New book on the history of South Oxhey

Launching 30th June 2012

By David Reidy

Book cover for Poor but Proud

David Reidy, a former South Oxhey resident [1948-69], has been editing a fairly substantial history of the Estate for the past eighteen months. It includes many unpublished pictures, maps, diagrams, etc. 

The book will be launched on Saturday, 30th June 2012 between  2 and 5 p.m. at All Saints Church in Gosforth Lane, Mr David Gauke MP has kindly agreed to attend. Everyone welcome.

David Reidy would be very pleased to hear from anyone who would either be interested in attending or purchasing a copy. He can be contacted via 0208 668 2991 or

This page was added on 25/01/2012.

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  • Does anyone if there are still copies of this book available ?

    By Phillip (07/02/2022)
  • Hello Phillip
    If you contact David Reidy whose contact details are at the bottom of
    the article he will be able to help you obtain the book.

    By Susan Waller (13/02/2022)
  • Wow ! What an impressive and enjoyable book. It brought back numerous memories, including triggering names I hadn’t thought of for over fifty years. Thank you very much.
    If you don’t mind, I’ll share just a few of my thoughts and memories with you :

    Like you, I remember Mary Maden of Oxhey Wood Infants School as being ‘formidable’ and ‘scaring the daylights’. I can also remember the names of most of the people in the photo of Oxhey Wood Junior staff of 1953 (page 156) – including Mr. Kemp (my teacher when aged seven) and Mrs. Evans (the following year). I was saddened to read of the death Keith Viccars at the young age of 58 (page 348). He was my class teacher for my final two years at Oxhey Wood, and I owe a great deal to him. I think your contributor Susan Davidson (page 268) was also in that class.. I think I was quite friendly with Raymond Jenkins (page 357), who may also have been in that class. Reading your book prompted me to dig out an old autograph book which has the signatures of Messrs. Embling, Viccars, Kemp, Silvani, Rice, Conniam, Flinn and Perry; some dated 1953 and some my last day at Oxhey Wood, July 1955. It is interesting to note how many primary school teachers in those days were men, and how few there are today.

    I was also saddened to read the account of the death of Mrs. Kidd (page 337). Her son Freddie was my best friend in junior school and we spent many happy days building dens in his garden at 53 Ilkley Road.

    The library in the former farmhouse in Little Oxhey Lane played a very important role in my life, especially the junior section upstairs. I remember the name Mrs. Bew (page 276), though I also seem to remember somebody – (I think called Olive. Could she have been Miss. Roberts ?) – who let me help with the checking in and out of books.

    Though I didn’t attend Hampden School, my sister and I went there most Sunday afternoons for about three years for Sunday School, led by a Mr. Edward Lambden. I still have the Bible I was given for regular attendance in 1952 and a New Testament in 1954. I also have a photo of my sister and I taken in Hampden School dining room during the Lytham Avenue 1953 Coronation Day children’s party.

    I was especially interested to read your section on juvenile delinquency. For part of my career I was a manager of Hertfordshire’s services for young offenders, and I remember an older colleague at County Hall telling me that, at one stage in the 1950’s, the demands of South Oxhey almost overwhelmed Hertfordshire’s Children’s Department (the forerunner of Social Services).

    On the other hand, it was good to read of the educational achievers. My older brother was nearly fifteen when we moved to South Oxhey and he continued travelling daily to his grammar school in London. I suspect he may then have been the first person from the estate to go on to university in 1952. However, Hertfordshire County Council were initially not prepared to award him a grant, and it was only after the intervention of Gilbert Longden M.P. that they agreed to do so. Perhaps this set a marker for those who followed.

    A few other random memories : a) As well as going to Brazier’s grocer shop the day it opened, i recall Braziers also provided our daily milk-float delivery; b) There was also a baker’s roundsman who used to pay me two shillings when I helped him on his round; c) The importance of the telephone box on the corner of little Oxhey Lane and Woodhall Lane (with buttons A an B) in the days before people owned their own phones; d) For some time after shops were opened, the only local barber was the one on St, Meryl’s estate, where I was sent for my ‘short back and sides’.

    Thanks again for producing such a well-researched yet readable book. I shall probably dip into it many times.


    By Susan Waller (16/05/2020)
  • Would love to know if copies of this book are still available to buy

    By Jason (23/01/2018)
  • Copies of the book are still available from David Reidy. His contact details are as above.

    By Susan Waller (23/01/2018)
  • What a fantastic book to sit and read. You can keep going back to read it again as it is so interesting and informative. Hope David writes a book about Clarendon in the near future

    By Susan butler (04/05/2014)
  • The book costs £20 . It is sold in the local cafe 26 Little Oxhey Lane.

    By Jason (12/10/2013)
  • How much does this book cost?

    By Lou (21/09/2013)
  • Went on a memory lane visit to South Oxhey today. Went in the library and found this book which upon reading found that I was actually in the book which amazed me. I immediately sent an email to David Reidy once I got home to purchase a copy.

    By susan butler (17/09/2013)
  • Hello Alison, to get a copy of this book please contact David Reidy, his telephone number and e.mail address appear under the book information on this page.

    By Susan Waller (26/01/2013)
  • Where can I get a copy of this book from please?

    By Alison (25/01/2013)
  • What an amazing book, full of nostalgia. We moved to South Oxhey in 1958/9. I enjoyed your book immensely. Thank you.

    By Carole Stevens (Nee Barwick) (22/12/2012)
  • I was so pleased to hear that David’s book about Oxhey had a successful launch and I will be making contact to purchase a copy. I also noticed the comment from Margaret Davis nee Ravening as we were in the same class at Hampden School she lived just around the corner to me.

    By Josephine Parsons (nee Searle) (16/07/2012)
  • John, that would be my father and it would have been my sister Rina that you taught. There were 6 of us all told, Poppy, Harry, Ricky, Louigi, me and Rina. Dad passed away in 1971

    By Bob Battaglia (09/07/2012)
  • Firstly, may I say how much I enjoyed travelling down from Co.Durham to participate in the launch of Poor but Proud. Thanks for the kind words, Neil-good to see you again! I wonder if Bob Battaglia is a relation of the former Italian prisoner-of-war, who used to come and cut the hair of the Swain household in Hayling Road throughout the 1950s? A lovely fella, to be sure, and I think I taught one of his daughters at Clarendon School in 1962. Small world, ain’t it?

    By John Swain (05/07/2012)
  • Oops sorry should have read above eager to get a copy !!

    By Bob Battaglia (03/07/2012)
  • Can someone please tell me where I can buy a copy of this book…having grown up from 1950 on the estate I am extremely interested in owning a copy!

    By Bob Battaglia (03/07/2012)
  • Well done David – a great afternoon and a great book – a real labour of love

    By Neil Hamilton (30/06/2012)
  • Hi David, I had a phone call from my sister saying that you had written this book and I intend buying it.  Well done, it really looks a ‘must read’ for those who went to live there, we were offered a house because Pat one of the twins was left with a damaged lung after whooping cough at 6 months, the Doctors said the good clean air would help a good recovery.

    By Margaret Davis nee Ravening (26/06/2012)
  • This is a book really worth reading, for anyone who lives or has lived in South Oxhey or has an interest in the area. Thankyou David, I really enjoyed reading it. Some lovely early photographs that I had not seen before.  A real trip down ‘Memory Lane’.

    By Susan Waller (20/06/2012)
  • I enjoyed all the pictures very much

    By Terry Trainor (26/02/2012)