MEMORIES OF CHARVILLE IN HAYES NORTH
ravelling to Bury Avenue library recently, I remembered how things were when I lived there in the 50's and some of the changes which have taken place.
Firstly, travelling along Pole Hill Road from the Uxbridge Road I noticed that the spooky old house which was situated on the corner of Mellow Lane East has gone. The Towers, as I think it was called, is now replaced by a row of terraced houses. (No character there now and no childlike fear of ghosts in the house and grounds).
On the opposite side of the road, many bungalows have changed in appearance because they have had dormer-windows added. I remember when the long line of bungalows looked uniform with a straight line of rooftops when there was no such thing as adding rooms by using loft-space and creating light by installing dormer windows.
Turning into Charville Lane, I then saw a bus-stop! (Click on pic to enlarge) Hey .. no buses travelled along the lane when I lived there in that striking, country area. Walking was good to enjoy the open-air, then. Opposite the bus-stop, some bungalows I vaguely remembered have gone and there are terraced houses and some blocks of flats. These are quite hidden away by some trees and nestled in a close away from the lane.
From Hoppner Road into Gainsborough Road, a pleasant stretch of grassed area and fencing came into view. I remembered this as a wild and overgrown area. As children, we liked it that way. Further along Gainsborough Road I went past the semi-detached house on the corner of Romney Road and remembered when many of us children gathered and used to sit in the front room in front of the television with the curtains drawn at 5 p.m. to watch Children's Hour with programmes like Muffin The Mule, Sooty, Prudence Kitten and Mr Pastry followed by the Railway Children etc.
Near the other end of Gainsborough Road, I could see a sports field and Pavilion. Here, there used to be a marshy swamp and I remembered once, and only once, whilst playing there with my sister, I (being a Tomboy) jumped across the green slimy water to a log to balance on. My foot slipped off of the log and the swamp began sucking my foot downwards like a story-book monster eating my crepe-soled shoe for dinner. It was quite frightening but luckily, my sister must have been good friends with me that day and so caught my outstretched hand and pulled me so that I could free my foot, which felt a ton weight in the thick water, and I could leap back onto the grass and safe land.
I wondered whether, now, this is the spot where the goalposts would be. I hoped that the ground was previously made safe so that any present football matches would not be disrupted by the disappearance of the goalposts especially as they would be the main focus of the game.
I noticed that, at the end of Gainsborough Road, more houses have been built (groan) where there was once a wild hedge.
In Raeburn Road, I could soon see the house where I lived all those years ago. I met the lady who lives there now and as we chatted, I told her that the opposite piece of ground used to be grass whereas now, it is concrete and a garage, There used to be a bonfire there every Guy Fawkes night and fireworks I could watch from the front window. Hayman Crescent, just along the road, now has fairly new looking houses at the end of the crescent and these have replaced the continuation of the wild hedge, and skirted the piece of ground and paper-yard where the residential caravans had been.
Over the same area, we used to see swarms of Starlings darkening the skies in early evening and swirling around making marvellous patterns low in the sky. The noise they made was reminiscent of the deafening, twittering bird-sounds we later heard in the Hitchcock film 'The Birds'. Many of the Starlings rested in the wild hedgerow and turned the hedge into a black mass and not recognisable as a leafy hedge until they, bird by bird, flew away and disappeared, flying back high in the sky until everything was normal and peace prevailed until the event happened again on another evening.
Travelling along Raeburn Road later, I could see that some houses have benefited by being enhanced with porches and extensions where extra land had permitted and also, if the houses had been purchased by their owners instead of remaining as being rented homes from the Council.
Arriving back into Charville Lane, the hedge came to an abrupt end about halfway along, whereas it had once lined the length of the lane to Bury Avenue. It used to be so attractive, edging the green Daltons fields which came into view every so often through the gaps in the hedge. I remember seeing different birds in the hedge like BlueTits, Chaffinches, Sparrows, Blackbirds and Thrushes. In the winter, there were always Robins to be seen in the snow-covered branches and could be heard singing loudly in the cold air.
On the other side of the lane I could see more houses which have been built where the rough track was leading to the paper-yard and few caravans.
Turning into Bury Avenue, there is a now a small roundabout and the field on the right has been built on and so there are more houses or maisonettes. I remember that, when I went to Charville School, I used to take bread to feed the brown and white horse in the field. He was called 'Pie' (because he was a Piebald, of course). I remembered being greeted by this lovely, gentle creature at the fence where he stood and I would talk to him and stroke and pat him as he accepted and munched the bread I gave him.
There is now a building, which is a Community Centre, on the ground opposite before the school and playing field. I remember playing Rounders and even girl's cricket matches on that field. The school may have had parts added to it now, but I looked at the school hall windows at the front and they brought back memories of being in the hall taking part in gym displays, choir-concerts and even making my solo debut reading Bible-Readings at Christmas.
I remembered that, way back in time, the window-sills along the corridors had pots of Geraniums placed on them and I had the job of watering them and also, I learnt how to take cuttings from them to be able to grow even more new plants.
As my journey continued to the library, I saw children playing in a playgroup area and having fun with modern, brightly coloured playthings and toys.
On the right, just past this area, the single-storey library appeared before me and all painted a cheerful colour blue. The library had not been there when I used to wait with my mother and sister at the bus-stop opposite when we were going to Hayes Town on a shopping spree. The number 83 bus had just started to come down Adelphi Crescent to that bus-stop not long before we moved, sadly, from Charville.
The library and Community Centre must have changed life socially for Charville residents, giving more amenities which had been limited to the parade of shops in Romney Road and the local recreation ground. To have had a Community Centre would have been great in the days I lived with my family there and the library would have been nearer than the Hayes End library we walked to.
But all the new-builds, filling in country-spaces is a shame but, thankfully, at least the lane, hedges and some of the fields are still there. This is the way I saw it but being nostalgic, wanted to see it still the way I remembered it when I was a young girl.
North Hayes, or Hayes North as I knew it, still has the atmosphere of being a small, pleasant oasis and an atmosphere all of its own. The changes I noticed were not drastic compared with the busier parts of Hayes which have had changes made, particularly Hayes town, which seems to have lost the pleasant and popular character it
had years ago.
RAEBURN ROAD, CHARVILLE IN HAYES NORTH
IN THE 50s
CLICK TO SEE LARGER VIEW OF EACH PICTURE
A POEM ABOUT HAYES WRITTEN IN 1971
FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE HAYES GAZETTE
Though priding myself I'm not very old
I close my eyes and memories unfold
Remembering such things that today may seem strange
But how can we argue against time and change?
Do you remember the old Uxbridge Road
Lined with air-raid shelters, the scars that showed
Of times not so good, could it be war
That made for contentment, although we were poor?
Next the Adam and Eve, the blacksmith's forge
Where if the big doors were open, we'd stand and stare
At the horses so still as the furnace flames leap
A new shoe is needed, the price very cheap
If the old-fashioned trolley-bus were still here today
And the dim glowing gaslight was here to stay
If Bingo never started and TV never came
Would we find pleasure in small things again
So think back, remember our old-fashioned town
Most places we knew have since been pulled down
We still have St Mary's and Sandgate Hall
They may last through history, as the old Dawley Wall
Think, with affection, on life that has moved on
New ideas, new territories, expanded upon
Progress is certain, and change is for sure
But memories of home we keep safe evermore
© Marian 1971
2012 note by Marian ..
I was so wrong about Sandgate Hall because, sadly, it was later pulled down!