Glebe and Ickenham recollections by Peter Lower, now living in Melbourne, Australia
[These recollections add to and refer to those written by Robin Scagell]
My family moved into 15 Sussex Road in, I think, 1947. It was a price controlled house (whereby the government controlled house prices to prevent profiteering in the post-war housing shortage) and I have an idea it cost £850. I started school at Breakspear in 1949, but in September 1950 some of those (I don't think it could have been all) who were destined to go to Glebe School when it was completed were transferred to a temporary school. This was in the big old house [Ickenham Hall] immediately east of the railway line and on the north side of Glebe Avenue, alongside the railway bridge approach (ie on the right and before the station when going towards Long Lane). This school was known to us as 'The Annexe'. I'd be interested to know the history of the house, which I believe is now owned by the London Borough of Hillingdon and immediately adjacent to which has been built the Compass Arts and Theatre Centre. Behind it, near the railway line, was a rather splendid horse chestnut tree, which I was pleased to see was still there when I visited in 1997. Mrs Nicholls was one of the teachers there.
As for Glebe School, I entered Miss Maynard's class, in what must have been Grade 4, when the school opened in 1952. The following year I moved up to Mrs Elam's class, where I remained for two terms until my family moved away from the London area. I think Mrs Elam had a daughter named Elizabeth in her own class that year. I remember Mr Oldfield. He had a grey Ford 8 with red wheels. One day we went to Mr Oldfield's classroom, where a man came to show us some black and white slides. Someone in Mr Oldfield's class must have remembered this visitor from a previous occasion and said, 'Have you got the one of the snake that ate the boy?' He did, and it's the only one I remember. I wasn't totally convinced it was a boy causing the bulge in the snake though. Well, perhaps I was at the time. And yes, the caretaker was indeed Mr Byford.
I studied the photograph of the May Day celebration and thought the boy on the left with his hand on his forehead could have been me. However, if it was 1954 I would have been nine and probably two years ahead of you. In addition, I might already have left by then. So it's probably not me. I well remember the Coronation Pageant. I played Sir Walter Raleigh in a re-enactment of the occasion when he laid his cloak on the ground for the Queen to step on. I won't relate the details of what happened, but it was a minor theatrical disaster and the assembled parents thought it was hilarious!
Because I was a little older, most of the names you and Barbara Busst mentioned were not familiar to me. One I do remember, however, is Janice Warren, because she lived next door to us at 11 Sussex Road if I'm not mistaken (there being no number 13).
Names that I recall from my own year are Michael Russell, who lived next to us at 17 Sussex Road, Christopher Gaylard, who lived on the southern corner of Milverton and Sussex, and Terry Sheaffe(?) who lived on the other corner of Milverton and Sussex. Also Colin Roake(?) who was four years younger than me, and who lived on the southern corner of Sussex and Tavistock.
I certainly remember Mr Hamer's hut. Some other local establishments I recall are the Little Buntings Cafe, which was in the white painted building in Swakeleys Road immediately adjacent to St Giles' Church, Stan Gilks the motorcycle dealer, in the High Road opposite the end of Austins Lane, and the surgeries of Doctor Price and Doctor Prosser, on the left hand (south) side of Glebe Avenue between the station and Long Lane. I picture one of them (though I'm not sure which) as a dapper little man who dressed very formally.
I was always fascinated by the planes using Northolt Aerodrome. If they were using the second runway they would take off over the northern edge of the school, more or less along Glebe Avenue. Mostly they were Douglas DC3s, Vickers Vikings and Airspeed Ambassadors ('Elizabethans' British European Airways called them). The RAF Northolt website tells us that civil operations at Northolt ceased in 1954, when they were transferred to Heathrow.
I've always wondered why Sussex Road and Tavistock Road were never completed as obviously intended. My guess is it was the 'Green Belt' legislation that prevented them going further. Or was it to do with proximity to the aerodrome?
I stand to be corrected on some (but not all!) of the foregoing and hope it is of passing interest.
Peter J Lower, May 2004