even my great grandparents were all from the area and came from silchester road and Manchester road were they moved to Latimer road were my father lived until he died in 2002. I believe Tiddy Maybanks was somehow related possibly my Nans cousin and the name Maybanks was my great grandmothers surname. I drank in the Latimer arms and the Notting Barn when I was old enough to but managed to get served in the Trafalgar at the junction of Bramley Road. I have to confess that a lot of my youth was hanging around the demolition areas collecting scrap and getting into trouble. I frequented the Harrow club as mentioned and was awarded club member of the year with the award presented by Frankie Vaughan about 1974 I guess. I also went on many excursions from the club with Alan Bateman and his friend but it may be another Alan Batemen he had a limp? I could just ramble on for pages and pages but I guess I will leave it for now and reminisce until the next time.

    • Great read Nick Hearn. (I think you might be related to my friend Mary nee Hearn. She writes ‘The Romany Way’ Journal. I know she had quite a lot of family around W10/W11? She writes to me often and is now on LinkedIn!).
      Alan Bateman I knew without a limp and was a good friend for a while. You and I must have been falling over each other in those days. We were in all the same places except the Harrow club. I had a falling out there with Brian Smith when I cracked 60 seconds for the 100 yards freestyle and got into the Middlesex Training camp at Seymour Hall with some of the British Olympic team. Judy Grinham and the Wilkinson twins I swam and played water polo for the Rugby club and beat Brian again in the London federation of Boys Clubs championship! Then I started to hang around with Billy Smith and I ran messages for him. He showed me how to drive. I was only 15 and used to drive around with him and his girlfriend. Then he was murdered down the Dale! I must have been pretty traumatized as I never swam a competition after that. I just cut myself off from all but a handful of people my age! I was very scared for a couple of years! Life could be hard at times and we didn’t have access to help with nightmares. You had to keep your mouth shut so I couldn’t actually go and talk to anyone about what we got up to could I. I just stood at the cross roads of Lancaster road and Bramley, and watched his funeral go down Bramley Road thinking that could have been me? You just had to man up and get on with life in Notting Hill!
      My uncle Tom Batestone who lived in 44 Walmer Road got me a job with him in Silchester Rd, for Norris Veils the Builder right near where the Gilmour girls lived. I used to Tot as well and I had been at school with Johnny Corney (is he still alive?)which was handy as he was destined to be the Demolition man who knocked Walmer and Silchester Road, and the whole area eventually. there was a lot of metal to trade as well! But then we were just boys trying to learn a trade. Me building and him knocking stuff down! I was earning 5. 19.06`pence a week. So Totting metal on the side put a few bob extra in my pocket for my first motorbike and then a Lambretta etc., I used to ride out with lads from Silchester Rd. John Pitcher being one. He and I have stayed friends more than 50 years now!
      By then we all knew about West Way and how all our homes were coming down, and it unsettled a lot of people. We all felt we belonged and had a sense of ‘My home, my road, my friends, my world, and it would be taken away. It seemed making your own way in life meant there was always some new trauma around the corner for me! We would not have a choice about it. The uncertainty made some old and young people quite unwell. I never had heard it before but recall hearing a lot about “Stress” and Break downs”. More food for nightmares!
      When the time came we were offered a place in Lavender Hill. My mother was too ill to go with us, and when we got there my dad didn’t even bother to get off the bus. His only comment was “Not a pub for miles!”. Mum died before they could be re housed. Dad drank himself to death!
      I left!
      We are not the sum total of all the disasters in our lives!
      I learnt life’s lesson the hard way. I went back to college several times. the 3rd time as a qualified lecturer and some years later changed career again and became a Bail Officer in the Probation Service. Retired, I learnt to sail, and bought myself a 40 foot ketch rigged sailing boat and retired to Spain. Where I learnt to ride and set up a ranch and became a mule and horse dealer! Which is funny because the Census for the late 18 hundreds show my grand father Thomas Vickers as a horse dealer of 44 Walmer Road W10. I never gave it a second thought. I just had a natural affinity for mules and horses. The circle was completed!
      Today I am just another old man in a sunny place. Good Bye! 🙂

      • john henwood says:

        Dear Albie, Thank for your kind words – I so enjoyed reading your story – brought more than one tear to my eye. Johnnie Corney is no longer with us. He moved to the Canaries, Tenerife I believe, some years ago – I think in the 1990’s – and not long after died there after suffering a heart attack. I still speak occasionally to his brother in law Johnny Fletcher and his son (young) John and will post exact details when I have them.
        He was a character and liked to dress smartly spending some of the the demolition money in ‘Kranz’ – an upmarket mens clothes shop in King Street Hammersmith.

    • John Hockley says:

      Hi, Just re-read you post. We lived at 9 Calverley Street in the same house as Alan Bateman, you mentioned Alan had a limp which reminded me that Alan had polio as a child and as a boy had a calliper fitted on his leg.

      John

    • jim stokes says:

      Can you remember Lou Ashman who was the youth leader at that time? My name is Jim Stokes from Latimer Road.

  10. Hi John,
    Many thanks for posting your memories and they vividly bring the period to life. I didn’t live in the area, but have a strong connection as an artist who now works here. Some of my art projects involve exploring the rich and complex history of North Kensington. I also made a short film in 2012 about the last house demolished for the building of the Westway.
    The area is once again undergoing change. New housing is being built at Silchester Estate and I will be working here as a community artist over the summer from approximately June-Dec 2014.
    If you or your colleagues are still in the area, or visit Notting Barns, please feel free to make contact with me. I will be running art events for local residents and will post information on my website about studio open days.
    All the best
    Constantine Gras.
    http://www.grasart.com
    http://latymermappingproject.wordpress.com

  11. Geraldine moore says:

    Any one remember fowell street the mission bulls shop messers fish shop and the docs on the corner I lived at number 20 The Taylor’s the seers

    • Hi Geraldine. The answer to your question is Yes! We have done that on Facebook,for W11 etc but this is about the time and effects on the streets adjacent to, and demolished because of West Way. That’s why it is titled “1966 and all that Demolition of Walmer Road”! I’m sure the History Group have a section that will cover Fowell st. Hope this helps.
      Regards. Albie Vickers, Born in 69 Walmer Road!

  12. leapfrogmark says:

    Hi Albie

    Really great to read about the road where my Dad grew up. His name’s John Shanahan and moved from Cork to Walmer Road (I wish I could remember the number), when he was about 12 – which would be, I think, 1951. From what I can work out, my grandad (Joe Shanahan) used his savings from 27 years in the army to buy the Walmer Road house, and the whole family (Joe & Madge plus Chris, Breda, John, Richie, Margaret and Yvonne [possibly born there]) moved there from Ireland. When my parents got married in 1960, they moved to a flat in East Acton, but about six months later, when the landlord realised my mum was pregnant, they moved back in with the family in Walmer Road. By 1963, they were renting a flat in Oxford Gardens, but when I came along in 1964, they decided it was time to move ‘up market’ and bought an end of terrace in Wembley! I can remember many trips back on the number 8 bus and what seemed a really long walk via all our other relations in St. Charles Square, Lancaster Road and St. Mark’s Road.

