Laindon High Road Shops and Public Buildings

Existing prior to New Town Re-development

Our and other people’s recollections were gathered around 1965 and committed to paper during the 1970’s. Obviously the older our contacts were the further back their memories went. Ours covered from the late 1940’s. We have looked at various books and lists of High Road shops and properties to try and verify some of the information given and do not intend this attempt at naming most of the shops along the High Road to be complete or absolutely correct by any means. What we hope to see is response via the Archive to add gradually to the list of any that have been missed or misplaced. They have only been listed in the approximate position on the map as memories and maps do not operate to the same scale!!! Also where some shops had a succession of ownership or uses it is now impossible to put them in an absolute accurate time line.

At this point we make it clear that this is only a collecting together of all the information we have gathered over the years from local people and we hope that now it is appearing on the Laindon Archive site it will prompt more information to come to light. Eventually we may also be able to offer links to the many photographs that we have of the shops and buildings along the Laindon/Langdon Hills High Road. The next section beyond the Railway line is nearly ready and will be added as soon as finished. We have cross referenced with a list that appears on the Basildon History site and also a plan that was used at a Laindon Re-union at the Laindon Community Hall a few years ago.  This event was so popular we were unable to get tickets to attend but Ken Church and Rob Springate kindly lent me their map copy that Charlie and Rita Clark had used on the night of the re-union. This plan helped put our list together and also some of the original photographs we have used to confirm various facts are from the late Gerald Ward’s collection.

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  • Hi
    I am on behalf of a friend, trying to find information on a lady who was good friends with his sister in law. The lady was Margaret or Molly Roche or Roach (maiden name). Her family came from Rectory Road, Basildon. She married someone called John (surname unknown) who either owned or worked in a barbers shop(my friend said Harris or Bennett) in Laindon. The marriage possibly took place in the 1950’s after which they moved to Stanford Le Hope. They had two girls a few years apart. If any of this sounds familiar, it would be good to hear from someone.
    I am planning a trip to Essex record office sometime to at least try to identify a Roche family on the Electoral Registers in Rectory Road. It will be a 130 mile return trip from Suffolk.

    By Mike Roberts (10/01/2023)
  • I am looking for Betty Ann Andrews, and my friend Colin Bush of Upminster Bridge.

    By Mel Lake (17/08/2020)
  • Loving the Map, what years?

    By Barry Cartwright (16/07/2020)
  • Nina, I think the project was my dad building a large shed/workshop in the garden. One of the old Plotland bungalows somewhere near the top of New Century Road was demolished and the builders said that dad could have any timber he wanted. We carried and wheelbarrowed (no cars in those days) all the timber dad needed to our house. Dad built a great workshop. Give my best to Alan, we had fun times together.

    By Trevor Clegg (13/03/2020)
  • Hello Trevor. I remember you and your family. You and my brother Alan were in the same class. I did come to your house once to drop Alan off, as you and he had some project on.
    I don’t remember when you come to our place, but we certainly did have plenty of places in our garden to search for slowworms (and other things). Yes we did have quite a large pond. Alan had an air gun and we had a target set up in the nearby field. Plenty of space in those days!
    Alan now lives in Worcester with his wife Hilary and son David.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (12/03/2020)
  • To clear up the conundrum of 3 King Edward Terrace. My grandfather was John Sydney Brown. He was christened Sydney because his father, who was in the Merchant Navy was in Sydney, Australia when his son was born. Grandad was always known as Syd, he never used John. He was married to Rose Clark who had lived in Railway Cottages. They had four children. Joyce (my mother). John, Maureen and Helen. Donald Clegg is my father. He lived at Oak Villa which was next to Dr Chowdhary’s and almost opposite Parkinson’s garage. His parents were William and Florence, and he had brothers Stanley and Norman and sisters Marjorie and Kathleen. When my parents married in 1948 they first lived with William and Florence and then bought “Rooksdown” in New Century Road in 1950 for the sum of £250. We lived there until 1963 when we moved to Upminster.

    Nina, re your 29/04/13 post I remember your brother Alan. I can remember him having a sister but cannot picture you. I used to enjoy coming to your place. Alan and I used to hunt slow worms under corrugated sheeting at your property. We used to shoot an air rifle and I think you had a pond too? Such happy days.

    By Trevor Clegg (12/03/2020)
  • Is there a map/list of shops from the station going up through Langdon Hills to say the Crown Hotel please….. Frieda Fordham

    Editor: A list is being prepared and we hope to be able to publish it soon.

    By Mrs Frieda Johnstone (21/01/2020)
  • Hello.

    There is a mention below of a map showing shops from the railway line onwards. Did that ever materialise please?

    Editor:- I will look into it for you.

    By Kevin Cullis (31/01/2019)
  • A little voice inside my head is saying,”the hole in the wall”. Does anyone know anything about this? I believe it was a retail outlet of some kind and could be found somewhere on the High Road close to the Winston Club. Any help would be welcomed, if only to silence the little voice in my head. 

    By Donald Joy (16/08/2016)
  • I have found the ID card that refers to Marine Stores (1942, and later giving her address as Buller Road in 1949) it belonged to my Mum, not Dad as I previously thought. For Dad I have his medical card showing Marine Stores as his address, and giving Dr Chowdhary as his GP (1946)

    I will try to post the photo, but for the moment I am struggling to work out how to do that with Windows 10!

    Editor:  The documents referred to by Daphne can be found by using the following link. Click here

    By Daphne Rowbotham (Churms) (01/05/2016)
  • Thank you Ann for that information, I would love to see a picture of Marine Stores. My interest is because my Dad’s ID card gives Marine Stores as his address, I will try and find it and post a photo.

    My Grandparents lived in the flat above Lloyds Bank, and I also remember Mrs Charlton in the jewellers shop as I went out with her Grandson Tony in the early 1960s, we had the job of putting the wooden shutters at the shop windows at the end of the day.

    By Daphne Rowbotham (Churms) (30/04/2016)
  • I have now found the photograph that I was referring to yesterday regarding the Marine Stores and am sorry to say I have given some wrong information in my comment. The Marine Stores after the photo was taken became the Victory Watch and Clock Co. which was run by a Mrs. Charlton in the early 50’s. Jean Steer who I mentioned as living over this store in fact lived in the next house along towards Manor Road. The building was a similar size to the Marine Stores but I do not remember it having the wooden inserts at the top and it was known just as ‘Steers’. Jean’s parents ran the shop and they all lived above the store. The picture we have also has Finch’s greengrocers and Sloper’s dairy in the frame.

    By Ann Rugg (27/04/2016)
  • In reply to Daphne Rowbotham’s recent enquiry regarding the Marine Stores in Laindon High Road, I do have a photograph of this store which I could pass on via e-mail or post if required. Although I also remember the store I cannot recall exactly what they sold when I was a child but I do remember Jean Steer who I was at Laindon High Road School with, living over the store in the early 50’s. Please make contact through our editor if I can be of any help to you. Ann Rugg (nee Bullimore)

    By Ann Rugg (25/04/2016)
  • Can anyone tell me anything about Marine Stores that according to the map was situated behind Lloyds Bank near Manor Cottage?

    By Daphne Rowbotham (Churms) (24/04/2016)
  • Ann, I would have been 6/7/8 years old at about the time I spoke of, so that would make it 1953/54/55. After this time I was considered old enough to go on my own, as I was aware of how to cross the road, look right, look left, look right again, if all clear, cross the road. Just a little before they came up with the Green Cross Code. More importantly, it was safe in those days and in our town, safe for young people to be out alone. Thanks for your diagram, it’s given me so much to think about. 

    By Donald Joy (17/09/2015)
  • From Pound Lane, walk along St Nicholas Lane, at the High Road turn left, pass Greens Stores and just a few shops further on, here we are at Pearks. I remember it only too well, as Mum did most of her shopping there. The front window always had a large display of crockery, sand coloured with a geometric design border in orange and brown. They had a stamp or card collection system in operation, can’t remember which, whereby when you had amassed a certain number of them, you could exchange them for items of said crockery. Whether you purchased these tokens or they were awarded pro rata to the amount of money spent, I don’t know that either. I do know however that Mum had a complete dinner set, tea service and so much more. So yes, I vividly recall where Pearks was, as I was often tasked with carefully carrying Mums “prizes” home!

    By Donald Joy (16/09/2015)
  • So happy to have seen this diagram, correct or not, for in my minds eye I have walked from “Hiawatha” to the station and back twice. No mean feat at my age. I knew there were public toilets but couldn’t place them, looking at the plan it now becomes clear that I did know where they were. Also I seem to had mislaid the fire station that I recalled so well as I used to stand spellbound by the fire engines as they stood outside. As I said, correct or not, this is a treasure to the memory, it jogs it so well. Jeakins yard was actually behind the position indicated as at this spot was the shop selling new and used furniture. This was also the taxi office and the removals booking office. The yard itself was also where Simmonds had their storage shed. 

    By Donald Joy (16/09/2015)
  • So glad to see that Donald Joy has enjoyed ‘walking the High Road’ with the aid of our diagram/plan on site. One day we will hopefully back it up with some more pictures to confirm or alter our original ideas. Different trades or shop names come from different generations of ex-Laindoners at various times and the comments are much appreciated as they will always be there on the site for future generations to mull over.

    Would also like to know which years Donald’s memories stem from please as that would also be of use when one day we do more work on the plan. Please keep the memories coming and many thanks for your most useful comments.

