Some people may remember long-time local resident Brian Smith, who used to come regularly to our early APN events, where he would entertain us with tales of the area 70 years ago. He has recently moved to Essex – sad, I think, to leave this area where he has lived since the 1940s. The notes below are taken from a couple of emails which he sent me.

As a child during WW2 he was evacuated first up north, to Keighley in Yorkshire, then down south to Hampshire – no wonder he was glad to get back here in 1946! He then went to Rhodes Avenue school (his first school), which at this time was accessed from the main road through the woodland now known as the Spinney. The entrance was moved round the corner when the road was deemed too dangerous. There certainly cannot have been much traffic when the manhole covers in Albert Roard used to 'lift off on columns of water' after heavy rain (Brian says that at that time there were, indeed, only 5 cars in the whole of Vallance Road, when the Lotus racing car was being developed there). A huge soakaway pit dug in Albert Road Rec dealt with the flooding problem.

Concerns about safety were of course very different then. The Durnsford Road Swimming Pool (now Sunshine Garden Centre) had to be filled with water from boreholes, so he says, because Wood Green Council (as it then was) would not allow the use of treated water!

He has a photo of his mother and a relative 'taking the sun on the roof of the swimming pool' – a pastime enjoyed by other locals, as I recall from other posts on this website.

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  • Thank you - this is so interesting. I'd love to hear more reminiscences from Brian and any other long-standing local residents. I also wonder what was on that section of Alexandra Park Road before St Saviour's Court was built. It intrigues me when I walk by.

    • It was St. Saviour's Church - the local parish church, I think. That was before I came here, though ...


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