    I have strong memories of the house in Walmer Road and suspect my grandparents were pretty much there until the bitter end as I’d have only have been two in ’66. I know it was compulsorily purchased and they fought tooth and nail against that since they were paid a pittance. They were moved out to a council house in Hanwell – but the spirit and the energy I can remember from the Notting Dale days were gone.

    I have a vague recollection of my nan (a shock of black hair and the broadest of broad Cork accents) being in the paper for protesting at the opening of the Westway. I’m not sure though when exactly that was. My grandad died in the mid 80s, My nan almost made 90, but and was still going strong when my kids were born although she died a few years back now.

    It would be great if anyone remembered my lot…..though I get the feeling they may have been at the rougher end of rough diamonds.

    • Margaret Morgan says:

      You must be Margaret’s nephew?. Margaret and I were begs friends as teenagers.I spent a lot if time with the family I knew your father Breda and went on dates with “”Pat” as he was known.I still correspond by Phone and Xmas mail with Margaret and husband Jack. although last time I called she was very sick.i have lived in Canada since 1963 I have been back several times and visited her twice.
      How lively to. make your acquaintance. Regards to your father?Hope the rest of the family is well

      Margaret

      • leapfrogmark says:

        Hi Margaret – yes Auntie Mag (Margaret) is my godmother. Neither her nor Jack are in great health at the moment. My dad will be 75 next month – which partly prompted this research. I’ll remember you to him. All the best.

    • Well Mark sorry I dont remember you. You must have been the baby. Willie was a best mate with my cousin Raymond Batestone. Ray sadly passed away just over 2 years ago now. I just heard His son Bradley passed out as a Royal Marine Commando a week ago and I am very proud of him. I used to have a lot of fun with Willie and Raymond when we were young! Richie was my age, and I took him on a blind date with me to Richmond and he dumped me with both girls. There were lots of tears, but not mine !! So you see your family is remembered!! Good Luck Mark!

  13. Derek ford says:

    My grandparents lived at 268 Lancaster road w11 their names were jim and Lucy dyke also known as midget.i spent much of my childhood with them despite living with my mum and dad and brother at 49 Chesterton road w10. Their landlady at268 was a mrs stoman who spent most of her time in the roundhouse aka the Lancaster arms. I went to school at Oxford gdns from 1952 to 1958. I used to swim for Kensington spending hours training at silchester road baths under strict guidance from jimmy Bloomfield. Loved my fish and chips from messers even thou the owner never smiled I cann still see her now with her large spectacles. My nan was good friends with the Davis family opposite who ran the dairy. Local lads who went to my school were Michael Bartlett . Phillip whelan. Joe Connor. Maybe someone out there knows me or knew my grandparents or my mum and dad maud and Henry ford also known as Harry. Would love to hear from anyone who knew us. Here’s hoping.

  14. sue Kelley new Tunbridge says:

    Hi sorry i dont know your relations i used to live at 18 b silchester road my uncle owned the whole house and the one next door by the name of Tunbridge .I believe he had a building firm ? If any one can help with the history of house and business I would like to here from you we used to bath once a week in the baths Sunday night special my dad used to live on the corner of St marks road above a printing firm

    • Sue Kelly. I would seriously go to the W10, W11 and Notting Hill Sites on Facebook which were set up for networking the broader history of our neighborhood and re connecting with old friends. It is full of us w10 w11 people everyday and the right place to ask! I guarantee you will know so many people there. This site is for the Demolition of Walmer Road as part of the Kensington History Group work. Great to hear from you and if you have memories regarding the topic then send it in. We love to read about what experiences you had during the destruction of our family homes. Albert.

  15. Derek ford says:

    In my previous email I should have mentioned my mothers maiden name was maud day and she married my late father Henry ford does this ring any bells with former notting hill folk would be nice to hear from someone

  16. Bob kirkham says:

    Just happened on this conversation whilst looking for something else. I lived at 7 Walmer Rd and still meet up with Alan Bateman and John Henwood.
    My family also knew the shanahans who lived just past Silchester St or was it Pamber St?
    I remember john , Patrick and Maggie plus one lad around my age ( born 1946) sorry can’t recall name. Also Albie Vickers rings a loud bell but can’t place at moment but it’s 2am where I am.

    Bob Kirkham

    • barbara Young nee Pithers says:

      Just read your comments Bob. I lived at 23 Walmer Road with Mum Dad and brother Richard, Hilda,& Richard jnr. until1954. My grandparents Richard & Nellie & children Nellie,Frank,Winnie, Dorothy & Archie all lived at number 17 next to the Woods family. I remember Mr Mrs Kirkham who lived near Morrisons, Maybanks and the Fields families.. Dorothy (Dozel) married Ernie Podmore also from Walmer Road. Archie was a great friend of Alan Bateman. My grandmother was the canteen lady at Harrow Boys Club for many years when Lou Ashman was the manager of the club and I used to go with her to the Isle of Wight every year when the boys had there annual camping holiday. to help her with the cooking. I distinctly remember two of the boys who we used to know as Pudding & Custard. Does anybody know of our family the Pithers from Walmer Road. ?

      • Christine Jamison (nee Kirkum) says:

        Just reading through all the comments again; Barbara, you asked if anyone knew Pithers family. All I remember is that my Dad, Bert Kirkum, I think, talked about Winnie Pithers – he was born in 1922 in Walmer Road, married Eileen. I’m always trying to find out if anyone remembered my grandparents, Henry Joseph Kirkum and Nellie (nee Magin) Kirkum. Think my Dad was born at 16 Walmer Road. One more thing! my Mum and Dad’s best man was a chap called ‘Lightning’ anyone shed any light on him??!

      • David Woods says:

        Dear Barbara,
        I’m interested to know why you think the Woods family lived next door to Mrs Pithers at No.15? My mother’s family the O’Connor’s lived at No.15 and my mother was married to Frank Woods. So you’re partly correct. I was constantly in and out of No.15, so Mrs Pithers knew who I was. I was also a member of the Harrow Boys club from 1959-70 and I went to the I.O.W. camp in 1959. In 1965/66 my family had a knocking down party at No.15 and few of the neighbours, including Mrs Pithers and a daughter, came in to celebrate. I took a photo of Mrs Pithers and daughter and wondered if you would like a copy. My mothers family would have known the Pithers family very well, but sadly they have all passed away now.
        David Woods

      • Hi Dave. You gave me a laugh. If it helps your first question. I think Brabara’s name being (NEE PItcher) should give you a clue? Good Luck!

