22 Hamilton Road - Part 2



Why I have sub-titled this page “Security Family Freedom and Fun” when growing up as a young boy on the “Oxhey Estate” during the late 1940,s and early 1950,s when almost all of us lived with very little in the way of possessions.No television,no computers,no hamburgers,no fizzy drinks and everything else we think we need to be happy today.We had a family at home,at school and at play.The majority of us were sent of to school with some form of breakfast by our mums. If we came home from school at lunch time (or we stayed for school dinners) our mums were there with more food and again when we came home at the end of the school day our mums were there again and as if by magic more food appeared,and later our dads returned from work. Our mums and dads did not have “partners” but a husband and a wife,we had an identity and  knew where we belonged and felt wanted loved and needed.

At school we were expected to behave and conform,but individual achievement was encouraged and rewarded with praise.The discipline from home was carried on by our teachers who not only taught us but in the main genuinely cared about our academic artistic and sporting achievements and  health and welfare.We were expected to learn,pay attention and were swiftly corrected if we stepped out of line.Wrong doing was punished by a dressing down,detention,the slipper or the cane, and no we did not live in fear of punishment,we knew that wrongdoing had a penalty and in the main accepted this as in most cases the “punishment did fit the crime”. Due to these standards we were generally proud of our schools and our teachers.Home and school gave us two levels of security and care,both vital to our well being.

We lived in neighbourhoods were we knew our parents friends and school friends parents, who if you visited their homes or came across you outside at play said hello and if you were misbehaving again corrected you and you were expected to obey. I can still hear these same people saying. If you do not stop that now “do you want me to tell your parents.” A saying which still brings a touch of fear when I recall it,as having your parents embarrassed by their friends reporting your sins could lead to serious reprocussions when you returned to you own home.Our home, our school and our neighbourhood now gave us three levels of childhood security.

Now I look back, yes I for one felt needed, secure and cared for and loved in my childhood, without even realising at the time any of these emotions.Visible and invisible ” kids insurance” brought about by good parenting,good schooling a caring neighbourly environment.

This page was added on 13/02/2012.

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  • Brian. Thank you for your recent comments. Ye may recall that I was always a serious character on the cricket pitch and I maintained an accurate record of every competitive match I played, from Little Furze days in 1953 until I was forced to retire, through injury, from the club scene in County Durham, thirty seasons later. I’m in regular contact with David Reidy, who is editor of the forthcoming publication, “Poor but Proud”, the History of South Oxhey. I’ve been asked to proof read the substantial text of almost 400 pages in the next while and I’m also listed as one of the contributers. My chapters include The Irish in SO 1944-2011, Oxhey Golf Course & Playing Fields, Sport in SO, in addition to various bits and pieces elsewhere. I suppose it all started back in March 2010, when I first met David and suggested that a decent book on the Estate was overdue. The exact time and venue for the Launch have yet to be decided, although the event is likely to be held in late April, possibly in the ASCEND building. I shall look forward to meeting ye again after nearly 50 years!! Please feel free to contact me through this website or, alternatively, via Friends Reunited.

    By John Swain (08/03/2012)
  • John. Thanks for the memories, and the very kind words about the family. I had completley forgotten the cricket match.How do you remember the details so clearly.I would love to attend the event you mention re David’s book. Please keep me in touch. The other brother who went to Watford Grammar was Alistair who is between David and myself.

    By BRIAN LAWRIE (06/03/2012)
  • I heartily endorse the comments made by my brother, Peter Swain, who was a contemporary of Dave Lawrie. I recall, I hope correctly, that two of the lads went to Watford Boys’ Grammar School, and I can just remember Ian as a prefect when I started at secondary school in September 1954. I still retain images of the athletic young man hurtling down the Lower School playground slide during the bitter cold of January 1955. I tried to emulate his feat of negotiating the slippery slope and came a cropper less than half way down, an accident which required some medical supervision before I was allowed home in the late afternoon!! Alistair was appreciably younger and I think he was in the year below me at WBGS. I last saw him at a social club in November 1961, which was attached to the Trewin Bros store in Queen’s Road, a member of the John Lewis Partnership. My other recollection of the famous Lawrie Clan (I’m also aware of their Scottish ancestry) is a cricket match played at Clarendon School, in July 1963, between the School Staff XI and Clarendon Old Scholars. Having dismissed the Old Boys for a paltry 55, the Staff side had expected to win fairly comfortably, but Brian Lawrie had other ideas and laid a trap into which I fell!! Always competitive, he was largely responsible for bowling a decent batting side out for only 49 runs and thus achieving a well-merited victory against a hitherto successful team! Doubtless, several members of the Lawrie family will be aware of the forthcoming publication of David Reidy’s History of South Oxhey, which is due to be launched at an event to be held later this year, and I shall look forward to meeting some of them again in the next while.

    By John Swain (19/02/2012)
  • An excellent and heartfelt account of life on ‘The Estate’ which strikes a chord with many if not all who lived and grew there in the early years. I went to school with David and we have remained in touch for years afterwards. In my opinion the Lawries were one of the ‘great’ families which helped mould the special character of South Oxhey during those formative years.

    By Peter Swain (17/02/2012)