    By Ann Rugg (16/09/2015)
  • Just a point in relation to the position of Essex Road since having lived in said Road for 16 years I am certain that it met the High Road directly opposite the Fire Station.The shops on the Station side of Essex Road are generally correct but again Curtis shoe shop was opposite Shepherds’ restaurant/Bakery. Careys yard is correctly placed and did stretch all the way to Public Conveniences as shown. Hope this helps. Regards.

    By Eric Pasco (16/09/2015)
  • I was a paper boy for Weedon’s. I had the furthest to go. Top of Noak Hill and almost to Little Burstead. 16 shillings and 6 old pence a week. All the other lads got 10 bob. Sundays were hard work, with all the extras. I used to deliver to Mr. and Mrs. Gay’s house in Noak Hill Close. Mrs. Gay was my form teacher, (M4).

    By John Longstaff (14/05/2014)
  • Further to John Longstaff’s comments of 14/05/14.  From the archives it would seem many people knew of Mr Weedon as Willy.  I knew him as a youth and he was always known as “Bish” Weedon. Does anyone know the origin of his nickname?

    By W.H.Diment (14/05/2014)
  • Hi Anne.   Me too, but I’m never too old to learn something new.  I had assumed that all of us in Alexandra Road and along the unmade part of King Edward Road used calor gas.  Apparently not, it seems we were the only ones not connected to the mains.   Perhaps because our bungalow ‘Spion Kop’ was to the far north and in the middle of a field so to speak.

    I’ve just remembered something.  We were connected to the electricity supply in 1957 when I was 11 years.  This included our grandparents in their bungalow ‘Pendennis’, however, they moved away very shortly afterwards, so they can only have benefitted from the electricity for a very short time.   

    In some ways we were the poor relations in our area (remember when the unmade road was improved around 1951 but didn’t extend along our path, we still had to contend with the mud).  But we were richer in other ways – we had a huge garden, the largest vegetable plot and best fruit orchard.  Luckily, our mother rarely had to shop for fresh fruit and veg in the High Road, just basic groceries such as tea, sugar, flour, etc.  Dad used the shops for building and decorating materials.  I remember when he used to ‘paper the parlour’ and we all helped. They were fun times, but I didn’t always like our parents’ choice of wallpaper patterns or colours and I can still remember the smell of the home-made wallpaper paste he made from flour and water.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (06/04/2014)
  • Hi William Anderson.  My dad was also at the Eastern National Bus Company at Vange near the Bull Pub.   It was by the bridge and backed onto the railway line.  He must have known your parents.  He was a mechanic/fitter for a while then took to driving.

    Sometimes he was on the 255 and 254 routes which came down from Billericay, one via Little Burstead and the other via Great Burstead, down Noak Hill Road where we lived and we were able to get on his bus to get to Markhams Chase School.

    Think your wife Gill may remember my brother and me (twins) as we were at LHR the same time.

    By David Merchant

    By David Merchant (06/04/2014)
  • Hi David.  I remember your dad at the old tin shed, the E.N. Bus Company, and Gill remembers you.   I think she bumped into your wife in our local shop in Ramsden Bellhouse some time ago.

    My dad worked for London Transport as a driver before we came to Laindon.  I remember that he used to drive the coaches during the summer to Clacton, Yarmouth, Jaywick and other places, getting good tips at the end of each trip.

    One day he was asked to do a school trip to London because of his prior knowledge.  He did the trip going past all the monuments, with a teacher relaying the info he was giving to the kids, a great day out, tips almost nothing.

    After this first trip he was inundated with requests from the schools. He was like a bear with a sore head because of the coastal trips he was missing.

    It would be interesting if anyone remembers some of the other crews there.

    By William Anderson (06/04/2014)
  • Hi Sister Nina

    I have just read the bit about our grandparent’s refrigerator and have one little amendment about it.  In fact our grandparents never had Calor gas – they were connected to mains gas and their gas cooker, fridge and lights with mantels were all powered by mains gas.  I can remember this as I am so very old.

    By Anne Burton (05/04/2014)
  • Hi. The shoe repair shop on the plan was my father’s.  My mother and father worked for the Eastern National Bus Company, operating from an old corrugated building behind the Bull Pub in Basildon, later moved to Cherrydown.  I think Eastern National bought out Cambells Coaches.

    My father bought the shoe shop as an investment, after a year or so he sold it on. The E.N.Bus Co. brought in bus crews from their Chelmsford depot.  Among those who transferred were, Tommy Pragnel from King Edward Rd, Sunny Gray, father of Robert Gray, and Mr Adams from Kathleen Ferrier housing estate.

    By William Anderson (04/04/2014)
  • Having commented on the plethora of meat purveyors and cafes I cannot but wonder about the paucity of public telephone boxes. (Admittedly a little off the subject of shops and public buildings but of the same genre I would suggest.) Click to find out more

    By Alan Davies (14/09/2013)
  • A small point about about the use of petrol generators. It would not have been necessary to run it 24hrs a day. While it would have to be running for the lighting, hot water bottles filled with water placed in a very small refrigerator while the generator was running would hold the temperature overnight, as per the present day cold box principle. 

    Also for the daytime in those days ‘cardice’ was readily available locally in the summer as it was used by the ‘stop me and but one’ ice cream tricycles and lasted 8 to 10 hours.

    By W.H.Diment (08/09/2013)
  • In her posting of 30/08/13 Nina suggests that the various cafes in Laindon may not all have been a principal business but possibly a second source of income run by the wife. I think this has merit. However, several questions come to mind. 

    1. Very few of the modest bungalows in Laindon had a room(s) to give up for a cafe. 
    2. It would have had to be on a main road to attract custom.
    3. When pro-rated rates, rent, electricity, heat, investment in decor were all taken into consideration along with the purchase of teapots, cups and saucers etc how could any profit have really resulted with so many competitors?
    4. In any case tea was rationed from July 1940 (two ounces per person per week) until June 1952. I cannot imagine the Ministry of Food making special arrangements to accommodate up to eleven cafes in a rural Essex village. 

    Despite these objections I do believe Nina’s possibility remains valid. How can these seemingly contradictory views be reconciled? 

    The memory of Willy Weedon provides a possible answer. At one point I delivered Sunday papers for Willy Weedon. Then I went around the route a second time (it being later when people were up and about) and collected money for the week’s papers. Willy equipped me with a satchel and silver and coppers for change. I went on my way, knocked on doors, collected the money, and two hours later made my way back to Willy’s shop and emptied the satchel full of money on his counter. He promptly swept it into the till. It was never counted it. He never provided me with a book and pencil to cross off who did or did not pay. 

    In retrospect I do not think he had any idea how much his business netted or failed to net. I also suspect that his newsagent business and his shoe repair business were indiscriminately mingled in together. If this surmise is correct then it is easy to see how a wife running a hole in the wall business out of a spare room can have no idea how much money she makes or loses. 

    Perhaps the answer to my original question “with so many competitors how could a cafe, making whatever profit there was on a cup of tea and a bun, stay in business?” is simply that they did not make a profit and neither did most of them stay in business very long.

    By Alan Davies (07/09/2013)
  • William. Just a thought on petrol generators. My parents bought one in 1954 to run our first TV set. TV programmes were only transmitted for a few hours each day to start with. 4pm to 5pm for children’s hour (I can remember watching Whirligig and Muffin the Mule). It then went off until about 7 pm when programmes for adults came on. Therefore our generator only ran for about 3 to 4 hours each day. 

    It was housed in an old air raid shelter in the garden which my dad used as a shed and as it was so noisy, we had to keep the kitchen door closed. When it got low on petrol, the TV picture would start to roll and dad would have to top up the tank which petrol which we bought from one of the High Road garages. 

    It occurred to me that as ‘The Prince of Wales’ powered a refrigerator with a petrol driven generator, the children must have enjoyed their ice cream to the accompaniment of the ‘chug, chug, chug’ noise of the engine which I assume must have been running 24 hours a day in order to keep the fridge/freezer cold. I imagine that to have been quite costly where petrol was concerned. 

    Earlier this year we went to a show at Damyns Hall Aerodrome at Upminster. There were several caravans parked there which the exhibitors were living in temporarily and while we were queuing to get in, one of them started up a petrol generator. The familiar sound made me smile as it reminded me of Laindon in the early fifties.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (07/09/2013)
  • Alan. That was very interesting. I imagine that although life was still not easy after the war, running a business back then was a day to day concern and kept very simple. 

    Having looked at the electoral registers for the 30s, 40s and 50s, some premises changed hands surprisingly often. Today, running a business can involve market research, forward projections, profit margins, spread sheets, annual turnover and bank balances.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (07/09/2013)
  • Further to my comment in respect of electricity and the Prince of Wales, I omitted to say this was by means of a petrol grenerator.

    By W.H.Diment (05/09/2013)
  • Ian Mott makes some cogent points in his posting of 30/08/13. While in general agreement with him, I do not believe it is “one size fits all” and differences did exist. Perhaps I can address Ian’s points in the order he makes them. 

    1. It has been stated several times in these archives that Laindon was the main shopping centre for Laindon and the surrounding areas. The key word in this statement is “main.” I cannot speak to the 1930’s but certainly from the latter 1940’s onward it was not unusual for my mother to travel to Romford market, Upminster, or East Ham High Street to shop. She cannot have been alone in shopping further afield on occasion rather than shopping exclusively in Laindon High Road. 

