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Childhood in Waltham Cross

I was born in Waltham Cross in 1941, right in the middle of an air raid.  My dad was yelling up at the planes saying "Not tonight Adolf, not tonight!"
Waltham Cross back then was a wonderful village to grow up in. Sunday mornings only the sweet shop would be open at the top of Trinity Lane, named Foyles. You could walk up the High St and come across sheep being herded in the middle of the road, and all the traffic, well what there was of it, would come to a halt and await the shepherd and his flock.
The High Street was full of hustle and bustle on a Saturday morning and I would have to go into the Co-op furniture shop and pay on my mum's weekly HP for the furniture she had bought. I would then go across the road to Collins grocers and butchers and give them a shopping list my mum had given me and wait for the merchandise to be packaged. Friday nights my mum and I would wait outside the Embassy pictures for my dad to come off the 310 bus from his job in Hoddesdon and we would all go to the pictures. I would always get a choc ice and on my birthday I could have 2. I always knew I was special with my dad. On the way home he would give me a piggy back ride down Trinity Lane to Northfield Road where we lived as I was always tired.
I went to Holy Trinity School in Trinity Lane where the block of flats now are and as it was a church school Holy Trinity Church was our place of worship.  I was eventually married at the church and had funeral services for both parents there in later years. I am very sad at the blight of Waltham Cross these days.  Now a motorway runs through the town and the old shops and wonderful ways are gone. But I feel I had the best of times back then and wouldn't change a thing of that time.

Madeline (Clay) Rees

Written by Madeline Rees. To send Madeline Rees a private message, click here.

A memory of Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire shared on Sunday, 1st June 2008.

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Comments

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

I enjoyed reading your story Madeline about Waltham Cross. It was a lovely place, and I am sure there are still parts of it that retain that charm.
I was born in 1942 and went to the same school as you did.
My grandfather was one of a few people in Swanfield Road to own a car, and when I returned I was a bit lost to find the road, now on a roundabout !
I lived with my grandparents and my grandfather owned an electrical shop in Wormley. So guess which bungalow was bursting at the seams when Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were married ! Like you Madeline I have fond memories to keep.

Julia (Billingsley)Adams

Comment from Julia Fraser on Tuesday, 3rd March 2009.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

I lived in Park Lane in the 70`s it was a brilliant time. I was the youngest of six children and we used to live next to the train lines. We used to have chickens in the shed and my dad grew all his own fruit and veg (organic).. how funny. I remember The Plough pub at the top of Park Lane, Aspland where I used to get my jamboree bag and Raffles saturday morning pictures. Going to see Mr Palmer in Palmer's greengrocers to help out - I was only about 7. Does anyone remember Raffles saturday morning disco, Blundell`s, Castle Pub, the Temple Bar and the Embassy picture house? I went to school at Hurst Drive Primary School, then on to Queen Eleanor. What great times - we all used to meet at Balmoral playing fields (everybody that lived in Park Lane, the flats, Leven Drive and Park Road). We used to play cricket, rounders and tennis; we were never in - not like these days. I'm sad to say I cant remember all the different shops but I do remember faces. Everyone had their doors open and you knew everyone down the street. The days we played hopscotch...what a brilliant childhood, not in front of a computer but out playing with your mates.

Comment from Avis Gauntlett on Saturday, 20th July 2013.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

Hi there, I moved to Waltham Cross when I got married to Stan (he grew up in Waltham Cross). I wonder if anybody can tell me what year Stuarts the Jewellers closed down? It's quite important as I bought a ring there just before it closed and I have now lost the diamond out of it, so need to confirm what year I bought it. Thanks, Cheryl. Whilst writing, my memories are of the old car park near the Addis brush factory, just by Ruthven Avenue - where Sainsbury's Homebase is now. Key Markets supermarket. Stan remembers the Maypole grocers and Asplands the paper shop on corner of Park Lane. On a recent trip to Jaywick just for old times sake, he remembered a trip there with John Wiltshire a schooldays friend and his family.