      • Roy Farndale says:

        I remember Mrs Pithers, she used to run the canteen in Harrow boys club. I also remember her son Archie Pithers, she was a very nice lady, always good to the boys in the club. I seem to remember she also worked in Maybanks shop,

      • Brin Allum says:

        I lived in Latimer Rd. My late wife lived in Robinson House Bramley Rd – she was a good friend of Jeanie Wright. Her name was Jean Craddock. l was a good mate of Terry Mott and Roy Bateman. I also remember Mrs Pithers and son Archie also Len Podmore. We played football and cricket for the Harrow Club. l also remember lots of names mentioned. In answer to someone’s question pudding was George Sears and custard his brother Jimmy.

      • Brin Allum says:

        Pudding was Georgie Seers and custard was his brother Jimmy.

      • Gerry Wright says:

        Looking at Bryn Allum’s entries. My late mother’s (Gladys) family Sheather lived at 18 Robinson House, and only yesterday I was telling my my aunt Betty (nee Sheather) about the reference to Robinson House. She recalled the names of a number of the Craddock family. Added to which my late father’s (Alfie) sister Jean Wright (91 Walmer Rd), is I suspect the Jeanie Wright Bryn refers to. I lived at 91 Walmer Rd from birth 1950 until we moved away in 1961.

      • Brin Allum says:

        My late wife was your aunts best friend the last time I sawJean was at my wife’s funeral she married to Terry Heathy they used to go on holidays together,I also new Pat and Harry Bracher they lived not far from me in Cowley Uxbridge I was sorry to hear that they had both passed away.

      • Brenda Hargood says:

        Hello Christine and Bob. I have only just discovered that my nan and mum lived at number 14 Walmer Road from at least 1916 until nan’s death in 1940. It has taken years for me to find any information about my grandmother until I discovered her on the electoral register this last few weeks. Her name was Lilian Bruton, she was an ironer. I believe she lived with or was married to an Arthur Bruton. My mums name was Mary but I don’t think Arthur was her father. Arthur seems to have disappeared from Walmer Street around 1924/6 so no idea if he died or moved away. If anyone knows of my grandmother, I would be eternally grateful. Brenda

      • jim stokes says:

        yes i remember mrs pithers would serve us boys our drinks in the canteen my name is jim stokes

    • John Hockley says:

      Hi Bob,
      Just stumbled on the North Kensington History site whilst looking for something else. I was astonished to see Alan Bateman outside his house in Calverley Street, it was number 9. How do I know the number ? I lived upstairs at the same time ( one knock for down and two for up) I have a photo with myself and younger sister at exactly the same time outside the same house. We used to have to go through Alan’s scullery to get to the ‘Lav’ I am now 71 and remember quite clearly Ivy Kirkham’s shop on the corner of Pamber Street. We used to get drinks like Soda Stream there. This is just to make contact, if you would like the photo I will need an email address from you.. I am John Hockley my siblings are Christine, David then me and Linda. Our parents were Edie and George a regular soldier . The family home of my mother was 55 Walmer Road and my father’s in Pamber Street, They met over the garden wall. I am meeting my elder sister on Thursday, I can give her the news. There’s a lot more from where this came from !!
      John

  17. Bob kirkham says:

    I now remember the Shanahans lived on the corner of Pamber St and Walmer Rd. I think the son of around my age was Willie. There was also a little girl maybe ten years younger than me.
    My dad used to take us out to Runnymede on the Thames on summer Sundays ! If he wasn’t working.
    The little girl, sorry can’t remember her name, used to come with us sometimes she was about 4 at the time and my parents were mad about her.
    I remember the father used to go in The Latimer pub just 3 doors from us, I think he was also called John.

    • Christine Jamison (nee Kirkum) says:

      Firstly, do you think Bob Kirkham might be any relation to me? I’m Bert and Eileen Kirkum’s daughter. Also just wondering if anyone knew anything about my Dad’s (Bert Kirkum of 16 Walmer Road) mother? Think her maiden name was Nell (Ellen) Magin who married Henry Kirkum. I have been trying to finding birth records, etc for her but can find nothing at all. I’m interested because my Dad always told me she was born in a workhouse and would love to try to trace something about her. My Dad’s brothers were Henry, Bill (the sweetshop owner) and sisters Rose, Ive and Emm and I think they all lived in Walmer Road. As I reported before, our family moved out to Stevenage in about 1956.

      • Brenda Hargood says:

        Hi Christine I am also family searching. My nan Lilian Bruton and mum Mary lived at number 14 Walmer Road from at least 1916 until nan’s death in 1940 Looks like your grandmother could have been her neighbour?

    • Yes Bob, Willie the youngest and Richie now around 69 I guess. good Luck mate!

      • leapfrogmark says:

        Yvonne was the little girl. I showed my dad (John Shanahan) this thread at the weekend, and he was delighted to recognise and remember so many names. He said he’d also be delighted to meet up if anyone fancied a drink – he suggested the Latimer Arms, but I suspect he’s probably about 20 years too late!

  18. I went to junior and primaruy school with Johnny Corney. He was always a nice kid and as we grew into our 20-s I knew him to be a generous and kind bloke. Yes he loved buying expensive cloths but he always looked like Johnny Corney. RIP JOHN. I often think a joke and your laugh would brighten my day! XX

  19. Bob Kirkham says:

    Hi Christine it’s bob Kirkham here once of 7 Walmer Rd nect door to Tiddy Maybanks. We are certainly related Bill of the sweet shop ( yes I also wondered about the playboy bit) was my dad ( also Bill ) cousin I was born in 1946 and can just about remember Henry who lived on the other side of Walmer just past the Dublin Castle off licence and Calverly St. I have 2 older sisters Elsie and Eileen who have better memories than me so I will send this to them, Elsie has lived in USA for many years and is on hols at moment but will get back to you.
    Sweet shop Bill always used to say my Dad couldn’t spell hence the Kirkham/ Kirkum difference.

    • Bill sold me my first Cadbury Chocolate after rationing. I remember I was small and it seemed huge. I guess they both knew me all my growing years and always “Hello Albert” when I walked in. It was great having shops like that. Here in Spain we still do. So the butcher and even supermarket managers know us by name. Community is a wonderful thing and belonging in a community is even better. Nice posting thanks. Albert x

  20. Bob Kirkham says:

    Re John Shanahan. I meet up with John Henwood and Alan Bateman from time to time, I live in Yorkshire now but they are both in the London area. I am sure they would, like me, be very happy to meet John, you rightly say the Latimer is long gone, now apartments,
    The nearest of the old pubs is probably the Pavilion near Wood Lane, although the Volunteer in Latimer Rd was open last time I looked but due to close, the a Station next to Latimer Rd Station is still there’re but much changed.
    Please keep in touch.

    Bob Kirkham

  21. Bob Kirkham says:

    Derek Ford, you were one year behind me still Oxford Gardens and I know your name, where did you live? I can remember Philip Whelan also

    Bob Kirkham

    • Derek ford says:

      Hi I lived in Chesterton Road and I do rememberPhilip
      Whelan. I think he lived above a cake shop in Clarendon Road. Who else do you remember from the school? I live in Surrey, where are you now? Do you remember Miss Grant the maths teacher, didn’t she shout? How about Mr Lusby, Mr Barratt And Mr Hitchings.