    2. Shopping was a more frequent event as Ian states. Was that because families did not have refrigerators or freezers? I doubt it. What was there to freeze or refrigerate? Milk was delivered every morning to the doorstep. Many vegetables and fruits came from the garden. Chickens provided eggs and when an unlucky chicken failed to deliver its quota then it was headed for the pot. 

    Most pantries had a screen wire mesh window which was open to the outside and, for much of the year, this kept the pantry semi-refrigerated anyway. Certainly none of the present day frozen or refrigerated foods even existed to be placed in a refrigerator or freezer even if the family possessed such.

    I suspect that there were two contributory reasons for more frequent shopping. First was the fact that some shopped when they had the money. No money yesterday, no shop. A little money today, off to buy some food. Second I suspect that a walk down the High Road, stopping to chat with friends one bumped into in conjunction with shopping, provided a welcome respite in what, for most women, was a hard scrabble existence. 

    3. I agree completely with Ian. 

    4. Again I agree with Ian provided that the personal finances allowed for the cost of a cup of tea. Very often people were so economically challenged that even a cup of tea in a cafe was a luxury that had to be passed up. 

    5. Personally I do not remember pubs as being the sole domain of men. Rather I remember my parents going to a pub together, as did other couples. The men would play snooker or darts. It was only the Winston that boasted a snooker table as I remember. Meanwhile the women would be seated at tables talking about whatever it was that women talked about. 

    Alcohol abuse has always been with us, and was a factor as Ian points out, from Hogarth’s Gin Lane to the present when it seems to be as severe a problem as it ever was. My mother could never afford to enter a cafe until I was twelve years old. That was 1946. 

    After several years of correspondance courses my father had passed enough examinations that (from being a plasterer working on “the buildings”) he was offered a salaried job and a car by the Essex County Council. His job was to oversee the maintenance, repair, and new construction of ECC buildings in that part of Essex to which he was consigned. This improved state of finances allowed my mother, when shopping, to take my young brother (ten years my junior) into the very up market Shepherds for tea and a sticky bun. White linen table cloths no less!

    By Alan Davies (04/09/2013)
  • Just a small point about fridges. It’s not quite true that nobody in Laindon owned a fridge. My maternal grandparents, Jessica and “Dick” Devine of “Pendennis” on the unmade part of King Edward Road owned one. I’m not sure when they acquired it but they certainly had it at least from the forties onwards. Long before we had the electricity connected, we and our neighbours used calor gas. My grandparents’ fridge ran on calor gas and they were able to keep milk, meat, cheese, butter etc., cool. Therefore I assume there may possibly have been a few other families in Laindon running calor gas fridges. The records show that Birds Eye produced the first frozen fish fingers in 1955 and the new product was launched at 1s 8d per pack. As few people owned freezers at that time, these had to be cooked immediately.  Our neighbourhood was connected to the electricity in 1957. History states that by 1960 a fifth of the population owned a fridge. My parents acquired a fridge around that time, the small freezer compartment being just about big enough to store a pack of fish fingers. By 1965 half the population owned a fridge.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (04/09/2013)
  • Further to Nina’s comments in respect of refrigerators, prewar the old Prince of Wales had electricity which the son Jack Franklin installed and claimed it was the first building in Laindon to have this. 

    On sunny summer days old ‘Grandma’ Franklin would sit outside her living room selling ice cream, although it was said not much profit emanated from this, as she was known to often give it away to children who had no money.

    By W.H.Diment (04/09/2013)
  • Further to Nina’s comments in respect of the Station Café, it may be of interest that this in its earlier history owned by Mr. Enefer as was the Wash Road stores later known as Flack’s Post Office, although it was only a grocery store and was sold circa 1934/1935 to a man whose name I have forgotten and sold on to Dennis Flack around the war years.

    By W.H.Diment (31/08/2013)
  • Amazing! Bill Diment identifies an additional five cafes. That’s eleven in all. Only one less than the number of meat purveyors!! Of course all eleven might not have been in business at the same time admittedly. Nonetheless just how much income could a Laindon cafe realize with up to ten competitors. After all, there is not much profit to be made on a cup of tea and a bun. After the four pubs had first dibs on whatever discretionary income was available running a cafe must have been akin to gleaning a wheat field after the harvesters had been through.

    By Alan Davies (30/08/2013)
  • In analysing the number of each type of shop in Laindon it must be remembered that when in its heyday conditions were very different from those applying today. I give some below for consideration. 

    1. Laindon was the main shopping centre for Dunton, Little Burstead, Langdon Hills and Lee Chapel as well as Laindon. This area was the main centre of population in the 1930’s/40’s. 

    2. Shopping was a more frequent event for many types of food as homes did not have refrigerators and freezers to store the food. 

    3. Some of the family incomes would have been on a daily basis. At the time weekly pay was the norm only for those in full-time employment. 

    4. As a large number of the shoppers would have had to walk anything up to two miles to get to the shops a cup of tea would be a necessity before making the return journey. Cars were only few and far between and the state of the roads made cycles impractical for shopping. 

    5. You mention that the pubs would have creamed off the provision of refreshment, remember in those days they were the domain of the men on payday and were the cause of the financial difficulties of many of the families. 

    These were the common problems of families that we as children were, in many cases, shielded from and have been replaced by the more enjoyable memories of our childhood.

    By Ian Mott (30/08/2013)
  • There was also ‘Fortune Tea Garden’, according to the 1949 Electoral Register, known as ‘Nobby Clark’s Café’ which can be seen on the right of the second photo in the article ‘Laindon Sign Post’. by Ken Porter. This was run by Eliza and Frederick Clark and would be just off the above map slightly to the north of the word ‘Enefers’. The first building in the High Road North at that time. Maybe the many cafes in Laindon weren’t the family’s main income but a side-line for the wife to run to supplement the breadwinner’s income. Just a thought. Also, in the fifties I remember a ‘Nobby Clark’ who used to drive around Laindon in an invalid carriage. Anyone remember him? Probably no relation to the people in the café. P.S. A word about the café at Laindon Station. My father warned us never to go in there as he was a night worker and used to walk passed it when coming out of the station just after 11 pm at night after finishing an early shift and he could see rats running around the counter.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (30/08/2013)
  • I agree with all of Ian’s 5 points and would like to add a sixth. Long before anyone had a telephone in their house, the High Road was also a social meeting place. My nan had lots of friends and several family members in the village. Each day she would walk to the High Road with her shopping box on wheels for a few provisions. Here she would ‘bump into’ other villagers and catch up on the latest news and stories. I expect many others did the same and stopped for a rest, a cup of tea and a good ‘chin wag’ in one of the many cafes.

    My maternal grandparents moved to Laindon in 1923 just before my mum’s 9th birthday to a bungalow in a remote part of the unmade King Edward Road. (Powell Road and Roberts Road didn’t exist then). She told me that occasionally she was sent down to the High Road before school, because they had run out of bread or milk. I would guess it was roughly about three quarters of a mile. She’d have to run all the way there and back and upon return would have to then run across the fields to get to Dunton School on time with her two little brothers in tow.

    Until the estates were built in the late forties and early fifties, most dwellings were set in large pieces of ground, so neighbours could be quite far from each other. Especially in the winter, once inside people could feel quite remote and cut-off (no mobile phones or e-mail then!), therefore a trip to a High Road café would seem like a social event for many. We did have the telephone connected in the mid-fifties, (the first in our neighbourhood), but even then, it was a shared, party line. Sometimes we couldn’t make a call because it was in use, so we would replace the receiver and have to wait. However, on one occasion when my mum was in the middle of a conversation, the woman with whom we shared the line, butted in and told my mum quite sternly to get off the line because she wanted to make a call!!

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (30/08/2013)
  • Further to Nina’s comment of the 30/08/13. The café she lists as the Fortune Tea Gardens was in fact the later name for Gamon’s Café as I was thinking in terms of pre-war. The Gamon Family were well known with Billy playing football for Langdon Hills, Frank played for Laindon FC and cricket for Laindon CC and was an accomplished ballroom dancer and sister Joan stirred the hearts of many of the local youth.

    By W.H.Diment (30/08/2013)
  • There definitely was shop (referred to as Pearks or Poldens) next to Dr Long’s surgery. My relatives, Charles and Ella English owned it circa 1940/46 and Ella’s sister and her husband, Rose and Albert Lane, ran it for them. I also seem to recall a Dr Goldacre practising at Dr Chowdhary’s surgery, and it is thanks to Drs Chowdhary, Rubie and Goldacre and nurses Broom and Trickey that I have a lovely sister, Ann; my mother having had a particularly difficult delivery and all of the above attending her.

    By Georgina Nottage (nee Ellingford) (30/08/2013)
  • Just as I am perplexed by the fact that there were up to twelve purveyors of meat in the High Road and how they possibly each secured enough trade to make a living, so I am surprised at the number of cafes. In such an economically challenged (to use the modern parlance) rural village it seems there were six such cafes. One was a little west of the Fortune on the south side of the arterial. I forget its name. Enefers was situated at the Fortune and Harry Lowe’s Cafe a few yards further in the direction of Southend. Shepherd’s Restaurant was the most up market of the group and was situated somewhere not far from Relph the chemist. The Primrose Cafe sat on a small hill almost opposite the football ground behind the Laindon Hotel. The Station Cafe was just along from the booking office. The last named seemed to specialize in a cup of warm tea (liberally occupying both cup and saucer) and stale buns. The Primrose Cafe occupies a special place in my memory. During the war, with ice cream virtually unknown, on an unusually hot summer day, the Primrose must have produced some home made which was sold out of a side window in cornets. The taste and texture I can still remember. Half frozen semolina pudding. How did six cafes make a living out of what disposable income was left over after four pubs had taken their share?

