Route 79

Reflections on a bus journey home

From London: By a British, European, 2nd-Generation Indian. Probably confused - but proud to be them all! Half of my journey to and from work is a 20-30 minute bus ride: London Bus Route 79 - between Alperton in West London and Kingsbury in North West London. I very frequently get pissed-off and frustrated waiting around in the DARK, WET and COLD - waiting for the 79 to turn up. But I have to be eternally grateful for the quality thinking time I get to myself.
Princes Avenue
Posted on February 16 2008 by Jag @ 3:07 pm

It’s a about a mile long and cuts through residential Kingsbury, London NW9, from Honeypot Lane in the West to Stag Lane in the East. People live here; the road is almost one hundred per-cent residential, save for a row of schools that provides for one of the largest concentrations of school-children in the country. (You can imagine what the traffic is like here during school-run hours.) The Jubilee Line runs beneath it. A village called Roe Green extends right off it. It’s served by London bus route 305, which for the first part at least, can be flagged down or stopped anywhere you like. Not that there’s anywhere for the bus to pull into; because people live here you see, and so their cars live here too. And these days a lot of people have cars, and a lot of people have more than one car. So a lot of people who live here sacrifice their front gardens for concrete driveways so that they can put their cars somewhere. And still the road is chock-a-block lined with parked cars. So most mornings at around half past eight, amidst the huddles of children marching their way to school, you will see huddles of lazier children at the Honeypot Lane end waiting for the bus, flag it down from between parked cars, board, and then alight less than a few minutes walk further up. A procession of cars will follow the bus all the way, each one complete with child clutching lunchbox and book-bag.

Princes Avenue, Kingsbury, London NW9
(Taken with cameraphone from just outside Kingsbury High, headed towards Honeypot Lane.)

37 comments

37 Comments »

  1. When I attended Kingsbury County 61-67, there were no cars parked on Princes Avenue,or so few as to be negligible. The trip to and from school for 99% of pupils was made on foot.
    Hmmm, times change.
    Tom

    Comment kindly left by Tom — February 17, 2008 @ 11:49 am

  2. Jag, this picture brings back a lot of memories!

    My first school was Roe Green in 1959. I then moved up the road to Kingsbury County Grammar in 1965 . This went comprehensive around 1967 and became Knigsbury High, which I left in 1972.

    Princes Avenue then looked a bit different. No speed humps, no chicanes and definitely no buses. I can only remember being driven to school by car once or twice in 13 years. Slightly different now. Could you imagine a seven year old walking around a mile to school completely on their own nowadays?

    One point of interest which I’m sure Tom will remember. The first house on the left to your picture, ie: the first house bordering the school, used to be a small grocery and sweet shop called Stanfords.

    Comment kindly left by Bernie — February 17, 2008 @ 7:02 pm

  3. Jag, sorry to use your’e site for blog, but in reply to Bernie, yes Stanford’s was the off school tuck shop & made it’s money , I’m sure more from the school kids than local residents.
    Tom.

    Comment kindly left by Tom — February 17, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

  4. Hey Tom, no worries at all, you go right ahead; I really like the discussion of these memories! When I first moved into Kingsbury in 1993 that house still had a kind of “shop” look to it – even thought it wasn’t any more, but I’m sure that someone told me that it was a shop until not long before we moved here.

    I must get round to putting up some more pics of the schools so you can see how they are now …

    Comment kindly left by Jag — February 17, 2008 @ 9:30 pm

  5. Lots of pictures of the school in the 1930’s here..

    http://khs-net.kingsbury.brent.sch.uk/kingsburians/index.htm

    Look also at the Famous Old Kingsburians. George Michael, Charlie Watts etc.

    Comment kindly left by Bernie — February 18, 2008 @ 9:39 am

  6. I spent the first 20 years of my life living at 175 Princes Ave. I attended Roe Green Primary and Junior schools as they where then called. I then attended Claremont County Secondary Modern of Kenton Road.

    I well remeber buying sweets from the little shop called Stanfords on the way to school each morning.

    On the way home we would often climb up on the top of the railway bridge walls and see who was daring enough to walk from one side to the other, it would have been a long fall!

