Hendon: Just Nostalgic Illusion?

Hendon Central Tube

But not for long . . .


This was the street sign idea I proposed, as a small design project, to a conceptual artist friend.     

Jason and I both grew up in Hendon, the suburb of North-West London which most people – or at least those whose interests and aspirations extend beyond a healthy Jewish community and an excellent selection of synagogues (including, of course, the ones that you don’t go to) – long to get away from. And during university vacations, following months of undergraduate decadence, Jason and I would invariably bump into each other and catch up in Hendon Central, always reflecting – though with humour and no little affection – on the sheer dullness of our childhood home. Indeed, whenever a woman in whom I had an interest would ask where I was from, I would always mutter the response in an extremely throwaway manner. “Hendon” had always been a conversation stopper.     

Even ignoring Hasmo and its Legends, however, Hendon features more landmarks and places of interest than your average suburban neighbourhood: the RAF Museum, Police Training College, one end of Britain’s best known motorway (the M1), the Welsh Harp, Hendon Hall Hotel (where FA Cup Final teams would stay, a safe distance from any action, on the night before the big day), Middlesex University (if you couldn’t get in anywhere else), Barnet Copthall Stadium, and that paradise of the bored North-West London Jewish housewife, Brent Cross Shopping Centre.     

Hendon has somehow contrived, however, to be far less than the sum of its parts. I have no desire to even visit (and if I do, it will only be for free board and/or Brent Street’s excellent Lahore curry house).     

But, perhaps as with all childhood homes, nostalgia tends to drown out reality. And the memories of many former Hendonites are fond. Following his return to Israel from a recent visit, my cousin Marc said something that tickled me: “You know what, Michael, I walked down Brent Street, and it meant nothing to me.” Now, anyone who knows Brent Street will be amazed that this dreary suburban high street – with seventies eyesore, Sentinel Square, at its miserable heart – could ever have meant anything to anyone. But Marc and I regularly reminisce lovingly about the “old country” during our concurrent morning drives through the Israeli traffic.     

Or was the Hendon of our childhood really a better place?     

The neighbourhood supplied no shortage of characters. There were the Carmels who owned the greengrocery on Vivian Avenue, and whose hotheaded son Danny was constantly fighting with customers over one thing or another, often the handling of his fruit. Opposite them was irascible old Mr. Kaplan the grocer, with his unfeasibly strong Mitteleuropean accent, who was just as prone as Danny to upset patrons.     

And who can forget the Irishman charged with running the tennis courts at Hendon Park (below right), but whose little green (appropriately) hut – for booking the courts – was nearly always closed (judging by the hue of his cheeks when he eventually appeared, it was never too difficult to work out where he had been)? The usual form was:     

  • turn up . . . to find the hut shut;
  • The diagonal path, Hendon Parkstart playing anyway;
  • run off when the Irishman eventually appeared (because we were near the end of the match anyway . . . and Jewish, considering the 30p an hour fee better put towards the cost of our first flat or car);
  • find refuge in the “corner shop” next to the Hendon Classic (cinema), where we would drive the Asian owners to distraction, leafing through their comics (and, later, other “mags”) with no intention whatsoever of making a purchase.

If Hendon’s most famous son was the great Test batsman Denis Compton, its celebrity resident was heavyweight boxing champion Henry Cooper, who once dumped Cassius Clay on his backside, but who would unfailingly offer a warm “hello” as he strolled his giant poodle up Brampton Grove. Carry On and East Enders actress Barbara Windsor also lived in Hendon, while eighties soul band Imagination frequented the local video shop on Sentinel Square (or was that Just an Illusion?)     

Talking of carry-ons, the forty-odd detached homes on our street, Edgeworth Crescent, seemed to house and generate more characters and drama than your average small town. And I am not just talking about the product of the lively – some would say perverse – imagination of award-winning author Clive Sinclair, who grew up next door and who, on revealing his Hendon roots, has been quoted as exclaiming “God help me!”     

Where there is now a Holmes Place and sheltered housing, however, once stood two ‘proper’, old-style cinemas: the Classic (opposite Hendon Central tube) and the Odeon (in the Quadrant). Hendon was also home to numerous traditional English pubs. The White Bear, on the Burroughs, provided shelter to a much-loved stuffed polar which disappeared with the pub’s character when it – like so many others – was converted into a vapid theme pub, the only discernible theme being its absolute dreariness.     

Another Hendon institution sorely missed is its football club, Hendon FC, which now groundshares with Wembley FC after, this year, being forced to leave its home of 80 years, Claremont Road.     

Hendon FC, Claremont Road

Another goal for the mighty Greens, as the away keeper reacts a tad late.

Perhaps it is just me (and the several dozen other saddos who watch Hendon),  but I always found it oddly gratifying being able to stand right behind the away goal and to viciously abuse the generic “fat useless c*nt” – i.e., every visiting goalie (irrelevant of ability and girth) – knowing that he would hear every word (and, often, respond). You can’t do that at Arsenal. "Got your number!"And standing among us was another favourite son of Hendon, David “Got your number!” Bedford (with caricature, right), the former 10,000 metres world record holder and – more significantly for fans of Hendon – vice-chairman and champion of our ailing club.     

The Burroughs still provides a strong sense of a more distinguished past. And, on three consecutive General Election nights, we gathered beneath the balcony of Hendon Town Hall to hear Maggie Thatcher – whose constituency was neighbouring Finchley – deliver her victory addresses.     

The study room of the adjacent Hendon Library was where we revised for our O and A level examinations. Its stereotypically plain librarians – remember the lovely “Olive Oil”, anyone? – would never fail to take the bait of pranksters who would ring up asking for “Mike Hunt”. During the heat and pressure of summer exams – as frum (primarily Hasmonean) boys had their closest exposure yet to non-religious Jewish and Gentile girls – there were more Jewish erections in that room than on your average West Bank hilltop.     

Raleigh Close (Hendon United) Synagogue still is, for me, Shul. A reader of melchett mike has opined, interestingly, how Reverend Hardman z”l, Rabbi Silberg, and the incumbent Rabbi Ginsbury “so accurately represented, and represent, the state of Anglo-Jewry at the time”. Moshe SteinhartAnd shammes (beadle) Moshe Steinhart (right) became an inadvertent communal legend, his wonderfully naive, malapropistic weekly announcements sparking more hilarity than your average stand-up comedian.     

Last month, at the lacklustre Kol Nidrei (Yom Kippur eve) service in Tel Aviv’s Great Synagogue, my mind wandered back to the atmospheric Raleigh Close Kol Nidreis of my childhood and youth, where Hendonite coreligionists whom one hadn’t seen for an entire year would spend the entire service awkwardly rearranging their garish kippot (skullcaps) – each with its own unmistakable year-long crease across its middle – on their often equally shiny bonces.     

But Hendon possessed a wider sense of community too. Every Sunday morning and summer evening, there were “pick up” games of football in Hendon Park, where Jewish kids, black kids, Greek kids, and those from local council estates, would all muck in very happily (Asian Muslim kids however never did, the first time we became aware of any “them ‘n us” tension, though it was of course to get much worse). And there were real characters there too (whatever became of “Mad” Dave?)     

But all that has gone.     

I still see Stuart – known as “Rushie” in those games because of his remarkably cool (for park football), Ian Rush-like finishing – on my increasingly infrequent visits to London. He still lives in Hendon, and bemoans the changes there, not least the increase in crime and general feeling of insecurity on its streets, which he blames on the influx into the neighbourhood of eastern Europeans.     

Whatever the accuracy of his analysis, there is a perceptible dearth of ethnically English people left in Hendon. These days, the roads not sufficiently desirable for Jews to inhabit are occupied primarily by Asians and the eastern Europeans who Stu so decries. There is virtually nothing “English” about Hendon left. And – however un-PC, and impertinent for a Jew, to say so – that strikes me as sad.     

Hendon was our shtetl, our East End: good times and great memories . . . though I, for one, would not want to be back there.


190 responses to “Hendon: Just Nostalgic Illusion?

  1. The story of the Irishman in the park always brings back the memory of the time I went to play mini golf with (I think) Danny Sher. I couldn’t have been more than 10.

    We got there at 10am and went to the hut to pay. The guy said the lawn was being cut, and so we could not play golf. I asked what time it would be available, and he said “2pm”.

    I asked what they were using to cut the grass, a pair of scissors, and he went off at me in a tirade calling me a “smart arsed alec” in that Irish brogue.

    I will never forget it, as it was my first use of sarcasm, something I make frequent use of to this very day.

  2. Don’t forget Hendon FC had the Bulgarian USA ’94 World Cup veteran and former “Tractor Boy” Bontcho Guentchev in their 1st team. Remember his overhead kick on Match of the Day’s goal of the month. What a fine player!

  3. This blog can be bloody frustrating.

    I spend weeks trawling through my childhood memories of Hendon . . . only to get one worthwhile response, and another about some dodgy Bulgarian (for your information, Dovid: Hendon have won three Amateur Cup Finals and once, in the FA Cup, held Newcastle United to a 1-1 draw at St. James’ Park).

  4. Edgar Leibovici

    Hi Mike.
    I managed to get out of Hendon for a few years but got bullied into moving back post marriage. Much has changed over the years (as it has in Tel Aviv too) but there are still some positives. Only yesterday we went to visit the RAF Museum (technically it is in London NW9 but I guess close enough to NW4). Amazing how all the frummers go there on wet Sundays. It has nothing to do with the fact that the entry is free (same reason we went too but that is completely different).
    I still have fond memories of the lovely Olive Oil. By the time I was doing A-Levels (1990/91), the “Mike Hunt” joke had been exhausted but we still managed to get a few laughs out of “Ben Zona”.

  5. Marc Reiss recounted a great story about Hendon study library, after I badgered him for ideas for this post. I didn’t put it in, because it is one of those that requires imagination. But I can resist no longer . . .

    Marc and David Miller (who now lives in the US, I believe) were in the study library, one summer’s day, with this pretty Henrietta Barnett girl (who lived in Raleigh Close) – I can even remember her name: Alison Barnett – sitting next to them (Marc and David were probably revising for their O levels, and Alison, who was a couple of years older, for her A levels).

    She went out for a break, which Marc – for argument’s sake (he can’t remember who started!) – took as a cue to take her notes and write on them: “David Miller wrote this”

    David then took them and wrote: “Marc Reiss wrote this” (with an arrow pointing to the former inscription).

    This continued until the the girl returned to her seat, by which time her entire page of notes had been daubed.

    She took one look at the page, and then a longer one at Marc and David – sitting there looking sheepish – and just said: “You idiots.”

    Well, as I said, it requires a little imagination (and knowledge of Marc and David), but I think it well sums up the chutzpah and naivety of the religious Hasmo boy, for whom – at that age – this was the only comfortable way of ‘communicating’ with attractive members of the opposite sex!

  6. grahamsummers

    alison barnett….she lived next to raleigh close shul (m golker’s house) and had a brother called jeremy….nice lad.

    i can certainly confirm she was an absolute cracker!!

  7. It’s confirmed . . . she was a looker. Thank you, Graham! 😉

  8. Mike "Ivor" Braff

    I lived by the border with Finchley although was fortunate to have the NW4 code. I’ll always remember the footie games in Hendon Park on a Sunday afternoon, where everybody joined in, all races welcome. The only problem was nobody knew any of the other players’ names, so we used to call each other by the colour of our shirts…..I dont believe we were wearing football club shirts in those days.
    A character who will stay in my memories was an elderly chap called Happy Lucky, who used to address everybody by greeting them “Hello Curly”. Folklore had it he was England’s lucky mascot in 66. One day (circa 80-82) he was in the Church Road bookies and was only betting horses ending in O.Lo and behold his 10 penny accumulator netted him a tidy profit.
    I used to visit Hendon FC with my late brother Jonathan in the late 70’s and early 80’s and the away keeper used to come in for plenty of verbal. How are the Dons doing? Also is Sammy still in the restaurant biz?

  9. Alison Mays-Barnett

    Graham………Jeremy has just directed me to your comments, I never knew you felt that way, why didn’t you say something at the time?

    A La Recherche des temps perdu!


  10. Joe Bloomberg

    Hi Mike,

    Enjoyed reading your observations of Hendon, which in relation to Raleigh Close shul, rightly couldn’t possibly fail to mention Moshe Steinhart.

    I’m not so certain though how inadvertent his clumsily expressed announcements at the end of Shabbat morning services were.

    I’ll never forget the announcement which went something like “The Honorary Officers take great pleasure in advising the congregation that Rabbi Silberg will be away on holiday for the next 2 weeks”. It really brought the house down but afterwards I heard from a reliable source that he’d said it for a dare!!

    Incidentally, readers may be interested to know that Henry Cooper enjoyed a Kosher loaf! I used to serve him at Grodzinski in Vivian Ave, where I worked for a time as a teenager on Sunday mornings before transferring to the branch on Mowbray Parade, Edgware.

  11. Moshe’s announcements used to drive one of my neighbours in shul to distraction. Whenever Moshe would say “Shacharis this week is at a qvvvorrrrter past seven”, my neighbour would whisper angrily “Why does he have to speak like that? I am also from central Europe, but I don’t speak like that.”

    My favourite Moshe story relates to a first evening of Sukkot when, following Ma’ariv in the main shul, Moshe got up and invited congregants for kiddush in the Succah adjoining the Aviva Hardman Hall. In spite of the Hall being situated right next to the main shul, Moshe entangled himself in a full ten-minute explanation of how to get there from each and every exit. It was pure Python!

  12. I was told that the 66 England team stayed at the Hendon Hall Hotel. Rumour has it that Bobby Charlton had to get a 240 to Golders Green on the morning of the final to buy some smart shoes because he lost his. As a second point does anyone remember the parade of shops opposite the BP at the Quadrant, I think there were 5 shops all called George.