    By Alan Davies (29/08/2013)
  • Further to the comment of Alan Davies in respect of cafes in the area. I suggest the café to the west of Enefers on the south side of the Arterial Rd. was the the Bungalow Café also almost immediately opposite on the north side of the road was the Arrow cafe. It has also been said in the archives that Modley’s served teas, although I do not remember this. Opposite on the south side of the road was the Laindon Park Country Club which again the archives reports was later turned into a café called colloquially “Dirty Dicks”. Then immediately next door to Enefers café was Gamon’s café. A little further east on the south side of the Arterial Rd. and adjacent to the body builders and Reeves post office was another café cum sweetshop managed by two old ladies.

    By W.H.Diment (29/08/2013)
  • I have been studying the Electoral Registers for the mid-fifties. Andrea is right about Unit 1. Until 1956 the Shotter family were running the shop. The Foster family (Louisa, Stella and Harold) took over in 1957 and were living above the shop. Unfortunately the Register doesn’t state the name of the shop, just Unit 1 North Parade. Also in 1957 Unit 2 was being run by a person called Carey and two people with the surname Evans. Unit 3 by Lucy and Frederick Reed. Unit 4 the drapers was still being run by Violet Butler. No 5, the Off License was being run by Catherine and Frederick Hicks.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (27/08/2013)
  • This is all the information I have about North Parade:

    1 – 4 North Parade were built c.1923 as terrace, 5 North Parade was built c.1940(?). There was a service entry between 4 and 5. 

    1 North Parade (The “Hiawatha” end)

    1920s – c.1932: Bassett’s Builders merchants (James Edward Bassett)

    c.1932 – 1940s: Polden’s Grocers (Oliver J. Polden)

    1940s onwards: North Parade Stores (Arthur W Shotter). 

    2 North Parade

    c.1923 – c.1932: Tate & Sons House furnishers.

    c.1932 – early 40’s? Hatherall’s Hardware (Phillis and Simon Wells). [The Hatherall name came from my Grandmother Phillis’s first marriage to William Hatherall, who died in 1930 (aged only 38). She later married policeman Simon Wells.]

    Early 40’s? – onwards: Ling’s toys. 

    3 North Parade

    c.1923 – 1930s: “The Geisha” cafe.

    1930s Onwards: North Parade Post Office “Boon’s” (J E S Boon) – Post Office Newsagent, tobacconists, confectionary. The Post Office later moved further towards the A127, on the other side of the High Road (still called “North Parade Post Office” which is a bit confusing!) 

    4 North Parade

    c.1923 – 1931? Unknown

    1931? – ???? Drapery and Wool (Violet Butler)

    ???? – onwards: Drapery and Wool?? (Ethel Moorcroft?) – Not too sure about this, I was not too interested in Drapery and Wool as a young lad! If it happened, I think that it was after I left the area in 1957.

    5 North Parade

    1940’s(?) onward: Off-licence – has changed hands a few times – no details. This is a later building than 1 -4 North Parade, and separated from them, by an access road.

    By Trevor Collison (26/08/2013)
  • Surely Lings was the shop immediately north of the Hiawatha. I have no recollection of Pearks or Poldens occupying that location or of being anywhere in that parade of shops. Rather, Pearks I seem to remember as being somewhere between Essex Road and the Primrose Cafe. Where I am not sure.

    By Alan Davies (24/08/2013)
  • After looking at various old photographs displayed at today’s Memory Day, Chris my husband, picked up on the old Henbest shop – this immediately reminded him of the one he says was almost opposite Green Stores at Durham Road – he worked there about 1955 and says he often exchanged friendly waves with a chap working in Henbests across the road. ?

    By Andrea Ash (nee Pinnell) (24/08/2013)
  • Hi Trevor, Yes indeed I did marry John Rugg who lived next door to the Hodgsons in Pound Lane and we still live in Laindon (Worthing Road). Mr and Mrs Rugg sadly died quite young 59 and 65 years old as did David their other son (52 years). Elsie and Stewart Hodgson were their closest friends in the 40’s and 50’s and Stewart came to Dad’s aid when he collapsed and died at home with Jessie his wife. Elsie and Stewart moved to Somerset and we did get to visit them there once with our young family. David Rugg used to go to them a lot as he was David Hodgson’s pal having been born within hours of each other in Pound Lane in 1946. Strange both sets of neighbours chose John and David for their children’s names. John remembers the Gregorys being neighbours but did not have much involvement with them. Strange how this Archive is making connections with our past that we did not know about before and we are grateful for that. John by the way is the Treasurer for the Archive . Thanks for the contact Ann.

    By Ann Rugg (24/08/2013)
  • Firstly about North Parade shops. These were a group of five shops built pre-war. When I lived in Laindon 1957-1963 I can clearly remember these shops, the north end one, nearest to Nichol Road was Number 5, Challenger Off-licence. Then, as far as I know Number 4 was a wool shop, credited on other sources to be Violet Butlers. At Number 3 was Boons, a brilliant shop with all my favourite comics and sweets, mum was always in there for us. Number 2 was Lings, toys and plastic aircraft kits for me. Then the mystery shop, some would say Poldens, Perks or Number 1 North Parade Stores. I can recall walking to this parade of shops past a terrace of what then seemed modern houses with stylish bay windows. Two of the houses had seemingly great names to me, back in the day, these were ‘Marylin’ and ‘Sabrina’, quite bold for the people owning them back in the day! Better than our boring 1 Nichol Road.

    Trevor Collison has mentioned Elsie Hodgson, a teacher. To me Mrs Hodgson was far more than that. She was the kindest teacher I had all through school. She was always smart and well presented. She made a fuss of all her school children and never, ever raised her voice to anyone. I will always remember Laindon Park School and how Mrs Hodgson guided us through the final terms there, a wonderful lady. Her immaculate handwriting on my summer 1958 report tells us that there were 45 in the class. My top results were Geography and Comprehension (each 2nd) then Reading, Spelling (each 5th) and Nature (7th). My worst result was Arithmetic (30th) so no change there then. The report is signed off by JJ Wilson, our Laindon cricket star and headmaster. Wonderful times indeed.

    By Richard Haines (24/08/2013)
  • I am responding to Alan Davies who made the comment that he cannot recall Pearks or Poldens being in the shops (four) to the north of Hiawatha. Although John and I submitted the list of names on the plan of the High Road we only used all the suggestions of names that we had been given over the last 30 years or so that we have been interested in Laindon history. In my young days this first shop was a grocers but I do not recall the name. However the next one was Lings (toys and bikes) the next was Boons (sweets and newspapers) and the final in the parade was an Off Licence. We do have a photograph confirming Boons and Lings but cannot confirm the two left and right of these. There is an older photo where the first shop is a Builders Merchants and yet another photo showing one as a drapers and we also have been given the information that one of the shops(think it is the Boons one) as the original Post Office before it used the shop on the other side of the road (now Broadway Villas) which was named North Parade Post Office and run by the Boxshalls who emigrated to New Zealand in the 50’s. It was then run by the Courts in the early 60’s. We really hope that one day we will have the facility to place all these many photos that we have of the High Road shops in the plan order to help iron out some of the discrepancies that we have. With photographic evidence from different eras we should be able to make more use of all the comments that this item generates. If you can ever get to one of our Archive memory Days you would be welcome to look through all the shop photos we have in order of the plan but in east and west side albums. Seeing them makes the order a lot clearer although with the change of uses in different eras we cannot ever be totally sure of which order they were used in. Thanks for your interest Ann

    By Ann Rugg (24/08/2013)
  • Alan. There was definitely a grocer shop between and Hiawatha and Lings. It changed hands at least twice. At one time it was called Poldens. Another time it was called North Parade Stores and was run by a family called Shotter. My sister was friendly with their son. The 1949 Electoral Register shows there were five units between Hiawatha and the houses; these were North Parade. Going North from Hiawatha, No 1. was the grocer, No. 2. would have been Lings , No 3. Boons, No 4 a haberdashery (Miss Violet Butler then later Moorcrofts), No. 5 was the off licence (Youngs). If you look at ‘Old Laindon Photos’, the second photo, which is very old, shows only units 1-4. Unit 5 (the Off Licence) was built later in the space between unit 4 and the bungalow). The ladder in the picture is leaning against unit 1 (the grocer shop). If you then go to ‘Old Photos of Laindon’ the last photo in the second row, which was taken some years later, shows the off licence now in place. However, I am pretty sure you are right when you remember Pearks being further along the High Road in St Nicholas Parade.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (24/08/2013)
  • Hi Ann, have been going over this article again, and you had mentioned about a grocers next door to Dr Long’s surgery. I mentioned once before that a Mr and Mrs Foster had the store next to the doctor – maybe it was called Foster’s – does that ring any bells with anyone? It would have been about 1955.

    By Andrea Ash (nee Pinnell) (24/08/2013)
  • It would seem that Ann and I remember only four shops in the North Parade. Richard and Nina remember five. The decision has to go to Nina and Richard as Nina has recourse to the 1949 Electoral Register. There was a small driveway between the off licence and number four which would seem to support the statement that number five was built later. Presumably this driveway was necessay in order to provide access to the rear of numbers 1 to 4 for deliveries. Certainly I can remember no other way of getting into or out of the rear of North Parade.There was also a public telephone box outside of the off licence, one of the few in Laindon as I remember.