    By the way, I now live in Sydney Australia with several other freinds from Kingsbury, Queensbury & Kenton areas.

    Comment kindly left by Nigel — February 26, 2008 @ 3:42 am

  7. Thanks Bernie!

    And thank you Nigel for sharing your memories! And please do ask your “Kingsburian” friends to consider sharing their memories on these pages too – my most recent article is exactly about this topic! All the best.

    Comment kindly left by Jag — February 28, 2008 @ 3:12 pm

  8. Bernie, Nigel, Tom: Some pictures that I took of Princes Avenue, Kingsbury, London NW9 using my cameraphone can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/route79/sets/72157604017703862/

    You will notice the house that used to be “Stanfords” is in there too!

    Comment kindly left by Jag — March 1, 2008 @ 11:29 pm

  9. Hi. Just found this blog while trying to show my son any info about the little shop “Stanfords” (which I had forgotten the name of). I also went to Roe Green and then Kingsbury. I noted that Nigel lives in Sydney now – me too. Where abouts are you Nigel and when were you at Roe Green (what years)? Be great to hear … See ya, Caroline

    Comment kindly left by Caroline — May 24, 2008 @ 1:56 am

  10. Cheers Caroline! Hope you manage to make contact with other old “Kingsburians” down under in Sydney!

    Comment kindly left by Jag — May 29, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

  11. Hi Jag,
    What a wonderful website! Congratulations on your dedication – the Kingsbury archives in particular brought back a flood of memories. Much of my early childhood was spent growing up in Buck Cottage, the big thatched house at the top of Buck Lane (no. 45), until we moved to Sussex in 1955. I went to primary school at Oliver Goldsmith (Olly Golly we called it), and later to what was then Kingsbury County Grammar School. I now live in Australia, and in September am returning for a class reunion with many of the Year of 1953 students from KCGS (including several who also attended Olly Golly with me).

    Naturally, I intend to pay a visit to Kingsbury although I realise that there’s not a lot left of the old place as we knew it. I wonder if you know of any way in which I might be able to contact the present owners of Buck Cottage while I’m over there? I have some photos of the house as it was in the 1950s which might interest them.

    Also, if you’d like to contact me privately through email, perhaps we could meet up and I can share some memories first-hand.

    Again, congratulations on such a fascinating website.

    Comment kindly left by Michael Thomas — July 14, 2008 @ 5:39 am

  12. Hi Michael, thank you for such a nice comment. Wow, I must now try to get in touch with the current owners of Buck Cottage …

    I hope your reunion in September goes well, and sure I would be most happy to hookup for a natter and get a better glimpse into the history and life in my neighbourhood. Stand by …

    Comment kindly left by Jag — July 15, 2008 @ 9:38 pm

  13. hi found your site by chance , i was born in green slose off church lane in 1946 and lived there until 1964 when i married and moved away ( all of 10 miles ) I went to st marys school in hendon and st thomas /st james in stanmore and burnt oak . I returned for several years in 1972 as my father was ill and needed to be cared for . My mum was the caretaker at kingsbury synagogue with backed on to our house and i have very happy memories of it and the people . My haunts when growing up were barn hill,kingsbury pool and and a teenager we went to a dance there every fri night it was in the cafe called
    t he blue pool, the” REC” by elthorn court was also a fav and we used to drive people mad as we sat on the concrete bunkers around the back !! Church lane boasted two cafe,s the nip inn and bens cafe where 3 of us would share a cup of tea for 6p. This and a sweet shop ownen by the “Packam ” fam mrs p was the nicest lady and so patient as we used to sit on the wall out side her shop most evenings a we visited the ideal chippy next door with mrs and mrs Blactchford running i mr b only had one hand the other was a hook ( that was a bit scarry ) i am still in touch with my then best mate Jennifer but would love to hearfrom anyone else who shares these memories .I live in Plymouth Devon now with my husband ,our son and daughter also live nearby and i have two grandsons one nearly18 ond one 7 , I will never forget my childhood in Kingsbury it was great and there is not a spring goes by and i see blossom trees that i dont wing straight back o the green , god bless Kingsbury and all that sail in her !

