Autumn 2004

































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This is my first report as your new Chairman. I took over in April 2004 from Betty Walley and I would like to thank Betty for all her hard work. Luckily, for us all, Betty will remain on the Committee as Vice-Chairperson. We are a small Committee so to all those who would like to get involved please get in touch.

To introduce myself I have lived in Northwood Hills for the past 11 years having moved here with my wife, who was born and bought up here, from North Hertfordshire. We have a 4 year old daughter and would very much like to make Northwood Hills a better place to live in for her and her generation (as well for the rest of us!). I work mainly in London  so I am also interested in travel and commuter issues and I first got involved with NHRA during the campaign against CPZ.

There are as ever a number of issues affecting the local area. I am sure a lot of you are aware of the big fire that destroyed a large part of St Vincent ’s Hospital. The future of the buildings housing the Nursery and the Autism Centre are still uncertain as is how the area will cope with the inevitable increase in traffic. Continuing on the subject of traffic the ‘improvements’ made to the Joel Street roundabout appear to have made the school run traffic queues longer than ever – something which I am personally suffering from.

The face of Northwood Hills shopping is evolving with Tesco Express opening in Joel Street and the potential redevelopment of Argyll House would change things further. It remains to be seen what impact Tesco’s will have on our local shops. The Committee would urge you to continue to shop locally as much as possible and especially to support our local ‘corner’ shops – otherwise we may not have any choice of where to shop.

On a more positive note the first clean up Northwood Hills day took place on 15th May. About 50 people gathered in Northwood Hills and set about cleaning up as much litter as possible – I hope you noticed a difference! (although it was frightening how quickly the litter reappeared).

I would like to thank all those who helped and especially Andrew Retter, one of our local councillors, for organising the event. We hope this will take place biannually with the next one scheduled for Saturday 16th October. In the meantime the Committee has been following up with the Council on the general state of the area, in particular weeds, trees, pavements and dumped cars. If you would like to join in the next ‘clean up’ day or have any specific concerns you would like to raise please email or write to me or contact any member of the Committee. I would like to finish by thanking everyone involved in producing the Hills Echo and all of you who are members of the Residents Association especially those resident on the Gatehill Estate, which now forms part of our catchment area. I hope you all enjoy reading the Echo.

John Morgan

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to combat abandoned and untaxed vehicles, left on the public highway. 

The Association of London Government, ALG, is encouraging every London local authority, to sign up to a scheme which will speed up the removal, and imposition of penalty charges on vehicle owners who either abandon their vehicles, or use them untaxed. Traffic wardens and Police, including community police officers will be given increased powers to issue PCN’s (Penalty Charge Notices) to offending vehicles, and impound them. It will be considerably faster than the system currently employed. Owners, who wish to dispose of their own unwanted vehicles voluntarily, can do so, at the prescribed collection points, with no fee to pay. Clamping and subsequent removal of abandoned or untaxed vehicles from the public highway will involve a heavy penalty for the owner. Speedier owner identification from the vehicles registration plates will be improved by use of information technology linked to the DVLA. The police, using mobile cameras and surveillance equipment, in various parts of the Country, have already demonstrated this on television. Cabinet agreed on Thursday 12th August to include the London Borough of Hillingdon in this scheme which is called “Operation Scrap-it; Nuisance Vehicle Initiative.”  Further information will be available on the Council’s web site.

Cllr. David Bishop

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Northwood home of faces and features

Northwood Home of lots of creatures

Northwood home of wasps and bees

Northwood home of you and me

Northwood is our Home.

Fleur Noriego-Constable, aged 8years

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Do you have a chronic disease? If so the Expert Patients Programme is designed for you.

The Expert Patients Programme (EPP) is a Department of Health initiative designed specifically for anyone with a chronic condition. The course seeks to address the shift in disease patterns from acute to chronic disease. 17m people in the UK are now living with a chronic condition (an illness that will not resolve spontaneously e.g. arthritis, multiple sclerosis, back pain, diabetes, etc.) The objectives of the EPP are to enable people living with chronic conditions, in partnership with their health-care professional, to become better able to manage their illness on a day-to-day basis, and to promote the most appropriate use of available health care.

Volunteer tutors, who have participated in an EPP course and have a long-term condition, run the course. Courses run for six consecutive weeks with a 2½-hour session each week. There is no charge for the course, and if necessary, expenses such as taxis, childminding, etc. can be reimbursed.

Hillingdon Primary Care Trust have run three courses this year with a fourth due to start on 20th October in the Hayes area. We aim to run between four and six courses next year. If you, or anyone you know, would like to attend a course or receive further information please contact:

Micheline Smith (Mrs.),Expert Patient Programme Co-ordinator,
 Tel: 01923 841567, Email:

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Well, it rained, and putting up tents in a gale wasn't easy, but it happened!

Many of you who came, saw "The Queen" open our Carnival on Bank Holiday Monday, and I know that some of you even had your picture taken with her.

Despite the weather, you seemed to enjoy the clowns shows, the line dancing, the Herga Swing Band, and all the other attractions.

I am delighted to inform you that the Northwood/Denham Lions Clubs, who organise this event, raised nearly £1,900 on the day, which will go to local charities.

Our main beneficiary this year is CMSS, our local centre for people with disabilities, in Wiltshire Lane, Northwood Hills.

We would like to thank everyone who supported us on the day, and hope that if you have a wet, windy Bank Holiday Monday free next year, you will support us again!