      • BobKirkham says:

        I live in Ilkley, West Yorkshire and have now since 1983, although I left London in 1971.
        I remember all of those teachers, Mrs Grant was our form teacher in the first year, then either Mr. Barrett or Mr Taylor, we had both but can’t remember in what order.
        Mr Lusby I had in the last year which included the 11 plus exam. I can still remember things he taught us and was I think the best teacher I ever had.
        I think there were 2 Mr Hitchings, the headmaster for all of my 4 years, he died quite soon after I left, which was 1957.
        The other Mr Hitching was a small jolly guy who joined towards the end of my time and taught the younger boys.
        Going back to Mr Barratt he was also the music teacher, my musical career was in the school recorder band.
        He came from Manchester and sounded really odd to us,using terms like “you piecan”.
        Even stranger he made us learn and sing On Ilkley Moor Bartat. He had to literally interpret the words of Yorkshires county Anthem to us.
        As Londoners we were totally disinterested .
        Yorkshire may as well have been on the moon.
        Nowadays Ilkley Moor is about 3 minutes from our house, strange how life works out!

        Bob Kirkham

      • Derek ford says:

        Thanks so much for replying have you any memories of John Nash tony warren Jeffrey crabb kris kamoradicis a Greek Cypriot Michael price Chris Coleman joe brown the only black boy at our school and Michael Bartlett do you ever visit w10 11 should read Dennis Coleman .

      • maxine says:

        Hi Derek, My name is Maxine Bartlett. I have seen your posts and it seems you knew brother Michael and sister Diane. We lived at No 100 Walmer road, My Email address is lanzamax@hotmail.co.uk so if you would be kind enough to Email me I would love to have a chat about how things have developed in our lives. Look forward to hearing from you. Just a few things worth mentioning in case you think I am not genuine:-My Dad was Thomas and my mum was Violet, We kept Greyhounds and Pidgeons with Nan and Grandad Palmer and I went to Oxford Gardens school

  22. Lorna Astbury says:

    My mother and her family lived in Pamber Street until the early 60s when they moved to Harlow New Town – her parents were Ernest and Lilian Gammons, their children June, May, Valerie, Gordon, Ian and Kay (may have been born in Harlow). We went back when I was about 11 and met a vegetable seller in Portobello Rd who mum had gone to school with. I remember mum referring to her grandmother ‘Nanny Elmer’ – she took in a boy close to Lilian’s age called Doug Shepherd who had been abandoned by his mum (she looked after him while his mum was at work). Doug grew up and married my Godmother, Frances. I think my grandmother Lilian took in washing during the war. I used to love hearing the stories of playing near Wormwood Scrubs and the windows being blown out during an air raid!

  23. Paul Lawrence says:

    My grandparents, Bill Byden and Charlotte Lawrence, used to live at 1 Pamber Street with their daughter Pat and husband Bob Rose. Marie Newton, her husband (may have been Fred) son Steven and daughter Marylynne lived at No. 2 The Porters and the Kemps lived further along.
    I remember Pamber Street Garage which was run by a Mr Naylor and his foreman Peter Rollo. I also remember the Kirkhams shop but can only recall Bill having a VW Beetle.
    I went to Oxford Gardens School and remember some of the teachers already mentioned. While lining up in the playground one day, the boy in front turned and said something to me. Mr Lusby called us both to the front and administered his preferred method of punishment, a whack with a slipper on the backside. When I protested that I didn’t say anything he said “No, but you listened”. Those were the days.
    Harry Shankster and his wife lived round the corner in Walmer Road. Harry was a mechanic at Vigo Motors in Aldermaston Street, where I started an apprenticeship in 1965. My uncle, Ronnie Lawrence, lived in Blechynden Street with his wife Peg and sons Tony and Lee.
    The building of the Westway affected my grandads health because the pile drivers used to run continuously throughout the night. He died before its completion but my aunt Pat was one of the demonstrators on the motorway on the day it opened. I believe that the demonstration was one of the reasons for not constructing the proposed link from the roundabout to the M1.
    When Johnny Corney won the contract to demolish the houses in Walmer Road, he bought a new Vauxhall Cresta from Vigo Motors. A car that most of us would have been envious to have owned at the time. You can imagine how we felt when it came in for its first 500 mile service with its carpets and upholstery covered in mud from the demolition site.
    I lived at 145 Lancaster Road and used to swim (and bath) at the Silchester Baths. My other grandparents, Tom and May Gutteridge lived next door at 147 with their children Norman, Brian, Harry, Tom, Eileen, Joyce and Florrie. Someone mentioned Philip Whelan living above a bakers shop. Philip was the nephew of my nan Charlotte Lawrence. Her sister Susan married Harry Whelan of Portland Road who was the baker at Tomlins.
    Nan moved to Dixon House, one of the tower blocks next to the Westway as did many other people from the Walmer Road area. She said Westway killed the community because the people in Dixon House no longer saw each other in passing as they would have done when living in Walmer Road. My aunt Pat and her family also lived at Dixon House but moved out following a fire in their flat on the 11th floor.
    I could go on but would then be going off the subject of The Demolition of Walmer Road.

    • john henwood says:

      Dear Paul,Thank you for your post. I was particularly interested to read about Johnnie Corney buying the Cresta from Vigo Motors. I remember him driving it – an ideal choice for a W.10 jack-the-lad.
      Reg Lusby was a hero of a teacher who should have been formally honoured – year after year, almost every evening after school he took parties of Oxford Gardens pupils to Lords and The Oval during the cricket season. On Fridays he traveled by train back to his home in Croft, North Lincolnshire – a bit of a journey – then back again early Monday morning in time for school. He lodged midweek in Eynham Road. In Winter evenings he coached cricket at the Harrow Club and at these sessions he placed a zinc plate about 1ft X 6inches in front of the sprung stumps at which he encouraged the bowlers to aim. Every time you hit the plate he gave you a penny, keeping a plentiful supply in his jacket pocket. Those pennies focused the minds of the bowlers. ‘LINE AND LENGTH’ He always used to say and of course he was right. I don’t think they make people like Reg Lusby anymore.

      • Gerry Wright says:

        Hello John, and Paul. Your reminiscences about Reg Lusby really caught my eye. I too went on these early evening trips to Lords and The Oval. I have often told my son and grandson about the sprung stumps and the plate to coach line and length. Indeed I have been trying to so something similar in the nets with my grandson. However it was in the school playground that Reg Lusby coached me, and others. I knew he lived in Croft, in fact even after moving away in 1962 I kept in touch sending him a x/mas card every year until one got returned in the 70’s. A real gent as you say. I lived at 91 Walmer Rd from 1950-1962, just around the corner from Oxford Gardens and went to the infants and juniors there. After that I had one year at Sloane School Chelsea. I recall your names.
        (I’ve recently joined the facebook group “Born in W10”, really interesting articles and photos’ about the area).