    Comment kindly left by mavis cremin ne preedy — November 2, 2008 @ 9:37 pm

  14. Thanks Mavis for such a nice and nostalgic comment! I really hope you manage to get back to Kingsbury every now and then – although it has probably changed a lot since you lived here – I’m sure there are lots of places that would evoke memories of a time gone by. All the best!

    Comment kindly left by Jag — November 6, 2008 @ 9:15 pm

  15. hello everyone, i went to roe green junior school from 1971 until 1977, i cant say i had a great time but it was ok, my last teacher was mr eldridge, he was a scary chap back then, mr delacondemine was another teacher i had back then, he was an old school type of a man possibly an ex soldier, mr reilly was the headmaster, i lost contact with alot of people when i left because i went to a secondary school in wembley and not kingsbury high, if anyone remembers me get in touch on coadyiamf@aol.com

    Comment kindly left by walter coady — February 1, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

  16. Greetings from Sunshine Coast Queensland. it seems a very long time since Istood outside the “Boys” gate in Aug 1949 as a new boy. Idid not know then that I would become Head Boy!!!! Am trying to contact any OLDKCS”s in Oz Can’t forget the good times at KCS ,the place gets in your blood. From “Piecrust”

    Comment kindly left by Mike Beecroft — February 9, 2009 @ 1:46 am

  17. I used to go to both Roe Green & KHS. I lived in Eton Grove, the road opposite to Stanfords. When I was younger the shop was run by Larry & his friend John.
    Like you Walter, I had Mr Delacondamine. He was my teacher in the 2nd yr. What a relief to have the lovely Miss Fox in yrs 3 & 4!! Walter, Did you by any chance live in Berkley Road? If so I think my mum knew your mum!
    As for famous old Kingsburians…..I was in the same yr as George Michael (Yogi) at Roe Green & in the same class (1P) at KHS before he moved to Bushey. Courtney Pine CBE (Jazz saxophonist) was in the yr below & Charlie Watt’s Grandad used to live round the corner in Girton Rd & drink in the Honeypot on Honeypot Lane! Another famous Kinsburian that never attended the school was Stuart Pearce (Future England Manager?) He used to drink in the Plough on Kingsbury Rd with all the Punks from the yr above me.
    I’m afraid I can’t send any sunny greetings from down under, just a rainy Somerset!

    Comment kindly left by Paul Jackson — February 24, 2009 @ 7:41 pm

  18. Oh, & KHS was the original Grange Hill!! The school was used for all the location filming for the very first series & the crew & cast had their own mobile canteen parked in the small playground between the pavillion & the school building.

    Comment kindly left by Paul Jackson — February 24, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

  19. Mike, I’ve been living in Oz since 1976 and now live at Beechmont (Gold Coast hinterland) and also have a niece living near you at Mooloolaba! My younger sister, also ex-KCS, lives in Brisbane. We both have very fond memories of our time there.
    Attended KCGS 1953-58, before moving to South Coast. You would have been in 4th form when I started there? Last year I went back to UK (first time in over 30 years) for 55-year anniversary Reunion of Class of 53. Visited the Old School with another Old Kingsburian now living in California , but weren’t allowed to look around! However, we called in at our old primary school, Oliver Goldsmith, where we were made very welcome and given a tour of the old place. Contact me if you like – mdjt41(at)bigpond.com . Apart from myself there are a couple of other Old Kingsburians from Class of 53 livingin Oz and at least one in NZ.

    Comment kindly left by Michael Thomas — March 25, 2009 @ 12:44 am

  20. Still dream about Kingsbury County – I was there 1961-68 and my friends were Maureen O’Keeffe, Sandra Driver, Lindsay Wright, Julia Rogers. Used to walk to school from Kenton more often than not and get the bus home (no 183).I live in Surrey now. Have never been back to Kenton or Kingsbury but would like to visit old haunts.

