Steam or Smoke

Dave Taylor-Jones

Here is another memory from my collection “Life in the Suburbs”. I grew up in Carpenders Park in the late 40s and 50s and our bungalow backed onto the railway line. The embankment and spinney afforded my brother and me hours of pleasure. Read on…

This page was added on 31/03/2016.

Comments about this page

  • I enjoy reading your essays about your memories, which prompt me to compare my earlier memories about my years at Carpenders Park, as I am that much older. We now live at Kingswood, Garston, however, my address at Carpenders Avenue was 49, and we had fields opposite our house, looking towards ‘Highfields’.
    ‘Highfields’ has now been demolished, and the area has been redeveloped, and comprises of an entire estate of modern houses, and bungalows, there is a road opposite my old house called ‘Foxleys’.
    Cubs & Scouts met in the Scout Hut in Oxhey Lane opposite “The Grange’, and Sunday school was held in the Methodist Church at “The Barn” in Oxhey Lane, which was situated near ‘Tudor House’ . Carpenders Park Methodist Church was run by Mr & Mrs Field on behalf of Bushey Methodist Church, with a visiting Minister for the evening services. After the barn was burnt down, the Church moved to St Meryls School.
    ‘Happy times’

    By Arthur Hall (15/04/2016)
  • Arthur,

    Thanks for your intuitive comments about a time so long ago. Yes, you are right I lived in St. George’s Drive and the spinney was the one you mention between the back gardens and the railway line. I am sorry but I can’t remember accosting you and your friend, but we did feel that this area was exclusively ours, so it probably was my brother Steve and me! I was born in 1945, so I am a few years younger than you, so I did not experience the bombings, but I know that one night a bomb dropped on 100 St George’s Dr. because Mr. Wilkie lived there – and he had a wooden leg. My Mum recounted to us that when the emergency services arrived and he shouted out that he’d lost his leg, they thought he had been wounded, but he just couldn’t find it in the all the damage!
    Arthur, what number did you live at in Carpenders Ave? My brother Steve was your paperboy from 1956 – 1960.

    I am pleased you took the time to respond – please enjoy my other essays on this website.

    Dave Taylor-Jones (April 4th 2016)

    By Dave Taylor-Jones (04/04/2016)
  • Since writing this comment, my Brother Jim, say’s that he remembers that while we were kneeling on the ground, searching for wild strawberries, the two boys, who looked bigger than us because we were kneeling, claimed that this area was part of their garden, pointing to a gate as proof, prompting us to make a quick exit towards Little Oxhey Lane, we returned home, to Carpenders Avenue via the field circling ‘Highfields’, never-the-less it did not deter us from returning, when the season was right. Jim also reminded me, that we found the best Blackberries grew along the hedgerows between the top of Carpenders Avenue and Merry Hill Lane,Bushey. and if you found a stick, shaped like a curved walking stick, you could hook, and pull down the tall branches, that held the largest Blackberries and pick and eat them. Thanks Jim for the memory prompt.

    By Arthur Hall (01/04/2016)
  • Reading this page has jogged my memory. The area described reminds me of the spinney at the rear of St Georges Drive, Carpenders Park which ran parallel to the railway onwards towards Little Oxhey Lane Bridge.
    I lived in Carpenders Avenue from 1940 to 1959, and me and my mates explored the whole area of St Meryls Estate, and became familiar with the woods, streams and surrounding farms. Hence, I can remember exploring the spinney at the back of Saint Georges Drive, we would enter from the Pig Club at the bottom near Carpenders Park Station, and trek through the undergrowth, where to our amazement, we found these wild strawberries growing, we believe that this area along the railway bank, was the only area where you could find them, our reasoning being that we knew where you could find most fruits on the estate, together with Maize & Sweetcorn, which we enjoyed. Opposite the spinney, and railway track, was Blackwells Farm (Later Oxhey Estate). On one of our many visits to the area, we were challenged by two boys, who claimed that we should not be their, I am wondering, having read this contribution, if the contributor, can identify as to whether he challenged some boys, helping themselves to wild strawberries.
    I can understand an unexploded device being found along the railway bank, as the Bombers would follow the railway lines on moonlit nights, as they could see the reflection on the shiny lines, they would bomb the Kodak at Wealdstone, and then incendiaries along St Georges Drive, probably hoping to hit the station, or the ack ack guns situated at Highfields in Oxhey Lane, there were also searchlights on Oxhey golf course. We would be disturbed at nights on these occasions, as there was only one entry road into Carpenders Park, and that was Carpenders Avenue , so fire engines had to pass our house on there way to the fires, caused by the incendiaries. Thank you for your contribution, without which I would have forgotten this memory of this part of Carpenders Park. The wild strawberries, unexploded device, fires caused by sparks from passing engines etc., helped.

    By Arthur Hall (31/03/2016)

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