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Good Childhood In Willesden/Neasden - a Memory of Willesden.

I was born in Park Royal hospital in Feb 1952 then taken home to 70 Craven Park Road spitting distance from Harlesden police station. Just across the road from our family doctor, (Dr Curtis) not much bedside manor, but a great doctor. After 3 years we moved in with my mothers mother in 18 Mead Plat, just off the North Circular Road, this is where my childhood started. There were already some boys about my age living in this road including- Mick Bird/David & Kevin Shaw/Ron Edwards/Butch Dawson/Terry Redman/Richard & Alan Johnson/ the Ewer brothers (sorry can't remember christian names) and Michael Bennett.
I went to Keble C of E infants and junior school in Crownhill Road in Harlesden, where my best friend was Colin Dadswell who lived above 'Williams' green grocer's in Park Parade. Some of my class mates were- Clifford May/Graham Alderson/Glen Ray/Ron Hunt and many more. Every Wed we used to go to St. Matthew's church at the bottom of Burns Road, where we had a church service. I had to get there early to set things up as I was one of the alter boys.
During the 6 week summer hols me and the lads from Mead Plat would go to the bottom of Mitchell Way and there was the council open space and we would spend all day getting up to things that we should not, if not the council space we would play on railway land just before the iron bridge at Neasden where Ikea now stands, 'Ascot' hot water boilers factory was there before them. We would build dens and split into two groups and try to catch each other. We would also go over the N.C.R. to the Charringtons coal center and play on the steam trains an climb the coal tower, not taking any notice of the height of it, health and safety what is that? We also went into the west end, bunked onto London Zoo,(more than once) went up the G.P.O. tower, go around the museum's in Exhibition Road, Kensington all on a red rover bus ticket. During the hot weather we would go swimming in King Edwards pool indoor or outdoor, or Gladstone Park pool with it's sloping sides and if the weather was not too good we went to Granville Road in Kilburn Park, all of which have been knocked down.
As with the number of boys living in the same road, we started (with the help of a lad called Ken Harris) our own cycle speedway team called 'The Stonebridge Vikings' based on a track on the welsh harp waste ground at the end of Birchen Grove Kingsbury. We took on other teams all over London at least once a week, what a great time we had. As we lived so close to Wembly, we spent alot of time there. Half of the year was taken up with speedway every Sat night watching the Wembly Lions, and when the speedway season finished the ice hockey season started, again watching the Wembly Lions, then on Sunday, it was public skating time. We used to go for 2 hours skating in the morning then in the afternoon and again in the evening, we got so well known we would help clean the ice at the end of the skating time. I could go on for hours thinking and writing of the 'good old times' but for now I will give it a rest and come back at a later date and start catching up again. If you recognize anything that I have recalled, or you are one of the names I have mentioned, get in touch. I will be back.


A memory shared by pjspence18 on Jun 14th, 2015.
Send pjspence18 a message.