    • Jason kemp says:

      Hi Jason Kemp here. We all lived at Pamber Street. my man kitty dad jack was married to my mum Mary Kemp also Bert Sherrie Michelle I am in the photo of the westway flyover protesters. I am the little boy holding someone’s hand my grandfather is the one with the long coat on and a cap

  24. barbararoycroft@yahoo.co.uk says:

    Hello I’ve just come across this site while browsing for Notting Dale and Laundry Land. My family came from this area my Dad Sidney Edward Bones and Aunt Violet Lilian Bones were both born at No 173 Walmer road 1920 and 1918 respectively. My Grandmother Frances Louise Monet was born in Mary Place Workhouse in 1873. She married Charles Edward Smith and they lived at 98 Walmer Road up to their deaths in 1952 and 1963. So many other relatives lived around that area Charles Smith born in Stanley Gardens later living in Portabella Road. The Monets living in a Union Street, the Shearmans living in St.Katherines Road. I could go on but as you can see my routes are definitely in The Dale. I wonder if anyone recalls any if these names or addresses and could enlighten me on living conditions , work , schools etc. I’m just about to start writing my Family History Book after researching for about 15 years and would love to put a bit more “Meat on the Bones” excuse the pun.

    • Dear Barbara, as you may have read I was born in 69 Walmer Rd, and like you my family lived in the sq mile! I stringly suggest you join the W10 and W11 sites. There are some great local historians and the local history group, and the Colville Group take local history extremely seriously. Most Facebook user are rather light hearted and just want to chat about TV or tother. BUt the people that run the sites on a daily basis do it as a labout of love. I promise you will never run out of information or photos. The photo collecters share everything and the pics are truly magnets to our past. I wish you well. Albert Vickers. Ex 69 Walmer Rd, 185, 187 and 98 Lancaster Rd. Retired.

    • tilda says:

      hi, my granddad was born at no, 4 Walmer road, in 1892, his mums surname was Windsor, his dad was a smith,

  25. ps sorry about spelling mistakes. I have 2 cataracts that make my writing look silly at times 🙂

  26. Kate says:

    I have just discovered this wonderful page when reasearching my nans childhood, my nan was Grace Eveylyn Barry and lived at 15 Silchester Terrace, her parents were Ada & Albert and she had brothers and sisters called:- Harold, Kath, Jane & Ronald all with the surname Barry, if anyone remembers this family or has any information or photos I would love to hear from you please.

  27. David Place says:

    My father James Place, his brothers Bill and Tom and their sister Lydia all lived at about #2 Walmer Road in about 1910. The mother was Lydia. All the children were sent away to schools in Dartford and then sent off to Canada as farm labour. My father Robert James and my grandfather James all ended up in Winnipeg Manitoba. Reg Corney was their cousin. Was he related to the Jack Corney mentioned above. My wife and I went to Walmer Rd twice in the past 40 years to see where the family came from. I am doing my genealogy and have been unable to find anything on Lydia Sr. and where she ended up when her children were taken away. They attended St Francis of Assisi RC Church. Is the Earl of Zetland Pub right at the dead end of Walmer and Pottery Lane renamed and reopened. It was closed when I visited. Anyone remember my family? The children attended Sirdar School

    Dave Place
    Selkirk, Manitoba
    Canada

    • Hi Dave. First greetings and glad you found this site.
      Look mate I’m 70 years old soon and the only date you mention was 104 years ago. Next you mention 3 schools and that the children were sent away to school to Dartford. So my question is, how is anyone going to know them when they were obviously sent away young and it must have been long before WW11. I was born at the end of the war. How many of us do you think are older than me?
      I strongly suggest you sort out the chronological order of this history and ask questions specific to that that era. I also think you will find that your way too late asking these questions now. although everyone I think must have known at least one Corney. I had one in my class at school! So I think you will find an answer to that question.

      I also suggest you join the W10 and W11 groups on Facebook. There a few people my ago and one or two older and that’s a sure fire place to sort our who was who in the Corney family, but as I said; Sort it our chronologically first or you will get in all sort of a mess with any answers you get. I’m speaking from experience ok?

      Finaly, Yes the Zetland was where you identified it. By St Francis RC School and Pottery Lane.

      If you want to do more research why not join the http://www.Heritage.com site plus you can look up the old census repords yourself and the Ladies that run the W10 & W11 sites know how to get into some archives and I am sure will be pleased to help you.

      Albert Vickers, Malaga, Spain.

      • Roy Farndale says:

        Hi Albie, I was born in 1936 we lived in 52 Silchester Road then, although I was born in Hammersmith Maternity Hospital, known to all locals as DuCane rd Hospital, we soon moved to Oldham Rd, where we lived until demolition of Oldham Rd, I have said before on another site, it tore the heart out our family and our community, up to then we had 3 relatives in Oldham, 2 in Silchester, 1 in Walmer, and several others within a mile of our house, and of course we then lost touch with friends we grew up with, friends that were friends of my parents and grand parents, Westway development was a disaster to the residents of the area.

  28. L. Bennett says:

    Trying to find out more about Alfred White of 24 Walmer Rd and Josephine Wilkes of number 48 married in 1907. Alfreds father was a “carman” Richard White and Josephine father Jude was a labourer.They moved to 58 Canterbury Road and at some point my father . Roderick,who was a child, went to live with them and was brought up by them. I believe my father had a twin but we know nothing more.He took their surname although I believe not formally adopted. Does anyone have more information about them?

  29. Emma Sharp says:

    Really interesting reading all your stories. Does anyone remember a Butler family who lived on Silchester Road. Maybe the names Nin Butler and her son Kevin…might ring some bells??
    I’d love to hear from anyone who has any recollections. Thanks

    • Roy Farndale says:

      I remember the youngest Butler, cant recall his Christian name, but he used tag along with a crowd of boys that lived in Oldham rd, I remember he lived a short distance from the Latimer arms, near Tommy Lane’s the bicycle shop.

    • Roy Farndale says:

      just remembered the Butler I knew was Anthony, I think he was the youngest of the brothers.

  30. Jayne Evanson (corney) says:

    Johnnie Corney died in Tenerife of asbestosis. He remained a smart dresser and Jack the lad till the end.

    • Johnny was a class mate of mine at Junior school. I bumped into him from time to time as we grew into adults. He was always a nice kid who became in my opinion a nice bloke. He was way too generous at times, but that was just him. Always liked him, and the kind of old friend that brings a smile when I think of him. In later years I wondered how he got on. Bless you Johnny Corney I hope you RIP.

