A Laindoner's memories by Ted Bruley
This archive has stirred many memories of my years living at Laindon so I thought I would add a few. Great site – well done!
I came to Laindon (23 Basildon Drive) in 1937 with my parents when I was one year old from Shoreditch, London. The bungalow was very small with no bathroom. Bath time for my elder brother (Ken) and I was the proverbial galvanized bath (once a week) in front of the kitchen range. Here, I add, we called the main living room “the kitchen” and the kitchen “the scullery”. In the winter ice formed on the inside of the windows.
Basildon Drive was unmade until much later and I remember playing football across the road with a friend, John Higgs (he lived at no. 38), using our opposite gates as goals. A car was a rarity. I can just remember the “Garden of Roses” at the junction of Basildon Drive and St Nicholas Lane being talked about but I think it had disappeared by the outbreak of the Second World War.
Much of our everyday shopping was done at the store in Basildon Drive, situated opposite Dickens Drive. It was first called Greggs and later Emery’s.
I attended Sunday School in St Nicholas Church Hall, just up from Pound Lane.
My grandmother lived in a small timber bungalow called “Daisybank” on the north side of the level crossing in Northumberland Avenue. We called the path to it ‘The Glade’. She had no electricity and the water supply was filtered from the roof.
I went to Markham’s Chase School 1940/41. The headmistress was Miss Duke. Other teachers were, Mrs Mears my first teacher, Miss Balls, Miss Ayers and indeed Miss Cock who drove a Morris Car. My last teacher in class one was Mr Gorham. I played football for the school team, playing in green and yellow colours.
Funny how I can recall many of the pupils in that class but not what I had for lunch yesterday! Victor Basset, Michael Bathhurst, Brian Burford, Alan Watson, Brenda and Barbara Tice, Pat Shepard, Carol Pigram, Pat Bolton, Albert Catton and Bernard Sibthorpe who has subscribed to this website.
During the war two bombs and a V2 rocket fell nearby, taking out our windows and removing roof tiles. This would have been around 1942/3/4. I know I had to go into Billericay Hospital while repairs were carried out, a scary time for my mother with two boys, our father being in the army. I also remember going to the air raid shelter when the siren went while at school.
I can remember playing among the weekend bungalows (as we called them) and helping ourselves from the fruit trees. Scrumping – in other words. We also had great fun with toboggans down St Nicholas Hill especially during the winter of 1947.
In 1948 I left Markham’s Chase School and went to the Laindon High School. Mr Woodward had just taken over as headmaster and my brother had just left. Teachers I remember here are Mr Giffiths, Mr Reece, Mr Cluff, Miss Pearce and Mr Bear.
I remember the Pound Lane estate, as we called it, being built during the 1950s. Kathleen Ferrier Crescent ran alongside my parent’s house. We did not like it because it took away our rural aspect.
I joined the Air Training Corp which operated from the Memorial Hall. Officers being Mr White and Mr Ferris, Warrant Officer, Carnnel took us for drill etc, his wife providing refreshments – great people. I was to go in to the RAF for my National Service and this served me well.
I joined up in January 1955 with initial training at RAF Hednesford, then on to RAF Yatesbury Radar School to train as a Radar Operator. I was then posted to RAF Wildenrath (Germany) to work on a Ground Controlled Interception Unit. I had reached the grand rank of Senior Aircraftsman by the time my service ended in January 1957.
I trained as a printer at Smith and Greenfield in Durham Road. Jim Gardener who frequented the Laindon Hotel worked there too. I started up my own printing business from smaller work that Smith and Greenfield passed on to me.
I closed down my print shop in the late 1960s when I took a job with Perivan Press in Southend. I stayed in the business until I retired in 2000.
I got married in 1960, renting rooms in Basildon Drive (2 James Villas) until buying property in Tavistock Road (Grangewood). My son and daughter were born here – Happy days!
Laindon had a good array of shops and builders merchants in the High Road and I can remember most of them from Weedon’s newsagent (I did a paper round here) at the north end (of the High Road), to Churchill Johnsons near the railway station.
However in 1972 I felt that Laindon was deteriorating and moved nearer my job at Leigh on Sea.
I have enjoyed writing these few words that have triggered even more memories, not all good ones, but I can say I am glad I had those years in Laindon and to this day still consider myself a Laindoner.
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