Memories of Highbury and Islington.

Welcome to the GunnersoreArse blog. Being blogged 918.74 kilometers (in a straight line) from the Emirates Stadium.

Today starts a new series of Memories of Highbury and Islington. If there are other bloggers who wish to contribute then please let me know in the comments section.

A Guest post from GunnerN5

Good morning all it’s my pleasure and privilege to be the first guest writer on Gunnersorearse. Some readers of Arsenal blogs already know part of my background so I will try not to be overly boring or repetitive.

I was born on Avenell Road and my very earliest childhood recollections are of the Arsenal. Both sides of my family were avid Arsenal supporters and with a total of 18 uncles and 40 plus male cousins it’s understandable why the Gunners were a dominant part of the conversation. My maternal grandfather, who delivered coal by horse and cart around Highbury, was a fanatical supporter and witnessed the very first game the Gunners, played at Highbury in 1913. So that means our family has supported the Arsenal for over 100 years.

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Highbury and Islington Station

My Uncle George also lived on Avenell Road and his parlour was the gathering place after every home game – the post mortems held there were a huge part of my upbringing and indoctrination into a family of Gunners. With no TV or Radio coverage of the games the highlight of the gathering was the weekly football results, they were broadcast at 5:00 pm every Saturday the parlour hushed as the results were read out, but there was always a huge cheer if the Spuds lost. The results then sparked off a conversation about the standings and Arsenal’s chances of winning anything. That was not dissimilar to today’s scenario, you see the family were used to winning and had just come through the Arsenal glory day’s under Herbert Chapman and George Allison, a lot of the discussion centered around Tom Whittaker’s ability to carrying on the winning tradition. Well Tom did well in his early years winning 3 trophies, but after 3 trophy less seasons he left and Arsenal sank into the most barren period in our history winning only 4 trophy’s in the 33 years between 1953/54 and 1986/87, when under George Graham we won our first League Cup.

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A street party in Oldershaw Road, to celebrate the end of WW2

Sunday mornings were always waited in anticipation of getting delivery of our 3 Sunday Papers where we would get news stories and actual pictures of Saturday’s games. Dad always got first dibs and as the eldest son I got the next, believe me the sports pages were devoured and every detail was absorbed. I would cut out all of the pictures pertaining to Arsenal plus the League tables and stick them up next to my bed. Unbelievable as it may sound to today’s generation those were the two main sources of information about the previous day’s games along with the odd news reports during the week compare that with today’s information saturation.

Us Avenell Road boys used the gate into the ground as our goal, we were a poor bunch so we had to use a rag ball, hand sewn by my mum, as our football. We imagined ourselves as one of the team, I aspired to be Jimmy Logie, a great Scottish inside forward who set up both goals as we won the 1949/50 FA Cup Final 2-0 against Liverpool. After he retired Jimmy fell on hard times; football was not the lucrative profession it is currently, and he was a big gambler. He ended up selling news papers in Piccadilly Circus and died in 1984, aged 64. How very sad!

Matchday, Avenell Road.

My Dad got the chance of a permanent job at the Starbrush Company; this meant that we had to move away from my beloved Avenell Road and the Arsenal. I threatened to leave home and live with my Grandparents on Stavordale Road but I changed my mind when Dad said he thought that was a good idea. We moved to Oldershaw Road just off of the Caledonian Road, the houses were very run down and damp but we moved in anyway and shared a space with my Dad’s brother, later on we got our own house. It was long walk back to Highbury but I was there very week to watch my heroes.

Through the internet and Gunnersorearse I discovered that Northbank lived on Sonning Street, which backed onto Oldershaw Road – small world indeed. We grew up a decade apart on the same streets but as it turns out I only delivered milk to a prison (Pentonville) while NB69 got a far more up close and personal look inside of Wandsworth.

To be continued………..

GunnersoreArse, bringing you the history of Islington and the Arsenal. 


241 thoughts on “Memories of Highbury and Islington.

