Scrapbook: UKAEA Harwell housing archive

Latest update: 19th April, 2019: Added 1985/6 colour photo of 8 Wayland Crescent.

Chilton Estate

Map of Chilton prefab estate, prior to partial redevelopment

(Edit: I’m not 100% sure about the garages on Frome Road. I don’t remember these but have taken a punt on a likely location of garages here. Can anyone confirm or deny the presence of garages on Frome Road?)

Wayland Crescent

chiltonprefabswcavon_edited-1On Wayland Crescent, looking toward its junction with Avon Road, late 1970s. (Personal collection)

Wayland Crescent 1977editAt the top of the oval, looking up the crescent. Many thanks to Rev.Dr. Brian Meardon for his contribution of this picture from 1977.

WaylandCrescent_ aug1954.MHanksAugust 1954 (M. Hanks) When built, the prefabs had been sprayed with a wash of white paint. I am told this had been applied quite roughly, leaving lumps and drips. Note the swan-necked concrete masted streetlight. Construction aggregates forming such things as fenceposts, bollards and streetlights were given an architectural finish in which the individual stones forming the composite materials were clearly discernible. The estate was lit with mercury vapour lamps until the early 1980s, when these fitments were replaced by sodium types.

Wayland Crescent Anderson ShelterGarden on Wayland Crescent, 1956, featuring Anderson Shelter based shed. (M. Hanks).



1WaylandCrescent19681 Wayland Crescent, late Spring 1967. Author attempts explanation of how electricity is essentially supernatural in origin. I know this as my infant finger is pointed toward the humming sub-station: a source of some fascination. The family mo’er, a 1966 Hillman Minx, appears half in shot, its AA badge displayed with pride. Beyond the hedge separating us from what was then the A34 can be seen the K6 telephone kiosk and, in a gap in the hedge, the northbound bus-shelter. I remember the AERE bus-shelters each being to this standard green-panelled and part-glazed design until the 1980s.

WaylandCrescent_parkingbay1972Early 1972. Taken from roughly the same spot as the previous picture, looking across the oval. On the other side of the green are the electricity sub-station, the postbox, another row of parking bays and an opposing line of prefabs; the two roadways converging just out of shot. Looks like the 1966 Hillman had begun to need welding.

Wayland Crescent 1967A recent find is this late 1960s photograph taken from the front garden of 1 Wayland Crescent, showing the line of prefabs on the south side of the grassed area.

prefabselfage4At the rear of 1 Wayland Crescent; probably 1968-9. The strips covering connections between sections of the building are seen clearly, as is the concrete base. The coalman delivered anthracite or whichever shade of bituminous coal was that year’s winner of the calorific cup, in sacks, to be tipped into the coal hopper.

Garden swing 1 Wayland Cresc 1969I’ve no idea who was the girl but she does look impressed, does she not. (Late 1960s)

Grace Brown 1 Wayland Crescent late 1960sGrace Brown at the kitchen door of 1 Wayland Crescent. (Late 1960s)




8 Wayland Cres Colin Barlow peAbove: 8 Wayland Crescent, circa 1985/6. Thanks to Colin Barlow for contributing this late-era prefab photo.

Wayland Crescent Garden 1971 editPlot sizes were generous, as seen in this photograph from 1971. Houses across the field are those of Severn Road. (Rev. Dr. B. Meardon)

. .

Kennet Road

I urge you to read Phil Hall’s reminiscences of life on Kennet Road in the early days of the Chilton prefab estate. It’s a great read: detailed and humorous. Phil paints a vivid picture of his post-war Berkshire childhood, and there is much that would, I’m sure, resonate with anyone who remembers life in an AERE prefab. I’d almost forgotten about the towels on the condensated windowsills, and who remembers the siren drills? You can find Phil’s piece here.

Avon Road

Avon Road West 1948 M Hanks

Looking west from the last prefab on Avon Road toward recently decommissioned runways. Thanks to Margaret Hanks for contributing this 1948 view. Severn Road is yet to be built; its junction would be behind the photographer. I am told that one of the hills here was nicknamed ‘Pylon Hill’ by local children.