Comment from Cheryl Morley on Monday, 2nd September 2013.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

I loved reading all the comments. I come from Cheshunt, Bury Green, near Cliff Richard's house. He made his phone calls from the box opposite my home in Greenwood Avenue. My parents come from Swanfield Road; Mum No.5 and Dad No.9. Mum worked at the brush factory during the war, her name was Carter, Dad's was Sharpe. Mum later worked in Kathleen Lees woolshop. In the 50's I remember going to Mr Parry Jone's sweet shop at the top of Swanfield Road. Tilda Smith, The Willows is still in Waltham New Town, not to sure if any travellers still live there? It's still a mobile home site. Oliver Stone made me smile; I remember Charlie Finch, bless him, and his drippy nose, he sat next to me in The Coffee Shop at Cheshunt, with his drip. I think we were at school together Oliver, St, Marys in the 60's? I remember buying my records from Marsdens in the 60's Reg Scheuder, listened in little booths, bet you served me. Wonderful memories.

Comment from Janice Soons on Wednesday, 11th September 2013.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

Does anyone remember The Boys Club? I had some great times there, Tuesdays and Friday nights at the youth club, Saturday night dances. Half a crown to get in where local groups played. The Eltones, Bernie Henbest their drummer, his father was the Chairman of the club, The Mark Four, my favourites - Johnny Dalton went on to play with The Kinks. Can anyone remember the group Peter Lilley played drums with? 1964 - 1966, saw me (I was Janice Sharpe then), Muriel Goodwin, Carol Chitty and Jenny Jenkins all dancing round our handbags. The dances finished at 10.30, so it was a rush to the bus stop for the ride back to Bury Green, in time for my 11p.m. curfew. Not many youngsters now would spend Saturday nights with a bottle of Fizz and home by 11p.m. I had a fantastic time! Good old Boys Club... great memories.

Comment from Janice Soons on Thursday, 12th September 2013.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

Reasearching my family history from the willows when the gypsies lived in waltham newtown, if anyone knows any stories or anything about them please contact me, thanks.

Comment from Monica Fitzgibbon on Thursday, 9th January 2014.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

I have been reading memories of Waltham Cross ,and Cheshunt. I never lived there but many of my family did and still do. Does anyone remember The Jamieson family? There's quite a few of them, we used to all go to the Comrades Club or was it Conservative Club not sure. Opposite the club Bill Jamieson live in the houses, his wife's name was Mabs. The club is still there and Bill, my uncle, has his portrait and I believe his banjo hanging on the wall which his brother Fred (my lovely dad) made. The club has been there for years, the family used to get together for great parties. I know it was still there four years ago. Len Emerson, his daughter Beryl (maiden name Emerson) had a son I believe was in the navy. I remember the Four Swans across the road, the club is on the same High Road but further along. If anyone remembers the Jamieson's (Bob, Maud, there sons and daughters; Alan, Bill, Bob, Ellen or Phillis, please contact me by email. freddie1212@aol.com or telephone 01689849605. My name is Beryl Jamieson (maiden name). Please get in touch.

Comment from Beryl Clark on Monday, 3rd February 2014.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

I moved from Tottenham to Waltham Cross (9 Stoneleigh Close) in 1951. My uncle and grandfather had a removal lorry and had a contract with the council to move people from Tottenham to Waltham Cross via the council fumigation depot.

When they unloaded the furniture it was all placed in the dining room and all the doors sealed up for 24 hours, we had to sleep on the floor for the first night of our new life and it was a new life as we came out of a flat in Harringay Road, No 107, my nan and grandad lived at no 27.

Father worked in Fishpools delivering furniture and also in the nursery over the railway at the station, both jobs part time as he was a fireman at the gunpowder factory ?(as my little nan called it)

As for the gypsy's at newtown one of them was best man at my first wedding but I am ashamed to say that I cannot remember his name (sorry).

