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Pinner Through Generations Interview with news reporter Eleanor Clavin's mother

Where did you live?

I lived in a lovely house on Love Lane. My parents got married in 1966 at the Parish Church at the top of the High Street. They bought the house with my grandparents and they lived upstairs and we lived downstairs.

What was Pinner like when you were growing up?

I remember Pinner being very green and very cosy. Everything was tight-knit and everybody knew everybody. There was an overwhelming sense of community. We knew all our neighbours and most of the local shopkeepers. There was always someone to talk to or have round for tea.

Where did you go to school? What was it like?

I went to West Lodge Primary School. It was a lot stricter in those days but some of my best memories are at that school. I remember we did a lot of hands-on activities- things like basket weaving and nature walks around Pinner memorial park to see the birds. I also remember writing a lot of poetry. If you did well you were allowed to read it to the headteacher - Ms Ashby I think. She would listen with her glasses over her nose and we were terrified.

What shops and venues do you remember?

I remember there being a lot of independent shops. In particular, I remember walking down to the greengrocer with my gran to get our fruit and vegetables. It all came in paper bags in those days. We got our bread from Wenzels on a Saturday.
I also remember Carter’s chemist and Angies Chemist. They’ve been there years. We used to get weighed at Carter’s as children.

My parents used to drink at the Queen’s Head on Sundays and they would let me get a lemonade and a bag of crisps. They spent a lot of time at the local pubs with friends. Pubs have always been the centre of community in Pinner.

I also remember the butchers quite vividly. My father would get our Turkey from them every year because they were high quality. We would put the money together and he would pick it up after work. We had to keep it in the garage until Christmas because it was too big to keep inside!

What is your fondest memory of Pinner?

I think that I liked the park best. I remember walking home in the summer and smelling the freshly cut grass in the park. I wore my candy stripe school summer dress and we would go to Vassar’s shop and buy penny sweets with our pocket money. I used to spend a lot of time at the park on the roundabout. It seemed massive but then again everything feels big when you’re little.

I remember it in the wintertime too. The pond would freeze over and the other children would try to ice skate on it. They got told off for that of course! I was never that daring.

How has Pinner changed over time?

I think that Pinner has become more culturally diverse and I think that’s helped to enrich the community. They have so many new services and products that weren’t available to me when I was younger. Shops offering products from other cultures like Red Dot Jewels (Indian jewellery) help to create a more cohesive and diverse environment. I think that’s what’s going to bring people in and keep Pinner alive.

I think that there are a lot more coffee shops now. Coffee shops were seen as more of a luxury when I was younger but now they’re everywhere. I think that they’re good at making Pinner a destination to visit and encourage people to socialise.

What makes Pinner so unique?

I think Pinner has such a deep history. I think that it’s firmly established itself as an iconic and pinnacle cultural point in Harrow. It’s always been quite contained in comparison to other parts of Greater London so it has a unique close community tying it all together. There are also a lot of small independent businesses. Other places have become more mainstream but I think Pinner’s always maintained its independence. You never know what you’re going to find when you go to Pinner because there’s always something new. Like Brooks, I love the bookshop and cafe idea!

One of my favourite events is Pinner fair. My Gran took me there every year from when I was two and we would go and win goldfish. Hardly anywhere keeps these traditions alive so I think that Pinner is very special.

It’s interesting to hear that many of the reasons why I love Pinner are so similar to my mother’s. It is timeless and it has continued to win hearts over and over again. I am confident that when businesses are able to open again in the new year, they will thrive. Pinner has a huge community presence which will always come out to support one another and help the village grow with generations.
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