 Comments & Feedback

Thu Nov 15th 2018, at 3:51 pm
keithzbrooks commented:
Ray, I've just stumbled across this website and read your comments....would be great to get in touch again, Best friend, Keith
Mon Oct 29th 2018, at 3:18 pm
Have just come across a class list from class 1A Bridge Road January 1959. My mother was a teacher at Bridge Road and amongst her pupils (born 1950-51), was Evelyn Nallen. My mother's friend taught "Twiggy" at some point there.
Sun Oct 28th 2018, at 9:08 pm
susan.delvalle commented:
Hi Ray and John, I lived in twybridge way and I knew Sandra brooks, she was lovely. My sister went to school with her and also twiggie. I am 10 years younger than my sister, but I got up to all sorts of things as a child in this area, but all was innocent, and we had a great time, I wouldn't have done my growing up any where else and I have some lovely memories
Fri Feb 16th 2018, at 3:42 pm
alanjohnson53 commented:
Hi,is that Peter Spence.I'm Alan Johnson i lived at 25 Mead Platt.Istill speak to Dave Shaw sometimes on facebook.I remember you so well as a kid,playing on the greens,down the garages,bunking into the pictures at Neasden,and loads of fun stuff.The Ewers were Gary andSteven.Do you remember Alan Arman?
Mon Jan 29th 2018, at 4:11 pm
timmoco commented:
FB group. Gibbons Road Secondary Modern School NW10.. join.
Mon Jan 29th 2018, at 4:07 pm
timmoco commented:
Hi my friend. Your account of childhood days in such detail is wonderful. I cannot match your remembrances but just to say Gibbond Rec and school plus all the swimming pools are in my mind. Good old 112 on the NCR are inedible. Cheers and thanks.
Tue Aug 29th 2017, at 12:40 am
mkpinaz commented:
Hi
My name is John Pitt. I lived on 13 N Circular RD, born in 1945. Went to Bridge road and Gibbons road schools as did my other 5 brothers and sisters. Jeff, Connie, Josie, Wendy and Steve. Wonderful memories of our childhood. I actually remember some of the names listed on the other emails, Sadie Hunter and Helen Stansby etc. (does anyone remember Stanley Pod or Leonard Gigg ??)
Honey Pot Lane Hospital is where most of our family was born. We enjoyed our memories of the neighborhood and even though I have lived in America for more than 45 years it is great to think of our terrific childhood experiences.
Sun Mar 19th 2017, at 6:47 pm
b.collinge commented:
Hi I lived in church road right next to the post office, went to gibbons road school. Names I remember are Christine hunt, Rae Warwick, beryl hunt,John Bennett , went to the boys club in bridge road where I met and married my husband Bob collinge loved my teenage year loved the white horse Friday,sat and Sunday,although there was fight like today I never felt threatened xxxx
Sun Mar 19th 2017, at 6:40 pm
b.collinge commented:
Tue Feb 16th 2016, at 1:45 pm
csos commented:
Hi John, I'm sure I remember the name Sandra Webb. I went to Gibbons Road school, left summer 1960. I lived at 70 North Circular Road, dead opposite Pitfield Close and near Meadow Garth. My best friends were Beryl Jessen who lived in Norman's Mead, Helen Stansby who lived in Norman's Close and Sadie Hunter who lived just off Taylor's Lane. My mum first worked at Marconis in Wembley then at Ascots near the iron bridge. We moved there from Kilburn and I used to go to school in Granville Road near the indoor swimming pool. Small world. I used to love going out dancing. The Ritz Kingsbury to see Cliff Bennett. Before he played there the resident band Sat and Sun nights were brilliant. The singer looked just like Buddy Holly. Fantastic nights.

We used to go to a club in Sudbury town. Can't remember the name. Hammersmith Palais record night Monday, Joe Loss Friday's. State Kilburn Tuesday record night.

My friend Beryl's cousin used to hang around with Freddie Heath (Johnny Kidd) and I remember seeing him one Saturday afternoon in the street full stage make up still on. This was in Leopold road. Showing off. But he was entitled too lol. Did you ever go to the White Horse down Church Road. Friday night's was a right old rough night out. Fights every week. Police waiting outside just in case.

I worked at the north Thames gas board in Pound Lane willesden, then at Glynn Bros right next to Park Royal hospital. Both jobs I loved. I got married in Willesden old church (st. Mary's in Church Road) and moved to West Hendon, then Essex, where I've been ever since.

I loved my childhood and teenage years. We were very lucky to grow up in a golden age where we were relatively innocent without many worries like the kids of today.
Tue Sep 29th 2015, at 10:00 am
berryfarm.uk commented:
Hi Ray Hunt,
Sorry for delay but I do not refer to this website that often. My email address is; berryfarm.uk@gmail.com

I do not recall your name, but when my sister returns from holiday I will ask her if she remembers you,

I remember Twiggy, she lived close by in St Raphael's Way which is behind where the Pantile's Pub was on the Nth Circular Rd, ( Now McDonalds, )