    • Joe webb says:

      Hi Jayne.
      Are you a family member of the Corney’s I knew Johnnie and he’s sisters
      Brenda.Winnie Jeannie and Sylvie.
      If you could put me in contact with them I would be most great full

      Kind Regards
      Joe Webb

      • Jayne says:

        Hi yes I am Johnnies daughter. All the sisters are fine if you send me your number I will pass it to my cousin Brenda’s daughter.
        My email is Jayne. Evanson@yahoo.com

        Regards
        Jayne X

  31. debbie hobbs says:

    lots of old stories and pics on facebook group of notting hill

  32. Ray Rowlings says:

    Really wonderful to read all of this and to see a picture of my old home. I lived at 83 Walmer Road with my Mum and Dad until April 1972. I went to school at Oxford Gardens. I remember them building and opening Westway. I can’t believe how close it must have been to our windows !We had 2 rooms on the Top floor. I was only seven when were moved out to Borehamwoood but much of my Mum’s family (Bloomfield) stayed in the area so was back there a lot. My Nan and Grandad Bloomfield were living at the top of Golborn Road opposite Trellick Tower. I took my Kids back there a few years ago. There is a football pitch in the middle of Walmer road and the Latymer Arms is closed but I remember the chip shop around the corner in Latimer Road and the Shops in ST Helens Gardens. There was a really good little shop on Bramley Rd I think by the Tube Station that had boxes of Airfix soldiers in the window and I used to love looking at them and loved it even more when Grandad George would take me in and but me some ! I really enjoyed the Boys Brigade at The Latymer mission on Bramley Road, I think we used to meet on Friday and then march up along Bramley Road on a Sunday Morning behind the band. Happy days !

  33. Derek Naylor says:

    I’ve just read This Boy, the childhood memoir of Alan Johnson MP, which prompted me to do more research into my childhood in North Kensington, and that brought me here. Both sets of my grandparents moved to the area in the 1930s.
    My maternal grandparents were Roland and Blodwen Mills, who lived in and ran the Dublin Castle off licence on the corner of Walmer Road and Calverley Street. Roland died in 1938, but Blodwen remained there until it closed in the 1960s. They had two daughters, Lilian known as Mickey (my mum) and Muriel. Blodwen went to live with Muriel briefly at 3 Silchester Street, before that was also about to be demolished, when they both moved to Finstock Road.
    My paternal grandparents were Walter and Gladys Naylor, who lived in Pamber Street, where Walter established Pamber Street Garage. Walter died in 1954, but Gladys continued to live above the garage until 1964. They had two sons, Ronald (my dad) and Derek. My dad ran the business after his dad died, until he retired in the 1980s. The cars that they were working on would be parked in Pamber Street and Walmer Road during the day, and then be put back in the garage overnight. When I was learning to drive, I used to come back from school to Latimer Road station and go straight to the garage to practice manoeuvring by parking up as many cars as possible each night. I remember that the demolition for Westway had started by then, and making my way through the empty and disappearing streets made it feel like it must have been to be picking your way through the bombed out ruins from the war – a very sad memory to see the community being destroyed.
    My parents married at the end of 1942 and rented the first floor of 81 Highlever Road, where I was born in 1949. We moved to the ground floor flat next door at number 79 in 1957, then in 1966 we moved across the road to number 68, on the corner of Kingsbridge Road (where Mary Millar and Bill Simpson lived). I left there when I married in 1971, but my parents stayed there until 1985.
    I went to Oxford Gardens infants/primary school until 1961, and remember the teachers well. As recorded before, there were two Mr Hutchins (one was headmaster and the other taught the youngest class), then you moved on to “Granny” Grant, who was indeed quite severe. After that you moved to Mr Barratt, who was only slightly less intimidating. After that there was the wonderful Mr Lusby, and I remember going to so many after-school cricket trip to Lords and the Oval with him. He not only taught us how to play cricket, but also showed us how to record all the details in the scorebook.
    I’m still in touch with friends from those schooldays, such as Richard Pithers, Les Weeks, Paul Knight, and Christine Paxton, although I’ve lost touch with John & Jean Medcraft, Peter Parris, Peter Swartz, Julian Roles and Peter Osborn (later in the group Wall Street Crash).
    I certainly remember the sweet shops/newsagents run by Ivy Kirkum and Tiddy Maybank, as well as Berrimans grocery and the wonderful fish’n’chip shop. I’ve lived in Cheshire for 40 years now, but came back five years ago for a reunion of St Helens church youth club, and went to have a look at the old area. Whilst there was no Pamber Street anymore, I was pleased to see that the Garage building was still standing.

    • Gerry Wright says:

      Hi Derek, your name and those you refer to all sound familiar. I have posted a couple of messages on this site before. I lived at 91 Walmer Rd, so accessed Oxford Gardens via the back gate and Bramley St. Attended the school 1955-1961, snd I have posted a class photo on Facebook – Oxford Gardens Group, so if you are on facebook you might look and confirm if and where you are………… and some of the others maybe

      • Derek Ford says:

        Thanks so much for replying. Yes I was at Oxford gdns 1952 infants until leaving the juniors 1958. Had a friend who lived in Walmer road Michael Bartlett. He had a sister called Diane. Did they live any where near you. Also knew Roy and Pauline bersnal not sure about the spelling. Where do you live now aim in Sutton since 1973. Hope to exchange more from our time in w11.

      • Gerry Wright says:

        Hi Derek. I don’t recall the names Bartlett or Bersnal. Looks like you were two/three years ahead of me at Oxford Gardens. I’m hoping the other Derek (Naylor) will respond in due course so we can compare our thoughts and memories.

      • John Hockley says:

        Hi Gerry, Think we have now all found “This Boy” a fascinating account or Walmer Road. I have read all the post and recognise many of the names therein. My elder sister Christine Hockley went to Oxford Gardens school in the early 1950s, I have a brother David and younger sister Linda, we lived in Calverley street until 1955 when we were rehoused to Roehampton. The Webb’s were our family at 55 Walmer Road. They had a big hand in organising the Coronation Party where I won a crown in a running race. Mu uncle Clary worked in the Vigo Garage.

        Just on holiday now so will look again in a couple of weeks. John Hockley (1944)

      • Margaret Morgan says:

        John, I lived in Silchester Road , but was friends with a girl named Christine who lived in Calverly Street, don’t remember her last name,( memory not so good now) I think she lived in the same house as a Gerald Woods.She and I used to go to the Oxford Gardens Play centre.I went to Oxford gardens until 1953.

      • William Daniel Prytherch says:

        I knew Roy Bersnal and his sister, they lived on the right to Jarvis Garage, opposite where I lived (92 Walmer Road), Roy had a motorbike.

        Barbara Mills who worked in Woolworths (Porto Bello Road) lived on the left to the garage.

        John Hiscott and his brother Jeffrey, lived at number 82 and Mr Cooper lived next door to 92.

        I also remember old Mr Francis (quite a character) who walked up and down Walmer Road, he was a former WW1 prisoner of war.

    • Paul Lawrence says:

      Hi Derek. I enjoyed reading your post about Pamber Street Garage. I used to live at 1 Pamber St in the 50’s and worked at Vigo Motors in Aldermaston St 1965 to 1972. The two garages occupied the same building which used to be a bus garage but it was later partitioned in to two separate garages. I remember your Dad, Ron, and also remember his foreman Peter Rollo. How is your Dad and do you know what happened to Peter?

