Growing Up In The Bush – Part One

This article should be read in conjunction with the brilliant offerings from Irish Jack who was also a founder member of the Kelmscott Gang.

On the 6th July 1946, QPR increased their support by one. Having been born in Hammersmith Hospital and within the sound of Loftus Road, it was inevitable that I would follow my Father and become a bonded slave to the Club. The following three and half years were spent in Yorkshire and when Kelmscott Gardens in Askew Road was first created (that of Irish Jack fame) we became one of the first tenants. As the dust of war had barely settled, these were difficult times with rationing etc. As a result of the war damage, Council tenants were a mixed bunch of working class and middle class (not that I believe in such labels) but we all grew up together as one big family.

The building of two further blocks followed later by the final fourth block not only increased our ‘family’ but also laid the foundations for our Ravenscourt Park football team (with some additions from the adjoining area including a certain Paul Gosden and Kerrins) It is difficult to convey to younger readers of this epistle the uncluttered and simple times we lived in. With no pressures in respect of fashion clothing (until the Mod era), no computers, TV just becoming affordable and apart from the odd visit by marauding gangs from other areas, our fortress Kelmscott was an oasis of calm apart from the indiscretions of certain members who shall be nameless, Irish Jack !!!

Each new product that was produced was greeted and embraced with glee. Frozen Jubblies appeared. For those unaware of the delights of a Jubbly, it was a somewhat strange shaped milk carton type orange drink which was originally in liquid form. Not sure if the frozen version was first produced by accident but our lives began to revolve around the acquisition of a frozen version. The connoisseurs amongst us needed their daily fix of a semi-frozen version and word soon spread that the local off licence in Westville Road had re-stocked their fridge earlier in the day !

Nowreturning to the subject of indiscretions, the only fly in the ointment in our oasis of calm wasno, not Irish Jack but Mr Foxhall the Estate Caretaker. The very thought of him created fear in the minds of us all. His biggest mistake was to restrict our ability to take advantage of our grassed areas (unusual for the time) to fine tune our football skills. We used to look forward to his annual holiday and then all hell would break loose ! Such draconian measures did not go down well and we collectively prayed for the first stocks of fireworks prior to 5th November being delivered to the newsagents across the road.

We became adept at disturbing the peace of the Estate at night with penny and tuppenny bangers in drains. We fine tuned our pyrotechnic skills and produced as a ‘piece de resistance’, several bangers tied together with one fuse. We then proceeded to systematically demolish half the Estate ! When subsequently questioned as the usual suspects, we could of won awards for ‘Innocent Faces’ ! Mind you, his actions were not all bad. We had a very large pear tree which must have once stood in a bombed out garden and had survived all the clearance and building work.

These were the days of Trolley Buses. We had the 660 and 666 in Askew Road which not only enabled us to travel to the delights of Hammersmith Broadway and King Street but provided the ability for Mr F to borrow one of the long poles used to replace the bus pantograph (big word !) onto the live wires when they came off. Every year, at the appointed moment, with the hoards of kids in his wake like the ‘Pied Piper’, he would ‘acquire’ the pole and remove the pears for the waiting masses. The Trolley Buses also added to the spectator sports we had available. Bends in the road did not suite them and there was a particularly bad one for them, good for us, outside our flats in Askew Road. With monotonous regularity, the pantographs parted company with the wires. I’m sure there was a driver competition to negotiate the bend at the fastest speed possible without the inevitable happening ! We used to congregate to watch the mayhem and longed for the odd ‘big one’ when the whole wire system was demolished. Simple pleasures !

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Crazes like knitting with cotton reels (sad !), ‘Scoobidoo’ (not sure of the spelling) and ‘Hula Hoops’ (not the crisp type) appeared and then faded. TV got better and we looked forward each year to a new Waddington board game. We played marbles in the gutters and flicked cards against the walls. We seemed to spot everything that moved, trains, planes and buses were all spotted. We travelled freely by bus, tube and bike to various locations in pursuit of the hobby, including Heathrow and did not give it a thought that we might be at risk. Simple times !

