The last 27 years; this district has been my home but now it is fast becoming a dormitory
Towards the end of the 1960's the council decided to remove 100's of people from their homes - using 'Compulsory Purchase Orders' to create 'The Cambridge Road Estate'. Roads such as Burrit, Piper and Washington- were severed- Cambridge Grove Road used to connect to Cambridge Road, as can be seen from this street plan. Pubs such as The Feathers, which sold beer from Hodgsons, a Kingston Brewery were also lost.
Businesses, including two scrap metal merchants, as well as the 'rag and bone man'-the recyclers in any community were demolished. A church on the corner of Hampden and Vincent road where resdients were baptised or married - gone. A tree separated the churchyard from the Old Windsor Laundry, probably the oak which is still hanging on, the only remnant of former days.
One of my neighbours went to the infant school next to Bonner Hill Girls school, where both his sisters as well as children of local residents attended. His Grandad lived two doors from their home on one side and next door to an aunt. He used to run erands for the family to the local shops.
A favourite was a visit to the Kingstonian Ice cream parlour; not a shop but two serving hatches. There was a barbers near the Cambridge Arms for haircuts and a bakers down Gladstone Road from where the smell of rising bread permeated the homes of rising residents.
I was the old sweetshop on the corner of Cambridge Grove Road
I was the Robert Peel Pub now flats
I was Fine Foods shortly to become flats
I used to be loads of stuff
I used to be your laundry
I used to be Arrow plastics
Footnote: 60 local people used to get out of bed and come and work in this former laundry: it did the washing of Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Gordon Brown, Sheraton Hotel and starch the collars of many lawers around the world.
I was the Mini-Mart, Newsagents, Hairdressers and Printers
In recent years the shops in the parade have turned from providing a service to the community into instruments for change.