    By Alan Davies (24/08/2013)
  • Hi Ann, that’s interesting, I never realised Stubbs lived on the other side of Archer Road. I just remember passing the Yard as I went to Weedon’s to buy sweets in the late 40s and early 50s. By the way, are you related to the Ruggs that lived in Pound Lane, near my cousins John and David Hodgson (their dad Stewart was a policeman, and mum Elsie, a teacher)? Three other cousins (on my dad’s side) lived next door Audrey, Brian and Olive? Gregory.

    By Trevor Collison (23/08/2013)
  • Sorry I placed L.A.M.Stubbs south of Archer Road as that is where they built their bungalow and resided during my school days when I knew Mrs Stubbs quite well. We do remember them having a yard on the north side of Archer Road as well. Sorry to have caused any confusion. By the way Trevor I also remember your mum very well during the same era.

    By Ann Rugg (21/08/2013)
  • Just a small correction to the map. When I lived in Archer Road in the early 50s, Stubb’s Builders Yard was between Archer Road and Wiseman’s (ie the other side of Archer Road). I guess it could have changed after I moved away though.

    By Trevor Collison (20/08/2013)
  • Hi Trevor, The 1949 survey carried out by Basildon Development Corporation prior to the building of Basildon, shows that LHM Stubbs & Son were located on the north side of Archer Road at the rear (west) of two residential properties in the High Road called Langham and Stoney Point, on the other side of their yard in Archer Road it shows a residential property called Warwick. However the opposite corner (south) of Archer Road is described as an area of waste-land with a timber hut so it’s entirely possible that they utilised that piece of land sometime during their existence as a business in Laindon.

    By Colin Humphrey (20/08/2013)
  • My Nan & Grandad lived on the High Road in the flat above Lloyds bank, an excellent vantage point from which to observe the High Road. So many shops made a living because until the advent of Basildon New Town there was nowhere else to go to shop. The shops would seem busy because shopping was a daily event, nobody had a fridge. Despite living next door to Steers my Nan would always walk the extra distance to Slopers, but she never said why!

    By Daphne Rowbotham (Churms) (29/06/2013)
  • William. Your memory is spot on. It would seem that ‘Sidney’ was John’s middle name i.e. John S Brown. I have now also been able to trace a John S Brown born in 1931. I think this is the younger brother (by 3 years) of Joyce who married Donald Clegg, apparently named after his father, John S Brown (of 3 King Edward Terrace in 1949 Electoral Register). Records of people can be difficult to trace if they haven’t been known by their first name.

    I’ve also traced in the 1949 Electoral Register, Frederick, Florence and Leslie Brown living in “Denia” Wash Road. Between 1985 and 1990, I worked for a firm of Accountants in Basildon Town Centre called Hunt, Smee, which had originally been called Gale and Brown. Best wishes.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (01/05/2013)
  • In response to both Alan and Nina. Nina has clarified why Joyce Brown did not appear in the electoral role. As to her having no knowledge of a Sid Brown, it may be because this as was not his real name but that given his family. There were three brothers, Fred who lived in Wash Rd opposite the farm and who had three sons, Fred, Robert and Leslie, The person whom I whom I knew as Sid who lived on the King Edward estate and worked at Fords and had children, Joyce and a son I believe was John but I do not remember Maureen or a Helen. The third brother was Charles who was part of Gale and Brown, the chartered accountants. Donald Clegg did live in the A.G.Butler’s funeral directors opposite to the Radion. He was the youngest of three brothers. Stanley , the eldest who married my eldest sister Violet, Norman and Donald. There were also two daughters , Kathleen and I believe Marjorie and I believe it was Kathleen who emigrated to Australia and has a horse farm. The family with whom I have been out of touch with are widely scattered and some have passed on.

    By W.H.Diment (30/04/2013)
  • While my memory is not now very clear, Nina states that No.3 King Edward Terrace was occupied by Rose and John Brown and Donald Clegg which confuses me somewhat. Donald Clegg is related to me via marriage and was badly injured serving with the Royal Tank Regiment. He married a Joyce Brown whose father was I believe Sidney, although she had a younger brother who may have been John. If Donald and wife were living with the father and mother in law it seems strange that his wife does not appear on the 1949 electoral register. Can anyone revive my flagging memory.

    By W.H.Diment (29/04/2013)
  • William. Joyce isn’t mentioned on the Electoral Register because she was under 21 at that time. I’ve checked the records and found that although Donald Clegg and Joyce Brown married in 1948, Joyce was still only 20 years old when the 1949 Electoral Register was compiled. (The voting age was lowered to 18 in 1969). Joyce had two younger sisters, Maureen and Helen. Helen was in the same class as myself all through school. The Brown family later lived in Roberts Road. Donald and Joyce had two sons, Trevor born 1951 (he was in the same class as my younger brother Alan), and Richard born 1955. They lived in New Century Road. I remember taking my brother to their house, when he had to meet up with Trevor. I haven’t yet been able to trace anyone called Sidney Brown.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (29/04/2013)
  • In reply to Bill Diment’s query regarding Donald Clegg. In all the years we lived next door to the Brown’s in number three I never saw nor heard of a Donald Clegg living there. As to your memory Bill, I hope mine is as keen when (if) I catch up to you! Is this the same Clegg family that lived opposite the Radion and had a grave monument business with stones on display in the front garden? There were several children one of whom, Kathleen, was in my class at Langdon Hills.

    By Alan Davies (29/04/2013)
  • Yes Nina, I remember all of the families you mention albeit not always the names of each child. Chapmans had Grace, Arthur and Ronnie.  Davies had Alan, Tom and Michael. Browns had Maureen. (At eight or nine she was a frequently complaining girl.  Perhaps a little unkindly, the children in the Terrace referred to her as Moaning Maureen).  Bedfords had Joan, Bunny, Cathy, Barbara, Bob and (it’s true) Mornington. Austin had Margie and a younger sister, Daphne perhaps. Lewis had Anne, Eileen, Agnes and two younger children. Loseby had no children that I can remember. They kept to themselves and I never saw much of them. Tanswell had John and a younger sister.

    The green in front of the Terrace (remember it sat back from the High Road) always seemed to be populated by a great many children involved in different games as the Terrace children were joined by those from further up King Edward Road.  Mr Tanswell in number 8 was the newly elected Labour candidate on the BUDC. He came to a very unfortunate end with tuberculosis. I remember walking down to the Fortune and passing their house on a fine summer evening. Everyone’s windows were open and the sound of him coughing from his bed carried out to the street. It was very sobering and distressing to hear.

    Yes I remember Agnes Lewis. Her older sister Eileen was in my class at LHR.  Margie Austin married David Hopper who lived somewhere up Roberts Road.  Some years later they moved into number one (or is it three) King Edward Road which was originally occupied by the Venner family.

    I was back some years ago and walked down King Edward Terrace.  I was initially shocked to see no crowd of children playing on the green.  Then, of course, I realised they were all grown and gone. The demographics of the Terrace had totally altered. I lingered outside number two looking up at my old bedroom (the box room) hoping that the present occupant would see me and after exchanging a few words, would invite me in for a cup of tea. That would have been the first time I had been inside number two for over fifty years. No luck!! Maybe next time.

    By Alan Davies (27/04/2013)
  • One contributor to this or some similar page has counted a little over one hundred shops at one time or another along Laindon High Road. Compare this to the more populated and affluent high streets of Billericay and Brentwood where there were far fewer shops. Other contributors have put forward different theories as to how so many stores managed to stay in business, and make a profit in such an “economically challenged” rural village. Fair enough. I must confess, however, that it remains a question that completely baffles me. In retrospect it seems to me that some individual stores always seemed busy while others barely had any customers at all. Goddens, the butcher, always seemed to have a line of three or four people waiting in line. If there was a fifth then the size of the shop mandated that the last in line stood in the street. Conversely, there was seldom anyone in Sizer, the butcher, and I walked by that part of the High Road at least twice a day. In fact I think it was only open periodically. Cole the greengrocers and Townsend (diagonally opposite the Winston club) I remember as doing a brisk and steady trade while their competitors Harry’s and Dangerfield were often derelict. Boone, the newsagent always seemed to have customers coming or going but next door but one, the off license, was a desert of inactivity. Of course the off license probably made as much profit on selling a guinea bottle of Johnnie Walker Black to one customer as Boone made on selling over a hundred newspapers or Women’s Own to over a hundred different customers. Pelhams was another somnolent little store which occasionally managed to sell tuppence worth of sweets to children. Of course, in this instance, mixing in cheaper sweets with the more expensive variety plus dodgy scales must have helped the profit margin. Hence, even if the rationale for so many shops lies in lower rent and overheads plus a larger percentage of the population shopping locally (which I personally find difficult to accept other than as subsidiary reasons) how on earth did the shops which enjoyed such little custom survive? As the king in “The King and I” puts it “tis a puzzlement.”

