My father was demobbed in 1946 and soon we moved from Grandma's house in Elstree to a brand new prefab in Eldon Avenue. It was the spring of 1947, one of the coldest on record with deep snow into March. Borehamwwod was still just a village but building sites were starting up everywhere. The only infants school was in Furzehill so every morning and evening my mother and I trudged the mile or so whatever the weather. The school was from the victorian era with tiny windows high in the wall, outside toilets, and the ever present smell of fresh paint on hot radiators.
It was teatime when father rushed home and quickly sat me on the little child seat of his bicycle, and off we peddled in a hurry. Arriving in Furzehill we were confronted with the site of the school blazing from end to end. We watched till late in the evening, well at least I wouldn't have to get up early next morning.
After some weeks the local authorities found a suitable building to move us children into - it was the "lunatic asylum" or "loony bin" in Shenley, probably not the appropriate name now in the 21st century, but that is what we called it. Each morning motorcoaches would pick us up, then return us to Borehamwood in the late afternoon. The inmates seemed to enjoy the company of us children, many joining in our games at playtime, laughing and jumping about with glee.
With the building activity gaining pace in Borehamwood it was only a year or so before we returned to a brand new Cowley Hill School, but my memories of my time in Shenley will live longer. I often tell that I was educated in a lunatic asylum, just to see the look on people's faces.
A memory shared byon Jan 25th, 2013.
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