    Contact me if you remember me: l.cowley68 (at) members.leeds.ac.uk

    Comment kindly left by Lynne Richards — April 30, 2009 @ 9:51 pm

  21. Hi everyone,
    I too, came across this site by accident and what a surprise I got to read so much about KCGS. Although I lived in Wealdstone which gave me some cause to curse the 79 bus and the train from Kingsbury to Canons Park sometimes, I studied (?) there ’52-’55, and I achieved an amazing amount of notoriety when I got my very first (and only) standard for Beech house (only the best), what was even better was that it was for throwing the cricket ball, unfortunately it never got into the olympics otherwise I may have become famous for my sporting prowess. I have memories of some of my friends there in my class such as Harry Hawkins, Dave London and a vey much in demand young lady named Marie Cranston who I have naver been in touch with due to joining the Merchant Navy just after leaving KCGS but would love to hear from them. The one thing that always comes to my mind when I think about Kingsbury is that after school we used to walk up the road on the left just outside KCGS and we always knew when we were close to the station because the shop sign of
    “475 Sam Cook 475″
    came into view from the high street, he was the local greengrocer, dumb eh? remembering something like that.
    Time to go now I think, I have written enough of my rubbish except to say that I now live in Melbourne Oz and I am studying for an Arts degree in Asian Studies with a Mandarin major so that education at KCGS didn’t go to waste after all.

    I would like to write more as memories come back, hope I didn’t bore you too much.

    Trevor

    Comment kindly left by Trevor Isted — December 1, 2009 @ 7:37 am

  22. I was at roe green junior school until 1969 and I remember .r de la condomine and that he was stern.I was a timid little thing when I first went there and I remember a mrs fredrickson being very kind. Does anyone remember a miss or mrs smith. Scary woman. Think she may have been welsh. Also the headmistress was a mrs hopkins and you got a star on a small piece of card signed by her if you were ‘good’. Great memories of chipmunk crisps in the tuck shop and of course always spending my 1/6 dinner money on penny sweets from the little sweetshop down the road which contributed to many a tooth filling in my teens! Now living in canons park after living in liverpool for many years.

    Comment kindly left by nicolette angeli (nee morren) — June 4, 2010 @ 8:14 am

  23. Memory’s getting a bit rusty, now. I know the Street family lived in the house on the corner of Brampton Rd and Princes Ave. Bob Street was my best buddy. His sister Barbara was gorgeous. Moving closer to my house there were Alan and Kenny Bray. Across the road was Russel Harris. Further up were the Duffields. I lived opposite them, next door to Stanfords. We all finished Roe Green Junior around 1946/7. Some of us went to Claremont, some to KCG and some moved away. Our summer venues were the swimming pool, Eaton Grove Park and Stanmore Woods. After joining the workforce, we all went our seperate ways. I spent a lot of my time with the people I knew from working at the Zenith Carburetter Co. Met my girlfriend at the Ritz in 1956 and left Kingsbury when we were married in 1957. We’ve lived in Ontario since 1974 but whenever we’re in England we always take a drive along Princes Ave.

    Comment kindly left by Bob Hunt — August 12, 2010 @ 7:14 pm

  24. With London hosting the 2012 Olympics, another memory comes to mind. After WW2 there was an acute shortage of accomodations, so in the sommer of 1948, Kingsbury County Grammar School was temporarily converted to dormitories to house visiting athletes taking part in the games. Mostly Scandinavian teams were housed there. I remember the local teenage girls gathering in groups along Brampton Road and Princes Avenue hoping to get to know some of them as they made their way from Kingsbury Station back to the school. There were no paved over gardens back then, so they would sit on the low garden walls and chat until it got dark. Mrs. Stanford had her best summer ever.

    Comment kindly left by Bob Hunt — September 21, 2010 @ 3:01 pm

  25. Went to Kingsbury Green Primary School from 1953-1958, Claremont in Kenton from 1958-1962.
    My mates at Claremont, Johnny Rowand, Micky Stead and Chris Cole all played for a very good Roe Green football team.
    We all became mates at Claremont to represent the school and later senior soccer together.
    Where are they now?
    I emigrated to Australia in 1976 and live in Phillip Island, Victoria – love the place.

