A scene in Laindon High Road

Does anybody know the year?

The attached undated photo was handed into the Laindon Library, along with others, by a neighbour of Elsie Bessie West of ‘Halstead’ Laindon High Road who died in 1987 aged 77. ‘Halstead was a bungalow that stood on the east side of the High Road next to the large house ‘Morningside’.

This photo in particular interested me as I recognised the bungalow ‘Yardley’, as one of three built by Joe Clifford in the thirties. His own family bungalow, called ‘Belgrave’ stood to the right of ‘Yardley’ and lay further back from the road. The third bungalow was ‘Kudos’ which stood in Tattenham Road.

I also recognised the shop next door which a few years later became ‘North Parade Post Office’. In this photo, it’s signed ‘Lawson, Children’s Wear’ with a ‘To Be Let’ sign on the front windows. The photo which was possibly taken from ‘Halstead’ across the road, shows a carnival float which appears to be carrying the Carnival Queen and her court. It would be interesting to discover the exact date of the photo and maybe the name of that year’s Carnival Queen.

A little research has shown that the 1939 Register shows the shop was called ‘Handy Stores’. The 1951 Electoral Register still shows the shop as ‘Handy Stores’. The 1955 Electoral Register shows the shop as ‘North Parade Post Office. So the post office transferred from North Parade on the east side of the High Road to the shop next to ‘Yardley’ on the west side sometime between 1951 and 1955. However, it kept its name ‘North Parade Post Office’.

I also publish a picture of North Parade Post Office in its new position for comparison.

Bungalow 'Yardley' built in the 1930s with shop 'Lawson Children's Wear on the left.
The bungalow 'Yardley' built in the 1930s with North Parade Post Office on the left (1950/60s).

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  • Nina, the name Gower would seem to add further evidence. During the 1946-1950 time period there was an undeveloped area immediately south of Sayers/Slopers and the Post Office. A pick up game of football would take place on occasion led by Johnny Gower and his younger brother Len. The game revolved around Johnny Gower as he was the only boy to own a football!! I never knew his family ran the Post Office specifically, only that he lived in the immediate area. The undeveloped area was reached via a foot bridge over the High Road ditch which then led on to the streets and houses further west. The last time I was back to Laindon the field where we played had been built up with apartments or townhouses. The footpath still remained and bore the name Compton’s Walk or Compton’s Lane. (I remember it well as Denis Compton was my favourite boyhood cricket player.) Years later I discovered that Len Gower courted Sheila Larkin for a while. The Larkins lived in St Nicholas Lane where the road does a left hand squiggle at the intersection of Douglas Road. Sheila Larkin later married my cousin Ron, who lived in Wash Road. They currently live in Rayleigh.

    By Alan Davies (02/09/2019)
  • Very interesting and helpful. Thank you Alan for sharing your memories.

    Going back to a further perusal of the 1939 Register. I found the following: ‘Belgrave’, George and Emma Brockwell. (Yardley isn’t mentioned). ‘Handy Stores’, Walter H Meiszner (A taxi driver) and his wife Matilda (miscellaneous goods dealer). No doubt this couple took over the shop from ‘Lawson Children’s Wear and changed the name to ‘Handy Stores’. I would think this indicates that the photo was taken prior to 1939.

    I’ve just had a look at the 1949 BDC Survey map and information and noticed that Mr & Mrs Gower are at ‘North Parade Post Office’ shown next to ‘Yardley’.

    The 1951 Electoral Register – ‘Handy Stores’, High Road, Laindon – Henry J and Lilian Gower. The 1955 Electoral Register shows, Mr & Mrs Gower, North Parade Post Office. So it seems the shop became the Post Office some time after 1939. Which confirms your excellent memory.

    I’m now puzzled as to why the 1951 Electoral Register still has that shop down as ‘Handy Stores’.

    I remember a couple who ran the Post Office in the late 50s. I believe their name was Boxshall. I bought lots of colouring pencils, drawings books etc., in there. In the late 60s an Indian couple had taken over the running of the Post Office, when my sister-in-law paid her TV license there. Sometime later, she received a reminder that her TV license hadn’t yet been paid. She returned to the Post Office to check and found her payment and form were still in the till. Apparently the new people hadn’t understood the procedure, so hadn’t sent the payment off.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (02/09/2019)
  • Nina, my memory may be faulty but I’ll tell you what it says. I cannot be sure of the precise times but beginning in January 1946, when we moved from Raglan Road to King Edward Terrace, I worked a few hours a week for George Baker who ran an adjacent nursery while Sid Clifford sold the resulting fruits, vegetables, and flowers out of the little greengrocers they jointly owned. The shop was situated a little further north next to Hatherall’s the hardware store. A little later I worked part time for Mr and Mrs Sayer who ran the grocery store next door to the post office. They had two daughters and lived on the premises. A little later the Sayers sold out to members of the Sloper dairy family. I worked on the week end helping Mr Sloper with his milk deliveries for a while. These part time jobs ended when I finished school at Chelmsford Tech and started work in the city in July 1950. Throughout this entire period (1946 to 1950) the store next to the Sayers and the Slopers was a post office. I know this does not jibe with your research and my memory may well be playing me false but that’s what it says. Perhaps there are some other old codgers with less faulty memories who can correct me or perhaps even corroborate me.

    By Alan Davies (02/09/2019)

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