Carpenders Park

'St Meryls' Estate

By Arthur Hall

Most of my memories of Carpenders Park, Oxhey, and Bushey are for the period between 1940 and 1954. I witnessed the areas development from countryside to urban expansion. Oxhey Woods, Blackwell Estate, Oxhey Golf Course, Watford Heath, Bushey Outdoor Swimming Pool, The 5 fields from Merry Hill Lane to the Style at the top of Carpenders Ave, Oxhey Lane.

Searchlights on Oxhey Golf Course

These areas we patronised as being part of our recreation. We experienced the war period, the Army occupied ‘Highfields’ there were ‘Searchlights’ placed on Oxhey golf course, and a bomb dropped in a field opposite our house leaving a crater which filled with water and became a home for tadpoles, frogs, & newts. It was finally filled in and St Meryl School was built on the site.

I have added a further photo of Carpenders Avenue looking towards the style in Oxhey Lane. This photo was taken from our front garden no 49, and shows you the houses with their windows open, also note that we did not have street lights, and a rare sight seeing a car outside bungalow No. 26, no doubt belonging to Dr Leeslow, who would have been entitled to petrol. All other transport was mainly horse drawn. Occasionally we would see a military vehicle from ‘Highfields’ going towards the shops.  

This page was added on 17/03/2011.

Comments about this page

  • With regard to Dr Leeslow’s surgery, you are correct it was up from Bushey Station on the left hand side about mid-way from the railway bridge & the traffic lights, on what I would call the main road from Watford to Bushey.

    By Roger Heudebourck (28/11/2018)
  • Born in King Street Watford in 1939 and living in Greenfield Avenue during the war and for three or four years after, your pages bring so many memories, and I too witnessed the areas development. Greenfield Avenue being on a hill, we children would share our tricycles between us all and take turns riding up to the tree and back, the tree being a tall pine tree on the top of the hill
    Toys were hard to get and my mother lined up for ages in Watford market to buy me a toy. I think she and the other mums also bought stockings there.
    As a child the days always seemed sunny but at night whilst my mother would try and sleep I would tell her if I heard planes coming over never realising what they were. I don’t remember having any shelter to go in. My father was away in the Army and we often went to stay the night with my Aunt in St George’s Drive where we would huddle under her table for protection. I remember hearing the air raid sirens but not sure where they were, and seeing search lights. I also remember standing on my Aunts back door step with my family and watching the night sky as London was burning. That has never left me.
    Our gardens in Greenfield Avenue had “ chaff” dropped onto them during the war and as children we would gather up the silver foil and make paper chains for Christmas with it.
    My grandparents were pushing me in my pushchair along Old Redding when a small plane went over, the pilot leaned out and shouted for us to get down. My grandparents jumped into a ditch at the side of the road together with me in my pushchair and a doodle bug went over us.
    At the top of Greenfield Avenue there is a turning off, it might have been a cul-de-sac at the time and we had a street tea party for all the children to celebrate V.E Day. Such excitement for us all. I
    also went to one in the next turning over from St George’s Drive.
    I went to school in Hatch End, St Meryl not having been built at that time, and my mother joined other mums walking up St. George’s Drive and over the fields with cows in to Hatch End and back every day. When I think back the war was on at the time. As I got a little older I went by myself on what was then a steam train. As children we got to know the Railway Porter at Carpenders Park well enough to say hello and chat to each day and we were all very sad when he had an accident.
    Dr Leeslow was our Doctor as well, and would come to visit us if we were sick. Did Dr Leeslow have a Surgery in Bushey just up from the station? We had a Mrs Green, Mrs White and a Mrs Brown living near us, and a Mrs Cox used to make ice lolllies for us children which was a real treat.. we seemed to be so free to go out and play in the fields and woods there, not like things are nowadays, though I don’t think we got so much local news then.
    I remember Mr Absolem and going with my mum to Braziers to get food. Always very friendly and to my young mind the passageway and hatches were very big and solid as we walked into the building. The family delivered our milk and really were a very big part in most of the lives of those who lived in the area.Looking back I realise what a community spirit there was then in such difficult times and it seems to continue today.

    By Valerie Bennett (16/01/2018)

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