  13. moshe shatzkes

    hi mike,

    thanks for this thread, as you know i have lived in nw4 almost all of my life, though for the last 5 or so years i am in an n3 postcode, i still for some reason think of myself as living in hendon.

    it wasnt until i got married that i was made to realise how ugly brent street was by my mrs (a haffner from manchester, who always claims how beautiful broughton park is in comparison, no contest really). those of you who get the chance, stand opposite barclays bank looking down brent street to really see what i’m saying. no part of it is nice, old ramshackle shops and buildings, the revolting sentinel square with it’s orange wrap around facia and the single storey shacks on the right before herriot road, horrible. i suppose because we grew up there, we didn’t stop and look to see how ugly it was.

    who remembers that there was a bakery in a half shop next to lambros (“hendon’s most hygienic barber”) called woodberry down, tiny place.

    in those days all of the bread in all of the kosher bakeries was not made on the premises and used to come in from stamford hill, until carmelli’s bagel revolution in about 1987.

    each morning i would get a sardine or tuna roll from woodberry down, for which i was charged the princely sum of 99p. and each day the old boy running the shop would give me a penny change and say “don’t spend it all at once”, the same gag for 7 years. excellent.

    the library upstairs study room, became an extension of hasmonean as I recall. a place to meet before constantly going out for a fag round the back, next to the fire station where the fireman were always playing volleyball.

    i remember the cinema at the quadrant, it must have closed down in the mid 1970’s and the classic in hendon central too. saw many a film that I shouldn’t have there.

    who remembers the block of flats at the bottom of brent street called woodburn close (I think)? it used to be the brent bridge hotel and even though I don’t remember it open as a hotel , it was disused for many years before demolition, I recall riding my bike through there many times.

    happy days!

  14. As a current resident of Hendon, I agree with Moshe on Brent Street, who ever designed the whole Sentianal estate shops and housing should be shot, the stench of urine perminates the actual stairwell, the pigeons add to the whole 3rd world feel. Ironically 3 streets of terraced housing was pulled down to make way for the estate that has only made Brent Street a no go zone after 9pm with drunken louts on every corner. Ironically I beleive that Hendon US Shul started out of 128 Brent Street part of this development and the Cheder ws housed round the corner in Victoria Rd.

    Ahhh Woodberry Down………. in all honesty the Winkworth estate agent used to interest more whilst waiting for the 240 to Hasmo. Woodberry Down closed down last month, I guess to much competition from the other 5 bakers within 5 minute walk. Brent Street ina ll its ugliness has transformed from a grey drab street to an even greyer drab high street woth every sort of Kosher eating “delight” available. As they say if ain’t jewish it must be a charity shop. In that small section from The Crest to Victoria Rd you can count 1/2 a dozen Shuls the oldest of which is Ner Yisrael and the newest being Chabad above the Ladbrooks, Chabad have the junction of Bell Lane and Brent Street closed for their Simchas Beis HaShoeva.

    I can no longer think of a single redeeming feature for Hendon, the park is full of Hendon High Kids ( Mandelsons -old school) sitting and intimidating the little kids that want to play there. Brent Cross is now home to a kosher pizza shop- like we can’t go shopping without having to eat. Hendon football club though technically in Cricklewood moved out to Wembley and their ground has been taken over by a bunch of Poles squatting there.

  15. Aaah, Woodberry Down…I stopped buying there when I first noticed a cat lying on the warm buns in the shop window. After that, this cat was always lying there. I suppose that in the 70’s ‘elf ‘n’ safety hadn’t been invented yet.

  16. Reading Marc Reiss and David Miller’s experience at Hendon Library, and then Graham and Alison’s “what might have been”, this absolutely sums up Hasmo boys’ problems with speaking to girls. You would never ask a girl out unless you were 100% certain she would say yes.

    Clearly Graham felt less than certain of his chance of success, but as they say, C’est jamais trop tard (although as she’s now called Mays-Barnett, maybe it is !)

  17. David, that’s why the buns were warm! I stopped shopping at the place after biting into a jam doughnut . . . and finding it full of maggots.

    And Danny, I still don’t ask girls out for that reason! 😉

  18. graham summers


    I haven’t got the faintest idea what c’est jamais trop tard means. I’m assuming its ‘franglais’ ….. ‘Cyril ‘ would not be amused !

    If it means what a complete prat you are for having a beautiful girl on yr doorstep and never even saying hello…..then that’d be about right !

    I was having a late night/early morning conversation with a very close friend who I grew up with. He and another close friend and I ( I’m sure anyone reading this who knew me in Hasmo this can workout the identities of the other two !!) all feel particularly robbed of our youth and the innocent fun we should have enjoyed when we think back to situations like this.

    ‘ ships that pass in the night ‘

    Unfortunately my ‘ocean’ appears to have been the alley way from prothero gdns to raleigh close thru to brent st !

  19. Aaah, Kaplans. I had a Sunday morning job there from about 1976 to 1978. It’s put me off deli food for life. He was not the most polite man I’ve ever met in my life, more than once I saw him chase someone out of the shop brandishing his salmon-cutting knife.

    I remember the Sunday afternoon football games that Mike Braff referred to, sometimes we played for Fat Frank’s team, Arsenal-style shirts in Spurs colours.

    That Happy chap you refer to was Happy Bartlett, who was always at Hendon games, we used to get a smile out of him by yelling “Will we get to Wembley this year, Happy?”

    I walked through Hendon Park a couple of weeks ago, the sight of the overgrown putting course made me feel rather sad.

  20. Graham, yes that’s pretty much what I meant ! But why didn’t you tell me about her ?!

  21. Tuvia "Tubby" Mays

    Just thought I’d better introduce myself (“Mr Alison”), before nostalgia gets out of hand here, fellows…..

    Seriously guys, Ally & I would love to catch up with some of her old flames (or would-have-liked-to-have-been flames) next time we’re back in Pommie-land.

    If any of you ever descend to the southern hemisphere, look us up!

    And by the way, you’re all crap at cricket!!


  22. Just a few memories of Hendon, mainly from the 80s…

    – Some low-grade gym called “Nautilus Fitness” bought 2 or 3 Sinclair C5s when they first came out, and used them to display large sandwich boards advertising the gym. After a few months they gave up recharging the C5s, and fixed the c5s onto the roofs of some old bangers instead – you’d see them around all over the place.

    – Waiting endlessly for the 240 at the bus-stop outside Hendon Adath / Pillar of Fire Society / Webber’s electrical supplies. Mo Shatzkes a regular there! Always the same few fathers who’d stop to offer lifts, as would Rabbi Schmahl.

    – The seemingly pointless 125 that ran the same route as the 240, but only half of it – starting / ending at the “Hendon Bell”

    – “Theven-Eleven” (as it was termed by our Head in assembly, declaring it off-limits), at the top of Bell Lane

    – The now filled-in underground toilets at the top of Bell Lane

    – Kosherina, the first modern kosher Pizza shop, at Sentinel Square. Michael Drucker was manager there for a while

    – Bennetts newsagents. The Indian proprietor owned half the shops in Brent St… until the Whitehouse chain bought them all.

    – Kons delicatessen, left over from 1952 by the look of it

    – The Load of Hay public house. Demolished and redeveloped as flats within the last 3-4 years

  23. Talking of Theven Eleven . . .

    There ith one boy who thowth no rachmonoth or chethed following hith dethpicable act. You know who you are . . . reveal yourthelf!

    Hathem can thee.

  24. & continuing the ‘lithp theme’……

    …there was a story in the 70’s – possibly apocryphal – that when Mr. Jurke (a true ‘Yeker’ gym teacher in Hasmo in the early 70’s) who suffered from a strong lisp called out the class register and mentioned a boy Spitzer, who also suffered with a lisp, the conversation went something like…:

    “Thpizther?” “Yeth thir…!”

    Cue – one serious wallop round the ear…………………

  25. Edgar Leibovici

    You really made me think about Hendon. Found a dreary website with some interesting info on it.


    Anyway, talks about the history and famous people from Hendon. Fascinating.

    Check out the paragraph on Sentinel Square and even Hasmo gets a mention under “Parson Street and Holders Hill”.

    “Brent Street was part of a northern route out of London, and at the Quadrant a seven-mile stone – the last piece of physical evidence for the road – is set into a wall.” – Anyone ever seen that?

  26. Edgar, you obviously didn’t look at the Wikipedia article my post links to – yours is identical (see the note at the bottom: “The source of this article is Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.”)
    Now get out, you lout!

  27. “Brent Street was part of a northern route out of London, and at the Quadrant a seven-mile stone – the last piece of physical evidence for the road – is set into a wall.” – Anyone ever seen that?

    Yep – if I remember (& it may well still be there but I haven’t walked thee for years) the stone – about 1 foot/1 foot was on the pavement near the 240/125 bustop towards G. Green opposite the sweet shops on the corner of Quadrant…

  28. Hendon might be soulless suburbia nowadays but prior to the arrival of Brent Cross and the closure of the Cinemas, I remember Brent Street and Hendon Central being a bit more vibrant, almost genteel at times. Brent Street was so much quieter on a Sunday that the Sally Army Brass Band would have no trouble marching down the street. Imagine the tailbacks if they were to try that now!

    The Quadrant Milestone was still there last time I looked. I think it was embedded in the wall of the DSS building. Didn’t Toyah Wilcox live in the Cinema at the Quadrant circa 1980? I think Lee John from Imagination lived along the Great North Way – not exactly salubrious. Perhaps he was J. Ordman’s neighbour! .

    Dan Gins mentioned the Pillar of Fire Society, now there was an intriguing establishment. Aside from the kids going to nursery there in the morning, I don’t think I ever saw anyone going in or out of the place. Occasionally I would go in there to retrieve a lost football on Shabbat afternoon and perhaps catch a glimpse of a shadow in a window, but that was about it. Really spooky, but not half as frightening as if you had to retrieve your ball from the Hasmo Primary playground . Mac the Scottish caretaker (anyone remember him?) had the most fearsome (and fastest) German Shepherd I’ve ever known. A couple of times, I faced certain death at its jaws but managed to get over the fence in the nick of time.

    The 125 route was extended to Hendon Bell in the afternoons as an experiment at the request of the school , because of overcrowding on the 240 (read unruly Hasmo kids trying to storm the bus en masse – bus departs empty, to cries of ‘anti-semite’ and ‘nazi’) This was nothing compared to the chaos in the days when the 240 was single-decker.

    Dan also mentions Bennett’s. I remember it before the Bennett Family sold up to Indians, blaming competition from 7-11. There used to be a gang of kids from Hendon School (including Mr. Bennett‘s younger son) , hanging out at the back by the video games. They were a tight-knit bunch and gave me a frosty reception the first time I dared invade their patch, but relented once they saw me smash their high-scores on ‘Defender’. After that they treated me with a kind of grudging tolerance, but one of them, a guy called Woody from Kings Close was a bit friendlier, and allowed me into his world, which seemed to extend only to hanging out at the Wimpy (oyvovoy!) and a Record Shop called the Groove Line (remember that?). I wonder where he is now.

    Along that stretch were two other shops of note. There was the Da Vinci computer shop from where we managed to convince my Dad to buy us a BBC, on the basis that we would use it for educational purposes only (sorry Dad) and a branch of Tandy, where two of my Hasmo classmates leaned on the door at about 9pm one evening and got the fright of their lives when it swung open. They didn’t have the bottle to enter, so decided to phone someone who did….. I thought Chanukah had come early but fortunately my Dad had overheard the conversation and locked every door and window in the house to prevent me from getting out (thanks Dad!)

    The Sunday Afternoon free-for-all football matches in Hendon Park weren’t always as friendly as some have suggested . I remember one time when, following an earlier altercation, this group of yokelech from Sturgess Avenue came over the bridge on their bikes, some were Sieg-Hieling, others were carrying iron bars and sticks. The savvy adult supervisor with us on the day was a strong, portly guy and knew exactly how to deal with the situation. He just grabbed the bar which the eldest one (who was female!) was carrying and with seemingly little effort, bent it in half over his knee. After that all the underlings just turned round and fucked off back to yok central.

    As regards Hendon FC, it is now in the hands of a supporters trust, at the helm of which is an Ex-Hasmo boy who occasionally posts on here. Prior to that it was owned by the late Ivor Arbiter who lived in a space-age house in Tenterden Gardens. I once had diarrhea and got caught short as I was passing his front garden. Sorry Ivor!

  29. Did you used to race Alsations, Terry? Actually, I can picture you doing that far more easily than greyhounds!

    Talking of caretakers, no mention yet of Angelo Balducci, the former guardian of Raleigh Close. As kids, we were convinced that he was moonlighting from his real job . . . as “Odd Job”! Lovely bloke.

    Re nastiness in Hendon’s parks, I recall my aunt once having to rescue us from yobs in Malcolm Park – at the bottom of the “Edgeworth Estate” – broomstick in hand!

    Terry, are you sure it is the same Simon Lawrence who posts here? I didn’t know he was a Hasmo boy.

  30. I remember Angelo too. He always carried an unfeasibly large collection of keys with him everywhere.

    Angelo’s counterpart at Hendon Adath was part-time copper Dennis Deemer, who once bust my lip open when I was about eight (!) years old, after taking a completely innocuous comment the wrong way. What a big man!

    BTW Mike, I was also once party to some bovver with ruffians in Malcolm Park, but I’d best tell you about that one offline for fear of embarrasing others.

    Definitely the same Simon Lawrence.

  31. moshe shatzkes

    hi mike and terry,

    regarding angelo at raleigh close, the amazing thing about his enormous set of keys was that he was able to pick the correct key out for any lock instantly just by looking at them. the man was a genius!

    the other thing not mentioned yet is that the pillar of fire site has been bought by some local yidden and turned into some sort of simcha venue, next time your are in town mike, maybe you could host a hasmo reunion there with OYB as the guest of honour!

  32. Ellis Feigenbaum

    My parents had the foresight to move away from Hendon before it became to frum and from Edgware before the same thing happened there.
    My father also had the foresight to depart Israel before that became to frum. Now he is either with God or at the great kalookie club in the sky, neither of which is probably overly frum.
    But I digress, my most early formative years were spent in Hendon in a a flat at 5ways corner, pre m1 flyover, we used to daven in a hut at Wingate football stadium, a small shteibl under the auspices of one Reb Mordche undoubtedly a gadol hador and a greesse lamdan zt’l and the occasional presence of one Frankie Vaughn who did a rare maftir. Now given the amount of praying that was done in the aforementioned hut it always amazed me that Wingate FC never managed to get promoted to any heights of glory , we had no great aspirations but never being better than Acrrington Stanley is a bit much.

