WELCOME TO THE BAYLISS LINE. This blog has been created for my family. By "my family" I mean all those who are related to the Bayliss family either by blood, marriage or even relationship. There are, of course, other Bayliss families not related to us but this blog has at its heart a very specific family who had their origins in Gloucestershire. I am connected to that family because my mother was a Bayliss and it was her curiosity that started my research back in the early 1990's. So, what are you likely to see on this blog? Well, as it is a blog, I want it to be as entertaining as possible rather that a dry listing of facts (that is for Ancestry.com). I will, hopefully, be posting entries on our ancestors and relatives, on the places where they lived, and the historical times they lived through. I have an extensive collection of photographs of people and places which I will, of course, be sharing.

I'd like to ask anybody who reads this blog to give me some feedback. I'd really like this to be a two way thing. It sometimes unearths new information and, to be honest, it gives me encouragement. There will be two ways of providing feedback - either through the comment button (you will need a Google account for this) or via the e-mail address which appears on this page - alternatively, ring me. Now scroll down to read the latest entries.....and, of course, via Facebook.

Saturday, 31 March 2012


Right to Left : No.40 where I lived with my mother. No.42 where my grandmother
lived for a short period. and No.44 where Cis and Fred lived. Other
members of the family who lived at No.44 at various times were Nibo and
Peggy Barrett, Peggy's brother Johnny, Stanley Bayliss, Cecilia (Little Cis)
Dell and her husband Bernard and their daughter Susan.

There are certain places that always remain very special to us. Canvey Island (see earlier post) was one such place but even that cannot compare in my memory to Pemberton Gardens in Upper Holloway, London N19.
Unlike some of my cousins I was not born there but I might just as well have been given the importance that it has in my memory. I grew up in Pemberton Gardens, or "Pem" as we called it.  I have lived in many houses during my life, one of the most notable things about this blog is just how often people moved homes in previous generations.  I lived, for varying lengths of time at no less than six addresses in Pemberton Gardens!

Modern map of Upper Holloway showing Pemberton Gardens, Cathcart Hill and Hargrave Road  as well as the bus garage. The Primary School Pemberton Gardens marks the former site of the "Debris".
Pemberton Gardens started life originally simply as Pemberton Road and ran from Holloway Road right through to Junction Road emerging south of Monnery Road. Later Pemberton Gardens branched off towards Junction Road. Eventually the two roads became simply Pemberton Gardens with Pemberton Road past the branch off becoming the site of originally the North London Tram and Trolley Bus depot and later the Highgate bus garage.  For many years "Pem" was the geographical centre of my life. Not only did I live there, I was surrounded by members of my family.  My grandmother lived there during the last years of her life.  At various times many other family members lived there - Fred and Cis Abbott, Nibo and Peggy Barrett, Joyce and Billy Booth, Stanley and Gladys Bayliss, Charlie and Nellie Bayliss, Bernard and Cis Dell etc. I was never short of playmates as I was surrounded by cousins - Peter, Treena, Carol, Chris, Andrew, Mandy, Susan - several of whom were born there. Other uncles, aunts and cousins were frequent visitors. There were more distant relatives in the street as well, members of the Blake and Abbott family. I particularly remember the sight of Gert Abbott (who was Fred Abbott's sister-in-law) in her uniform - she was a warden at Holloway Women's Prison.

Play was a big part of my early life in "Pem" and much of this was centered on "The Debris"  a large area of wasteland which I presume was a bombsite which stretched between Pemberton Gardens and neighbouring St.John's Grove.  This area with its different level surfaces, traces of old cellars etc, overgrown by weeds and dominated by a huge oak tree (at least, it seemed huge at the time!) was easily transformed in the young minds of my cousins and myself into the Wild West or Sherwood Forest and we spent many happy hours there shooting each other with imaginary guns or hunting one another with bows and arrows.  The St. John's Grove side was higher than the "Pem" side and there was a sharp incline to street level which with a little ingenuity became a great place to slide down on old pieces of discarded linoleum.

Cousin Sue also has memories of those days in the Fifties in Pemberton Gardens:

"Half way down Pemberton Gardens, opposite the Bus Depot, there was a site where about 16 houses had been raised to the ground by a bomb during WW2.