I remember the Stones shoe repair shop as I used to help out in the evenings sometime. Think there were 4 children in the family.
Mum worked at Blundell's, the Sweet factory, (we always had a dish of marshmellows on the sideboard.

Lots of good memory's of the back row in both cinema's, memory not so good with names

Have a photo of the street party on the Tottenham estate, think it was for the coronation.

My first school in the Cross was the Holy Trinity before being moved to the nissen huts at Cheshunt until the school was finished, went in class Upper 1B and stayed in the upper B stream until I left in 56

Mt first job was at Arlington's garage in 1956, remember the fish and chip shop across the road, the daughters name was Barbara.

Comment from Norman Smith on Saturday, 5th April 2014.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

Hello, does anyone remember the Comrades Club in Bridge Street or Bill and Mabs Jamieson who lived opposite the club? If anyone knows any of the Jamieson family; Alan, Bill (buster) and Ellen (married name Wolf). Phillis, I would be pleased to hear from you my email address is: freddy1212@virginmedia.com I am Beryl Clark née Jamieson, thanks.

Comment from Beryl Clark on Tuesday, 8th April 2014.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

Hi All, Whilst I grew up in Cheshunt, I did work as a radio & TV apprentice at H & P Marsdens who were at 79-81 High st, opp the Embassy cinema. I was there from 1963 - 69. Marsdens were of course next to the Regent cinema; Brewster’s the builders had a small office on the other side of the Regent. Yes, I recall the supermarket close to Fishpools. What was the name of that small hardware shop next to Fishpools where I was sent to get a left handed screwdriver once? There was another builder who had premises in Trinity Lane and drove an old bull nosed Morris from the 1920's about until well into the 1970's (long since passed on now). There was Biltons the florist close to Murray's the funeral directors (still there now). Of course my earlier memories were mostly of going to the Embassy & Regent cinemas. But I have a soft spot for the place, having met my wife just outside Fishpools on Easter bank holiday Monday 1966, when I asked her for one of her chips as she and 2 friends passed me by one night. My wife lived off Ordnance Rd, Enfield, so for the next 2 years I had to get a bus from Bury Green, Cheshunt to her place and when I had no money left or missed the bus I walked from her place thru the Cross to Bury green till I was able to buy a car. We now live up the road in Hoddesdon with 3 grown up kids. Reg Scheuber

Comment from Reg Scheuber on Sunday, 31st March 2013.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

Thank you all for the lovely responses. Seems to all remember Waltham Cross as it was. I collect old photos of W X high st and have 6 framed and up on my wall. Mostly of the Four Swannes and the Eleanor Statue. Hope to goodness that never goes away or the four swans that go across the road there. Keep those memories coming guys because we are a dying breed - the new kids will never know what it was like unless we put it down on paper for them to read.

Comment from Madeline Rees on Thursday, 14th June 2012.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

Dear Madaline,
This is very intetresting especially your mention of Foyles the sweet shop. My Mum and Dad bought this shop about 1955 and had it for 5 years before selling up and moving to Kingsfield Drive. I moved schools when they bought the shop to Cheshunt Sec. Mod. This was my last school and went into engineering after a few years of jobs I didn't get on with. I was christened, confirmed and married at Holy Trinity as were my parents also there was youth fellowship attached to the church which I used to help run.
I now live in a small village in Northamptonshire and expect to be here until thay take me out in a box! I have lived here all my married life almost.
Your coments about how "The Cross" is now are oh! so true. My sister lives in Broxbourne and occasionally pass through. There is no way would I move back.

Peter Saunders

Comment from Peter Saunders on Saturday, 23rd October 2010.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

To Julia and Peter. I loved reading your response to my memories of Waltham Cross. The last time I was there was in 2006 when my mum died. Although I have many many relatives in the Ponders End Enfield area I have no intentions of ever going back. This makes me sad in a way because I feel my roots deeply probably because next year I will be 70. But my life, my children and my grandsons all live here in the USA now so this is home.

