Can You Help Eileen To Find Her Chiswick Past?
Elderly former Bedford Park resident lost memories after accident
An elderly former resident of Bedford Park has appealed to local readers to help her fill in the blanks in her memories of growing up in wartime Chiswick.
Eileen Toll lived at number 39 Woodstock Road from 1939 to 1957 as Eileen Batson, and now, aged in her eighties and living in north London she is writing her life story to pass onto her family.
Despite having some fond memories of her childhood in Chiswick there are many gap in her recollections which she says is due to the fact that she suffered head injuries in a road traffic accident.
Eileen in the back garden in Woodstock Road
"Just prior to moving from Bedford Park to Hemel Hempstead with my parents I was involved in a road traffic accident causing severe concussion. For many subsequent months I struggled with memory problems and moving house did not help my recovery. Now, at the age of eighty-four I am in the process of writing memories to pass on to my family and am saddened by the loss of contact with friends and the active life I enjoyed in Chiswick so much of which is still covered in clouds and doubts resulting from the accident", says Eileen.
She has now appealed to local readers to pass on any information they may have about neighbours in Woodstock Road or surrounding streets, some of whom she hopes may still have local connections. In 1939 Eileen Batson attended Southfield Road Junior School and in 1941 attended Acton Central School before training as a nurse at Wembley Hospital. She qualified as State Registered Nurse (SRN)in April 1956 and was due to start midwifery training the following March at Queen Charlottes but the road traffic accident made this impossible.
Eileen's parents, Violet and Sid Batson
"Our next-door neighbours at 41 Woodstock Road were the Galloway family, Mr. and Mrs. Galloway, Audrey, Barbara and Stan. Audrey was in the WRAF and Stan was a Bomber Pilot. Our next-door neighbours at 37 Woodstock Road were Mrs. Ferry and her companion Ethel Sutton. Mrs Ferry and Ethel are now dead but I would dearly love to have news of the Galloways. I have some photos of various people in front of 39 and 41 but photography was an expensive hobby in those days and most pictures were taken of people on special occasions rather than the buildings."
The back garden at number 39
Eileen also belonged to the Veronex Youth club where she took part in amateur dramatics organised by Mrs. Beryl Cook, mother of Peter Cook. She also recalled a Professor Low, a renowed scientist, who lived on Woodstock Road
"There were Milliners in Turnham Green Terrace, two French sisters who made beautiful creations – hats made to measure and designed to go with specific outfits. I would so love now to have the hats my mother and I had made for us over the years. I passed them all on to local theatre companies."I recall going to the Chiswick Empire to see the International Ballet Company perform ‘Swan Lake’. Wanting to dress suitably for the occasion my mother wore the white feathered hat made for her by the little French Milliners in Turnham Green Terrace. The walk to the theatre from our house normally took about twenty minutes but on this occasion we had an unexpected hazard to face for it was Saturday 6 th December 1952, the night of “The Great Smog” The beautiful white swan-like creation finished up looking like a bedraggled brown and black duck. Going to the theatre was very much part of our lives and I have the programmes of most of the shows we went to in the 1940’s and 50’s, including 'Swan Lake' on the night of the great smog.
Eileen moved to Hemel Hempstead in 1957 with her parents but because of the memory loss sustained in the road traffic accident she sadly lost all contact with her life in Chiswick.
"The moral of this tale is never part with old address books" she says.
Anyone with any information can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
April 10, 2015