    Comment kindly left by ROY BROOKS — November 25, 2010 @ 12:20 am

  26. Hi Jag
    Like others I found your site by accident. I lived in Kingsbury from 1949 to 1969 and went to Oliver Goldsmith School (1954/1960) and Kingsbury County Grammar School 1960/1967). I lived in Springfield Gardens at the far end of Kingsbury Road and my mates used to play over the Jubilee Park and also on a Sunday morning on the Hendon Waste Tip by Welsh Harp. If we could find a tea tray we would slide down the sides of the tip. Not that my parents were very happy when I got home as a bath would be needed. Happy days.

    I married Patricia Hall, who lived in the white block of Mead Court in Buck Lane and she remembers Mrs Preedy, because her mother Mary Hall used to work at the synogoge serving kosher dinners to the local children.

    Kingsbury has obviously chaged over the years. We visited last year and really only recognise the tube station. But the changes were much greater in the past, because my grandfather was a fairground showman and he remembered travelling from Hampstead Heath fair to Pinner fair along Kingsbury’s lanes when it was all fields and orchards.

    We left in Kingsbury in 1969 when my brother finished school and Trisha and I moved to Bedford to buy a house, but we still see remember Kingsbury as a happy time,

    Comment kindly left by Ray Newell — January 1, 2011 @ 5:33 am

  27. Well where to start. I liked the 79 bus ‘cos the stairs to the upper deck were outside – not like the modern RT’s they used on the 52 route. I lived off Buck Lane – went to primary school at “Olly-Golly” then to Kingsbury County from 1953 to 1959. So of course, I bought my cigarettes from Stanfords (You could get ‘Dominoes” which were paper packs with 2 fags in each package. My route to school, by foot or on a bike, went past the back of the Kingsbury pool down Bacon Lane (where Tylers Croft was being built) past Roe Green to Princes Avenue. I did a paper route before school and my round took me to those same flats in Roe Green. No traffic problems then but this snotty nosed little paper boy could spit a record 11 paving stones ahead. Some of the flats smelled awful. I guess at that stage I wasn’t into take-out curries so the lingering aroma of last night meal really put me off. I could hold my breath long enough to deliver the paper to the upper flat, and get back down the stairs to the fresh air. I could tell you about fetching coal in an old pram from Boakes Yard on Stag Lane for heating our council house, guiding buses though the fog on fireworks night, Singing along at Saturday Morning Pictures at the Odeon in Colindale or seeing the nose to tail line-up of coaches on Church Lane heading to the Cup Final at Wembley (This was before there were Motorways).
    ….but now I’m retired and live in the Okanagan lakes and wine country (BC, Canada)
    Call me Ogopogo.

    Comment kindly left by Mike Streeter — March 7, 2011 @ 6:29 am

  28. I also attended Roe Green in about 1949, then went to Mount Stewart and then to Kinsbury County from about 1955 to 1963. I suppose my main achievement was being part of the Stage hands group and helping organise the stage hands parties. Happy days.

    Comment kindly left by David Webb — June 17, 2011 @ 7:51 am

  29. I have so many fond memories of Kingsbury. As they say the best years of your life. I went to Kingsbury Green Primary School (the same year as Roy Brooks and then Claremont Secondary – I have the school photots and Roy is in it! I met my best friend Wendy King who lived at the bottom of Slough Lane and me at the top end. I left in 1972 and now live in Sussex, but Kingsbury as it used to be with Barn Hill and the cows chasing us when we were trying to have a picnic still brings a smile. My father giving me and my brother a shovel everytime a horse went past and the milk delivered by horse and cart and not forgetting the rag and bone man.
    Such happy days indeed.

    Comment kindly left by Susan Britton — December 18, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

  30. What a great site. I also remember the outside stairs on the 79 bus. Lived in Ash Tree Dell and attended Olly Golly 48 – 54. Then moved to Highcroft on Springfield estate and after 11+ went to KCGS from 54 – 61. Now live in Perth, Australia but still keep in contact with old Kingsburians around the world and attended the 1st Class of ’54 reunion on 1982. Looking forward to seeing more posts from those in my era.