But I still love hearing from Waltham Cross people their memories and life and times there. Many many thanks to you both for giving me a smile this afternoon.

Best wishes Madeline Rees. PS My email is Mad4Naples@aol.com if you would like to write from time to time.

Comment from Madeline Rees on Saturday, 23rd October 2010.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

Hi, i was wondering if anyone knows of a place called 'The Willows' in Waltham Cross or in the Waltham Abbey area in around 1940? I am doing a story on the Romany Gypsies who had an encampment in these areas back in the 1940's, but I have come to a halt in finding 'The Willows'. My email is: carthorsedonkey@yahoo.co.uk Thank you from Tilda.

Comment from Tilda Smith on Friday, 10th June 2011.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

I was born in Ruskin Avenue in 1947 because my mum was visiting her parents and I came along while she was there. There was a field at the bottom of the garden which had pigs in, I think there's a block of flats there now. Mum and Dad were married in the Abbey, a lovely building, what's left of it. My mum worked in a sweet factory before the war, does anyone know its name?

Comment from Roger Jones on Tuesday, 6th September 2011.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

I was fascinated to read these - and I think I might remember Peter's Mum and Dad (a tallish chap with a moustache?) and they were sometimes assisted by another woman - taller than his Mum and with glasses. I remember it as a deep shop - and towards the back a glass cabinet with three sections: everything a penny on ths lowest section; 2d in the middle; 3d on top.

I lived in Waltham Cross from the age of three until 17 - in Cornwall Close on the Royal Estate and attending King's Road School and then Cheshunt Grammar School from 1956 to 1971.

Sad to say that the Planners, Developers and Supermarkets have mangaged to destroy everything that Waltham Cross ever was - initially to build the Shopping Centre in High Street/Eleanor Cross Road and more recently in allowing it to be crucified by Brookfield Farm.

Anyone remember a tiny confectioners on the corner of Swanfield Road (not the corner where Britannica House was built a few years later, but where there was a second hand car dealership - now a Quickfit workshop). I'm sure that it wasn't, but we used to call it "Little Asplands" by way of a reference to the rambling confectioner/newsagent/haberdashers/toys and almost everything else store at the corner with Park Lane.

In later years, my money was spent in The Record Centre and Marsdens (both long since gone - along with The Falcon, Four Swans, The Pantry, Greefield nursery school, the old Post Office, Rogers the Greengrocer, Stanley Bridges Cycles, Hills the Bakers, Stuart the jewellers to name a few) rather than in sweet shops.

Comment from Ray Kerr on Friday, 4th November 2011.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

What lovely memories. I was brought up in Waltham Cross from the age of 4. I really enjoyed living there, lived in Cameron Drive with brother Peter ,Mum and Dad. Dad died 1970, Mum had to go into a warden controlled place at the age of 80. As I said, I loved the Cross. Went to New Town School, bt it seems no one remember the school. Then Hurst Drive then onto Waltham Cross Secondary School Yes, I used to spend most of my money in Marsdens record shop. Remember Asplands, The Pantry, The Castle. My dad used to drink in the Castle and the 4 Swans. Does anyone remember the other end of Waltham Cross, Alington Garage, opposite there was the wool shop, pet shop and a car show room. Then there was a fish and chip shop, sweet shop with a barbers at the back, next door the ladies hairdressers. I could go on and on. It's one big shame they have gone and really spoilt oour lovely Waltham Cross. Even now I don't go there it,s a sham, so many memories Does anyone remember Victor Values? It was where Iceland is now.

