Treasure in the Drains

Garnet Ampong remembers Primrose Hill in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

I lived with my family at flat 3, 46 Fitzroy Road, we were there between 1988-1995. I know I was really young at the time but I still have some amazing memories living there as a child.

I remember spending all weekend in the communal garden round the back of the house playing football with my childhood friend Alex. As soon as I used to look out the kitchen window I remember always begging my mum if I could go down and play! I could literally spend hours there without no food or drink! I was just a happy kid, happy to be playing outside.

Being so close to Primrose Hill park was another cool factor. I would walk over with my siblings in the holidays, play in the kid’s park with other kids I had never met and everyone was just happy from what I remember.

I remember one time a pelican escaped from London Zoo and landed in Primrose Hill. There was a huge circle of people slowly trying to block the bird in and it kept flying away like a big game of cat and mouse!

There was like a furniture shop on the corner of Fitzroy Road where it meets Chalcot Road. Nearby was a big metal kind of drain which always used to be full of leaves and for some reason I always used to imagine there being some treasure down there. 

I also remember on the same corner but opposite there was maybe a bakery? A brown and white spaniel looking dog was outside by the lamp-post every day. It was a friendly dog but because I was scared of dogs as a kid I remember trying to sneak past it every day to and from school when I was able walk by myself whilst also trying to wave at my mum from the window.

I attended Primrose Hill Primary School from 1989 -1996. I loved the summer fair and the sports days (I never lost one!) over the running track by Regent’s Park. I remember in my last year the school decided to have it in the playground instead, I was so gutted that I was having my last sports day in the playground but hearing other kids in the school say “I’m going to cheer for Garnet” when used to get up for the last race used to put a huge smile on my face!

Because I went to the primary school there were a lot people from the school that lived in the local area so it was easy for my mum to have a baby sitter whenever she needed to go to work. She worked in London Zoo and stayed working there for a good 30 years or so. 

My dad originally got a mortgage on the house in the 70s for 85k. Unfortunately my parents broke up and due to my dad going back to Ghana, and nothing being in my mum’s name, and other complications we could not keep our family home. I can only imagine how much keeping the house could have made such a difference to all our lives but some things are not meant to be.

Primrose Hill has always had a nice community. It was safe, everyone said hello to each other and your neighbours were extended family. There were pubs and cafes you could go and sit with your family. There was always just a good general vibe and buzz about the area, it’s like whenever you are there you do not want to leave. For me it reminds me of a happy place so I love going back and walking around the neighbourhood whenever I can.

Even though I was young, I still remember so much about being around there. Its only when I look at old family photos I realise how much the area has not changed. I have many photos of playing outside but this one on my doorstep is my favourite. It reminds me of a happy place and a happy time in life.

By Garnet Ampong

You May Also Like