Mr Moorcroft has been mentioned a few times on the website, mostly in connection with the two shops he owned in Laindon High Road. I remember Ron Moorcroft and his wife Ethel and was sometimes sent to their shops by my nan (Jessica Devine) to collect wool and on one occasion to buy 2 yards of knicker elastic. Although I remember them both being there, I was relieved when it was Ethel who served me.
During the sixties and seventies, nan belonged to an OAP club that met each week in the Laindon Community Centre where Mr Moorcroft was the warden. Her favourite entertainers were the Black and White Minstrels. The OAP club organised several trips to the London Palladium to see their show. Nan went on all of them and thoroughly enjoyed herself. It was my nan that directed me towards Mr Moorcroft in 1968 in order to book the hall for our wedding reception in 1969 the following year. I’m pretty sure there were two halls at that time because Mr Moorcroft asked me if we wanted the large one or the new smaller one. We chose the smaller one as a year or so earlier we had held a family party in the large hall and it was a bit too large. I’m not sure what happened to that one. I think it may have been demolished. I have a few wedding photos that were taken inside the newer smaller hall, one of which shows the large gold lion that stood at one end.
I did a little bit of research and discovered a few things.
Ronald Moorcroft was born in Bermondsey on 18.08.1914. He moved to Laindon with his family in 1924 and according to the 1929 Electoral Register his family were living at “Croftmoor” Roberts Road. Ron married Ethel Smith in 1940. He was a founder member of the Laindon Community Association and Warden of the Community Centre until it was destroyed by fire in 1985.
I believe Doreen Moorcroft of ‘Woodview’, New Century Road was Ron’s cousin. I found her at this address on the 1949 Electoral Register along with John Moorcroft (possibly her brother) and Ethel Moorcroft but no mention of ‘Ron’. The newspaper clip shows her about to leave for Trinidad. I haven’t been able find any further reference to her. In the 1956 telephone directories, I found Ethel Moorcroft (Draper) of St Nicholas Parade, Laindon High Road, Tel: Laindon 2185.
While ‘Googling’ the name Ron Moorcroft, his name appeared in an interesting website about a Laindon Chess Club which apparently had been formed in 1969 and met each week in the Laindon Community Centre. The writer describes how the room they were allotted on Wednesday evenings wasn’t exactly the best place for an activity requiring a quiet environment, because at the same time, the room next door was used for a dog obedience class! There was also the noise from a bar and various dancing activities to contend with. Apparently the Laindon Team got used to the noise although it probably caused some visiting teams to be rather put off their game. When the Community Centre burnt down in 1985, the cupboard containing the chess equipment was completely destroyed. The website is well worth a visit:-
In 1985, Basildon Heritage made some audio-taped interviews with Laindon people. These tapes are kept at Essex Records Office at Chelmsford. One is of Ron Moorcroft and lasts 46 minutes. Apparently he was involved in football leagues, was Chairman/President of Basildon Saturday League until 1979, owned two printing and drapers shops in the High Road and was President of the Horticultural Society. Ron Moorcroft was a popular Laindoner who certainly kept himself very busy. Sadly, he passed away in 1994.
Next time I visit the Essex Records Office, I will make a point of listening to the tape recording he made.