  33. Mike "Ivor" Braff

    Hi Graham Summers how are you mate? Is that Danny Landau of our year, who when playing football used to bounce it up to 3 times and then hook it up in the air, as if he was aiming at aeroplanes? A very novel way of playing the “bootiful game”.
    Although we were members of Finchley shool, I used to frequent the social club at Raleigh Close on a Sunday night in the mid 70s, telling my parents we were playing table tennis and the like, when we were listening to Deep Purple and all the heavy rock. I remember we occasionally use to play spin the bottle behind the shool wall…yeh Raleigh was always more progressive.
    The 5 shops named “George” were owned by a Hungarian and his wife. He of the thick white hair and his Mrs. with the hair net.
    We were avid autograph hunters and always use to show up at the Hendon Hall Hotel on the eve of the big games.
    I´ll always remember one Saturday morning looking out of the window at home (Tenterden Gdns) and who’s walking past is Billy Bremner, yeh the copper haired fiery no 4.
    Hi to Jonny Friend, thanks for updating me on Happy’s surname….if memory serves me correctly his older brother had put him in the retirement home at the bottom of Parson St.
    One more thing..Does anyone remember Westhorpe the haunted house in Tenterden Grove?
    Ah just a trivia question on Hendon: Who are the only brothers who have played for England`s football and cricket teams? And for an extra point what primary school in Hendon did they attend?

  34. “King” Billy z”l?! In Tenterden Gardens?! Pull the other one!

  35. Mike "Ivor" Braff

    Straight up I guess it must have been 1970 when the blues battled with our ugly cousins from Leeds.The walk from Hendon Hall,cross Parsons St into the Grove and there you are.Aperfect 10 minute stroll to stretch your legs prior to a Cup Final.
    King Billy in NW4,in the heartland!

  36. Billy Bremner would have been in the vicinity with the Scotland team (not necessarily Leeds), which played England every year in those days (alternate years home or away) in what was called (I think) the Home Countries tournament, being England, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland. It was great fun, and generated a lot of jingoistic heat in the papers.

  37. Mike your trivia Q is surely the late great

    Denis Compton of Arsenal & Middx and Alexandra Rd – Bell Lane school though it was in Lower Fosters

  38. Mike "Ivor" Braff

    Ex hasmo on the money spot on.

  39. I guess though techncally his brother Leslie Compton would be correct aswell

  40. Mike "Ivor" Braff

    Being of a curious mind ex Hasmo,are you ever going to reveal your identity.Possibly a clue in your next comment.
    I have a sneaky feeling as you were not only aware of the names and details of the Compton bros but also where the old Bell Lane was situated you could be Cyril in disguise!

  41. Anthony "Tiddles" Davidson

    And, Nussi, opposite the Quadrant was the record shop one way and Thanes the other way, no? And, the lingerie shop a little further down.

    Graham Summers mate, last time I spoke to you was Tikun Lail Shavuos outside the Adas. How’s Marilyn? More importantly how’s Hendon Adas? Do you think I can ever visit there, having been asked to leave one Purim morning many years ago?

    More on Hendon, I recall that the Hendon Park you all refer to was called Shirehall Park in my day, one and the same?

    Joe Bloomberg, see my post under the Cyril blog that references a story about you in French class.

  42. in my mid 30’s remember Cyril from his classical music “lessons” bu was never Zoche to have him for French, had Mr Tarrant untill he ot fed up, then had a Mrs Pottage the only black teacher at the time who also tuaght me Latin, not sure which language though she was qualified to teach and judging by Dr Scheiders post perhaps neither.

    As to a clue as to my identity, I would rather not give this away, though I daren’t say very few people on this blog will know who I am as only some of you I have heard in passing.

    As to my knowledge of both the Comptons, Arsenal fan and whereabouts of the old Bell Lane school, enjoy my local history and resident in Hendon for a dozen years.

  43. Hello Ivor “Mike”, yes it’s me, been a long time, nice to hear from you.

    3 things I remember about you :-

    1. Being involved in the only stabbing incident at Hasmo Primary ever.

    2. Being beaten up by Yigal Calek.

    3. As class photo was taken, you were holding on to your cappel as it fell off. Mrs Ungar was not happy. I still have the photo.

    Do you remember any of these ?

  44. Mike "Ivor" Braff

    Hi Danny,great to hear from you too.
    OK lets put the record straight.
    1)Th e stabbing incident you refer to,which if my memory serves me correctly,happenned outside the main hall/dining area.The two individuals involved(I will only insert initials,as I cannot remember the victim from the thug)were LM & RL.I can only presume they were arguing over more mashed potatoes.Why you would believe I was involved,makes me wonder.
    2 This situation with the asshole Calek was very disturbing.I believe there were 4 of us(all approx 9 years old)who formed an anti Calek association.He got wind of this and beat us up individually.How a religious studies teacher who was in his 40´s felt abot this god only knows.In this day and age he would be dragged up to court and probably banned from teaching.How dare he channel his anger towards children .If the sensitive and caring Nick Kopaloff is reading this,I would like to hear your comments.
    3 My head never naturally accepted the knitted couple and always felt more comfortable in my hand.
    I hope the above clears up a few points which have been troubling you for the past 35 years or so.
    All the best mate

  45. Jaicky Tammam

    Have to say that despite many good memories, no desire to ever move back, having been gone 22 years. Visited many times, and always good for a fish and chips, which you cannot seem to get over here.
    What about the youth service at Raleigh close. I cannot remember if I had stopped going when my dad got involved, but I think a number of you were there during his tenure.
    Mike – I think my parents are not far from your mum in Netanya?
    Will be in London next Shabbat at my sisters.

  46. Originally hailing from the same part of Hendon as you Mike, the links to the Hendon history piece were a real trip down memory lane. Oh the Burroughs – haven’t been there in decades, but I was always fond of it – it had a certain air of being in the country, despite being in the middle of suburbia and just a stone’s throw from the noise and traffic of Hendon Way. It was my route many a morning on the way to school in Parsons St.
    You are just that bit too young to remember Mr. Kaplan’s predecessor – Mr. Graber (when I was a child the shop was called Graber’s, Mr. Graber being an associate of my late grandfather, and if I’m not mistaken a fellow Galicianer). In fact, Vivian Avenue was once well serviced by Jewish shops, with Graber’s / Kaplan’s, Grodzinski, Leslie Mann the butcher as well, not to mention shops whose proprietors were not Jewish but devotedly served the local population, such as Kehoe the shoe repair, a gift shop, post office, and TV-rental store where certain ex-Hasmo boys could be seen watching the football on a Shabbat afternoon outside the shop window. In those days, Brent Street was a poor competitor.
    Despite growing up and spending a happy childhood in the Vivian Avenue / Hendon Central area, my visits to London now almost never take me to those parts, and truth be told I can’t say I miss them. The nearest I get is the other side of Hendon Central, to the streets around Raleigh Close, which now seem to be populated by many of my contemporaries who remained in England.
    In fact, I can only think of one family that we/my parents were friendly with from the Vivian Avenue / Edgeworth vicinity who are still there. The others have all moved away, many to Israel, and those still in NW London are in the Shirehall area, or that up-market extension of Bnei Brak commonly known as Golders Green.
    Does anyone know – are there still any Orthodox Jewish families in our former neck of the woods? If not the Jewish shops must also have all gone. Nostalgia indeed.

  47. Hi MK,

    Interesting to think back to those Cup Final gatherings on Vivian Avenue (DER?) and Brent Street (Granada?), and how times have changed. There has been a definite shift to the right, and I don’t think they would take place today.

    Our late grandfather was fairly typical of the Galicianer – or at least the United Synagogue one – who attempted to blend frumkeit with modern life in the UK (either that, or he just didn’t want to miss World of Sport [he loved the wrestling], Jim’ll Fix It, and The Generation Game!)

    And whenever any of his grandchildren would display fundamentalist tendencies (he was always quite safe with me), grandad would “out” the very frummest members of our shul who used to come round on Cup Final afternoon to enjoy the benefits of his “Shabbes clock”!

    Again, maybe just nostalgia, but those seemed better, healthier times . . .

  48. MK,

    Indeed Vivian Avenue has changed, no longer any of the shops you mention are there, however David’ Kedassia Baker, Just Kosher Grocers and Kavana Curry House all takepride of place along this stretch. Alas you are correct the demographic shoft of the Jewish population has swung to the other side of Brent Street, however a few frum families remain on the West side of the A41, a few Aish Rabbi’s with their Beis HaMedresh and the corner of Graham Rd,a few families next too the Texaco garage on the A41 services by the Hendon Beis HaMedresh belonging the the Federation. On Shabbos you can also pick a handful of streimelach making there way down Vivian Ave from the Shuls in Brent Street. The last time I walked down there on a Shabbos must have been a good year ago as I was attending a Barmitzvah just outstide the “area” you sought of reached the end of Vivian Ave where it meets Station Rd and with the exception of the stray Mezuzah here and there you acknowledged it was “Jew Free Zone”, as the bridge over the M1 on Park Rd used to announce for years.

    Though on the Edgware Rd oppisite Cool Oak Lane, leading down to Kingsbury , is a new popular Kosher Tandoori Take Away called Moses Tandoori.

  49. Streimels in Vivian Avenue and an Aish BM in Graham Rd. – my goodness, I really wouldn’t recognize the place. Many moons ago there were only 2 bestreimeled rabbis in all of Hendon – in Green Lane and Finchley Lane.

  50. You must be thinking of Rav Rosenberg on Green Lane who was a Gerrer Chosid and nifter many years a go and the other also a Gerrer Chosid on Finchley Lane was Rabbi Liberman, he was niftar in Eretz Yisroel about 4 months ago, he was a leading light in pre modern Kiruv activity and had a na ssociation with HAsmo.

    Today, Reb Chunna Halpern of Golders Green son Reb Duvid has a beis Hamedresh in Hendon, which attracts many local Chassidim, as does Reb Moshe Markovitz minyan on West Avenue. On the border of Golders Green and Hendon the Sadigura Rov has a minyan (he is the son of the Rebbe in Israel) and there too some walk over from Hendon.

    I daren’t say Hendon has changed a lot, but then again so has the whole demagraphics of UK Jews, Golders Green and Hendon are at a stage that Stamford Hill was at 30 years ago and eventually we will see GG & H turn into a SH.

    A new shul opens on average every few months and they do not seem to be detracting from the exisiting ones.

  51. ex hasmo, if – as you have claimed on this blog – you have an A Level in English, then I am the bleeding Melchetter Rebbe!

  52. not everyone with Smicha deserves to be called Rabbi, likewise not all those who have passed A Level deserved it.

    Though Melchette Rebbe has a wonderful ring to it and I guess your blogs could be your Rebbishe Torah’s.

  53. You wouldn’t get asylum with your English, ex hasmo . . . never mind an A Level!

  54. …I’m not so sure. Ex-Hasmo’s level of literacy would appear to be about on a par with that of Gordon Brown judging by today’s news and it didn’t do HIS career any harm.

  55. i disagree, it woyuld get me assylum, a house a car and benefits for life.

  56. graham summers

    afternoon all…

    hello Mike. Hope all’s well.

    Don’t think we’ve chatted for years so its nice to do so through this site. So sorry for Jonathan’s passing ( I DID send yr mum a card at the time and asked her to pass my wishes to you ), and condolences for yr father too….A real gentleman.
    I remember the fun days @ Tenterden and some girl we used to tease Jonny about – Karen Stallion ?
    nisht a yiddeshe name i suspect ?
    I was also so saddened to hear about his friend AT…another shock 😦
    Danny’s class photo story made me chuckle esp. as I have a Bar Mitzvah pic with you assuming the same pose….same kappel too I suspect !!
    I was just txting DL that I recall the incident with RL and LM ( RIP) like it was yesterday.
    Also re the YC story…didn’t yr mother turn up for some reason, and seeing you crying, get him sacked that very afternoon ?
    If you’re even in London PLS be in touch…we can go out for a meal. I guess you still follow the blues…remember their anthem ‘ blue is the colour’ – we changed it to maroon is the colour, hasmo is the name etc. HAPPY DAYS.

    Anyway back to Hendon of the 70’s just a few shops that come to mind from mainly Hendon Central and Brent St ( ‘The Bell’ end !)

    so, who remembers ?

    The Bell area

    Panzers delicatessen in Bell lane ( appropriate name as the guy WAS a German !)
    C&A fish bar….see other blog for famous incident with AW and myself !
    Fruit shop where (roughly) Sharons is now – run by two Indian blokes one of whom had a quasimodo like appearance.
    Walters shoe repairers ( sign still up !)
    The barber in bell lane now a ladies salon…
    The kosher section at the back of Tesco where the guy would slice blooms salami !!

    Vivian Ave area.

    As well as Grabers/kaplans there was Martins across the road…
    Jonny Friend….did you ever marry either of Mr Kaplan’s beautiful daughter’s ? !!
    the Pesach section at the back of Kaplans that sold the same stuff but had a ‘kosher for passover’ label stuck on ( he had a big box of these under the counter !)
    The second hand shop on the hendon way that sold a load of ( seemingly) knocked off stereos, cameras etc. I bought a guitar there !
    the sports shop at the very beginning of queens rd where you came out of the station by the side stairs !
    w h smith ( now nat west bank )
    lloyds bank
    FHW shoe shop
    Robotkin the butcher
    the barber shop a few doors down from the cinema that was a shrine to Bruce Lee
    I think the sweet shop next to the cinema has already been mentioned but no one has mentioned how hideous the two/three ? indian sisters were in there…
    various ‘health studios’ in vivian ave that we were too young to realise what was really going on inside…
    the petrol station at the very beginning of the Hendon Way just past the subway
    and best of all –
    the Grodz at the very end of VA ( station rd end)

    btw…I am still waiting a job offer from Noam Gottesman. If you happen to be reading this…… Mr Gottesman, sir..

  57. Graham, that’s defamatory! I think one of them used to work at the makeup counter in Fenwicks in Brent Cross, possibly modelling the “before” side of things. I am pretty sure that kosher for passover items in that shop included things in breadcrumbs.

    The dodgy second hand shop in Watford Way was The Bargain Centre, occasionally they had some bargains in their record racks but the beginning of the end was when one of the blokes there srated taping albums onto C90 cassettes and sold them for a couple of quid.

    The sports shop was, I think, Whittakers. I remember buying a tracksuit in during that short period in my life when I thought that running for fun was a good thing.

    Battys – great when I was younger, they sold “ex-Wimbledon” tennis balls for pennies, just the thing for back-garden Ashes series.

    There was also a leather goods shop down the road from Kaplans that had two girls working there, possibly sisters, one of whom always had a cold.

    And Houndsoms, the electrical shop where they used to stick records in the bargain bin if they hadn’t sold within about five minutes of getting them in stock. I supplemented my meagre student grant by buying albums from there and taking them down to Honest Jon’s in Camden Town and flogging them for a few quid more.

