A Suburb Childhood

suburb childhood From the cover:

Ed Zanders was born in 1950 and lived in Hampstead Garden Suburb from 1954 to 1969. This highly personal memoir of those years describes his life as the son of Douglas Zanders, piano teacher to two generations of its residents, and his connections with some of the high achievers who lived in and around Hurst Close during that time. These were well-known figures from politics and the media, including Peter Mandelson and Edgar Anstey. In a light-hearted account, he recalls how the peace of the Suburb was disturbed by the childish antics of his group of friends and celebrates the extreme tolerance and encouragement of the neighbours, the mark of truly civilised people.

This new edition of the book, originally published in 2007 to celebrate the Suburb’s centenary, has been expanded to include more illustrations and in-depth accounts of the lives of individual neighbours

Product details

Paperback: 86 pages
Publisher: Merak Publishing, 2017
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1999705909
Price: £9.99
old edition From reviews of the 2007 edition:

“Zanders plays cowboys and Indians, compares electric train sets, exchanges water bombs and romps around the woods on go-karts with childhood chums including New Labour architect Peter Mandelson who lived at 12 Bigwood Road and is described as; ‘quiet, happy to go along with the rest of us and a valued friend’. Zanders successfully evokes a nostalgic past with plenty fresh air, car free spaces to play, cheery window cleaners and Bill Haley's Rock Around the Clock on the record player. His wealth or fascinating and friendly neighbours included Prime Minister Harold Wilson, Daily Telegraph editor Sir Colin Coote, documentary film maker Edgar Anstey, meteorologist Ernest Gold, MI5 director Martin Furnival-Jones, and Just a Minute creator Ian Messiter. It's hard not to feel envious for his lucky childhood in a lost England that few of our children will enjoy. But the ongoing passion and vigilance of Suburb residents to protect their unique semi-rural community will ensure that a fortunate few can still experience its delights.” Bridget Galton, Hampstead and Highgate Express

"This book is written so delicately, with such great affection, humour and precision. It is a fascinating tale of growing up in the leafy and heady freedom of Hampstead Garden Suburb in the 1950s and 60s. In a society where our primary sense of community now seems to be generated over the internet, it was refreshing to return to a world of face-to-face encounters and neighbours that actually speak to one another, rather than hiding away in their own little boxes. The photos are very atmospheric, illuminating the text with costumes, stances and poses all typical of their age. There are some great individual passages and recollections also. The author has a clear, precise memory of his upbringing, an idyllic childhood in as much as he is left to his own devices - not in an uncaring, neglectful way but with a liberating and enriching freedom. This allowed him and his friends to play, invent, create, experiment (literally with chemicals) creating explosions that the neighbours tolerate with good humour and indulgence - imagine what would happen in a modern day setting! The book is a slim volume but its warmth should appeal to all grown-ups, irrespective of whether they know the Suburb.” C. Kirkham
Oldie cover The Oldie magazine - November 2018

Memory Lane article featuring the young Peter Mandelson and the go-kart incident, one of the stories recounted in A Suburb Childhood.