Bomb sites in St John's Wood
Many local residents may be surprised to learn that the Second World War left several bomb sites in this area of London.
My family arrived in Queen’s Grove in 1947. We had been evacuated to a small village in Kent for the duration of the war: there we had become used to playing outside, and we were delighted to be able to do so on the local bomb sites.
Just around the corner in St John’s Wood Park were several bombed and unoccupied houses in the area now covered by the Marlowes, and opposite where the blocks of flats and houses are now. Although this area was probably prohibited, I cannot remember it being very difficult to get in! After school and during the holidays we built camps and tree houses. There were plenty of fruit trees and bushes, and we consumed the fruit when it ripened.
There was also a site in Ordnance Hill opposite the Barracks, but it was a deeper hole and more open to public eyes. One of the major sites was in Henstridge Place, where Robinsfield School now stands. The bomb in 1943 had killed many of the local people, including my husband’s uncle, aunt, and two cousins.
On some of the land requisitioned from local landlords the Council erected temporary chalet-like prefabs to cope with the needs of families left homeless. Those I can recall were behind the St John’s Wood tube station, stretching from Acacia Road back to Queen’s Terrace. My best friend lived in one. How I envied the fitted kitchen with a fridge! They also had gardens around them. This site is now Acacia Gardens.
Another site was on St John’s Wood Terrace where the school is now. It’s amazing to recall how much freedom my brothers and sister and I had in the days before Health and Safety!