    Last, and by no means least, Nova Guitar Centre in Watford Way, where I spent many hours, and a chunk of the aforementioned student grant. The old guy who owned it was alovely chap, unlike the monosyllabic grunts you get in music shops these days.

    This is beginning to sound like the Four Yorkshiremen sketch…

  58. No-one’s mentioned the bike shop in the parade of shopfronts underneath the council highrise block at the top of Bell Lane, how many Hasmo boys drooled over the Sun Solos and Grifters there, when did that disappear?

    Also there was a petshop in that parade at one time, with a parrot that would whistle and shout obscenities as you walked in.

  59. Roberg used to call it:
    “Theven upto Eleven”

  60. Simon Lawrence

    Definitely the same Simon Lawrence who is both an ex-Hasmo and one of the few saddos who follow Hendon FC.

    Micky B – nice to hear your “voice” again. Enjoyed my time with you at West Coast Armadillos. So sorry to hear about Jonny. I knew he’d been ill but I had no idea that he had passed away.

    Jon F – one of the saddos who used to watch Hendon FC. Some very good times on some manky old coaches. Nice to hear your “voice” too.

    Coming from Neasden, I have very few memories of Hendon (as someone else mentioned, Hendon FC actually played in Cricklewood). All I ever got to see was what was visible from the top deck of the 240 from Golders Green. Even so, I find myself unconditionally nostalgic of everything that everyone has mentioned. Happy days.

  61. In the 1970s there was an Argos on the Watford Way (where the International Grocery Store currently stands).

    Battys was an institution, serving generations of Hendonians. I last visited the store in the late 1980s and it must have closed down shortly after. I remember the old lady who worked (probably owned) the store and I also remember walking past the wire baskets filled with Tennis Balls, but never thought to buy a piece of Wimbledon history. I am reminded of my Grandfather’s brother, who being a friend of Babe Ruths, was able to obtain autographed baseballs for all of his friends/neighbours but never thought to keep one for himself.

    For a brief time in the early 1970s there was a Kosher Butchers on the corner of the Watford Way (Vivian Ave side). My only memory of this shop was that whenever I walked past with my mother, it was hard not to miss a major row taking place between the two butchers, who were brandishing butchers knives. Scary stuff for a 7 year old to witness !

    There was an Old Fashioned Sweet Shop on the Burroughs (opposite the White Bear), and the Newsagent opposite Hendon Library which made a small fortune during the Summer Revision period.

    What about Murrays Cards (which sold collectable Cigarette Cards) – it is still on the Watford Way. There is also “Memories” on Brent Street which has a large collection of old photographs of Hendon and surrounding areas.

  62. Hi Simon, do the words “old Bill” still cause a shiver down the spine? I was wondering the other day what became of some of the other Hendon regulars of the time (except for Bucket, the Hugh McIlvanney of Claremont Road).

  63. Mike "Ivor" Braff

    Hi Graham, thank you for your kind words. Mum did pass the message on and I was extremely grateful to hear from an old mate. Karen Stallion…wow your memory is in fine shape…have you taken an overdose of ginko! Look forward to meeting up. If you ever fancy coming to Barca let me know and I´ll introduce you to the next generation of Braff`s.
    Adios amigo.
    Shnorra, I havn´t seen you since I collected the Golden Boot in the season 82-83. OK it may have been a pint at the Orange Tree. How are you? Send my regards to your brother…what a fan, every Sunday running the line, chanting come on Mickey..a true footie fan. I used to occasionally turn up @ Claremont Rd, but the real fan was Jon. He was part of the terrace lads and I remember he always enjoyed the banter and the comraderie of it. All the best mate.
    Another iconic shop along the Burroughs was Joseph & Taylor. I remember the day before returning to school after the long summer hols, J&T were always packed.
    Jonny Friend, I remember Happy Yappy (Mr.Bartletts) famous double. The 2 horses were called Hobo & Turbo.
    Does anyone remember the army surplus store on Hendon Way? I remember choosing an army jkt there in about 74/75 and my Mother refusing to buy it, as she believed somebody had died in it.
    Its all getting too emotional for me!

  64. Alison Mays-Barnett

    Graham, WHO, MAY I ASK, is this Karen Stallon character exactly?!


  65. Hi Simon,

    I am honoured to have a Hendon FC legend – which you are , in your own way – on melchett mike. Respect for your selfless efforts for a local institution important to so many.

    Having said that, you were a right unfriendly bastard at Claremont Road! I was very part-time – if only because I rarely succeeded in persuading friends to come to games! – and, when I did turn up, always tried to pick your knowledge to find out what was going on (vis a vis team selection, recent performances, the sale of the ground, etc) . . . but it was like trying to get blood out of a bleeding stone! You probably resented “part-timers” like me. Anyway, I forgive you. 😉

    Luckily for me you had a nice mate – tall bloke, lives in HGS I think, worked in radio (Richard?) – who always used to fill me in. Say “hi”.

    I miss my half-time tea and Kit Kat in the freezing cold at Claremont Road. Funny the silly things you miss, being here!



  66. Jon – I hadn’t thought of “Old Bill” for a long while and, now that you’ve reminded me, I probably won’t sleep for a week. He was a seriously nasty piece of work. I haven’t seen him for about 20 years. Most of the regulars back then are irregulars now, sadly.

    Micky – I’m fine thanks and so is Jeremy. I’m still playing (in the Maccabi Masters League) and loving every minute of it. One or two other Armadillos still around too and it’s always nice when our paths cross. Will be in Israel on a Masters Tour next week and one of the tour matches is against an expat GB side – hoping to catch up with a few old footballing friends and foes then.

    Mike – apologies if I was unfriendly. It wouldn’t have been personal. I’ll speak to anyone and everyone about the situation at HFC in the hope that, once they know the extent of the threat to the club’s future, they might feel inclined to support us in some way (after all, for locals Hendon is everyone’s second team). I prefer to watch the game when it’s on though (that’s the real reason for being there) and to speak to people before, at half-time or afterwards. Having said that, I do feel a degree of resentment towards part-timers who don’t do anything to support the club so there might be something in that. Either way, I thank you for your forgiveness 😉

    Incidentally, at the risk of turning this into an advert, if anyone would like to know more about the future of Hendon FC, drop me a line at simon.hendon@btinternet.com

  67. great story concerning Angelo the old RC shul caretaker.
    a few friends were sitting around keeping a bottle of Talisker company, when Angelo wanders in with a surprised look and ‘ whatsa going on ‘ !! ( his cue to nick some of our food drink etc )
    Anyway he was bemoaning his oncoming retirement and we then suggest he should go into the ‘ collection’ business on account of his’ odd-job’ stature.
    his command of the English Language not too great, he misunderstands this and thinks we’re arranging a whip round for him….
    Priceless moment !!

  68. graham summers

    I suspect the next comment will be from Alison Mays-Barnett …whoever this joker is !

    ” Graham, WHO, MAY I ASK…..is this Angelo character exactly ”

    Shame…coz the real Alison Barnett wherever she’s ended up, was, as I said, very nice indeed !!!

    Shabbat Shalom

  69. Tuvia "Tubby" Mays

    Someone having a laugh at my Sheila’s expense?

  70. Great blog again Mike. Many fond memories of Monday night football matches at the top of the park by the old cinema there. Warm summer evenings, jumpers for goalposts, avoiding slide tackles at the points where you’d previously sussed pre laid dog cable, and an entire summer to look forward of rather over enthusiastic Eric Elbaz dives.

  71. “Hmmm . . . Elll-baz.”

    Good to hear from you Leigh. Are you still in touch with those “wretches”?!

  72. George (Happy) Bartlet, was born and brought up in Fuller street, used to have a cobblers shop in church road for many years, his brother had the key shop a few doors away, Happy then worked for the council looking after the parks and gardens, he was a great character, have fond memories of him. I’m in my early 60s so remember him very well

  73. Henry Sudwarts

    A couple of corrections. I am an old Hendonian born and bred and although I left in the late sixties, occasionally return to the ghetto as I still have family members there. I started schooling at the Hasmonean Primary School in Shirehall Lane in 1947 and all the way through the Grammar School, leaving in 1961.

    The old Classic cinema was just off Brent Street, right behind Sentinal Square. Its movies were “art house” adult movies for over sixteens only. It just need a cigarette in your mouth and a bold swagger to get tickets, even if you were a couple of years under age.

    The cinema at Hendon Central was the Gaumont and the one at the Quadrant was the Odeon. Hendon Central was a pretty nice shopping area until the roundabout at the junction of Hendon Way with Vivian Avenue/Queens Road was replaced by traffic lights. The huge increase of traffic down thw Watford Way and the Hendon Way, effectively ruined the shopping experience and the final death knell arrived with the Brent Cross Mall.

    Robotkin the Butcher was at the top of of Bell Lane on the right just before the junction with Brent Street.

    The Hendon Hall Hotel was indeed the favoured lodging of the England footbal team. Back in 1957, I popped in on my way home from Hasmonean to get some autographs. Billy Wright (captain of England and Wolves), Duncan Edwards (Man U) killed in the Munich air crash of 1958 were among my collection.

    On my rare trip back to the shtetl, I am always surprised at how small it seems. Everything is so much closer than I remember as a child.

    Although I have no desire to ever live in Hendon again, my post-war childhood was a happy one, although always shadowed by the holocaust experiences of my parents. I, too spent days at the Library at the Burroughs, swotting for my ‘O’s and ‘A’s although some years before most of you guys.

    Back in the sixties, there was even a dairy farm behind the Hendon Tech (now Middlesex University) with real cows. My parent’s house in Greyhound Hill backed onto the field and I could see the cows from my bedroom window.

    I, too, remember the shul in the hut at Wingate Stadium, which I attended with my parents in the early sixties.

    1967 saw me in Israel – but that is whole new chapter in my life!

  74. Danny Landau

    Quite fascinating, especially as I have spotted only one kipa in all the photos ! How did the wretches get away with that !?

  75. Henry Sudwarts

    I remember both those events. The sports day was around 1953 or 54. You can see Rabbi Schonfeld, briefly sitting on the front row of the stadium. Yes we did have mixed sports days in those far off days.

    The driving lesson was in the school playground, long before the shul was built. I am one of those eager young lads. So too is my old friend Ron Green, who now lives in Ramat Hasharon. I wish I could remember the name of the driving instructor. Ex-policeman and around 6′ 4″ tall. From memory the boy being instructed is Sam Deutsch. Maybe someone else can confirm.

    Hard to believe more than half a century has passed since then

  76. A bit late with this…but Karen Stallion i believe also usef the name Karen Stanton. At the time friendly with Alison Palache and Alison Frankel (of Frankels NK butchers at the Quadrant)
    Mike /Ivor also really sorry about Jonny. As you may remember we grew up and went to school together from the age of 5. A lovely, gentle person with a great left foot.

  77. I used to live on the Great North Way and went to that hell hole St. Marys.

    I used to like going to The Groove Line record shop. I used to collect picture discs and used to buy a lot of the ex chart singles for just 30p. The ex chart 12″‘s were 50p. I was disappointed when it closed

  78. The Groove Line! Reading that touched what must be close to the most distant corner of my memory! Church Road? If so, I think it might still be there, though under another name.

    Thanks, Graham.

  79. Thanks for response.

    It was Brent Street. It was near Wimpy which changed to Star Burger. Not sure if that is there anymore either.

    I was still at school when The Groove Line closed. Must have been around 1985/1986.


  80. Richard Burns

    Lads of Hasmo,

    There are beautiful, unexpected moments on the internet. What I was searching for is irrelevant once I popped onto this blog site and followed the trace. What a wonderful trip down memory lane –and clearly some of your memories are extremely (a)cute.

    Graham Summers, forget that Ally woman in Australia. While the thought might put you into therapy, it was your sister Marilyn who was the pin-up of the youth service. In one of those odd ships in the night moments, she very graciously turned up on the last day of the shiva for my father Henry Burns (a full time character in the pantheon of Raleigh Close greats), but it was just at the time that I “got up”. I never had a chance to thank her. Should you ever return to this site — since I see a lot of the correspondence was at the end of last year — please pass that one.

    Next, to Mike who remembers his tea and Kit-kat at Claremont Road, we actually preferred what we called “tea and a haircut”. The cafe at the ground served a shaved coconut bun where the shavings looked to us like a mop of hair waiting to be shorn. (Btw, in the trip down Vivian Avenue, has anyone remembered the hairdresser on the lower part near Graber’s and where Danny’s Cameli ended up? First time I saw a condom.)

    On references to “Cyril”, I only know him as Mr Bloomberg. Joseph I was very fond of but it was Stephen I was closer to. Although knowing how frum he became, my guess is that it was because we were at St. Mary’s together — along with so many other Jews that the notion that this was a “Church of England” school was a bit of a farce.

    I could go on and on, with a shop by shop view of Vivian Ave (I lived in Foscote Road), Angelo stories (I think my pinkie remains crushed through one of his fearsome handshakes), Steinhartisms, Hendon FC memories (I actually played that field in a memorial game – highlight of my soccer career). But for now just a big thank you for giving me a grin today on this lovely New York City morning……

  81. Thanks Graham for pointing out the last posting…Richard Burns and Ralph Brill from Cheder, Mrs Marmostein and my best friend Alexa Bloch. Those were the days….My boys find it hilarious when ever so often someone (male) pops up from the ‘old days’ and says they remember me when……who knew, Richard? Thanks and all best wishes you and your sis Suzy.

    Graham, you are forgetting Pava the fabulous Art shop on the same side as Battys and the little watchmakers, not forgetting Daniels estate agent. There was also Stead and Simpson further up by Woolworths. Remember the £5 Mummy used to give us to do the weekly shop in Pay and Take, when a Mars a day cost 4d. Ah Hendon, how you’ve changed………………..

  82. Oh, Marilyn! Is it hard for the boys to acknowledge that someone used to fancy their mum?! How old? I am now dad to a ten year old boy (Henry, named after his deceased grandfather) and a one month old girl Stella.

