A few years back I had on display at the Epicentre my quilt reminiscing about Leyton and you’ll see the paraffin kiosk mentioned below and the public bath.
In the early seventies I lived in Ashville Road, next to what is now the mosque and was then a furniture factory and always walked the walk of Grove Green Road as there was no bus service. I’d walk Grove Green Road in four minutes from Ashville down to the back entrance of Leyton Tube Station.
The estate of old terraced houses neighbouring Ashville road in those day was quiet. I recently gawped at my old house and saw the run-down whole terrace. In the seventies, Leytonstone was a first time home-buyers’ destination and was described as the worst area in the borough for social and educational deprivation. Leyton by the regeneration nightmare down lea Bridge Road shares that accolade now.
I used to buy weekly baby clothes from a half shop about three shops down in the turning from Ashville into Grove Green Road.
Central heating was a luxury so people heated with a gas fire and poorer folk with paraffin heaters. There was a paraffin kiosk on Cathall Road and I used to go along with my new decimal 50p coin and buy a gallon. At Christmas I’d hoard three gallons upstairs in a cupboard over the stairs.
It was a very unhappy time as racism was rife and normal.
At one point I rented my house to diplomats from Nigeria. Far cry from Bayswater.
It’s only now that I feel easy bringing back the memories.
I only knew about the coming of the M11 through newspaper reports as by then I’d moved to Leyton. I was shocked when I went along there years later to use Cathall Baths for swimming to see the stupid looking linear park which was weirdly shaped and uninviting.
I’d take my public bath in the seventies at Leyton Baths. That was luxurious with great big baths, and lovely women attending to us in their green utility overalls.
The gospel church was there opposite Cathall Road on Grove Green Road. We could cut through somehow from Colville to Francis Road.
On Francis Road I remember a church next door to a Sikh temple and opposite was the greengrocers where I’d go for I don’t know what, and the owners fought publicly.
Wife beating in those days.
Next door was a hairdressers where I went to get my first Greek goddess curls cut (?) and the assistant never asked much about holidays but told me how she’d seen the coloured people’s washing on the line and it was grey. I was shocked because she was my young age.
Grove Green Road towards Leyton High Road was full of showy houses attributed to Greek owners. The other end was for well-off white English folk. Well, paraffin was not an option.