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A Memory of Burnt Oak

As a boy growing up in Burnt Oak I remember the barrow boys in Watling Avenue, the hustle and bussle of everyday trading, the people gathering round the stalls, the banter, the laughter, the friendliness.  Like one family everyone pulled together on busy days.  The Baldfaced Stag pub was a meeting place at the end of the day's work for fun and some fights.  A few years later progress took over and the barrows which had stood at the side of the road for forty years or more, were suddenly in the way and were moved to a site behind the shops.  The change was not good.  A bit of Burnt Oak passed away because of this.  Whenever a stall holder died, the street would completely shut whilst the hearse passed by.  Tough hard men crying as one of their own left them.  All gone now but never forgotten.  I didn't know then but years later I was to become a milkman in Burnt Oak and proud to be one of them.  I have retired and live in Suffolk now.  I still go back now and again. I can still smell the fruit and veg and hear the shouting and laughter.  I look down the avenue and in my minds eye its still there when i look again.  I see video shops, kebab houses and every sort of take away you can think of.  Progress - who knows is this progess or what?

A memory shared by Clive Sambrook , on Apr 15th, 2007.

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