    • Roy Farndale says:

      Hi, I worked for Ron Naylor in Pamber Street garage in 1951/2, he was always a fair man very approachable, which was unusual for a boss at that time.

  34. Paul Lawrence says:

    Hi Derek. I enjoyed reading your post about Pamber Street Garage. I used to live at 1 Pamber St in the 50’s and worked at Vigo Motors in Aldermaston St 1965 to 1972. The two garages occupied the same building which used to be a bus garage but it was later partitioned in to two separate garages. I remember your Dad, Ron, and also remember his foreman Peter Rollo. How is your Dad and do you know what happened to Peter?

    • Derek Ford says:

      I think you have the wrong derek. I did go to Oxford gdns school and lived in chesterton rd. my father worked at scrubs lane. My grandparents lived at 268 lancaster road.

      • Maxine Felstead says:

        Hi Derek my name is Maxine I am the sister of Michael and Diane Bartlett. We use to live at 100 Walmer Road. I have seen your post on Kensington history. My mum was called Violet Bartlett formerly Housego and my dad was Thomas Bartlett. It would be nice to hear from you so I can update you on our family. My email address is lanzamax@hotmatil.co.uk

    • Jason kemp says:

      Hi Jason here. How’s you? My man and family including me lived at Pamber Street. The Kemp family, Kitty Kemp, Jack Kemp, Bert Mary Kemp. Any ring a bell?

      • Paul Lawrence says:

        Hi Jason. I remember Kitty. She was a friend of my Nan, Charlotte Byden and her daughter Pat Rose. Both lived at No 1, then they all moved to Dixon House. Nan and Pat died over 20 years ago but Pat’s two boys, Steve and Mark are still in the W10 area. Their Dad, Bob, now lives in Cliftonville, Kent.

  35. maxine says:

    My name is Maxine Bartlett, I lived at No 100 Walmer Road. If anyone knows Tom, Violet, Micheal, Diane or myself please contact me via Email – lanzamax@hotmail.co.uk

  36. Norman Norrington says:

    Hi I’m Norman Norrington. Lived at 40 Blechynden Street. Bert & Eileen were my Mum & Dad. Brothers were Ron & Peter. Lived next door to Gerry Fahey’s paper shop. Went to Oxford Gardens 1948/53. Started school at St Clements but Mum moved me to Oxford Gardens when she came to St Clements and found them teaching us maths with Dominos. I’m no good at Maths or Dominos.
    Happy days..

  37. Don Cleary says:

    What a wonderful read. Thank you so much.
    I lived in Bard Road until we moved when I was 2.5 years of age to the White City. I can remember sitting on the tailgate of the cart as we moved slowly along one of the roads with houses coming into view over my shoulders and fading to the distance as we moved along towards the WC. Unfortunately, I can’t find any references to the demolition of the Bard Road properties, though I think we lived in a flat in a 3 story property – I suppose much like those appearing in your article – but most memories come from our return visits to friends over the road, the Strakers, living in a smaller two story terraced house (today these would be worth a fortune no doubt)

    I know the residents of Bard Road were moved into new flats built nearby. I often wonder if any of these remember those days of destruction and removal, or if any photo’s exist in a family album of those early days. My last visit was when I had just finished basic training for National Service in the RAF in Jan 1955, so at least it was intact then.

    My Grandparents lived in many of the roads you mentioned.

    Thanks again for a wonderful piece evoking much of the atmosphere that I describe to me children of those black and white days ( as I remember them) in London. My eldest son, now a well known musician in New Orleans will be fascinated when he receives your story.

    Anyone with knowledge of those days is cordially invited to mail me don.cleary@doncleary.co.uk

  38. Ingrid Doris says:

    Brought back lots of memories. I was one of the black families who live in Olham Rd Lancaster Rd and Walmer Rd in the earliy 1960’s. I was the only black girl in the school Thomas Jones Primary School from 1961 and Notting Hill Church Lancaster Rd.
    I woulda love to find out if anyone remember me.
    My name is Ingrid.

  39. Hi Ingrid, I left Thomas Jones before you arrived but I loved the school!

    Wow it must have been hard for you back them. Because it was hell for us! For me those were terrible days as we had a horrible and vilolent Jamacan Landlord 185 Lancaster Rd,who bought the house and us with it. Next door another Jamacan started a brothel in 187 Lancaster Rd. George Weir his name was. His kids were nice and his wife gave me my first ever fried eggs, but generally it was war. Now I am an immegrant living only amongst the Spanish, and not the rich ones. We all speak their language and life is warm (mostly) and my pension just about keeps us afloat. I am glad to see you on here. Afterall this is all our history and each has an equal place in history no matter how unequal our beginnings. Good Luck and God Bless !

    • Jim stokes says:

      Hi my name is Jim Stokes. I lived in W10 and my grandparents lived opposite the Bramley pub also my mothers parents lived 2doors away there name was Campion – catch up soon

  40. Mary says:

    Hello everyone. What a delight to find this most informative site. I have a question I have long wanted an answer to. My auntie lived in Lancaster Road in the 1960s. Her house was demolished. It was the ones backing onto Rillington Place. Can anyone tell me please what year the demolition took place? I do not live in London, but have travelled to Ladbroke Grove to try to find the footprint of her home. I have many memories as a small child playing in the back garden. Down the metal staircase into the garden. The basement always intrigued me. But it was definitely off limits. My aunt was the last person living in the house before the demolition. My grandparents lived in Cambridge Gardens. Indeed my grandfather died in their home. My parents lived in Acklam Road. We moved when the house was demolished to make way for the motorway.
    Thanks

    • John Hockley says:

      Hello Mary, I can’t tell you quickly when the demolition of Rillington Place was but I have a 1914 copy of the Ordnance Survey map for the area. 10 Rillington Place was the last house on the left as you say backing onto Lancaster Road. There was a small gap between the terrace of houses in Lancaster Road right behind 10 Rillington Place. When we were kids we went to the Saturday morning minors at the Royalty pictures on the corner with Ladbroke Grove. We used to look through the gap into the garden of that infamous house until one of the kids shouted “here comes Christy” at that point we would all run down the road screaming.
      I am happy to enlarge the map and send you a copy of the street you are interested in but I would need your email, if you as so inclined.
      If you want to buy the sheet from OS it’s London Sheet 59 (1914)
      John Hockley, formally of Calverley Street off Walmer Road W10

      • Mary Jones says:

        Dear John, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I have been to the seaside! I have an old ordinance survey of the road. My husband collects them. I am not sure what house my aunt lived-in. Also I don’t have her address. I was last in the house as a pre primary school child. So am relying on memories of nearly fifty years. Where did that time go? Thank you for getting back to me. It is much appreciated. Best wishes Mary

        Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2016 07:57:58 +0000 To: muffin62@hotmail.co.uk

  41. James Farndale says:

    Hi, John Hockley,your account of looking through the gap at the infamous “Christy house” is the cause of this post. I lived in Oldham Road until 1960ish, when I went to North Kensington Secondary Modern school. We used to look in that gap in the houses in Lancaster Road to see what the Police were doing in the garden of 10 Rillington Place. I seem to remember a Derek Twoomy who lived at 33 Walmer Road, (almost opposite the short bit of Oldham Road) or has my memory warped a bit. I vaguely remember a girl named Sylvia Sefton who lived in Silchester Road, I think it was next door to a Timber storage place that backed on to East Mews Road.
    I hope it stirs some more memories.

