A Foggy Day in November

Moving to the estate

By Peter Penfold

Smog - it used to be awful

Pauline remembers

Arriving on the St Helier Estate in the early 50s

I was 8 years old when we moved to the St Helier Estate from Brixton. I remember it well.
It was a foggy day in November 1952. The fog (smog) was so thick that for much of the
journey my Dad walked in front of the removal van holding a flaming torch while my Mum
and I sat in the front of the van peering into the mist. By the time we reached Rosehill we
were all exhausted. There was no question of unloading the van – we just threw a couple of
mattresses onto the floor and slept.

The fog had cleared the next morning and I gazed out of the bedroom window of our new
home in St Benet’s Grove at the front garden. Apart from Clapham Common it was the
biggest patch of grass I had ever seen. I had been used to playing on the bomb sites around
Brixton. I truly believed that we were “in the country”.

Going to Malmesbury Primary School and joining the 2nd Morden (St Peter’s) cubs I soon
started to make friends. It was a good time to move onto the Estate as everybody was getting
together to prepare for the Queen’s Coronation street party in June. We lived in No 10 at the
Gaumont cinema end of St Benet’s and the party was being held near us in the cul de sac
(a new word for me!) My mate, Keith Harris, lived at the top end and his Mum made our
Coronation costumes. I was Luck of the Legion (from the Eagle comic) and Keith was one of
the Queen’s mounted soldiers. We were convinced that one of us would win the best costume
contest. We didn’t and we still complain about it to this day!

This page was added by Beverley Walker on 24/09/2010.

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