Northwood Lions meet on the 1stand 3rd Wednesday at Haste Hill Golf Club, The Drive, Northwood. We not only raise money for charity, but also have a varied social life. If you are interested in any aspect of what we do, please get in contact with one of the following:

Northwood Lions: Andrew Allen 0208 863 4626

Denham Lions: Paul Rignall 01895 471595

After the support from the community in Northwood this year, we plan to organise a Carnival next year. We do need your support.

Gyl Webb - Northwood Lions Club

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Our longest serving local minister has handed over his responsibilities. Roger Pearce came to Northwood Hills Evangelical Church to be minister in 1980.  In the years that followed the church outgrew its former building in Windsor Close. Regular Sunday services were held first at Northwood School, and then, for 4 years between 1987 and 1992, at Haydon School. The church continued to grow. In 1983 a piece of land adjoining the church beside the railway had been purchased.  On it was a house called “Fairfield which for some years had been lying derelict after being used by a builders’ merchant with supplies stored in the grounds.  Church members turned out at weekends to demolish the dilapidated house and to clear the wilderness.

Extra land was gradually acquired and in 1989 plans were drawn up for a multi-purpose centre designed to give sufficient facilities for a busy church programme and to be available to the community for local voluntary activities.  In addition 21 flats were included for over 55’s. The opportunity to keep the memory of the former property and to give the church a new popular name was taken and “Fairfield” was opened in December 1992.  One of the first services in the new building was a wedding with the paint barely dry!

“Fairfield” is open for the whole week.  The church has a busy schedule of activities for every age group, and many community groups hold their regular meetings there.  This includes the Northwood Hills Residents’ Association, which has convened some of the largest meetings ever held in our community.  But at heart “Fairfield” is a place where faith in Christ is both celebrated and lived out.  The life of the church is not confined to the building but goes on in many home groups, in local caring and service, and through families serving in Argentina, Mongolia and South Asia.

From September there is new leadership.  Alistair Hornal, a Scot from Ayr, who has worked with students, served churches in Reading, Swansea and Bristol, and gives a lead in international mission, is coming to lead the church on.  He is married to Senga, a teacher of children with special educational needs, and they have two adult children.  The service of welcome for Alistair & Senga is planned for Saturday 23 October.

Roger Pearce, still resident here, now hopes to develop his other activities including support for “Latin Link”s activity in South America, regular teaching visits to Serbia; a Fairfield project in support of a community in Ethiopia, and his involvement at Harlyn Primary School.

Roger Pearce

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The current, experimental, Saturday morning surgeries in Northwood Hills library have come to an end due to a very poor turn out.  Currently the surgeries will be held monthly on the 3rd Tuesday of the month, at  Oaklands Gate. The room used is the Oasis room of the Methodist Church. Surgeries are from  8pm to 9pm, with our M.P. John Wilkinson.

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From a casual conversation at the monthly Residents Association meeting, planning began for a clean up in Northwood Hills.  Trying to bring the Council and local residents together is often a troublesome exercise.  However, on this occasion a sense of community enterprise and spirit shone brightly and enthusiasm flowed on both sides.  So at 10.30am on Saturday May 15th Charlie dropped of the equipment from the Council and an intrepid band of fed-up residents came together to clean up the litter-strewn streets of Northwood Hills.  Twenty-four local residents with brooms, litter-pickers, gloves, shovels and black plastic bags divided into five groups.  They went into Northwood Recreation ground, along Joel Street, up  Tolcarne Drive and around Harlyn Drive, into Briarwood and Ferndown, straight up Potter Street past the school, down Alandale and along Pinner Road.  Operation CLEAN-UP was progressing well. We had scheduled to met back at Northwood Hills station around 1pm and bring the accumulated litter ready for collection.  In one short morning we had collected twenty-eight bags of rubbish proving the need for the collective clean-up operation. Following all this hard work a small group of us adjourned to the William Jolly for a debriefing and some light refreshments.

If we can collect twenty-eight bags of rubbish in one morning with twenty-four residents just think of what we can achieve with double, treble, quadruple that number and if the schools cleaned up around their boundaries.  Therefore, I would like to inform you of another clean-up date and time for your diaries, 10.30am on Saturday October 16th at Northwood Hills station. These clean-up days should help to remind us that we all need to try and Keep Northwood Hills Tidy.

If you are willing to help please contact Andrew Retter on 020 88426 1806 or

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A lot of us are no doubt offended by the amount of litter we see around the streets of Northwood Hills and do our share of grumbling, “Why don’t they do something about it?”. But not Mr Bissex, a resident of Potter Street; since earlier this year he has been waging his own campaign against litter louts by attaching eye-catching and thought-provoking verses and exhortations to the litter bins on the station side of Joel Street.

He checks the bins every evening at 11 pm and reports that the bins are now much fuller than when he started, perhaps cutting the litter by some 60%. Council road sweepers confirm this improvement.

So, when you next walk in Joel Street keep an eye open for the regularly changing offerings from this admirable community activist, to whom we all send our best wishes and our encouragement.

His past pieces include:

Feed the bin. The pavement is on a diet.

Let’s keep Northwood Hills neat. We don’t want litter in Joel Street. 

It’s not a sin to use this bin.

Don’t drop your litter is all we ask. Let’s give this place a bit of class.


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The 1964 prices have been converted into decimal currency to compare.

