Growing up in St Albans

Post-war England

By John Winters

How different the world was when I started growing up in St Albans. It was still a country of ration books and luxuries were very scarce.

My first school was Garden Fields, then in Catherine Street in the city. I would walk or go by bus. Walking eventually won the day as I used to return home past a bakery and spent my 1d bus fare on gingerbread!

I joined Garden Fields just at the point that Aboyne Lodge opened just down the road so missed out on that pre-school experience. Garden Fields later moved to Townsend, ironically just round the corner from where I used to live.

From Garden Fields it was St Albans Country Grammar School for Boys. I started in 1954 and left in 1960, having stayed on a year in the 6th form to retake some GCEs and wait for a vacancy to arise in my chosen career.

This was to become a journalist and I eventually joined the Herts Advertiser (H.A) in September 1960 as a trainee journalist. I was to learn much about St Albans and its surrounds during that time. I moved away from St Albans the following year to live in various parts of Hemel Hempstead and stayed at the H.A. until July 1965 when I continued to climb up the ladder in my journalistic career, which eventually ended over 50 years later when I became semi-retired and continued my career part-time, publishing a book two years later.

I revisited St Albans many times as I had two friends there - both now deceased - Beryl Carrington, who wrote a book on the history of St Albans, and James Corbett, who did the same. Both worked with me on the H.A. and then I used James as a freelance designer in the 80s so continued to pay regular visits to his home to bring and collect material he had been working on.

Life in those days was so different. Not that much traffic on the roads, most people used buses to get around and TV did not appear until the mid-50s in our house.


This page was added by John Winters on 08/02/2018.

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