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NAME James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 22 February 2013

CONNECTION WITH QE: pupil 1956-63

On recently perusing the Harrisons House section (p.14) of the Dec 1960 Elizabethan on the site I was intrigued to see one entry, which said "RC Vice continues to garden." I cannot now recall who RC Vice was, if I ever knew in the first place but am interested to know what sort of gardening this was and why it was noteworthy of special mention. Perhaps some others or Master Vice himself can say if still alive. I do not recall much of gardens at school except for a few rose beds, which I remember being in a party weeding after A Levels had finished. I remember feeling dizzy after all the bending down. After leaving school I had a series of garden jobs pre-university working in gardens down Barham Avenue in Borehamwood as well as some in Potters Bar. I worked first in one and was recommended to others.  Nowadays at home I am merely the under gardener to my wife and mainly just cut the grass.


NAME: Paul Buckland

DATE: 28 February 2013

CONNECTION WITH QE: pupil 1962 - 1969

James, I hope that is not inverted snobbery. You are a good Boreham Wood lad, surely therefore you remember that Barham Avenue was across the bridge in Elstree. A road, from what I remember, full of rather large houses 'in their own grounds'. I drove through Boreham Wood last week, and my how it has changed. Sadly not for the better. Your old primary school is still there but much altered and rebuilt. Mr Jepps was the headmaster, I seem to remember, back in the late 50s early 60s, and Mr. Farmer the caretaker and 'lollipop man', where my parents instructed that i had to cross the busy Furzehill road. At least Summerswood is still there, unlike my old school Furzehill, which has now been demolished.


NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 02 March 2013


An interesting reply, Paul ! I do not consider that Barham Avenue is anything other than Borehamwood, even if it is the other side of Elstree and Borehamwood station bridge. The residents there may well like to think themselves separate from Borehamwood in a snobbish way but I do regard Elstree village some miles away as the true Elstree and everywhere else as Borehamwood. Please do not produce a map with parish boundaries to disprove me on this. Of course Borehamwood itself became Hertsmere many years ago. With what else I do not know. It is Hertsmere Council and the library (what I regard as the new library) probably says Hertsmere too. I did go to Furzehill and Summerswood Schools of course. My mother was a teacher at the former and I was moved from my mother's class for being so disruptive. (Not at all surprising!) You are of course also right about Messrs Jepps and Farmer. Some teachers I had were Mrs Bainbridge, Sterry, Rogerson and for the second year Mr J Allen Evans (a great and friendly man).

Whether Borehamwood is better now or years before is possibly a subjective rather than an objective judgement. When visiting Borehamwood I miss not being able to buy Mr Hanson's vanilla ice cream, because of course the old shop opposite the end of Furzehill Road is no longer there. The Links Youth Centre has gone, which we as the youth committee used to keep open 7 days a week with its music room, snooker room, lounges etc. I also miss the old station even though we had to constantly change platforms for the incoming trains to St Pancras and Moorgate. Many no doubt will dispute this. However the cafes and restaurants where we ate and drank are good and possibly better and there are more buses and bus routes, which I think a good thing. I also like the boards around the town celebrating the lives of actors and actresses of the film heritage. Of course the TV tudios may be called Elstree Studios but they are definitely in Borehamwood centre.


NAME: Stephen Giles  Stephen Giles

DATE: 02 March 2013

CONNECTION WITH QE: inmate 1957-64

Ah, Barham Avenue brings back memories of my paper round in that road. Those were the days when you could leave your bike unattended whilst delivering the papers, and it would still be there when you returned! I attended Summerswood for 4 or 5 terms before starting at QE. My mother was school secretary at Furzehill School for many years before it closed. My band practised in a classroom at Furzehill many times - I remember the caretaker Mr Parsons, who would always pop in to say hello and remind us to be out by 9.30pm!

I wonder how many white (!!) builders' vans are parked in Barham Avenue driveways these days. I would not be at all surprised if many current house owners in Barham Avenue are formerly from far less salubrious parts of Borehamwood!


NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 02 March 2013


One thing about Borehamwood visits I deplore is the lack of being able to park in roads you always used to. They are now nearly all resident parking only with no room even for 2 hours only, certainly in the town centre. I have to use the public car park in Eldon Avenue down by the McDonalds (formerly the Red Lion). I usually like not to pay for parking if I can help it (Don't we all of course). I suppose I am able to afford it as not too expensive despite receiving an OAP and other pensions. At least at QEs if the school car park is full some of the roads round about allow free parking or I go up to the Arkley. This is I suggest a useful piece of information for visitors to either place.


NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 15 March 2013


Ah yes, Stephen, I do remember Mr Parsons [reply 3], the caretaker at Furzehill school well, as I expect many OEs who went on the route of Furzehill / Summerswood / QEs will. He is well remembered not only for his friendly conversation to all pupils whilst acting as lolipop man but also for his kindness in taking my Dad out on more than one trip in his car when we did not have one, along with Mrs Parsons and us children. At least with him I was not compelled by my Dad to knock on his house as with Mr Farmer at Summerswood, in order to recover items left behind such as brolly and cap. I always thought they could wait until the next day but my Dad would have none of it.  Such fatherly care he displayed as well as coming to Bob's the barber's in Shenley Road to see I had a good haircut and to Girlings to buy my clothes. Bob's of course is no longer there but there is a barber on the same site.
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