   1964 2004
Pint of beer 0.11 1.98
Pack of cigarettes   0.24 4.28
Pint of milk  0.04  0.35
Sliced loaf 0.06 0.63
1lb pkt. of tea 0.32 (loose)  2.84 (bags)
Dozen eggs    
1lb apples  0.06 0.58
1lb potatoes 0.02 0.26
1lb smoked bacon 0.25 3.26
1lb sirloin beef 0.34 4.04

But then the average earnings in 1964 were:-

  Men Women
Banking and insurance 24.00 10.00
Professionals (incl. Accountants) 24.00 10.00
Administrative, technical & clerical 24.00 10.00
National and local government (incl. Teachers and the NHS) 23.00 15.00

In 1964 you would only have expected to pay £3,300 for your house and you wouldn’t have lived so long, men’s life expectancy was around 68 years and women’s was the mid seventies.  In 2004 and man aged 65 can expect to live until 81 and women slightly longer at 84.

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Northwood and District Community Association is continuing to be well supported.   We now have 250 plus members.  Most of our Sections are almost full, but we have one or two places for Badminton (phone 01923 836346), Tennis and Walking for Pleasure (phone 01923 829045) and also for Line Dancing which is great fun (phone 01895 639318) Short Mat Bowls Thurs. (phone 01923 829053.

The other sections we run are Scrabble, Bridge, Social Evening, Short Mat Bowls (Tues.), Table Tennis, Ladies Keep Fit, Anglo. German Social Evening. So if any of these appeal to you please contact 020 8858 5791 for more details.  We would like to thank the United Reformed Church in Joel Street for supporting us by letting us use  their hall, and also Emmanuel Church Northwood and Oaklands Gate Methodist Church Northwood.

Maureen Watkins   Hon. Secretary.

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It is really important, when e-mailing committee members to remember to use the subject line.

We are all being careful not to mistakenly download a virus so when we see a message from an unknown address without a heading in the subject line the immediate response is to delete it for safety.  A general heading such as ‘Residents Assn.’ will do fine or you may feel a more specific one to be appropriate.  The choice is yours but please use it.

Margot Barnikel

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We can look forward to further improvements in services provided by Hillingdon Council.  It is difficult to put a definite time-scale on the introduction of these extra facilities, but there are plans to introduce a glass bottle collection, in conjunction with the existing re-cycling kerbside collection service.  In all probability the collection of glass for re-cycling will be on alternate weeks from the mixed recycled items in clear bags, currently collected.  This addition to recycled collectables will probably start in June 2005, and members of the public will be advised closer to the date.  Recycled glass has to be separate from paper and plastic, and apart from its customary use as a percentage of new glass production, it is being used as a proportion of tarmacadam road surface mixture.  Experiments have been carried out, using shredded worn out rubber tyres, glass granules and aggregates, plus hot tar etc. to achieve a pliable and durable road re-surfacing product, which will withstand adverse weather conditions and create a road surface, which is quieter to drive on.  Put together; practical use for recycled glass and disused tyres, less aggregate removal and quieter roads; does contribute towards improving the environment in which we all have to live.

Cllr David Bishop

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I can add a few more tips on recycling for those who are interested in our environment.

Printer Cartridges – Inkjet printer cartridges can be refilled with ink and reused.  One scheme, run by links with a range of charities, including Tommy’s (the children’s charity), Guide Dogs and Save the Children.  Postage paid envelopes can be obtained for sending in your old cartridges. Tel: 0800 435576.  Another scheme is Cartridges4Charity:

Paint – Almost everyone ends up with half-used tins of paint that either clutter up a shelf or get put in the bin.  Community Re-Paint initiatives collect reusable paint and pass it on to individuals or organisation who need paint, but can’t afford it.  For details of schemes visit:  

Light bulbs  Fluorescent and low-energy light bulbs are good news, in that they use less energy than normal bulbs.  Unfortunately, however, they do contain toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury and lead so, ideally, they shouldn’t be thrown out with ordinary household rubbish.  There are well-established techniques to reprocess spent bulbs and recycle chemicals such as mercury.  Some Councils provide facilities for disposing of these types of light bulb.

ComputersComputers seem to be out-of-date almost as soon as they are bought and Europe is now waking up to the major problem of how to dispose of old IT equipment.  The European Waste electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive came into force in Britain this year.  Its main principle is that, in future, most of the cost and responsibility of disposing of old IT equipment will be borne by the manufacturers.  From late 2005, there will be arrangements for consumers to return old IT equipment to retailers free of charge.  In the meantime, numerous voluntary organisations and charities have set up schemes to recycle old computers.  A list is available on the website:  Or you can donate direct via the website:

Margot Barnikel

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This autumn, the Church of St. Edmund the King celebrates 2 significant anniversaries.  The first is that it is 70 years since St. Edmund’s was set up.  In 1934, the huge number of houses that had been built in the area meant that the Parish of St. John’s, Pinner (the Church at the top of Pinner High Street) was getting too large to handle.  So, a new Church of England area was set up, comprising parts of the Parishes of Pinner, St. Anselm’s Hatch End, St. Lawrence Eastcote and Emmanuel Northwood.  This area covers Pinner Green from Woodhall Drive westwards, as far Northwood Hills Station.  There were several sites considered for the Church building, but eventually the present site, on the main road halfway between Pinner Green and Northwood Hills was chosen.  The Church, originally designed as a ‘temporary’ building, but which is now the Church Hall, was completed in December 1935.

In 1952, the area graduated from being a ‘daughter Church’ of Pinner, and became a Parish in its own right.  From that time, pressure began to mount to build a permanent Church.  Eventually, after much hard work and fund-raising in the local community and beyond, the ‘new’ Church was built, and it was consecrated by the Bishop of London on 10thOctober 1964 - so this October sees the 40th anniversary of that momentous event.