One curious passing occupation was the collecting of petrol tags. Not sure if this was a local ‘thing’ or how it started but it involved the, highly illegal and dangerous, removal of small tags from petrol tankers, usually at the traffic lights at the junction of Askew Road and Goldhawk Road. These plastic or enamel badges were placed on the lorries to indicate the type of fuel in each tank. We usually waited for the inevitable foggy night (no smoke free zones then) to assist their removal. By the way Irish Jack, you have indicated elsewhere that a couple of us may still owe you two shillings and sixpence. If you were guilty of digging up my much prized hoard of tags buried near the old Estate laundry building, you will have a long wait ! Whilst this was going on, we lived and breathed footballbut I will save this fast emerging pleasure for the next epistle.
Colin Woodley

27 thoughts on “Growing Up In The Bush – Part One

  1. Absolutely brilliant Colin. You are blessed with something we would all like to possess…a definitive memory. Your account of life in Kelmscott Gardens brought back some very happy memories. Mr. Foxhall, God bless his cotton socks was a regular caller to my Uncle John SEars and Aunt Carol. One amazing feature, though I lived with my mum in Hampstead as a war baby (1944) with a dug out in the back garden, when in 1960 we eventually moved into Kelmscott one day my mum sent me to the shop in Westville Road and the chap behind the counter was appalled when in my Cork accent I asked for a packet of Daz (I think it was Daz) apparently household materials were not sold on a Sunday even though the shop was open for business. I had a small amount of money in my hand and undeterred (the old Irish spirit was still fresh in this lover-of-Shepherd’s-Bush, I handed over some of the coins for the most delicious Jubbley I ever tasted in my life. It was the odd shaped of the cardboard carton.My first, we didn’t have them in Ireland. But we sold everything on a Sunday…even good old alcohol. Well done, Colin. It’s a great piece and I look forward very much to the next instalment. I hope those rascals Kerrins and Wannell are reading this.

  2. Colin… Be very careful or else my people will be contacting your people! lol

    Seriously though a brilliant read. I have just seen part of my life flash before my eyes.

    Simple happy carefree times never to return.Yes I plead guilty to living in the past too much these days.. but anyway what the heck!! Yes those Frozen Jubblies were well estalished in the late 1950’s. I remember them when I lived at my previous address 46 Askew Rd before making the short move to Ashchurch Park Villas.

    The Pear Tree, Those Trolley Buses..Fireworks attached to Model Airfix aircraft launched off the top balcony(Not Guilty there.. Chris Covill and Ray Wannell! not me Mr Foxall!)

    There were of course Risk Board games and shadows music in your Flat..and Subuteo at Geoff Murrells I wish I could trace him! Also Fishing trips..and on the Trolley to the Hammersmith Library..and of course THE R’s! Park Football and so much more.

    Great stuff. Keep it coming.

    Bernard Lambert

    PS Did you know that Alan Poole STILL lives at 19 Kelmscott..On FR its shown as Laura Docherty but that is his neice…She resides there with Alan and his mother.

    • I worked with Paul as an apprentice for London Transport btw. 1964-1967, when my family moved to Canada. I’d love to reconnect. Can you let him know I’d like to correspond? My email address is


  3. Really enjoyed that great article well done to all involved.

    I know I dont get on with some regarding the message board but I think the content of this sites is terrific and offers new that other sites dont have.

    I’d like to say well done again to all involved and I look forward to your next offerings.

  4. Colin sent the image of a Trolley Bus and I found the 1951 pic of Hammersmith Bridge in my collection
    I wanted to include an image of a Jubbly and can
    remember when the frozen ones appeared in the Shop next to Wendell Park School…..Orange/Lemon flavours….any others ?
    I emailed the company that have the copyright and asked for permission to use it but to date…no reply.
    If anyone has any photos of the Bush from the 50’s/60’s or any ‘fan’ photos from this period that I could use with future articles then please get in touch.
    Luvvy Jubbly

  5. Recommended reading…Audrey Jacobs book,’The Way We Lived’ which tells the story of growing up in Westville Road during the War.(She’s also a QPR fan)

  6. Great read Colin.
    Im a few years younger than you and Kerrins, but so much rings a bell.
    It was a different world then.
    I don’t remember the Trolly Buses down the Bush, but do remember them running up and down the Edgware Rd.
    Keep it coming.

    Red Jubblys as well.
    Not sure if they were Cherry or Raspberry though.

  7. Quote : ” When subsequently questioned as the usual suspects “…..Get this man a badge/avatar.You should be an honorary member !! Lovely jubbly……great read, although being a W10 boy it was a world away from me.

  8. Colin / Steve, the bit of waste ground you refer to may be the little bit of Green that stood just next to the bus stop for the 667 (trolley) and 267 (wasn’t that the last trolley?) travelling towards Shepherd’s Bush Green end. They wouldn’t allow any football on this bit of green admittedly it was tiny. Once when I was waiting there for a bus Sid James drove by in an open topped sports car and he got stuck at the lights. He looked at me and I looked at him and he said “Whatcha, mate!” Then he was gone. Oh, he wore a cravat like Arthur Askey.
    Many many years later I crashed out on one of the benches on this bit of ground (the one solitary bench?) after a hectic night of alcohol. Shepherd’s Bush? It’s the bloody centre of the universe mate. Even Bamber Gascoine said that ! Well done Colin.

