Diamond Jubilee Brings Trip Down Memory Lane

Neighbours return to childhood street and tell of life in War years


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The Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Chiswick became a trip down memory lane for two local residents when they returned to their childhood haunts following a surprise invitation to a street party.

Neither Jim Lawes or Hugh Telford had lived in Whitehall Park Road for fifty years but were delighted to be asked to attend the local Jubilee Street party by local resident Jennifer Jenks.

Jim Lawes

Jim recalled that it was an emotional visit in many ways for both of them.

“You always think you’ll take your memories to the grave but it’s so nice to be able to share them with people. I had a lovely time telling people about living in the street when I was a child. I was born in 1939 and I can still remember playing ball on the road – of course the streets had very few cars in those days.”

“ People were fascinated to know if the street had changed much since my time. I was able to tell them which houses had been bombed and that was why their frontage was different – I went to three street parties after the war and of course the food was totally different- we had bread and sugar sandwiches, and maybe a few cakes made with powdered eggs”.

Hugh Telford was born at No 42 Whitehall Park Road during the War and recalled that his family had responded to an Air Raid siren when he was aged six by going to the re-enforced shelter at the top of the road by the railway

The family had a lucky escape that night as his home and seven others were demolished by the raid and they were then homeless.

His father was abroad in the Army at the time, so Hugh and his mother, who was a dressmaker, went to stay with his grandparents and older brother in Reading, and then moved to Northumberland. Single storey prefabricated houses took the place of the bombed out houses on his street, and when Jim and Hugh went to look for the house, it was no longer there. Flats have been built on the site.

“I was born in Whitehall Park Road in 1936, and even though I returned to live on Chiswick High Road later in life, and I did attend street parties, I never looked for the house. It was quite emotional” said Hugh.


Hugh Telford

Both he and Jim were delighted to return to their childhood haunts and it brought back lots of memories. “What a sociable road! Whitehall Park Road have had several street parties in recent years and certainly know how to organise these jolly events” said Jim.

“The sight of all those children having the freedom of the road for a change was a delight. They could run or bike around the roadway free of cars, only avoiding the line of tables laden with good food. Those children will long remember the day. They couldn’t believe how we used to play on the streets without fear of meeting any car- there were only a handful of cars in those days in the area” he added.

Jim described as “ a splendid gesture” the decision by local resident Jennifer Jenks to invite Hugh and himself despite not having lived in the street for such a long time. “I recall going to the Street Party in Whitehall Park Road 1945/6 in addition to going to VE and VJ ones in Wolseley Gardens. Bread and dripping sandwiches as Hugh and I often joke.”

“So thanks to the organisers and to Jennifer. It was great going down Memory Lane”.

A happy scene from the Whitehall Park Road Jubilee street party



June 14, 2012

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