To celebrate these anniversaries, there are a number of special events at St. Edmund’s.  On Sunday 10th October at 10 am there will be a special anniversary service, which will also include Confirmation of a number of people.  The Bishop of Willesden will conduct the service.  On the previous evening, Saturday 9th October, there is to be a performance of a play called “St. Edmund, King of the East Angles”.  The play traces the life of our patron Saint from his Coronation to his martyrdom.  It promises to be a really good evening, especially as there will be a suitably festive feast after the performance.  Everyone is welcome - there is no admission charge to the play, but the refreshments will set you back £1 per person.  And the previous week, on the evening of Sunday 3rd October, after Evensong at 6 pm, there will be a showing of a film that was made about the building of the new Church, followed by cheese & wine.

Anniversary celebrations apart, the most important activities at the Church are of course those connected with Christian worship, lead by the Vicar, Fr. Bruce Driver.  These take place throughout the week, and include special celebrations of all Christian festivals.  On Sundays, there is a service of Holy Communion at 8.00 a.m., then at 10.00 a.m. there is a Sung Eucharist, with hymns and a full choir, followed by refreshments.  Also at 10.00 a.m., there is “Spectrum on Sunday”, which is the Sunday School where young people start their journey in the Christian Faith.  There are other services of Holy Communion on Tuesdays at 7.30 p.m., Thursdays at 10.00 a.m., and Saturdays at 9.30 a.m.  There is also Morning and Evening Prayer every Tuesday to Saturday.  And starting this year, there is also a special “After School” service for families.  This starts with drinks and biscuits at 3.45 pm, and is held fortnightly on Tuesdays, starting on 21st September.

During the Church year there are a number of special festivals and other Holy Days.  This autumn these include Harvest Festival on 26th September, the feast of St. Francis on 3rd October, All Saints’ Day on 31st October, Remembrance Sunday on 14th November, and the feast of St. Edmund on 20th November.  And then on 28th November it’s Advent Sunday, which is the start of preparation for Christmas.  And at Christmas time, there is the traditional service of 9 Lessons and Carols on Sunday 19th December, the inspirational Blessing of the Crib service on Christmas Eve, when the Church is packed with large numbers of children witnessing the appearance of the Star of Bethlehem, and of course Midnight Mass later in the evening.

Other activities include programme of concerts of classical chamber music - “Classic Concerts at St. Edmund’s”.  The profits from these concerts are used in part to support arts projects for young people at St. Edmund’s and at local state schools.  The next concert, is on Sunday 7th November at 3.30 pm.  Look out for details on the big notice board outside the Church.

in January (7th - 15th), there is our annual Pantomime - this year it’s “Dick Whittington”.  The show is a high point in the local calendar, and has been since its inception in 1965.  It is pantomime in the true family tradition, suitable for all ages to enjoy.  We nearly always sell out for most of the 9 performances, so make sure you get your tickets early - look out for our posters in Northwood Hills and Pinner for details nearer the time.  Or telephone 020 8868 7785 - the Box Office is open from Monday 8th November.

On Saturday 13th November we hold this year’s Christmas Fair.  A bit early?  Well, not compared with most shops.  But come and stock up with those special little presents, and bring the children to see Father Christmas in the best grotto this side of Lapland!

There’s something at St. Edmund’s for everyone - there’s a Badminton Club, a Drama Group (Arrow Players), a Flower-arranging Guild, a Painting Group (watercolours), a Women’s Guild, and thriving groups of Rainbows, Brownies, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.  And don’t forget our Saturday Market (10 - 11.15 am)   Lots of interesting things to buy, time for a chat and a cup or tea or coffee.

For more details, and to keep up to date, check out, or call in at the Church and pick up a Church magazine - it’s all there!

Mike Godden

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Which, after the latest changes to political boundaries, has become part of Northwood Hills Ward.

A well-known local firm of builders, Harry Neal, commencing in the early 1920’s, developed the estate, which forms part of the former Gatehill Farm.  It encompasses Gatehill Road, Elgood Avenue, Woodside Road, Wieland Road, Woodgate Crescent and Gate End.  More recently there was further development, i.e. Shefton Rise and Willow End.

A brochure issued in 1925 states that ‘spaciousness and graciousness are obvious characteristics.  Each house has a large plot of land.  Air and light and appreciable privacy are secured, for in no circumstances will more than three houses to the acre be erected.’  Density restrictions were to be protected by covenants.  The houses were to be individually designed both to harmonise with their environment and to provide an interesting variation of style.

The Gatehill Estate was granted the status of ‘Area of Special Character’ in the 1970’s and this was retained in the Northwood Local Plan.  This defines such matters as unobtrusive fencing and various aspects relating to new buildings.

The Gatehill (Northwood) Residents Association was formed in 1965 with 90 members.  Its objects were to maintain and preserve the amenities of the estate.  The affairs of the Association are managed by a Committee who are elected at the Annual General Meeting of residents held in the autumn.

As the estate developed along Gatehill Road and Elgood Avenue, the new roads were planned with grass verges instead of pavements and not adopted by the Council.  The covenants required residents to contribute to the cost of maintaining the unadopted roads but the developers decided to rid themselves of this burden, which therefore had to be taken over by the Association.  Eventually the land comprising the unadopted roads and the verges was acquired by acting for the Association.  As a consequence this has become one of its most important responsibilities.

The road layout was specifically planned to avoid through traffic by placing the only two road entrances in the west with pedestrian access only in the south-east.  Alas this has not stopped Elgood Avenue and Woodside Road from becoming a favoured short-cut for commuter traffic between High Street and Watford Road!  Equally the humps on the privately maintained roads to support the speed restriction have proved a mixed blessing to those residents immediately facing them.

