51 Milton Road

A wonderful family home in the 1950s

51 Milton Road
Timothy Collier

FAMILY Home in Milton Road, 1950/51–1964, still in being unlike many Victorian houses lost to modern flat blocks (big money talks in “New Harpenden”!!). A wonderful place for a 7 children family to be brought up.

But I have noted many changes since, on occasional nostalgic walks round Harpenden: the beech tree had been pruned by dad 2-3 years earlier, but was once large and a great tree to climb – sisters Debs or Kay has a photo of all 7 of us up it!! HLOS (Harpenden Light Operatic Society) poster boards on it for each show were a regular sight, but the gate posts have been either cut back, or shorter new ones in lieu. The two big fir trees to right of house have gone: Andy and I used to climb right to their tops and peer into Simon’s bedroom, and wave – he was not amused and would shut the curtains!! Andy’s room was 1st floor left, mine top floor above – a crystal set linked us up. My room had an extensive wren track oo gauge railway laid on bracketed and leg-supported shelves, with a tunnel of paris plaster on newspaper & chicken wire, lift bridge for door (and sign o.s. Private, Do Not Enter in operating times – A4 No. 60016 “Silver King” was one of 3 engines, all of it bought from 2/6d a week pocket money, holiday jobs, and Xmas presents.

In winter, the engine nos. on MML (Midland Main Line) could just be seen with binoculars, if on slowish trains!! Dad used to build a stage for Christmas plays we’d all be in, some 7-8 in all: Jack & Gladys Lawrence, George & Margery Are, the Mills, and Geo/Bubbles Leaf, others invited as audience.

… Out of sight changes are tennis court lost for two new houses built in 1960s, large greenhouse removed, and garage rebuilt further back due to elm trees root damage. But it’s all progress.

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