    In the strange but true department, I went in to Lennox Hill Hospital last week for a minor procedure (age takes its toll). I woke up to a nurse speaking in English. Half-groggy but chatted with her. Turns out she’s Leslie Mann’s sister-in-law. Grew up on Shirehall Lane or some road on the other side of Brent Street that folks on the Vivian Avenue tributary rivers like Foscote Road rarely ventured over to. Somewhere higher up in this uber-blog some guy was referring to fights he saw through the window at a kosher butcher’s near Hendon Central. This was nothing compared to the daily dramas at Leslie Mann’s. The first question there was always whether the meat was actually kosher or “kosher”. The second was whether his son Dennis was Jewish. The third was whether his scales were actually calibrated to tell the truth. The fourth was his clear favoritism…etc etc.

    Between that chance encounter and Mike’s website, this must be a divine sign of some sort with a huge signpost pointing to HENDON….

  83. Sorry boys for involving you in this nostalgic visit to Hendon circa 70’s when people really knew how to enjoy themselves. Happy days indeed reciting the Prayer for the Queen at the children’s service every Shabbos morning while Joel Portnoy sang his heart out.
    Richard, are you writing copy for same ad agency a la Stirling Cooper Draper Price on Madison Avenue? Very entertaining.
    My boys are 24 and 21 and the girls, 22 and 17. They often ask rather churlishly how we occupied our hours in the days before technology addled our brains and desensitized us to the art of real communication. The answer often wistfully alludes to Raleigh Close …..

  84. Richard Burns

    How old?! Whoa. Impossible, Marilyn.
    I actually work at Steinhart, Korn & Berniger — and twice on Sundays.
    Read another part of this site on the marvels of Kol Nidre and wrote a couple of other paragraphs…..

  85. Thanks for the mention Mara! Ah Hendon…having left it 25 years ago for sunny Raanana, I’m somewhat out of the loop…every time I go back, there seems to be more cars on Brent Street, more ridiculously expensive kosher restaurants..but I still love the warm red brick houses, the greenery and general quaintness of Hendon! Very fond memories too of Raleigh Close – my Mum Shirley is still a big macher! – and yes I too get chills thinking of Rev Korn singing S’u Shearim on Succot – it has NEVER been improved upon!

    Other memories – cheder with Mrs Warhavtig – Colin and Trevor Fuchs – whatever happened to them?? Bnei Akiva on shabbat afternoon, Simchat Torah and kiddush in the Aviva Hardman Hall, the drama group with Ricky someone or other…

    Probably my most vivid memory is Simon Kanter running into the Youth Service on Yom Kippur of 1973 announcing that Israel was at war….lots of memories….

  86. Welcome to melchett mike, Richard (and, indeed, Marilyn and Alexa). It is always nice having new folk discover the blog, especially those whom it really touches.

    I remember a “Mr. Burns” very well, and believe his name to have been Henry. A really nice bloke. For some reason, trying to picture him now, I have an image of a tall, Jewish Stuart Hall! Do you have a much younger sister, Richard?

  87. Good one on both points, Mike. My father’s name is Henry Burns, although he passed away more than a decade ago as quite a young man. I have two sisters, the Suzy referred to earlier by Marilyn who was a couple of years younger and a much younger sister Alyson, who Joe referred to in the other strand, known to many as a teacher of their kids and grandkids in the North London Jewish school system. In those days, of course, years meant a difference and you didn’t have fourth formers mixing with sixth formers. Obviously I am somewhere in between you and your brother. I think you’ve really hit a nerve here on a kinder and gentler time for so many of us and I really thank you for that. I have kept my mails open to these strands to see who else chips in…As I said earlier, I have never been to a William Ellis School, Oxford, Columbia University or any number of other potential reunions, but I would get on my bike for a Raleigh Close retrospective.

  88. I have just left a response on “When Kol Nidrei really was….” that was probably more relevant to this chat re Hendon. Does not really matter but the point of this one is to share my surprise at the lack of anyone mentioning the finest shop in all of Hendon….Whittakers sports shop….which shared a shop front with a wonderful haberdashery shop (cannot remember the name) that is now a hair replacement clinic and of course there was the Florence Lounge, not strictly kosher but great for a quick bowl of spaghetti and apple pie and custard whilst mum went shopping. By the way….Ally Barnett was the first girl I ever kissed….I think we were sat at the back of one of Mrs Summer’s classes aged 7 or 8.

  89. Changing times!
    Just came across this: http://www.thepillarhotellondon.com/Default.aspx
    Can’t possibly remember the number of times I walked pass this building on my way to shul, friends, etc. – it always had an aura of mystery, maybe it was the heavy Christian imagery on the outside.
    Different imagery now 🙂

  90. Before my time, but for those who remember Hendon in the 50’s-60’s:


  91. michael perrin

    Although not Jewish myself,can I say how much I have enjoyed the nostalgia on this site. I was born in 1947 and lived at 26 bell lane in between the arch and the barbers. My mother worked at Kurzons deli. I also worked there as a 14 year old boy,delivering on a bike with a basket on the front.I also worked at Robotkins part time when I was 18 delivering in their van. My gran used to be the cashier at the Classic cinema. How Hendon has changed now.I only got on this site as I googled in Happy Bartlett. I can remember when Hendon where in the amateur cup final at Wembley. Happy went in a green and white suit + top hat and never saw any of the game as he was arrested for running on the pitch. I remember the football games in Hendon park. I was one of the opposition.I moved from hendon 30 years ago and been back a few times but I would never move back there again.

  92. Good to have you on melchett mike, Michael.

    As for “never mov[ing] back there again,” I am with you on that one! But not a bad old place to grow up.

    Where are you now?

  93. The sports shop at the end of Queens Road was called Whittakers.

    Also I can’t believe someone has mentioned Mrs Warhavtig at Cheder – I have sometimes wondered if she was someone I made up! She told us to always kiss bread before throwing it away (I still do!) and she said it was a disgrace for aeroplanes to fly over the shul on Shabbas.

  94. In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Earth was destroyed by aliens to make way for an intergalactic superhighway.

    Anyone growing up in NW4 in the sixties and seventies could be forgiven for suspecting that The Guide (Adams not Maimonides) was a satire on Hendon.

    I learned to ride a bike on the picturesque, cherry tree-lined cinder slip-road of the Great North Way. Then, one bright morning Comrade Wilson and his Socialist Workers’ Government decided, in good Sino- Soviet fashion, to ram the M1 into Five Ways Corner and beyond while turning the Great North Way, Watford Way, Hendon Way and North Circular Road into Baby Motorways to carry Britain’s traffic to the centre of the Metropolis.

    Almost overnight, Hendon ceased to exist as a pretty, leafy place that people, like Bill Sykes in the Dickens version of Lionel Bart’s Classic Oliver! , went TO and it became a place people simply went THROUGH, blowing carbon monoxide and annihilating every living thing in their path. To the best of my knowledge the signposts at Junction 2 of the M1 do not even mention Hendon.

    Unbelievably, Hendon has suffered the same fate as the Balham of the 1950’s immortalized by Peter Sellers:

    “The town is spread below us in a fairyland of glittering lights, changing all the time: green… amber… red… red and amber… and back to green. The night life is awakening!”

    I will always carry fond memories of Hendon in the 1960’s. RIP

  95. A very sad time for Hendonians. Barnet Council forced the closure of Hendon Church Farm Museum last week. I for one will miss taking my children on the Teddy Bear Trail at the Museum, and I will also miss any opportunity to recapture my youth, playing with “authentic” (okay, 1960s/70s) Lego. The Curator of the Museum has been forced into retirement after 32 years of unwavering enthusiasm & dedication to his job. You can read more here: http://www.churchfarmhousemuseum.co.uk/Church%20Farmhouse%20Spring%202011%20Newsletter.pdf

    No prizes for guessing who my Mook of the Month is.

  96. Thanks for the update, Tess (I am delighted that this page now seems to serve as a focal point for such). I am ashamed to say that I never visited the Museum, nor was I ever taken there as a child (just called my mum for confirmation!)

    I don’t think it is pure nostalgia to assert that hardly any of the changes to Hendon since my childhood – I was born in ’67 – have improved the place. Call me a philistine, but the matters that most upset me were the demise of certain lovely old pubs (notably the White Bear) and of Hendon FC, which now plays its ‘home’ games in Wembley. 😦

  97. Just came across this site. My father is the legend – Moshe Steinhart and it was wonderful to read all the comments about him (and about Hendon in general).

    He is currently in the Ella & Ridley old age home in Church Road Hendon – and although he has dementia, he is still amazing and very much a character!! schmooozing with all the carers there – yes, he’s still got the ‘x’ factor!!

    I know that he still gets visitors coming to see him from Hendon Shul, as well as visiting the shul once a month for the ladies guild tea party (thanks ladies!!!) – but it would be really great if others could visit him too.

  98. Hi Bina,

    Honoured to have the son of such a legend on these humble pages . . . our childhoods would not have been a “qvarter” as memorable without him! 😉

    You may enjoy this one even more . . .


    And, who knows, perhaps melchett mike may finally do some good, if Hendon readers heed your call for more visits to your father.



  99. Bina Benezra

    Hi Mike

    An honour to speak to you (you can see who I take after….).

    Thanks for your kind words.

    By the way, the last time I looked, I was his daughter, not his son !!!

    Best regards


  100. Regarding these memories of Hendon, I remember a time before the ghastly Sentinel Square. A time before Woodberry Down Bakery, when that shop was owned by my aunt and uncle and was called Danescroft Bakery (they live in Danescroft, further down Brent Street) and my uncle baked all the bread, cakes and biscuits every day in the bakery at the back of the shop. The Odeon Cinema was used as the overflow for Raleigh Close on the High Holy Days. Holmes Place was the Gaumont Cinema. Hounsom, the record shop a few doors from Battys the stationer, had booths where we could go to listen to records before deciding whether or not to buy them. Lyntons, the second hand shop at the Burroughs would buy my records, books and any other junk, thus enabling me to raise extra pocket money. Boots the Chemist was next to Woolworths (later Argos) and had a library upstairs. Martins the Grocer was in Hendon Central and hadn’t yet moved round to Vivian Avenue. This was all pre-1976 when Brent Cross was built, when Hendon Central had no central barrier, so it was possible just to cross the road rather than use the dreaded underpass. The advent of all that just about killed the trade in Hendon Central. And, best of all, as youngsters in the 1950s, we were out all day during the school holidays, going to Hendon Park – or wherever – going home only for lunch. We enjoyed the freedom that children today can’t even imagine. There were no warnings about not talking to strangers; indeed, when I was eight and allowed to take a bus to Golders Green on my own, my mother told me to ask anyone to see me across a main road – imagine that happening today!

  101. I can really identify with Judy’s comment – the world was so much more civilized in our parents’ generation.

    Children could walk in the streets unmolested (but had to watch out in Church), they were polite to their elders (or else they got whacked), there were two world wars, there was a holocaust, there was a great depression, the Yanks dropped two atom bombs AND Bruce Forsyth started his career at the Windmill Theatre.

    With all due respect to Michael J Fox and his Delorean – I think I will settle for 2011 and the barriers on Hendon Way.

  102. Oh, those yob-infested underpasses (Watford Way, please, Mr. Fisher!), always stinking of piss, and through which we had to be accompanied by an adult . . . or, at the very least, which we would sprint through while the adult waited for our head to pop up on the other side. Happy days! 😉

  103. Clever Clogs – How do you know I wasn’t imagining the underpass on Hendon Way near Elliott Road, just south of Hendon Central Circus?

  104. All the shops Judy refers to on that stretch – Hounsom, Battys, Lyntons, Boots, Woolies, Argos – were on the Watford Way, so it is a common sense inference that she would not suddenly jump to “cross[ing]” the Hendon Way . . . the difference, you see, between the practical, problem-solving Solicitor on the one hand, and the tax accountant, on the other, seeking only to maximise billable hours through improbable scenarios of no value to his client!

  105. Wrong. The tax accountant trying to bluff his way out of a mistake. Never works; as Dr Johnson said in another context – “The triumph of hope over experience”.

  106. I noticed that the Pillar of Fire (we never knew quite what it was, but it was strangely frightening for a Jewish child) has now become a hotel.

  107. I hope you don’t mind me interrupting your blog, but I also stumbled across it as I googled ‘Load of Hay pub’ and it led me to here as it’s mentioned once further back.

    I’m tracing a family tree for a friend who grew up in Hendon as a surprise and his parents were landlords of the Load of Hay in Brent Street and The Bell in Bell Lane. He’s always talking about growing up in Hendon.

    He was born in 1946 so much older than the majority of you on here, but there might be someone who remembers him! His name is Michael Stevenson and he went to Park Place, a council run boarding school between the ages 0f 8-12 and then to Brent Modern.

    Shot in the dark, but you never know someone might know him or his parents. His grandparents were Joseph and Constance Winder.


    Shirley Moth

  108. “Interrupting,” Shirley?! It is hardly Machane Yehuda (main market in Jerusalem) here at the mo’ (and no comments, even, on my unknowingly chatting up a ladyboy last week!) Anyway, I love it when people just “stumble across” the blog.

    Even if you don’t get the required info (and I hope that you do), perhaps you could ask Michael (after the “surprise” of course) to comment here with his memories of the great – or, at least, better! – place that was Hendon.

    And yours is most definitely my November Comment of the Moth. 😉

  109. The Load of Hay! What wonderful memories for the Orthodox Jewish Community.

    As the local for Goodyers Gardens, the Shirehall Estate and Green Lane, The Load of Hay was the watering hole of choice for Orthodox Jewish males in the area. It was rumoured that it even upped the price of properties in Goodyers and the north side of Shirehall Lane because there were no roads to cross when Erliche Yidden rolled out at closing time on a Sunday night after knocking back one or two over the eight.

    Also, recognizing that his patrons could not partake of the Club Sandwiches on offer, the landlord generously turned a blind eye to the trilby-hatted gentlemen who would smuggle in packages of gribenes from Kayes to munch with their Real Ale while sitting in the snug vainly trying to focus on the day’s daf.

    Unfortunately I do not recollect Michael Stevenson or Park Place or Brent Modern for that matter. This may be due to the fact that I lived in North Hendon and my local was the Mill on Holders Hill Circus. But Joseph Winder might have gone to Hasmonean. (Or was that Joseph Winer?).

    I wish Michael a wonderful 65th!

  110. I thank John Fisher for his informative contribution, to which I would like to add the following . . .

    The Load of Hay, far from referring to a quantity of dried grass consumed by equine, relates rather to the loving burden borne by the “Big H” in regard to His People. According to my source, a certain P. Roberts – a local resident, it would seem – purchased the long lease of the establishment from the former lessees (who were in financial difficulties) and made it a condition of all future subleases (including, we must assume, that of the aforementioned Michael Stevenson’s parents) that the name of the pub, which Roberts had cleverly chosen, continue to refer to the eternal care and affection of the “Abishter” for His People.

