Vernon Terrace

Photo:21 Vernon Terrace

21 Vernon Terrace

┬ęTony Mould: all images copyright protected

Eighty four stairs and no lift

By Elaine

This was our first flat

Our first flat in the late sixties was on the top floor of 21 Vernon Terrace. There were eighty four stairs, no lift of course, a shared toilet and an unusable bathroom on the floor below. There was no hot water supply, and if more than one/two flats below were using the cold water, our solitary pipe used to rattle and cough in vain. We often had to just wait with a half filled kettle or a mouth full of toothpaste. I think the rent was about £3 per week, seems incredible now but it was all relative to wages/prices at the time.

Large bright rooms

The rooms were large, bright and well proportioned with wonderful views. We used to look down at the lovely rear garden way below with envy, but we did have a tiny balcony outside the kitchen window overlooking Montpelier Crescent, on which we could keep a few plants. Whilst we were there the whole fully occupied, five storey house, was purchased as an investment for about £4,500.

A loft full of treasures?

I bet the buyers could not believe their luck when we moved out a matter of weeks later in early 1972 to buy our first property. I often wondered what they thought when they came to look in the loft. It was packed to the rafters with all sorts of boxes/suitcases etc. There was even a large stags head amongst old handbags and mountains of newspapers/books/magazines and goodness knows what else. We were young and just thought that it was not ours to rummage through, even though everything had been abandoned by generations of previous tenants/former owners. What antiques/treasures did we miss I wonder?

Claustrophobic and rather shabby

About twenty five years later, in the mid 1990s, I had occasion to call at the house to deliver ‘Meals on Wheels’ and was sad to see how it had changed. The beautiful polished mahogany banisters/stairs had all been boxed in and everything seemed very claustrophobic and rather shabby. I was delivering to the flat below ‘ours’ so did not see how the top flat had altered over the years. I must admit that I would very much have liked to see it again. I hope that the present occupants enjoy it as much as we did. I am sure that they will be kept fit climbing all those stairs.

This page was added on 30/06/2014.
Comments about this page

I enjoyed reading this. I remember delivering to a flat in this terrace, and being very impressed by the spaciousness. The flat seemed enormous. I was invited in by the owner or tenant, an extremely tall milkman, who worked, as I did, for the Co-operative Dairy. It was Christmastime in the late seventies, and he and I were delivering hampers.

My memory of that huge flat is mixed with thoughts of how incongruous we must have appeared, Dermott being well over six feet tall, and I a good foot shorter. If you  read this, Dermott, thanks for the drink, and the time spent sitting playing? on your guitar.And thanks to your lovely partner for her tolerance.

By Joe Reid (01/07/2014)

As a very young lad in the late 1930s/early 40s our family lived in the basement flat at 26 Vernon terrace. I don't remember much but it must have been pretty grim.

By David Blackford (06/01/2015)

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.