In England at eleven years of age, we had the eleven plus exam at junior school. Which ( It’s been a long time ) is to grade all the students. Then, at that time they were slotted into three groups. This was to ship the students on to the next stage of their scholastic careers.
I came up between Senior School and Grammar school. This scared the shit out of mum and dad. The conversation was on 1953.buying school uniform. They could not afford it. So I was sent to North Paddington School, on the Harrow Road in Paddington. Paddington being next to Kilburn in London.
At the Time the schools were run by the London County Council. It was a biggish school built solidly of dark brown greyish bricks. With girls playground on one side of the school, and the boy’s playground on the other side of the school.in the far corner of the boy’s playground was the infamous “ Bogs “. Or urinals, where I lost many a weeks dinner money to gambling. I believe that a week’s dinner money at the time was two shillings and a penny.
The next part of the book is not so much about me, but about the area in which I lived and some of the people that touched my family life. Abbey Road, School, Mum ‘s work and The Beatles.Abbey Road Studios. Little Venice and the “ Cut “. Famous people that mum worked for. All these things happened just a few blocks from each other, here in London.
As I said mum was a charlady. Which means that she cleaned people’s houses, flats and apartments in the Abbey Road Swiss Cottage area and the like. One of the people that she cleaned for was Sid James of the “ Carry On “England.
Sid James for instance, was an extremely well know and well liked comic film star and T.V. star. Of the ’50s to the ’70s or so. A really funny guy. Sid was one of mum’s clients. Sid was in Lots of movies and T.V. usually with the same cast. a bunch of comics.they were at the time very popular.
Yana was a night club singer and minor actress. Her claim to fame was that she was on the Bob Hope show. When mum was ever talking about Yana she would mutter that she suspected that she was a call girl. Where there’s smoke there’s fire.
Yana was a beautiful looking woman, and she had some really nice professional black and white photos of herself. So one day, mum asked if she could have one. Yana gave mum three but she charged her for them, this always pissed mum off.
Yana was married three times and she had various affairs with people in the film and T.V. world.
Harriet Cohen CBE was another one of mums clients. Harriet was a concert pianist of renown. She is interesting reading. Harriet was born in London and always moved in the concert circles.
In the area of Abbey road where mum worked, was the Abby Road Studios, formerly known as the EMI Studio’s, located in St. John’s Wood. Some really famous groups recorded themselves at these studios. Namely The Beatles, Pink Floyd. The property at one time was going to be sold to developers. But the Government stepped in and saved the building from the wreckers ball. and granted it English Heritage protection.
Little Venice is where I would hang out as a kid Little Venice is a comparatively recent name for these parts of Paddington and Maida Vale, For the longest time a 100 years or so, this area of Paddington. it was just Venice but in recent history, the word Little has been added. For Little Venice.
A guy called Robert Browning who was a poet and who lived at Beauchamp Lodge, 19 Warwick Crescent, in 1862–87. was Supposedly the first to name it Little. and from then on there were various others who allegedly called it Little. The name “Little Venice” was later formally applied to an electoral ward of the City of Westminster. in recent times.
As I said earlier, These are the exquisitely painted barges from the cut. It’s my understanding that you can nowadays take a vacation on one of these barges. So they go along the cut and park the barge each evening. And you go to the local pub, have a meal drink a few pints maybe play darts and go back to the barge. Next day along to the next pub. I would not think that today one would be towed by a cart horse but they would all be fitted out with motor engines and they would just put put , along the canal.
I’ve talked about the cut and Little Venice on a previous chapter. Where I described making a fishing thingy from a bicycle rim and some old sacking.And about the barges being polled along with the cut by big Dray horses.
This area of London was always snobbish and even more so into days world.
Then in this area, we also have the old EMI recording studios. The Abbey Road Studios were used by the Beatles and other top groups of the 60’s Pink Floyd is one of them.
The street crossing on the front cover of Abbey Road. As a kid, I went over that crossing many times. Never thinking that in the future that this crossing will be seen all over the world.