Cliff Jordan & Jim Jordan

Jordan's Shoe Repairs, Nugent Terrace


Cliff Jordan was born in 12 Alma Square in 1958.

My grandfather originally lived in the area of Maida Vale, which was open fields and farmlands then. He remembers open fields literally a walk away from where we are now. He got married and started his cobblers business off in 12 Alma Square below the house. It later became a post office. He remembers when the road was open. There’s a brick wall there now. It used to go into the Close, it was the coaching area where the coaches used to go’

‘There were large families living in the houses. It was a nicer, quieter time I suppose you could say in those days. In my day too, the local policeman used to come round on foot. If you were riding your bike on the pavement he would give you a clip round the ear’

‘The business consisted of mending shoes and in those days people had their shoes mended. Good shoes were quite expensive. We had lots of army people come in from the Barracks in St John;s Wood, that was one of the mainstays of the business. If you are an officer you buy your boots yourself and repair them yourself and pay for it. They kept them pretty spick and span to say the least. Shoes are pretty much a throw away item today. Cobblers are few and far between’

Cliff’s father Jim, born in 1924, left school at 14 and started work.

On Mondays he would go to houses in Hamilton Terrace and Abercorn Place. His other brothers would cover Maida Vale and Abbey Road. Jim had a big sack to collect shoes for repairing. He liked the responsibility, and the cooks in the big houses would give him breakfasts. One day Lord and Lady Ash took pity on the boy with his heavy load and sent him home in the chauffeur driven Rolls Royce. Jim got a thorough telling off for allowing this. Jim’s wages were a shilling a week, and on any shoes that he had collected he would get two shillings commission for every pound the firm earned.

A child in the 1960s

Cliff would play in the streets around his home. There were 40 or 50 other children growing up in the neighbourhood. Anything that happened was a social event. There were two pubs. Even as a child he was welcomed into the Heroes of Alma, which was run by two old ladies. A lot of celebrities would use the pub, from the EMI  and the BBC studios. The Abbey Tavern  had a prominent Irish clientele. The children played marbles, shove halfpenny and skittles outside. There was always an Easter bonnet parade and Morris men came to dance there. They had a key to Alma Square gardens where they played football among the old hillocks of the air raid shelters. Between Violet Hill Park and the last house in Abbey Road there was a mews, where they set up camp, or they sometimes played in the derelict houses and garages which were still around.

Boy Scouts

Cliff and all his friends joined the Scouts. They met in the Mansergh-Woodhall building, which was massive and always cold. In fact it had been used as a morgue during the war and still had a trench in the concrete floor. There was always a link with St Mark’s church in Hamilton Terrace, where the Scouts held parades. They had a big bonfire there on Guy Fawkes night. The Mansergh-Woodhall  has been completely rebuilt, with flats above, and since 1994 houses very active Cubs and Scouts groups run by Cliff.

End of the shoe business 1990

Cliff’s father and uncle closed the shoe business in 1990.  His grandfather also died in this year.  The other independent shops in Nugent Terrace, which were a focal point in the Village when Cliff was a child, closed too. The social mix has changed with foreigners buying property which is now very expensive. “It is just different, you can’t stop these sorts of changes”.

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This page was added on 28/04/2011.

Comments about this page

  • to Janet Bassett and Gary Jordan

    I remember Grandma living in Pettie House. Sadly Eileen and Dink are not here anymore. I was in touch with Jean Dinks wife after Eileen died. Jean and Dink had two daughters, Jocelyn and Lindsey but since Jean died I no longer have any contact.
    I do remember going to Uncle Dick’s; I think he had one of the first televisions it was in like a radiogram. I think you opened the lid and the screen was magnified onto a mirror. Such great memories.

    By Kathleen Ponsonby (nee Sargent) (06/01/2019)
  • I spent from 1964 to 1977 as a cub, scout and venture scout in the 8th St Marylebone Scouts whose HQ was the Mansergh Club. Cliff Jordan was in my Patrol (the Peckers) for some of that time and many’s the clip round the ear I gave him for not behaving. ( I wouldn’t do it now though as he is a lot bigger than me ). Cliff took over the running of the Scout Group and without his input it would certainly have folded a long time ago. I also have happy memories of nights in the Alma – with Reg Denny the landlord and Benny the Irish barman. Happy times.

    By Mike Kilcooley (26/10/2018)
  • Fred Jordan also ran the shop along with Jim; he did most of the book work along with the repairs.

    By pamela jordan (28/02/2017)
  • Can I write this for Kathleen Ponsonby, you mention your Grandma Roseanna Kate Jordan who married Fred Bassett and had Henry (Dinko) and Eileen. Uncle Fred was my Dad Reg’s older brother and both he and Auntie Rose lived next door to us in in Pettie House at the latter part of their lives I remember them both very well although I was quite young. We lost touch with Henry and Eileen, I remember Eileen had 2 girls?

    By Janet Bassett (28/02/2017)
  • Just seen this article and yes Kathleen Ponsonby, after a discussion with my dad and mum,they do remember your Grandma who was dad’s Aunt Rose. In fact they remember all the family (who from what dad says used to live in a house in Hamilton Terrace)Yes Uncle Dick and Auntie Doll were my grandparents who lived in Alma Square with us.

    By Gary Jordan (08/12/2014)
  • What a brilliant shop it was, all our shoes in the 1950’s and 1960’s were mended at Jordan’s, sometimes my Grandmother and I just went in for a chat. Also I remember attending Brownies at the Mansergh Woodall building, we called it the Mansergh club.

    By Rosemary Lee (29/06/2014)
  • The article about Cliff and Jim Jordan and their shoe repairing business – I wonder if their Grandfather or most likely their Great Grandfather was my gt Uncle Dick – he was the brother of my Grandma Roseanna Kate Jordan who married William Sargent (killed in the WW1) she later married Fred Bassett they had Henry and Eileen. My Dad William Sargent (Bill) used to take me when I was a child to see Uncle Dick and Aunt Doll in Madia Vale late 40’s early 50’s. Love to hear if it was their Granddad.

    By Kathleen Ponsonby (07/08/2013)
  • The Mansergh Woodall building mentioned up to the time w.w.2 was a boys club run by a Mr. Nieuman. I remember many happy hours there in the evenings; if you misbehaved he maintained discipline with a whack with a slipper which he called little dog toby. of course it wouldnt be allowed nowadays.

    By arthur simons (19/09/2012)

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