Comment from Jean Cowley on Sunday, 22nd January 2012.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

What a trip down memory lane. I was born in Barnet hospital in 1945, and soon after moved to Northfield Road. What a wonderful place for kids those days. At the end of the street there seemed to be endless rows of greenhouses where we would play, with the only danger was of being chased off the site by the watchman. Bordering the estate was the then disused railway line where I remember spending most of the time jumping off the bridges onto a stack of hay collected when they used to cut it from the banks. The emergence of the Southbury loop line spoilt all that when the electrification of the line saw trains thunder through there. My early recollection of life there was when I started school at Holy Trinity School in Trinity Lane. I vividly remember that lovely old building, when morning assembly was held in a lovely sun filled room. It brings a lump in my throat still when the Hymn 'All things bright and beautiful' is sung. Another lasting memory is of being allowed to go to the shops without being accompanied by my mum. I must havee been about seven years old and the first day I was allowed I must have run down to them about 20 times. The ration books were being phased out which made things easier. A few of the shops have been mentioned previously, Foyles, Suttons the grocers. There was Cardies the Fish and Chip shop and the hardware shop the Magnet. I did my first paper round at Asplands which was towards the top of the high street near what seemed the gigantic superstore Fishpools. I hope this story revives some more memories, that today's children will never experience.

Comment from Alan Roat on Saturday, 28th January 2012.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

I used to live in the shoe repairing shop about a hundred yards from 'Foyles', and I remember Peter Saunders and his sister Christine who was friends with my sister Barbara. Behind our shop there was Chaplins nursery which stretched all the way back to the railroad lines, it was owned by the Pike family whose daughter, Dorothy, was also a friend of Barbs - so we were able to play all over the place. Then it was sold and became a housing estate, Edinburgh Crescent ect. I haven't been back to the 'Cross' for about 40 years but have looked it up on street view - changed a hell of a lot. The old shoe shop that I grew up in, which dad turned into a betting shop in about 1960, is a party extravaganza type store. Also in those days there was a bus stop outside and every Saturday when the green line bus stopped you could see Cliff Richard waving to my brother, Melvyn, (who were old school mates) as he was on his way to the 'Oh Boy' studios. I wonder what became of him? I was too young for the old Trinity School but my brothers Melv and John and sister Barb went there and they used to say that in the winter they would be served warm milk - no health and safety in those days thank God. I also remember Cedars Park with its stuffed tigers ect and Grundy Park with George the park keeper keeping us all in line when we went conkering. And does anyone remember old Charlie Finch, he had a horse and cart and used to sell fruit from the back of it, always had a dew drop hanging from his nose, winter and summer.

Comment from Oliver Stone on Thursday, 14th June 2012.

RE: Childhood in Waltham Cross

I was born in Waltham Cross in 1940 at Southfield Road. I am the eldest with three brothers and a sister. I can remember as far back when the war was on; we used to go to the air raid shelter at the bottom of the garden when the doodlebugs came over. They had a hit on the Brush Factory opposite Eleanor Road. I went to Trinity School and hated every minute of it, the Headmaster was Mr Green. The shops I remember were; Norris's Cycle Shop, Tusons secondhand furniture shop, Foyles and Kathleen Lees, then Muirs shoe repairs, Suttons grocers, Pages photos, Temple Bar Pub, Stones shoe repairs and Chaplins Sweet Factory at the corner of Swanfield Road. On the other side of the road was the Wheatsheaf Pub with the horse trough outside, sweet shop, a wool and linen shop, Blaines the grocers, a Butchers and the Co-op Greengrocers. I was often sent to get 7lbs of spuds, dirt and all, and cycle home with them on the handlebars. I was all over the road trying to keep my balance. My first job was as a paper boy for Jones's, next was Harry Cardys Fish and Chips shop, then the Weekly Telegraph shop and the Magnet on the corner. Then came the big advertising hordings, then Durrants Transport, Ackworths the builders yard and the Vine Pub. Growing up there was good. A lot of people knew my father, George Hicks, a Scout Master for over 20 years; so we had to behave and show respect for our elders. I came through the Cross about 3 years ago and oh dear, oh dear, this was not the place I remember. Since 1966 my wife and I have lived in Norfolk, a place very much like Waltham Cross used to be.

Comment from MICHAEL HICKS on Saturday, 23rd March 2013.

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