When I look back, I can see now how much harder times were in those days, we just did not realise it as had nothing to compare with, but so much more fun ! I don't regret any of it !
I remember the corner shop owned by Mrs. Brinklow. We as a family could only afford 'broken' biscuits sold at 1/2 price and if there was no stock, us as kids were trained to break the biscuits, when nobody looking, on show loose in the big square metal tins ! My uncle would buy just ONE Woodbine cigarette at a time out of a packet of 10 from the local shop. at 10 years old I made my own bedroom furniture out of Orange boxes thrown out by the greengrocer. That's how tuff things were !
Our own kids have no idea and I truly believe they have missed out big-time !
Anyway, will contact you again when I have spoken to Sally.
Best regards,
John Webb.
Wed Sep 16th 2015, at 3:46 pm
royals10 commented:
Hi John
Just read your comments on childhood in Willesden.I lived in Beech Way off Stonebridge Park and went to Gibbons infants,Bridge Rd juniors and Gibbons Rd seniors.I must have been there about the same time as your sister Sally but can't recall the name(I left Xmas 1961).Fond memories of all the places you mention,My best friend lived in Twybridge Way(Keith Brooks) his sister was a friend of Twiggy the famous model who also went to Bridge Rd school,I'm now retired and living in North Wales,
All the Best,Ray Hunt
Wed Sep 16th 2015, at 3:35 pm
royals10 commented:
Sun Jun 21st 2015, at 12:23 pm
berryfarm.uk commented:
berryfarm.uk commented:
My name is John Webb, ( at school known as ‘Webby’, ) and my younger sister Sally and I spent most of our childhood staying with my grandparents Fred & Minnie Ayres at 20 Mitchell Way Willesden N.W.10. Granddad Fred worked at Mulliner Park Ward in Hythe Road as a painter and painted Rolls Royce’s by hand.
I recall spending a great deal of time as a kid playing over ' the feeder ' (The River Brent,) that run at the back of Mitchell Way, or like pjspence the writer above, on the open land at the bottom of Mitchell way by Pitfield Way. We made a cycle speedway track there amongst other things. ( in later years we progressed to the Ace Cafe re: the ton-up boys with tragic endings for some of the lads.) At 7/8/9 years old we would at times walk into the sewer, and walk for miles not knowing where we would end up then climb up the iron foot grips fixed into the wall of the sewer to exit and discover where we were. I remember one day we appeared the other side of Wembley, another time in Alperton. We knew nothing about sewage, and thought the water we were walking in was a river! Had no idea of the danger had the sluice gates been opened ! Had many friends in St Raphael’s Way, Mead Platt, Pitfield Way, Norman’s Mead, Norman’s Close. Remember the 112 bus on the Nth Cir: Rd, the 662 Trolleybus on the Harrow Road.
Lived during wartime years in Yuletide Road, off Taylors Lane, just below the Cooling Towers, long time ago demolished, then Monmouth Court Curzon crescent, after that in a 3 bed semi detached house in Finch Close, on the North Circular Road but transferred from there in 1953 by the Willesden Borough Council when our father died as they put my mum, sister and I into a tiny 2 bed flat on the Nth Circular Rd. I remember using as a playground the wide grass verge at the time running between the 2 narrow lanes of the North Circular Road ! Saturday morning Pictures at The Ritz Neasden ( normal for one to pay who would let at least 10 of us in the back door ! ) The Hub at Bridge Road. Our local idols amongst others Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, Split Waterman, Wembley Speedy Rider, who I met not so long ago who is living in Spain. Later, The Ritz Dance Hall, Kingsbury. Family used pubs, The Coach & Horses Stonebridge, The Spotted Dog at Neasden, ( my uncle actually met & married the women who was managing the Off Licence there.)
Schools attended, Leopold Rd, Gibbons Road Infants, Bridge Road, Head Mistress( Mrs Northmore, ) then Lower Place School for Physically Handicapped Children, teachers; Miss MacWilliams & Mr. Clancy, until I left school in 1957. 1st job working at Austins Motorcycle shop in Harlesden close to the Labour Exchange. Then Park Royal Electrical based in Coronation Road working as an apprentice electrician. Then various jobs including selling vacuum cleaners door to door for a company named Bedford Home Electrics in Kilburn and then ‘direct selling washing machines for John Bloom, Rolls Razor in Cricklewood, Sales Manager Norman Rose !
Now 74 years old and just learning to fly a light aircraft. Would love to communicate with anyone who may remember me or who can relate / recall to any of the above. The above only scratches the surface and need to reminisce by talking to others !
John Webb, born 1940. Sister, Sandra, (Sally Webb,) born 1946. She attended Gibbons Road School.
Any persons from this era who may relate to the above / say 1945 - 1960 please email me.
berryfarm.uk@gmail.com. Thank you.
Sat Jun 20th 2015, at 5:31 pm
jacky_2002003 commented:
Hi pjspence, I don't recall any of your memory above but you commented on my post about Wembley. What wonderful and vivid memories you have all harmless fun compared to what kids get up to in this day and age. I know you can't and shouldn't turn the clock back but I do miss the innocence of those times. Simple pleasures and good fun - very much enjoy reading your posts and thanks for sharing them. Jacky

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