The Hale

By Paul Downes

My Dad Leslie Downes (known as Johnny or Blondie) drove a Bedford J type for Lebus in and around 1953 my Mum also worked for Lebus, in their offices. We lived near the factory just off Ferry Lane in Edith Road, Tottenham Hale. I was so excited as a small boy it was wonderful we lived surrounded by factories in sight of the Lebus chimney and the sound of the hooter to signal start and finish of work and lunch time.

The first photograph below was taken when I was 5 (in 1953) with my only sister Kay at the Lebus furniture children’s Christmas party held at Ferry Lane at their sporting and social club called The PANDO (polishers and offices). Lebus were famous for their boxing team and regular boxing events took place there.

Dad also drove a Bedford O type, they were not great in terms of comfort, in the depth of winter he had to hang a paraffin heater under the bonnet to ensure it started at 4am when he started his journey, usually North. The windscreen wipers worked on a vacuum system which perversely stopped working when you had your foot on the accelerator when you took it off they went like crazy, not good in heavy rain.

The colour photographs are of my late Dad with his new Bedford TK outside his favourite cafe` ‘Pete’s’ most of the drivers from local companies like Wades / DH Transport used to meet here. It was in Hale Road, Peter was a boxer that used to box with Terry Spinks a well-known boxer of the ’60s, he was married to Yvonne Spooner whose father owned the betting shop, sweet shop and grocers round the corner. In the background the flats are on the corner of High Cross Road, with one of the new Routemaster buses and a Lucozade lorry passing by. Peter is seen sitting outside on one of the tables. Note how small the mirrors are on my Dad’s lorry, impossible to use in today’s traffic.

Further note on two of the images below:
I am playing the waiter in these photos with my Hawaiian shirt on hence the girls doing the hula hula. It was taken in the garden of Sally Walters, with I think Johnny Farrow, Jimmy Jennings and Janet Walters. The backdrop is the huge brick wall we all had at the bottom of our garden separating us from the Gestetner Factory. You will see we are sitting on Jaffa orange boxes, and the wooden staircase led to the upper flat.


Bedford O type

Tottenham Hale

Outside ‘Pete’s’

Harris Lebus (PANDO) Club annual report 1950

Harris Lebus (PANDO) Club annual report 1950

Tottenham Hale 1951

Edith Road

Edith Road

Paul aged 5 outside 8 Edith Road

7 thoughts on “The Hale

  1. Michael Parsons says:

    Hi Paul,
    I knew your dad when he was on Sheffield Cabinet[Limelight] who ran out of Wembley. I ran for D H and we did a lot of work for Sheffield Cabinet all over the country on one occasion on a dark winters night back in 1963 he gave me a lift from Bristol to Chippenham to my transport digs he was running home after I had broken down.
    One another occasion I had loaded on a Friday afternoon out of Sheffield Cabinet for the North East coast and they had one of their lorries fully loaded taken[nicked]. I found it on the Sunday afternoon in the lay bye on the A1 just south of Darlington empty of course and your dad went up to bring the empty lorry back, he was a nice guy but the body on his small wheel TK was huge it must have been about 2500 cubic feet and Sheffield Cabinet was heavy gear. It is nice to see a photograph from the old days, quite a few photographs on this site are what I have taken over the years regards Michael Parsons.

    • Anthony Harris says:

      My uncle Bill Webb worked at Lebus and was also the local “bookies runner” in the 1950s.Married to my auntie Ethel they lived in Edith Road with their daughters Eileen, Barbara and Sally. My family, Stanley and Gladys Harris, moved from Edith Road to Chalgrove Road in about 1950, but remained regular visitors. I went to the Lebus boxing club for a while, but gave up adter too many regular beatings! I attended Down Lane Central School in the 1960s and regularly avoided school dinners opting to visit what I now fember as Sid’s cafe in the Hale.

      • Paul Downes says:

        Hi Anthony remember me? Paul Downes strangely today I found some photographs taken in In Bill’s garden with Sally and other kids from the road you might recognise some of them? It would be nice to hear from you.

      • Sally Anne Webb says:

        Hi Tony.It’s your cousin Sally from Italy. What good memories we all have from Tottenham Hale. As you said my dad ,Bill Webb worked at Lebus’s and so did his brother,Jock. My grandfather who was Bill Webb senior worked there most of his life.

  2. Alan lincoln says:

    My dads family lived in Edith rd,and one brother my uncle Wally worked at Lebus for years,we used to as boys stand outside Lebus on a Friday at Knocking of time with penny for the guy…we made a bloody fortune with all the workers coming out.if you see this please reply…lots of stories to tell about Edith rd and the Hale.
    Alan Lincoln

  3. Paul Downes says:

    Alan was your Nan the kids called Ma Lincoln we lived opposite?

    • Christine Goundry says:

      Hi, I wonder if you remember me and my sister. Christine and Maureen O’Brien. We lived at number 13 Edith Road from about 51 to roughly 66.Janet Waters was one of my best friends. We were at Down Lane infants and Junior school. Then on to Page Green. I remember Sally Webb and Sally Waters. Also Peter Hubbard. I won’t talk for too long just in case you don’t remember us, but we both remember you Paul. Did you have a scooter that we were all envious of. Also there are a few names that we can remember. i.e. Christine Welsh. The Ackers, and the Sanders. I think that is how you spell their names.
      Look forward to hearing from you.

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