Fireworks and candle grease

One of the loveliest things about running a history blog is when people get in touch with what Palmers Green means to them and how it shaped their lives. Here are some memories from Brian Watling who grew up here on and off from 1938.

I grew up in Palmers Green, Lived for 2 to 3 years in an apartment in Oakthorpe road from my birth in 1938 and then we moved to Lynbridge gardens where we lived until I left home and married in 1964.

My father was an Air Raid Warden during the war and I can remember seeing the Doodlebugs coming over Palmers Green after I returned from Newcastle where I was evacuated to early in the war. I still have a coat hanger from Groats haberdashery with their Ivory name plaque riveted to the wood. I went to Hazelwood Lane Infants school and Junior schools.

Our house backed onto the New River which always drew us to trespass in the hope that the “River Men” did not see us. Janes and Adams was my favourite toy shop, The chemist at the top of Hazelwood Lane provided us with certain chemicals to make our home made fireworks!.  I used to get my hair cut in the barbers just round the corner from the National Westminster bank on the Triangle. We spent a lot of our playtime in Broomfield Park, using candle grease on the slide to make it really quick. There was also an abundance of conker trees near the entrance where we were forever throwing various missiles at the trees in order to get the conkers to drop much to the annoyance of passers by and the Park Keepers.

My Father founded the Fives Cricket Club whose home was at the “Wreck” at the end of Lynbridge Gardens. I understand that the Fives now play up near Oakwood Tube Station.

Other places we often frequented in the school holidays were Hadley Woods (29 Bus from the Triangle) where we used to trespass onto the railway line and stick pennies on the line with tape so when the train ran over them they doubled in size!

Barrowell Green Swimming Baths were great fun in the summer accessed through Ash Grove where a Doodlebug landed during the war. I remember sleeping in a steel shelter with my brother in our back room during the war, you slid into it and then pulled up the steel fence panel around the outside to protect us in case the house got hit.

One reply on “Fireworks and candle grease”

I was born at 7 Oakthorpe Rd in 1944 Brian and apart from 6 months in New York in ’63, lived there until March 1966. Loved living across the road from Northampton Poly sports ground – the cricket field. Remember the wreck too. Played tennis as teenage member of Greenwood Gate tennis club there on hardcourts. Wooden clubhouse – table-tennis, disco’s and first broken heart…

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