Young Readers: The woman who helped put the Buzz into Highgate life

Judy Levi and Ronald Bernstein moved into Highgate in 1955. The young couple choose to live there because WW2 bombed out most of London and Highgate was one of the very few places that was least affected.

One of the most important needs in the community was connection to the city. As Judy remembered, “The trolley bus came up the hill on rails. Originally it was pulled by horses, then later it was powered by electricity.”

This was one of the many changes Judy remembers.

At the top of Highgate Hill, there was a forge where horse shoes were made and sold. When the horses pulling the trolley bus were replaced by electricity, the forge disappeared from Highgate.

Another of Judy’s early memories was working as a doctor in the local polio clinic. Following the death of the famous football player, Jeff Hall in 1959, polio clinics were introduced across Britain.

Judy set up a clinic in Highgate and, working with a nurse, she would inject 600 people with polio vaccines every day.

Judy and her husband were part of the early founders of the Highgate Society. Judy remembers one night in around 1965 when her third son, Daniel was just a baby. Around 20 people visited her house to discuss the local issues – and Buzz magazine was formed.

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One of those who attended the meeting was its president, a man called Yehudi Menuhin, who also lived in Highgate. Judy remembers the concerts she attended in the local church conducted by him.

In 1962 Judy took part in a protest to stop heavy traffic coming through Highgate. She was part of a group of women who took their babies and lay down in the street as a protest. The police were called and the protest broke up, but eventually they were successful, and lorries were stopped from coming through Highgate.

Judy has seen many changes over the years, but she still lives happily in the village she moved to 65 years ago.