Frome Road

Local press article_prebab demolition_Chilton_smlThe prefab demolition programme was implemented from 1986. The last prefabs to be knocked down, several years later, were a small number on Frome Road, adjacent to the runway from which 6th Airborne division had taken off for Normandy on 6th June 1944 and close to the site of the experimental catapult pit. Harwell’s last AIROH prefab was demolished in March 1991. A temporary solution to the post-war housing shortage and said to be designed for a lifespan of ten years, these characterful homes lasted, in some cases, more than forty. (Click image to enlarge.) (M. Hanks)


ChiltonCP_1972Chilton County Primary School, 1972. Reception class was in the building nearest the fence, with year-groups progressing through the school toward a final year in the terrapin building out of shot to the left beyond the aluminium classroom block. This large prefabricated structure was built at the Bristol aircraft factory after the war. Upper windows were openable by means of very long poles.

Many thanks to Roger Burnett for his contribution of the following photos from his time at 10 Downside.

10 Downside 1952

The photograph above is of Roger in the rear garden of 10 Downside, in about 1952. Behind the hedge in the next picture is the Horse & Jockey pub. This was situated on what was then the A34.

Roger Burnett 10 Downside rear garden tent

The prefabs on Downside were laid out in pedestrian cul-de-sacs, with four rows of three prefabs each. The next photograph shows Roger’s brother Martin outside 11 Downside in about 1954.

Martin Burnett Downside 1954

A 1950s family gathering at the front door of 10 Downside:

Burnett family gathering 10 Downside


Aldfield Estate

This British Pathe newsreel from 1947 documents construction of the “atom village” at Harwell, contrasting this fangled high-tech realisation with the rustic charms of its Berkshire countryside setting.  There’s a brief shot of prefabs adjacent to a runway or taxiway at 2m 06s – I think this is West Drive … and then several shots of Hillside from  2m 34s. Can anyone identify any other locations shown? No.17 Hillside was home to Klaus Fuchs prior to his arrest and imprisonment, in 1950, as a Soviet spy. (Thanks to Moira in the comments for this information.)

HarwellFromPrefab1947 Mary Flowers

Harwell from the prefab in 1947 © Mary Flowers, 2009. Used with permission.

The above photograph comes from Mary Flowers’s autobigraphy Atomic Spice. I am most grateful to Mary Flowers’s and Oscar Buneman’s sons Michael and Peter Buneman for permitting this and the next photograph to be republished here. The photograph above is taken from the upper Hillside road. In the foreground are three prefabs on the lower section of Hillside. At right angles to these are, from the left of the picture, the prefabs of Coln Road, Vale Road, Thames Road and West Drive. The structures that look like silos appear to be the old RAF Harwell ‘Celestial Navigation Towers’. According to pages 28 – 29 of Nick Hance’s Harwell – the Enigma Revealed, these had been used to train wartime aircrews in night-time navigation, with mock-ups of the night sky projected onto their ceilings. The training equipment was removed from the towers in October 1945. At an unknown later date, one of the towers was relocated elsewhere on the Harwell site and used as a chemical engineering rig.


Prefab1947 Mary Flowers

Hillside prefab in 1947 © Mary Flowers, 2009. Used with permission.

Also from Mary Flowers’s Atomic Spice is the above picture of the Bunemans’ Hillside prefab in 1947. Mary’s son Michael Buneman has also kindly sent us the following picture of him with his older brother Peter outside their prefab in 1948.

Peter and Michael Buneman outside Hillside prefab 1948 pe

Peter Buneman (driving) and Michael Buneman (riding), outside their prefab on Hillside (1948)

Thames Road

thames road 1951_2

Geoff Randall contributed the 1951 photos above and below. The photo above shows Geoff with his older brother Jim and grandfather Tom outside No. 8 Thames Road. Tom had been a member of the British Expeditionary Force (‘The Old Contemptibles’) who fought at Ypres in 1914. In 1916, Tom was invalided out of the army with a serious head wound. Young Geoff went on to have a career in motorsport while young Jim, appearing here to be playing an improvised drum kit, went on to play drums with local bands.

thames road 1951_3

Jim and Geoff on their father’s back. The side door in the background is that of No. 7 Thames Road. Some way down in the comments to this blogpost, there’s a most evocative exchange of memories between Geoff and Ted Slatter.

