Stanwell, Kicking up a Stink.

West London

We first moved to Stanwell in 1965,my father having obtained a two bedroom property through the good graces of B.A.S.H.S (says it all, really), the Airways Housing offices. As we alighted from the 203A bus at the top of Clare Road, our nostrils were assailed by the delicately fragrant combination of 1. Aviation Fuel and 2.Smithfield Animal Products Ltd (aka "The Bone Factory").This latter could best be described as an amalgam of Marmite and dogshit.
       A brisk 10 minute walk (believe me, we couldn’t get indoors fast enough) saw us arrive,gasping and retching, at our new home.At first sight, the immediate environs presented us with all the basic necessities for a small family, a pub with the name partially spelled out in off-white letters (The "(H)appy (Lan)ding") and a grafitto in blue spraypaint of one of the better known local "faces" ("Jimmy Hogg shagged a Wog and a Dog"). There was a small supermarket…Shaws by name, Fader’s Toyshop, a post office, TWO butchers, ditto greengrocers, and a chippy,run by the redoubtable Mrs Church and her strapping son.Just opposite the pub was Dr. Collins’ surgery, and 100 yards farther up Hadrian Way, the Dental surgery.Everything one required, in fact, after an evening in the "Appy Ding", a cheery hostelry where one would like as not receive a cheery greeting peculiar to the locale;"Wotchu lookin a’? Wonna smack in the maahf, caaahnt?". Two primary schools, Town Farm Juniors and St Annes infants and Junior school, and a fair sized park (the "Rec") catered to the needs of the younger residents.
       A word about the aforementioned Smithfield Animal Products Ltd. This fine, well established company had its premises on a large plot of rough ground situated between Long Lane and Clare Road,the tall brown brick chimney being something of a local landmark. It was a common sight to see a convoy of dark green wagons bearing their cargo of putrefying animal carcases into the factory grounds, eagerly pursued by a gigantic swarm of bluebottles buzzing merrily behind them. These loads of offal would be boiled, steamed,and rendered to their component parts of a.bone, for fertiliser, b. fat, for the tallow industry, and c. the most appalingly stomach turning stench known to man. The "Boney", as it was affectionately known, had been operating since time out of mind, until that glorious Sunday afternoon in the mid Seventies when one of the huge pressure cookers exploded, blowing the entire roof off the factory and unfortunately taking the lives of three workers in the process. My mother and I had been watching the "Eric Sykes Show" and eating our tea when suddenly, our living room window appeared to bulge inwards (how the panes remained intact I will never know), followed by a bang worthy of Hiroshima.Rushing into the front garden, we were greeted by the sight of tiles, roof joists and masonry falling delicately earthward, apparently in slow motion. One rumour put about later was that the I.R.A. could smell the place as far away as the Falls Road, and had decided to eradicate the problem once and for all with a huge fertiliser bomb. Of course the Priest at St David’s, the local Catholic enclave,tried to claim it was an Act of God. Who knows though, how far up the stink travelled? He may have had a point.
   After the rubble was cleared, Smithfield Ltd decided to move their base of operations elsewhere, to the joy of the local residents and, after lying fallow for several years,rebuilding finally commenced some time in the early 90s. The site is now occupied by the Northumberland Close Trading Estate.

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Top 50 worst places to live in England 2021

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