  9. Jack. Interesting Stuff

    I reckon it was the route 657 that ran from Shepherds Bush Green to Hounslow via the Goldhawk Rd.The 667 trolley bus route ran from Hammersmith Broadway to Fulwell..sometimes Hampton court all via King Street. I am sure the number 657 trolley route was the last to go.

    There you are!..All that Bus Spotting with Paul Gosden Colin Woodley Geoff Murrell Ray Wannell was not wasted after all was it?? lol

    Bernard Lambert

  10. Just in case anyone still looks at this page, I am hopeful, can any of you tell me the name of the Barber in Askew Road in the 1940s/50s, whose shop was ( I think) opposite Askew Mansions. I think his name might have Bert.
    Sue Holman

    • Sue, I have recently been told that my wife’s grandfather had a barber shop in Askew Road, near Wendell Park school. No idea where as we don’t really have any connection with the area, but thought it might be helpful for you, if only so that you could dismiss it. His name was James Williams, he was Irish (but don’t know for sure if he was actually born in Ireland), he apparently had red/ginger hair. He died in 1951, at the age of 53. He lived in Porten Road and Erconwald Street.

  11. Can’t remember that one Sue. I lived in Kelmscott Gdns from about 1950 til about 1969. I can only recall the barbers shop opposite the Seven Stars pub in Paddenswick Road. (Looked at Google Street View the other day and it still is!) Later in about 1969 a ‘modern’ gents hairdressers appeared in Askew Road near the old Police Station.

  12. Sue.That particular location opposite the Askew mansions has got me stumped too. Ilived in the Askew Rd area from 1952 to 1973 and cant recall a Barbers shop there.

    At the top of Cobbold Rd(near Askew Rd) in the 1950’s early 1960s there was a gents Barbers known to us kids as “Toms”

    For a while in the 1970’s in the Askew Rd opposite Kelmscott there was a Barbers that did cater specifically for West Indian clientel.

    As previously mentioned the Seven Stars Barbers is still trading..My 97 year old Father continues to goes there!

  13. Hello Sue, I don’t know his name either. I was brought up in Rylett Road, where are you from ?

  14. I have enjoyed reading all your memories. I was born in 1966 at queen charlotte’s and we moved away from London not long after but I spent many happy holidays at my nan and granddads who lived in Evans House, just off South Africa rd. so spent a lot of my younger days at Shepherd Bush. I went to my first match when I was about 5 – I think it was QPR v WBA. My granddad, Bill Stone, was a steward at Loftus Road so used to sit me on the stantion under the floodlights, give me a bag of monkey nuts and leave me to enjoy the game :0) my mum and dad were also both from the area. My mum went to Canberra and Livingstone schools. My dad was from quite a large family. His name was Dennis woodman and was an ardent R’s supporter.

  15. Tim Dearden the only Barber shop I can recall near Wendell Park around that time was in Cobbold Rd just off the Askew Rd see my comment No 14 on here.

    Was this the one I wonder?

  16. I have been reading remarks about a barbers in Askew Road.There is a pub in Askew Road on the left hand side as you approach the Goldhawk Road,it’s name has gone out of my head at the moment.Tagged on to this pub is a very small house that was built by Rena Bunce’s father when he came out of the army after the war.This small house used to be a barbers shop that was destroyed in the war.Perhaps this is the barbers that Sue Holman is refering to?

  17. Many thanks to each of you who replied to my search for the barbers shop in Askew Road, I have just received notification of your replies, hence I haven’t replied earlier. I will now follow up on the possibility that I don’t have the correct road in my memory. Will be reading the comments on a more regular basis now that I’ve ” bookmarked” the page.

  18. Just to add to the debate I also used the Seven Stars barbers and the only other one I can recall was one that opened further down Askew Rd near the old Police Stn in about 1967.

  19. Douglas Gray… I lived in Askew Mansions after my birth, then my parents decided to relocate to Cornwall ( such a joy as a child to live near the sea)so i didn’t go to school in London. We had relatives in Shepherds Bush so would visit from time to time but I don’t remember going back to the Barber Shop, perhaps he had retired. The shop was still in existance in 1951 so obviously survived the bombs. I do have a photograph of the barber and his wife outside the shop, I don’t know if it is possible, or permitted, to put photos on this site.

  20. The off licence in Westville Road Was Clarke’s I was born and raised in Westville Road. Bombed out in 1944 we comandeered a house in Rivercourt Road, Number 18, no longer there. When we moved back to Westville flats were built on the bombsite.Your Caretaker was moved into the flats, I think for his own safety and then he started on us locals. Keep it up, great article, look forward to the next episode.

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