Thames Road_Eileen GallagherA 1954 view from the back garden of No. 9 Thames Road. Thanks to Eileen Gallagher for contributing these photos from the Aldfield Estate.




Thames Road_2 Eileen GallagherAnother photo from Eileen’s collection. This one dates from 1955. The prefabs shown are those of West Drive and Hillside.






North Drive

48 North Drive 1947At the garden gate of number 48; one of the four semi-detached houses on North Drive. This photograph from Margaret Hanks dates from 1947.



A34NorthDrive1947Another 1947 shot from Margaret’s collection, taken at the southerly entrance to North Drive and looking north along what was then the A34. The large building seen between the second and third telegraph poles appears to be situated just beyond the junction with the Winnaway, approximately level with the northerly North Drive entrance. Can anyone identify it or guess its purpose? (The answer’s in the comments, facthunters.)

 Police Club and garages

PoliceClubNDThe Police Club, on the northern oval of North Drive, was demolished in the early 1990s. This photograph dates from the winter of 1989/90.

North Drive garages Feb 2018 copy

The garages on North Drive remained in UKAEA ownership. Their roofs took a battering during the storms of winter 2017 / 2018 and the garages were demolished not long after this February 2018 photo was taken.

I am grateful to Margaret Hanks for contributing several photographs. This inspired me to search through my own family archival suitcase for more, and to suggest compiling a community-sourced photographic archive documenting how the estates have changed down the years. So… do you have any photographs from your time on the Chilton or Aldfield prefab estates? Or from North Drive or Severn Road before the sell-off? Let’s include the Abingdon and Wantage AERE housing as well. Anything you have, especially from pre-1990-ish, that you’re willing to publish.

UKAEA Harwell is a historic site, yet relatively undocumented when it comes to its social history: photographs and memories of those who have worked and lived here. With South Drive about to be destroyed and replaced by a new development on a new road layout, it would be good to have some photos of these fine houses and their landscaped setting in better days [mutter, grumble, “localism” my ‘arris etc. etc.]. Whilst absolutely no-one is interested in anyone else’s holiday snaps, then or now, the photographs giving greatest historical appeal may well be those clicked off on return in order to use up the roll of film, and hurry up cos Boots closes at 5. Those are the ones I want. Don’t worry if the quality’s not perfect, it’s the record that matters here. Leave a short comment somewhere on this blog and I’ll e-mail you for the goods.


Nick Hance (2006), Harwell, The Enigma Revealed, Enhance Publishing, pp51-60


58 responses to “Scrapbook: UKAEA Harwell housing archive

  1. Great photos and video! When you reference “West Drive” do you mean “Hillside”? Does look familiar. I’ve lived at North Drive all my life and recently moved to the new Chilton Field development at Chilton. Very interesting stuff! Keep it coming! 🙂

  2. Thanks Mike. Hillside curves up from and forms an oval with the lower part of West Drive. “… upper section of West Drive” refers to the section of WD closest to the site fence; reached by turning left at the top of the hill. There was a line of garages here. More recently, a portakabin and aerials belonging to an amateur radio club.

    I’m working on some maps which will be added to this post at some point over the summer. Also upcoming is a post relating the last landing – in 1957 – of an aircraft on a Harwell runway.

  3. Yes, the windows opened with window poles which were very long.

    I learnt to drive on the old runways, in front of North Drive I think, around 1972.

    • Thanks for the pole-confirmation Moira,

      Severn Road runway was the local off-road area used for driving-lessons. There was a handy water supply by the garages on Avon Road, just before the turn into Severn Road. GR9 for topping up the rad and giving the C’pree etc. a hose-down after.

  4. My Dad had one of the garages along Avon Road. I think you had to purchase it yourself, made up of concrete blocks. Our car was a cream Ford Prefect MBL 741, it took us to South of France in the 50’s !

