Bert Black

Photo:Exterior view of the Royal West London Theatre in 1945 shortly before its closure.

Exterior view of the Royal West London Theatre in 1945 shortly before its closure.

City of Westminster Archives A03A1437

Memories of Church Street

By Georgina Colbeck

I moved to Church Street in 1937 when I was about five. We moved to 32 Church Street. An awful lot of people would have passed on by now. I remember the Mooneys lived beside us. There was Kitty Mooney and her husband as well as her son, Leslie. I was here in 1939 when the war broke out. They used to issue the gas masks from where the Traders Inn now stands. There was an antique shop next door as well.

During air raids I remember them issuing the gas masks. One day, there was one girl in hysterics. I don’t know whether or not they managed to get it on her in the end or what happened. We used to go down to the shelter and also down to the underground station until we moved. By the end of the war we didn’t go to the shelter. If a bomb got into the door of the shelter then that would have been the whole shelter gone. On Church Street there used to be a domed market which was bombed in the war. There were also shelters underneath there.

I was evacuated out to Ibstone in Buckinghamshire. From number 32 I went. We went down as a family. Mum was in service on a farm there and dad was an ARP Warden so I went to Mrs. Bradbury’s, an elderly lady. She looked after us well. From the station to Ibstone was 9 miles and Mum and Dad found it difficult to come and stay so we billeted by the side of the station at High Wycombe.

Back to Church Street, Dr. Jacobs had a place by the side of where the Pet Shop now stands on the corner of Penfold Street. She was being nominated for either council office or parliamentary office. She was popular with the kids so they made up a song for him. They’d walk along the street banging sticks together, banging dustbin lids and blowing mock trumpets singing

Vote, vote, vote for Doctor Jacobs

Knock Old Readey out the door

Readey is a man and he likes his bread and jam

And we won't vote Readey anymore"                                            

1939 was about the time she was running for public office. I’m sure there must still be someone in the area who knows the rest of the song.

I lived at 32. They look like flats now. Down Ashbridge Street was where I learnt to ride a bike. Reggie Moore had a bike shop opposite Jordan’s on the corner where the Traders is now. He used to wear the old style roller skates with clips on and I used to sit on his leg and he’d roll me down the road. His brother, John Moore, taught me how to ride a bike.

I had family in Bell Street. They used to run a secondhand shop.

The library was the site of the Royal West London where I used to come on a Saturday morning to the cinema. It was a theatre before that as well. They used to call it the “Thrupenny Rush” and the “ Bug Hole”. If you were lucky you’d get out at the end of the morning without being hit with an apple core at the back of the head. I watched different series there- The Eagle, Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim. My dad used to be an usher there. He used to also run the Four Feathers which was a boy’s club which I think used to be run by Royalty. They’ve pulled a lot down now since then though.

There was also a dairy on Church Street with an Iron Cow. If you ran out of milk at the weekend you could put a penny in and get a pint of milk.



This page was added on 26/01/2011.
Comments about this page

My uncle, Harry Fisher, had an antique shop at 22 Church Street. When Dr. Jacobs first came to Church Street she had to use Harry's telephone as she didn't have her own.

By Ron Shepherd
On 19/06/2012

I've just posted up my dad's memoirs of Bert. He was Tommy Morrison from Bell Street, born in 1932. Wouldn't it be amazing if you two had known each other back than?

By Tony Morrison
On 17/01/2014

Yes Dr Elizabeth Jacobs was my GP. She first had her surgery in Church Street a few doors away from No 24 (my nan and granddad Jim and Lou Baker lived above) which used to be George Moore's Scooter shop. The Moores also had premises opposite on the corner of Ashmill Street (or could be Ashbridge Street) and Church Street that sold bikes but not where the Traders Inn used to be - that has always been a pub. I also remember Fishers. Does anybody remember Maggie, who ran a grocery shop opppsite Jordans in Church Street?

By Valerie Jean Fetcher nee Miller
On 18/01/2014

I remember Dr Jacobs. She was our family doctor when we lived in Ashmill Street. I remember she lanced an abscess on my arm when I was about 9 and I've still got the scar, bless her! I was there from 1923 'til 1937 when we moved to Southfields.

By Peggy Carpenter nee Crooks
On 07/05/2014

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