More memories of Brixton Windmill
Following the post about Tom Kempster’s memories of the windmill and surrounding area in the early 1950s, Friends of Windmill Gardens have been contacted by two more former residents.
Margaret White (née Taylor) was born in 1943 and lived in Blenheim Gardens until the area was compulsorily purchased by Lambeth Council in 1963 and new homes were built.
“My father was ‘Mr Taylor’ as mentioned in Tom’s account and he was the milkman and my Mum ran the dairy, the business was started by my grandparents. We were number 169 [Blenheim Gardens], a few doors down from Tom’s Dad’s sweet shop. Indeed, we did have a television and I remember all the neighbours and family crowded in our small front room to watch the coronation. I also remember Tom’s sister, Janet, with whom I played.
The photos are of Margaret’s father with his milk float and the dairy at 169 Blenheim Gardens. She adds:
“I have many more happy memories of Blenheim Gardens of course (I loved the name and thought it sounded posh!). …I think my Mum and I are in the coronation party photo, my Mum is in the back row wearing a dark coat, bunting near her head, and I am nearer the middle back with a large cone shaped hat.
“My memories of the windmill are different – I was obviously a ‘good’ little girl because my mother warned me that I should not visit the windmill as it was very dangerous and unsafe! It was always of interest, however, and most children were a bit nervous as all sorts of stories ensued. I was afraid of its looming darkness and stories spread of witches and scary characters lurking were enough for me not to trespass!
Margaret also remembers the making of the film ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ (released in 1956), part of which was filmed locally.
“There was great excitement when the film crew came for the Alfred Hitchcock movie “The Man who Knew Too Much” starring Doris Day and James Stewart, using St Saviour’s Church hall in Vicary Street (off Blenheim Gardens) as it had a wooden bell tower used in one of the scenes. People (extras) thought it was wonderful that they were given £2 – a lot of money then – if they just walked across the set!”
More information about this sequence in the film can be found on The Hitchcock Zone. https://the.hitchcock.zone/wiki/Vicary_Street,_Brixton_Hill,_London
Gordon Durrant contacted FoWG to say he also has a copy of the photo of the children’s party to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. He writes:
“My wife [who lived in Lyham Road] is the dark-haired girl at the back, 7th from the right-hand end. … Like Tom Kempster she was also born in 1945 but did not know him as far as she can remember.
“Our memories of Brixton Windmill are very special to us as we met, got engaged and married in 1967 whilst working in the Philips Welding Factory which was adjacent to Windmill Gardens (the site is now called Weld Works Mews). Many pleasant lunch hours were spent in the gardens. I could see the windmill from my office window and when we had visitors from Philips’ head office in Eindhoven, Holland they were amazed to see the windmill as they had none near their offices.”
Many thanks to Margaret and Gordon for getting in touch.