Growing Up In Barnes 1950s

A Memory of Barnes

We moved to Glebe Road in 1952 (Cousland) and it was a wonderful place for children. We had a back gate opening on to the common and made full use of it. The grass was cut every year and baled for hay and we used to rush out and build houses from the bales. Every Friday we were allowed to buy 2ozs of sweets from Mr Brown's sweet shop (just out of shot here) then help carry the shopping home from the new "supermarket" Express Dairies. There was also a greengrocer, another sweetshop (The Crescent) and a dry cleaners. The milkman delivered in a new battery van, and there was a rag and bone man who came round with his pony and cart. At the other end of Church Road there was a very smart ladies dress shop and a shoe shop. All we needed was in Barnes. We could fish in the pond for sticklebacks and scoop up tadpoles in the spring. The swings at Vine Road were heavenly, and there were tennis courts at the end of Ranelagh Avenue. Aged 8 and 9 we would walk across the common to the station and get the train to Richmond Baths. We could also walk to the open air pool across the level crossing and over the Lower Richmond Road. I used to wonder how we could have been safe, but seeing your photos makes me realize how little traffic there was so it was very much easier to cross the road. I went to the Convent just out of sight round the corner and was very lucky to have had a childhood in this loveliest of London suburbs. Liz Cousland

A memory shared by Liz Mc Laren , on Apr 13th, 2008.

Comments & feedback

Tue Aug 5th 2014, at 11:57 am

renukadelima commented:

Hallo there Liz
Do you remember me? We lived on Laurel Road, around the corner from you, Geeta and Renuka de Lima. Unfortunately my darling sister Geeta was killed in a car accident when she was 21. I look back at my time in Barnes (we moved there in 1959) with such happiness and also sadness that it has passed. I loved our school, the Convent of the Sacred Heart. Your sister Valerie Holmes was there. Wasn't she a Head Girl? I also miss the nuns: Sister/Mother de Chantal, Sister Theresa, Sister Catherine (who despaired of my awful sewing) and headmistress Sister Augustine or "Gussie", although we never called her that in her hearing. Geeta was very fond of Sister Peters. Sister Bernadette taught the younger ones. We used to have cycle races on Glebe Road. Yes, there must have been very little traffic then as it was never dangerous. I remember Mr Brown the sweet shop owner, once telling me off for some reckless cycling on Church Road that could have killed me. I wasn't happy with him at the time but today I wish I could thank him for looking out for me. There was a small grocery shop towards the centre of Church Road run by Rod, a friend of my Dad. Mrs Wyborne (no idea how you spell her name) worked there and used to make tinned salmon fish cakes on a Friday which we used to buy. All shops closed half day on Wednesdays then. We spent all our spare time playing on the common and one summer we made homes in a large area of blackberry bushes which we called "Bush Village". Beverly Brook ran at the bottom of our garden and eventually opened out into the common. We thought we had lost Geeta one day on the common but after much searching we found that your mum had taken her in and was looking after her. My mum made a little posy out of Lilly of the Valley flowers from the garden as a thank you for your mum. Friday for us was "sweety day". Dad used to come home from work at about 7pm with sweets. Often I would wait for his bus to arrive on Church Road on a Friday to get my sweets. What a piggy I must have been. Still am! I do remember when the pond opposite our convent froze over. We used our school cases as sleds to slide over it. It was also hosed down with water to make the ice smooth and a few people actually skated on it. Like you, I believe we were so lucky to have spent our childhoods in Barnes.

Thu Aug 11th 2016, at 12:11 am

tessiebrooks commented:

I went to the convent in 1952 I cried at the memories of my days at the convent of sister Theresa playing netball and sister Augustus and how we used to ping paper balls at the habits that they had on there heads .I lived in Acton and had to take 2 buses to get to school I changed buses in Hammersmith and took a #9 bus to Barnes I was the only girl that lived in Acton but I had many friends at school It was long before you went there I am 77 years old now and live here in Paris Texas .I left England in 1966 and went to live in Montreal Canada I lived there for 8 years then moved to the US .You talk about the pond on the common and we used to go blackberry picking on the common, I am so happy to have found some one that went to that wonderful school .My name is Mary Theresa Mcmahon but all my friends called me Tessie I have been a Brooks since 1957 how time flies do let me know if you get this let me know where you live now

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