Mixed Memories in and around Letchworth, 50s/60s.

Geoff Parkes

I lived in Bowershott, Letchworth, from 1945 to 1964. My Mum lived in that house for 67 years. Went to St. Christopher School from age 3 to 11. As they didn’t have a pool, we had swimming lessons in the fish-shaped pool within The Cloisters – undoubtedly Letchworth’s quirkiest building. As a teenager, I played table tennis for Letchworth, and we practised in the attic room at The Cloisters. Wow! Spooky or what? Took the 11+, shivering in my shoes, at Hillshott School, then went to Hitchin Grammar. Had some great holiday jobs, first on archaeological digs with John Moss from Letchworth Museum, then at Shelvoke & Drury (dustcarts), also at a timber yard whose name escapes me. Later, I spent six months at Kayser Bondor, Baldock (now Tesco’s) before going to uni in Newcastle. Dad worked at Dent’s publishers (Everyman Press) in Dunhams Lane from age 14 to 65. There was a thriving Inter Works Sports League then, but virtually all the manufacturing firms from Works Road have gone. There was a trendy café opposite what is now Morrison’s where 60s youth would hang out. Eden Kane (“Well,I Ask You”; “Forget Me Not”) , Peter Sarstedt’s brother, came to open it. Like many here, some of my happiest memories were of summers spent at Letchworth swimming pool. Geoff Harris, I remember playing tennis with you! Spent eight years abroad; now live in Dorset. Happy to swap further memories with anyone of my vintage. Geoff Parkes

This page was added on 14/04/2022.

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  • Wet days at down and started to reminisce about my time in Letchworth. I came across this article by Geoff Parkes whom I remember well. I was at the opening of the cafe with Eden Kane, he signed the inside pocket of my jacket. My aunt cleaned for a lady who actually owned the cafe. I still remember most of the shops in Leys Avenue, Eastcheap and Station Road, plus of course The Arcade. No doubt they have all gone, sad Letchworth had a lovely mix of shops most privately owned. I moved away when 22 and lived in Stevenage for a couple of years, then to Royston, finally 20 years ago to rural Norfolk, a county I fell in love with many years ago. How I miss the individual shops, the personal service, lucky if you get a grunt now. Geoff I think the wood yard was Stanton’s?

    By Geoff Harris (27/10/2023)