  5. Is this blog still open?

  6. Hi, just to try and help a little, I believe the large building in the background of Mrs Hank’s photo was the old wartime gymnasium, where many winter performances of comedy shows were enacted. To the right of it was the start of the “Burma Road” a track leading down to Harwell Village.
    I was brought into 1 Kennet Road in 1947, by my parents, Roger and Kay Hall. At that time 1 Wayland crescent was occupied by a Mr. and Mrs Bowles, (spelling). The Italian prisoners of war were still erecting the site and their were no garden fences. Certainly no school. Many other memories of people and events,but maybe they is not wanted here;

    • Excellent – many thanks for this information, Phil. The ‘Burma Road’ to Harwell still exists and I too have always known it by this name. Great to know about the old gymnasium… I had rather feared it might’ve been a cowshed. 🙂 Do feel free to send any anecdotes about the area or photos.

      • Hi, yes I can confirm that the building in the picture where Margaret is standing at the A34 and at the start of the Burma Rd was a Gym also used for Boxing and every cherry season Bosleys from Harwell village would erect a stall at that point and sell cherries strawberries etc and often Gypsy’s would camp at that spot with their horse drawn carts, just in front of where Margaret is standing is where the old Carters store stood before being relocated to a more central location, opposite across the road from where she stands the farmer would always build his Hay stacks of bails and every year it would be set alight the same would happen to the one that was built behind the old Gym.

  7. Hi
    I lived in Thames road with my farther who was Sir John Cockcroft’s chauffer I was a apprentice 1961/66 , built my scramblers motorcycles in the one of the brick garages at the top of the road using a Tilley lamp at night . Went back on a trip from SA a couple years ago to find all the prefabs gone . Had good memories of the time there , Any one remember the prefab the Russia spy lived in, I think it was on Hillside

  8. Eileen Gallagher

    I also lived in Thames Road, from 1952-1956. Two of our daughters were born there and the lovely midwife came from Harwell Village. They were extremely happy days with so many good friends and neighbours.

  9. Do I have to do anything else to be involved in this AERE theme?

    • Hi Eileen,

      Thanks for your comments. I’m always looking for photos of the old AERE estates to add to this post, so it’d be great if you have any from your time on Thames Road.

      • Hi, I probably have a few photos from the past but I am not sure that they will be of much interest to anyone. I remember a great deal about my time there and we lived in Ridgeway House before we got a prefab. I believe we were the first married couple to live there. Prior to the birth of my children I worked for Dr. Henry Seligman in Isotopes Dept. My late husband worked in Hangar 8. I will see what I can do about a few photos. Thankyou for your response. Regards, Eileen Gallagher

        Sent from my iPad


        • Thanks, Eileen. It’s also good to have peoples reminiscences here in the comments. It all helps build the history store. The best pictures for inclusion here would feature street-scenes, but a few interior pics from the prefabs would be good as well; particularly where they show details of the prefabs’ fittings. If any pics feature identifiable living people though, their permission should be sought before publication.

        • Paul Seligman

          HI…I am Paul Seligman, Henry’s son. If you have any pics of my dad …it would be great to get them. If it’s a problem…no problem!

          Cheers, pauul

          • Hi Paul, Thankyou for your message but I am sorry to tell you that I do not have any photographs of your father. I was his secretary in 1951/2 prior to starting a family. I remember him well and have very many happy memories of my time at Harwell, an exciting place to be at that time. Kind regards, Eileen G.

            Sent from my iPad


          • Hello again, I thought I would just mention that back in those early days of Harwell, not only did we not have mobile ‘phones with cameras, but no-one would have been allowed past the gate with a camera. It was, of course, a top secret site. Regards, Eileen G.

            Sent from my iPad


          • Gilles Sabourin

            Hi Paul, I am doing some historical research on the Montreal Laboratory during WWII where your father worked. I have a photo where perhaps you could identified him. Could you please contact me offline (or give me a way to contact you offline) so that I can send you that photo. Thanks.

          • Hi, In response to the request to identify Henry Seligman, I am pretty certain I can oblige as I worked for him at Harwell.

            Regards, Eileen Gallagher

            Sent from my iPad


          • Gilles Sabourin

            Thanks Eileen for your suggestion to help. Please contact me offline : (e-mail address forwarded – Ed). I could send you the photo.

      • Thanks for your replies concerning my old photos of Thames Road prefab.

  10. Eileen Gallagher

    Sorry about poor quality photo. View from back garden of 9 Thames Road in 1954. There were swings in the field beyond our garden.

  11. Eileen Gallagher

    I wonder if anyone remembers my late husband, John, who worked at Harwell from 1947 to 1956. As already mentioned, we lived in 9 Thames Road after spending a few months in Ridgeway House.
    (Eileen Gallagher)

  12. My parents lived on Wayland Crescent when I was born (in Oxford) in 1952. They had a Hillman Minx. My earliest memory was of them being painted purple and my father saying that was an undercoat.

  13. I lived at 16 Avon Road from 1971 to 1987 when the prefabs were nearly all empty.
    My father Mr Frank Wren was an Apprentice Trainer and my mother Mrs Helen Wren worked in the libary.
    Mr and Mrs Brown, lived at 1 Wayland Crescent in the 70s i think he was Trevor? She was Grace and their son i think was Robert…We were at Chilton Primary school together for a while.

  14. Further to Margaret Hanks comment about the garages at the top of Avon Road, I had one of those in the late 70’s which I bought off a previous owner. However although it was mine I still had to pay ground rent to the Authority. When I left Avon road to move to a house I had bought in Drayton no one wanted to buy the garage so I was forced to demolish it so I could stop paying the rent. Most of the rubble went into the footings of an extension a friend was building in Harwell village.
    My prefab in Avon Road, number 24 was one of those in the first photo at the top of this page, opposite the end of Wayland Crescent. We used to call it the Tardis because it felt larger on the inside than it looked on the out, mainly due to the walls being so thin!!

  15. I see that you want Poho’s, well I have plenty but I cannot put my hands on them as my Ex kept them, however I will have a sort through of what I have, It’s true that you had to be careful with camera’s but I was a keen photographer at an older age and always had my camera with me, my Father worked in Hanger 7 on Zeta he was an instrument maker, I recall 2 visits to AERE-UKAEA bye the Queen who would lunch in South Drive at Sir John’s home and we would line at South Drive waving flags, the Horse and Jockey was licensed and run by Mr Ian McFarlane, yes, they opened the windows with long poles at the School and the sports were held to the front of the school with the parents sitting on the terraces, a number of children from Harwell village also attended the school, the apprentices at AERE were well organised and held magnificent Balls (Dances) at B Mess the mascot being a polar Bear purchased from a place in Birmingham I also recall that fateful foggy day when I as in my lounge room in North Drive and I heard a plane with it’s engines spluttering I rushed out side to see a Beverly come out of the fog only just above the houses and to the front of North Drive between the houses and the A34 heading for Abingdon, it was doomed and I always believe that the brave pilot flew to avoid the houses, these are some of the names that I recall who lived at N.D. Grant-Hughes-Gunn-Herring-Thomlinson-Pollarck-Palmer-Wheel- Slater-Doe-Dunn and me Slatter.

    • Thanks for another great post full of rich memories, Ted. Let me know via the comments if you do find any photos from the estates, and I’ll send you an email address for the uploading. In the meantime, I’m looking out of my North Drive window and imagining that stricken plane coming down.

  16. Norah Rogers London

    This Scrapbook is full of fascinating details which trigger many vivid and treasured memories. However, Eileen Gallagher might like to know that my family lived at 7 Thames Road (next door?) . My parents were Heinz and Lucie London and this is where my sister Louise was born in 1947 and I was born in 1949. When I was 3 we moved to 9 South Drive where my brothers Martin and Fred were born. My father worked at AERE as a research physicist. Ted Slatter you are surely a relative of Beryl? She is sitting next to me in a photo I have of our class, I think we were 7 years old. Paul Seligman. . . your dad was a friend of my dad’s but I don’t think I have any photos of him.
    Growing up where we did was a unique childhood and I am still in touch with the Bretscher family (no. 3 South Drive) and the Hill family (number 8a above 8 where the Whitehouse family lived). In one posting someone mentioned that Sir John Cockroft’s house was no. 8. It wasn’t – their house was no.1 but the numbering was a little odd. Somewhere I have photos of Thames Road, South Drive and beyond; I will look them out. Earlier this month a relative of mine visiting Harwell went to South Drive to see our old house, no. 9 and sent me a photo. It is clearly still inhabited, but he told me it was the only one. Very sad.

    • Thanks for an informative post, Norah. I look forward to seeing any photos that you find. I think the no.8 / no.1 confusion over Sir John Cockroft’s house was mine. 🙂 Will amend the post at some point.

    • Mrs Eileen Gallagher

      How very interesting. When we lived at 9 Thames Road our neighbour’s on one side were Joy and Doug and their little son, Anthony (generally called Tooty). Sadly I can’t remember who our other neighbour’s were.
      Dr. Seligman was my boss when I was a Secretary at Harwell.
      Two of our daughters were born in that lovely little prefab, with the help of Nurse Garside. I look back on those years at Harwell with great fondness and where we made many friends.
      Thankyou for keeping me in touch.

    • Norah, Yes, I have a sister named Beryl I am her elder brother and live in Australia, Beryl lives at Farmoor Oxon, we communicate via Email or phone and I believe her to be well, I too attended that school we all were so lucky to have such a modern facility for the times and in such a healthy and good location adjacent to the downs. cheers.

    • John Walmsley

      My late father, George Walmsley, worked as a research physicist at AERE from 1965 – 70. At least part of that time was for your father who was the attraction that brought him back to the UK from Canada. My father went on to build low temperature physics groups at two universities.
      One of several stories that I heard over the years was that your mother came home to find your father sitting in the playpen with the children outside it. Any other arrangement had apparently caused the children (you?) to escape and disturb his work!
      From your birth dates, this story must have been over a decade old when my father heard it and so potentially apocryphal. I do love the mental image though.
      I lived with my parents on Coln Road for the last year and a bit of their time at AERE but, excusably, don’t have clear personal memories.

  17. Mrs Eileen Gallagher

    Further to my message above, I remember now that our neighbour’s were called Joy and Ron Dugdale.

  18. Hi we lived at 10 Downside from 1948 -1958 before moving to an authority house in Abingdon(11 Welford Gardens). I attended a nursery school on site with Margaret Hanks (Loveday) who has lots of pics on this site and with whom I am still in touch with to this day. I have some photos from these times that I would like to share. How do I upload them please?

  19. I live in a prefab from 1946 to 1950 when we moved to the Abingdon extate in Fitzharry Road I remember being snowed in in the Winter of 1948? and the army had to dig us out my dad Jack Sharpe worked at Harwell until 1952? before joining EMI – mike Sharpe

  20. Wow this is amazing. My husband started work at AERE just after we got married in 1967. We made lots of friends on Wayland Crescent and loved living there. Our son was born in 1968 and our daughter in 1970. We moved to a 3-bed semi in Wallingford in 1972 and then bought it under The Right to Buy. we still live there. There was a brilliant community spirit which helped as I was only 20 and had moved up from Somerset. The shops on Aldfield Estate were extremely good, Our first bank account was opened at Lloyds Curie Avenue (?)) now moved to Didcot. Best five years of our life.

  21. I used to live at 11 West Drive and was in the same class in Chilton School as Norah & Beryl. We moved to Didcot in1960

  22. Posted this in the other section, should have been here I think

    “Geoff Randall | July 2, 2018 at 4:06 am | Reply
    My oh my! I stumbled across this site whilst reminiscing, at my age I do that a lot. I lived at 8 Thames road from 1949 to 1960 when my parents and elder brother Jim (James) moved to Abingdon so us boys could go to senior school. I remember Susan and Nora. Many happy memories of a wonderful childhood. The Denzey’s at the school, cubs, teddy bear hill, and so on. Best wishes to all that knew me back then. ”

    My parents were Peter and Gladys.

    • Geoff, I am sure that I remember you, didn’t you on a school or Scout outing at the ferry terminal at Bournemouth get you foot stuck in the chain with the Ferry coming in. If it is you then you were so lucky to have escaped with minor injuries.
      Ted Slatter- North Drive.