    Moreover, my source further has it that the lessor was known to visit his local, via the back door of course, for late night “lock-ins”.

    As for the “trilby-hatted gentlemen” referred to by my learned contributor, I am informed that no less than Rabbi Pinchos Roberts (surely no relation to the aforementioned P. Roberts?) was known to breathalyse latecomers to shacharis at Hendon Adass with a device allegedly obtained from a “Special” former congregant owning up to the name “Berest”.

    But, then again, what do I know?!

  111. Happy Days, Mike!
    I won’t mention what happenedwhen the Neptune Sauna (Finchley Lane) was raided.
    It could result in Hendon’s first ‘super-injunction’!!

  112. Without identifying individuals, Henri, mention! Mention!

  113. Mindy Orenstein Ebrahimoff

    Hendonites. John Fisher didn’t mention a small piece of sloping ground at the lower end of Brent Street – adjacent to Goodyers Gardens. Saved from developers in 1887, Brent Green was my football ground (I lived at no. 3 Goodyers). There, under the watchful eye of David Rothstein (no. 11) I polished my tackling skills and learned to boot a penalty as far as Reb Dovid’s! Coach David then taught me to swing a bat and run hard (also on Brent Green). One fine sunny day Sinai thrashed Ezra in a cricket match in Hendon Park. The Ezra supporters and team could not find sufficient verbal abuse to voice their indignation that Sinai “used a girl” to win the match!! Danny Amini – remember?) Some years before Goodyers I lived on Rowsley Avenue, back garden neighbouring Danny Felsenstein, 2 doors away from Graham Arrad. My fondest childhood memories are of the hours I spent alone, out on my bike in Sunnyhill Park (rubber wheels, no air). Sadly, gone are those days.

  114. Mindy

    Wasn’t Brent Green the place where Ehrliche Yidden could throw up after being turfed out of the Load of Hay and before confronting their frying pan wielding wives on the doorsteps of the residences of Goodyers Gardens?

    We can discuss at dinner next Thursday night.


  115. Alexa Raine nee Bloch

    What lovely memories Mindy!! Can just imagine you playing for the team….how are you doing? Still in Hendon – or are you in Israel like us?

  116. Davina Levita-Ree

    Do religious Jews really go in for binge drinking? I always thought they were SO boring with those funny clothes and ringlets down the side of their pale, fat faces.

    BTW – Daddy had his licence revoked for three years yesterday (Driving Under the Influence) and landed a thousand pound fine for smacking the police officer (Smacking a Police Officer) . Grandma is REALLY upset with Mary Cameron for not even asking David to try and get him off – says she will tell Daddy not to invite them to Selena and my weddings (the chance would be a fine thing).

  117. Mindy Orenstein Ebrahimoff

    Alexa…..I am in Israel, Petach Tikva. Have been since ’83. Still the same size and moved on from football and cricket to marathon running. Lovely to hear from you! M

  118. philip witriol

    A propos vanished North West London drinking dens frequented by Orthodox co-religionists, see this post:
    I’m not sure how active this site is now, but it is wonderfully done.

  119. It’s rumoured that at one time in the eighties, the great – and underrated – Feargal Sharkey (sometime member of The Undertones – now one of the Uk’s leading music copyright Tsars) was a regular sight at The Load, and could drink every mainlander in the place, literally under any of the tables. And no, it wasn’t Michael Heseltine.

  120. Maybe I is bein’ a bit fick – I ain’t from a rabbinical family, innit – but I don’t get the repeated Feargal Sharkey references . . . ???

    Still, any excuse to link to the following, of which no less than John Peel z”l memorably said, “There’s nothing you could add to it or subtract from it that would improve it” (Der Stürmer article) . . .

    Anyway, Gins, shouldn’t you be on the lookout for Osher?

  121. On the lookout for? He’s currently staying with family in my road, can hardly set foot out of the house without bumping into him!

    And a gut leiv these days is shver to find….

  122. Philip Witriol

    A former Hendon pub – The Bell – which is now a shul is mentioned in this week’s London Jewish News, in the first part of Michelle Huberman’s article on London’s hidden Sephardi shuls.

    If you can’t pick up a copy, here is the (rather lethargic) link to the e-paper edition (see page 9/44): http://view.vcab.com/?vcabid=jgSgccjShajjrj%A0

  123. Not “hidden” enough, Philip, if you ask me!

    These people are living and bringing up their children – the majority of whom are marrying Ashkenazim – in England. Their activities are no less anachronistic, meaningless and lacking context, but – worst of all – divisive, than the separateness championed and perpetuated by the various sects of Hassidim.

    They should close down the lot of them – if, that is, they haven’t forgotten where they have “hidden” them – and invest the no doubt considerable proceeds in something truly essential . . . like herring and new stained glass windows in their nearest United Synagogue.

  124. Mr Witriol – Thanks to you I now have yet another answer to that ubiquitous yawn of a question “Why-did-you-come-on-Aliya?”.

    In fairness “The Jewish News”, the grubby little parochial grimesheet you so kindly introduced (some of) us to, had not yet been vomited into existence when I came to Israel back in 1988. In those days it was a straight competition between the Organ of Anglo Jewry, only worth reading for the cynical genius of the late, lamented Chaim Bermant, and the Jewish Tribune – which was not worth reading at all. (Mind you, the Yiddish bit at the back – or front, depending on your point of view – of the Jewish Tribune might be a good read for students of your late dad’s eagerly anticipated book on Mamme Loshen).

    From the 4 page wrap-around advertising section – which could have just as easily sported Lazer Woolf the butcher, Motel Kamzoil the tailor, and Tevye the milkman – to the astounding DOUBLE-SPREAD on incognito local SEPHARDIC shuls with a picture of what looked like a past-her-peak Egyptian belly dancer standing in front of a sign for that most Sephardic of culinary delights, Gefilte Fish, there was just one question ringing inside my head – Why am I reading this crap? The only satisfactory answer I could come up with was – as Magnus Magnusson used to say on Mastermind – “I’ve started, so I’ll finish”.

    I seem to remember that there was an ancient stone plaque built into the wall of the old St Mary’s C of E Primary School in Sunningfields Road – “Parochial School, Founded 1707”. That was around the time of the Salem Witch Trials. Anglo Jewry is still parochial (an early answer to “Why-did-you-come-on-Aliya?”). Isn’t it time to move on?

  125. Parochial. Now there’s a word you would never hear about Ra’anana. If you lived there, Mr. Fisher, you might wonder why you ever did come on Aliyah . . . [Affected clearing of throat]

    And glad to see there’s a consensus (if a silent one) that London’s Sephardic shuls should be closed down. Just think of all that herring . . .

  126. Ra’anana? Ra’anana? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it…and having tried it for the last 26 years I can say that things are very good here. It’s a clean beautiful city that has everything one could wish for and we live a very vibrant, authentic Jewish and Israeli life. And as far a cry from Hendon as I can imagine…you see, even though one may think we have exchanged Brent Street for Rehov Ahuza, they are a million miles apart…We live in Israel, not England – and that has made all the difference.

  127. No one’s “knock[ing]” Ra’anana, Alexa – God forbid! – but “as far a cry from Hendon as I can imagine”?! You sure?! 😉

  128. And that was a public service announcement on behalf of the Raanana Regional Tourist Board in conjunction with the Jewish Agency.

    Thank you, Alexa, for dismissing that hedonous Jaffite with such aplomb.

  129. Hedonistic perhaps?

    “to my hero, the long suffering Marks, who introduced generations of innocent sons of Volvo drivers to the joys of cynicism” (John Fisher, May 13, 2009)

    . . . if not to correct English!

    Or did you mean Hendonous?! 😉

  130. Hadi Ben-Cohen

    TO Melchatt Myke / Michael Isecson I saying only that Beit Haqenesset Sefaradi as much as Aschqenazi is bring GEOULAH in world and is fun having jokes and all intersting comments on Melchat Myke blog……… but we must never to forget wise words of hakhamim who giving us many teachings from their wisdom in this subjects –

    and those from readers who have been in CHASHMONAIM school understanding I know all these things from lofty thinkings of (among the other ones):

    HEHAKHAM D.J. Jackobsen and


    and lot of others and I sincere hoping that he and she who needing make teshouva should make teshouva and we all toghether experiance GEOULAH CHELEYMAH BIM’HEYRAH !!

    Be’ahavat akhim


  131. This is not a game of Scrabble and while “hedonous”, in the glorious company of Bleak House’s “growlery”, may not currently appear in the OED, it doubtless will.

    Marks was not my only English teacher and, as Mitch “take off your glasses” Taylor used to say: “Lovely word, doesn’t exist”.

  132. Michael Aminzadeh

    Ahalan ahalan hadi achi! Ma nishma? I remember our c group maths classes like they were yesterday. What fun! And d group english. Hilairius!!

    I know that melchett jokes about closing down all the sefardi shuls but the ashkenazis shouldnt forget that we left persia with nothing but our carpets. My parents couldnt even buy a house on brampton grove when they arrived.

    They also shouldnt forget the contrybution sefardim have made to anglo jewish life: the shawarma places, the bagel shops, and… and… the hidden sefardi shuls.

    We go to the united sinagogue now because it is close to our house on wykeham road (but brampton end). Also i like the rabbi. Very modern. He even counts us in the minyan. Baruch hashem.


  133. Hadi Ben-Cohen

    Miki Aminzade……….Miki Miki MIKIIII ! ! !

    Nice to share from good memory and I specially never forgot what you saying to Mr Jacque Urdmann when hes catch you copy maths answers !!

    How are you and whole mishpaha? I married to Raheli many year now, she laugh if I say she lovely bint and never (almost) I even lifting a hand to her becase she never (almost) burning the hamin !!

    We have some sons – Al hamdul’illah ! – but also 2 daughters : (

    YOu must come round a time – we getting out the 2-liter ARAQ bottel !!!



  134. Michael Aminzadeh

    Raheli? “Bj raheli”?! For your sake habibi i hope she has not changed! Those moroccan women. Baruch hashem.

    I married a white girl hadi. But i have been punished. She has brought me only girls. Two. Baruch hashem. And no “correctional instruction” allowed. Only extremely long discussions in which we both give our opinion… then she decides.

    Tasteless food too. And rationed. Not like where we come from achi! But i control the purse strings. There is only so far a persian man can go. Baruch hashem.

    In wykeham we are drinking only chivas regal. But take your shoes off (charlotte insists) and you are welcome any time.


    PS It is an urban myth: i never told jack to go forth and multiply… i told him to f*** “right you are boys” off!!

  135. Hadi Ben-Cohen

    Miki…..yes is “Beth Jacob Raheli”, but shes not so much on touch with High School friends now (we sending our gang to Od Yosef High).

    So you the sad Nebbisch who end up with Charlotte the Harlott !

    I sure she’s nice really…..(NOT)…. But her abba (‘Daddy”), his pocket is deep, no?

    I reminded what Hakham from my Uncle Solli’s qehilla say many times (HaRav Avrahami Bagdadi zzl)…..never bloods from nobel Sefaradi warriers with weak watery blood of AshkeNazi should mix.

    But now all the unthinkabel already happen – even head of Hasmo is sold out from fine Bombay stock!!!

    Haval !



  136. Michael Aminzadeh

    “But her abba (‘Daddy”), his pocket is deep, no?”

    Habibi, the only deep ‘pocket’ I recall is your rachelis. We called her the 747… biggest cockpit in the world!!

  137. Haddi and Michael: My Emunah is tested a schtickle when I see what two Sephardische alumnuses have to say to each other and how they use the words to say it!

    Suffice it to say that even my valuable time in the Oilom HaYeshivois after Sixth Form, didn’t prepare me for all of this.

    I’m just awaiting for Melchett Mike to bring us the first alumnus who is sephardi, gay, reform and anti-Zionist….all at once!

  138. Let them get on with it, I say, Ex Hasmo. Jolly entertaining!

    “I know that melchett jokes about closing down all the sefardi shuls . . .”

    Don’t be so sure, Michael. While my comment may have been deliberately exaggerated/provocative, I really do believe it’s about time your people woke up and smelt the gefilte fish. Especially since, as you yourself point out, the United Synagogue is generous and openminded enough to count you in a minyan.

    My ancestors clung to their Dzikówer Shtiebl for a little while (in the East End), but then realised that they weren’t in Galicia anymore.

  139. “Your people”, Mike?

    That’s how the Geordie taxi drivers used to talk to us in Gateshead days!

    What happened to Stevie Wonder and Macca…. “Ebony & Ivory/ live together in perfect harmony/ side by side on my piano keyboard, oh lord/ why can’t we ?”

  140. Dramatic effect, Dan . . . I thought you understood that now, after seeing how I made your initial draft on “Big Al” funny. 😉

    But Ebony and Ivory? That’s terrible! Almost as tasteless as Michael Aminzadeh referring to “white girls” . . .

    As for me, I don’t see colour.

  141. Hadi Ben-Cohen

    Miki A. and Dan Ginns…..not worried about Melchet Mike, I think he has “time in the month”. When Raheli has, I just woirking later in warehouse!!
    Dan… I heard your family of Rav in Neir Yisrael – he is great guy!!


  142. Hadi,

    Um. No, you haven’t got it QUITE right. Trying to think of an easy way to explain.

    Let’s just say, that if you were right, I’d be “Dan Kim.”

    But do let me know if this is still proving difficult.

    Good shabbos / shabbat shalom



  143. Strangely prescient though my last comment may seem this Monday morning, any ambitions to lead North Korea are denied.


  144. For anybody thinking of visiting the Heim, I warmly recommend a totally wysiwyg, unpretentious website “Frum London” that I was made aware of earlier this week.

    Thinking that the title was, perhaps, a play on Alvar Lidell reading the BBC news during the War: “This is the BBC World Service broadcasting frum London”, I googled the site eagerly. Greeted by the banner including a Union Jack with Tzitzis flying off the end of it, I realised I was in for a treat of another kind. Its Home Page headline read “Ask the Rabbi: Tachanun by (!!!!!-JF) a bris when Mohel leaves early”. And it was a spiralling descent from there into the parochial underworld of “Goldersgrin”.

