Bill's memories of growing up in an American prefab near Brent Cross

Brent Cross

Amazingly at my age I can still remember the move from Kingsbury Road in 1945 when I rode with my mother in the cab of the removal lorry.

I especially remember sitting in the middle beside the driver next to the long gear lever which had a large black gear knob on top. I obviously didn’t know what it was for at the time but it particularly fascinated me as the driver kept waggling it around as he drove.

I remember aged six coming home from Clitterhouse infants school (now called Claremont Primary) and in those days we walked to and from school alone 0.55 miles, (I have just measured it exactly on Google Earth).  I was met at the door by my Mother who told me the sad news that my six month old baby sister Dorothy had died that afternoon (unexplained cot death). She was still in the pram in the living room and looked just like she was sleeping. I’ve always thought it was a wise thing my Mother did to let me see her because at the age of six, a child’s imagination has weird and scary thoughts around death and it went some way to straighten it out for me at an early age.

The name Clitterhouse was very big in the area. The name came from Clitterhouse Farm (opposite the school) dating back to the sixteenth century (originally Clutterhouse). The original Clitterhouse Farm covered a massive site bordered by Hendon Way in the east, Cricklewood Lane in the South, Watling Street (Edgware Road) in the west and what is now North Circular Road in the north, over 500 acres.

I remember the German prisoners of war working on the prefab estate. They were always kind and friendly to us kids and if any were working close to our home, my Mother used to give them tea.

My Father having returned from a posting in India had been demobbed from the RAF and worked locally on the Railway as a Shunter at the Cricklewood goods sidings.

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