Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Croft Gardens

From the time I left Queen Charlotte's Maternity Hospital in early October 1957 to 1 May 1970, when my family moved to the posher surroundings of Cleveland Park, West Ealing, I lived at 15 Croft Gardens, Hanwell, London W7. Our phone number - HAN 8068. No postcodes then. The 1930s-built house was semi-detached (well, end-terrace really), with a wooden lean-to garage and a drive. A magnolia tree stood in the front garden.

My father had a car - a light grey, four-door Morris Minor, registration number RMU 23. Although this was bought after I was born, I never remember a time when we didn't have a car. I remember the fridge being delivered to the house, but the car was always there. We were one of a handful of families on Croft Gardens to have a car at that time. Once I was tall enough to see out of the front room bay windows, the sound of a car driving down the street would have me running up to see what it was. Cars were still rare.

Apart from Manton Avenue, which joined Croft Gardens at the southern end, all the other streets in our part of Hanwell - bordered by the Uxbridge Road to the north, Northfields Avenue to the east, Boston Road to the west and Elthorne Park Road to the south - were Victorian. Most were terraced, some were larger and harked back to an era of domestic servants. However, my assumption was that our newer, airier houses with their 80ft gardens were posher. We, I assumed from my earliest days of class consciousness, a class above the other streets. In this view I was reinforced by the fact that we had a car, and that my father, a civil engineer, had a better job than the fathers of most the children I would end up going to school with.

My earliest memories are of the house at 15 Croft Gardens, of being in the garden, the veranda, the summerhouse, the coal bunker, the apple trees, the lilac tree... I shall return to our home in future posts.

No comments: