Walking into the past

PUBLISHED: 19:17 18 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:47 11 May 2010

I SUPPOSE it could be described as a journey down memory lane. There I was, walking the streets in a part of north London which I had not seen for many years. I had always thought of it as being, well, rather salubrious. Now it appears down-at-heel and un

I SUPPOSE it could be described as a journey down memory lane.

There I was, walking the streets in a part of north London which I had not seen for many years.

I had always thought of it as being, well, rather salubrious.

Now it appears down-at-heel and unlike the place where teenage days had been spent in the 1960s.

Everything seemed worn out and not quite what it had been to a child on the verge of going to the senior school.

Perhaps it has happened everywhere, but this was part of one's roots and should not change. At least, not so much.

It was with slight trepidation that I was about to turn a corner and see the place where those teenage years had been spent.

It was like that election campaign broadcast John Major did when he returned to his roots in south London. Remember?

He, too, was looking for his old house.

Is it still there? I don't know. Yes, it is. There it is.

Well, it was like that but, obviously, not done for dramatic effect so that the nation could be part of the discovery.

Anyway, the house was still there, looking much the same as when I walked out the door for the last time 40 years ago.

It was good to know that such a structure was still standing.

But around the immediate area, time had taken its toll on some of the property, while a once vacant site had been crammed with development. That, I suppose, is to be expected these days.

And the adventure continued with a walk along the High Road. (We had a High Road rather than a High Street)

And what had happened here? The shops of days past had disappeared, to be replaced by restaurants of every description, and betting shops and estate agents. It seems to be the way of the world these days.

And what had happened to the pubs? Our pubs, where as 18-year-olds we learned about the delights of cocktails such as light-and-bitter and lager-and-lime. They were no longer like the buildings of the past.

Most were still standing, but no longer known as The Bull, or the Red Lion, or The Cricketers, or whatever.

And the one we always saw as our "local" had been turned into a Starbucks. Yes, a Starbucks.

Thank goodness I gave up drinking when I did, otherwise I would have stood there weeping.

There should be some protection for such landmarks.

After all, here was a part of history - or, at least, a part of my history.

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