The Association also vets all planning applications relating to the properties on the estate to try and ensure that the character of the estate is maintained for the benefit of all the residents.

The current membership of the Association totals 176 households of which 130 are users of the privately-maintained roads and as such contribute to the Road Fund.  This covers the cost of ongoing repair and maintenance and in addition is used to build up a sinking fund for the resurfacing which will be needed in a few years’ time.  The annual membership subscription and the road fund contribution are agreed at the A.G.M.

Herbert Levinger

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The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and off the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet , so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece     of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying a "thresh hold."   (Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper crust."

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a "wake."

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer."

And that's the truth... Now, whoever said that History was boring ! ! !

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Have you noticed that we are all very conscious of a sudden personal loss such as a bunch of keys going astray or our car being stolen? General losses however are less conspicuous and tend to go unnoticed until brought to our attention. The loss of many local drinking holes is one such example, which prompted me to write this article and recall recent closures. Most of the establishments listed below will be familiar to many of you but some go back too far for even me to remember.

The True Lovers Knot, Northwood - closed 2002, now a block of flats.

The Reindeer, Northwood - closed 2007, now boarded up.

The Ship, Northwood Hills - closed late 1990s, now a block of flats.

The Red Lion, Pinner - closed 1950s, now Red Lion Parade.

The Orange Tree (formerly The Bell), Pinner - closed 2006, now a block of flats.

The Clay Pigeon, Eastcote - closed 2002, now a restaurant.

The Tally Ho, South Ruislip - closed 1990s, now a block of flats.

The Windmill, Ruislip - closed 2007, now a block of flats.

The Swan, Ruislip - closed 2008, now a restaurant.

The Rayners, Rayners Lane - closed 2006, now boarded up.

The Marquis of Granby, Harrow - closed 1950s, now Debenhams.

The Roxborough, Harrow - closed 1980s, now an office block.

The Kings Head, Harrow on the Hill - closed 1980s, now a block of flats.

The North Star, Harrow on the Hill - closed 1960s, now a private house.

The Havelock, Central Harrow - closed mid 1970s, now part of a shopping precinct.

The Shaftsbury, South Harrow - closed 1980s now a MacDonalds.

Tithe Farm, South Harrow - closed 2008, now a derelict site.

The Timber Carriage, South Harrow - closed 2006, now boarded up.

The Appolo, North Harrow - closed 2006, now boarded up.

The Headstone, North Harrow - closed early 1980s, now an office block.

The Railway, Wealdstone - closed 1980s, now part of the Civic Centre car park.

The Railway, Hatch End - closed late 1990s, now a block of flats.

The Hare, Stanmore - closed 2000, now Bluebeckers restaurant.

The Target, Northolt - closed 1980s, now a McDonalds drive through.

That’s all that I can think of; let me know if you can remember any others to add to my list. Next Echo article will be the lost cinemas.

Ray Krystofiak

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Do you wonder where your garden waste recycling matter ends up?  Good question.

We now have a state of the art system, called “In  Vessel “  to treat it in Harefield. The compacted garden waste is placed into rectangular silos and subjected to an accelerated decomposition process called “aerobics” with a gradually controlled heating process, which mainly occurs naturally.

The process is monitored hourly with the use of probes, and temperatures of between 20-70 degrees C. are closely controlled., by hot air being drawn off and cooler air recirculated through the base of the silo.  The whole process takes approximately 2 weeks, divided between time spent in two separate silos.  No smell is emitted because the silos are totally enclosed; light wood material from thicker branches helps to keep the mixture aerated and dry.  Finally, the mixture is removed to a cooling area, where it is “windrowed” i.e. treated with rollers fitted with tines to further aerate and crush the mixture.  Eventually it will be bagged and sold in garden centres for…….guess what? Garden compost for your flower beds!

David Bishop. Cllr.

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Northwood Hills is home to one of the oldest yet most active Scout Groups in the country.  This year 1st Northwood based next to the Hogs Back is celebrating its 90th  year.  The Echo have received a number of articles in respect to the history and the  celebrations which we have edited together here.

The foundation of the 1st Northwood Scout Troop dates back to 17 August 1914 within two  weeks of the outbreak of the First World War. This is almost certainly not a coincidence since at that time Scouts were assisting the war effort by guarding bridges and telephone lines and providing a messenger service for the Police. The first Scoutmaster of the Troop, Miss A Townsend, regarded her work with the Scouts in the early years as a contribution to the war effort. Scouts were to provide their own uniforms costing - Hat l/-, Long Sleeved Khaki Shirt 2/6d, Navy Blue Shorts l/6d and Troop Scarf 6d.

Some of the older boys in the Troop wanted more active service and combined with boys from the Pinner Troop to form a unit of the Scouts Defence Corps who trained in drill and marksmanship and wore a red feather in their hats after passing proficiency tests.

During the Second World War there was an acute shortage of leaders and a number of troops in the district had to close. However, the 1st Northwood continued to be successfully run by two of the older Scouts. It is a measure of their success that by the end of the war there were 30 Scouts and 15 Cubs. However, the Group at this time was constrained by a shortage of
funds, and in 1948 when the Leaders asked for worn out equipment to be replaced, they were told that there was never more than £2 in the kitty.

Since its foundation, the Group has had a number of different headquarters before finally acquiring a site on the Hogsback in Northwood Way. The present HQ was built there in 1956 on a plot leased from the Council at a nominal rental.