  1. aha, NorthBank, glad you are open. God, it takes ages for you lazy barstewards to shift your arses. A pint of bitter, please Sir. 🙂

  2. arnie, unfortunately saw it first time round, when I was a mere gorsoon. 🙂

    A bit of a culture vulture, but yes Modeste is correct. 🙂

  3. Well now that NB is out of the game again (siesta lol) what mischief can we get up to. SOS, Cockie and Terry. 🙂

  4. Afternoon Me
    A win, I didn’t see, if life was easy we would all enjoy it.

    arnie, if you took all the music and dance out of bollywood, how many films would be left? 🙂
    I just can’t get into it.

  5. Michael. If you took the dance and the music out, you would get the opera on the one hand, and the film on the other. Bollywood is a cocktail of opera, comedy and film, all in one. 🙂

    Yes indeed, 1-0 to The Arsenal! 🙂

  6. arnie, I’m no expert in film, but the bits I’ve seen just never seem credible, thats not to say hollywood is, but there is more variety of genre. As an aside I can listen to world music with an open mind. Your vids yesterday aren’t really for me sorry. 🙂
    And I think we both use the tv for the same reason…Arsenal.

  7. Nobody here goes out at 7pm way too early, unless there going to the cinema, this place will be hopping at 0400.

  8. Michael. This is interesting. IMO, art or literature, or for that matter any performing arts, does not need to be credible. A feature film is neither a documentary nor investigative journalism. Even if the film is “realist” or so-called “neo-realist”, it is still meant to portray only a biased view.

    how credible are Shakespeare’s plays? How credible is Jules Verne? How credible is The Barber of Seville? How credible are NorthBank’s paintings?

    A film should in principle be creative, and if it is meant for a commercial purpose, has to provide entertainment as well. Bollywood serves the second purpose well, and is poor on the first. So is Hollywood, by and large. Even if the pool of talent there is substantially larger, and so by allowing one creative film-maker to make every one film in 100, they do strike a bit of a balance.

    But certainly, films are not realistic, and are not meant to be so. Biopics and historical films can sometimes border on credibility, but this is just because of their subject matter.

    What, then, is the value of a Bollywood film? It is to provide inexpensive entertainment and welcome distraction for the working class, who in India have to work very hard and whose reality is actually a fiercely aggressive and competitive world. This audience does not need reminder of reality, they want escape from it. Bollywood provides a cocktail of song, dance, fights, idolatry and religious escapism that provides these people some solace. That is their purpose.

    Creativity is of second order importance, and Bollywood is not very creative therefore. The only time a Bollywood film won at Cannes was in the 1930s, I think.

  9. Indian music, on the other hand, is very creative. It is meant for intellectual nourishment, rather than entertainment. Indian “classical” music, as the name suggests, is meant for the elite, not the working class. Its focus is in creating melodies, on the go, a bit like jazz. Unlike western music, harmony is not a big component of Indian music.

    Folk music, on the other hand, is aimed at the education of peasants. It is also very creative, but in terms of themes rather than melody.

    Western music, in my view, has recently moved away from creativity. Classical music has moved completely in the direction of interpretation of works already created, rather than creation of new music. Pop(ular) music is what the name suggests, meant for the entertainment of the working and marginalized classes. There is some creativity there, and more so in jazz. But where in the world music is still being created is the orient.

    Art, on the other hand, is very creative in Europe. Similarly, films. In fact, art has on some occasions even managed to connect with the masses, with society. This is extraordinary, particularly since it was meant for the elite. Picasso’s Guernica is a great example.

  10. arnie, I’m a philistine. 🙂 no criticism from me, I wouldn’t know where to start. 🙂
    I suppose Tori Amos’s Huntress album (which I like) would underline what you say about classical music, just off the top of my head. I won’t go into an RA length response. 🙂
    Opera starts at 7 tonight on lyric.

  11. ha ha ha Michael. you know what? the moment you claim to be a philistine, you deal a death-blow to your anti-intellectual credibility. that’s good though. 🙂

    I will check out on that album. 🙂

  12. arnie is definately a one off ha ha

    Good morning my happy little bunnies 🙂

    New post will be up at 9am GMT

    A real corker from Cockie…. a must read, only GunnersoreArse brings you the exclusives, the weird and wonderful world of the Arsenal.

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