This page is eventually intended to be a brief history of Harold Hill. I can't find a more concise, evocative memoir to start off with than this by Ken Hatfield formerly living in Dagnam Park Drive on the junction of Sedgefield Crescent. This piece below will strike a chord with anyone who arrived at the beginning.

Del Smith


Memories of Dagnam Park & Harold Hill. by Ken Hatfield

Petersfield, Hilldene and Whitchurch shops, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd woods starting in Dagnam Park Drive and heading towards Petersfield shops, the 66A bus, the 174 and 174 Express with blue signs instead of black.... (always tried to get a 'Noak Hill' 174 to save quite a walk!) Dycorts School, an excellent school with Mr Tanner as the head and a truly excellent teacher called Mr Smith. Quarles School with a horrible man as the head but with a true gent, Mr. Gerrard as his deputy. The winter of '62 / '63 when we made a few bob clearing people's paths of snow. The moat, the green lake, the perch pond, the lily pond, The Manor, the old house at the junction of the Colchester road and Gubbins / Gooshays, belting down Dagnam Park Drive on a book and skate. The adventure playground in St Neot's with Amy Crockford running it (what a lovely lady she was!) and that tractor!... The A&BC Chewing Gum factory, the Eastern Electricity Board canteen, both where my dear mum worked, the White Lady (ghost!) The mud hill, the log in the green lake, the log across the moat, the death track, Central Park, playing marbles on the green, playing conkers, making and using catapults made with the "Y" of a tree branch, 1/8" thick black elastic bought from the toy shop at Petersfield and a leather tongue from an old shoe for the pouch,....

Ken at about the time he learnt to write.

the sweet shop, the shoe shop, Fairways grocery shop (Roy was the boss there I remember), Pearks (general groceries), the fish shop, the hardware shop and the telly shop on the end, all at Petersfield shops. The cafe too, which had a serving hatch / window looking out to the pavement where sweets were on sale by a tall, balding, oldish man wearing a white coat, I think he had a white moustache matching the little bit of hair he had. Frozen Jubbleys.....The little street sweeper man who had a hump on his back and who swept the streets around Petersfield shops pushing a lidded barrow in front of him....He wore a flat cap I remember.... an ice cream "brick" wrapped up in newspaper by my Dad and left outside in the cold until after dinner (no fridge)...The tennis courts and the parkie's hut at the manor, the pink paraffin lorry and it's rival, Boom Boom Boom - Esso Blue! both of which supplied fuel for our bathroom heater used once a week. Bread and Dripping....Spam fritters....Bonfire night, with my dear old Dad letting off the fireworks around the bonfire in the garden...French's offices at the end of Petersfield Avenue, they were the builders of the estate....Setting off on a Saturday morning on the 66A bus for Saturday morning pictures or to the swimming baths in Romford where I normally ended up with an Arrowroot biscuit and a cup of hot Bovril....The gas and electricity meter men who would leave behind a great pile of shillings and sixpences after emptying the meter boxes. (It took me a long time to fathom that one!) ...putting together a bike from various parts scavenged or swapped, rarely bought, ...cowhorn handlebars, fixed rear wheels, (with these you always had to be turning the pedals and you couldn't freewheel ......carts with rope steering.....The poor gentleman who hanged himself at the manor close to Dycorts infants school (sorry about that, a tragic event). The Jungle Jim (Gym) and the drinking fountain near the walnut tree in the playground at Dycorts. Scratching the metal walls of Dycorts Junior School with our fingernails (just the thought of it!!). Stephen Barnard, Martin Loible - I have traced Martin and now keep in touch with him. The tall old gentleman who came round in a big old grey van once a week to collect and deliver the dry cleaning, (I never heard his van's engine running, he always used to roll from one house to another down DPD - his mpg figures were probably quite good!).... Mr Hollingsworth, the insurance man; Provident cheques which my mum used to occasionally get at the door to buy my brother and I clothes, usually from a shop in the market place in Romford, probably because it was the only shop around which accepted Provi cheques. Harry, the mobile greengrocer, Wally - the mobile sweetshop,... remembering to give the co-op divi number to the milkman every week when he called for payment (I'll never forget that number, 673405)...the charity box in the chemist's shop at Petersfield where a wooden spotted dog would place your penny into the box as the weight of the penny made it tilt forward, (I was only allowed to put one in... ONCE!) Ingrebourne 42895, later changed for some strange reason to 42897, the number of the local phone box in Dagnam Park Drive. The drone of piston engined airliners occasionally and slowly going over at night (No jets then) The old boy who wore a brown workcoat and a flat cap who was the baker that delivered Price's bread. Di-Marco's ice cream van (early 50's), watching Picture Book, Bill & Ben, Rag Tag & Bobtail, Andy Pandy and later on, Arthur Haynes, Charlie Drake, Crackerjack, The Adventures Of Robin Hood, Sunday Night At The London Palladium, Dixon Of Dock Green, No Hiding Place, The Four Just Men, The Army Game, The Invisible Man, The Human Jungle, Take Your Pick, Double Your Money, Juke Box Jury etc. on our little black & white Ferguson telly (which regularly broke down requiring a new valve or the like.) - Channels 1 and 9 with channel 9 being ATV......Billy Cotton, shouting "Wakey Wakey!" on the radio on a Sunday morning....the sound of a hand pushed lawn mower.......My Mum applying Windolene to the windows when cleaning them, it used to turn white (still available!)...... and of course remembering my dear Mum, Dad and Brother... really great memories and I often go back to reminisce.

Now Go To The London County Council ( LCC) Tenant's Handbook given to all new council tenants arriving in Harold Hill in the 1950's.

Its full of information and many adverts for local shops