Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Queens Park Estate in wartime


I was intrigued to find your June 2003 webpage* concerning the restoration of the ironwork on the Queens Park Estate. Though I now live in South Wales I was born on the Estate ( at 25 Barfett Street ) and am old enough to remember the railings being removed in the early days of the Second World War.

The 'Streets' were named alphabetically, as you said, starting with Alperton then Barfett, Caird, Droop, Enbrook, Farrant, Galton, Huxley, Ilbert, (there was no street beginning with the letter J), Kilravock, Lothdrop, Marne, Nutbourne, Oliphant and Peach.

Peach Street was at the Kilburn Lane end of Ilbert Street and disappeared when a 'Land Mine' landed there. The blast was so strong that windows in our house in Barfett Street, at the other end of the Estate, were blown out. Later on a large hole was dug on the north side of the bomb site, in Ilbert Street, which was filled with water and used as a reserve supply in case of fire. Although the site was walled it was a great attraction to local boys and it was claimed that a few were drowned there.

There was some mention in the article of debris landing on local cinemas when the mine exploded. Perhaps they were the ABC cinema, The Palace, and the Odeon, both of which were at the southern end of Chamberlayne Road and only a short distance from Peach Street. I believe that they were at that time in the County of Middlesex and so may have been in Willesden.

London stopped at Kilburn Lane then and the pubs on the west side of the street were in Middlesex and closed earlier than the pubs on the London side. So at 10.30 pm there was a rush to cross into London for another half hour of drinking time.

Again thank you for the article which with the photos reminded me very much of my childhood in the area.

If I can be of any help to you, or other people, with information concerning the area in the war I will be very glad to do so.

Mr S W Lane

* Thanks to Mr Lane for several corrections, which have now been applied to the original article. Ed

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