Allen Brent was born in London's East End during the Battle of Britain at the outbreak of the Second World War (13th December 1940). He was baptised in St Matthias' Anglican Church in Stoke Newington where his parents lived briefly with his paternal grandfather before moving in with his maternal ones in Dalston in the early months of 1941.
From this last address he was sent to the Baptist Church Sunday School almost immediately opposite the house in Ashwin Street Dalston, by parents not very religiously committed, he was subsequently rebaptised by immersion there at the age of 13 in 1954. He would wish to acknowledge there his Anglican baptism as his one and true baptism, by virtue of which he was received into the Catholic Church in October, 2011.
His early memories, fragmented as those of a small child invariably are, were of collecting shrapnel, those pieces of exploded bombs, from bombed out houses in the blitz. , a favourite occupation of children during those years.Houses on one side of Ashwin Street, adjoining a Baptist Church that appeared in great proportions opposite number 8 where he lived, was completely destroyed, though those opposte remained standing. See, Stoke Newington map.
He was too young to remember the raid that leveled the houses in the street opposite, and his early recollections are of the row of bombed out houses opposite that were to be turned into a wood yard.
There were air raid shelters constructed where groups of families in streets would gather after the siren had sounded, and where they would wait for the 'all clear'. One of these, a brick structure, had been contructed in the small garden and almost filled the space.
No 8 was one house in a block that was demolished in the years following the mysterious fire in 2008. The site is being redeveloped as part of a recreational garden now stretching from behind Reeves factory to Ridley Road.
It was also the time when underground stations, the London Tube, were also deployed as air raid shelters.
He remembers spitfires in the sky, and men on firewatch duty at night on the the roof of Reeves Paint factory that still stands now unused at the end of Ashwin Street where it adjoins Garret Street, now the fashionable venue for Oto's cafe and new art galleries.
The year 1945 saw victory and his starting primary school which was Holy Trinity Church School in Beechwood Road, Dalston, London E.8. One of the sparse and fragmented memories of early childhoodwas when his mother with a ration book obtained bananas in Ridley Road Market. They had been unavailable during the war with Japan, with the result that the young Brent was never impressed with the taste of bananas that he has never liked.