From about age 6 (1952), The Debris was my playground. Over the years since the war, grass, shrubs and wildflowers had grown between the rubble and we kids created pathways to every corner.
This magical playground would sometimes become the Arizona Desert and we’d be famous cowboys such as Tom Mix, Tex Ritter, ‘Hop-a-long’ Cassidy or Roy Rogers and his girlfriend Dale Evans.
War between Germans and English was also a very popular game; we’d find short bits of stick to be machine guns and had no problem making the sound effects.
A large tree escaped the bomb-blast, and could be seen from any position on The Debris and so became home base to most chase games such as ‘he’ and ‘tin can Tommy’. It was simply referred to as ‘The Tree’, as there was no competitor for this title.
On one occasion each year, The Debris was invaded by adults. We kids never minded as this was on Guy Fawkes Night and it was the adults of the locality who, over a week or two, set up a massive bonfire.
I now wonder where all of the ‘fuel’ came from but at the time it was accepted without question as we children watched the bonfire grow to mountainous proportions. A time was set for the ceremonial lighting and a guard was placed on watch to ensure the fire wasn’t lit prematurely.
Come the night, crowds gathered from all around the neighbourhood. A Guy, made out of old clothes and stuffing, was placed on top of the fire mound, a flame torch was lit and was plunged into the centre generating flames that roared and crackled almost as loud as the yelling and yahooing of the spectators.
The effigy of Guy Fawkes burned to the sound of ‘bangers’, which were shied at each other’s feet making us dance in fear of getting burned. Rockets shot into the sky, launched out of milk bottles, exploding into brilliant colour that lit the faces of the people watching from below.
The Tree was adorned with Catherine Wheels which spun sparks with a noisy fizz, while Roman candles shot coloured balls of fire up into the sky and Mt Vesuvius erupted below. Little kids wrote their names in flame with ‘Sparklers’ that burned a fiery trail in our eyes that lasted long after the sparkler had moved on.
The next morning, adults gone from The Debris for another year, us kids would spend hours scavenging through the remains of dead fireworks in the hope we would find a live one. With luck we’d be able to rekindle the fire and burn the spent firework shells, which sometimes contained a bit of gunpowder and gave a dying spark of colour.
A school now stands on top of The Debris, but it lives on in my mind to this day, a portal to the wonderful fantasy lands of my childhood. And The Tree, well I can dream that it still stands, but more likely it has gone the same way as the people who were killed in the bomb blast that created The Debris in Pemberton Gardens."

The Bus Garage, Pemberton Gardens

Sue's mention of the Bus garage reminds me that this huge building which stretched from it's main entrance in "Pem" to the bottom of adjacent Pemberton Terrace was a place of endless fascination to us kids.  A favourite game of myself and my mates was to try to run through the garage from one end to the other without getting caught by the staff.  This was obviously very dangerous as the big double deck buses were always  on the move in, out and inside the building.  In those days most of the buses were "trolley buses" which took their power from overhead electric lines. The street still bore signs of an earlier age with metal tramlines still embedded in the road surface from the days when the garage had been the main North London Tram depot.

Inside the bus garage.

There were two other places of importance to us as children.  On the corner of Pemberton Gardens and Junction Road stood Devenish's Sweet Shop and exactly opposite was the Odeon Highgate where we used to go for Saturday Morning Pictures.  The programme  started with a cartoon followed by a serial (the very first one shown was ATOM MAN VS. SUPERMAN starring Kirk Alyn as the Man of Steel) and a main feature. I wonder if Sue remembers the Odeon Club song?

"We come along on Saturday morning greeting everybody with a Smile,
 We come along on Saturday morning knowing it's well worth while.
 As members of the Odeon Club we all intend to be
Good citizen's when we grow up and champions of the free!"

The Odeon Highgate
To read more about the history of the Odeon Highgate click on THIS LINK. (thanks to this site for the photograph)

Of course, there were many other families living in Pemberton Gardens during the 1950's when I was growing up there.  I particularly remember Horace Carruthers and his wife who lived next door to Fred and Cis with their daughter Gillian, then there was Mr and Mrs Brierly at number twelve and naturally the other children - Dorothy Gumby, Clive Rigby, John Wilby, Madeleine Donovan, Linda Boxall, Patty and Gina Smith, Norman Abbott etc.

But for me there is still the image that this was very much "Our Family Street"  and one of the main
things that contributed to this feeling was the fact that Cis and Fred's son-in-law had a business selling paraffin from the back of a converted Post Office van. In those days many people still had paraffin heaters (see picture in right hand column) in their homes and the smelly oil was in high demand so the sight of Bernard Dell's blue and white van (if I remember rightly) parked in the street was very common.  Fred Abbott worked on the paraffin van for a while, as did cousin Alvin and in later years the business was carried on by Charles Bayliss. 

Some recent photos taken in Pemberton Gardens will be published very soon. 


  1. Brilliant! You have reminded me of so many things, and people, I had forgotten.You have also taught me a lot. The history of 'Pem' was fascinating.I'm trying to remember Goddard Place.I often walked down Pemberton Terrace, past Josophine Boniface's house and round the corner into Monnery Road, to get to my Grandma Dell's house in CathCart Hill, but I can't picture Goddard Place!

  2. Hi Sue, I never actually got to look at Goddard Place and was going by its position on the map. Like you I didn't remember it from the old days either so I took a virtual stroll down Pemberton Terrace on Google Maps and discovered that Goddard Place is actually a small estate of new flats. You'll see I have now deleted the reference to it in the post. I really think your memories enhanced this post (and the former one) no end and I can't thank you enough. I wish more people would share their memories in this way. I also walked down Chester Road and took a picture of Brookfield School which I will send to you.