Rose Watt

war time years

Cotman House, part of Townshend Estate, where Townshend cottages once stood
Louise Brodie

Bomb shelters – Rose, born in 1927, was a teenager during the war years. Some people had Anderson shelters in their back gardens, but Rose used to go to the crypt in St John’s Wood church to avoid the bombs. Once she had to stand all night, it was so crowded. Otherwise they would wheel a pram along, with bedding in it, to book a place. You could take a cup, and get some Oxo.

One night when Rose did not go, the woman who stoked the heating had done something so that the fumes made people faint. She nearly gassed everybody. Rose was at home on the night when the bombs fell in the St John’s Wood church burial ground.

The Forces in St John’s Wood – The Free French were billeted locally, and the WAAFs were in South Lodge. The Coldstream Guards were in Avenue Road, and the sailors were in St Ann’s Terrace. Cavendish Avenue housed the Canadian Police Force. They drilled in any wide street. There were some arguments with the public.

Entertainment – Rose’s sister used to work in the NAAFI, in Bentinck Close. You could get lots of make-up there. They made coffee in a huge pot, boiled up with salt and evaporated milk. You could buy tins of orange juice for 4 pence. There was always a dance on somewhere, often at the Drill Hall, and sometimes in the huts on the top of Primrose Hill. The Working Men’s Club was in Allitsen Road, and they had a four piece band with dancing nearly every night. There was plenty of entertainment. They had armistice ceremonies in St Andrew’s bungalow church, in Allitsen Road.

Full Circle – After the war they were moved to the new flats in Eamont Court, then to Cotman House in Charlbert Street. Before they laid the lawn there, you could still see the fireplace, not yet demolished, which had been the fireplace from the house next door to Rose. So she came full circle!


This page was added on 04/04/2011.

Comments about this page

  • The US were installed in Elsworthy Road. Also refugees from Gibralter in Avenue Road. The Free French Navy were in a house corner of St Edmund’s Terrace & Avenue Road..

    By Derek Wright (04/07/2013)
  • I think you will find the working man’s club was in the High St, next to the Issac Newton pub, it closed around 1960, and became the Taboo Club.

    By Terry Farmer (09/02/2012)

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