In the 1960s the Group became relatively prosperous relying on a well run Jumble Sale for fund-raising. These Grand Jumble Sales have become a Northwood major event and are held every year at the end of May, helped by a small army of willing helpers who come from near and far. The attendance of buyers is usually in the region of 1000 each year. Today  The Group has three very active and thriving sections, Beavers 6 to 8, Cubs 8 to 10 ½  and Scouts 10 ½  to 14, meetings being held in their Headquarters in Northwood Way. They also host the District Explorers 14+ section at the same HQ. The Group runs an active programme including many outdoor activities and camps that are the backbone of scouting.  In the last year the group have organised over 20 nights away with canoeing, abseiling and climbing being some of the more adventurous activities enjoyed by the young people. With boys moving up to older sections spaces become available, please get in touch with Trevor Alexander the Group Scout Leader on 01923 822707, to find out about joining in their anniversary year.

Anniversary Celebrations To mark the 90th anniversary day, 1st Northwood held a Barbecue and Sports Afternoon for all past and present members and supporters, with over 100 people attending. The sun obviously does shine on the righteous, because if you can remember the only lovely sunny day in August, well that was the day of the barbecue!  The Group is planning a number of special activities and celebrations throughout the anniversary year, including trips to sporting events and an evening dinner. Again, the celebrations will be open to all past and present members and supporters, so if you used to be a member or supporter, or are in contact with a previous member and have lost touch with the Group, they would like to hear from you on 01923 835770 or e-mail so that they can send you invitations to the events.

Contributions from Jack Rossington, Richard Plume and Leo Mindel

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It is very probable that you do not know anything at all about Bog Oak and have never seen anything made from this interesting and rare material. Yet, here, within our own community, John Chapman’s workshops in Hilliard Road are perhaps the country’s leading experts in its use. The dictionary defines it as “an ancient oak, preserved in peat, with hard, dark wood”.

In Ireland bog oak is known but mainly consists of the large roots of the trees and is used for the production of decorative carved objects suggested by the form of the root.

In England hundreds of bog oaks have been extracted from the Fens every year for the past 100 years. Yet it is very rare to find furniture or artifacts made from this ancient and very beautiful timber because it is rather costly to dry. It is very dark in colour ranging from jet black through many lighter shades of brown, depending where the trees have lain through the years, and in what type of sub-soil.

Some samples from a farm near Peterborough have been radiocarbon-dated and have been found to have germinated about 4,400 years ago, having been growing for about 200 years before being felled. This takes us back to about the time that the pyramids were being built in Egypt.

It is thought that the trees were originally killed by an influx of sea water which also weakened the hold of the roots, and afterwards gales from the south west blew them down. This theory is strongly supported by the fact that practically all of these trees are lying with their roots to the south-west and the tops towards the north east. The level of the Fens in this part of the country has been lowered by the extraction of these oaks and the erosion of the land by cultivation. At Holme Fen near Peterborough, as much as 21ft has been lost since the last century, making it the lowest natural land surface in England at 9ft below sea level. Cast iron pillars left over from Crystal Palace when it was built in 1851 were hammered into the peat of the Whittlesey Mere so that their tops were flush with the surface of the soil. In 1991, the tops of these pillars were more than 13ft above the ground.

Some trees are up to 100ft to length and weigh many tons due to the amount of water retained in them. After four years’ experimentation by John Chapman, a way was found a way to dry the wood success­fully in a kiln. It is a lengthy process and can take up to eighteen months, dealing with approximately four tons at a time and extracting about 500 gallons of water from this amount of timber. Thus for every ton carted, some 14cwt (i.e. two thirds) of this weight is water and this is the reason why it is so difficult to dry successfully. Furthermore, at the end of the whole process, approximately one third of this wood will be waste.

Only one tree in fifty may be bought, and even then it is a gamble as to whether it will be any good at the end of the eighteen months’ drying process. It is very rewarding to plank these trees and dry them in the kiln, and finally produce a fine piece of furniture from the best of it, which will last many, many years and increase in value because of its rarity.

From information provided by John Chapman

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Northwood Hills Library – provision of toilets - I think most of you will have seen our improved library.  I decided to inspect.  My main reason was that when the planning application was submitted the plans did not show any means of helping disabled people move from the higher floor to the lower floor, which would house the proposed toilets.  I wrote to the Planning Officer about this at the time.  However, I need not have worried.

I spoke to one of the librarians who introduced me to a lady as the manager.  She, in turn, took me around and explained the improved facilities.  The problem I was concerned about was solved by a platform lift, which takes a wheelchair down the few feet to the reference area, where the toilets are situated.  The toilets consist of two W.C.s, one of which has facilities for nappy changing (not baby changing!!!).  The third is, of course, for people with disabilities.

Several other improvements had been made particularly in the children’s section.  It has been re-furbished and looked most attractive.  Other improvements had been made to the library interior and also to the access at the front.

I was most impressed.  Northwood Hills now has a splendid, well stocked, library.  A comfortable place and very relaxing.  Some years ago there were proposals to close both Northwood and Northwood Hills Library’s, and include one in an extension to Northwood School.  Let us hope that this idea has been quashed and both Northwood and Northwood Hills will retain their separate libraries.

St. Vincent’s Hospital Site - Work is now in full swing to clear the site of redundant hospital buildings and build a 60-bed nursing home and a housing estate on the hospital site on the western side of Wiltshire Lane.  The eastern side will be cleared of all buildings and the area returned to green belt, giving an open vista on to Haste Hill.  This green area will stretch from houses in Heatherfold Way up to the top of the site.