      • Hello Ted, That was my late elder brother Jim. It was a summer scout camp in the New Forest. I vividly remember by parents bundling me in the car at Harwell and driving to the camp immediately after being told about the incident. He was indeed extremely lucky not have have lost his foot and escaped with severe bruising and a telling off from the scout leader and our Dad. Boys will be boys and all that. Go well.

        • Hi Geoff, sorry to learn of your brothers passing and thank you for confirming that it was the Scout camp, I recall it well, so i’ll fill you in.
          The Scout HQ was at the old Police club that were two Nissan Huts and a couple of other small buildings adjoining, you had the Police club-a long dance hall with a basic Kitchen facility and the scout hall plus another large room that was used mainly for storage — tables- chairs- scout equipment and other. I am not sure but I have a feeling that the Girl Guides was at B Mess, if you remember B Mess is where they held those magnificent dances with much grandeur and attended by invitation only, pictures were held there on a Sunday night and religion was taught of a morning and I think it was run by Mrs Cockcroft of which I had to attend, there was also a large canteen at B Mess and opposite and on the other side of the gate was the nursery school and I think i was in the first intake, as we all grew older and when it snowed us boys would take our sledges to the slope at hill side with the garages at the bottom and have great fun all day, back to the Scouts, a Truck arrived at North Dve on the day, it was an Ex army truck, Bedford I think, with low sides and a canvas top, we piled all the gear into the back and us boys jumped in and sat on the gear and off we went, great fun sitting in the back and waving to all the motorists following us as we were so slow, we arrived at the camp and set up, the following day we built a flying fox with a rope harness across a small creek we were split up into teams and the next day we were given canteen duties, while the other team went off, your brother and I had to pod the peas and we did that around the camp fire when we had finished and I cannot explain how we did it but your brother and I picked up this large container of peas and promptly dropped them some how into the ash at the edge of the fire, so we carefully picked out all these peas from the ash as carefully as we could back into the pot and said NOTHING, with the incident with your brother, we were returning to the Ferry and it had a large chain that it pulled itself along and we boys jumped onto the chain to ride it and jumped off before it went under a cast iron guide, this guide was in the shape of the latter U but inverted to go over the chain, your brother was maybe three or four boys behind me, i had jumped off heard a commotion turned around and saw Jim with his foot/Shoe in the link somehow two Scout masters grabbed him and pulled hard out came his foot but the shoe stayed in, there was most probably inches to spare before that link went through the guide, we are talking maybe one second, he was so lucky.
          Cheers Ted Slatter

  23. Thanks for that background information. Jim was nearly three years older than me so I was in the cubs until we moved to Abingdon. We also used the Scout hut and I also went to the nursery school and remember sledging down the slope beside Hillside and down to the bottom of West Drive past the bus shelter. The shelter was next to the prefab that Fuchs lived in. I remember the Canadian family (the Wickhammers) that moved in afterwards. As has been said by others, growing up at AERE was a wonderful experience that you can only appreciate fully afterwards. So many memories, mostly good, but an amazing time. Sunday school and Sunday night cinema were great and I also remember the jet plane (crash) landing on the runway which we cycled past on our way to school. Picnis on the Ridgeway having hiked past Lido and Dido and walking in the opposite direction to the Plough at East Hendred for orange squash and crisps with the salt in a blue wrapper.

    Thanks for envoking so many latent memories Ted

    Go well

    • Good on you Geoff, we all remember good times we were all so lucky to have lived that era and that place, we were all as kids from the School taken to the runway and told to stand in a straight line and watch that plane take off fitted with boosters and up the runway it came only for a booster to fail to vere to the left and into Chivers trench. could write a book about AERE. as kids, good on you mate.
      Cheers. ted

  24. We lived at No 13 Wayland Crescent. My mum and dad were George and Sheila Breckon. Our (next door I think) neighbour was Janet Buckley, maybe she had a brother (Nigel perhaps). Somewhere nearby was a plumber called Mr Watson and I think we gave him our tortoise Tommy when we moved. I have photos somewhere.

  25. Hello,

    I have found a couple of family photos of 8 Thames Road in 1951.

    Can you send me your email address so thaat I can send them to you.

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