Since Britain’s Hung parliament I have seen and heard Cowley Street in Westminster mentioned numerous times on the TV as Nick Clegg enters or leaves the Liberal Democrate HQ which is based there. As a result of this, childhood memories have come flooding back as I used to live on Cowley Street a few doors down from the Liberal Democrat HQ, (then The Social Democratic Party HQ).
It occurred to me that not much of Cowley Street has changed since I was a teenager or even over the last Century for that matter!Three minutes walk from the Houses of Parliament; Big Ben’s striking on the hour was a comfort as I got off to sleep.Many of our neighbours on the street were MPs and our immediate next door MP neighbour, had a very loud bell in his house that would ring on what seemed to be a very regular basis to alert him to the fact that he should go immediately to the House of Commons.Mind you our neighbour’s house was also known to have a poltergeist and nearly everyone who entered it would strangely slip or trip up over the front door mat – I think the polertergist had a tendency to make that bell ring a little too often.Whether the MP ever took any notice of it I will never know.Then there were the original gas lights in the road outside the beautiful Victorian town houses. And it was not unusual to come home from school to find a film crew in the middle of filming some kind of costume drama.The yellow lines on the road were covered up and there would be horses and carriages, and people walking around in Victorian clothing.I would watch for hours in fascination.
We regularly had groups of Japanese tourists come to look at Cowley Street and I was accustomed to having them look through our living room window with curiousity as I was watching TV.
Westminster School was close by and some of the students had digs on the top floor in building on Barton Street the road alongside Cowley Street.They had access to the roofs and I would often see them from my bedroom window smoking fags on the roofs.One day I was getting dressed and I caught a boy staring at me from the roof opposite. As soon as he saw that I saw him looking at me, he went into an extremely exaggerated, energetic exercise routine making out he had not been looking at all!I have loads more memories of life in Cowley Street which have only just come back as result of the current political situation and they bring a smile to my face.
My memories aside, looking at Cowley Street and the Liberal Democrat HQ, I only pray that a solution is agreed upon very soon between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems.The deficit is still growing and the economic crisis is still very much here.The requirement for radical measures to get the economy back on it’s feet is growing minute by minute.