My father Richard Walter Bell was born in 1921. He was brought up in Lorenco Road & lived at no 56 with his parents Joseph & Daisy Bell. He lived in Lorenco Road until he married my mother in 1952. He then moved to live with my Mother at her parents’ house in Lansbury Avenue, Edmonton very close by. I don’t know much about my Grandfather except that it was mentioned he died in the twenties from effects of gassing during WW1. My mother worked in one of the factories nearby.
My own memories of Lorenco road are as a young boy aged 10-12 in the mid-sixties. I made many visits to my Grandmother’s house on Saturday mornings. I would travel by bus from Potters Bar to Pymmes Park in Edmonton. I would then visit Comyns book store on a corner near the park (now part of the N.Circular Rd). This sold many types of books but I was mainly interested in the American comics (DC & Marvel) – I used to buy these in large quantities – I still have some to this day. I would then cross over the road near the old Regal Cinema & then walk to my Grandmother’s house in Lorenco road. I remember there was a tyre factory just off Lorenco Road in one of the side roads & there was always a strong smell of rubber & detergent & hissing noises from the factory.
My father worked on Saturday mornings in the Edmonton area as a labourer & he would meet me at Nans house in Lorenco Rd around lunchtime. I remember my Nan would cook him a hot meal & he would sit in the small living room at the table wearing a bib & eating out of a pudding bowl. I would be given bread rolls with just tomato filling (this seemed quite normal to me at the time) with Whites lemonade & crisps with the little wax salt packets – wonderful memories! After dinner my dad & I would visit my Aunt & Uncle at 69 and then walk over to my other grandparents’ house in Lansbury Avenue before catching the bus home. This meant walking to the Cambridge Roundabout through Weir Hall.
I remember my grandmother’s house being on the ground floor of a terraced house with another family living on the upstairs floor. There was a very narrow dark passage that led down to the main living room at the far end – just off the passage at the front was a parlour room – I was rarely allowed in there. There was also a bedroom near the end of the passage that had an old brass bed The passage led to the tiny main living room & then to a very basic scullery that was used like a modern day kitchen. I remember the washing hanging in the kitchen & the old gas fittings on the walls. I remember my Grandmother having a lodger by the name of Ernie Cates (this name is mentioned in your essay). I met him on a few occasions & he seemed a very big man to me. I think we were related in some way to the Cates family.
I note mention of some families moving out to Hemel Hempstead. My Dad often mentioned having relatives in Hemel but I never met them
My grandmother’s family (her brothers & sisters) also lived in Lorenco Road at number 69 – the Normans. I knew them as Uncle Bert & Aunt Drew. There was also a very old lady I used to know as Aunt Min – she lived in the same house. Both Bert & Drew did not marry. I would also visit them on the same day with my father. They occupied both floors of their house. The staircase seemed so steep – I guess this was because the houses were so narrow. My father used to tell me how they could walk across the field at the back of the houses in Lorenco Road all the way to Potters Bar where we eventually moved. I remember an old mangle in the back garden & the wall at the end of their small garden being completely covered in Ivy – there were lots of small ornaments & toy figures hidden in the Ivy by my Uncle Bert & I would spend my visits looking for them.
My grandmother Daisy Bell spent many years working behind the bar & doing other jobs at the Three Compasses Pub at the top of the road - she was very well known locally. I remember on occasion she would be working when I visited & I would have to go into the small Off-Licence at the front of the pub to chat with her – you could lean over the counter & peer into the Public bar .I remember there was talk that notorious criminal characters of the time would visit the Pub but I’m not sure if this is true. My dad would always joke about the police not coming down the road on their own & would only do so in pairs because of the danger. He told me that as a kid they would throw red hot pennies in the road & watch as passers-by tried to pick them up.
I also recall that almost every corner of the road had a shop – that seemed to be the case on every road nearby as well. I remember a sweet shop on one corner as ‘Dave’s’ & used to go there every Saturday when I visited my Nan. I also remember a grocers shop near the Three Compasses Pub & being served by Rose (I think)
It seems strange to me that one contributor mentions how he felt very threatened when walking in Lorenco Rd – I never had any perception of this as a youth & everyone always seemed friendly.
When the area was redeveloped my Grandmother was rehoused in a maisonette in one of the roads just off White Hart lane near the Rail station. I made many visits to her in the late sixties & often went to see the Spurs afterwards. My Uncle Bert (Norman) was also relocated to Wood Green.