    By Alan Davies (26/04/2013)
  • I agree with Alan, particularly as the shops were closed on Wednesday afternoons and all day on Sundays. The least busy shop I remember was Sizer’s butcher shop. On the few occasions I was sent there on an errand, I was their only customer. The most busy shop I remember was Variety Stores in the Broadway. By its very nature its stock was vast. From household cleaning products, birthday cards, knitting wool and haberdashery etc. I remember being sent there by my nan to buy a bottle of Nulon hand cream which cost 1s 6d. On entering King Edward Terrace, it slipped through my fingers and smashed on the pavement outside somebody’s house and made a mess. I was only about 9 and wasn’t sure what to do, so just carried on and walked home up King Edward Road. I felt terrible that I had wasted my nan’s 1/6d but when I explained to her what had happened, she wasn’t cross at all, just very sympathetic. I hope the person who found a broken bottle in a pool of slimy pink liquid outside their front gate will accept my sincere and very long overdue apology.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (26/04/2013)
  • Was it number 2, King Edward Terrace? Apology accepted!!

    By Alan Davies (26/04/2013)
  • Thank you Alan. It may well have been No 2. Do you remember the Lewis family who lived at No 6 in the Terrace? Their son Bill was in my class and his older sister Agnes was in the same class as my older sister Anne. Agnes’ sister Anne worked as a bus conductress on the Eastern National buses. She was often on the bus I caught to school at the bus stop outside Sizer’s. Other residents in King Edward Terrace according to the 1949 Electoral Register were: No. 1 – Arthur, Edward and Emily Chapman. No. 2 (your home)– Hilda and George Davies. No. 3 – Rose and John Brown plus Donald Clegg. No. 4 – Louisa and Charles Bedford. No. 5 – Dorothy and Harry Austin. No. 6. – Annie and Frederick Lewis. No. 7 – Elsie, Eric and George Loasby. No. 8 – Ivy and Harry Tanswell.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (26/04/2013)
  • Thank you for this,what a great piece of work. My husband’s grandfather Ted Underdown had the wet fish shop and the White City Shop. His great grandfather also had a wet fish shop in East/ West Ham. I remember Nanny Underdown, (Florence / Florrie) telling me how one day when they opened up the wet fish shop someone had left the lid of the cockles drum ,they had crawled out and were all over the shop! They lived in pound lane the other side of A127.

    By Angela Underdown(nee Carter) (22/04/2013)
  • Hallo Alan, May I suggest a couple of reasons why such a large number of retailers were able to survive in a period of economic recession was that the populations of Laindon, Langdon and Dunton spent a greater proportion of their disposable income with local traders whose overheads were considerably lower, pro rata , to those of today rather than patronising retail outlets over a wide area of S/East Essex.

    By W.H.Diment (11/02/2013)
  • I do not remember Tollworthy but clearly that is an omission in my own memory. What is astonishing to me is that in the space of one mile, from the Fortune to the station, there were no less than twelve butchers or stores with a meat department. From the Fortune: Buckenham’s, Sizers, Pearks, Green Stores, Lagdens, Buckenham (again), Co-Op, Tuckers, Green Stores (again), Goddens, Tollworthy, Lagdens (again). Admittedly they may not have all been in operation at the same time. Nonetheless this number of meat retailers to serve what in today’s politically correct jargon would be called an “economically challenged” rural settlement is amazing. Taking the Fortune to the station as exactly one mile, this equates to one retailer selling meat every 440 feet or (assuming three feet to a pace) one every 150 steps. Incredible! How did they all stay in business? I never knew there was so much money in meat!! I am sure there were more meat retailers in Laindon High Road than there was in the larger and less economically challenged populations served by Billericay High Street or Brentwood High Street. Considering the total number of stores in Laindon High Road, not simply the meat retailers, one cannot help but wonder if Napolean had Laindon in mind when he derisively referred to England as “a nation of shop keepers.”

    By Alan Davies (10/02/2013)
  • Re Bill Diment’s posting of 08/02/13.

    Many thanks for filling in a couple of blanks Bill. Do you have any idea what was planned for the aborted construction between 7 and 12 Dorset Parade? What years did the two butchers co-exist? Goddens and Woods/Tollworthy that is. I can place only Goddens (we were registered for meat there during the war) from pre-war until early 1955 when I left. Brenda Buckenham was the principal heart throb of my friend Jim Grindle who lived in Douglas Road. Jim was a most unusual young man for the era. After a scholarship to Grays Palmers, Jim won a scholarship to Oxford. St Edmund Hall. I imagine he was the first, or one of the first, young men from Laindon to aspire to Oxbridge at that time. I still keep up with Jim and plan to see him on my next trip back to the UK.

    Another establishment where one had to wait in turn was the barbers. My father always sent me to Finlay’s where my experience was quite different from that at Dr Chowdhary’s. My instructions were always to ask for “short back and sides.” As in Dr Chowdhary’s one watched carefully who was already in the shop and who came in subsequently. However, when it came to my turn (or indeed any young boys turn) Mr Finlay would always take men who had entered later. Us young lads had to wait until he was good and ready to take us. It used to infuriate me but a young lad (in that generation) accepted it without fuss. As soon as I was old enough to choose my own barber, I went to Harris and never set foot in Finlay’s again.

    By Alan Davies (09/02/2013)
  • Hallo Alan, I do not know what was planned for the vacant plots between Foyles and Harris. As to the butchers, Woods existed at least until 1945/46 until it was taken over by Tollworthy, as I remember coming home on leave for Christmas 1945 and was friendly with the family who lived above the shop which was still Woods at that time. Incidentally, the map shows the Needle Box as next to the entrance for the timber yard, whereas it was in between the two butchers with Goddens next to the entrance . This can be seen quite clearly on the panoramic photo heading the Archive as also can the small shed/shop next to Knights mentioned in your earlier comment.

    By W.H.Diment (09/02/2013)
  • Alan states that he cannot remember a joiners between Foyles and Harris barbers. He is correct as Foyles was No.7 Dorset Parade and Harris No.12, but with plots 8,9,10 &11 undeveloped. 

    However, at times, No7 was also Paragon Models, a tobacconists and a DIY shop selling timber and paints which might have been mistaken for a joiners. 

    The establishment of “vague purpose” adjoining Knights/Reeds was a small shed selling plumbing and sanitary fittings. 

    There was another butchers between the needle box and Coles, that of Woods/Tollworthy. 

    The Buckenhams to whom he refers in Wash Road were Eldred at Mundles farm followed by his son Reginald who was the father of Brenda. Brenda was injured in the Dagenham rail crash but I believe returned to full health, unlike some of the more unfortunate victims. 

    I believe it was Alan who once remarked somewhere in the archives that our memories are formed by the periods in which we lived.

    By W.H.Diment. (08/02/2013)
  • Between Foyles library and Harris Barbers (there was no Joiners in my time) was an expanse of property upon which construction had been started at one time and then simply abandoned. A tall fence of corrugated metal prohibited entry from the High Road. By peeking through the fence, foundations were visible and skeletal walls started here and there, a couple of feet high. I wonder what it was meant to be. There was no evidence of fire or remains of debris. It was certainly not bomb damage because it was there before the war.

    Surely the area immediately south of Durham Road is too crowded. I remember Greens on the corner, then Reeds, then a small establishment of vague purpose. Then came a small gap and a driveway which led behind the shops. In this area was located a small lumber yard and in later years a car repair shop. Then came Goddens, the Needle Box and Coles the greengrocer. I may have missed one but surely all the stores mentioned are too many for the space involved.

    Buckenhams was a large family I believe. One branch had a farm up Wash Road I think it was. Memory says it was this branch’s daughter, Brenda, who was a leading light in the Langdon Players and was Laindon’s Festival Queen in, probably, 1952.

    The public conveniences were opened in 1951/52. To the great relief of many I am sure. No pun intended! Quite where one “paid a visit” along the High Road must have been a problem. I remember one occasion when I was caught short on the bus on the way home from Chelmsford Tech. I alighted at the Fortune in order to use their facilities. I was told to “scarper” as they were being painted. In some distress, a hundred yards down the road, I climbed the quite tall iron railings which fronted Laindon High Road School. All’s well that ends well!

    Luckily, I only had to visit Dr Chowdhary’s surgery once or twice. Memory says there were a score or more people waiting. All sniffing, coughing or sneezing such that if there was not much wrong with you when you entered there was almost bound to be when you left. There was no “take a number” or similar system. Just a “next” as the previous patient exited. Everyone seemed to know exactly who was waiting ahead of them and who came in after them. No seating arrangement where one moved up. Completely haphazard. Yet, remarkably, it worked. Everyone knew exactly where they were in the rotation and no one ever tried to jump the queue. It took a lot of mental book keeping but it was very polite and very English.

    By Alan Davies (07/02/2013)
  • Nina, thanks for pointing out that my father (and mother) only lived in York Villa for a short time, the surgery was at the side of Daisybank and the senior partner was Dr Gilder. When he retired my father took over the practise and he and my mother moved to Daisybank. Dr Rubie joined the practise in 1952 and after a while became a partner. My father died in 1959 and therefore never worked with Dr Martin or Dr Cavaroli. Nina thanks for all your amazing contributions ….and all the work you do – hope to meet again soon. Shakun

    By Shakun Banfield nee Chowdhary (02/02/2013)
  • Hi Shakun. Thank you for that. It isn’t always easy to establish an accurate time line. My family were always registered with your father’s practice which throughout my early childhood consisted of partners Dr Chowdhary and Dr Rubie. I remember the waiting room at Daisy Bank so well. Dr Martin came next. I remember his first visit to our house. But I now realise that must have been a little later that I had thought i.e. maybe around 1960 whereas I had been thinking it was a couple of years earlier. Dr Cavaroli joined the group in 1963 and then for many years the group consisted of Dr Rubie, Mr Martin and Dr Cavaroli. 

