Memoirs of Woodford
Navigating the River Cherwell Tunnels
I had the pleasure of growing up in one of the houses shown in your photo of the White Hart from the station - No.2 Sidney Road.
I lived in the village at various addresses from 1964 until around 1983 and saw how the village virtually died when the railway was shut by the short-sighted government puppet, Beeching (think HS2 if you reckon short-sighted is too unkind).
Amongst the many memories, some brilliant, some not so, that I hold of my time in Woodford, I still chuckle when I think of another of the ‘infamous’ families of Woodford - the Kiely’s of Sidney Road. It was one long hot summers day (weren’t they all?) when us kids decided for a dare that we would try to sail the length of the tunnel that carries the Cherwell under the railway embankment (the bank) from the old slaughter house at back of Sidney Road to the bridge under Station Road / Hinton Road, in front of the old station masters house. The chosen boat was actaully a tin bath, discarded when the first few houses in Sidney Road got bathrooms installed (yes, the original terraces built for the railway workers had no bathrooms!)
At the last minute, we all chickened out, and left Paddy Kiely the sole race participant. He braved water rats, moorhens, old prams, running aground several times on the silt and almost total darkness to emerge at the other end victorious, if not a little shaken.
To this day I regret my cowardice in the face of danger, but hold dear memories of one of my best friends, Paddy.