London

On November 5, 1962 I arrived in London.  I had been offered articles by the accountancy firm of Smith and Williamson, and I was eager to take it up.  However my friend David Fairbairn from both my Rugby and my Oxford days was already living in London, studying to be a solicitor, and he suggested that I should take a room in the residential club where he was staying. And that is how I came to be residing at the Belsize Square Residential club, at 31 to 34 Belsize Square,  three houses from a rather elegant late Georgian or early Victorian development that had been thrown together to form this residential club.

It was situated in an ideal area, halfway between Belsize Park and the Swiss Cottage underground stations in an elegant part of London, though the actual club was a rather basic accommodation.  I arrived there on the fifth of November and I remember going out with David onto Parliament Hill to see the fireworks and to celebrate my arrival in London.  I had never lived in London before, but somehow Birmingham had never suited me and London seemed far more exciting, and I felt sure that, as it has turned out, London was the place for me and that I would become a Londoner.

I stayed in the Residential Club for nearly 6 months, until I found a room of my own at 130 Haverstock Hill, where I remained for a further 3, nearly 4 years.  It was here indeed that I got married. It was here that I first brought Wendy home, it was here that I enjoyed a wonderful romance,  and it was here that, as soon as we announced our engagement that the landlady, Mrs Meehan, who had previous thought that she should save Wendy from the dangers of spending a night with me, suddenly changed round, insisted that we should have a bigger room with a double bed and that Wendy should move in with me.  We spent nearly the first year of our married life there, looking for a house to buy, till we eventually found a house at 128 Barnsbury Road in Islington.  I have fond memories of my time in Haverstock Hill, for it was here are that I was able to indulge in my most interesting sexual experiences.

David was I suppose the best friend I ever had: we talked together, we argued together and we chased girls together.  I think I argued more with him than with anyone else in my life, and though he stayed for several years in the Residential Club, he nevertheless came round regularly to see me and join me for a meal and a good argument.