    In fact, as I read on and got more into the spirit of things (and I strongly recommend everyone originating from northwest London “tzu geben a kook”) I couldn’t help thinking about a speech this week elsewhere in London. In fact, it was at Dickens’s bicentennial memorial service at Poets’ Corner and the speaker was the Archbishop of Canterbury:

    “It is difficult to tell the truth about human beings. Every novelist knows this in a special way, and when Dickens sets out to tell the truth about human beings, he does it outrageously by exaggeration, by caricature”.

    “The figures we remember most readily from his works are the great grotesques. We think we have never met anyone like them – and then we think again.”

    Gut Shabbes

  145. Daniel Epstein

    Hi Mike,

    A lovely update to Graham Summers’ comments on your Hendon blog post of 2009.

    Yesterday afternoon, for shabbos lunch, we had the distinct honour of hosting one young Terry Walter, former wife of Hans Walter, the shoe repair man from Brent Street.

    She now lives in Efrat and we were delighted to celebrate her 80th birthday with her. She had some interesting things to say about Hendon – not least because of her affiliation-by-marriage to the Hendon Adass (her husband, a “Cologne-ial” by all accounts, was practically royalty in the Yekische men’s club). I rather believe that she would have felt more at home under the kind wing of Mr. Moishe Steinhart, especially as she was born in Hackney, and then moved uptown to Stepney – hoiche fenster all the way – just a stone’s throw from Moishe’s stomping ground of Upper Clapton.

    Anyway, she is doing well, k’nayne hora, and we had a lovely time reminiscing about Hendon of old (well, 1980s at any rate).

    Be well,


  146. Janice Whelan

    Dont know if this incredible blog is still receiving comments… I just stumbled on it, as you do. I was born in Alexandra Rd, Hendon in 1955. All the mentions of the cinemas….the Odeon, the Classic and the Gaumont brought bak happy memories.Tanares and the old amazingly tiled Sainsburys on Brent St were my favourite shops although I was very fond of a TV rental shop on the parade before the post office and old police station, on the righthand side of the road, facing away from Golders Green. My granny lived in a tiny little flat on the top floor, which was owned by Wilsons the estate agents. Granny used to run errand for Mr Wilson.

    I remember waiting at the bus stop at the quadrant, to go to west Hendon, to see my other granny, and swinging on the bus stand….waiting for the 83, and being told by my mother not to, because I would get my white gloves dirty….. a 4 year old in white gloves…that really was another life !

    Mum used to take me to a tea room next to a music shop just opposite the Odeon, was it Bobbys ???? and we used to go for fish and chips at a great corner chippy on Church Rd.

    Other Hendon memories come from a bit later on, as I went to Hendon County…. not Jewish, but always reckoned Jewish assemblies were better than our ones upstairs… I crept into a few from time to time. The bus stop at the Bell was a significant place…. allsorts of things were planned whilst waiting for buses there…. to say nothing of what went on in the public loos.

    My parents lived in Hendon when they were teenagers too…went to dances at Hendon Tech ( now the uni) and at the Brent Bridge Hotel. My dad won various races and high jump competitions at the Burroughs, and they got engaged after a night at the Chequers, then got married at St Marys on Greyhound Hill. Mum is now buried at Holders Hill, and some of dad’s ashes are there too. So not much for me to return to, but I do pass by from time time.

    Last time I was there I noticed that the newsagents Davids, on Brent St is still called Davids……bet its not still in the same family though…..and not a lot else looked familar at all. Anyway…thanks for giving me a nostalic trip and lots of laughs along the way.

  147. peter bartlett

    The chap you call happy bartlett was my grandad and used to live in fuller street and then derby house parson street. he was indeed a colourful character, using pubs such as the greyhound and chequars in hendon daily he always got half a pint and a cigar free in the greyhound and they named the bar after him “Happys Bar” he arranged coach trips to Royal Ascot every year and loved his football and horse racing!

  148. Thank you, Peter . . . I love visits/comments like yours!

  149. http://www.gettyimages.co.uk
    search “george bartlett” make sure you use the speach marks in the search…..a rather good photo of George Bartlett at work at his shop in Hendon

  150. don williamson

    I too have many memories of Hendon, WEST, and Central,
    Actually I was “Educated!!” at The Hyde School , which is on the left, after you have departed West Hendon near Colindale . My first memory is of being “put up” by a lovely lady , a friend of my mother , She was ,at that time looking forward to seeing her huband who was a captain, or some such rank. My bedroom was just inside the front door of the property in Sheaveshiil Avenue. The ladies husband was returning from Germany at the end of the war. I DO remember his arrival at that front door and the conversation which ,even at my tender age, struck me as being devastatingly cruel. He told her that he had come to ” pick up a few things” and would not be returning to her as he had met someone in Germany and was to marry her when ever possible. My mother’s friend was later known to have turned to alcohol and did not live long after the honourable captains visit. What a shmuck. This is all true .

  151. Two disturbing stories posted to facebook, this evening.

    Firstly, my friend (ex now?!) Nadine reports that . . .

    “Shomrim NW reported 3 women in hendon park trying to grab a child of a Jewish mother. BH mother was able to grab child and thy then ran off. They are wearing Hijab’s (Muslim garb) and with a child please spread to as many ppl as possible”

    If it is “a child of a Jewish mother”, then it is a Jewish child . . . right? Even if the father isn’t Jewish? But why are the mother and child wearing “Muslim garb”? Confused.

    Then, from Dan Gins, the shocking . . .


    First, three women in Hendon Park trying to grab a child of a Jewish mother in Muslim garb. Then this. Whatever next?!

    I can’t tell you how glad I am that I live in Eretz Yisroel . . .

  152. I lived in Hendon for 10 years, leaving in the 70’s to move to Ireland with my family. We were Catholics but remember lots of Jewish families who were very nice people and proud of their heritage. We had lots of kind neighbours. Vivian Avenue had lots of shops and Hendon was more like a village in those days. Of course the death knell of the high street was the opening of Brent Cross Shopping Centre. We used to love the Saturday morning cinema in the Gaumont and going to Hendon Park. We used to go into Church Farm House museum until the curator ran us out of it for being a nuisance. The nostalgia of Hendon Library and the Burroughs and the Hyde swimming pool and The Welsh Harp in the hot summers. I visited Hendon recently and I was amazed at the deterioration of the streets. It is full of the ubiquitous betting shops, fast food takeaways and Cash for Gold seen nowadays as people want to shop in Malls – only for the buzz of Students coming and going from Middlesex Uni it would seem a depressing place to live now.

  153. Thank you for your comment, Sheila.

    Hendon is, indeed, a wretched place these days! I was in London for 24 hours a few weeks ago, staying in Golders Green. Spotting a 183 rolling down the road that afternoon, I hopped on for a ride in my once favourite seat – top deck, front row (right) – to see what had changed . . . absolutely nothing!

    Living in a country undergoing continual renewal, it was so depressing to witness infrastructure that has seen little or no improvement since the early 70s (at least).

    Whereabouts are you in Ireland? I hope you may find this one of interest, too . . .




    PS You say “We were Catholics . . .” What did NW4 turn you into?! 😉

  154. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your reply. We were practising Catholics in those days and used to attend Church in Egerton Gardens. I have lived in Dublin for many years and have lived in Surrey for the past two years due to my husband’s work and will be returning to Ireland next year. I love living over here and have always returned to Hendon for nostalgic reasons and still enjoy walking around old childhood and teenage haunts and of course stopping off in Brent Cross for retail therapy… at least I don’t get lost there unlike in Westfield, White City, which is vast and is my husband’s idea of hell!

    Incidentally, I thiought the story of the stereotypical Irish man in charge of
    the green hut where people paid for tennis or mini golf in Hendon park was hilarious – he sounds like a Father Jack character from Father Ted TV series and no I am not related to the man in Hendon park.

    I enjoyed your stories from your Irish visit – you seemed to enjoy your visit also. I concur with your views of the Irish people except to say that I find English men are the most polite and gentlemanly in the world with a few exceptions of course. One of my friends in Ireland always said that people in the UK don’t start up a conversation at bus stops or on public transport like Irish people tend to do but I have assured her that this is not the case and I find people of all nationalities very friendly and helpful. Dingle in Kerry, Galway and Connemara and the Antrim coast are my favourite places in Ireland and well worth a visit.

    We have had a Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin in the past and the present Minister of Justice in Ireland Alan Shatter is Jewish.

    Kind regards,


  155. Hendon’s St. Mary’s Church of England Primary school was housed in a building with the legend “founded by Meshack Smith the village vicar 1707” over the lintel. What a shocking crime of vandalism it was when this building was raised to the ground some time in the 80’s to make way for some modern psuedo educational horror.

    The education I received there in the early to mid 60’s, was unreservedly, (and rightly so) Anglican, so it encapsulated all the gentler prejudices and decencies of an England still sure of itself. Very mild anti Popery (to the slight discomfort of the few RCs attending) was served up by Mr. Fuller, a keen adminstrator of chastisement by slipper and ex-atlantic convoy veteran, in the lesson before Guy Fawkes Night. An introduction to classical music in the form of taped recordings of popular pieces was played at every school assembly.One was constantly reinforced with continuity and identification with England’s historical past by frequent visits to the Church Farm House museum and St. Mary’s Church , including brass rubbing,(far more pleasant than the arse rubbing that went on at grander prep schools).

    England’s connections with the Commonwealth were emphasised in those pre European Union days, extending a genuine spirit of belonging and welcome to the Asian, African and West Indian pupils. As far as we Jews were concerned, we were treated by the teachers with nothing but the greatest respect, and regarded as slightly exotic adornements there to enhance the schools scholastic achievements, such as they were.

    I trace my love of the english language to the hymns, prayers and bible readings that I heard there, supplemented by generous helpings of Shakespeare and Cecil Sharpe, notwithstanding the far more rigourous and demanding education subsequently provided by HGS. It was at St. Mary’s Primary School I think that I learned to value the common decency and fundamental values of the descendants of the Angles, Saxons, Normans, Danes and Celts that make up that extraordinary english race.Sad it is indeed that, as far as Hendon is concerned, they are now strangers in their own land. I subsequently settled in Israel, and am philosophically a Marxist, but I do occasionally hanker after the englishness and Anglicanism of st. Mary’s.

  156. Richard Burns

    I don’t think I know you Joe Wyse, but I was at St. Mary’s in the second half of the 60s. An absolutely brilliant distillation of what it was and its legacy. Thank you.

  157. Just came across this Hendonistic blog while waiting for the kettle to boil here in Kissimmee, Florida. Before I forget Michael Stephenson married a girl from Oz and lives in N.S.W. I remember Hendon as a schoolboy from Holders Hill Drive went to Sunnyfields Infants, St. Mary’s Junior, Goldbeaters Secondary and Hendon Tech. JTS. Does anyone remember a kosher butcher near the Quadrant opposite petrol station? I would deliver orders on a trade bike, sometimes as far as Highgate.

    My Dad was a chauffeur for Mr. Ratner the jeweller who lived close to Hendon Hall Hotel. Our next door neighbors were the Bransons, he was a head master at an inner London school. Another Jewish neighbor was Mr. Rose a tailor, he was a real gentleman. Dad had the nickname “Rabbi” (don’t ask). He introduced me to salt beef sandwiches and lox. He later drove for Daly’s car hire on North Circular Road. I always fancied having a Jewish girlfriend but it didn’t happened till I moved to Canada, her Mum used to go to Macaabi sports club near Fiveways Corner, small world eh!

    Does anyone remember Adams on Church Road ? my Mum, Madge worked there in the 50/60’s. As a teen I would go to The Refectory near G.G. Underground, trad jazz Monday nights, R&B on Fridaze. The Animals would play there before they became famous. I hung out at the Rose & Crown Brent Street in the early 60’s and the Mill at Kelly’s Corner.

    Does anyone remember the coffee bar at Hendon Central? Was it the California or did it have a Mediterranean name? I’m talking late 50’s. Must go now, off to Clearwater on the Gulf of Mexico for the day.

  158. 1990s the “pool club” basement in Sentinel Square Hendon. Arcade games such as Streetfighter, Pacman and lots of pool,

  159. Just stumbled across item 3 in the following piece – one thing you definitely didn’t know about 35 Crespigny Road NW4 – on this, the 70th anniversary of D-Day . . .


    For a little more ‘meat’, see here as well.

    Lived in that shithole for twenty odd years . . . but knew nothing about this!

  160. Yippee-doo! Hendon finally has a new celebrity. For years, when asked at conferences around the globe: “And which part of London are you from?”, my reply has invoked blank looks implying: “Well, I hoped you would say Wembley or Wimbledon.” Even when I proceed to explain that Hendon was the home of boxer Henry Cooper and “actress” Barbara Windsor, I find myself suddenly alone contemplating my Diet Coke.

    But now it is different. Finally, we have our own superstar diplomat. Willliam Schabas, appointed this week to head the UN inquiry into the goings-on in Gaza, is Professor of International Law at, what my generation will always call, Middlesex Poly. Its campus, constructed in the 1930s in the Stalinist style, is neatly wedged between a retired pig farm and Hendon Fire Station. Beyond the Fire Station is my old haunt, Hendon Library, where, in my day, students of Middlesex Poly could come if they wanted a break from their vocational Metal Work and Domestic Science courses.

    I am so excited to think that Professor Schabas – a Philo-Zionist, Philo-semite who unfortunately appears to hate Jews – will be taking the 83 bus from The Burroughs, Hendon to Pinner via Khan Younis. It is an honour that a pillar of academia – move aside Harvard and Princeton, it doesn’t get much better than Middlesex Poly – will be investigating us. Perhaps he would like to make a start by dropping by at one of the many Jewish primary schools in the area to establish why Jews are child-killers. Then, to get a feel for the Jewish criminal mind, he could try interviewing people double-parked on Golders Green Road on a Sunday morning.

    I am truly insulted that William Schabas is all the UN thought we were worth. Last time, at least, it was a High Court Judge who later had to admit that he got it all wrong. How long will it take this odious berk?

  161. After making it to the headlines last week, with the appointment of a lecturer at Middlesex Polytechnic to head the UN Gaza Inquisition, Hendon received another unflattering mention on the BBC World Service this morning. Interviewing a respected, Middle East based, American journalist about the vicious beheading of reporter James Foley by ISIS (or whatever the savage bastards call themselves this morning), the anchor asked him for his thoughts on the apparently incontrovertible evidence that the executioner was British. He replied that the British need to come to terms with the bitter fact that there are Jihadists planning attacks in their basements in Hendon – and then moved on. The anchor thought it necessary, at the end of the interview, to mention that: ‘Hendon is a suburb of London’; for some reason, he did not see fit to mention that London is a city in England.