    We’re so lucky to have had such good Doctors in Laindon, who often had to trek through some very muddy conditions to visit patients in their homes. In particular your father’s medical skills, caring nature and wonderful sense of humour will always be remembered with much fondest and appreciation. I am sure you and I will meet again before too long. I look forward to it.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (02/02/2013)
  • Seeing Dr. Rubie’s name on this page, it was one of the names I should have remembered as a player for Langdon Hills CC on the sports page.

    By W.H.Diment (02/02/2013)
  • Nina, so the district nurse lived in “Nurses Cottage” while it was Dr Chowdhary’s house that was called “York Villa.” Yet they were both in the health care business! Interesting how the mind works. It seems that, sometimes, even its errors are connected by a certain logic.

    Editor: Doctor Chowdhary only lived at ‘York Villa’ for a short period before moving to ‘Daisybank’

    By Alan Davies (01/02/2013)
  • Alan. Yes that was how things were. Dr Chowdhary’s surgery was also his home, firstly ‘York Villa’ but he later moved to ‘Daisy Bank’. He was joined by Dr Rubie and Dr Martin. Dr Cavaroli joined them in 1963 when the practice was in a large house at the High Road end of New Century Road. A few years later they moved into the new Health Centre at the southern end of the Laindon Centre where the practice still is today. There were no practice nurses even in the 60s. District Nurses worked from their homes and patients could receive treatment there. Nurse Broom in ‘Nurses Cottage’ in the High Road and Nurse Trickey in Bushy Mead, off King Edward Road. Nurses began working in the Heath Centre when it opened and now there are even some Nurse Practioners working alongside the Doctors.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (01/02/2013)
  • It would seem that from the amount of statistical information that Laindon High Street never existed. Yet I am at a loss to understand why a trader should publish an address of his business (which I presume to be his postal address) as No.1 High Street on the corner and that of his wife in the same advertisement, as Blue Rooms, Laindon High Road. I am in my nineties and possibly in mental decline, but at the moment I still know my address, despite its changes over the years and more importantly, its location.

    By W.H.Diment (31/01/2013)
  • Sorry, I cannot agree with Nina that Henbests mistakenly used the Address No.1, Laindon High St, as it defines its position as (on the corner) and referred to Maud Henbests shop as Blue Rooms, Laindon High Road and the tailors was only on the corner of the road. shown as Essex road, although this would have been before Curtis’s and other shops were built pushing Henbests back along what was Dorset Parade in the 1949 survey.

    May I make a suggestion (of which I have no evidence) the name of Laindon High Street for Essex Rd. preceded that of Laindon High Rd to the time when it was Main Street Laindon and later that the road running east from the Main Street /High Rd was changed to avoid confusion. A further small point prewar, Hatheralls was the second shop north of the Hiawatha and later became Lings.

    By W.H.Diment (30/01/2013)
  • William. All very confusing but fascinating. I gleaned my information from Kelley’s Trade Directory 1933. Some shops shown as being in the High Road, others shown as being in the High Street although we know it was all the same road. As Henbests was described as being on a corner at one time, maybe its front was facing the High Road (sometimes referred to as High Street) and the side of the shop was in Essex Road. I had heard there was once a shop in North Parade called Hatheralls but that was before my time. The Hatheralls I remember in the fifties was on the west side of the High Road. I used to be sent there by my mum to get her paraffin. I was always asked ‘would you like the blue or the pink’. I always chose the blue but often wondered what the difference was.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (30/01/2013)
  • It seems that Hatheralls certainly moved around a great deal. Possibly the result of short term leases? In the 1950’s Hatheralls was located adjacent to Cliffords the greengrocer. A few steps south of where the district nurse lived (York Villa?) and King Edward Terrace.

    By Alan Davies (30/01/2013)
  • Referring above to Essex Road, Laindon I too have looked at the 1/2500 plans for 1896, 1922 and 1956. What I have discovered is that the road is labelled as follows; 1896 -Essex Road, 1922- Essex Road and 1956- Essex Road. As I would trust the 1/2500s more than the 10560s it appears that it has never been called anything else, in living memory, as Nina and Eric have stated above.

    By Richard Haines (30/01/2013)
  • Alan. I am sure you are right and that Hatheralls was situated adjacent to Cliffords. I may have got Hatheralls and Worths mixed up. Both were on the west side of the High Road and both sold paraffin. I’m pretty sure the district nurse’s home was called ‘Nurses Cottage’. York Villa was on the east side of the High Road and had been Dr Chowdhary’s first home. Best wishes.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (30/01/2013)
  • Assuming it is the same Church Road (for there are many of course, literally wherever there is a church) it was so named in my day there in the 1950’s. This is the road off St Nicholas Lane as St Nicholas Lane winds down the hill past Donaldson’s school on the right, round a bend, and intersects with Church Road on the left virtually opposite the Basildon Country Club on the right. The other end of Church Road ran into the Arterial Road.

    Editor: Looking at old maps it appears that there have been a number of re-designations of the roads in this area.

    By Alan Davies (29/01/2013)
  • Further to my earlier comment about Essex Rd. To satisfy my own curiosity I have checked old OS Maps and in the following years ( 1896,1922,1939,1956 & 1960) it is shown as Essex Rd. Perhaps William you can recall if the name changed between 1922 and then back again by 1939.

    By Eric Pasco (29/01/2013)
  • Responding to Alan. Yes it is the same Church Road to which he refers, but it was School Lane when I first moved there in the 1920s’, The only difference is that the southern end now terminates at the A127 and the northern end is now in two parts with a roundabout with the new Noak Hill Road. Also it was once a through Road from Laindon to Wickford, but the contruction of the Arterial Rd and the much later Wash Road South precludes this and the northernmost end is only accessible from Wash Road as the Noak Hill roundabout does not allow entry. 

    I do not know when Church Rd was built but it certainly existed in the 1800s. Also referring to Eric Pasco and his memory of Essex Road being in existence in 1938, it was certainly Laindon High Street in the mid 1930s’.

    I sent Ian a copy of an advertisement for the location of Henbest’s shop being No1, Laindon High Street (on the corner). Mr.Henbest must have known his address and also the Laindon Recorder would have known this to be correct as their office was only a few doors away opposite in the High Road.

    Editor: I will publish the advert in a separate article on the roads of Laindon in the next few weeks.

    By W.H.Diment (29/01/2013)
  • Further to my comment just sent, believe that the road from St.Nicholas Lane running past the church and Donaldsons’ school was Church Hill where it joined the T junction of Basildon Rd., and School Lane.

    By W.H.Diment (29/01/2013)
  • According to the 1949 survey, Henbests had two shops in Laindon High Road. One on the west side being the second plot from Aston Road. The other one on the east side, was the 5th plot from Essex Road (the first two plots belonging to Curtis shoes). I have looked on Kelley’s Directory for 1933 where Henbests is listed as being in Laindon High Road. My guess is that the printer who produced the advertisement that appeared in the Recorder simply made a mistake by typing High Street instead of High Road and that Essex Road has never been called anything other than Essex Road.

    A second look at Kelley’s Directory for 1933 has revealed something interesting. Most shops are listed as being in the High Road. However, several are listed under ‘High Street’. Those include Alfred Rawley (Est Agent), Jsph Toomey (motor engineer), Herbert Lagden (Butcher), Thomas E Collins, Victor Findlay (Hairdresser), Emanuel Morris (provision dealer), Laindon Estate Agency, Fredk Roff (confectioner), Elizabeth Shead (ironmonger) Daisy Woodley (confectioner) Harry Chartres (confectioner) and Burnie & Coleman (solicitors).  As we know all those shops were in the High Road, it appears there was some ambiguity concerning the name of the road at that time. I therefore apologise to the printer of the advert that appeared in the Recorder as it wasn’t a typo but simply that both the names High Road and High Street were being used before ’High Road’ was eventually decided on. That seems to be the answer to the puzzle of where was ‘Laindon High Street’ i.e. it was just another name for the High Road and Essex Road has never changed its name.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (29/01/2013)
  • I may be wrong but wasn’t there a hardware store between Archer Rd and the school, by the name of Hatherals.

    By Terry Rattenbury (29/01/2013)
  • Hatheralls (J.S. Jellows) the ironmonger shop was next door to Buckenham’s the butcher, between Worthing Road and Manor Road.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (29/01/2013)
  • In regard to your comment about Essex Road being Laindon High Street, I recall looking at an Ordnance survey map from as early as 1900 and Essex Road existed even then and would in fact have been one of the first Roads in Laindon estate along with the likes of Ulster, Kent, Sandringham, Windsor etc etc. 

    Perhaps it reverted back to Essex Road after a spell as High Street as you suggest it has happened elsewhere. Perhaps we can check on this but I definitely know it was Essex Road from 1938 until buried under the concrete.

    By Eric Pasco (28/01/2013)
  • I seem to remember a dark haired lady called Connie and Doris, a blonde – they were the main hairdressers at Doris’ hairdressers, the opposite side of road to Denbigh Road – I used to visit there as a child.

    By Andrea (28/01/2013)
  • In the map of the High Rd. no mention is made of Laindon High Street shown as Essex Road as to when and why the name was changed. It seems that the old local authorities changed road names for no apparent reason. 