  42. James Farndale says:

    In Oldham Road, we lived next door to a black dustman whose name was Danny. He was always telling us who listened that he was going to buy a “Rolls Roy” when he could afford it. He hadn’t managed it by the time I went off for 2 Years National Service. Does any one remember or know the whereabouts of a buddy of mine named James (Jimmy) Slaney who lived in the block of flats in Calverly Street.

    • William Daniel Prytherch says:

      I remember Danny, he was a council worker (he worked on the dust cart) and before that he worked at J Lyons Cabby Hall in Hammersmith, where I worked.

      I seem to remember his name was Danny Bacon.

  43. Roy Farndale says:

    to Brin Allum, if your aunt was Betty Sheather, I knew her from Robinson House, she may even remember my name, but at our age that’s not certain, good times in W10 back in the 50’s.

    • Roy Farndale says:

      I think this comment may apply to Gerry White instead of Brin Allum.
      if your aunt was Betty Sheather, I knew her from Robinson House, she may even remember my name, but at our age that’s not certain, good times in W10 back in the 50’s.

      • Roy Farndale says:

        Might get this right this time, Gerry Wright, if your aunt was Betty Sheather, I knew her from Robinson House, she may even remember my name, but at our age that’s not certain, good times in W10 back in the 50’s.

  44. Terry Coleman says:

    I stumbled on to this today, a great window into my early childhood. My name is Terry Coleman. I was born in 1954 at Queen Charlotte’s hospital, my mother is June Kirkum her sisters Maureen, Pat, Carole and brother Alfie. Her parents were Alf and Annie Kirkum (nee Preston) who lived at 5 Hurstway St. My dad was Harry Coleman whose family lived at 8 Hurstway St. Brothers Michael, Tommy, Danny, John and sister Janet. Their parents were Jane Coleman (nee Drinkwater) and we only knew granddad Coleman as that. I am 62 now and live in Port Stanley, Ontario Canada. It is fascinating reading, the memories of The Harrow club, Thomas Jones Primary school, Messers fish and chips, Silchester road baths etc. and the demolition. We were lucky as my dad worked for the water board and they gave us a house, 11 Highlever Rd. Most of my mates and family thought we were rich which was far from the truth. He paid five pounds a month rent in 1969. If any one has recollections of any of my family I would love to hear from you. I realize that your group is probably a generation above me and that Hurstway St. is at least two streets over from Walmer Rd. but really we are all from the real Hill. Would love to find out more as many of those who had these stories are no longer with us.

    • ziggybass says:

      Hello Terry and welcome. This is a History Group project Terry so your memories of the history of the area including people and stories are just as valuable as anyone elses. It is not FaceBook and should not be treated like it. I’m looking forward to hearing your memories mate but if anyone wants to ‘catch up’ Please use Face Book. This is being collected by the History Group and they have done some fabulous work. So lets hear more about 1966 and the Demolition years. Good Luck.

    • Brin Allum says:

      I was interested in Terry Colemans comment. My aunt & uncle & cousin Peter Wright lived at 5 Hurstway Street on the top floor with the Kirkums on the floors underneath. My cousin Peter passed away a couple of months ago. My late wife’s twin sister Joyce Craddock was a friend of Maureen and I also knew her. I am a lot older than you and also attended the Harrow Club.

      • Debbie hobbs says:

        Hi
        I lived at 11 Hurstway Street and knew both Kirkhums and Colemans. Alfie and Carol Kirkhum are members of a group I run on facebook called Old Notting Hill & north kensington history group. I lived in Hurstway when they were filming Leo the last

      • Trevor Manning says:

        Hi Brin
        Just to ask did you have a daughter who attended Avondale.
        The name Rita comes to mind, I think I was in her class
        Thank you.
        Trevor Manning.

  45. Terry Coleman says:

    Hi Debbie, you must be related to John Hobbs , Alfie and I played football with him at the harrow club. Maureen came from Spain to stay in Canada a few years ago with me.We were talking about Leo the last. I remember all the movie trailers parked in Hurstway St. and Testerton St. being painted all black. Then they blew it up at the end of the movie if I remember. I saw your blog on facebook some great pictures hopefully I can find some to post. thanks again.

    • Debbie Hobbs says:

      yes John Hobbs my brother

      • Trevor Manning says:

        Hi Debbie
        Just found this. I think you were in my class at Avondale.
        I will post further comments about growing up in the area with some names most of whom I have found memories

        Trevor Manning.

    • Terry Coleman says:

      In regards to Rillington place, when the house was abandoned before the demolition in the sixties we had a gang initiation where you had to run through the front door to the back kitchen touch the tap and run out again. If you past this test you were in the gang. I remember one kid, I think his last name was Walsh, who, running back out the hallway put his foot through a rotten floor board and fell into the hole up to his knees. That the was the loudest scream and fastest exit through that door I had ever seen and he ran all the way back to Hurstway St. His Mom was waiting for us when we got back and we got an earful from her as well as all the other parents.

  46. Wally Cotgrave says:

    I`m a bit of an “outsider”, coming from the White City,[who also have a wonderful site like this one], but I “was” born in Talbot rd. This site has brought many memories back for me. Little snatches of lovely times but inevitably some iffy ones as well. My contact started when I began work at “Bob the Coppers” wood yard in Wood Lane….I also did a bit in the scrap yard – I`d be sixteen or so….1954, or thereabouts. The Billy Smith I knew, was a totter, and he`d often “give me a drink” for helping to unload his cart. I was dazzled by him, the clobber, the style the hair ….you just had to have good hair. Peter Lovell was another hero of mine. I played football with him for the West London side on a Sunday, he recruited me to to join him in the Rugby clubs “Young Guard” side who played the Saturday. Not satisfied with that I`d also go over to the Scrubs on a Sunday morning with me boots hung round me neck, and hang around the dressing rooms hoping someone would be short a player. I played under some weird and wonderful names. Mostly I wouldn’t be disappointed. My one claim to footballing fame was playing in a half back line that read Alan Mullery, meself, Wally Cotgrave, and George Cohen….at The Rangers ….The thing that puzzled me though was I always thought The Rugby Club was in Walmer Rd ….but not a mention?….Be Lucky Wally

  47. Norman says:

    Happy days Norman Norrington 40 Blechynden st

    .

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