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!







This page was added on 22/01/2017.

Comments about this page

  • I’m trying to locate Henstridge Villas on Ordnance road – a relative was living here in 1885. I can’t seem to find any record of it. I’d love to know where it was located.

    By Penelope Austin (21/05/2021)
  • Henstridge Villas were mainly destroyed by a flying bomb in 1944 and Robinsfield School on Ordnance Hill built on most of the site, with Henstridge Villas on one side.

    By Bridget Clarke (24/05/2021)
  • Janet Bassett,

    Are you the same Janet who lived on the Townsend Estate?

    Your best friend at the time was also a Janet .

    By JOHN BROWN (27/01/2021)
  • I remember when they built houses on the bombsite opposite the barracks back in the early 1960s, they were priced at £15,000 a fortune in those days, what must they be worth now ?

    By TERRY FARMER (28/12/2020)
  • My family were the original Browns of St Johns Wood. We lived above S R. Brown and Son. It was a Grocers and Off Licence shop on the corner of St Johns Wood Terrace and Charlbert Street. We lived there since before WWII. They originally lived at 16 Ordinance Hill (Road) but it was bombed during the war and the business was moved to 37 St John Wood Terrace (opposite the then, ‘Star Pub’)

    By Robert John Brown (16/12/2020)
  • Janet, my family – the Dissons – lived on Woronzow Rd opposite Henstridge Place, and my mother often used to recall that night. The family was sheltering in the cellar when Uncle Willy – William Disson – came down and said “the villas are on fire!” I never really understood what that meant until my mum and I visited for the last time in 2002 and she pointed out to me where the villas had been. Even to the end of her life she would mist up at the memory of her little friend who had been killed. I wish I knew her name…

    By Clifford Heathcote (17/02/2018)
  • My Mother and Father’s home was bombed in Henstridge Place my Mum was at home at the time and my Dad was not, she thankfully survived. I always remember her telling me about the Mann family who were tragically lost, so sad.

    Janet Bassett

    By Janet Bassett (28/07/2017)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.