    As an example although I have seen no evidence, the road I live in must originally have been Church Road, as the road existed prior to Laindon Park school and the name changed to School Lane, but once again the name was changed back to Church Road.

    The house in which I live has had four different addresses,(five if one includes the most recent of Noak Bridge).

    By W.H.Diment (27/01/2013)
  • It would appear that John and Anne Rugg have taken exception to my calling their contribution in respect of the High Rd. shops the “Anne Rugg version”. If so, I deeply apologise for any displeasure caused as it was never my intention to be a criticism of their findings. It was simply a comment that there were variances of location between the Laindon Archive version and that of the Basildon History version. 

    While I have commented upon what I perceive to be errors of location, these have emerged from my memories and may or may not be correct and as such not any detraction from map given. 

    However, I consider, (once again being a personal view) that the record of traders listed, particularly those of the Basildon History Page, could to those who did not remember the old High Rd.) suggest there were far more shops than actually existed and also that the stated locations of traders changed over a period of time which could possibly seem not to be consistent with the memories of those who lived in differing eras.

    Editor: This is an on going project and there will be a number of changes over time. It is hoped that as more information becomes available from our research that we can provide more chronological information so that we can indicate more clearly how the High Road evolved.

    By W.H.Diment (18/01/2013)
  • In answer to some of the comments, we did refer to the list on the Basildon History website and also to the many photos that we have access to. The bulk of our information came from people over the years on photo copied plans as are used on the Archive site now. We could not dispute peoples recollections from different timescales so have tended to accept their views for the time being. 

    Also where we were given several owners/tenants of some shops we do not always have the space to make it clear that they were on one site. If there was space they appear side by side horizontally but some times they have to appear vertically and we are not suggesting they they were in 2 or 3 different premises. Maybe as the photographic evidence appears we will be able to group or box these various names together as required. 

    A case in point is the Greens/Parkinsons corner of Durham Road as the various uses equal too many shops for the block and until we group them more accurately this will have to suffice. 

    Mr. Diment refers to the “Ann Rugg version of the High Road”. Although John and Ann did commit it to the Archive site please remember it has been assembled with about 30 previous Laindon residents’ memories. We have still kept all their paper copies to hand and envisage eventually seeing it as an accurate record of the old Laindon shops and to this end we are editing all the info offered on the comment pages to our old paper copies, to record or amend as the site develops. Thanks to everyone for your input.

    By John and Ann Rugg (nee Bullimore) (14/01/2013)
  • Just one small thing, the Paramount Radio store was directly opposite Durham Rd., that I remember well as I spent many days looking out of dad’s shop. But you are doing a wonderful job, well done

    By Brian Slaughter (13/01/2013)
  • This is brilliant. I often wonder where all the various shops were and the road layout. This explains it all very clearly.

    By Helen (13/01/2013)
  • Richard Haines suggests that the Ann Rugg version of the High Rd., shops should be compared to that shown on the Basildon History website. However, the Basildon History version does contain errors of location. 

    For example it shows Worths as situated between the Coop and Griffin stores. Also it shows Henbests as being 5, Dorset Parade whereas Ian has a copy of their advert in a 1936 Laindon Recorder showing it to be No.1 High Street (on the corner) which would the northern most shop of the parade. There are others.

    By W.H.Diment (12/01/2013)
  • Clearly it depends which era or year one is talking about but, from my memory, I would suggest the following for consideration. 

    1. Anderson Shoe Repair I remember as Weedons Shoe Repair. The same Weedon that had the newsagent close to the Fortune. My brother helped Willie Weedon with his shoe shop and I delivered Sunday papers for him and collected money. 

    2. Turner’s Hairdresser was at one time Doris’ Hairdresser. 

    3. Larry’s Second Hand Shop was at one time Jubilee Sale. Or was it Victoria Sale? Just a little hut really with second hand items displayed on racks in front of the store. 

    4. The Needle Box I remember as being somewhere between Goddens the butcher and Cole the greengrocer. 

    I always thought it a little ironic that Dr Chowdhary’s office/surgery should be next door to the funeral director. Was this planned I sometimes wondered.

    By Alan Davies (11/01/2013)
  • Just a few points, I cant see the Paragon Stores on here, which is where they sold model aeroplane kits. 

    All the time I was in Laindon 57-63 the tailors shop M Koppit was on the Langdon Hills side, I wonder when it was in the position shown. 

    I am happy that the correct spelling for Nichol Road has been shown on this diagram as this was on the original road sign and on the title deeds for my parents house, No1. 

    Also on the Basildon website there is a complete index of all these shops which is quite comprehensive and maybe worth checking against Ann Rugg’s version.

    By Richard Haines (11/01/2013)
  • I believe that Turners hairdressers (mentioned by Alan Davies), was run by two sisters who lived in Pipps Hill Rd., and whose father was a self employed carpenter. One of these ladies married Reg Buckenham of Mundles farm and was the mother of Geoffrey Buckenham who is well known in local politics.

    By W.H.Diment (11/01/2013)
  • The map of the area just south of Durham Rd shows Cliff Parkinsons Cycle Shop as being beween Greens and Knights as a separate shop. As I remember, Knights and Greens were adjacent to one and other and were both taken over by Cliff as was the old wood yard where Cliff would carry out motor repairs. I remember having new brake pipes fitted to my mini there.

    By W.H.Diment (09/01/2013)
  • Thanks for the comment Brian. It does indeed make sense to check some of the photos at the library for confirmation of the positions of some of the shops along the High Road and to this end we are getting them scanned in and when Ian has managed the links to them on the plan thing should gradually fall into place. 

    I have recently given the old Henbest shop (north of Aston Road) and the more modern photo of the Curtis block (south of Essex Road) for a bit more confirmation. I personally never remember Charsleys being in that block as I only remember him selling shoes in a very small shop in the parade south of St.Nicholas Lane and then expanding and moving to the block north of Durham Road. We have a photo of that shop but not of the previous little shop. Thanks again for your comments they always make interesting reading.

    By Ann Rugg nee Bullimore (08/01/2013)
  • I suggest the shop shown as Needle Box–Moorcrofts is incorrectly shown as between Goddens and the wood yard entrance. There was no such shop as Godddens stood on one side of the woodyard entrance and the northern side of this entrance was the tiny little plumbers shop which would better be described as a shed. There was a shop (not shown) between Goddens and Woods/Tolworthy which was tenanted by Clarks and sold wools etc and sometimes had cycles ouitside and may possibly in its history have been Moorcrofts as the name needle box is attributed to both Moorcrofts and Clarks

    By W.H.Diment (08/01/2013)
  • I question the siting of Markhams Dairies on the south corner of Somerset road with Howards Dairies two doors to the south. In my memory it was Howards Dairires on the corner with Markhams next door and Markhams later purchased Howards which did then put them on the corner. I cannot remember any shop by the name of Dobson in this area, only Danes Cleaners and Bill Barretts.

    A photograph No.15 on your page ‘photos of Laindon not yet used’ confirms my comment that it was Howards Dairies which originally stood on the corner of Somerset Rd with Markhams next door so a “Dobsons” shop did not stand between them.

    By W.h.Diment (08/01/2013)
  • I have a series of photos of Laindon High Road, and obtained these from the current library a few years ago. May I suggest checking there for confirmation?

    Editor: Brian we are working on this and hope to be adding proof as we find it. I have to work on the diagram to make the links which will take a little time.

    By Brian Baylis (06/01/2013)
  • Hallo Andrea, You are correct that Henbests Tailors was next to Curtis Shoes (later Charsleys) and on the corner of Laindon High Street later shown as Essex Rd although I cannot remember when the name was changed. Henbest tailors never changed their location, although I cannot be sure whether Maud Henbest did and if the parade of shops just north of Aston Rd was in fact known as the Blue Rooms as stated in the advertised locations for 1936, copies of which I will send to Ian.

    By W.H.Diment (05/01/2013)
  • I suggest that Clarkes Cycles shown as south of Coles was in fact between Goddens and Woods/Tolworthy shown as side by side.

    By W.H.Diment (05/01/2013)
  • Ann and John; what a brilliant piece of work you have created – thank you – it must have taken you ages to put together and it is really appreciated to see your hard efforts on site. I was at that (Charlie & Rita’s) reunion and the wall map of old Laindon High Road was brilliant. I must say I thought during my childhood that Henbest, Charlsleys and Curtis were in the same block. Perhaps they had a moveabout? Also I remember a store just after Dr Long’s surgery that was run by a Mr and Mrs Foster, with a daughter called Stella? This is brilliant, thanks once again.

    By Andrea Ash (nee Pinnell) (04/01/2013)
  • I query the location given to Henbests tailors and suggest this was further north adjacent to Careys Timber Yard and Curtis Shoes (later known as Charsleys who later moved to Billericay also I cannot remember Charsleys ever being adjacent to the White City Fish shop which I remember as being the first shop south of the Jubilee Fountain). 

    The road listed as Essex Rd. was at the time I am recalling (1936) was Laindon High St. and I have an advertisement from this date showing the postal address of Henbest Tailors as No1, Laindon High Street with Maud Henbest’s shop being at the Blue Rooms Laindon High Rd., I can if desired send a copy of this. 

    The betting shop further north in the High Rd. was Charlie Wignall’s and become LOCKETT, when ‘Podgy: Lockett married Charlie’s daughter. I am trying hard to remember, as I am sure there were not seven shops between the fountain and the Labour Exchange

    By W.H.Diment (02/01/2013)

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