Watling Avenue Market

A Memory of Burnt Oak

I was born in 1938 in London. My parents moved to Burnt Oak when I was 3. The Second World War made a big impression on me. I remember having to sleep in an indoor steel cage. Other times we had to dash over to the air raid shelters in Watling Park, carrying our bedding with us. The shelters were long, like submarines, half in the ground and half out. There seemed to be a lot of people in one shelter, which was always damp and humid. We did eventually get an air raid shelter put in the garden but I don't think we ever used it as it always had water in it. After a night of bombing my brother and I found a piece of shrapnel in the front door. Later my brother and I were sent off to Cardiff to get away from the heavy bombing in London. VE day was a big celebration with a bonfire on the lawn in front of our house. I remember that when food rationing was over a sweet shop on the Edgware Road sold out in no time at all. When life got back to more or less normal a big treat was getting an ice cream wafer from Toni's - it was great ice cream.

I went to Goldbeaters Secondary Modern School - it was quite a walk. I would kick a stone or tin can all the way there and after school all the way home. I would always get heck from my mum for messing up my shoes. Soccer was my favourite sport and I was chosen to play on the school's soccer team. Because I was tall for my age I played with the older boys' team which my brother was in. We had a good team and won the local schools' trophy one year.

My first invention was when I was 8 or so, it was the forerunner of the skateboard. I used a roller skate with a board on it which I then sat on and went hell for leather down Orange Hill Road. I didn't ever stand up on it like skateboarders do - too chicken!

Between 1955 and 1958 or thereabouts I used to work on Saturdays at Wilson's green grocers stall which I'm pretty sure is on the left of the photograph.

A memory shared by Brian Banks , on Apr 1st, 2009.

Comments & feedback

Sat Nov 21st 2015, at 12:44 pm

chrisjoy36 commented:

Remember your brother David I went to goldbeaters school . Lived in burnt oak untill 1959 went Wesley hall youth club used to ride our motor bikes with a few others Chris niebank

Thu Sep 15th 2016, at 3:31 am

ccrev commented:

My memories are similar to yours during the war and I remember the sweet shop in Edgeware Road -- was it Bunces? It was near the Savoy Cinema. I have memories of the iron cage. We were evacuated to Stockport when the flying bombs came. I was born in 1930.

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