Evelyn True moved into Northgate about 50 years ago. She loved the flat which was huge with five bedrooms and two bathrooms on the fourth floor. It had a sitting room, dining room and large hall as well, all with lovely features such as ornate cornices. They looked out onto Regents Park, and Evelyn’s children, aged three and a half and 15 months when they moved in, loved going across the road to the swings or for rides on the paddleboats in the little lake. They had a nanny. Evelyn did not enjoy visiting the Zoo, and they did not go to Lord’s to see the cricket, but she does remember boat trips on the canal from Little Venice. The children started school at Mrs McCafferys in Langford Place. Parties for children (with an entertainer) and for adult friends, were often held in the flat. They went to the cinema locally, or down to the Odeon in the West End.
In the flat next door to them lived the doctor, Joe Joseph. It is interesting that he held his surgery in the flat. St John’s Wood was a village then, with no dress shops and only one coffee shop, Gloriette. Evelyn remembers two electrical shops, and a very useful store for all sorts of cleaning items like hoover bags. There were three butchers, an Express Dairy and cobblers in Allitsen Road. Specialist premises included an artist’s shop, and one selling cigars and chocolates, an opticians and a launderette. Nurseryland was for the children. Evelyn mentions Dadums, the chemist, run by a lady who was generally nicknamed “Madame Dadum”. Gilberts sold toys as well as newspapers, and Evelyn’s son collected model cars bought from Geoffrey there.
A greengrocers sold fruit and vegetables from stalls on the pavement and the chain MacFisheries had an outlet too. Viviennes was the first dress shop in the High Street, run by Shirley Leonard and she stocked lovely clothes imported from France. Evelyn bought a beautiful dress from her for her niece’s engagement party, in floating orange chiffon. Other garments were bought from Selfridges and Evelyn would drive down there. Her car was parked in the forecourt of Northgate.
Evelyn has a great love of music, of many kinds, and has recently heard both Bryn Terfel and Barbara Streisand give performances. She also loves the Beatles. Evelyn herself still has a good voice and gives concerts for charity, singing songs from shows such as “The King and I” and “South Pacific”.