    Well, I really do not know what to make of this. Could it be that Middlesex Polytechnic is a magnet for undesirables (it advertises that it has students from 140 countries, and a branch in Dubai)? Or could the answer be more prosaic? When I was growing up, if we had nothing to do, we could take in a film at the – long since gone – Odeon, Quadrant. Nowadays, with nothing to do with their spare time, perhaps it is understandable that young minds turn to obscene violence, genocide and world domination. On the other hand, they don’t seem to have this problem in Finchley. I am confused.

    In any event, the writing is on the wall. It is clear that it is time to encourage our friends and relatives to get out of Hendon. I hear there are several desirable properties for sale in Golders Green, if anybody is interested.

  162. Barry Jacobs

    I must confess I was somewhat surprised to see the absence of loving recollection of the infamous ‘Ben’s Bagels’ that dominated night-life on Vivian Avenue throughout the 80’s. Ben Jacobs was a Kosher, though unsupervised, bakery for decades and the bread was always baked fresh on the premises and did a roaring trade in cinnamon balls and macaroons at pesach. Ben’s took up the Saturday night slot in the spring of 1983 boasting a 50p smoked salmon bagel from 10.00pm until 03.00am eventually trading throughout the rest of the week. The premises is still a bakery called Davids though Danny’s fruit shop next door is long gone.

  163. davidsumeray

    Ah, Hendon! Brought up in Danescroft flats until I was thirteen I remember Sentinel Square being built replacing a dead end street that led to the decaying Rialto cinema.
    My most notable years in the area were in Brent St, specifically number 107A, now shrouded by the awnings and shelves of a greengrocer but back in 1975-1980 where, as an ex-Hasmo (Primary and Grammar), I lived decadently, it stood proud above the hairdressers Keith Fisher (the eponymous owner also being my landlord). Aah, those fumes of hair lacquer that would blow up onto our roof terrace. I’m sure it added extra kick to our ‘pot’ plants!
    Opposite was a greengrocer/hardware store/possibly anything you wanted run by Joe, a red-headed, red bearded, trilby hatted, one-eyed Irishman.
    Confectionery was purchased sometimes at David’s newsagents down the road to our right
    but more often we’d wonder down to the Quadrant to the sweet shop/newsagent (on the corner opposite the Odeon) that was run by Philip Brading… a Basil Fawlty-like character in that he was like a stick – insect, rather repressed very English but with none of Basil’s aggression and all of his obsequiousness. He also, somewhat incongruously, had a hot Italian wife whom we endlessly fantasised having an affair with under Brading’s nose but alas never had the guts to attempt. Where are they now? If they are! We were in our twenties so, I imagine he’d be in his seventies now!
    Another Hendon staple, quite literally, was the Bargain Centre down in Hendon Central where we would sometimes sell a few items just to be able to buy a roll and The Sun.
    Crazy days with some rich memories!

  164. The sweetshop at the Quadrant was where I bought my first packet of fags – a 10-pack of Players No.6 for the princely sum of thirty one and a half new pence. I’m surprised David, that the proceeds of your visit to the Bargain Centre even equated to the cost of a roll and a newspaper so tight-fisted was the owner. I once went in there with just about everything I owned that was of any value [high spec calculators, guitars, tennis racquets, unwanted bar mitzvah presents, nearly-new leather footballs from Clitterhouse Rec (courtesy of inept Hendon centre-forwards)] and came away with just seven quid! He even had the temerity to ask for proof of identity – I can still vividly remember him officiously noting the numbers on my library card, the f**ker.

  165. davidsumeray

    Hahaha! He gave rotten prices! I sold a sunlamp for the price of two cheese rolls and a Sun. Not even enough leftover for some drugs!

  166. Sorry that Ben’s has been overlooked, Barry.

    You write that it “dominated night-life on Vivian Avenue”. But was anything else open on the Avenue in the evenings (never mind the early hours) in those days? It was long before the exciting times heralded by the arrival of Costcutter and (now, I believe) Tesco Express.

    Ben’s certainly did a roaring trade in bagels – or “buygels”, as the Becks pronounced them – and I vividly recall the hundreds of teenagers crammed onto the pavement outside every Saturday night/Sunday morning.

    Why, eventually, did it close?

  167. Barry Jacobs

    You are certainly near the truth Mike. There was Melanie’s night club on the Hendon way – at least later on – above the Primavera restaurant and Grill. Ben’s was a victim of it’s own success in that the treble parking, hooting, shouting and generally unsocial and uncivil behaviour of a certain demographic of the clientele made life untenable for the local residents. At one stage a meeting between people living in Florence mansions, the senior police officer at Brent Street, the proprietors and John Marshall MP (Hendon South) to mediate. Ben’s Bagels closed at it’s peak and was happy to pass on the torch though the new owners quickly ruined a golden chalice allowing stylish opportunists in Golders and The Borroughs to fill the void. Fun while it lasted.

  168. Did your father own the place, Barry? I remember him, though more from accompanying my mum along the Avenue as a kid – we lived off Station Road – than teenage Saturday nights. It had some real characters, not least the temperamental Danny next door, the green grocery equivalent of Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, and the irascible Kaplan the grocer over the road. Them were the days!

    As a trainee journalist in the mid-90s, I made an award-winning radio documentary called “Jewish Street Life and the Beck”, containing priceless vox pops from Golders Green Road on a Saturday night: “I am not a beck, but I know loads of people who are!” I must see if it is still audible (it is on cassette), and upload it to YouTube.

  169. There was also a Channel 4 Documentary simply entitled ‘Becs’ which also would have aired sometime around the mid-90’s. I’m fairly sure I’ve got it on VHS somewhere.

  170. Barry Jacobs

    Hi Mike

    Yes that’s right and the accompanying description sounds quite feasible.

  171. Somebody mentioned the Joseph and Jonathan, the greengrocer opposite the second Tesco site on Brent Street (the first was at the corner of Bell Lane in late 1960s). The first time I ventured in was in search of potatoes. Asking the trilby hatted, wild bearded, Lubavitcher co-proprietor which variety of pommes de terre would be suitable for Shabbes Kugel, he looked at me blankly through his Irish Catholic eyes….

  172. Lauren(Brown)

    I have really enjoyed reading all the comments here, I do know a few of you, Allison Barnett was a neighbour in Raleigh Close (we lived at number 19 as Joe Wyse will attest to as he spent many hours at my house in the late 1960s and early 70s).
    I’m a product of Hasmo Primary school then Copthall.

    Love all the mentions of shops, Tanares, Walters the shoe repairers, Woodbury Down that had great plum strudel, Martins and Davids the newsagents, Sonia Lyman, the record shop at the Quadrant, aquarium shop at the top of Finchley Lane, the old police station, Sally Army place and Sunday mornings hearing the band, the place that sold washing machines and fridges in Brent St, C and A fish n chip shop. Wow memories indeed. Raleigh Close shul with Rev Hardman and Moishe.

  173. Danny Landau

    Lauren, did you by any chance have a brother called Howard ? He was a good friend of mine in Hasmo Primary, and I recall he lived in Raleigh Close. What’s he up to these days ?

  174. Lauren(Brown)

    Yes Danny my brother still is Howard Brown :). Is your brother called Jonathan?

  175. Danny Landau


  176. Lauren(Brown)

    Ah then he was in my class at Hasmo Primary. Say hi from me.
    My brother lives in Radlett, got 2 kids both still in senior school. Tell Johnny that I am still in touch with Michele Aminoff, Sharon Aminoff, David Lewis and Morris Earnst. My sister still sees Jackie Frankel and Janice and David Fox.

  177. Dr. Joe Wyse

    Lauren Brown !
    Unbelievable !
    I hope that you are ever so well !
    Make a 60’s relic happy by dropping me an email whydoncha ?

  178. Billy Brown

    Funnily enough I have read this blog before and Lauren (my sister) just reminded me of it. Gary Marks (an old friend whom we still are in contact) were reminiscing of the little shop next to the classic whereupon we would ask the lady to get us a couple of ice lollies, knowing only too well that they were at the bottom of the freezer, thus enabling us to bend over the counter and nick a few packs of Rothmans.

    Who could forget Whittaker Sports that had as much connection to sport as One Direction has to music. Davids and Martins the newsagents in Brent Street and of course the Wimpy Bar which was by far the best one around.

    I still drive through it on fairly frequent occasions as it is a cut through home from Hampstead depending on traffic.

  179. A new Time Out survey reveals that Hendonites (“beating off stiff competition” from High Barnet) watch more porn than other Londoners . . .


    The findings have not proved a surprise to Terry Maslin, who brought them to my attention. What remains unclear, however, is whether the survey may have been conducted before the former Shirehall Estate “hard man” departed NW4. 😉

  180. Hendon Central was pretty much as far NW as I went as a kid without adult supervision – I grew up in NW3. I ventured to HC sometimes to marvel at (what seemed at the time) the giant pet shop there. A mile or so away I used to explore the suburban wasteland under the Hendon flyover – catching fish, with a chum who lived near Brent Cross station. Also went with my dad to the long gone greyhound track. 12, 13, 14, not a bad age. Back in the distant 1960s.

  181. Geoffrey Levene

    I’ve just read your marvellous 2009 blog about Hendon. I was never a resident but all those trips on the 240 or 125 made me feel like one. And although my football allegiance was and always will be found down the Fulham Road, in the late fifties and early sixties I used to watch Hendon FC alongside my classmate the late Mark Schimmel. I seem to recall it cost nine old pence (about 5p) to get in but that didn’t stop one character from leaning his bike against the outside wall and watching while standing on the saddle.

    I found the above mentioned Mark in the 1959 photo and also the wonderfully named Seymour Popeck. He was a somewhat excitable boy and after I left school in 1962 I didn’t see him for about 25 years. I was driving my taxi along Acacia Road when I saw him coming towards me. As we passed I called his name in a deep doom laden voice and watched what happened next in the rear view mirror. His car slewed to a halt at angle of 45 degrees to the kerb as poor old Seymour stopped in shock at hearing his name seemingly coming from nowhere.

    Sorry mate.

  182. Lauren Petschek

    It’s great that somebody has revived this blog. I can’t believe we are all so old and yet remember all the details of our Hendon lives.

  183. Good Morning
    i fell on your website by chance and the reference to Mark Schimmel caught my eye. We were childhood sweethearts from 1960-1966 and in those days I was considered to be ‘one of the boys’ by his close group of friends, all Hasmo alumni (David Eckhardt, Robert Coe, Lucien Jacobs, (now a Dr in the US) and Geoffrey Seligman who was a very close family friend but in a class one year above. I spotted Mark in the photo but couldn’t identify anyone else except Robert Josse,(now a Dr in Canada)
    As you recorded, Mark sadly died a few years ago having been afflicted by MS for many years.
    I’m afraid that I have a very good memory (long-term better than short-term nowadays!) and I myself went to Hasmonean Prep until 1958 when I went to Henrietta Barnett. In those days Hasmo was very different to now, and most of us came from secular homes.
    I spotted a couple of my classmates in the 1959 photo… Ian Wilder, (deceased) Shimmy Eisenberg, Michael Zysblat, Roy Sunderland, Alfie Hekscher (?) Kelvyn Sheridan, Freddie Lemer, Stuart Block, Anthony Selby, Alec Sudwarts…. Those I couldn’t recognise but recall, maybe were there Jonathan Lubell, (lives in Israel I believe) Michael Fisher, Alan Pinnes, Philip Smulavich, Philip Weisz, Larry Suffryn, Jossie Sudwarts, Yehuda Schwartz…..
    Without having time to go back again to all written here,….. and there’s so much:) I believe the butcher at the Bell (opposite the Odeon Hendon R.I.P) was mentioned. His name was Harold Frankel, (is!) a lovely man who became a first cousin to me once I got married.
    Best to you all for allowing me a wander down memory lane
    Laurel Herman (nee Silver)

  184. What was the name of the corner deli who sold fresh and frozen food, plus breads,cakes,sweets opposite Orli in Brent Street.

  185. Wow, not being jewish but having plenty of friends that were and hopefuly are, it was nice to read memories of years gone by in Hendon, there is a facebook page I grew up in Hendon that is worth a look and will bring back memories I am sure, I moved away in the late 70’s but still go back now and then for a pint with friends from my Hendon days, in fact there is a reunion of the pub in Brent street The Little house on April 8th 2017 at the Heriot road club. I and friends also played in the football matches in Hendon park and as someone said on here, if you didn’t know there name you called them by the colour of their shirt, back then there were no replica football shirts. This has been a nice read and will share the page on facebook I grew up in Hendon.

    Pete Welham

  186. I am the OTHER Jon Friend. I always had to pay library fines in the Burroughs for the Jonnie who posted earlier.. I went to the ghastly St Mary’s C of E Primary from 1955 to 1959 and cannot remember one happy day in that regime, although I endorse Joe Wyse;s analysis. What I did enjoy was Saturday afternoons going the Gaumont Hendon Central (btw you called it the Classic which was off Brent St) for less than a shilling The Odeon, The Classic. the Lido and Ionic in GG. The Buses 83 & 183 were my lifeline as a kid perfectly safe alone. Brent Park behind Hendon Tech, site of first kiss, Hendon Park putting and tennis. Yes the cahp in the booth was there to charge 6d an hour. Peters Newsagent next to the Gaumont and Sydney Francis School of Dancing. Whittakers Toys Sports. and Trains. the Florence Coffee Bar, Leonard Lyle in Vivian Ave. Crossing Watford Way in complete safety can you believe? Batteys , Hounsome Music. Raleigh Close and Leslie Hardman, a man larger than life itself. Sunnyhill Park playing on the old air raid shelters, The Church House Museum so many memories. But Like passed by and in 1962 we moved to Edgware to be closer to my new and happy school, a new chapter, a new world for a Hendonian.

  187. My dad and his brothers had the barber shop in Bell Lane Cypriot men

  188. You have brought back some fabulous memories I used to work in Carmel with Danny and Michael banen when I was a kid yes it used to me me laugh when he screamed at the customers for molesting his fruit . Cut my finger off cutting cabbages in the back Danny told them I cut it making sandwiches in his flat so I would not sue

  189. Claire Starr

    Have now read this four times and love it more each time…. Ben’s Bagels was my uncles bakery, got my smoked salmon bagels free every saturday night…

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