Church Street market and Gateforth Street School

Photo:Taylor's shop at 317 Edgware Road

Taylor's shop at 317 Edgware Road

Photo:The old Met, just before it was demolished

The old Met, just before it was demolished

By David Bailin

My sister, Elizabeth, and I both attended Gateforth Street school immediately after the end of the war until I left to go to Westminster City School (in Victoria) in 1949. We used to walk both ways through the market twice daily, returning for dinner (i.e. lunch) at our house above my father's shop: William Bailin, Bespoke Tailor, at 301 Edgware Road, not very far from the old Metropolitan Music Hall (that was demolished around 1961 and replaced by the new Paddington Green Police Station). On the corner of Church Street and Edgware Road a family acquaintance, Mr Westbury, had a stall selling household products, polish, scrubbing brushes etc. He used to regale Elizabeth and me with the achievements of his son, Gerald, who became an eminent surgeon at Westminster Hospital, admonishing us on the need to work hard in order to prosper. At that time Church Street had many bomb sites, especially on the west side. I was always fascinated by the live eels stall, standing on the way home watching them writhe, until they were sliced for sale. I wondered how the purchasers cooked them, but we never tried them in our house. After school we always went round the corner from Gateforth Street to my Uncle Syd's shop Taylor's, Confectioners, at 8 Church Street, where we invariably met our mother enjoying the company of her dear sister-in-law, Auntie Nellie. Her daughter, my cousin Coral Taylor, also attended Gateforth Street in the same class as me. Next door to Taylor's, at number 6 I think, was a dairy, owned by a Welshman, Mr Davies. Further down, but before Gateforth Street, was a second-hand shop owned by my grandfather's (Will Taylor's) friend Bill Allen; my grandmother, Nan Taylor, would buy her glasses there when they needed changing. Nobody would have called it an antique shop though! (The other Taylor's shop at 317 Edgware Road, eight doors from our house, was also the home of my cousins Margaret and Gill Taylor, but they never attended Gateforth.) I particularly remember two teachers: Miss (Irene) Ellis - her sister Audrey gave us piano lessons - and Miss Judd, a real martinet who terrified me. The Headmistress was Miss Wilkinson. I remember too being passionately in love with Betty Clark, and later Jean Kemp, and often wonder what became of them. They both lived in Church Street, or just off of it in Jean's case. The only contact I had with my classmates after leaving Gateforth was with Carol Comben. She went to Greycoat Hospital, the sister school to Westminster City, also in Victoria, so we occasionally met on the number 16 bus. I am delighted that my gorgeous granddaughter, Anya, will be attending Greycoats from September 2014.

This page was added on 28/01/2014.
Comments about this page

I remember Taylor's sweetshop very well, with lemonade made from a powder, very sharp and bright acid yellow, and boiled sweets out of a jar and served in paper bags which got very sticky. Also Davies' Dairy, with the two welsh sheepdogs usually outside, Lassie and Bob. Also in that row of shops, an upholsterers run by two brothers, one of whom was in a wheelchair. Does anyone remember them?

By Molly Turner
On 04/03/2014

I attended Westminster City School 1947-1952. I dated Carol for about a year before entering the RAF. I believe she married my friend Norman Gould. If there is any way of contacting each other after 50+ years, PLEASE let me know

By John Bennett
On 22/05/2014

My Grandfather Arthur Taylor ran Taylors sweetshop and my mother Elsie Taylor was born above the sweetshop in 1911. My Grandmother Ellen Taylor, I understand, also worked at the shop. Arthur Taylor was in the cavalry during the first world war and unfortunately was gassed. He survived but was later told to move out of London to the country, which he did and moved to Preston Road. Does anyone have any further information about his service in the army?

By Sylvia Dickson
On 17/01/2015

I had a Saturday job at Taylor's in 1960.

By Barbara Brooks Pinto
On 01/07/2015

Just a mention. When I was about 14, Taylor's was owned by a Polish gentleman and his family. I had a Saturday job there selling ice cream outside the shop. He also had a photography business on the premises. I remember his name but guess I would spell it wrong so won't try. He had been in a concentration camp during WW2 and had a number tattooed on his arm.

By Barbara Pinto
On 01/07/2015

I well remember Bill Bailin who owned the tailors shop on the Edgware Road. He was a Radio Ham G3NOZ and with several others we formed the Paddington and District Amateur Radio Club. Bill owned one of the first Triumph Heralds I always felt proud driving in it with him, being then a poor boy from the Queens Park Estate.

By Donald Radley
On 03/11/2016

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