There have been some protests about the proposed demolition of the buildings on the eastern side, which house a nursery school and an autistic centre.  We sympathise with both of the excellent organisations, both of which provide an important function.  They serve the community and it is sad they are leaving.  Unfortunately, there is no acceptable alternative if we are to get back the green belt lost when the houses were built.  All this was agreed some hears ago and both organisations are on a short-term lease.  We wish them both well.

Health Centre - As you know the proposal to build a new health centre on the site of the existing one has been refused planning permission.  The reason being that it did not fully conform with the Unitary Development Plan and in particular the car park would be inadequate.

It seems unfortunate that this problem was not taken fully into account many months ago.  When an outline application was submitted last year I wrote giving our support but at the same time saying that there must be an adequate number of car parking spaces.  I believe that we must make every effort to eliminate street parking by patients and staff.  Street parking is a problem for both patients and staff and unfair to residents.  So it is back to the drawing board and we await the next move.

Proposals to build a permanent surgery at Mount Vernon to house the Stephen Shackman Practice and also a temporary surgery for use until the permanent one has been built have both been approved.  Once again there will be insufficient parking spaces but as no public road is involved this is a problem for the hospital and not the L.B.H. Planning Department.  I hope that they will be able to find space otherwise it will, at times, be chaotic.

Mini Modes – Joel Street
The owner of Mini Modes, which keeps a good stock, mainly of children’s clothes put in an application for the shop to become a restaurant.  We opposed it, as we always resist any loss of retail.  Also, we believe, that we do not want any further restaurants or other places to eat in Joel Street.  The Council Planning Department refused the application but the applicant appealed and the Government Inspectorate approved it.  We do not agree with this decision but accept it with good grace.

Argyle House - The proposal to convert this building from office accommodation to flats with a gymnasium on the ground floor has been refused by the Council Planning Department.  We did not object but made a bid for a public car park.  We lost this in 1997 when the Council leased it to Argyle House in spite of our objections.  We also expressed concern over any loss of shops on the ground floor.

General - I have also dealt with a number of proposals to extend houses whenever such an extension would cause problems for neighbours.  This would include loss of privacy, over shadowing and cases where the proposal would be environmentally unacceptable.  Most of our built up area is well planned but does not lend itself to much more than modest extensions.  Most proposals are quite acceptable but some are not.  Our aim is to maintain pleasant neighbourhoods and prevent them being spoilt by outrageous developments.  I am pleased to say that we have always had the cooperation of the L.B.H. Planning Department and help from time to time from our Councillors and Member of Parliament.

Lishman Y. Easby

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The UK’s Fraud Prevention Service (CIFAS) has launched new web pages, which cover how to avoid being a victim of identity fraud and advise consumers on what to do if they believe they may have fallen victim to fraud or impersonation.   or

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Don’t forget that our web-site   is just that – it’s your website as well.  You may want to put an item on the site or just keep up to date.

All contributions or comments to Ray Krystofiak on 020 8866 3241 or

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I am sure that you will agree that The Broadway, Northwood Hills, always looks so sad at Christmas - not a hint of coloured tinsel nor a glistening light bulb to be seen. This is in stark contrast to Ruislip, Eastcote and Uxbridge, all of which have festive decorations that bring a smile to many local faces.  I doubt whether Santa would want to do any Christmas shopping in Northwood Hills during his travels around the borough!!

For 2004/5 our very generous councillors have set aside a sum of £24K to be used for setting up new or extending existing Christmas street decoration schemes within the borough.  Our Residents Association has applied for a sum of £6.5K to set up a Northwood Hills scheme.

As with any new scheme, particularly one that is run on a budget, we have encountered problems.  Firstly, the lampposts are 25 – 30 years old and are unable to withstand the additional mechanical strain of  large decorations.  We will therefore, have to make do with small illuminated streamers that will add colour during the day and glow at night. Secondly, modification to the 14 lamp posts, to provide an electrical feed and timer, will cost about £300 per post.  Thirdly, there will be the initial purchase of the decorations, which has been estimated at £100 each. There will also be additional costs for erection, removal, storage, insurance and of course, electricity consumption.

We can but try, so keep your fingers crossed and the outcome will be for all of us to see!

If you have any suggestions or would like to become part of the festive decorations project team, please call Ray Krystofiak on 020 8866 3241.

Ray Krystofiak

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Chestnut Avenue, Northwood.  -  Tel:01923 827083

Northwood Town run two senior sides on Saturdays, competing in Divisions Three & Six of the Herts. Cricket League. In addition, the Sunday side plays a combination of friendly fixtures & Chess Valley League matches.

Season 2004 has proved a struggle with both sides struggling at the wrong end of their respective Herts. League divisions, although both sides avoided relegation. The Sunday performances have generally been a lot more consistent.

The club also has a highly successful colts section, which is affiliated to the Middlesex Colts Association & runs a number of teams from the ages of 13 upwards.

The club is always looking for new members. Information on joining the Junior section can be obtained from Terry Smyth on 0208 248 7631 while Club Secretary Ben Rawson Jones can be contacted on 01923 824755 for those interested in playing senior cricket.

The club also boasts a well-appointed clubhouse & bar which is available for private hire. For further information contact Peter Spencer on 01895 464417.