    Comment kindly left by Keith Parker — April 9, 2012 @ 2:34 am

  31. Hi Jag Brings back good times we lived at Kingsbury Green T.A.Centre went to Fryant then onto Tylers leaving in 1956 Danny Axten head master.dont think the old drape would fit now remember going down Bens Cafe ,youth club at Kingsbury County school ,Great days

    Comment kindly left by Barry Crugten — June 10, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  32. barry u beat me to this by a week !! was just about to say how i met up with your sis monica 2 yrs agp after 35 yrs , but u know that because u helped it happen , went back to kingsbury in 2011 and was dissapointed and surprised at what i saw !! so methinks old memories are often the best memories ,and barry gthe drape definatly wouldnt fit now lol , love reading this site .

    Comment kindly left by mavis cremin ne preedy — June 21, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  33. Mum says she lived at 56 Princes Avenue in the 20s and 30s. I am looking for some record of the school she attended which she calls Kenton College (or school). She loved the headmaster at the time and I would love to be able to give her a picture of the school. Mum turned 90 a few days ago! Great site.

    Comment kindly left by Judy Deaton — September 4, 2012 @ 1:18 am

  34. The 79 and the 79A!

    I was at KCGS from 1960-67. Some of the happiest days of my life. I used to ‘go out’ with a girl in the year below me – I won’t mention her name (HAC), but she lived in Colindale and was a lovely person, gorgeous and far too good for me!

    I remember swimming lessons in the freezing Kingsbury pool, rugby at Lindsay Park and cross country at Barn Hill. I walked almost everywhere, but I could take the 79 or the 79A (rarely the 183) from my home in Kenton to Kingsbury and on to Colindale.

    I returned some years ago – it is so different now and the memory is far better than the present reality.

    I remember also how the bus would run even in the thick fog/smog and it had a single fog/spotlight focused on the kerb – it worked really well because there were no cars parked on the road. In truth there were few cars.

    I live sometime in the UK (Herts) and sometime in the US (NH).

    Barrie Higgs.

    Comment kindly left by Barrie Higgs — June 22, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

  35. Hi all I lived @ 35 Dryburgh Gdns(a 10 min walk from home to school) and attended Roe Green junior school from 1953 until 1957 looking @ my school reports today (8/1/14)memories flood back- I had good friends like Neil Singleton who also lived in Dryburgh Gdns and my teachers were 1953 Mr I G Evans 1954 Mr Clifford 1955/56 Mr R Carter 1956/57 Mrs S Wingate and the Headmaster was Mr S Shaw- I recall others in my class such as Miriam Seymour and Stephen Kruger – I then went to Tylers Croft before our family moved to Canterbury – Today I live in Snitterfield a small village outside Stratford Upon Avon so if you rememeber anything that we may have in common pse email me- “Happy Days” Ian Caley

    Comment kindly left by Ian Caley — January 8, 2014 @ 2:32 pm

  36. Hi all its Ian Caley again just checking in – Do any of you remember Dryburgh Gdns ? See my above email dated 8/1/14 – Just had a taste of the Roe Green blues” and wanted to see if any of you folks remember “Happy Days” back in the fifties- This site is an exceptional way to re-unite and hopefully some of you may “please” email me your memories of “how it was then” but of course best not to go back physically as fear NOT WHAT WE ALL KNEW FROM THOSE EARLIER – if anyone remembers my ol mate Neil Singleton (also ex Dryburgh Gdns boy)please let me know -

    Comment kindly left by Ian Caley — January 23, 2014 @ 3:15 pm

  37. Susan Britton, I remember you well after all these years.

    Do you remember the air raid shelters in the Girls playground?

    Sports teacher Mr Penny dropped me from the school football team because I didn’t behave in Mrs Thomas’ classes.

    Names that come to my mind, Janet McKeon (top of the class at everything), Susan Brotherhood, Barry Dean, Rodney Newman, Terry Burgess, Maurice Lally, Steven Segal etc.

    We lived at 46 Old Kenton Road – my mates being Roger Whittington and David Skilliter.

    Great memories of a uncomplicated childhood.

    Kind regards to you, Susan.

    Comment kindly left by ROY BROOKS — May 27, 2014 @ 12:32 am

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