Robin Piper

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Graffiti Vandals of Northwood Hills have recently become the target of 'graffiti vandals'. Some people are under the misapprehension that graffiti is some form of art.  It is not art. It is intentional criminal damage and will not be tolerated. The recent spate of damage is centred around the commercial area of Joel Street and Pinner Road.  There is also damage in the football club and the area around the park. Over the next few weeks police will be making a determined effort to catch and identify the culprits.   However as with any crime, what we need is good evidence.  This is where I appeal to you, the general public, to support us in clamping down on the perpetrators of this anti-social behaviour. If you see these vandals doing graffiti, then call police as soon as possible, it would be helpful if you made a note of what they are wearing and in what direction they went.  If you see any youth carrying spray paint cans or other item likely to be used to commit this offence, then call us. You might think that by the time police arrive it will probably too late, don't let this put you off, because if we manage to stop those responsible in the area and with incriminating evidence on their person.  We can still deal with the problem effectively.  All too often we get informed of this type of damage long after the event, and when it is too late. So come on and lets work together in getting rid of something that just makes the area look run down and depressive.

P.C. George Collins

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Northwood’s inaugural season in the Ryman Premier League was a tough one, which saw them, miss out on gaining promotion to the newly formed Conference South.  However, following a summer of change which has seen the departure of long serving manager Tony Choules after seven successful years, there is a renewed feeling of optimism with the experienced Jim Harvey taking over the reins as the club looks to consolidate their position in a new look Premier Division.

There was some success for the club as the highly regarded match programme was once again voted Best Ryman League Programme, sharing top billing with local rivals Wealdstone.

Northwood F.C. is committed to playing an important role in the local community with no less than 23 youth teams playing football within the confines of  Northwood Park, a fact recognised by the awarding of Community Club status from the Football Association.

The club continues to make great strides off the pitch with the recent completion of the clubhouse extension, which offers a first class facility available for private hire. 

Bookings can be made by contacting General Secretary, Betty Walley on 020 8866 2649.

Robin Piper

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The answers to the clues are homes, including some belonging to the animal kingdom, and buildings (or structures) of a general nature as well as some famous ones.  The clues are generally cryptic and the bracketed numbers indicate the number of words in the answer if there is more than one.


All four return



Yearned about



Regulate mutter in dome(2)



Six vehicle time



Built by Shah Jehan for his wife (2)



An expressed unknown



Almost an eye complaint



It sounds as though fish & chips could be produced here



1600 Pennsylvania Ave.(3)






Attendant goes around fire-raising



Record taxi at home



Initially tent peg sounds – appropriately



Archer or fiddler perhaps?



Sugar magnate arcade (2)



On in complete control



Wind around a gun fuse



Posh fashion



Rail reorganisation



Rat largely in disorder (2)



Vehicle, a vehicle



KG exchanged with flying goblin



South East male?



By the sound of it I tripped on tug-boat (2)



Cast off


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This is a group formed last year to inform residents of any urgent information.  It has not been necessary to use it a great deal, but who know what the future holds.  If you wish to be included please email me at  Please put ‘information group’ in the subject line and add your name and address.

Margot Barnikel

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The bandage was wound around the wound.
The farm was used to produce produce.
The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
He could lead if he would get the lead out.
The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
I did not object to the object.
There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
They were too close to the door to close it.
The buck does funny things when the does are present.
A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
After a number of injections my jaw got number.
Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
Let's face it - English is a crazy language.

There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

English muffins weren't invented in England nor French fries in France.

Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.
We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth?

One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through annals of history but not a single annal?

If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?

Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?

Park on driveways and drive on parkways?

Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all).

That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible?

And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it?

English is a silly language — it doesn't know if it is coming or going.

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Readers of this journal will know, from recent articles, of the great interest I have in my old primary school, and of my intention to write its history.  So I was very pleased to attend a reunion of former pupils of the school, at Haste Hill Golf Club, on Tuesday 7th September.  This was superbly organised by Marion Wilson (nee Addison), who has arranged other reunions in the past, although not previously in this area, and who has regularly contributed articles to past editions of ‘The Echo’.

The weather was glorious, the buffet was excellent and the venue was clearly an inspired choice.  Around forty old pupils attended, all of whom had started at ‘Pinner Road’ during the 1940s, and it was good to see a number of old friendships renewed after so many years.  Some of those present had travelled considerable distances to be there.  The amount of memorabilia on display was quite staggering.  Thanks to the kindness of others I have built up an impressive collection of photographs and other items, much of which I took to the reunion, but there was much more on display, and I wonder just how much more material is out there, hidden away in cupboards?

I was particularly glad to put faces to names for a number of people, including Marion herself, who have been extremely helpful by supplying me with information and their memories of the school for use in my proposed book.  My elder brother John lives in New Zealand, and also went to ‘Pinner Road’, with our times there overlapping by a few months in 1949.  We are in regular contact, and he is very interested in all my news about the school.  Thus I was very pleased to meet several of his old classmates at the reunion, all of whom remember him well from more than fifty years ago, and I know he is looking forward to seeing the photographs of them that I took on the day.

Marion is hoping to organise another similar reunion at the same venue in due course, and anyone who wishes to participate should write to her at 16 Rectory Close, Farnham Royal, Slough, Berkshire.  SL2 3 BFG, or telephone her on 01753 642455 for further details.  Those who attended ‘Pinner Road’ in the 1940s can be sure of meeting up with old friends from those days.

I am still interested in hearing from former pupils who wish to share their primary school memories with me, so please write to me at 24 Middleton Drive, Pinner, Middlesex.  HA5 2PG.  Any memorabilia you are prepared to lend me for copying purposes would also be appreciated, and I will also pass your details on to Marion, if required.  One query raised in my previous article, which remains unresolved is the name of the café, which was situated on the corner of Windsor Close, very near the school, in the late 1940s and I hope someone will come up with the answer.

 Alan Carter

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Issue 02 last updated 29th October 2006